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Just watching the way she jumped to his every whim and desire was enough to make Drew McIntyre want to punt the man across the entire goddamn club. She was a puppet and he was the puppet master and honestly, Drew McIntyre hated Ziggler for that.

Couldn’t she see the asshole was playing her?

She was like his own little marionette. When he got bored, he’d pull her strings, get her all wound up, use her for his own means and then it was back to ignoring her.

If she knew how ta be treated… If she knew how a real man fucked… the thought was a stubborn and persistant one. No matter how hard Drew fought to push it out, figuring that maybe Adele liked being played with like she was being played with, the harder the thought took hold.

Maybe that’s why he found himself lingering out in front of the club, thumbs hooked in the belt loops of his jeans, tapping a heavy soled foot against the pavement. She slunk out of the club and he fell into step beside her.

“Drew, you really don’t have to walk me back to the penthouse.. Despite what that asshole I call a boyfriend says, I am perfectly capable of finding my way back.”

“He didn’t say anythin t’ me about walkin yah, Adele.”

She stopped and stared up at him and swallowed hard, delicate fingers raised, dragging slowly through dark brown curls he longed to wrap around his fist and tug at as he took her from behind. “he didn’t?”

“Nope. Ah’m doin this because I wanta.”

Adele eyed him; what was his angle? So far everyone she’d met in this town had one. It was just a matter of  getting a read on him. As she was doing that, she felt his hand come to rest against the small of her back and he guided them through the heavy crowd outside of a strip club up the way. The close proximity had her thighs clenched.

Around the next corner, Drew stopped their walk and stared down at her, amusement dancing in his eyes. “Wot’s so wrong with me walkin yah? Is it ‘at yah don’t like me? Or is it ‘at yah like me maybe a little too much.” he closed the distance between their bodies as he continued in an even quieter tone, “because I ‘ave seen how y’ look at me..”

Adele gulped and barely restrained a whimper as she sucked in a  ragged breath and asked, “Yeah?”

“Oh yeah. But.. T’ see how yer lookin at me, I’d ‘ave t be lookin at yah first and believe me, lass.. Ah’m not goin t’ deny that ah have…” 

Chapter Text

The door to the hotel room opened just as Katya stepped into the room totally nude. Rather than do the right thing, the decent thing, Katya’s feet chose that exact second to freeze  her where she stood. Her mouth opened and closed a time or two and Adam swore quietly, turning around to face away from her.. But not before she saw the flash in his eyes. Her thighs clenched and she swallowed hard. 

…. this is ridiculous, damn it…. one of us has to do something… the thought came to Adam just as quick to be replaced by the sudden realization that yep, he was staring. And yep, it was making things even more tense. He cleared his throat and mumbled something to himself, shuffling his feet and careful to keep his eyes down for the most part.

Katya exhaled and made herself take a step towards the bed - and towards Adam, as a result. And Adam turned around again, coughing. Katya could feel his eyes as they moved slowly over her body and though she did a fair job at keeping her composure, inside she was a breath away from melting into the floor and she wasn’t sure whether it was embarassment or because she was.. That damned wound up by just the sheer presence of Adam Page in her hotel room.

“I’m just gonna grab a towel and… Clothes. Yeah.” she grabbed for the towel and it seemed like a fraction of a second but Adam was there, in front of her, staring down at her intently, his eyes fixed on the water beading down her neck as it made a trek downward. When his eyes went lower, Katya gave a quiet giggle. “Eyes up here, hangman.”

Chapter Text

They stood in front of the 24 hour chapel. Neither of them said a word for a few seconds but the air hung heavily with all the things they should’ve been saying. Finally, Sami nodded to the doors of the building and he gave her a gentle nudge.

“G’ on. Ya gonna miss ya own wedding. It ain’t every day you get t’ be married by Elvis.” - even as he said it, he felt that jealousy surging all over again. He hoped that the asshole she was about to waste herself on knew what a gift he was getting. And god help the guy, Sami thought to himself, if he didn’t treat her like a goddamn queen.

Kristina gave a half hearted laugh at her best friend’s statement about Elvis. She looked from the chapel to Sami and back again. She tried to take a step but somehow it was.. hard.

She didn’t want to do this and deep down, she knew it.

Sami watched her, waiting. “Well?”

“Sami..”

“Yeah, tiny?”

“What if.. Nothing..” Kristina ALMOST said it, but at the last second, she panicked. … if you don’t say something now you’re not going to… tell him, damn it… 

She went to walk away and Sami’s fingers circled her wrist, pulling her back against him. “What if what, huh?”

“What if I don’t wanna marry him? What if I don’t really even love him?”

“Then don’t.” - please don’t, fuck.. if I lose ya… Sami didn’t dare let himself finish the thought. He was so wrapped up in trying not to imagine a life without her in it that he missed the second she stepped closer, raising a hand, gripping the collar of his leather jacket and pulling his mouth down to her mouth by the hand she placed at the back of his neck. By the time his brain caught up, she was just about to break the kiss. He had to do something, he had to think quick. He deepened the kiss and picked her up, groaning when her legs circled his hips. One of her stilettos hit the pavement and she gave a quiet sigh, teeth sinking into his lower lip as her hand left his neck and tugged at the hair on the back of his head. 

“ I love you.”

Sami blinked in surprise at the words but it took him no time at all to respond. “I love y’ too, baby girl. Always have.. And you got no idea how goddamn jealous I was of this Steven asshole when y’ called and invited me out to Vegas for this.. Or how hard it’s been, keepin that to myself for as long as I have.”

“Sami, get me outta here.”

“Gladly, darlin.”

Chapter Text

“Bet you’ll be glad to get back to our time.” - the statement had Ray looking up from a fried communications device that he was attempting  to patch fix and he studied Tanzie intently for at least three seconds before finally asking, “Why?”

“Oh, well.. Because  there’s probably someone waiting on you..” Tanzie was almost wishing she hadn’t started the conversation now, because she could just sense it in Ray, he was annoyed at being stuck in the year 1950 with her, of all people.

Maybe if it’d been one of the other women on the team or something, Tanzie thought to herself regretfully, he wouldn’t be working himself to death in an attempt to get us back to the time we belong in. Kind of sucks because he has not one clue how crazy I am about him and how this whole situation is.. Kind of a fantasy setting for me.

Ray studied the petite brunette sitting to his left with a concerned look and a raised brow. If he didn’t know any better, he’d almost swear that she seemed.. Hesitant to get back to their time. Surely she had to miss the conveniences, -or whatever special person she has in her life, that last thought hit Ray a little bitterly as he watched her when she wasn’t really looking at him. He pushed the destroyed communications devices to the side and he took a deep breath.

 It was hard to get his head around, doing this again… Knowing how close he wanted to get to her and knowing that lately, she seemed to be distancing.. Even harder when he took into account that he was starting to realize that maybe he’d been getting feelings for her before whatever made her decide to start keeping her distance. Now, here they were, stuck in another time and he was trying to figure out just how to go about doing it without telling her at least half of how he felt lately.. Or confront her on why she was being distant..

“Aren’t you?” he asked after a few seconds.

Tanzie hesitated in answering  and eventually, rather than give her honest answer, - “No” she looked at her feet and shrugged as a non verbal answer. The shrug seemed easier than just spilling everything.

“I asked a question, Tanzia.” Ray wasn’t sure why he felt the burning urge to press for an answer, but there he was doing so. He took a deep breath and eyed the device he’d been attempting to patch fix before rubbing at his temples. He could already feel a migraine setting in.

… he’s really going to force me to answer him… Tanzie swallowed hard and after a few seconds, she spoke up quietly.Not particularly, no.”

Her answer caught Ray off guard and he coughed and eyed her, a brow raised. She’d seemed off lately, like something was really bothering her but if anyone tried to get her to talk she’d leave the room or change the subject, -especially if it’s me trying, he thought to himself, then again she’s also been pretty damn good at avoiding me too.. 

“Why not? I mean.. If you don’t mind me asking.” the question was harmless enough so when she tensed up, Ray looked at her in confusion and he almost told her she didn’t have to answer, but instead, she snapped “Because  I just don’t, okay? Damn. If you went back to the emptiness I did or knew half of the shit I don’t say.. Nevermind, I’m not talking about this, especially not with you, okay?”

Tanzie wasn’t sure why she was so edgy about it beyond her feelings for Ray Palmer and how dangerously close she was to outing herself in that regard, but she was snapping before she could stop herself. “I can’t sit around here and do nothing. I’m gonna go into town and get clothes and stuff. We might be here a while.”

Before Ray could even ask why his question upset her so much, she was bolting out the door of the little house they’d set themselves up in to do recon for the mission. “What’d I do?” he wondered aloud as he stretched and rubbed at his eyes to lessen the chance for eye strain.

Something about what she said before storming out ate at him for the next few hours and upon further thought, Ray realized that he honestly didn’t know their newest team member that well. He’d been so caught up in the aftermath and grieving Norah Dahrk when she arrived that he’d pretty much shut himself off from everyone. She tried over and over to befriend him then, and while he’d let her in a little, he’d kept things purely superficial, so as a result, he wasn’t really retaining anything she might have volunteered about herself.. He thought he’d been playing it smart, he had the thought, but what he’d really been doing was being a coward and giving up before he ever gave anything between them a chance to happen, too afraid to lose her to risk letting her in all the way like he had with others in the past.

He stood to walk into the kitchen and grab something to drink and a snack and his eyes settled on the little black notebook she was always writing in, lying open on the counter. He told himself that even glancing at the page it was open to was a bad idea, but he still found himself doing that very thing.

One page lead to another and the next few lead to backtracking all the way to the beginning of the journal.. Which she’d apparently been keeping since she became a Legend… The entries about himself were… Enough to leave him sitting there, re thinking every single run in or assignment they’d done together and the way he’d sort of seemed distant and cool according to what she wrote in the pages of that journal… Thanks to those things, she thought he hated her -and she still volunteered to stay behind in 1950, why? If it had been me, I would have just abandoned me and left with the team.. That thought baffled him, why would she do that?

He started to read ahead to the latest entries and it hit him like a speeding car.. They’d been the only two awake on the Wave Rider one night and over a few beers, they’d had a really long and revealing conversation and apparently, during that, her desire to become his friend turned to her, starting to realize that he was the one person she’d ever really clicked with or bothered getting to know.. That she thought she might even love him.

The front door opened just as he put the diary back onto the counter and he stepped into the living room, studying her intently… Noticing all these little things he hadn’t before. Like the way her eyes seemed to be this almost milk chocolate brown.. Or the way her hair curled at the ends.. Or the soft and heavy accent.

He realized he’d zoned out when she stood in front of him, head tilted slightly, trying to shove a shopping bag into his hand. The words in her diary came rushing back to him and the bag hit the floor of the living room with a soft rustle as it clicked into place what he wanted to do right then.

“Ray are you…” she started to ask if he was alright, but instead, she found herself being backed against the archway separating the living room from the kitchen and she felt his hands grip at her hips clumsily. “Ray? What the…” her words were cut off somewhere between hell and are you doing as his mouth crashed into hers, his teeth tugging at her lip as his tongue trailed over her mouth and slipped between the barrier created by her lips. When her brain finally caught on to what was going on, she responded, a hand raising to grab at the front of the sweater vest he wore, raising to tiptoe so that it was easier for her mouth to meet his mouth in the kiss. The hand gripping the sweater vest raised to grip his jaw instead and Ray groaned, his fingers digging into her hips as he struggled to breathe without breaking the kiss.

“I don’t want to stop but I… Breathe.. I need to breathe..” she muttered as she backed away, both of them wiping at their mouths, her startled wide eyed expression making him chuckle and lean down and into her, his forehead against hers after he slid his hands down from her hips and gripped her ass, pulling her up closer a little. “Everything okay, Tanzie?”

“I.. think so.. Why did you… do that?” Tanzie eyed him as she worked to catch the breath stolen by his kiss and Ray chuckled quietly. “Maybe I was thinking about how much being stuck in 1950 with you is not a bad thing at all. I mean.. We can actually get to know each other and we work pretty damn well together.”

“When I’m not annoying you? I thought..”

“You weren’t annoying at all. I’m glad you kept trying to reach out, I was.. In a pretty dark place.”

“I don’t blame you though.. Are you sure you’re okay? I mean..”

Ray chuckled and shrugged. “ I think I will be. C’mon.. Let’s have a look at the stuff you got while you were out.”

“Okay, but I’m warning you.. I’m not exactly a fashion expert.. Or a cook.. Or..” Ray’s finger against her lips silenced her words and he muttered quietly, “It doesn’t matter, okay? We’re here together and we’re gonna make it through this together.”

Chapter Text

… this time, damn it, I’m gonna do it… i’m gonna kiss him… no more almosts...

That thought of course was so much easier said than done. But chances like this didn’t happen often and naturally, Jane was left totally unprepared. It was like when they were thirteen, that summer out behind her grandma’s roses all over again.. Not nearly as bad as the almost kiss when they were fifteen and she heard the fight next door and snuck out her bedroom window running across the lawn to his house and throwing rocks at his window just to make sure he was okay..

And then the biggest - and hardest, almost to swallow.. That last summer she’d seen him.. When she had the 7 page letter written and everything but her parents showed early and they bitched til she got in the car and left for home.

.. No, I’m older now.. I’m not that same insecure and awkward little girl… I’m a woman and I know exactly what I want… and I’ve never stopped wanting it...

She exhaled and calmly, she waited. And the second he stepped through the curtain and into the backstage area, she didn’t think, she ran shoving through the crowd, barely catching up with Jon Moxley before he vanished into a room. 

Jon felt the tap to his shoulder and he turned around, a glare plastered on his face that quickly transformed to shock. He’d literally just been wondering what happened to the little girl next door.. The one he’d wound up falling in love with and hadn’t ever really forgotten. Now here she stood, right in front of him.

…. fuck… she’s so goddamn hot... was the last coherent thought Jon Moxley had before he found himself being climbed like a tree, long legs circling his waist, fingers dragging over his scalp as her tongue slipped between his lips and the fingers on her other hand dug into the shoulder of the vest he was wearing. To brace himself because he was still shocked and definitely worn the fuck out by the match he’d just fought against Kenny Omega, he pressed his back against the hallway wall, his hands slipping down, squeezing her ass, grinding her right against him and he chuckled into the kiss quietly, “So.. that how you kiss all the men ya sneak up on kitten, or am I special.”

“Well, Jon.. I mean I didn’t fly all the way out here to watch you wrestle just to gawk at you like an idiot and not let you know I was here to see you.”

“Ya came all this way… just t’ see me?”

“Mhmm.” Jane was already pulling him in for another deeper kiss…

Chapter Text

The motorcycle roared into camp just as Shane was getting everything and everyone settled in and squared away. He looked over at it as it parked and he turned his head, halfway dismissing it.. But then the girl riding shotgun on back of said motorcycle took off her helmet.

Shane froze,  gaping. His stomach churned and he swallowed hard as his hand raised and he rubbed the back of his head. From beside him, Lori nodded towards the leggy blonde in cut offs and then spoke up quietly. “Rick and I.. we wanted to tell you..”

“Tell me what?”

“Evie and that man.. Daryl, his name is Daryl.” Lori paused, weighing her next words carefully before continuing, “Evie and Daryl started dating about three years ago and about two weekends before Rick got shot, Evie and Daryl got married.. That’s why Rick and Carl and I went down to Atlanta.. They had it in some biker bar Daryl’s brother frequents.”

“She married that damn guy?” Shane was watching the two of them like a hawk. If looks could kill, Lori thought to herself, Daryl Dixon would be six feet under and Evie would be riding out the apocalypse as a widow.. “She turned me down.. But she married that damn guy? He.. She cain’t be happy..” Shane shook his head, baffled by what he was being told.. Every since they were kids, he’d never even attempted to picture himself with anyone else.. He was really kicking himself for the way things ended between them and all the things he did in youth and stupidity, all the lies and the cheating and bailing on her when she needed him most emotionally… 

“He’s a good man, Shane.” Lori tried to say it, but she could see the anger brewing in those deep brown eyes and she knew that Shane was about to say or do something completely stupid. She managed to grab hold of his forearm and stop him, thankfully. “Hey.. Just calm the hell down.

Evie’s eyes darted around the camp. The last text she’d gotten from Lori before communications went down had them all out at the quarry.. Since she and Daryl had been about to leave King County from another visit with Rick in the hospital, she and Daryl and Daryl’s brother Merle had been stuck in the evacuation proceedings.. The past twelve hours had been insane. They would’ve been hell if she hadn’t had Daryl by her side, she thought to herself as she continued to scan the makeshift camp for her sister in law and her nephew.

Her eyes locked on Shane Walsh, her former high school boyfriend and she bit her lip, giving a small wave before turning back to Merle’s truck and grabbing for another hastily packed bag, tossing it to the older Dixon. “Your shit, Merle.”

“You best be glad i like ya, blondie.” Merle smirked as he caught the bag and nodded to his olive green cooler. “Gimme one of them beers there,  sister.”

Evie opened the cooler and tossed Merle the beer he’d asked for, taking one out for Daryl too. Hopping out of the bed of Merle’s ancient truck, she snuck up on her husband, pressing the icy cold can against the back of his neck, making him jump and turn, a glare on his face that softened to a smirk as soon as he saw who’d snuck up on him.

Daryl pulled Evie in close and took the beer with one hand, the other hand resting on the small of her back, pulling her even closer. From over his wife’s shoulder he locked eyes with a dark haired man  who apparently had a bit of a staring problem and he tensed, grumbling to himself. “Figures it’d be a damned cop.” he muttered almost as soon as he realized that the man was wearing a policeman’s uniform, his words caught Evie’s attention making her turn slightly to look. Evie rolled her eyes as she turned away as  soon as she caught on to the fact that  yes, Shane was  still staring at her.

“He’s not just a cop. That’s the guy.. The ex i was telling you about?”

“Mr. 1950′s get yer ass in tha kitchen and make me a sandwich? Well I’ll be damned… I been waitin a real long time to see that asshole in person, darlin.” Daryl chuckled as he called out calmly, “Ain’t nobody ever told ya starin’s rude? Try takin a picture, Mr. Pig man.. Might last longer.. And it’s about as close as yer gon get to Evie ever again..” 

Evie groaned inwardly and gave a soft laugh. “We were kids then, Daryl.. It’s fine.. I’m fine.. Happier, actually.” she rose to tiptoe and pressed a kiss against his lips and he grinned into it, deepening. “Why I got the feelin that man is gon be nothin but hell t’ deal with though, darlin?”

“Because from what Lori told me, baby.. The man liked asses so much he grew up and became one.” 

Chapter Text

Esme took a deep breath and smoothed her hands down the black leather strapless dress. One quick glimpse at herself in the mirror and she was ready.. Well, as ready as one gets to go out and give a tempermental self proclaimed vampire an interview.

… just get out there,  let him do his promo and  don’t ask any of the questions on the no ask list. It’s not that hard, Esme… she reminded herself as she reached for the door handle and took two long and deep breaths to center herself  a little bit.

Having never met a man who claimed to be a decades old vampire before,  Esme was torn between believing the stories she’d heard and thinking the man was all show and no go; secretly leaning more towards the latter if it really mattered.

Given the men  she /had/ encountered -and been let down by, it wasn’t a real stretch for her imagination.

“You’re on in ten, Essie.”

“Mark, we’ve discussed this. It’s Esme.  E-S-M-E. Surely you can remember a four letter name and stop trying to make it cute?” Esme’s tone was sharp and Mark, the stage hand winced, but Esme just fluffed his hair and  straightened his tie. “Is my coffee ready too?”

“Already out front.” Mark assured her.

Esme stared at the black velvet curtain separating her from the professional wrestler she was about to interview.

“Four seconds.” someone called out and Esme started to make her way to the curtain. When she stepped through, she took her seat quickly.

The man sitting next to her was decked out in a designer leather  trench coat, leather skinny jeans and a pair of pretty pricey biker boots that she was almost certain she’d seen in a top end boutique that she shopped right next to. She didn’t realize  she was staring, - or that he was staring right back, until he cleared his throat and chuckled, leaning in ever so slightly.

Esme got the distinct sense that it was more to throw her off or unsettle her than anything, but there was this underlying note of seduction there that she’d have to have been the most oblivious person in the entire world to miss.

She smirked calmly as he whispered,  “Y’ look tense, princess.”

“Not  tense at all, sir. Let’s just do this interview  with no cute stuff and no outtakes, yeah?” Esme whispered back, careful not to let on just how much the man was truly getting to her.

She’d been warned about him before she’d been told that he specifically chose her to give the interview and asked if she  would,  so she was not about to let him play whatever game he was going to try and play to make her lose her level of professionalism. She took a sip of coffee and almost the second the cup was level with her lips, her mind was absolutely flooded with all this mental imagery..

The man sitting next to her, standing behind her, cock standing tall and straight, one hand tangled in a fist full of her hair and the other hand wrapped around his shaft, guiding it over her dripping cunt, teasing her with a shallow thrust here and there. She nearly choked and he chuckled from beside her, reaching out to pat her upper back as he muttered calmly, “Thought y’ were like steel. Nothin  could rattle ya.”

Esme gave a non amused glare, he gave a playful wink and clearing her throat firmly, Esme asked the first question on her spoon fed list from his personal manager. “Are you happy with the block you’ll be wrestling in for G1 Climax this year?”

“Very satisfied, yes.” Jay answered, studying her intently. Seeing her on a screen and being face to face  with her again after all this time were… two totally different things  and if he said he wasn’t beyond affected by being around her same as he had been that last night with her, he’d be lying. The thought had him shifting in his seat and he raked his hand through his hair, taking a deep breath, trying like hell to keep the mental images flooding his mind from doing so right now.

After all, he didn’t need Esme knowing the deepest inner fantasies he may or may not have had about her before the interview even took place.. The way he wanted to sweep all the shit off  the  top of the table they currently sat at, tearing down that dress, letting his mouth roam over those perky tits.. Grab a handful of her ass… No, he wanted to reach between her legs and rub her cunt til  she was arching her back and whimpering; begging him for more, telling him not to stop.

She tensed next to him  and he gave a satisfied smirk the second she did,  glad that she couldn’t see it. If he had to suffer the mental imagery, it was only fitting she suffer it too.

The program went to commercial and Esme leaned in, a smug look of determination in her eyes as she whispered calmly, “I don’t know what your game is, Jay White.. But it stops now.”

He met her gaze with the most innocent of looks and a haphazard shrug as he chuckled. “I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about. It’s Esme, right? Pity.. you know  my full name. I don’t know yours. Maybe we should change that?” for the moment, Jay was pretending not to know her beyond having seen her show. In reality, he knew her… Oh,  he knew her quite well..  And it stung a little that the glamour he’d used on her years ago after a very intense and passionate night together worked so well that she didn’t even feel some tiny spark or  shred of recognition.

… well  I’ll just ‘ave t’ change that, given that I’m back and I aim t’  make her all mine…

“That’ll be a hard pass from me, Jay. Pretty sure you’re like the rest of the men I’ve had on to interview from that profession.” even as Esme said it, she had this feeling somewhere deep down..  There was something tugging at her mind she couldn’t quite make sense of..  This sense of familiarity where Jay White was concerned.

“You mean like yer last boyfriend, yeah? No, nothin like him. For starters I’m more ‘f a man in one of my fingers as he is overall.. To do th’ things I heard he did behind yer back…Only a coward sleeps around on the woman he supposedly loves.” Jay met her shocked expression with a smug look and Esme’s mouth opened and  closed because for  the first time in probably her entire life,  she had absolutely no quick comeback. She muttered the word jackass under her breath and Jay leaned in, mused against her ear quietly, “Tell  me somethin,  princess?” - he knew he shouldn’t ask the question, because he didn’t want to have it confirmed that yes, he  had done such a good job with the glamour  he put her under while she slept  the morning after  their night together that she’d completely forgotten, but he… had to know.  So, he asked.

“I have a name.” Esme started to correct, but then her eyes met his and she felt this… Sudden lucidity washing over her.  She couldn’t even really remember what she’d been so irritated by  in regards to him by the time the fog wore off. She shook her head and stared at him a few seconds, curious. “Well?”

“Do y’ even remember me at all?”

Esme raised a brow  and bit her lip, wondering why he’d ask her such a strange question when she’d never met him before in her entire life.

“ I’d have to have met you first to remember you.” Esme answered calmly. The show picked back up and Esme started her interview again. Jay watched her intently, mulling over just how good he’d glamoured her all those years ago after their night together.

The problem was, even recalling the night with her… Bought it all rushing right back to the surface.

Esme nearly choked on her coffee again when her mind was flooded with another round of erotic mental imagery.

Her hands tied to a metal bedpost that looked vaguely similar to an old frame she once owned.. Legs spread wide.. The feeling of facial hair and a warm, wet and oh so thick tongue as it trailed slowly up the inside of her right thigh. His eyes as he stared up at her. The white of his fangs  as his mouth turned upward in that devil’s smirk. The feel of his hands  against her bare skin.

The way he fucked her with his tongue - and on two separate occasions that same night,  his cock. The way he pulled her hair and the way he lie there holding her in the semi darkness of the room for a few hours after that night.

Esme tried to keep her face blank and the tension out of her body, but the mumbled swear  was definitely heard by Jay and all he could do was smirk to himself a little, calmly answer the question she’d asked and flash her his best flirtatious grin.

Her side brushed against his and it was like a jolt. She tried not to react in any way, but she tensed before she could stop it. When she felt his hand squeezing her thigh,she bit down on her lower lip just to keep from purring at the contact. Sad to say, yeah.. It had been a while.

By the time the interview was over, she found herself thinking, she was definitely going to need a long and cold shower. When Jay leaned in and whispered against her ear quietly, “You’ll remember exactly who I am soon enough,  princess. After all, I am the one who erased the memory t’ start with..Only I can fully restore it. Maybe I will, princess..” in a slightly smug tone,Esme boldly met his gaze and raised a brow..“You really believe you erased my memory? Well okay then..  whatever helps you get by, Jay. And I do believe, sir, you have me mistaken with someone else. Because I’m telling you, I have never met you until your publicist reached out, saying you requested me  to do this interview.”

“Oh no.. I’d never forget the way those legs feel around my waist.. Or the way it feels to wrap my hand in your hair and tug on it as I take you from behind.. Tell me somethin, princess… Do y’still have that little birthmark on yer bum? The slightly heart shaped one.”

Esme’s cheeks flushed bright red and despite her best efforts, warmth pooled to her cheeks and between her thighs. Her panties were soaked. She clenched her thighs tighter, trapping Jay’s hand just as it slid between them. Jay shifted in his seat as he felt the sticky warmth coating her inner thigh. His hand crept higher and Esme jumped a little in her seat, thankful for the front of the table being made to look like a desk and thus, being totally hidden from view. Her heart started to beat wildly against her chest and she took a labored breath.

Jay stopped, meeting her gaze with the calmest look on her face.

Irked by it, she decided to get a little payback. She lowered one of her hands covertly, slipping it right into his lap. The second he felt her hand rubbing at the bulge strained against his leather jeans, he gave an audible grunt and smirked to himself.

Esme bit down on her lip just to keep from whimpering into her mic as she felt Jay’s thick digits brushing the soaked cotton covering her cunt to the side. As his fingers trailed lazily over her folds, she fought desperately for composure.

Jay wasn’t going to allow it, apparently because nearly the instant she got herself reasonably composed, she felt two of those thick fingertips working her open. Just to see if he’d stop if she called his bluff, she shifted in her seat, bucking against his fingers as she did so. As all this transpired, the two of them were masks of composure, carrying on the interview as if absolutely nothing else was taking place.

Esme started to rub at the bulge strained against his jeans a little harder and faster as soon as she felt Jay’s own pace changing and heard him swear under his breath.  She worked the zip down  and her hands slipped into his silk boxers, circling his cock, pumping up and down slowly and lazily, lingering long enough at the tip to trail a fingertip over it. Jay’s legs opened wider to give her more room and his fingers continued to fuck in  and out of her cunt, his thumb pressing against her clit, rubbing a  circular motion. He bucked as carefully as possible against her hand, biting his lip. Esme smirked and slowed  down her strokes drastically under a warning look from him during a third break.

Jay  slowed down the movements of his own fingers as he felt her starting to tighten and tense at his touch. He leaned in and muttered so that no one could hear, “Goin t’ give me somethin’ t’ taste?” as he sped back up. Esme did the same, groaning as she felt his cock throbbing in her hand, felt the warm and stickiness of his seed as it lazily drizzled down his length. Her own orgasm shattered through, leaving her no choice but to dig her  toes into her shoes and grip at the edge of the table they sat hidden behind  as it  took over. Jay felt her cunt tighten around his fingers and he felt  the spasms, the warmth of her release as it flooded her panties and covered his fingers. Slipping his fingers out, he smirked as he cleaned himself up as covertly as possible -careful to make it seem as if his hands were merely resting in his lap out of sight

The interview was ending and on shaky legs, Esme stood. She felt like she’d explode if  she didn’t get somewhere with a locking door  and collect herself.

Jay stood too and as soon as he went in for  the handshake, he pulled her against him; suddenly not giving a fuck how it looked on screen. His tongue dragged along the outer edge of her ear covertly and he whispered; “Was good to see you again, princess. You’ve no idea how much I missed you.. We’ll be together again soon enough.”

Esme stood there, floored by his  words.  About five seconds into it, she was hit by all  these crystal clear memories.. Of a night that until just now, she’d long forgotten about. Given  the nature of her memories of Jay White from back then, she was hard pressed to figure out why in the hell she’d managed to forget all about him, but somehow she had.

… seeing him must have stirred it all up again, that’s all…  she shrugged off remembering as a mere coincidence and from where Jay lurked out of sight around the corner, he  smiled to himself while rubbing his chin.

Oh yes.. He would most certainly be seeing her again very,  very soonBecause just like last time, he thought  to himself with a smirk, she would invite him in… After all, she had to be curious what a repeat of  the last night, which he’d just restored the memory of, would feel like….

Chapter Text

Fear.. That was what he was used to, that was what he liked. Fear was pretty much the only reaction he was used to. That or loathing. It didn’t matter which, they both felt the same to him. Ferals were born with the shit end of everything. They were more often treated like the animal they were inside, too.

Maybe that’s why when he woke up on a strange -and comfortably overstuffed couch in the middle of the day to clean clothes folded neatly beside him and two aspirin sitting neatly atop the stack, it threw him for more than a little bit of a loop.

There was a sheet of paper propped against it and he reached out, grabbing for it.

That sweet scent he remembered smelling -and following, before blacking out was all around him.

Sir.

I washed your clothes & left you Tylenol. There’s a first aid kit in the bathroom if  you need it to re patch anything. Sadly, I have to go into work now, go shake my ass to pay some bills, ugh…. Here’s hoping you’re still around when I come back from the club in the morning.

A.

Jack stood and grumbled at the pain that washed over him, immediately sitting again. Flashes of the night before came back, some jackass whistling at her and trying to grab her thighs, trying to put their hands all over his goddamn Omega, flashes of neon pink and the smell of Victoria’s Secret perfume, a blonde mumbling quietly with a thick accent looking down at him in concern.

The guy caught him off guard and thinking about the outcome of the fight had Jack Swagger growling and swearing to himself. If I could find that motherfucker again, he’d think free domain, Jack thought to himself as he tugged up the tank top he’d been wearing and eyed his side. Yeah, just like he thought. The asshole had buddies and those buddies, of course, had brass knuckles.

The book of matches in the pocket of his jeans told him everything he needed to know. Everything that hadn’t semi fallen into place prior did then.

Apparently, whomever his Omega was, she was a dancer at Ziggler’s club… where Jack also did fight nights on occasion, like last night.

He’d scented her and proceeded to lose his entire goddamn mind.

 how’s she still want me around when she gets in?... the thought hit him and for at least five minutes, he puzzled it out. Did he not  realize that last night was not the worst he could do?

He was feral, after all.

Across town, Anya made her way out into the alley to grab a smoke, only to have the door blocked off by Ziggler and his right hand men.

“How cute.. You mean there are actually people still dumb enough in this town to follow you around?” Anya attempted to shove past but Ziggler eyed her up and down, that rut stupid look glazing his eyes over again. Anya wasn’t having it.

The one  she really wanted was hopefully still sleeping off the night before on her couch. When she’d laid eyes on her true Alpha the night before, every pre concieved notion she had about the whole bond flew right out of  the window, there was just.. Something about him.

Calm and yet  somehow still intense. Down to earth and yet capable of being a complete and total badass if he chose. Friendly but wary.

He was a puzzle and one that she was honestly looking forward to figuring out.

She cleared her mind the instant she saw Ziggler tensing up and glaring at the stage, then down at her. Suck popping a gum bubble she tapped the pack of cigarettes against her palm impatiently. “What do you want? I think I made it perfectly clear whom I choose  last night. You’ve got a lotta fucking nerve  even daring to approach me tonight, you know that, right?”

“He’s a feral, babe.. If you’ll just gimme..” but Anya was snorting in laughter and pressing a finger against his mouth. “I’d rather die slow and painful than have that little… Fun size thing in  your pants anywhere near me.”

“Other women..”

“Are stupid and only want you for the clout factor. I want no part of you and I’ve fucking told you this for six months now. Move. I’m on a break, dickwad.” at the finish of her speaking her mind, she gave a forceful shove between Ziggler and Orton and Ziggler reached out, shutting the door before she got it open fully.

“I own this club.. Which means, Blondie.. Technically, I own you.”

Anya laughed and rolled her eyes before leaning away and then just spitting right in his face. “Fuck it then.. Guess I quit. I’d rather go down to the corner and be a goddamn hooker. At least then I could pick what drunk or fucked up asshole thinks he’s entitled to touch just because he happened to shove a few dollars into my hot pants.”

“Babe, c’mon.. Work with me here.” he called out, but Anya was already heading towards the backstage area to grab the bag that held her street clothes and the makeup kit she used before going out on stage.

If this is what it takes to be in nursing school and be debt free when I’m done, she thought to herself, fuck that.. I’ll go back to doin massages hair and nails. It was still early in the evening, and Anya was hopeful that maybe by the time she got a bus across town to her shitty old house, her Alpha would still be waiting. But parts of her, the parts that knew and clearly understood what feral meant, weren’t counting on it.

Despite knowing he might well be long gone, Anya stopped in at the diner she always went to on her way home on nights she didn’t work, and she ordered two of her favorite, hoping to all hell that he liked bacon cheeseburgers and cheesy bacon fries.

She should’ve been worried -and normally, yeah.. Quitting a shitty job, despite it’s shittiness was still not good for her living situation currently, but somehow, she found it in herself to hum Rocketman while  she waited on the bus, munching on fries and wondering just how things were going  to go once she got back to her place.

Jack paced all through the little house.  If she worked the club like he suspected, she’d make it in at 4 am tops. He wasn’t… quite sure what to do with himself, so yeah.. Maybe he was doing a little snooping around.

Most of her stuff in the bedroom he took to be hers because it was the one that smelled most like her, it was still in boxes. There were pictures everywhere and something in him sparked when he stumbled across the picture of the leggy blonde in the cheerleading uniform. The smirk formed before he could stop it, despite him knowing  that more than likely, this wasn’t going to go well.

It tended not to for ferals like him and Jack didn’t hold out much hope on that changing. He froze where he stood in the middle of her bedroom when he heard the door open and shut and Van Halen blaring from the kitchen downstairs.

The scent of her was back, enveloping the air around him, tickling at his nose and driving that inner animal right up the wall. He walked down the stairs gingerly and just as he stepped into the hallway on the lower level of the house, he found himself body to body with her.

“You’re  still here.” she blinked a little, then gave this quiet little giggle that fit her and yet somehow, didn’t. Jack took a deep breath, trying to force himself to focus.

“I.. yeah.. Was kinda sleepin on the lower level of the club with the other fighters but when I kinda fucked up half Ziggler’s boys.. I got thrown out.. Nowhere else to go.” Jack shuffled his feet, shrugging, every inch of the Oklahoma native dominating the space. The scent of him as Anya inhaled it had her calmer than she had been all day.

Leaving him behind had been sheer hell for the Omega within,  she could only assume this meant that finding him last night and helping him back to her place triggered that lovely thing known  as heat.

“I.. was afraid you’d be gone. I’m glad you’re not.”

“You sure that’s smart, darlin? I mean… y’ know what I am.” Jack asked the question in concern. Being an Alpha -especially a feral, this meant he sometimes might lose control.

“And? Look, no offense. I’ve put men bigger than you on their asses. I worked Vegas during Bike fest, okay? If you haven’t ever been groped by about 500 big and burly Alpha biker assholes, trust me when I say.. A girl learns how to handle herself real quick and in a hurry.”

“ You sure you wanna keep tellin me this stuff, darlin?” Jack warned her because it was starting to work him up, hearing what she went through before finding him.  Anya shrugged and blew at hair  that continued to flop down into her eyes.

It hit Jack then, she was home way earlier than he’d have expected. “You’re back early.”

“I quit. Told Ziggles I’d rather go work a corner than continue dealing with his shit.” Anya shrugged and then she tapped her feet impatiently. “ I bought back food.”

“I could eat.. Bacon?” he asked it hopefully and Anya, despite her best efforts, despite knowing this was really, really fast.. She stepped closer and nodded, pressing against him a little. The urge to be closer had her entire body feeling like an exposed nerve and once she was close as she could get, only then did she start to calm down a little. “Yes, bacon.. Growin men need meat, right?”

Jack snorted at the  attempt at humor and she bit her lip, eyes transfixed on his mouth. One quick scenting told him clearly what was on her mind and where her mind had gone at her own joke. He growled quietly, pulling her up his body, grabbing hands full of her ass and squeezing through cut offs. “Fuck, darlin..”

“Yeah?” Anya gasped quietly at the physical contact, eyes fluttering open and shut when the space between his mouth and hers was no more and his tongue was slipping between her lips, dominating the kiss. The hand at the back of his neck gripped tighter, the tips of her fingers digging into his skin. His fingertips gripped and squeezed her ass and he felt her thighs slickening right up as they gripped into his hips, causing her to rub against him.

“You need food.”

“And you should be resting. But I’m not trying to ruin the fun, am I?” she pouted against his lips as he eyed her warily. Without even untangling their bodies, because no way in hell did he want to, Jack started to walk towards the kitchen. He sat down at the table and Anya remained in his lap as she reached out, grabbing for a grease stained bag, holding one yellow wrapped burger out to him and tearing into the other, groaning and letting her head fall back as she swallowed the first bite.

It hit Jack then that neither of them knew each other’s name.

“The A.. what’s it stand for?”

“Anya. What’s your real name?”

“Jack.” Jack bit into his food and groaned too at the taste of it.

“I need to leave you two alone, Jack?”

“Don’t you dare move, darlin.” Jack’s grip on her hip with his free hand tightened a little and Anya leaned in, taking a napkin, dabbing at grease and ketchup on the corner of his mouth as she muttered quietly, “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

And maybe, he found himself thinking, maybe this wasn’t going to be as bad as he’d been thinking all day. Things just felt.. Right.. Normal.. Even easy for once.

Maybe he’d been all wrong. Maybe sometimes ferals got lucky.

Chapter Text

“ I thought you and Adam were a thing?” Brandi gave Vee a confused look as Vee got ready for the night. Vee stopped and turned to look at her friend and raised a brow, curious as to why she’d ask the question out of the blue.

“No, no. No. I mean, I thought there were sparks until a few weeks ago but between you and me, I’m getting just a little tired of feeling like I’m being lead around by the nose. I guess, if anything, we’re still just friends.”

Brandi gave a quiet laugh and Vee eyed her friend, pausing mid fold of a sweater. “What’s so funny?”

“Oh, nothing, it’s just that’s the exact same thing he told Cody earlier this week. After you were all batting lashes and leaning into Jay White, hanging on his every word when you had to interview him backstage?”

… It’s highly unlikely he really said that. All this is is Brandi Rhodes, being nosy. She’s known for it and everyone knows she loves a good round of matchmaker… Vee shook her head and laughed, stating with a quiet shrug, “Yeah? Well he’s got a funny way of showing it. Personally? I think I’ve misread him this entire time and he actually does strongly dislike me. So, I’m doing him a favor and keeping my distance.”

“And being a little shit in the process. You’re driving the man crazy. And you have to admit, you know exactly what you were doing, letting Jay post that picture of you two on his Instagram for the world and Adam to see.” Brandi was a little more than tempted to play back the whole conversation word for word. But she sensed that Vee just thought she was saying something and that it wasn’t entirely true. They’d been friends for way too long and yeah, Brandi would be the first to admit that maybe she’d given Vee a few subtle nudges towards whatever she was holding herself back from in their past.  But something told her if she could just get Vee to listen -and believe her, Vee would not regret it.

It was really too bad that Vee was a stubborn ass for the most part. Hence the reason Vee and Adam always seemed torn between shouting matches or hallway kissing sessions. As her husband put it, “One day we’re gonna round a corner, babe and we’re gonna catch those two caving in. I know they’re stubborn but there is no way in hell they can hold out much longer.”

Brandi had to agree, and if she had to guess, Adam was dangerously close to cracking. Dangerously. As she stood here in her best friend Vee’s hotel room, waiting on her to pack and then get ready so they could go to a movie, Cody and the Bucks and Marty were all rallied with Adam, convincing him to say or do something before it was too late and he missed his chance.

“We were having a good time. Jay’s just a friend, it isn’t and will never be like that.” Vee said it without a second’s hesitation because honestly, it just wasn’t that deep for her. She and Jay just had similar interests and enjoyed each other’s company. Besides, it kept her from seeking out Adam and another one of their bizarre  tension filled arguments.

… even if Jay keeps hinting he’d like it to be and trying to remind me why avoiding Adam and stopping all my shit where he’s concerned is a good idea… he’s just being a friend who wants to be more… and yeah, maybe he’s being a shit stirrer too because he knows how close Adam and I are

If only Adam weren’t so damn confusing. One minute he seemed flirty and the next, -usually whenever Jay was around which was a lot lately, he seemed tense and moody and they were arguing.

“I think you need to tell him that because according to Marty, he told Okada that he’d better not even catch him looking your way.”

“Again, we’re friends. Okada and I ran into each other at a nightclub. Do you know that prick had the actual fucking nerve to proposition me? Like he thought I’d just drop my panties right there? I thinketh the entire fuck not. Anyway, Jay stepped in and got me away. That’s probably why he even said anything” she grabbed some more clothes and after finding the sundress and denim shirt I wanted to wear out that night and laying it out, she put the rest of the clothing in her suitcase before turning to look at Brandi. “He didn’t really say that earlier..”

“Oh yes.. Yes he did. I don’t get why you’re even doubting it, woman! Everybody can look at him when he looks at you and see how he feels.”

“Could’ve fooled me lately, he gets pissed as all hell if I even breathe wrong in his direction.. Which is another reason I’m avoiding him.”

“And yet, we’re all going out to a movie and you’re wearing the dress.”

“I like this dress.”

“Girl, you never wear cream or white colored anything.. Because we both know by the end of the night it’s a mess. You’ve said it yourself.. Could it be because Adam was extra flirty the first time you were wearing it and he was around?”

“Ugh, fine. I hate how well you know me sometimes, you know that right?”

“And I hate it when you’re being a stubborn ass.. Go get dressed. The movie starts in fifteen.”

Vee hurried into the bathroom and changed, touching up her makeup in the process. When she’d done that to her satisfaction, she stepped out and turned a little, playfully blowing a kiss at the mirror.

“Not cocky at all are you, Vee?” Brandi teased and she shrugged.

“Let’s go.”

Almost as soon as the doors slid open in the hotel lobby, Jay spotted Vee and made his way over. “There’s this new nightclub in town.. Thought I might ride down and check into ‘t. Y’ game, princess?” he was leaning in real close and Vee felt the sensation of being watched. It made her almost painfully aware of just how close Jay was standing to her.She reached up and fluffed his hair, -sue me, if Adam’s gonna send mixed signals, maybe a little flirting around is for the best.. To keep my options open. “Tell you what, Switchblade.. The movie ends at like.. Midnight? If you’re still there when I get out, maybe I’ll come by for a little bit.”

“Just ditch the movie! Can’t well dance without my girl there, can I?” Jay was flirting and despite it feeling completely awkward and all sorts of wrong, she bit her lip and seriously considered flirting back.. At least that got some kind of reaction, she thought to herself bitterly. Maybe the glare Adam was giving her across the lobby before turning back to Matt and Nick to talk again was what spurred her to do it, but she threaded her fingers through his tie and gave a soft giggle. “I promised Brandi and Cody I’d actually go do something with them tonight. We went to that other place last night… Maybe I’ll be able to get there before the club dies tonight?”

“Okay, alright.. But if another girl winds up takin me back to th’ hotel, it’s yer own fault, woman.” Jay smiled at her and for a few split seconds, She’d almost swear he was smirking in Adam’s direction before walking away quickly. Brandi tapped her shoulder and she turned.

“Girl. Did we not just talk about this upstairs? You’re doing the same thing to White that you say Adam’s doing to you.”

“The difference here, Brandi, is that I highly doubt Jay White is pining away over me secretly like we both know I am with you know who..” Vee stated as Brandi laughed and shook her head ,waving her hands. “Fine.. Fine.. don’t listen. But all I’m saying is maybe if one of you actually made a damn move..”

“Yeah, and remember what happened last time I tried to seriously make a move? He didn’t even realize it.”

“The guys are waiting outside. Let’s go before we’re late and we wind up stick in the crappy seats up front. I don’t want neck strain tonight.”

“What you mean is you want an optimal view of Captain America’s ass.” I corrected, making her give me a playful glare.

The theater was a fifteen minute ride away and naturally, once they were all down in the parking lot and splitting up into different cars, everyone quickly grouped up, leaving Vee to ride to the theater with Adam.

The first minute or two was fine and then, under a red light, he cleared his throat and reached for the radio.

“Jay White? Seriously?”

Vee eyed him with a raised brow but she didn’t say anything. The tension was lingering again and she noticed it was heavier this time. Like.. it was almost crackling.

“What? Not gonna say anything? I thought we… nevermind.” Adam trailed off and Vee sat there, staring out the passenger window, waiting on him to finish his outburst. She could see that kind of irritated look in his eyes.

She sighed and blew at a strand of hair and Adam spoke up again. “You look good tonight. Guess you’re wearin that so you can meet up with him at the club later.”

“And? What if I am, Adam? I mean he asked..” Vee spoke up before she could stop herself. Adam punched the gas when the light went green and as soon as they pulled into a parking space near Matt and Nick, Adam sat there with the engine idling.

“Kinda hard to ask you anything if you’re avoidin me.” he pointed out and Vee studied him with a raised brow. Something about what Brandi said before they ever left the hotel came back to her and as quick as she thought Brandi might be onto something, she shoved it out of her head, not daring to consider it or get her hopes up.

She’d been trying for almost two years now and she was just.. Tired of him not seeming to notice.

The tension was getting heavier and mostly to change the subject, Vee blurted out that she wouldn’t have even chosen Endgame to see.

“That new horror movie, right?”

“Yeah, I.. wait, how’d you know?”

“Heard you tryin to convince Brandi it wouldn’t scare the livin hell outta her. Looked pretty cool if I do say so myself. I tried to get Cody to pick that one too..” Adam told her as they got into the back of the line.

Almost as soon as he heard Jay White behind them, he tensed and instinctively, before he could even stop himself, he was moving to stand closer, putting her back against his chest.

Jay snickered and Adam almost turned and punched the guy, but he managed not to do it.

If he punched Jay, she’d just get mad and then they’d be arguing.. Again. What Cody let slip to him that she’d told Brandi earlier was still sitting heavy on his mind.

But when Jay tapped her shoulder and gave a wave and she flashed that little grin, he grumbled to himself.

He’d been this goddamn close to just going for it, suggesting they get two tickets to the horror movie instead because he knew how much she wanted to see it.

Jay was doing it again, that damn thing where he stepped way too close to her.. Always touching, flirting.

He cleared his throat.

“Didn’t you have some kind of nightclub or some shit you were gonna go check out?

“Adam.” - Vee had that tone and Adam grumbled, stepping away from her a little. Apparently, he found himself thinking, she wanted the jackass popping up everywhere, otherwise, she wouldn’t get irritated whenever Adam found himself irritated by Jay popping up.

It was almost like the guy had this radar where Vee was concerned. And he knew how to push every single one of Adam’s buttons. All the wrong ones, naturally. And Adam couldn’t say a damn thing because he didn’t have any sort of claim at all, they weren’t a thing.

Vee eyed Adam with a pout he managed to miss when he backed off. She’d actually been working up the nerve to suggest they ditch Endgame and see the horror movie instead. And naturally, she thought to herself, here comes Jay.

Maybe Brandi had been a little right earlier, she continued her line of thought, she wasn’t exactly discouraging Jay’s flirtations and she really hadn’t for a while now. And it was causing even more tension between her and  Adam.

She’d known Adam longer. It’d absolutely suck to lose him because he was one of her closest friends. Nevermind the fact that she’d fallen head over heels for the man.

She found herself glancing at him, mulling over what she should do. Jay was standing next to her in line now, talking and she was only half listening.

Finally, she spoke up.

“Jay.. I kinda came here with everybody..I’m sorry, but we’ve had this planned all week.”

“I know, but it’s not like it matters, princess. C’mon. We’ll let them see Endgame. We can see the horror movie. You can see another movie with them, right? I’ll be leavin out t’morrow.”

Adam picked up on it then when he happened to glance over and catch her mid stare. She bit her lip and shuffled her feet and Adam found himself going back to what Cody told him earlier about Jay and what he thought the man was up to lately.

… maybe Cody had a point. Standin by and gettin pissed isn’t makin a move and it may just be confusing her… might have a lot to do with why she avoids me lately

Adam stepped back beside her and cleared his throat, giving Jay a pointed glare. Vee eyed him with this wary look. He didn’t blame her, Jay White being within a foot of her tended to bring out his inner asshole. “We were talkin, Jay.”

“You walked off, Adam.” Jay pointed out with a calm smirk, stepping up as soon as Adam stepped up, his chest pressing against her back again. Jay was pressing against her from the front and Vee swallowed hard, trying to get her shit together and.. Do something. Anything at this point would be better than the two of them getting into a knock down drag out in the middle of the theater lobby.

“Oh good grief.” Vee spoke up, finding herself pretty much sandwiched between the two of them even more all of a sudden. She bit her lip as she tried to do some quick thinking, there had to be some way to ease the tension.

One thing was evident.. She needed to let Jay White know that she wasn’t interested. This was getting way out of hand.

Even if Adam didn’t really feel the same way as she did, something about the guy obviously made Adam tense. And if the shoe were on the other foot, Adam wouldn’t think twice about stopping something that made her uncomfortable, Vee reminded herself, because that’s what friends did.

She turned to Adam and put her hand against his chest, palm down. Swallowing hard, she took a few seconds to gather up some form of nerve.

Her mouth opened and closed for a second and Adam eyed her, a brow raised as it dawned on him that she was.. Completely pressed against him.

“Adam is kind of taking me to see the horror movie, Jay.” she did her best with a calm and confident tone and she caught herself looking up at him, trying to gauge his reaction to what she’d just told Jay. Adam smirked a little and then he spoke up, addressing Jay.

“I am. Now you can fuck off. Or,” Adam took a breath and eyed Jay with a firm glare, “I can make you fuck off.”

Jay eyed the two of them and shrugged, turning to walk off. As he did so, he smirked to himself.

“About bloody time th’ dumb fuck does somethin.. I was beginnin t’ wonder just how far I was goin t’ have t’ go.” he mumbled to himself as he got into the appropriate line in the food court.

Adam eyed Vee and then asked, “If you really do want to go see the horror movie instead..” half expecting her to say no, that she wanted to see Endgame with everyone else. So it shocked him a little when she gave that soft laugh of hers and nodded, mumbling something to the effect of “Thank God.” and grabbed hold of his hand, practically dragging him towards the line for the horror movie, making him laugh.

She turned to face him once they stood in line, pressing against him, reaching up to fluff at his hair. “So, I hope you know.. This totally counts as a date now.”

“Oh it does, huh? See.. You n’ me.. We have very different ideas of what an actual date is then, darlin.. Because if I were gonna ask ya.. Would’ve gone a totally different route.”

“Oh really? Well maybe you should show me.” Vee cautiously pressed closer and Adam put his arms around her waist. “ That saying about short girls is right.. Y’all are feisty as hell.”

She pretended to pout and he laughed, lifting her off the floor a little. “ I happen to like that though.”

“Oh you do, hmm?”

“Mhmm.”

Chapter Text

“Do we have to listen to this station?”

“Yes.”

“Ugh, fine.” Poppy crossed her arms and pouted. Dean didn’t even need to be looking at her to feel the energy of her little pout. He grumbled and cleared his throat. They’d both been in a mood lately.

It was to a point where both her grandmother Rowena and his mom were stepping in and between the two of them.

Something his mom said before he left the bunker to go chase Poppy  down after she stormed out on the tail end of their argument came looping back to him and he shook his head.

No, nope. There was no way in hell that was the case.

He did not have a thing for Rowena’s granddaughter. One, she was a witch. Two, she was Crowley’s daughter. Three, she was a magnet for supernatural danger. He liked to call her monster bait. … oh but you do. you do and you know it… you’ve known it for a while now.. those defense mechanisms are in full swing where she’s concerned, you pick the stupidest fights with her over the littlest things...

“I wish you would have let me heal that wound.” Poppy broke the tension filled quiet to say it and she instantly wished she hadn’t.

“No thanks, I’m fine.” Dean’s  tone came out frosty and despite herself, Poppy hugged her arms around herself tight. She’d seen enough of Dean to know that the man had a much warmer side -it was one of the reasons she found herself drawn to him as quickly as she had been in the beginning. She also knew that thanks to her being an admitted witch -even if she was a good one, and being the daughter of Crowley and the granddaughter of Rowena… It made things harder for him to trust her like she trusted him.

It was on the tip of her tongue to retort something about it being perfectly fine if the kid staying with them at the bunker healed someone or Castiel, his bestie the angel.. It was on the tip of her tongue to point out that she was not a do harm kind of witch and that her coven was a white magick one.

But, she sighed instead and turned her gaze to the passenger window. Despite the heat being on low but enough to keep the car warm, she still felt cold. That thought prompted her to curl into herself even more and she hugged herself even tighter.

She was blaming the chill in the air solely on Dean Winchester’s aura whenever he was around her. The energy he gave off. And she knew he was at least a little annoyed that she’d childishly stormed out of the bunker and hitched to a bar on the outskirts of town.

The problem?

Dean wasn’t the only one who found her tonight.. So had her ex, Caleb. Caleb, as in a low underling demon with a grudge against her grandmother because the woman was working with Sam, Mary, Cas and Dean.

If Dean hadn’t shown up..

Just the thought of it all replaying in her head had her shivering a little. 

She was sick of feeling trapped. Sick of feeling hunted whenever she stepped foot outside of the bunker. Sick of the whole annoyed thing Dean liked to do every single time he had to deal with her or she spoke up to suggest something in an attempt to somehow be useful.

On his side of the car, Dean stared straight ahead at the rain covered blacktop. His hand gripped the wheel a little tighter. All he kept going back to was that fucking demon earlier.. Grabbing her.

If he hadn’t gotten to that bar in time tonight…

The thought went unfinished because it was not one Dean wanted to have.

Instead, he reached out and turned up the radio just a little. It was an attempt to drive out the silence. Even if she didn’t like the music.

It was easier than trying to talk.. Because talking with the two of them lead to arguing. It lead to her in her room at the bunker crying when she thought no one heard at night. To him wandering the bunker, for some reason not able to sleep because they’d had a fight and stormed away in anger.

“Just a little longer and you’ll be able to wash your hands of me, Dean Winchester.”

Her words prompted him to look over  at her and she sighed. “I’m just tired.”

“So am I. It seems like everything my brother and I do, something comes along and puts us two or three steps back.”

“That coffin in the ocean is still not a good idea.”

“It is and if I have to do it, I will.”

“Fine. It’s your own life you’re throwing away.. I don’t care anyway, remember? I’m just a selfish witch.”

“I never said…” Dean trailed off and actually listened to the hurt and quiet tone in her voice, the pain in her words. He took a deep breath and unclenched his hand from the wheel. “You’re not.”

“Yes. I am. Trust me.”

 I’m selfish because I don’t want to think about you, trapped in a box in the bottom of the ocean… I’m selfish because I hate the way our cards played out, you growing up this way, me getting a nice and happy normal life until lately… I just want my old life back… or a new one, with you… the thought went unspoken and she  shook her head, lowering herself down on the bench seat after stifling a pretend yawn.

He didn’t mean to but when her head propped on his thigh, he tensed a little.. And as Whitesnake came on, Dean started to hum along. One hand left the wheel at some point, fingers carefully twining through soft auburn locks. She nuzzled closer, muttering something in her  sleep.

…  this can’t happen, man… you haven’t found a way out of this whole Michael in your mind thing for one and for another… do you really think this will work? If anything, just makes the target on her back that much bigger… you need to let her go… when this is over, let her go back to running her mom’s shop, let her move on from everything… do not give her a reason to hang on, man… don’t give yourself yet another one either… Your mom, Sam, her and everybody else.. They’re all depending on you to do what you have to to finally get rid of Michael

“ Things are  sad enough, Dean… can’t we just find a happy song? Please?”

Her sleepy quiet question had him looking down at her. Despite knowing it wasn’t a smart idea, he pulled the car onto the side of the road.

“I’m sorry, I just…” Poppy sat up, preparing herself to move to the actual passenger side of the Impala. 

Dean pressed the side of his finger against her mouth, stopping her from saying anything. Poppy eyed his finger and then caught herself gazing at him. More to the point, his mouth.

She bit back a quiet whimper as he leaned in close enough that for a second their lips did brush. “Dean?”

“Shhh.”

“What the… Are you possessed? Do I need to get the water or the salt?” Poppy was alert, heart racing a little, worried about him.. But then she caught on to the look in his eyes and she went quiet, leaning in a little.

The rain fell on the windshield, quiet but somehow noisy enough to at least partially block out the absolute silence. 

“ I hate your stupid pop music, Poppy.”

“Yeah? Well I hate your shitty 80’s hair metal.”

“Ouch.”

When his mouth brushed against hers clumsily, she swallowed hard, hand palm down on his chest. “Why’d you stop the car…”

“I don’t hate you. It’s actually the opposite. It doesn’t change a damn thing, but I just… I wanted you to know that.. In case I can’t find a way to silence Michael and get rid of him for good.”

“Don’t say that. You can’t say that. You’re Dean Winchester, a man who according to my grandmother, has beaten everything from two apocalypses to Death himself.. You beat the mark of cain, for fucks sake..”

“Shhh.”

Dean was leaning in closer now. What his mom told him about ‘being nice and being gentler with her’ before he left the bunker came back to mind. Somehow, he wasn’t entirely sure Mary Winchester meant kissing Poppy, but it was the only thing he could think of at the moment because saying too much, especially now. When he didn’t know if he’d be around much longer.

“Dean..”

“Maybe not saying anything, huh? Maybe that’s better..” he muttered it to himself mostly, but he leaned in even more. Poppy’s fingers curled in the fabric of his old gray shirt and she tugged him closer. The problem with his idea, she thought to herself, was that she had so much she needed to say. But they weren’t arguing and they weren’t upset.. The air was so heavy she almost couldn’t breathe, but for once it wasn’t anger..

His hand curled under her jawline, cupping and he pulled her closer. Her legs slid over his lap and when they bumped foreheads, they both gave the other a dirty look but laughed it off. Poppy took a deep breath and so did he.

“I can’t.. Say what I want to.”

“Dean it’s okay, you don’t..” the rest of what she’d been about to say was swallowed in a deep and clumsy and by the end of it, very handsy kiss. She wound up sitting in his lap, cupping his jaw so that he didn’t back down and break contact too. 

“See? I don’t hate you, Poppy. It’s actually the total opposite. And tonight just kinda.. You scared the fuck outta me, okay?”

“And you scare the hell out of me constantly. But it’s part of you and if you love someone, you don’t get to pick and choose parts… I.. fuck.. I did not mean to say that..” she was flustered, shaking her head, fidgeting nervously and he chuckled quietly. “It’s okay.”

“It will be.”

Chapter Text

He could hear the music playing from her room down the hall quietly when he stepped through the door of the apartment  they shared. Dropping his luggage, he started to call her name, but something told him not to.

Instead, he figured that he’d wait until she came out of her room to let her know he was home. The last text he’d gotten from his roommate Carlie, she’d said something about working double shifts at the hospital and he figured that if that were the case, she was probably going to sleep away the majority of her day off.

He walked down the hall, preparing to go to his room, but as he passed by hers, he saw her through  the crack of the door…  Legs open wide, back arching and her teeth sunk into her lower lip as she worked a vibrator in and out of her dripping cunt.

He rubbed the back of his neck and he almost just walked on down the hall, not wanting to stand there staring at her and risk getting caught… But just as he started to, she started to really rock her hips upward, the vibrator disappearing deeper and deeper into her cunt as she squirmed and moaned. When he realized just what she was watching to get herself off, he swallowed hard.  It was a Snap chat he’d posted before getting on his flight, one where he’d been messing around, sparring with Bo and some of the other guys down in the hotel gym.

She was getting close to an orgasm, her face was all flushed, her back arching further and further up away from the bed, her legs falling open even wider as she continued to work the vibrator in and out.. Curtis swore to himself as his cock twitched, springing to attention and straining against his jeans almost painfully.. But when she moaned his name as she got off, a dripping wet mess, he stood there shocked and getting harder and harder by the second.

Not only had she been watching him, he thought to himself, but she was moaning his name over and over… The thought had Curtis floored and he found himself seriously considering just going into her room and taking a huge risk, telling her just how much he wanted her too.. How long he’d wanted her and how crazy it was driving him. He was so tempted to do so that he almost reached for the door handle twice before finally convincing himself to pick a better moment.

Realizing she was probably about to come out of her room to clean up, he quickly and quietly ducked into his room right beside hers and fell back against the bed, groaning quietly. He unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans and worked them down, letting them hit the floor as he let his cock spring from his boxers.

It wasn’t hard to picture her all over again, in fact, it was quite easy.. Then his mind took the situation he’d witnessed and turned it.. He found himself imagining what might have happened if he’d actually opened her door and stepped into her room,  letting her know that she’d been caught.

“Fuck..  So tight.” he groaned quietly as he gripped his cock tighter in his hand, slow and even strokes. He imagined getting onto bed with her and how he’d have moved her hand away from the vibrator  while looking up at her and licking his lips.. How he’d have told her not  to stop on his account  and started to work the vibrator in and out of her cunt.. For a little while, at least.. Because as soon as she started to get close, he thought to himself, he’d have taken the vibrator away, sitting it on the nightstand..

His  hands worked over his length a little faster and a lot harder as he imagined kissing and biting his way up the insides of her thighs.. The way he’d have slipped each of his arms beneath her thighs, spreading her open wider for him and then buried his tongue deep in her pussy, after licking and nipping at her clit until she was begging him to stop that it was too much.

He sucked in a sharp breath and tried to slow himself down.

“Carlie, baby girl, fuck..” his voice was more a growl than anything as his hand moved faster and faster and his hips snapped against the movement. He could feel himself getting closer and he imagined what he’d have  done when she started to come hard, filling his mouth with the taste of her as she did. “Fuck yeah.. C’mon  Carlie, don’t stop,keep goin.. Give me everything.”

Her throat clearing from the doorway had him freezing and he opened his eyes, meeting her gaze. Carlie walked towards the bed on shaky legs, slowly making her way up  to where he lie. She gently brushed his hand away and bit her lip, staring down at his cock and then tearing her gaze away to look back up at him.

He started to say something but she leaned down, pressing against him as her hand worked slowly over the length of his cock and she mumbled against his mouth quietly, “We can talk about everything later, okay? I just.. Want you.. Fuck.. so much..” as she straddled his hips, positioning herself so that his cock rubbed right between her soaked folds. Curtis growled and gripped her hips, moving them so that she kept rubbing over his cock as he leaned up slightly and mumbled against her neck, “You want me, hmm?”

“You have no idea.” Carlie answered as she started to rock her hips faster. “For a while now, actually..” she admitted as she sank down on his length, burying him completely inside. She whimpered and started to bounce up and down on his cock, slowly at first. His hands left her hips and trailed down to her ass, gripping and squeezing, fucking up into  her from below, slow and hard. Carlie’s head fell back and she dug at his chest with her fingertips before giving that up in favor of gripping the headboard and when she did, Curtis raised to a sitting position, pumping her up and down on his cock as he slammed into her a little faster. “Oh god.. Fuck..”

“Easy, Carlie..Whoa.. Might wanna.. Stop..” he warned, slowing them both down to pull her mouth against his, giving her a deep kiss as he stilled all movement and spent a few minutes touching and kissing her all over,  leaving marks on her neck, on her  tits, a trail of love bites across her collar bone. Carlie pressed herself against him, putting his back against the headboard as  her lips latched onto his neck.

He started to fuck into her all over again, slow and steady thrusts, deep into her cunt, the angle making each thrust nearly too  damn good to stop himself from getting off. He was determined to hold off.

His hands left her hips and moved up her sides, cupping her  tits and squeezing them together as he let his tongue dart lazily around the surface of each nipple. “Curtis, please.. Fuck..”

“What’s up, baby? Tell me what you want.” Curtis slowed down a little, staring up at her. “Fuck.” he groaned as she rocked her hips faster. He bucked up into her harder and the whimper that came had him smirking. He looked at her and repeated his question, cupping her jaw with one hand, guiding her mouth back to his. “I asked ya somethin. Don’t get all shy on me now, baby girl.”

“Harder baby.” Carlie answered, gasping for breath and digging her fingertips into his shoulders as she rode him faster, whimpering in quiet frustration because every single time she got just a little close to getting off, he seemed to sense  it and slow  way down. “C’mon, Curtis, please?” she whined impatiently, biting her lip as she stared down at him. His hands slipped up, cupping her tits, squeezing, making her back arch and making her press as close to him as  she possibly could.

He chuckled and giving her a deep kiss, he pushed her down onto the mattress and positioned himself over her, gripping her hips as he slammed back into her deep and hard, the headboard starting to slam against the wall. Her hips rocked upward, meeting his thrusts and making him groan and growl against her neck as his hands squeezed down on her hips. “Feels so good, don’t stop baby.” she managed to gasp as her lips latched onto his neck and he sucked in a sharp breath.

“So fucking wet..You like what you saw?” Curtis teased as he nipped at her neck, leaving a bigger mark on the left side, staring down at her. She arched her back, pressing herself up into him and she tried to roll her hips upward to meet his thrusts but her movements were erratic and sloppy and Curtis could feel her tensing up. “Gonna come for me? C’mon, baby girl.. Let me feel.” he demanded breathlessly as his grip on her hips tightened a little more, his own thrusts becoming equally erratic. “I’m so goddamn close.” he mumbled hoarse against her throat as he eyed her and bit his lip, slowing down just to stare at her and kiss her.

“Oh fuck, fuck.” her moans were louder; so was the sound of the headboard hitting the wall. “So.. close.” watching her writhe beneath  him only bought him even closer to the edge and almost the second she tightened around his cock, he growled against her skin, the grip of his hands tightening enough to leave handprints in her flesh as he fucked her into the mattresss harder, faster and deeper. He could feel it when she came, dripping and slick, her walls throbbing around his cock and if he hadn’t managed to pull out, pumping his cock, his hot sticky seed splashing down  onto her skin as he gripped the headboard to hold himself up, he might not have been able to control it or hold off much longer. Carlie wrapped her legs around his hips and pulled him down flat against her, her arms around his neck, pulling him into a kiss and he fell back against the mattress, moving so that he was holding her partially on top of him instead, both of them lying there, kissing quietly as they worked on catching their breath.

“  You have no idea just how long I’ve wanted to… Do that…  among other things.”  Carlie broke the silence and Curtis nodded, pressing  a kiss to the bridge of her nose. “Me too. I just.. I didn’t say anything and then you started posting on Instagram about some guy…”

“You mean yourself.. All those “I miss him” posts were.. About you.” Carlie admitted as she snuggled against him, trailing one of her fingertips over his lips. Curtis coughed, shocked a little by what she said. Carlie laughed and shook her head as  she told him, “Sometimes when I pack you up to go back out on the road  I steal one of your shirts..”

“I’m gonna have to see what  that looks like… For science.”

“Science my ass, Axel.” Carlie muttered lazily, staring down at him and then leaning down to press her lips against his forehead.

“If I’d known letting you catch me..”

“You knew I saw you?”

“After I heard you walk down the hall and into your bedroom and realized that I’d left my door open, yeah.” Carlie giggled, biting her lip. “And then I.. kinda heard you groaning my name through the door when I walked down the hall to finally just tell you.. Figured showing you was a lot easier..” she bit her lip and he chuckled, pulling her mouth back down onto his.

It wasn’t how they intended to tell each other, but things were out in the open now and it felt so much better.

Chapter Text

“Girl. If you order one more drink, you are not walking outta here on your own.”

“I told ‘er ‘at about ten minutes ago. She snuck off from me, came back with the bottle of rum.” Nikki’s eyes settled on her best friend Trina and Trina eyed both women and boldly raised the bottle to her lips. Alicia grimaced and shook her head. “You gonna have more than a hangover in the morning. Your hair is gonna hurt. That’s how bad you’re gonna feel.” 

“I-I’m fiiiiiine. Speaking of fine.. Roman when he speared Shane tonight. Unf.” Trina mockingly fanned herself and from the opposite side of her, Naomi burst into laughter and asked, “Did you just..”

“This is a constant thing with ‘er. Bit of a crush on Roman, she’s got ‘erself.” Nikki explained, making Naomi burst into laughter even harder. “Now you clamming up whenever he walks into a room makes perfect sense. Girl.”

“What?” Trina eyed Naomi as she took a few more long sips from the nearly empty rum bottle and then, she let out a long burp, promptly going red in the face and remembering at least part of her manners. After a few minutes, Trina continued, a heavy sigh preceding her words as she shook her head. “Too bad I-I’m not this brave  normally.”

“Oh yeah?” Naomi eyed her friend, beyond intrigued. Until a few minutes ago, she hadn’t thought Trina had a thing for her cousin in law, she’d simply thought bigger men intimidated Trina for whatever reason.

Trina sighed dreamily and gave a little giggle and nod. “Yeah. Definitely. T-the things I would say to that man.. Or do, whichever. Either one is fine with me.” Trina trailed off under the intent and curious stares of her friends and went silent but Naomi wasn’t having it.

“Uh uh. I want details, woman.”

Trina waved her empty bottle and nodded to the bartender. “Oh no.. N-nooope. Gonna take more than t-that to get me talking.” 

And that’s where the night went slightly off route… 

Around 1 am, Alicia and Nikki and Naomi were escorting Trina out of the bar and Trina was.. Giggling and going on and on about Roman.  Maybe that’s why when Naomi and her husband finally got Trina heading towards the actual hotel lobby and not the hot tub and pool patio to the side of  the building, Naomi half joked that it’d be interesting to just.. Leave her at Roman’s door.

Since apparently, neither party was going to say a single damn word about how they felt to each other’s actual faces…When Jimmy gave her a look and a shrug, she eyed Trina who was leaning against both of them, giggling and humming along to whatever she was listening to on her phone.

“No. We just need to get her in her room.”

“You just said, baby girl.. Ain’t no way either one is gonna actually say or act on how they feel. You know Trina won’t, hell, she clams up whenever he walks in the room and Roman.. Roman wants to make a move but Trina yeets herself right outta the room whenever he enters. My boy kinda thinks she is either scared to death of him or strongly dislikes him. So he’s not gonna say anything anytime soon either..”

“Jimmy.. Are you suggesting what I think you are?”

“Maybe I am, baby girl. Maybe we guide her to Roman’s door, leave and let everything play out?”

“ You know this is opposite what friends would do, right?” Naomi’s brow raised as she cast her husband a glance, waiting on him to explain his reasoning. It wasnt a bad idea, Naomi just… Felt protective over the girl. She had since Trina signed.

“Actually, it ain’t. Desperate times and desperate measures. Worst case, Roman will help her up to her own room. Either way, baby girl.. It gets ‘em talkin. That is what you want, right?”

“Yeah…”

“So, we about to be on his floor. We doin this or are we takin Trina on up to the fifth floor where her room is?”

Naomi mulled it over and nodded. “Fuck it. Worst that’ll happen is like you said. Roman’s a nice guy, he’ll take her up to her room if she asks…”

Trina seemed to perk up.

“Hey, we’re on R-Roman’s floor.. I-I think I wanna get off here. I have.. A lot to s-say.”

“Oh good lord.” Naomi gave a gentle laugh but smiled and nodded. “Okay, we’ll get off here. If you back out, just get Roman to take you back up, right?”

“Oh.. I’m not gonna b-back out.”

Trina marched boldly up to Roman’s hotel room door and started banging on it, looking back at Naomi and Jimmy and bursting into a fit of giggles as she waved goodbye and gave  them the thumbs up.

“I’ll call ya tomorrow, Naomi!”

“Good. Please do.” Naomi told her friend as she and Jimmy stepped back onto the elevator…

Roman’s brow raised as he glanced at the door to his hotel room and then the time. He sat down the controller to the XBox and stood. Seth nodded to the paused screen and then asked, “You order pizza?”

“Nah, uce. I’m gonna see who’s out there.”

He chuckled when a glimpse through the crack in the door revealed a very tipsy and giggly Trina standing in the hallway, shuffling her feet, mouth opening and closing. He shut the door and Seth hissed, “Was that Trina?”

“Yeah.”

“Say no more, man. I’ma go find Becks. TELL HER. For the love of God and all that’s holy, man.. Tell her how you feel.”

“I don’t know that right now is exactly a good time.” Roman’s back pressed into the door a little more and Trina called his name from the hallway. He answered her, “Hang on a second baby girl. Just getting rid of Rollins ass.” 

“Hey S-Seth! Wish m-me luck A-also, I’m gonna… N-need you t-to get l-lost! No o-offense!”

Seth snickered and shook his head and Roman eyed the door. Seth asked Trina, “Why’s that, midget?”

“I’m about to tell your best f-friend Roman I-I’m crazy i-in l-love  with his ass.” Trina replied, stumbling over her words a little, saying them in a rush before she could stop herself or chicken out. Maybe if she just got it all out in the open she could finally stop hiding / avoiding the guy like an actual child.

… or, maybe it’s gonna make everything awkward and weird…. Either way, I can’t hold back much longer… Trina thought to herself, starting the attempt to sober up. It wasn’t a conversation she wanted to have completely drunk off her ass.

Seth snickered a little more and Roman gave a bit of a goofy grin and with a slightly shocked expression, he opened the door to his hotel room, picking her up and stepping into the room again when he realized just how tipsy she actually was.

“Y-you heard t-that…” Trina bit her lip as she tilted her head up to stare at Roman, shuffling her feet and going all quiet.

This had been so much easier, she thought to herself, when it was just an idea in her head…

“Mhmm.. and as soon as you’re all nice and sober, baby girl, bet your ass.. We’re gonna talk about it.. But first, let’s get you sittin down, okay?” he chuckled, restraining a groan as her lips brushed right against the  side of his neck. He sat down on the couch and he figured she’d move to sit next to him.

He considered himself surprised when she just kept sitting in his lap. Taking a deep breath, he asked as calmly as possible, “Did you mean what you were sayin to Seth? Answer me, baby girl..”

“Y-yeah..” Trina said it and took a shaky breath. “Yeah. I-It’s true.”

“Is that why you’re always leavin the room when I come in?”

“K-kinda?” Trina tilted her head slightly and Roman tucked his fingers beneath her chin to hold her gaze. He couldn’t help the smile because it felt like a major weight lifted. He’d been wanting to say the same.. Or corner her and ask her if she just strongly disliked him for whatever reason for months now. Now that he knew what she’d say, it did make things a lot easier for Roman to make the next big step.

He leaned in a little; Trina mirrored it, their foreheads bumping a little, sending her into a quiet fit of giggles which was cut short when his hand came to rest on the back of her neck and his lips crashed against her lips as she scooted closer to him, pressing her body right against his, a leg on either side of his body so that she straddled his lap. Roman gave a quiet groan and his fingertips dug into her ass, pulling her even closer. Her teeth tugged at his lip and her fingers tangled in his hair, tugging right around the time his fingers also curled in her hair, tugging and using the grip he had on her hair to pull her mouth into the kiss even deeper.

When the kiss broke, she was breathing heavily and so was Roman, licking his lips and giving a playful grin at her flushed face and swollen lips. Trina leaned in again, one hand at his cheek, the other resting on his shoulder, pulling his mouth back to her own.

X

The phone was going crazy on the nightstand and Roman kept waiting on Trina to roll over and grab it and answer, but she continued to loudly snore, her head beneath a pillow. Roman reached over and grabbed the phone. She didn’t have any kind of passcode or anything and given the sheer volume of alcohol Naomi informed him Trina managed to consume the night before, he was willing to bet the entire farm that she had a hangover.. Or she would when she finally woke up.

← Girl, you alive?

← Well? How did it go last night? Did you finally tell him?

Roman chuckled quietly and put the phone down, untangling her body from his body to throw on a pair of sweats and a tank top.

They had a coffee shop  down in the lobby, he’d seen her going in and out of it a lot. If he went down now, he reasoned, he could make it back up before she was up and about, have coffee and something  to eat waiting on her.

Because now that she was sober he was definitely in a mood to actually discuss  what her showing up at his hotel room at 2 am and drunkenly confessing her feelings meant to him and how he felt in return.

He bumped into Seth and Becky in the hallway, waiting on the elevator and Seth couldn’t resist chuckling as he asked, “Well? Did you finally say somethin?”

“Not exactly..”

“Goddamn it, Ro.”

“If y’ don’t tell ‘er, ah’m goin to lock th’ both of y’ into a closet, ah swear.” Becky spoke up, tapping her foot and Roman chuckled and then answered calmly, “ I did kiss her though. And she did tell me.. But I dunno if she’s gonna remember anything but the splitting headache I’m thinkin she’s gonna have.”

“Hangover?” Seth chuckled and Roman did the same, nodding.  “Goin down to get her coffee. She’s still sleepin it off in my room, as much as I wanted to get up and leave her there by herself. Kinda figured I’d do this and surprise her.”

Seth gave his friend a gentle shove and nodded  with an amused grin. “Good idea. Well, Becks and I were about to come down and see if you wanted to hit the gym but no one answered.. Maybe we didn’t wake her up.”

“Yeah, maybe I’ll catch you guys later or something. All I know right now is we are definitely having a serious talk about what she said and what I did after she  said it last night.”

“Lemme know how it goes man. I got my fingers crossed for ya. I know how much you love the midget.” Seth teased as he and Becky walked away, opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Roman got on and went down to the coffee shop in the lobby and got the coffee and two pastries and made his way back up to his room, going over what he planned to say as he did.

X

The phone buzzed against the nightstand and Trina reached out an arm, sending the phone to the floor. “The fuck did I do? Did I drink the bar?” she muttered to herself as she slowly slipped her head out from beneath the pillow and rose to a sitting position.

“I’m not in my room? What the hell?” Trina’s eyes darted around and when she heard his throat clear from the doorway followed by Roman saying “Good, you’re awake. How you feelin, baby girl?”

Trina rubbed at her forehead and yawned then as it clicked into place for her, she palmed her face and laughed sheepishly, keeping her eyes fixed on the bed. There was no way in hell she could look at Roman right now, not given what she distinctly remembered ‘boldly’ announcing through a door at almost 2 am.

“You’re not laughing…” she started, her mouth opened and closed and Roman chuckled, moving closer, holding out the coffee he’d gotten  her. “More milk  and sugar than actual coffee, right?”

“Yeah.” and then it hit her… He knew exactly how she took her coffee. She eyed him and started to ask how he knew, but Roman shrugged and spoke up. “ I know  a lot about  you. Lot more than you realize. Okay, whoa.. That sounded creepy as hell, let me start over.” he laughed and Trina took the coffee, sipping as she looked at him through a curtain of hair.

Roman reached out, smoothing her hair back behind her ear. “That’s better.”

He couldn’t help but notice that yeah, she was blushing a little bit and it was cute. “That blushing thing you’re doin right now  is cute.”

“I’m not..” Trina started but she trailed off, taking a few more sips as she fumbled around for words -or alternately, waiting on him to say anything, even if it was him, laughing his ass off.

“You are. Your whole face is turnin almost as pink as that shirt you were  wearin last night.” Roman was teasing gently, he cupped her chin to hold her eyes on him because he noticed that she kept trying to look away.

“About last night..”

“You’re not gonna  back out now, are ya?”

“No, I just.. If you  don’t feel.. That.. too.. It’s okay.” Trina managed to get it out and quickly busied herself with unwrapping one of the pastries that Roman held out to her, groaning quietly as soon as the smell of cherry hit her nose. “Ugh, I fucking love  these.”

“I thought so. You get one every time you go past that coffee  shop in the lobby.”

He took a few bites of his own pastry, an apple one,  and then, he got back to the discussion at hand.  “Me kissin you wasn’t clear enough I guess.”

“To be fair, I kissed you first.”

“Oh no, no baby girl, you did not.” 

“Yes. I did.”

Roman chuckled and then reached out, pulling her into his lap, cupping her jaw and mumbling against her mouth, “Well, lemme fix that. Can’t have it goin down anywhere that you made all the first moves, can I?”

Chapter Text

“ Whoa, hey.. That’s Sage, go back.” Lip snatched the newspaper from Frank and Frank gave him a dirty look. “I was reading that, Lip.”

“And I don’t fucking care, Frank. The fuck are you doing here anyway, huh?” Lip went back to the page he’d seen a picture of Sage on and when he realized that it was in the area reserved for engagement announcements, his stomach churned and all the taste left his cereal.

He coughed and muttered quietly, “Well then. Guess that’s the end of that.”

From behind him Carl spoke up. “It doesn’t have to be. The line speak now or forever hold your peace is in the ceremony for a reason, Lip.” as he flopped down into the chair next to Lip.

“Yeah, well this ain’t the movies. If I go in there,  it’s not gonna change anything. I’m not fuckin hungry all of a sudden.” and with that said, Lip shoved his chair at the table and grabbed his cigarettes and lighter. Fiona followed Lip and she  found him sitting out  behind  the house on the stairs, smoking a cigarette.

All she could really do was put her arm around him.

“Hey.. You alright?”

“Not really, no. It should be me.. With her. But I fucked up. I bet she don’t even think about me.”

“Oh, so you’re just giving up?”

“What else can I do, huh? I don’t have my shit together. She deserves that outta me, at least.”

“You’re more together than you were before she left Southside. You’re not drinking anymore and when you do, you go to AA.. You’re tryin to get a better job. Hell, you’re even taking night classes at that junior college. You’re actually doin a lot better than me right now.” Fiona sighed, reaching for the cigarette.

The door opened behind them and Fiona looked up to find Ian standing there. He nodded back towards the inside of the house and mouthed to his sister, “Let me talk to him, yeah?” and as Fiona stood, Ian flopped down in her place. He stared at his hands for a minute.

“That marriage is a sham and if you let it happen, Lip..”

Lip looked over at his brother, a hand dragging over the back of his head as he exhaled smoke.

“Looked pretty damn legit to me.”

“He’s only marrying her because if he comes out, he loses everything. His parents are practically forcing him into it. He.. He comes into the club all the time, according to one of the guys who worked with me and still works there. Hell, I saw him there when I was going! He tried comin on to me.”

Lip looked up at Ian, a brow raised. “Huh?”

“I’m not making  this up, I swear.. Look, the guy said he’s there every fucking night and every night he leaves with a different man. One of my other friends said he’s seen the guy out all over town with different guys too. Always says they’re friends if he’s asked by anybody.” Ian bit his lip and took a deep breath, reaching for the cigarette and taking a puff. 

“You love  her, right?”

“Never stopped.”

“So do something. Stop sitting on your ass and being all moody and shit.” Ian stood and wiped his hands down his jeans and then told him calmly, “If you decide you wanna go stop that shit show of a wedding.. Tell me.”

Lip said he wasn’t.. But for the rest of the week, everything Ian said and everything Fiona pointed out, even something Frank told him out of the blue and totally out of context just made him think about it all over again.

He had to do something, even if it made things even worse between them.

X

The gown was perfect. Everyone was crammed into the church and yet, Sage couldn’t shake this… Feeling that somehow, everything was all wrong. Her  sister Marla could tell and after a few seconds of watching Sage pacing the room where they were all getting ready, she spoke up.

“If you’re not sure.. All I gotta do, sis, is go out there and tell them this whole thing is off. Look, I know Zack has done a lot for us..  But that doesn’t mean you have  to actually go through with marrying the guy.”

“Marla, you’re supposed to be talking me out of cold feet.”

“If you’re not happy, you’re not happy.” Sage’s other sister True spoke up  from the doorway. Sage took a deep breath and attempted to plaster on her best happy face but both Marla and True saw  right through it.

True shut the door and paced the room. Carl being her boyfriend, she knew exactly how the news of her sister’s wedding affected a certain Gallagher male.. And True and Carl both agreed that Sage was just going through the motions.. That she was taking the easy way out because she felt like she owed this guy Zack so much because he’d ‘done so much’ to help the family out.

“He’s not who I saw you with.” True finally said it and Marla mumbled quietly, “Oh thank fuck. I wasn’t… I wanted to say something the second or third time you bought the guy back  to Dad’s for Thanksgiving.. But I thought you were happy..”

“Yeah?” Sage took a deep breath and glanced at her sister, True. “Who did you see me with? Because if you say who I think you’re about to.. He’s the one who pushed me out. He’s the one who wouldn’t let me help him or be there for him. I never wanted things to end and I… Damn it, True, now my mascara’s gonna run.”

Marla sat down by her sister and lazily draped an arm around her. “You don’t owe that guy shit. Look, he did what he did because he wanted to.”

“No, he did what he did because he knew…” Sage struggled with a way to voice her suspicions that didn’t make her sound like she was ungrateful or bitter at the way he spent less and less time around her lately.. The late nights, the fact that he occasionally slept in his office under the guise of ‘work’.. 

Something hadn’t felt right in weeks now.. Something about him had kind of covertly nagged at her subconscious from the beginning. And her soon to be mother in law absolutely hated her.

“Knew what?” Marla tensed, sharing a look with her sister. True bit her lip and repeated Marla’s question. “He knew what, Sage?”

“He knew it was the easiest way to get into my life..”

True took a deep breath. Things were  tension filled enough without her losing her hairtrigger temper and  going on a rampage that ended with a high heel protruding from her soon to be brother in law’s eye.

Mrs. Gaines peeked in, a scowl on her face. 

“ Can someone come out and explain to this.. Man.. that he can’t sit on our side of the church? He’s making a spectacle in front of my guests.”

Marla glared  and as soon as she heard their father’s drunken voice, she and Sage and True all shared a look and took a collective deep breath.

Sage laughed quietly and Marla stood, making no effort to hide her own bitchy smirk as she shoved past her sister’s soon to be mother in law. “Monster in law is what they oughta call you.”

“If I had my way, your sister and the rest of you would be.. Nothing.. To my family.”

“If only miracles happened, hmm?” Marla stopped to look at the woman, a hand on her hip. “Sage, just.. Think about what you’re getting into for fucks sake.” and with that, Marla ventured out into the church in an attempt to both give her sister time to really think about what she was going to waste herself over, and to reign in their father who’d apparently picked today of all days to fall face first off the sobriety wagon.

Marla gaped almost as soon as she saw who was with her father, the two holding each other up. True hurried over with Carl and Ian in tow.

“We tried to stop them.” Carl explained as Ian chuckled and nodded to Carl. “He did. Me? I let ‘em go. I’ve got a bad feeling about the douche she’s about to marry.”

“Oh?” Marla eyed the ginger male and Ian got her off to the side detailing exactly why he felt like the wedding was happening and what Sage’s father and Lip apparently spent half the night before and this morning itself talking about.

“Where’s Sage, darlin? Daddy b-bought ‘er a w-wedding present.” at their father’s words, Marla turned away from Ian and sighed. “Daddy, what the hell..”

“W-where’s Sage? I-i need t-to talk to her. G-gonna s-stop this whole thing.”

That was from Lip and Ian, Carl, True and Marla shared a look and Marla took a deep breath, pinching the bridge of her nose to ward off a fit of irritation. Marla eyed her father and Lip, who lingered nearby, not really saying anything.

The wedding march started and Marla and True shared a look as Ian and Carl told them both, “We’ll get these two in a seat.. You guys just get back there.”

True stole a kiss from Carl and hurried to the back. The door closed behind the three sisters and Sage stared at it solemnly, swallowing hard.

“Was daddy okay?”

“He fell face first off the sobriety wagon.”

From nearby, Sage’s soon to be mother in law let out an exasperated breath. “But of course he did. Your entire family is..”

Sage was sick of biting her tongue. And  she was not about to let this woman spend her entire life talking down to her like she was trash. “Shut the fuck up or get the fuck out. No one asked you to come in here.”

“No, but I had to make sure you two actually walk down that aisle..”

Sage’s brow knit as she gazed at the woman.

Was Zack having cold feet too?

“Whether you two like it or not,  you will be marrying today. I’m not.. Willing to risk any further scandal with my son. Between him choosing.. Well, you.. And all the time he spends down at that god awful club..”

“Club? What club?” Sage’s stomach churned and if she’d had a thought about just making a break for it, that thought was intensifying with each word Zack’s mother said.

“You know perfectly well what I’m talking about, do not play coy with me. You and he have your little arrangement, he’s  chosen you specifically to teach me a lesson.. A lesson in which he will be learning for himself, because despite what he believes, he will be getting nothing from his father and I in the future. You know exactly what I mean. You two were in on this together, you little gold digger…”

Marla’s entire body tensed and she stood body to body with Sage’s mother in law, -mostly to keep Sage and the woman separate, because for a split second,  she’d seen that fire back in her sister’s eyes and she’d felt it the second Sage tensed up.

 “ If I call this entire thing off, there’s not really much you can do.”

“I don’t think you’re stupid or brave enough to do that. Now..  Get your makeup fixed. Go on.”

Sage tensed even more. She was beyond fed up with the woman and the way she acted, the way she treated her and the rest of her family. “No.”

“What the hell do you mean  no? You get in that chair and get your makeup fixed this instant! You will not like the..” but the threat was cut off in mid sentence when Marla grabbed the woman’s elbow and guided her roughly to the door, opening it and shoving it out. “If she needs time to think you uppity bitch, you will give her that.”

Before the woman could reply, Marla slammed the door shut in her face, but not before Lip and Sage got a glance of each other again and Sage stood there, biting her lip, staring helplessly and sighing at his disheveled appearance.

True caught the look her sister was giving Lip Gallagher and  she leaned against the door, picking at her nails as she told Sage quietly, “If you want this called off.. All you have to do is say the word. I’ll go get Joe Jr to say something. People tend to really listen to him.”

Sage paced, letting everything her so called mother in law spouted off at her sink in. She honestly believed it was an arrangement of convenience between Sage and her son. She hinted that Zack might not be  entirely truthful either and when Sage really stopped to think about things lately between them, her stomach churned as she realized that as much as she hated to admit it, Zack’s mother was right.

She hadn’t felt secure about this at all and lately, the insecurity was more than double.

Zack stayed away more, he stayed at work later. Anything to avoid seeing her.

To be fair, she found herself  thinking, she’d done the same on more than one occasion.

“Well? They’re starting the whole thing..” Marla asked and True tapped her combat boot against the floor impatiently, her arms folded as she stared at her sister intently. Marla did the same and Sage bit her lip.

Before she could get the words out of her mouth, the door burst open like someone ninja kicked it and Lip stumbled in with Carl and Ian in tow, both trying to keep him on his feet. Lip stumbled over to her and grabbed her, pulling her completely against him. Not caring who saw, his hand cupped her jaw and he pulled her mouth against his, lifting her off  the floor slightly. Sage could smell the booze on him, she could taste it in his mouth.

All she could do was what she felt.. Her lips parted and she went from trying to push him away to gripping a handful of his tee shirt, raised to tiptoe before he picked her up a little. 

She’d ask him what happened and why he was drinking again later.. For now, this was more important.

“Was s-supposed t’ be me.”

“Oh Lip..” she mumbled quietly, breaking the kiss to look up at him, raising a hand to rest it at his cheek. 

Marla grumbled and True cleared her throat.

“The wedding is off.” Sage said the words without a second’s hesitation and True smirked, sharing a look with Marla.

“So, which one of us is gonna go tell Monster In Law, hmm?”

“Oh, no.. let me.”

Before either of them could go find her so called mother in law to break the news, Sage strode out of the room, straight up to the woman, tapping her shoulder.

She took the microphone the woman held and cleared her throat. “If you came to see a wedding today, I hate to tell you that’s not what will be happening. If you bought a gift, pick it up on your way out.”

“You little… ungrateful…”

Zack eyed Sage with a raised brow, “Babe? What’s going on, talk to me… We have people here. I’m going to look stupid in front of all the partners at the firm..”

“And I give a fuck? Why don’t you ask Mommy Dearest here why I’m calling the wedding off?I mean.. She did practically threaten me if I didn’t go through with this. Thinks we’re working together  to rip her off. Little does she know, I could give a rats ass about her damn money. Or yours, for that matter.” 

“What the hell are you saying right now? Are you dumping me?”

“Wow.. you really are as slow as I kept telling my sister.” Sage’s brother Clint gave an annoyed roll of his eyes and spoke up. Marla snickered and nudged Ian, leaning in. “So… do we just watch the fireworks? Frankly, I feel it’s beyond time this asshole rips off his mask and shows his real ugly.”

“Yeah.. I’d say so. If he starts saying anything about her, You try to reign in your brothers, I’ll try to get Lip under control so  he doesn’t get hauled in…”

“Stay the hell out of this, Clint.”

“Or what? You finally gonna do what you threatened last year when you found out it was me and Carl who took that shitty BMW for a joyride?”

Sage’s gaze fixed on Zack.

“You seriously threatened my brother and Carl?”

“They’re out of control. The authorities..”

“So you’re the fucking reason my brother and his best friend were sent off to juvie for six months. Yeah, this wedding is definitely off.”

“Think about what you’re doing here.. I can get you the hell out of that neighborhood. I can give you things.”

Marla rolled her eyes and mocked him. “They sell vibrators every day.”

“How dare you insult my son!” Zack’s mother spoke up and Sage rolled her eyes. “Oh will you just for once in your entire life.. Stay the fuck out of a personal matter? You and your helicopter parenting, I swear to fuck..”

Zack cleared his throat. “You’d better watch your mouth. She is my mother and she has done a lot for us. You especially.”

From the back of it all, Lip was overheard telling Carl, “It’s not f-fuckin workin. Can I hit the a-asshole now?” and before anyone could stop him, Lip shoved through the crowd gathered and gawking and pressed against Sage from behind, his fist sailing over her shoulder and connecting neatly with Zack’s nose.

“She said the wedding’s off, damn.” Lip stood taller, defiant gleam in his eyes, practically daring Zack to say or do anything. He’d put Sage behind him, now it was him standing toe to toe with her so called groom, a malicious smirk on his face. “C’mon. Let’s see y’ lose all that cool and calm.”

“You seriously want to fight me.. Over her?”

“No, I just wanna beat ya ass. She doesn’t need me to defend her. Probably would one hell of a lot better than you, I mean from what I’m hearin, you’re always gone, leavin her all alone. No way in hell would I.. do that.”

Zack shoved him and Lip shoved back, the fight breaking out before anyone could really stop it. And in the midst of it, a man ran up, pulling Zack away, swearing and shit talking Lip all the while.

“You’d better keep your hands off my man or I’ll..”

“You’ll what, hmm? Bitch about it to all ya little high society friends at brunch? Come at me, man. Your man started all of this.”

Sage blinked as what was happening registered. She managed to quickly grab hold of Lip just as the sound of sirens filled the air and the two of them were leaving out the back door of the church, her siblings and his hot on their tail to beat the cops away.

The further away the sirens got, the more Sage grew to hate her stupid dress. She tapped Lip and stopped him. He leaned against the brick wall in the alley behind The Alibi Room and Sage tore away the bottom portion of the dress, throwing it towards a dumpster with a disgusted face. Their siblings had all gone into the diner Fiona worked at, leaving the two of them alone. Sage stared up at him intently, migrating closer and closer with each second that passed, the palm of her hand resting against his chest, fingers curling in the fabric of his shirt as she used that to pull his lips d own to her lips.

“We are still having a very serious discussion about you drinking again.. Among other things.. But I.. seeing you today, Lip. I realized how much I… wanted this to be me and you and just how close I came to wasting all that… I’m so so so so so sorry..”

Lip tilted her face so that she had to look up and directly at him when he chuckled and leaned down, pulling her into another deep kiss. “Nothin to apologize for. I’m right here, baby girl. Right here and I’m not goin anywhere.”

“Me either.”

Chapter Text

“Are you telling me that you intend to defy a direct order?” Dumah eyed the blonde standing in front of her. “You do realize, Grace.. I know your thoughts. And I know why you continue to defy my direct orders where Sam Winchester is concerned. You may continue.” Dumah waved her hands dismissively and glared at the young woman.

Imagine being stupid enough you’d risk being struck down and stripped of your grace over a human… And a Winchester, no less. Just the thought itself had Dumah rolling her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose as she tended to when irritated by something. “Well? Go ahead. Say whatever it is you’re bursting to say.”

“If it keeps my charge safe, yes I fully intend to defy a direct order again. And again, and again.. I’ll defy as many orders as I have to, Dumah. Your orders don’t mean shit to me, I never asked to be one of you and frankly, I never wanted to! I am his guardian angel, it is my place to protect him. You people have done nothing but make that mission impossible at every turn. So yes. Yes that is exactly what I’m saying.”

“You leave me no choice. Don’t come running back when you remember just how hard it is to be a human again.”

Dumah snapped her fingers and it all went black.

At first Grace thought she was in the empty. And she lie there, afraid to move, to do or say anything. It hurt too much to move. She hadn’t felt pain like this since she was among the living.

It felt like… Bones were broken.

“Fuck.” the word came before she realized it, in a pained whisper. Suddenly, the silence became noisy. She could hear everything, from the sound of people laughing and talking and cars whizzing past, to the rapid beating of her own heart, -this particularly alarmed her, as the last time she’d had a pulse and a heartbeat had been so long ago she’d forgotten just how loud either thing could be if one got scared shitless, and shouting.. Someone shouting at her?

“What the? My name isn’t Catherine..” she thought the thought to herself, confused. Why on Earth would Dumah send her back to humanity? Wasn’t that against some kind of rule or something? She’d honestly thought that Dumah was only threatening her with a potentially good time when she made the promise during their talk. She figured that realistically, she’d wind up in the empty, - or worse, hell, with the rest of the angels cast out.

… okay, so why am I getting the Castiel treatment here?…

Suddenly, she could see.. But only blurred images at first, which had her in a panic. Her head was pounding like it would burst. As her vision became clearer, she stared at her hands in awe for a few seconds and it didn’t occur to her that she was standing frozen in the middle of a busy sidewalk until she caught sight of Sam Winchester… Running towards her.

She took a deep breath.. And all was well and good until she caught sight of herself in the window and froze all over again, a hand raised. 

“But I.. That’s not me… I..”

She slumped in a faint and the next thing she knew, she was being carried. The woodsy and clean scent of Sam’s preferred cologne  filled her nose and yeah, maybe she purred ever so slightly and nuzzled into him in an effort to be closer.

X

Sam sat in his room in a rolling chair, staring intently at the blonde stretched out on his bed. From the doorway, his mom cleared her throat. “Does your friend have a name?”

“Caroline, she’s… A librarian. She was helping me round up newspaper clippings for a case. I was going to ask her if she wanted to get coffee or something sometime.. I wanted to, anyway..”

Mary gave a soft laugh and then asked, “Is there some reason you’re  sitting guard?”

“I don’t know, I.. It was weird. I was eating at the diner with Dean and Cas and I heard her calling my name? I went outside and spotted her just in time to catch her when she fainted. It was weird, Mom..”

“Oh? How so?”

“She was standing in the middle of the sidewalk frozen and staring at her reflection in the window of that little store next to the bar. Like she was in shock. Like she’d never seen her own reflection.”

From behind Mary, Cas cleared his throat and nodded to the bed and the blonde lying in it.

“And it’s probably because it’s been a long time since she actually has.”

“What do you mean, Cas?”

“She’s an angel.”

Sam raised a brow and shook his head. “No, she’s the librarian I always go to… Cas?” he gave a questioning gaze and Cas rubbed his chin thoughtfully, walking around the bed, leaning over.

“Dumah.”

“Wait..”

“Dumah banished her to Earth instead of the empty. She was your guardian angel and she’s apparently a bit of a rule breaker. They had a disagreement and Dumah stripped her grace and banished her.”

Sam rubbed his head, pacing, trying to take in what Cas suggested.

“How?”

“Dumah had a reason for it. Either way, she’s here now and completely defenseless…” Cas eyed the sleeping blonde and then Sam.

All Sam could do was nod. And pace.

“Was she an angel the entire time?”

“No, Dumah banished her today.. Somehow, she wound up in the body of your friend the librarian.”

“So what happened to Caroline?”

“She’s still in there. She must be happy with the whole thing, otherwise she’d be fighting harder..” Cas furrowed his brow, trying to puzzle that one out.

The only thing that made sense was the possibility that maybe the librarian and Sam’s guardian angel shared one key thing in common.

Feelings for Sam.

More to the point, strong feelings for Sam.

Mary spoke up. “She’s going to have to adjust to everything.. Right? Can you tell how long she’s been.. You know..” Mary nodded at the girl and Sam did the same, muttering quietly, “Yeah.”

Castiel focused on the blonde, hand hovering over her and he closed his eyes, watching a replay of her life. Given the surroundings, the style of dress, the music… She was a newer angel. He opened his eyes, fixing them solemnly on Mary and Sam. “Maybe 1969. She died in an auto accident on her way back from some music festival. I’m sensing that she was more amused than anything, given some of her choices, that she wound up an angel. And then she realized she had to obey certain protocols…”

“So basically, she was rebellious.”

“ A handful.” 

Sam rubbed his hand over the back of his neck and stared at the bed again intently. “You don’t think she got cast out trying to… Stop something from happening to me, right?”

“That’s exactly why she was cast out.”

Cas was blunt about it. It was better to get the truth out now, while she was still sleeping it off and healing, than to have to tell the reason behind her being cast out later.

Sam took a deep breath and swore to himself quietly. He hated the thought that she’d lost her place in heaven because of him indirectly.

Mary spoke up from beside her son. “Sam..”

“Mom..”

“None of this is your fault, okay? I know what you were about to start doing.”

“Yeah, I know, just..”

“She’s happier now, if that helps.” Cas tried to soften the blow his words might have caused and Sam bit his lip, casting a glance at the bed. “So there’s not a lot she’ll have to be caught up on.”

“She’s going to have to heal first.” Cas cautioned and Sam nodded. “Yeah.”

X

Grace’s eyes fluttered open and she sat up, feeling her face, grimacing and groaning quietly in pain. “Ugh.. my head… Fuck.. My everything.. What happened to me? Where? Where am I?”

Sam shut the book he’d been reading and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. “Hey, whoa.. Maybe you don’t move so much? Cas, he told me what happened..”

“Oh thank God. I was trying to figure out exactly how I was going to break it to you I’m not your little blonde librarian.. I mean I am but.. The real me.. The old one.. She had black hair, brown eyes.. About the only thing Blondie here n’ me have in common is the fact that we’re the same height / build… among other things.” Grace trailed off. It probably wasn’t a good idea to fill Sam in on the fact that his little librarian really really… really.. Enjoyed his little fact finding missions to her library.

She giggled and her hand raised to her mouth. Her stomach was growling, it had been a long time since she’d heard the noise.

“I’m starving. If you’ll help me up.”

“No, nope.. Not gonna do that. Cas, he thinks you may have broken a few bones.”

“I can move just fine.” Grace went to stand and winced all over, falling back against the mattress with a painful grimace. “Okay, second thought.. Maybe you were right. I’ll just.. Lay here.”

“I can go make you something?”

Grace eyed him and bit her lip, finally nodding.  “If you want to.”

“You gotta eat.”

“Right, yeah.. Well, in that case, whatever you make.”

As Sam walked out of the room, Grace propped herself against his pillows and let out a long and appreciative whistle to herself  as she watched him walking out the door. 

“This still doesn’t explain why Dumah banished me here, to humanity, as opposed to the empty or Hell.. But hey, if I get to actually be here.. To protect him and stop whatever stupid fuckery they’re plannin.. I’m good with that.”

Cas spoke up as he appeared in the room. “You won’t be stopping anything, Grace. Dumah.. She took your powers, I’m afraid.”

Grace eyed him and swallowed hard.

She was full human.

Then she laughed quietly, raising up to fluff at the angel’s hair. “Silly man, I guess you don’t know who you’re dealing with exactly. I’m not the kinda girl who goes down without a fight.” 

“But you don’t have any of your abilities, or your grace. And given that you’re human..” Cas trailed off because he sensed that what he said was going in one ear, out the other.

He sensed that in life, she’d been particularly stubborn and rarely listened to reason.

In comparison to Sam, it was… definitely an amusement.

X

He’d just made her a BLT sandwich and Mary cleared her throat from behind him. Sam jumped a little, turning to look at his mother. 

Mary laughed. “Why on Earth are you so jumpy?”

“Just waiting on the bad thing to happen.. You know, how every time something good happens, at least ten bad ones follow..”

“ So this is a good thing.. Interesting.”

“Well it’s not a bad thing.” Sam rationalized, making Mary look up at him, a knowing smirk beginning to form as she rested her hand on her hip. “You liked her. That’s why you kept going to her when you needed research.”

“She was a friend…”

“No.. you were interested in her.”

“Mom, no.”

“Sam..” Mary shook her head, waving her hands. “Nevermind.”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Well it’s not that difficult either.”

Sam eyed his mom for a few seconds and then shrugged before starting back down the hall and into his room, with the sandwiches and salad that he’d made for her and himself.

Grace groaned as soon as the flavors of the food burst into her mouth. 

Sam snickered.

“Do I need to leave you and the sandwich alone?”

“No, no. It’s just I.. Kinda haven’t tasted actual food in so long I kinda forgot how good it can be.” she gave a quiet laugh and found herself sort of staring at him intently. There was so much she wanted to say to him but she got this feeling that if she said it all now, it wouldn’t be a good idea.

He needed to get used to her being around.

She needed to get to know him better.

And maybe, she’d decided that being cast down to Earth was a thing that she could use to her advantage.

She could just focus on living life, forget about everything.. Be a human again with no expectations of perfection, free to make her own messes and learn from them.

Free to do what she wanted, when she wanted to do it, without having to worry over some pesky moral code and centuries of unspoken rules.

Sam watched her, a brow raised. He leaned in and dabbed at the corner of her mouth where she had mayonnaise. He gave a sheepish and awkward grin, muttered quietly, “You, uhm.. You had mayonnaise on your face.”

“Thanks.. I’ve always kinda been a messy eater, if memory serves…”

“Somehow I don’t doubt that.” Sam was still leaning in, staring at her intently. As close as he was to her right now, he could see the faintest hint of green in her eyes. She cleared her throat, tilting her head slightly. “If you want to do something.. Stop being afraid and do it, Sam Winchester. I happen to know that both my host and I would definitely enjoy it.. If you’re thinking about doing what I think you are.”

“You would, hmm?”

“Mhmm.” she leaned in closer, her fingers resting beneath his jaw, cupping it as she pulled his mouth to her mouth, a quiet moan coming as she slipped her tongue past his lip when they willingly parted. She moved to sit in his lap, one of her hands venturing upward, tangling in shaggy hair, tugging at it’s ends. When she accidentally rubbed against him, she whimpered at the way he felt, strained against his jeans. He groaned quietly, large and rough hands slipping down her sides, squeezing into her hips before drifting lower, squeezing her ass through the material of the skirt she was wearing.

From the doorway, Cas coughed aloud.

“Dean’s back… Sorry to interrupt.”

Sam and Grace sprang apart and Sam gave a nod to Cas. Cas closed the door and Grace leaned against him, fingers curled in the fabric of his tee shirt. “You should probably go talk to Dean… We can.. Pick this up later.. Or something.”

He chuckled and nodded, standing, and leaning down to scoop her up. “We need to explain the situation to Dean anyway.”

“Can I get used to you carrying me around? Because if so, I won’t complain.”

Chapter Text

“You do realize that he followed me around like a lost puppy before you showed up.. Right?” Mandy said it calmly as she filed her nails. Lily bit the inside of her cheek to keep from saying something she might regret later and she continued to straighten her hair.

Mandy Rose was just a bitch who liked to intimidate people. Just like all the bullies back in Lily’s old school. Girls like Mandy were a dime a dozen and often cheaper than that. 

“No response, Lila?”

“My name is Lily. Or is all the silicone from your tits leaking into your brain, Amanda?” - it slipped out before Lily could stop it and Mandy looked up at her, shocked.  

“First of all it’s Mandy.. Secondly, did you just? Because I don’t think I need to remind you, Lila..” Mandy put a heavy emphasis on the wrong name this time and Lily gave a dry laugh as she put down the straightener, and folded her arms, waiting on Mandy to finish. “Well? Go on AMANDA..  You were obviously about to say something earth shattering? Awww… did your itty bitty brain stop workin again?”

“You little bitch.”

“Takes one to know one, hon.” Lily retorted, suck popping her gum  as she tapped her foot. Mandy eyed her and then continued calmly, with a particularly predatory gleam in her eyes, “I don’t think I need to remind you that if I complain about you to certain people, you’re gone.. And then I will get Drew Gulak all to myself.”

“Is that what you really think? Because frankly, I don’t see that happening. We done or do you have any further stupidity you wanna unload?” Lily tried to pretend total confidence but a quick glance in the mirror at herself and then at Mandy, well.. Mandy had that certain look that seemed to make even the most reasonable man lose their entire goddamn mind and she and Drew were.. Still new, still figuring things out. And she couldn’t ever be sure.. Sometimes, being surrounded by women who were society’s /ideal/ of beauty was damning in the fact that every single flaw someone like Lily possessed seemed to stand out like a neon light on the Vegas Strip at night.

Suddenly, she was seeing every little flaw or thing she didn’t like about herself magnified, no matter how much she tried to tell herself that a pretty face didn’t equal a pretty heart. And so far, what she knew about her Alpha, Drew Gulak, that tended to suggest that he leaned more towards what was on the inside.

Mandy eyed the mousy little blonde and smirked. “I don’t just think it, Lily. I know. See, I’m used to getting exactly what I want and lately? I want Drew.”

Lily was about to say something but a throat clearing from the door and Drew’s scent filling the room had her tensing and biting her lip. Drew eyed her, mouthing the words “Is everything okay?” and she shrugged as she put the finishing touches on Mandy’s hair then sat the straightener down on top of her makeup table firmly. “I believe you’re all done. I mean I can’t give you a brain transplant to make you any less stupid or a personality transplant to make you less of a bitch but i did what I could.”

“You just got on my bad side.” Mandy glared as she turned and stormed out, careful to drop the atititude as she passed by Drew. With Mandy gone, Lily flopped down in the chair and uncapped the bottled water in front of her, shotgunning half. “You can come in.”

Drew stepped into the makeup room and made his way over to his Omega. He didn’t need his enhanced senses to know something was bothering her, the look in her eyes told it quite clearly. 

He stopped behind her chair and rested his hands on her shoulders, wordlessly kneading and rubbing, giving her a massage as he stared at her face in the mirror. “Whatever she said wasn’t true and you shouldn’t let it get to you, Lily. And before you say you’re not, I can see it in your eyes, princess.” he leaned down and brushed his lips against her ear, chuckling quietly when he felt her shiver at the intimate touch. In a whisper, he told her with a smirk, “Who did I give my mark to, hmm? Because it wasn’t that spray tanned bimbo that just left here if I’m remembering properly..”

“I know, just..”

“Maybe someone needs a reminder of exactly where she belongs and who she belongs with, hmm? Is that what you’re saying, princess? Because that’s what it sounds like to me.” Drew trailed off, tilting her head slightly, lips dancing over a healed and re bitten mate marking. “You’re all mine because I chose you. Not her, you. I love you. Not her. And as soon as we’re back at the hotel, Lily..”

“Yeah?” her words came in a breathless pant, his hand slipped down the front of her shirt, massaging and squeezing her breasts in his hand as she fought to keep her composure and resist the urge to climb Drew like a tree, right there in the arena.

“I’m gonna show you just how much I love you, princess.”

Chapter Text

His fists clenched and he shoved them down into the pocket of baggy gray sweats. He could’ve easily told her he was there, he could’ve said anything to alert her to his presence.. But one quick scenting revealed that she knew. 

... she knows and she’s still dancin like that the thought just kind of.. Sat in Pete’s brain. He shifted his feet several times.. It did very little to dispel the strain of his cock against the material of his sweats. He couldn’t take the torment of her, dancing around the living room of the apartment she and  Tyler shared in a tee shirt -probably one of Bate’s, the thought had a certain… Jealous ring to it, but Pete couldn’t help it.

It was the animal. The same animal that longed to walk up behind her, put his hands on those hips, and sink his teeth into that neck.. He wanted to bite her so bad, to lay claim to what was supposed to be his.. What made this even more difficult, he thought to himself, is that now that I’m gettin to know her proper.. I’m startin t’ really fall in love with her for myself.. It’s not just th’ animal ‘at wants her all to myself anymore.. It’s me too….

He raised his hand and wiped at his mouth, taking several deep breaths. Dragging that same hands through his hair seconds later as the Madonna song that had been playing turned to Lady Gaga and he heard her start to sing along.. He stifled a groan as one particular hip roll kicked up the hem of the shirt and revealed black lace.

If he were Mandrews or anyone else, he’d be trying to insert his entire fist in his mouth right now. 

He found the source of the music, her docked Iphone and he hit pause, clearing his throat just as she made her way past him with the pile of clothing in her hand. His eyes settled on her neck for a few seconds, lingering.. He swallowed hard. The desire to bite, to claim.. It got so much stronger. 

“Pete.. hi.. Tyler went jogging.” Barbie grimaced as yet again, the words she meant to say to Pete -my Alpha, her brain corrected sternly, came out in not a normal volume but something akin to a quieter mumble. “If you want to wait, he should actually be back in a few seconds.

That damned heat was intensifying. The scent of him was heavy, bursting into her nose, puncturing her awareness and making it difficult to focus on anything other than what she was aching for most.

there’s one problem here, Barbie… Pete is not your man.. Tyler is.. and what you’ve been fantasizing about since this whole heat thing started is.. It’s wrong… And besides, it is highly unlikely a man like Pete Dunne would ever give you a second thought for his Omega, even if Tyler weren’t your man… as soon as she had that thought, before she could stop it from forming, the frown formed and she raised her hand, dragging it through thick blonde curls. Pete’s eyes followed the movement of her hand before darting right back down to her neck and then lower. To her legs. He barely restrained a groan at the images that flooded him, the urge he had to pick her up, legs wrapped around his waist, sweeping all the stuff off the dining table nearby after sitting her on top.

 except I’m here pretending I want to see Bate… In reality, I’m here because I couldn’t fucking stay away. Not now, not when I can smell ya halfway across town.… He forced himself to stop thinking about his excuse so much and to just find a way to leave. Seeing Barbie like this, in the midst of her heat had not been one of his smarter ideas. And now, he needed to leave.

She was staring up at him, head tilted slightly and before he realized it, he stepped a little closer, staring right back down at her. “ I think I will stick around. Since y’ said it’s okay.”

.. wait, Pete, what in the entire fuck are you doing?… but he’d already said it. And besides, the other half of himself chimed in, she needs you close… without you close she can’t stay calm or cooled off properly… she’s in danger if you leave her side…

Oh but that side of himself would say anything just to stick close.

He flopped down onto the couch, legs spread, leaning back against the cushions and reaching for the remote, flipping through channels until he found a movie on that was at least halfway decent and wouldn’t bore him to death. She was still standing there, he could feel her staring. Finally she walked past and into the kitchen and Pete let out a long and shaky breath he didn’t even realize he held.

That heat she was going through?

It was.. the same for him; only rut. His entire body felt so hot he wanted to claw off his own damned skin. The inner animal was wide awake and it was getting so much harder to control and reign the inner animal back. 

It felt like hell for him, so when he realized that meant she had to be starting heat, he hadn’t been able to focus properly without at least stopping by. She’d been in the kitchen for more than six minutes now and concerned, Pete stood, making his way into the kitchen. She turned just as he stepped up behind her standing in front of the freezer with it’s door open wide and a zip loc bag of ice pressed against her neck.

Seeing the sway of her body, he grabbed hold of her hips. “Easy.” his lips may have brushed her outer ear when he spoke. He didn’t mean to do it because the result was a jolt straight through his body that felt like someone brushed a live wire to him. He tensed but swallowing hard, he distanced his mouth from her ear before he did something really stupid and.. started to dance those lips down the side of her neck… Sinking in his teeth when he reached that area of skin covering her scent glands..

He could almost taste her now. The thought and the scent of her and the way it felt, pressing against her from behind like he was and should not be were all combining to be an overwhelming thing and before he could stop himself, he was growling quietly to himself, his fangs starting to come out, making him swear to himself quietly and take a deep breath.. When he thought he had himself under control, the animal inside proved that wrong because suddenly, he was pressing closer.. He heard the exact second she felt the way his cock strained at his sweats because that gasp -and the sudden heaviness of her scent, that gave her away. That gasp was followed by a whimper and he clenched his fists. Coming by to see about her and make sure she wasn’t suffering too badly was NOT a good idea by any stretch. It was torture, not only for him, but for her. if he were smart, he’d leave.

If he didn’t stop himself, he reasoned in  an attempt to put a stop to it all, he was going to get carried away.

It surprised him when she turned to face him and stared at his mouth for a few seconds, not saying a single word.

… what the fuck are you thinking right now, Barbie? you know how hard this is for him… you know what you want so bad you’re clenching your thighs at the thought of is wrong.. what are you about to do?

She swallowed hard and plastered on a smile. A tight one, but hopefully a convincing one. “It’s so hot today.”

“Yeah. Yeah it is.” Pete realized he was leaning in and he managed to pull himself back before he did anything stupid. He managed to play it down and he reached past her, grabbing a bottled water from inside the fridge as he asked with a slight smirk, “Everythin okay, Barbie?”

“Oh yeah, yeah.. Totally..” Barbie managed to mumble as she took a few deep breaths and followed Pete back into the living room..

Chapter Text

“ Why are we doing this again?” Ray fidgeted and Mick smirked as he did so. Scoping out the party, Ray cringed at the varying levels of drunk that all of Sara’s friends seemed to be. Mick nudged him and then leaned in and whispered, “We’re doin it, haircut, because Sara is a friend.. And she specifically said she was not interested in any shenanigans tonight.. But what’s a bachlorette party without ‘em, huh? A tragedy, that’s what. So suck it up, buttercup. We’re goin out in a few minutes.”

“I’m gonna… go find some alcohol.” Ray told Mick over the music. He turned to walk away from the noise and the  dancing and the whole thing in general because he wasn’t exactly in a party frame of mind, and just as he wandered up the stairs of Sara’s childhood home, intending to find a quiet room to kind of.. Gather himself..

He collided with a blonde. A blonde he’d seen in pictures all around Sara’s house. A blonde he’d seen wandering past the comm screen on a video call in a  towel just one too many times. He tugged at his tie and she tilted her head to the side a little, staring up at him intently.

“I bet you came up to escape, didn’t ya? I was goin down to sneak up a bottle of rum. Makes studying infinitely more fun if the words are all blurry and I find myself bursting into spontaneous fits of giggles or singing “Where has the rum gone?”

Ray chuckled and leaned in a little. He could barely hear himself think over the noise in the little two story townhouse right now. Truth be told, he’d never really been that into crowds or parties. Then again, he thought to himself, to be fair, he’d never been invited to many.

… He is.. Even more handsome in person. And I’m willing to bet he thinks I’m just some dumb bimbo right now

“Your name is Alyssa right?”

“Yeah.. My sister is one of the brides.. Kind of planned this entire thing and then totally forgot to plan myself an convenient escape, so I’ve been hiding in my room. Tonight is abou Sara and Alex… I don’t wanna.. Be in the way. Wouldn’t be much of a party guest as I’m not feeling very festive at the moment.” Alyssa shrugged it off. Ray’s collar was crooked and it bugged her, so she rose to tiptoe and straightened it, nearly toppling into him as Felicity and Thea and Kaitlyn all raced upstairs, probably trying to beat one another to the bathroom. The end result was Alyssa, pressed against Ray and Ray’s back against the wall. She gave a sheepish little giggle and he shrugged, letting her know it was alright and he wasn’t bothered, his hands on her hips to keep her steady. 

The mention of studying perked his interest and he asked about it.

“Yeah.. I picked one hell of a career path. I had no clue I’d have to go through so much school to get a teaching degree.. Especially considering I wanna work with at risk kids or  kids with disabilities.. There’s just.. So much that goes into it all and I want to be the teacher that makes a difference.” she shuffled her feet, twisted a blonde curl around her fingertip as she stared up at him.

Ray grinned and then nodded to the party in full swing down below. “Doesn’t all the noise make it hard to study?”

“It’s no noisier than my dorm used to be.” Alyssa shrugged and then sighed and admitted with a nod, “Okay, yeah.. It does, but my sister is.. She’s the happiest I’ve seen her.”

“I get it. If you want to take a break, maybe we could talk or something? I mean, if you want to.”

“I’d love that, actually.. Do you drink, Dr. Palmer? Because I bartended and I’ve been told I make a pretty mean mixed drink.. If you wanna venture down and into the kitchen? I need to check the batch of jello shots I made earlier anyway.”

Before he could stop himself, he was nodding and following along. 

The kitchen was empty and Alyssa set to opening the refrigerator and pulling out the shots, sitting them on a counter. When she turned back around, she found herself body to body with Ray, who towered over her. She nodded to a higher cabinet.

“If you want.. There’s some bourbon in that cabinet. I just can’t quite reach. Short girl problems.” Alyssa shrugged and Ray laughed, reaching over her to grab the bottle. Alyssa took it, grabbed for a two liter of Dr. Pepper sitting nearby and poured the two into a glass, putting a cube of ice into it, holding it out to him.

“That’s actually not that bad.”

“You should be here on the Fourth of July. Did a drunk watermelon last year and.. My sister passed out on the stairs because she ate like half.”

“Oh wow..”

“Yeah.” Alyssa found herself fidgeting, not sure what to do with her hands. Once she had her own drink poured, she took a long sip and then eyed the laughing and dancing crowd in the living  room before looking back at Ray. “So.. What’s Mick’s big plan? Sara knows he’s up to something…”

“Magic Mike.. that is.. All I’m allowed to say. I’m not even gonna attempt to figure out how he and Snart talked me into it.”

“Oh my god.. They roped you into doing it too? Interesting.” Alyssa felt her cheeks heating up at the mental images in her head. Ray rubbed his hand over the back of his head and he shrugged. “I tried telling them I literally cannot.. Dance like that. Snart insists that we all have to do it. It’s tradition, Mick said. I say, if Sara wanted us all to shake our asses like that…” Ray trailed off, taking a bigger sip of the drink. Alyssa did the same, but it didn’t take her mind out of where her mind had went, and as a result, she choked and started coughing.

Ray patted her on the back and eyed her with concern. “Are you okay?”

“It went down wrong.” Alyssa giggled and when she found herself pressed right against Ray, she stared up at him a few seconds. Every part of her was beyond tempted to raise to tiptoe and fluff his hair or play with his tie, to touch him in some way.

“Yeah, well.. Be careful.” Ray chuckled as he said it. Her body brushed completely against his and she muttered quietly, “I fucking love this song.” as some older power ballad song he didn’t really recognize came on. She met his gaze and bit her lip, almost as if she wanted to ask something. Ray cleared his throat.

“If you wanna dance..” he suggested, trying to be casual about it.

“Yeah, I was kind of hinting… at that..” Alyssa admitted, giving that soft laugh again as she let him pull her closer.

From behind them, Sara cleared her throat. “So you did come down from your room, huh? And I see you finally met Ray face to face.” Sara flashed a grin at both of them and Ray looked from Sara to Alyssa, noting the blush and the way she gave her sister a slightly dirty look in teasing. He chuckled and spoke up. “Yeah, Alyssa and I were just talking.”

“It looked like you two were dancing to me. Come into the room with the actual party, you two are my family and I do want you here tonight.”

Alyssa and Ray shared a look and Ray slipped his arm around Alyssa, the two of them making their way to the next room. Mick gave him a smirk and Ray mouthed, “You and Snart and Nate can dance.”

“Wasn’t gonna make ya, haircut.. Just wanted to get ya livened up again. Been kinda down lately. Thought you could use tonight.” Mick muttered as he moved to stand next to Ray. Ray nodded and answered quietly, “Yeah. I think I did need it.” as he stole a glance at Alyssa, who was standing opposite her sister Sara, the two of them about to take a shot at the same time and he smiled to himself.

It felt good to smile again. It felt really good.

Chapter Text

Kittie sat at the bar, a finger trailing around the rim of her glass of Jack and Coke. Five more sat in front of her, the beginnings of a pyramid. Her eyes darted to the door of the bar and she grumbled when the person walking through wasn’t who she was expecting, but Baron Corbin instead.

“Just fucking great. Pretty sure he’ll have some remark to say about Ethan standing me up yet again. Just exactly what I needed to hear tonight.” 

As if on cue, she felt a finger tapping her shoulder.

“Go away, Corbin. Seat’s taken.”

“See, now, I’m hurt. Not even gonna attempt talkin to me?” - somehow, Kittie didn’t even have to be looking at the giant of a man to know he was probably giving that pouty smirk of his. … the one that secretly gets to me even if I’d rather die than admit anything… Sighing at the thought, Kittie turned around and her eyes met his just as she raised her hand to wipe at her eyes when she felt the first tear trickle down.

God, the last thing I need right now is for Baron Corbin to see me crying over Ethan Carter III. I’d never live it down. Ever. He seems to enjoy pointing out just how wrong for me Ethan is.

Baron bit his lip just to keep from growling in anger. If she was crying it wasn’t hard to guess why and just that thought had him wanting to storm the hotel and find Ethan.

… or get her outta here… get her all alone and finally just fucking talk to her… talking to her seems to be so much easier when she’s drunk and all those walls and all that conditioning and the whole ‘better than you’ thing are gone… but neither thing was a thing he’d come in here to do. He’d honestly just come in to have a drink because he was on edge and all worked up.

And naturally, it was all because of Kittie.

All she had to do lately was walk into a room and he felt himself tensing and oh so painfully aware of her.

“Jack and Coke.  On the rocks.” Baron called out to a bartender.

Kittie eyed him suspiciously and Baron rolled his eyes, moving to stand closer so he could be heard over the stupid music someone was playing in back. 

“Gonna try to get me e-even more d-drunk?”

“For your information, it’s for me. I came here to drink.” Baron eyed her and she fidgeted under his gaze. Breathing in and out, he finished, “And no, not cos of you. Because I wanted to drink.”

Kittie swallowed hard, nodding and eventually, muttering an apology.

“I don’t know why I e-expected him to show up tonight.” Kittie shifted her eyes to the door of the bar, tapping her bare foot against the rail of  the stool she sat on.

Baron eyed her warily.

Something was different about her tonight. Instead of getting all worked up and tempermental she was just sort of.. Quiet.

Like she’d been thinking.

Like she was more than just a little upset.

It probably wasn’t a good idea, but Baron found himself moving closer to her.

Kittie stared up at him, reaching back behind her to grab her glass and she went to raise it to her lips, but Baron grabbed hold of her hand and guided it to his own instead, giving her a look as he did so.

“Careful, darlin.. These will put ya right on your ass.” 

“I-I used t-to drink Jack and C-coke all the t-time, thank you.” Kittie mumbled it as she shook her head, adding that to the growing list of shit she’d changed about herself for Ethan because Ethan didn’t like it or something to that effect.

She’d given up all this shit for him and yet, she found herself thinking bitterly, he couldn’t be bothered to even attempt meeting her halfway.

“Right.” Baron chuckled, reaching out to steady her because she was constantly swaying and that alone told the tale. Looking down at her, he smirked and asked, “You gonna make it?”

“F-fuck you.” Kittie stammered, biting her lip as she stared up at Baron intently. She reached up before she could stop herself, toying with the collar on his leather jacket.  “S-see y-you’re f-finally done d-dressing like a c-corporate flunkie.” 

Baron swore under his breath and glared at her. When she gave a shrug and a sort of giggle and it hit him that she was being a little brat, he leaned in a little closer.

Kittie mirrored the posturing and he smirked as he stared her down. Shrugging nonchalantly, he mused aloud, “Thought you liked that whole suit and tie shit.” 

… which is why I’ve been wearing the damned vests and slacks and shit…

Kittie eyed him a few seconds, mulling over what he just said. She burst into laughter and when he gave her another one of those glares, she took a bigger sip of her drink, sitting it down.

“It d-didn’t suit y-you. T-this does.” she was threading her fingers in the collar of his jacket and he sucked in a breath as the gap between their bodies closed just a little more.

He’d die before admitting just how deep under his skin she was. But  yeah… Just thinking straight around her was a goddamn exercise in self control.

He’d been drawn to her since she and Ethan signed to the company. Maybe that’s why he spent a lot of time being such a dick.

Girls like her didn’t go for the guys with rough edges like him.

They went for prissy shitheads like Carter, apparently.

The guy had somehow even gotten Baron’s friend Alexa under his spell lately and just that thought had his stomach churning.

If Kittie had half a clue as to where her perfect man was tonight.. He pushed that down. He  suspected that Alexa and Ethan may well be hooking up, because they’d been flirting nonstop all week.

If his suspicions were right..

“Everything okay?” Baron asked, staring her down intently. 

 Kittie’s brow quirked as she stared into dark brown eyes and swayed a little, leaning forward before she could stop herself.

All she kept seeing was Ethan and Alexa, flirting right in front of her in catering earlier. 

… you should’ve just fucking ended it then.. Right in front of everyone…

That thought had her sighing again and shaking her head at herself. Baron’s hands went to her arms to steady her again and she leaned against him a little.

Baron tilted her chin up and Kittie swallowed hard, taking a deep breath. “S-shoulda just dumped him. I d-don’t k-know why I…” she tried to avert her gaze because this was not a conversation she wanted to be having with anyone, especially not Baron Corbin, the guy who took pleasure in being a total dick towards her…

But drunken words and sober truths.

It was apparently going to happen, whether she wanted it to or not.

“Ya didn’t cos you care about him. I dunno why, he’s a shitbag..” Baron answered, trailing off, not at all sure what to do about anything taking place at the moment.

Oh he knew what he wanted to do. But wanting to do a thing and it being the right thing to do, - the best thing to do, that was a totally different story. Because the best thing to do in this case would clearly be to leave.

Let her work through this on her own like he’d typically do with anyone else. Crying and hurt females weren’t… -and never had been, his strong suit. 

… but you have a certain weak spot for this particular one… the thought plagued him no matter how much he tried to ignore it. The thought had him tensing even more, almost painfully aware of how tipsy she was and how close she was standing and the way it felt with her standing that way, body all pressed right up against him.

… but girls like her don’t go for the kinda guy I really am. And until her, I was totally fuckin fine with that.. Preferred it… he couldn’t help but begrudgingly have the thought. And that thought had him frowning in irritation at himself.

Kittie seemed to pick up on his irritation and she pried herself away, shaking her head, preparing to turn back around and leave Baron to his drinking that he claimed he came to do. She was obviously annoying him.

She figured sooner or later it would happen. It always did.

… which kind of sucks when lately all you find yourself able to think about is him and the way you feel…. Alive? Like your own person? Whenever he’s around and you’re fighting with him about one dumb shit thing or another… She had to admit it. Ethan wasn’t the warmest person for the most part.

And there was something warmer.. Downright hot, if she had to be honest, about the way she and Baron tended to push each other’s buttons. There was all this underlying tension there, the air littered with things not said. And even when they did push each other’s buttons, she found herself incapable of not… Touching the guy. 

Despite her best efforts.

Like now, even though she knew he was beyond annoyed for whatever reason she still found herself inching closer.. Sliding her fingers over the leather jacket’s zip front. Staring up at him.

Just as she dropped her hand and was about to turn facing the front, Baron grabbed hold of her hand, eyeing her.

“Fuck it. I can’t just keep pretendin…” 

“What? I was gonna  leave you alone.. You were getting that annoyed look.” Kittie bit her lip and Baron shook his head, grumbling as he leaned in real close, hands on either side of her body, pinning her back right against the bar’s edge. Those long legs were on either side of his body and he growled quietly. “Not annoyed, okay? Just stop talking.” her body was pressed completely against him and his hands moved over her thighs, sending a shiver he felt under his touch as it  passed through her body. 

“Okay, sorry.. I just..”

His hand raised and tangled in her hair, resting on the back of her neck as he started to kiss her, groaning at the softness of her lips and the flavor of the gloss she was wearing. “You taste like cotton candy, you know that.” he muttered quietly, fingers tugging at her hair, pulling her mouth against his harder and deeper. His other hand squeezed her thigh, a smirk forming at the quiet whimper she let out at the touch. 

It confirmed what he suspected. Carter just liked flaunting her around like arm candy. Beyond that, the douche probably ignored her.

This kiss had to.. Spark something. It had to stay in her mind like she wouldn’t stay out of his. It had to make her see that while he might not be her usual choice, he was an option and he was more than sick of sticking back, waiting for a good moment.

Waiting wasn’t his style and it never had been.

“ Lipgloss.” Kittie managed to mumble into the kiss as her fingers dug into the front of his jacket, gripping, pulling herself even closer to him. His hand crept up her skirt higher and he asked quietly, “Wanna get the hell out of here?”

“Depends.. Are you gonna be you or are you gonna send out that pesky evil clone of yours that’s been lingering way too fucking long already?”

“I’m back, baby girl. Tonight is all me.”

Kittie eyed him, but giggled into his mouth as he picked her up, starting to carry her out the door of the bar, right past Ethan, who cleared his throat.

“Oh yeah.. It’s over, Ethan.”

“You’ll regret it.”

Kittie looked from man to man and took a deep breath, shaking her head. “No, Ethan, I actually don’t think I will.”

“Think about what you’re doing!” Ethan called out, but Baron was already carrying her out the door, lingering long enough to give Ethan this cocky smirk and shrug as Kittie whined impatiently, “I wanna leave. C’mon, Baron..”

Chapter Text

Barbie was.. Beyond exhausted. She curled herself against Pete, lips pressing against his. Apparently, the kiss was a little chaste for her Alpha, because Pete gripped her jaw, holding her mouth in place as he kissed back harder and deeper. Her lips were aching and she’d be willing to bet that if she were  to look into a mirror right now, they’d be swollen and bruised. Not to mention the bite marks  and bruises littering her skin. She rubbed against him and he growled quietly, staring at her before raising up slightly, pressing his lips against her forehead as his fingers tugged at messy blonde curls. “That was amazing, fuck.” she managed to gasp as Pete shrugged, giving a cocky smirk.

Normally, he’d be getting up  and going to shower. Instead,  he lie there in the  darkness of his bedroom holding Barbie against him, one hand ghosting over her sides, squeezing  and caressing. She whimpered and rubbed herself against him  as he grabbed hold of her ass, squeezing and sort of grinding her against him. “Pete..”

“Yeah, love?” his voice came out this perfect mix of velvet and growl and Barbie licked her lips, slipping a bare leg over his hip as she raised her hand, resting it against his cheek, pulling his mouth  back against hers.

Nobody warned her  that the whole process was  going to be quite this intense and yet, she didn’t mind it at all, even if a bit overwhelmed.

Not to mention well fucked, sore and.. Very needy at the moment.

They hadn’t been able to fight it off anymore. When he’d shown up at her apartment earlier that night,  she’d still been trying to figure out how to explain things to him; weighing whether or not  to tell him that he was her true Alpha.

Turns out he’d known.

He just hadn’t wanted to mess up things between her and Tyler.

“Everythin alright?” Pete asked the  question sleepily and Barbie nodded, trailing her hand away from his cheek down the front of his chest, letting it linger over his heart as she yawned too and answered a quiet “Yeah. Better than alright. You weren’t…. Gonna leave right away..”

“Not goin anywhere, blondie.” Pete answered as he brushed some hair out of her eyes  and  chuckled. “Except maybe th’ kitchen.”

“Now that you mention it.. I am kind of hungry myself..” Barbie raised to sit and Pete slid out of bed, grabbing hold of her, lifting her out of the bed. “I have legs, Pete.”

“And a nice arse too.” he taunted, making her mumble something quietly against his neck and nip at the exposed skin there. “If people realized  that you’re more teddy bear than actual scary bear, sir, you would truly be fucked.”

“And at’s why it’s goin t’ stay between you n me.” Pete answered, sitting her on top of her counter as he turned his attention to her fridge and raiding it, handing her one of those disgusting grape flavored drinks she liked for whatever reason and chuckling as he turned to look at her.

“What?”

“Woman there’s no food in ‘ere.”

“There is, it’s just quick.”

He shook his head at her quirky eating habits and when he felt her legs wrap around his waist and her chin rest against his shoulder, he turned to face her, grabbing for the soda can in her hands, sitting it on the counter as he pressed into her heavily, rubbing against her and growling quietly. Her thighs tightened at his hips and she deepened the kiss, her teeth tugging at his lip as she mumbled quietly, “Mmm.. love the way you kiss me.”

“Oh really.. Do y’ now?” he mumbled into the kiss, staring at her.

“Mhm.’  her body arched against him, her tits dragging right against his bare chest, making him groan quietly. “Fuck.. do ‘at again.”

When she did it again, his fingers dug into her ass and he growled into her mouth, “Keep goin’.”

“And what if I do, hmm?”

“Y’ won’t be walkin anywhere in th’ morning.” Pete promised, sliding her off the counter top and starting to carry her back down the hallway and into her bedroom..

Chapter Text

The dress looked so tight she couldn’t breathe and clearly, any idiot could see how uncomfortable she was from a mile away.  Roderick glared at Jordan Devlin,  who was all but flaunting her at anyone who could see and would post about it somewhere online and frankly, that just didn’t sit well with Roderick Strong at all.

He shook his head and waved the barkeep over. Nodding to Angel, he slid the guy a twenty and told him “Hey…  Send the blonde a drink on me. She looks like a Jack and Coke kinda girl.”

The barkeep scoffed but took the money, put it in the register and mixed the shot. Passing it off to a drink carrier. Roderick turned to watch what happened.

Jordan had wandered off, probably more concerned with his friends and his so called image to even be bothered with the blonde he’d been practically dragging around for the duration of the week. Roderick noticed that about the kid, he only wanted the sexy little blonde around when it benefitted him. Any other time, she was left to her own devices.

And Roderick caught himself lingering nearby, watching from the sidelines, drawn to her. Every single thing about her had his full and undivided attention.

Across the club, Angel felt a tap to her shoulder and she turned, thinking maybe this time, Jordan would do the  smart thing and be ready to go before he made a complete ass of himself like two nights ago;  a senseless fight with Roderick Strong for no reason other  than Roderick simply saying hi and attempting conversation.

 at least he treats you like an actual human and not some toy he can take out and show off to his idiot friends…

Instead of Jordan, she found a drink server standing there, holding out a Jack and Coke. “But I didn’t..” she trailed off as the server leaned in and flashed a conspiratorial grin, nodding in the direction of Roderick Strong.

Politely, Angel waved and took a sip of the drink. After being absolutely sure that the coast was clear and Jordan was otherwise occupied - taking selfies with some of the guys in back of the bar no doubt, Angel wandered over and slid onto the vacant stool beside Roderick.

“Gotta ask ya, darlin.. If he makes ya that unhappy, why are you even with the guy?”

“I’m not unhappy, just..” Angel trailed a red tipped finger around the rim of the shot glass as she mulled over her choice of words. A sigh came and she mumbled quietly, “He said that if I came out with him, we’d get to spend more time together. What he didn’t mention was that he was going to spend at least half of it being an ass.”

“It’s cos you’re with a boy and not a man.” maybe being so blunt wasn’t the best thing, but Roderick was not one to mince words and he didn’t intend to start now.

Angel eyed him, mouth opening and closing not quite sure how to respond to what Roderick said.

Knowing deep down that Roderick hit  the nail on the head.

She waved the barkeep over and ordered another shot and not daring to meet his gaze, she  asked the question that had her curious.. Well, the safer of the two  at least.

“How’d you know?”

The music changed and  got louder and it forced Roderick to lean into hear her. She was quiet. Too quiet.

Not a big fan of social shit, if he had to guess. Then again, to be fair if it weren’t for her being here tonight, Roderick never would’ve  even given the place a sideways glance. But when he was driving past and he saw the prick Devlin’s car parked outside, he just.. He had to go.

She always looked so damn alone and despite his  best efforts lately, he couldn’t seem to fucking stay away or ignore the pull he felt.

Like now, even leaning in close wasn’t enough. Because see, now that he’d leaned in, he wanted to raise his hand, tuck the stray strands of blonde behind her ear just to see if her hair was really as soft as it looked like it’d feel.

Her perfume was stronger tonight. Sweeter too.

… maybe there’s a reason I’m so drawn to ‘er…

He filed it away.

“How’d I know what, darlin?”

“The drink. How’d you know I liked Jack and Coke?”

“Lucky guess.” Roderick gave a mysterious shrug and he glanced around the crowd. Devlin was nowhere to be  seen. A slower song came on  and Roderick had the passing thought that if there eer was a time to ask her to dance, it’d be now.

He stood and held out his hand.

Angel eyed it -and then him,  warily at first. He pretended to pout a little, and she glanced around. Seeing Jordan was nowhere to be found like usual as of late, she grabbed hold of his hand and let him lead her out on the floor.

The way he pulled her as close as he could get her took her by surprise. There was no hesitance. There was no awkwardness, it felt natural to be pressed against him the way she was. His hands slid down her back and rested on her hips and she couldn’t help the little gasp she gave as her entire body went from a nice normal temperature to suddenly feeling as if she stood in the middle of an inferno or a sauna.

He’d barely touched her and yet, her thighs were slipping off each other every single time she moved. She found herself snugging even closer against him and when he barely managed to stop a quiet groan, she looked up at him and found him already staring back.

His eyes were practically glowing gold.

If she were in front of a mirror, she’d be willing to bet that hers  were the same right now, because the mental images in her mind were.. Anything but tame.

The heavy and dizzying scent of him had her clinging but he didn’t  seem to care. It was  refreshing really. Jordan only seemed to be into PDA when it suited him. Any other time she was left to her own devices.

 it feels so good being wanted…  not settled for or used…

“What’s on ya mind, darlin?”

“Nothing I was just.. Thinking.”

“About?” Roderick gazed down at her and waited on an answer while thinking to himself, “If it’s about kissin me, then I have to agree, darlin. If you knew half the things I wanted to do right now…” and trying like hell to keep that inner animal from escaping it’s cage and making him do something to blow this.

So far, it was going good. Better than he thought.

Angel  couldn’t take it anymore. The urge to pull him down to her level and kiss him until his lips bruised or she passed out from lack of oxygen was so strong that she literally had to dig her fingertips into his shoulder and where her other hand rested against his chest, palm down.  She bit down on her lip and Roderick growled before he could stop himself.

“C’mon now, darlin, don’t go all shy on me now.” he coaxed, his hands leaving her hips and resting on her ass, squeezing a handful through the constricting fabric he wanted nothing more than to tear off her body. He pulled her up a little, his mouth inching closer and closer with each second. Angel found herself leaning in and mirroring it before she could stop herself. It was wrong but it felt oh  so right. And she was a little more than over fighting  the whole pull she’d felt towards Roderick since they met.

“Fuck.” she felt like ants were crawling beneath her skin and her entire body was so tense.. Not in a bad way. No, in a good way. A very good way. A way she hadn’t felt in a while now.

Unless her vibratior or own hand was the cause, of course.

For as much as Jordan Devlin liked to brag about his prowess, he was harmless as a box of newborn kittens.

Roderick smirked and when her lips brushed against his as she said it, he groaned against her mouth, any shred of self control he had remaining going SNAP!’ and leaving that inner animal to take over. And when the other side did..

Angel sucked in a sharp breath as her cunt literally started to throb with need and anticipation. All they were doing was dancing and she felt like she’d get off at any second. Yeah, it’d been that long,  but somehow,  she was not entirely sure that was the reason.

She got the  distinct feeling that Roderick Strong was.. Like this at all times.

… but not with everyone but you like you suspect Jordan is… I mean there has to be some reason Jordan suddenly isn’t in a big hurry to be intimate lately. If he’s not getting it from you, Angel use a little common sense

“Still waitin on you to tell me what’s on that pretty little mind of yours, darlin.” Roderick’s lips brushed against hers  with each word and as he finished speaking he couldn’t resist the urge he had to nip at her lower lip softly, tugging.

“You’re teasing me now.” Angel pouted as her eyes met his  and he chuckled, shaking his head. “It’s not a tease if it’s right here waitin, princess.” he challenged and she gasped quietly, because their bodies happened to rub together as Roderick slid her up his body, muscular forearms hooking around each of her thighs as she wrapped her legs around his hips  and her arms around his neck.

A shiver passed down his body as she toyed with the ends of his hair -even tugging a little.

“Easy princess.. Lemme get us outta here first.” Roderick mumbled against her mouth as he started to navigate the crowd clumsily.

That last thin shred of restraint snapped the  second they were out the door of the nightclub and moving past the alley.  Roderick stepped into the alley, putting her up against a wall for support. The kiss deepened, teeth tugging at soft plump lips, tongue boldly opening her mouth wider  and then dominating her tongue. The little moan she gave at that told him everything he needed to know about just how well Jordan took care of her.

And if what he suspected was true, that was all about to change. He’d fight the kid to the death if he had to because Angel belonged with him and not  to Jordan fuckin Devlin.

Angel’s hands were all over him and she was bouncing up and down in his arms  desperate to get as much friction as possible. The more she rubbed against him, the more soaked she got. Roderick growled deep in his chest as soon as he realized just how wet she actually was. “Fuck, baby girl. Damn.”

“Roderick.”

“Yeah, princess?” if his tone was distracted it was because he was trying to focus on anything beyond just what exactly he wanted to do  to her so bad he could taste it.. The thought was immediately perceded by him wondering just how sweet she’d taste. “Stop me if I’m goin too far.”  he warned as she answered with a begging and breathless moan and a harder rub right against his aching cock.

“Wanna take you darlin.. Right here, right now.”

“God, fuck..  Do it. Need it, Roderick.. Need.. You.” she managed to gasp as Roderick stood her on her own feet,  earning him a pout but causing Angel to immediately press against him as close as possible. Her hand wandered down, palmiing  at the bulge prominent against his jeans and his hand circled her wrist, holding it in place as he bucked against her hand and leaned in, kissing her again, deeper and harder.

“You sure? Because this happens and ya mine, baby girl. All mine. And I’m not gonna leave a single part of ya unmarked.”

She cupped the bulge, toying with it and he growled into her mouth in warning as his hand made it’s  way up the hem of her dress. She raised her leg to his hip and as soon as his hand ghosted over the insides of her thigh and came away wet, he swore . Angel gave an impatient whine and Roderick asked quietly, “Ready to be so well fucked that y’ forget whats his name?”

“God..  yes..” her head fell back as thick digits slipped past lace and worked her open, fucking into her slowly. She leaned heavily against the wall and worked on getting her hand down the front of his pants. The second her hand curled around his cock, Roderick sucked in a breath and bit his lip, fingers moving faster  just to watch the way her back arched and the look in her eyes.

She was close, he could practically smell it on her. He slowed down drastically and slipped his fingers out  of her cunt, raising his hands to slide them between his lips, staring at her intently as he groaned at the taste of her filing his mouth.

“Tell me somethin, princess?” he asked as he pressed himsef into her heavily, a knee sliding between her legs to keep them open, keep their bodies connected a little better.

“Yeah?”

“That little boy of yours ever want you so bad he dragged ya out of a nightclub and took ya right out in plain sight?”

“No.” she whimpered, grinding herself against his knee, frustrated because she’d been so fucking close.  Roderick’s head dipped  down and he latched onto her neck, biting down. “Everything about ya drives me fuckin insane.  So sweet.. S oft..  Fuck… Gotta have ya to myself.” his lips left her neck and he started to work his way down her body, hitting his knees in front of her. The scent of her was driving him right into a frenzy and all he wanted to do was get another  taste.

“Roderick, c’mon.” she begged and tried to grip his hair to guide his mouth where she wanted it most at the moment. Roderick chuckled and mumbled against her thigh, “Gonna give me all of it? Because I’m so fuckin hungry right now, baby girl.”

He tugged her panties down and the second she felt his tongue and fingers buried deep in her cunt again,  she whimpered, hips rocking as fast as  she could manage. He growled at the taste of her as it filled his mouth.

When he got her back to the hotel, all bets were fucking off.

He was going to show her just how much difference being with a man and not a boy really did make. He was going to show her just what she could expect from now on. He was going to take her for himself.

Chapter Text

“What the hell are you doing up there, Carlie? You’re gonna break  your ass.” Big E’s statement made Carlie jump a little and as a result, she did wind up almost losing her footing. She got the radio off the shelf and lowered it down to Big E.

“What the hell was this doing up there, lil bit?”

“I put it there.”

“Say what?” Big E raised a brow and Carlie gave a sheepish laugh and hopped down from the counter, smoothing her hands down the front of her jeans. She tilted her head to the side and dragged her fingers through her hair and explained casually, “I put it there to have an excuse to get Curtis in here.”

“Curtis.. Oh, Axel.. Wait, why?”

“Because.. I don’t know, okay?”

Big E thought back to the past few weeks since she’d gotten a spot on the glam squad with the main roster. His eyes lit up and he chuckled, closing the door to the room quickly.

“You’re crushing on him, huh?”

“Yes and it’s the only frickin way I can think to… Interact with him. He keeps to himself way too much.  Unless Bo or Heath are around.”

Big E chuckled and teased his friend gently, “You do realize you could just talk to the guy, right? You don’t have to keep climbing things and putting things out of your own reach.. Or tripping.”

“Hey, that wasn’t planned. I’m clumsy, remember?”

“Riiight little bit. Riiiight.” Big E was teasing her again and Carlie sent her hand lazily against his upper arm, giggling.

“You hit like a girl.”

“Uh, duh?” Carlie teased. 

She bit her lip and glanced at the open door when she thought she heard Curtis and Bo laughing out loud in the hallway.

“You’ve got it bad, girl.” Big E assessed and Carlie muttered quietly, “It seems I do, Mr. Big.” as she tore her eyes off the doorway. Big E nodded to the radio that sat on the highest shelf in the room. “Talking to the guy is always an option too,  little bit. Think about it, maybe?” 

“I will, just.. Doing this kinda.. He always gives me this amused smirk and it makes my day.. Besides, I kinda feel like.. Maybe.. Forget it, it’s stupid.”

“No, what?”

“ Maybe he likes it when I ask him to do little things like this? Like.. we both know that he’s been frustrated as of late.”

“I take it back. You don’t just have it bad, Carlie.. You have the worst case ever of having it bad.” Big E chuckled to himself as he walked out of the room.

The idea hit him halfway down the hallway.

Maybe he could do some sleuthing around and find out if Curtis felt the same way.. And maybe if it turned out the guy did, maybe Big E could maneuver events so that the two wound up actually having to interact a fair bit more.

And maybe, he found himself smirking at the thought, maybe things would finally click.

He saw the way Carlie lit up around the guy and he remembered her last relationship and a few others prior. All he wanted was his friend to have everything she wanted. To show her that she wasn’t unlucky, she just didn’t have the guts to actually go for what she really wanted. He wanted her to see that when she did go for what she actually wanted as opposed to just settling, things could be so much better.

And it wasn’t a secret that Curtis had been going through it lately, either. Maybe having someone around the guy who believed in him and bought him out of his shell and made him go outside his comfort zone like he knew Carlie well enough to know she would.. Maybe that would be good for him too.

So, Big E set off to find Heath and Bo and hopefully, find some answers.

X

Curtis happened to walk past her work area and Carlie called his name, stopping him. He chuckled when she stepped out, shuffling her feet and tilting her head to the side a little to look up at him while explaining that somehow, the idiots in charge of setting up her work area put her radio on a shelf over her head.

“And you want me to get it down, huh?”

He’d never own up to it but he kind of.. No he really liked the way she always seemed to ask him to do these little things. He realized  that she probably only did it because no one else ever happened to be around and he had to admit that his tendency to linger close to her might well be the reason she never bothered to ask one of the other guys in back, but this small sliver of hope always rose up whenever she’d ask.

Carlie nodded and then opened the door to her workspace and stepped out of his way.

“It’s up there.”

Curtis eyed the shelf and then her and she bit her lip, mumbling an apology as she held his gaze.

She had this look in her eyes again. She always looked like she was on the verge of saying something else to him but she never did. Curtis shook the thought from his mind and cleared his throat.

“That’s the fourth time they’ve set your workspace up with things out of your reach.. If you want me to talk to ‘em, darlin..” Curtis reached up, grabbing the radio and sat it down on the countertop beneath the shelf as he turned to her and realized just how close she’d been standing behind him when he found himself body to body with her. Carlie shook her head and sighed. “Won’t do any good. I swear they only halfway listen.”

She was migrating a little closer, her fingertips toying with the strings on his hoodie. He swallowed hard and shook his head, staring down at her.

… If she had one tenth of a clue… she’d probably laugh her ass off… the thought jarred him back into the present and out of his own mind and he cleared his throat, nodded towards the door. “I should umm.. Go get ready for my match.”

“You’ve got this big guy.” she was staring up at him and she rose to tiptoe, booping the tip of his nose playfully and smiling at him.

 she has the prettiest smile…

“Not according to the higher ups. I gotta take another L tonight.” Curtis grumbled, shaking his head. When she  stepped a little closer, he almost gasped at the way she brushed against him.

 you’re imagining things do not overthink this…

“Screw the higher ups. They’re idiots. I tell Big E this all the time.” Carlie threaded her fingers through the strings of his hoodie again and for a few seconds, she caught the look in his eyes again, the frustrated lost one and she almost went for it, pressed her lips against a strong and stubble lined jaw.

His cologne lingered in the air between them and she breathed in deeply, taking in as much of the crisp and clean scent she could. 

“Yeah, well.. Anyway.. I’ll see you around.” Curtis raised a hand, rubbing it over the back of his head before stepping out into the hallway where he was taken off to the side by Big E, Heath and Bo.

“Tell ‘im what you were tellin us, E.”

Curtis looked from Heath to Big E and waited. “Well?”

Bo grumbled and then spoke up before Big E could even open his mouth because he was just that excited for his friend. “E thinks.. No, he’s pretty damn sure that Carlie has a thing for you too! That’s great, right? Now you can stop dragging your ass and do something before you drive me and Heath insane.” 

Big E turned an intent gaze to Curtis who grumbled at Bo, “Thanks big mouth. Thanks a lot.”

“What? It’s the truth and you need to do something about it.” Bo shrugged, not even bothered by Curtis’ words. Bo spoke up again, nodding to the closed door of Carlie’s workspace. “Did you actually talk to her for a change?”

“Yeah, I mean.. Kinda.. One of the backstage guys put her radio on a shelf out of her reach. I swear I’m gonna talk to ‘em about doing that shit.” Curtis happened to glance towards the door just in time to see Carlie walk out and then go down the hall into catering, sandwiched between Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss, the three of them talking and laughing a mile a minute. 

Big E chuckled  and shook his head at the answer Curtis gave. He could have spoken up, he could have told Curtis the truth, but given what he gathered in talking to Bo and Heath, the guy was completely oblivious.

And it was amusing as hell to Big E.

Now he just had to figure out a way to get the two interacting.. And he might just have gotten the perfect idea.

Now all he had to do was drag Carlie to the next UpUpDownDown.

He chuckled to himself and made an excuse to duck out of the conversation, setting off to explain to Kofi and Xavier what was going on.

They’d probably wanna be in on it too.

X

She’d seen the match end and she bit her lip, shaking her head at the screen. “They’re wasting so many of these people, I swear.”

Knowing Curtis was probably going to be in a mood, she made her way down to catering and upon spotting him after grabbing her bottled water, she made her way over.

“It was still a really good match.” she sat down next to him and toyed with the top on the bottle, making it seem as if she couldn’t get it open. It  wasn’t entirely a lie, her fake nails made it damn impossible to do anything. Grumbling, she sat the bottle down and Curtis chuckled, taking it, twisting off the top. He glanced  at her nails and she bit her lip, raising her hand so he could see them better.

“I.. got bored during that whole nonsensical spot with Shane. So I stupidly put these fuckers on. Forgot just how little you can do with fake nails in the way.”  she gave a sheepish smile and Curtis laughed, shaking his head. 

“I can imagine.” he mused, taking a sip of his own water. She was leaning in a little and the faintest hint of cotton candy scented perfume filled the air. It was more than a little comforting if he had to admit it.

… just do something for the love of fuck…

… but what if she isn’t flirting and only sees you as a friend… 

A throat cleared and Xavier, Kofi and Big E took up the seats on the opposite side of the table. Xavier spoke up.

“So, we’re on for upupdowndown later?”

Curtis eyed him and then Kofi reminded him that he was supposed to be playing Seth again.

Big E eyed Carlie and mouthed, “Well? You could come too.. Becky’s gonna be there..” and Carlie gave Big E a look but surprised herself by speaking up.

“I think I might check out this show of yours, E.”

Big E smirked and nodded. “Finally. I’ve only been trying to get your ass to show up for a thousand years, little bit.”

“I don’t know shit about video games but from what I’ve seen when I watched it on youtube, it looks like fun.”

Kofi smiled, nudging Xavier who added, “Actually, we were thinking.. Since Seth’s gonna have Becky there and Carlie just said she’d finally come sit in.. Maybe Carlie could play with you? We could have games against each other or play teams against Seth and Becky. Pretty sure those two will be down for whatever.”

“You don’t wanna do that, he’ll lose because I promise you,I have not one fucking clue what to do with a video game…” Carlie started but Big E spoke up, cutting her off before she could try to back out.

“We’ll pick something easy.”

“Right.”

Carlie eyed Curtis and Curtis chuckled and nodded as he told her, “I’d be fine with it. I mean if you really want to.” 

“Okay, but I mean it. I’m going to be the reason you wind up losing at whatever we play.. If you’re okay with that, I’d like to.” Carlie found herself migrating a little closer, giving a playful look as she answered Curtis. Big E chuckled to himself and spoke up again. “It’s gonna go down tonight. When we’re all set up back at the hotel. I think we’ll be able to use that one lounge area. Carlie, you could bring the cupcakes….” he gave his best friend a hopeful look and Carlie giggled quietly and nodded. 

“I dunno where I’ll bake them, but I can try.”

“Cupcakes?” Curtis asked, looking from Big E to Carlie  who shrugged. “My mom made cupcakes once when these three stopped by. I rode with them from one town to the other and she fed us all. Made them her famous cupcakes and now Big E asks for them a lot since he figured out that I bake too. I mean not nearly as good but I try.”

“Girl.. Do not even.” Xavier spoke up over her, telling Curtis, “This woman is really good at baking. Don’t let her lie to you, man.”

“Okay, alright. I’ll bring cupcakes. I think I can get Brie and Daniel to let me use the stove in their RV.”

“Awesome! We’ll see you two tonight then!”

As New Day walked away, Carlie gave Curtis a sheepish look and asked, “You’re sure you’re okay with a potential loss?”

“We might not even play teams.. Might wind up playing against one another.” Curtis mused, giving a playful smirk as he added quickly, “But don’t worry.  I’ll take it easy on you.”

“If they’re playing Mortal Kombat though..”

“ So you have played a video game before.”

“And I was pretty damn good at that one. That and Mario Kart. You’re on, Curtis. You are on.”  Carlie flirted, flashing a playful grin as she did.

X

“You realize she only asks you to do all that stuff, right? And she’s only askin you for a reason.” Heath tried to point it out to his friend and Curtis raised a brow, shaking his head. “It’s because I’m usually the only one around.”

“No, no it’s not.. Not according to Big E.” Bo started, but Heath gave him a look and shook his head. Curtis saw the look and the way Heath shook his head and he turned his attention to Bo.

“What do you mean not according to Big E?”

Heath grumbled and Bo shook his head. “I’m not going to keep this to myself. Something has to get through to the idiot, Slater!”

“Hey, I am standin right here, Bo.”

“And you’re an idiot.. Now do you wanna hear what I was told, Axel, or are you going to continue to foolishly insist that you’re right and we’re all wrong?”

“Okay, fine.. Color me curious.”

“The stage hand didn’t put that radio out of her reach. She did.”

Curtis started to laugh and when he saw Heath and Bo’s serious facial expressions, he stopped and raised a brow. “Why would she do that? She didn’t, that’s stupid…”

“Oh but she  did, man. E said he caught her doin it. And that he thinks it ain’t the first time, either. That maybe quite a few of her incidents are.. Her trying to make an excuse to be around you… Like the whole ‘oh crap, my swimsuit top came untied?’” Heath smirked as he watched Curtis attempting to process  what he and Bo were saying.

“But..” he trailed off, Bo and Heath weren’t going to listen to reason and maybe hearing them out wasn’t that bad of an idea.

“No buts. I’m telling you, she’s flirting. Why the hell do you think when I asked if she needed help with her luggage at the airport she said no to me but then you walked past and she’s suddenly wanting someone to help her? I mean.. It makes sense, Curtis. Think a little, jesus.” Bo sighed and shook his head, giving a know it all grin.

“And the little nose boops, man.. Or the way she fluffs your hair and stuff. She’s always touchin you and.. She’s not touchy. At least, not with anybody else but you.” Heath added, staring his friend down intently -almost daring him to make an argument against what he said. Curtis could deny,deny,deny all he wanted, but Heath was convinced that Big E was on to something.

Because after Big E asked the questions he had earlier, it really got both Bo and himself thinking and talking about the  situation with their best friend and his feelings for Carlie.

And her little cues were kind of hard to miss unless you were totally oblivious.

“You guys really think so?”

“We wouldn’t have even mentioned it if we weren’t.” Bo assured him and then a second later he asked the million dollar question.

“What are you going to do now that you know what you know?”

“I don’t know. I really don’t know.”

X

By the time that night rolled around, he’d at least halfway come up with some kind of game plan. He found himself both excited and extremely anxious about it because there was the chance that his friends and Big E were totally wrong.

 but Big E caught her moving that radio herself…

… you can attempt flirting and see what happens. Couldn’t hurt…

He happened to get behind her while waiting on the elevator and he sniffed the air, eyes settling on the muffin tin with cupcakes in it. 

“Take one. It’s not a big deal.” Carlie offered as she shuffled her feet and tried like hell not to stare at him like an ass.. Or his lips, rather. Because as he took a cupcake and bit into it, the whole process only drew further attention to his mouth and before Carlie could stop herself, she’d sort of… Gasped quietly.

She felt her cheeks going red.

Curtis heard the little gasp and he bit his lip, staring at her while she was staring down at the floor. He groaned as he ate the cupcake.

It practically melted in his mouth.

Just as she looked up, he licked the icing on his finger off and she swallowed hard. Took a small step closer. The ding of  the elevator signalled that they were arriving in the lobby and he cleared his throat, nodding at the doors as they slid open. 

“And we’re in the lobby. I can carry those..” Curtis nodded to the muffin tin and took it, falling into step beside Carlie who stopped about halfway and leaned against him as she took off a pair of impossibly high wedge sandals she was wearing. He chuckled and stared down at her.

“You’re really short.”

“Oh hahaha bite me.” Carlie teased, adding in her mind, … actually, anywhere you wanna bite me is fine if you ever wanna take me up on that… but not daring to say it. She felt his hand at the small of her back and she glanced up at him, tempted beyond temptation to raise to tiptoe, pull him down into a kiss.

She settled for simply booping the tip of his nose playfully when she couldn’t resist touching him in some way. Curtis leaned in closer and took a deep breath, mentally prepping himself to do what he’d been thinking he’d do.

Start small.

He raised his hand and brushed back some hair out of her eyes, catching and holding her gaze, giving her a playful smirk as he reached around her, lightly pressing into her from behind and opened the door to the room upupdowndown was set up in.

Just as he went to step into the room he muttered against her ear, “Relax, Carlie. It’s gonna be fun. If you need any help figuring things out…”

“Oh believe me. I’m going to take you up on that. I have not one fucking clue how to operate one of those..” she nodded at the gaming console  sitting on a low table in the middle of the room.

Seth called out to Curtis and Becky gave a knowing grin to Carlie who waved back. 

“Least ah’m not t’ be th’ only girl.” Becky gave a laugh and then nodding at Curtis she mouthed, “Are y’ a thing?”

Carlie shook her head and mouthed back, “It’s tricky.” and Becky gave her a thumbs up.

After Xavier explained how they’d play and what game they were going to play, Carlie jumped up in excitement when he said it was going to be Mortal Kombat to start off with.

“Curtis, do you and Carlie want to go against each other first?”

“Ready to lose, darlin?”

“Bring it on, Axel. Bring it on.” Carlie joked.

Given there wasn’t much room to sit, Carlie settled on the floor with her back against Curtis’ knees. After a few failed attempts at making a combination move -and not being able to figure out how to make Jade move to begin with, Curtis decided to try stepping it up.

He reached around her with both arms and paused the game, telling Xavier, “Maybe if we played teams and took turns? That way I can help Carlie get used to this controller.”

Big E chuckled to himself. Maybe he’d been right.

Maybe things were going to fall into place, and a lot easier than he thought.

X

They were down to the last two games. And it was down to Curtis and her. Carlie’s competitive streak kicked in and she decided that maybe since it seemed like Curtis might be flirting a little, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to do it in return.. In the name of distracting him from the game.. Or so she’d tell herself that.

She  settled herself between Curtis’ knees and looked back at him, winking.  “What’s the matter? Too close for comfort? The score, I mean..”

“Oh no, not at all. If you think I’m rattled, darlin.. You are dead wrong.” Curtis did a combo and won the round, earning him a pout from her. Carlie bit her lip and rose up, leaning over him to reach behind him and grab another slice of pizza. When she did, it put them body to body and Curtis smirked up at her. “Besides, I’m up two wins now anyway.”

“Not for long, Axel.” Carlie challenged, settling back on the floor between his legs. She leaned back against him, the back of her head resting against the couch next to him awkwardly. He chuckled and muttered against her ear, “Ready for me to hit start again?”

“I was born ready.”

“Oh really.” his lips brushed her ear and she wiggled against him, giving a teasing grin as she met his gaze. “Really. Hit start, Curtis.”

“Okay, you asked for it, darlin.”

… if you had any idea what I’d actually ask for… she thought to herself, but shoving the thought aside, she tried to focus on the game.

And she’d have been good at it but he rose to a sitting position and the end result was her, having to sit up straighter. His arms went around her so he could hold the controller a little better and she couldn’t refrain from the quiet purr that slipped out.

Or maybe the slightest wiggle against him that put them even closer together.

Curtis sucked in a breath. So far, he’d been flirting all night and every time he’d do something,  she’d do something a little more in retaliation.

He rested his chin on her shoulder and muttered quietly, “You’re gonna.. No, that’s not a good idea. Because then I can do this,” he got Scorpion into a position to drag Jade towards  him to do the finisher, “And I’m now up three wins, Carlie.”

“Just wait.” Carlie gave a mild shrug and smirked at him. Her heart was literally about to beat right out of her chest because the feel of his lip against her neck, the stubble on his face brushing against her skin, it was… really doing a number on her concentration.

Seth said something about him and Becky going for a drive and they left, leaving only Curtis and Carlie. Big E, Kofi and Xavier had gone down to pick up some drinks and wings they’d ordered to eat and it left Carlie alone with him.

Which left the couch they were propped against unoccupied for the time being. So Carlie stood and moved to sit behind him, a leg on either side of his arm. Curtis barely stopped himself from growling. He turned his head to look at the door and his lip brushed right against her thigh. Carlie dropped the controller because she hadn’t been expecting it.

Curtis chuckled and Carlie explained through a mouth full of pizza, “Ticklish on my thighs..” sheepishly. 

He paused the game and turned to face her.

“How about we play for stakes, hmm?”

“I’m curious.. Tell me these stakes of yours?”

“ Winner gets to pick whatever they want.. Anything goes.”

“Anything, huh?” Carlie mulled it over, gazing at Curtis intently. He gave that little smirk and rubbed his chin. “And darlin, since I’m 3 ahead.. I know exactly what I want.”

“Awfully confident, aren’t you?”

… not really, but this gives me an excuse to go for it… he thought to himself, but instead of saying it aloud, he gave a cockier than usual grin.

“One more game.. Shall we?” Carlie picked up her controller as she thought to herself, … I wonder what he’s up to?… Maybe I was wrong… maybe he is starting to finally catch on?…

X

They’d gone best four out of five and Curtis’ character went in for a finisher on Carlie’s character. The cut scene showing the finisher played and Carlie giggled.

“So.. you won.. Any idea what you’re going to do with your win?”

“Mhmm.” Curtis was staring at her mouth intently, leaning in closer. His hand cupped her jaw, pulling her face closer to his and he muttered against her lips, “Stop me..”


“I didn’t deliberately lose the last two games to stop you.” Carlie answered, leaning in closer, moving so that she sat in his lap, pressing against him. Her mouth brushed his and he groaned quietly, his other hand tangling in the ends of her hair, tilting her head so that the kiss deepened. Her lips parted willingly and he asked with a quiet laugh, “You really lost the last two games?”

“Mmm, yeah? I wanted to see what you’d choose.”

“Disappointed?”

“Not even.”

“Oh?”

“Well,” Carlie grinded against him, making him growl and swear quietly as she did so, “ personally.. I’ve wanted to kiss you a really long time now and I’m basically getting my way right now, so it’s a win for me either way.”

“I like that.” Curtis muttered as he gripped her hip, grinding her against him all over again.

Chapter Text

“I just know if she’d give me a chance, she’d be all over me.” Ziggler’s proclamation had Ethan rolling his eyes in annoyance. He did follow Dolph’s intent gaze however, and when his eyes settled on her, he almost doubled over laughing.

Dolph’s brow raised and he huffed at Ethan’s laughter as if it annoyed him. “Something funny, Carter?”

“Just the fact that Violet is.. Way out of your league.” Ethan chuckled and gave Dolph Ziggler a very dismissive once over.

The confident way Ethan  said it was enough to make Dolph give Ethan a curious look as he waited on Ethan to explain what he meant. “I could be offended by that, Carter.”

“You actually should. I meant full offense. Is that bleach seeping to your brain or something? Women don’t like… whatever the hell you call your whole aesthetic.  You look sleazy.” Ethan chuckled and sat down the glass of bourbon he was drinking, stretching his arms, turning to watch Violet dancing with her friends.

He bit his lip and when her eyes met his, he gave a nod and wink.

Violet’s response was to roll her eyes and go back to dancing, completely ignoring Ethan in favor of the bottle of tequila clutched tight in her hands and dancing with her friends in their little circle.

“Thought you said she was way out of my league. Don’t tell me she’s outta yours too?” Dolph snickered and Ethan glared at him, totally unamused by the remark. 

“Not at all. If I wanted her, I could get her. Thing is, I don’t really want her, - or anybody, for that matter. A relationship just means I gotta give up all my time and space. Not real sure I wanna do that at the moment.”

It was a lie of course, but if it got the discussion dropped and Ziggler the entire fuck away from Violet, Ethan was happy to tell it.

Dolph, though.. He seemed to sense that Ethan wasn’t being fully honest. And if memory serves, Dolph thought back, the guy has been attempting to flirt with Violet for almost a month now and she always ignores him…

The smirk came before he could stop it.

“Okay, so if we bet a  thousand bucks..”

Ethan eyed Dolph and took another long drink from the glass in front of him. “I’d say you were an idiot, but I’d also admit I was curious.. Stakes and terms?”

“A thousand dollars, Carter.. You have to get Violet to date you and fall in love with you before the Fourth of July. That’s almost two weeks away, should give you time.. I mean since you seem to think you’re better than everybody.” Dolph had no intention of even attempting to make Violet fall in love with him, but…  If he could make Ethan Carter realize that he had a thing for the girl in question then fuck yeah… The amusement enough would be reason for him to sit back and watch everything unfold.

It was past time for somebody to knock Ethan Carter III down a few pegs. Dolph fully intended to be the one to do it.

Now, he just had to sit back and hope Ethan took the bait.

“A thousand dollars, hmm?” Ethan hummed, glancing back at Violet who was swaying drunkenly and singing into the bottle of tequila with Alicia Fox. He mulled it over a few seconds and then he shrugged and finished off his bourbon. “ All I have to do is get her to say I love you.. By the Fourth of July.. Sounds simple enough.”

“So are you gonna take me up on the wager? Or are you admitting that maybe there are some things money can’t buy? Like.. Making you attractive to someone who is let’s face it, totally uninterested in pretty much anyone or anything but living her best life?”

“Are you saying I’m not attractive? Aw, I’m hurt, Ziggles. Fuck yourself. Yeah, I’ll take the bet. Not that I need the money, but I’ll admit. The challenge could be fun. Because literally everyone I can think of has tried with her. All have failed.”

“And yet, you haven’t tried.”

Ethan glared and clenched his fists. “Because I didn’t want to. I’m better off single.” - it wasn’t exactly true, but he was not about to let Ziggler get under his skin. He also wasn’t about to admit that maybe he’d noticed her, either.

Because every relationship he’d ever been in only proved one thing to him. When it came  down to it, the women he seemed to attract weren’t interested in him as a person at all but more or less what he could do for them, where he could take them and what he could give them.  When you go through it enough, you start to get jaded. You stop trying. Ethan Carter III was definitely not in the whole dating game anymore and it was for all the above reasons.

He wanted something real. Everything around him was fake.

X

Violet looked over her shoulder as she felt the tap. She raised a brow and eyed Ethan. “What do you want, Carter? Shouldn’t you be in the VIP lounge or something? If you spend too much time around us little people, might look bad on you I’d think.”

Alicia barely restrained her laugh and Ethan bit his lip, trying to figure out a clever comeback for her opening remark. Alicia eyed Ethan and then informed him, “If you came over here to be a dick, Carter,  get gone.” and she shooed at him. Violet looked from her best friend to EC3 and sipped her tequila, an amused look in her eyes as she boldly stared up at him, waiting on whatever he came over to do.

“If you’re looking for a one night stand, it’s gonna take more than Moet and designer shit and five star hotel rooms. I don’t  do that anymore.” 

 because I can’t get you out of my fucking head, but there is no way in hell I’m about to even consider… that.. With you… the thought echoed around in her mind.

Ethan chuckled. “Good to see that those defenses stay up.”

“They can get higher, actually.” Violet retorted, giving a smirk as she tapped her foot impatiently, folding her arms. She continued to stare him right in the eyes and she continued, “You’re here.. You obviously had a reason for walking all the way over. Either make your play or take a hike.”

He counted down from five to one and just as he reached one, the song he paid the dj to play started. He held out his hand and Violet scoffed, cutting her eyes up at him. “I didn’t come over here to sleep with you. There’s an order to things. I’m not.. Big on skipping steps. Just thought maybe you’d wanna dance?” - he made sure to keep his tone light and a little cocky. He noticed that her guard occasionally slipped if the right conditions were met.

Violet bit her lip, dragging her fingers through wild black curls as she mulled it over. Her gaze shifted from his hand to his facial expression, then back again and she must have done it about five or six times. He was turning, prepared to call tonight’s opening attempt a fail and go back to his barstool to regroup, but she reached out and grabbed his wrist. 

“Fine. One dance, Carter. But that is it.” Violet said it in a firm tone, for a second Ethan almost laughed. She acted as if one dance was going to lead to marriage. It made him curious as to just why her guard was up so high.

“That’s all I asked for, Violet…” he chuckled and grabbed hold of her, pulling her in close to him. People swarming to the floor to dance too pushed Ethan and Violet even closer. Violet sucked in a breath and she reminded herself sternly that it was just a dance. That it would serve her well to leave it at that. Guys like Ethan tended to mess with people’s heads -and their hearts, her mind went to the last guy she’d dated and the similarities and how he’d messed her up pretty badly.

Her favorite James Bay song started to play and she almost stepped away. Because a slow dance was not what she’d been expecting in all honesty and frankly, she didn’t want to chance anything beyond a quick and thoughtless dance and then the two of them going their separate ways.

But it was her favorite song. And she had stopped him from walking away because she felt like she’d been too harsh.. So she tried to relax and press against him. Ethan’s hands ventured down her back, resting across the small of it. He was humming the song. The scent of her perfume, a warm vanilla, filled his nose and he took a deep breath. 

… this is just a bet…

… if it’d been anyone but her, you could do this easy peasy…

Violet looked up at him for a few seconds, almost tempted to ask him why he’d decided to ask her to dance. Ethan rarely did anything without a reason and she was a little curious what made him ask her.

Especially when Alexa had been fawning all over the guy since he got called up to the main roster and.. Alexa was a little more ‘his type’ if Violet had to be completely honest.

“What’s that look for?” Ethan asked, his voice coming out huskier, making him raise a brow. Violet shrugged and gave a quiet laugh. “It’s stupid. And this is goin good. The less we talk, the better off we are.”

“You really don’t like me, do you?”

“It’s not that.. Just.. I know how guys like you operate… Forget it. I don’t wanna argue or think. I just wanna dance. Can we do that, please?”

“Gotcha.”

The song ended and for a few seconds, Ethan almost didn’t let go. He noticed that Violet wasn’t exactly rushing to do so either, and he filed it away. She did step away though and she gave a thoughtful glance back at him over her shoulder as she started to make her way back over to her friends. Ethan called out after her, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

“It wasn’t the worst experience I’ve ever had.”

Before he could ask her for her number, which was phase two of his little ‘plan’, she was gone, back over with her friends, laughing and talking and drinking her tequila.

It wouldn’t be an issue, though. If he used enough finesse, he could get her number from someone.

X

Alexa eyed Ethan. He was in charmer mode and given what she’d learned about the guy, it meant that he wanted something. When he explained what it was, Alexa doubled over laughing and then, her laughter died away as soon as she realized that he was being serious.

“You.. really want Violet’s number… Why?”

“Because I danced with her at that club we were all at a few nights ago and I kinda wanted to talk to her. Thing is, she kinda made herself scarce before I got the chance to ask her for it… And I know you two run in the same circles.”

“The only friend we have in common is Nikki. And I have no interest in Violet’s number, nor do I have it. If anyone has it, it’ll be Nikki Cross or Alicia Fox, she’s always with those two.” Alexa wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “You’re an oblivious asshole.”

“Say what?” Ethan studied her with a raised brow, tapping his foot impatiently. He wasn’t in the mood for small talk and he didn’t want to make time for it either. Alexa sighed and swallowed hard, putting on her best face.

“I’ve been trying to get closer to you for weeks.”

“And I’ve said I’m not interested.” Ethan replied calmly, clenching his right hand into a tight fist as he shoved it into the pocket of his favorite designer jeans. “It wouldn’t work.”

“And why the hell not? What the hell makes you think anything would be any different with her, huh?”

“Because she’s not hanging all over me and you were. I’m not into that.” Ethan turned on his heel sharply and began walking away, chuckling to himself as he heard Alexa Bliss starting to enter temper tantrum mode. Rolling his eyes, he stopped in front of catering. When he heard Nikki inside, he smiled to himself and made his way in, flopping down at the table she sat at casually. 

Nikki stopped devouring her pudding cup to stare at Ethan with an amused look. “Wot? I got somethin on m’ face, Carter?”

“Oh no, not at all.. But there is something you can help me with…”

“Oh really?”

“Violet’s cell phone number.”

Nikki stared at him for a few seconds, a blank look in her eyes. Ethan grumbled to himself and then repeated what he’d said. Nikki rolled her eyes and replied with a laugh, “ I ‘eard y’ the first time. Just tryin t’ figure out whether I want t’ give it t’ ya.. What’s yer reason?”

“I want to talk to her. She’s apparently the worlds best at stealth and diversionary tactics. She’s avoiding me.”

“Probably because y’ remind ‘er of that ex of ‘ers. Was a shit show.” Nikki answered, taking another bite. When she realized Ethan wasn’t going to just fuck off and leave her alone, she grumbled and took out a pen from one of her pockets.

Writing it down on a napkin, she shoved it at him. “Not a word about where y’ got it.”

“My lips are sealed. Thank you.”

“Don’t make me wanta rip yer ‘ead off.”

He grimaced and hurried out, ducking into his own personal backstage area and after a few seconds of staring at the number on the napkin, he took a deep breath.

“Here goes nothing..” 

→ Hey.

He sat there, staring at the phone in his hand. He wound up spending the better part of nearly four hours waiting. Had he completely misread her that night at the club? Had she been pretending to be at least a little interested too?

He shoved the thought out of his head. If she didn’t answer, he’d just find another way. He’d nearly given up around 9 pm when he and Drake and some of the others were getting ready to hit a sports bar near the hotel, when his phone went off just as he got out of the shower and was about to get dressed.

← Hi? Who is this?

→ Ethan.

← ??

→ Ethan Carter.

← Ohhhh.. You. How’d you get my number?

→ You’d be surprised what I can do when I wanna talk to someone. You’re good at avoiding people, ya know that?

← Obviously not good enough. What’d you want to talk to me about?

→ I just wanted to talk.. There something wrong with talking now?

← Not if that’s /all/ you want.

→ It is. I’m being serious. Look… I don’t do this often.

← Do what, exactly? 

→ This whole.. Thing.. But I couldn’t get you out of my head.

He took a deep breath, toweling off his hair, tossing the towel around his waist at his suitcase. He grabbed a pair of jeans and one of his tee shirts and got dressed. She still hadn’t responded and he was kicking himself.

One, because he hadn’t exactly been lying when he said it…  Two, because he’d pretty much laid it all out there, like a fucking idiot.

That was an amateur’s move and NOT his style.

The three dots popped up and he caught himself sucking in a breath and staring at the screen intently.

← Oh really… Interesting.. Because I kinda had you pegged for preferring the ditzier types.. Ya know, like Bliss? >.

→ Ha ha. No thanks, I’ll pass. I’d rather get to know you better. If you’d just let me do that.

← You know exactly as much as you need to know -or could want to know about me, Ethan. Trust me.

→ See, I happen to disagree. I think there’s a lot more to you than sarcasm and a smile that lights up the whole room when you bother using it.

← Smooth. I’ll give you that much.

→ What are you doing tonight?

← Well, right now, I’m trying to shove Alicia’s ass off me so I can sleep. She wants to drag me out to some club and I wanna sleep. Had a late night / early morning last night.

→ Oh really..

If he said he wasn’t just slightly jealous, he’d be lying. He almost asked her what she meant, but before he could, she texted him back why.

← Yeah, my sister kinda.. Went into labor. Given that her baby daddy’s an actual breathing piece of crap, I sat with her in the delivery room. She almost died. I.. didn’t wanna leave her alone. She’s kinda all I got.

→ So that’s why you weren’t at the live show..

← Mhmm.. Levesque let me take last night and go be with her. I just got in two hours ago? I stopped to visit someone else too.

Violet shook her head at herself. Despite her very best effort, she couldn’t seem to stop just telling him personal things. “I never should’ve fucking answered the text. Teach me to be curious about an unknown number texting me. I mean.. I know the effect that guy has on me, Fox and yet, here I am.”

“Ethan doesn’t make efforts like this though, girl. Not every guy like him is.. Like that trashcan of an ex.”

“Speaking of.. Do you know that fucker had the audacity to tell me he gave HER my shit?”

“He is definitely getting the gift of these hands when we go on downtime.”

“Oh no, no.. I’m just gonna tell his new flavor of the month about his girl on the side.. You know, the one I caught him fucking in our bed, in our apartment? Before he threw me out and told me that his cheating was my fault? Yeah.. I’m gonna tell them about each other, then I’ma go one better and tell that gold digging slut he calls  a girlfriend’s husband what she’s really doing when she says she has “late meetings” or “weekend business trips”.” 

“Damn girl.”

“It’s what he deserves. Honestly, I’m not even fuckin upset about the stuff. He could’ve just shoved all that right up his ass. It’s him, taking every single chance he can to point out how much ‘better’ ms. gold digging slut bag is… ”

“What are you gonna do about somewhere to live though?”

“Won’t be the first time I’ve slept in my car…”

“Girl..”

“I don’t do well with the whole stability / functional adult shit, Fox… you know this.”

Her phone buzzed against the counter and she eyed alicia and they both dove for it at the same time. Alicia read the message and held it just over her friend’s head, laughing.

“And you say you’re not interested..”

“It’s something to amuse me and pass the time, okay? Just give me the fucking thing.”

Ethan felt it again as he got her last message, the one about stopping off to visit someone. And again, he had to fight the urge to ask who. The three dots came back up on the screen and Drake cleared his throat from the doorway. “Are you ready?” Drake asked, eyeing Ethan when Ethan nearly dropped the cell phone in his hand.

“What is with you tonight, Ethan?”

“Nothing,just.. I kinda got caught up texting Violet.”

“I still say this bet is not a good idea.”

“And I still say if it keeps Ziggler the entire fuck away from her, even for a little bit..”

“Whatever happened to just telling someone you had an interest in them?”

“I’m not interested! I just..” Ethan trailed off and glared as Drake gave a chuckle and left the room. Giving the closed door the middle finger, Ethan turned his attention back to the screen.

Things were going really well.. Maybe he could make an attempt at phase three sooner than he thought. Bearing that in mind while he waited on her to finish typing, he checked out the area they were staying in. When he found a good restaurant, he called for a reservation.

When he hung up, he realized she’d finally texted him back.

← Stopped to  visit my dad’s grave. Since I’m kind of from the area.. Not that it matters or it’s anybody’s business, but yeah..

He mulled over his response for a few seconds before putting it in.

→ Hey, you’re free to do whatever. Not my business. Sorry about your dad though.

Violet stared at her phone, then at Alicia.

“Well?”

“Well what?” Violet asked, turning her attention back to the makeup sitting out in front of her as she got ready to at least make an attempt to go and find herself food.

“You gonna answer him? I mean you’ve told the man your life story. For somebody who says she isn’t interested, girl.. You are doing all the things to prove that opposite. Just sayin.”

“The safe parts.” Violet butted in as she plugged in a curling iron and waited on it to heat up, reading Ethan’s text back to her.

← It’s okay. Had a long time to deal with it.. You still haven’t told me what you wanted to talk to me about, Ethan.. 

She hit send and put down the phone, working on curling her hair instead. She’d probably told him more than enough to send him running for the hills. Alicia sat there, staring at her, then bursting into laughter.

“What the hell is so funny, girl?”

“Oh nothing..”

“Mhmm. Yeah, well don’t plan any weddings. Because I told you. After the last shit show, I was done. I do better on my own.” 

“You could give the guy a chance.”

“Hey, I answered his texts! I danced with him that night at the club… what more do you want me to do, huh?”

“At least consider the possibility that the man went through all this trouble because maybe you’re wrong.. Maybe he likes you. People don’t always have to have alterior motives.”

“This is true.. Too bad most men don’t realize that.”

Ethan finished getting ready and he stepped back, looking at himself in the mirror. When he happened to notice that his cell phone was lit up, he grabbed for it before he could stop himself.

He chuckled as he read her response text and then, taking a few seconds to think it over, he typed in what he intended to say.

It was a risk, asking her if she wanted to go grab something to eat, but.. He was operating on a deadline and that competitive nature of his kicked right in.

→ you eaten anything tonight? I thought we could go to this little restaurant and get some food.. I mean, unless you’re afraid it’ll lead to a wedding… It’s just food. No pressure.

He smirked to himself as he sat his phone down. Somehow, he got the feeling that challenging her and being playful about it, that was definitely the best thing to do here.

Violet heard her phone going crazy and she grabbed it, reading the text, biting her lip and dragging her fingers through her hair as Alicia tried to read over her shoulder.

“What are you going to say? You better say yes, girl, all that jumping up you do whenever he sends a text back.”

“ I dunno, Alicia..”

“Girl.” And with that, Alicia snatched the phone from her friend, gave her a smirk and told her that it was for her own good and she typed in a response to his question.

← Now who says I’m afraid it’ll lead to a wedding. I mean you might fall in love but I doubt I will. I’ll meet you in the lobby in fifteen.

She dropped the phone into Violet’s hands and turned to walk out of the hotel room stopping in the door long enough to tell Violet with a grin, “You can thank me later.”

Violet grumbled as she read what Alicia had sent back to Ethan when she’d grabbed the phone and rolling her eyes, she almost  texted right back saying she changed her mind but she stopped mid sentence and deleted it.

“I’ll show him afraid. Cocky ass.” and with that, Violet set to getting dressed. It wasn’t like it was a date or anything.

Nothing to worry about,  she thought to herself, I’ll just go out  and get food with the guy and then that’ll be that.

X

Violet was staring at him with a raised brow as he pulled to a stop in front of the restaurant he’d gotten reservations at. She cleared her throat and mumbled something and Ethan spoke up. “Relax. It’s not like this is a date… Unless you want it to be.” he killed the engine and waved his hands as Violet eyed him suspiciously, then nodded down at her clothing choice. “When you said grab a bite I was.. Expecting more of something like Panera Bread or the Olive Garden or something..”

“This place is quieter. At least that’s what Drake and his wife said.”

“Uh-huh.. You could’ve warned me.”

“Why? You look fine. Better than fine, actually.”

… there you go, Carter… when in doubt, flattery works… he thought to himself and he chuckled at the way she fidgeted a little, muttered a distinct fuck it under her  breath and then got out. “This place better not be one of those places where you get food and it looks like it’s proportioned for a Liliputian.”

“What’s that?” Ethan raised a brow and Violet rolled her eyes,  giving a laugh as she sassed, “And I now know you definitely read nothing you were required to read for high school English.” as she started to walk towards the door. Ethan got caught up in staring,  even as he told himself not to do that very thing and when he caught up to her, his hand came to rest on her lower back as he reached around and pushed open the door to enter the restaurant, muttering next to her ear, “I’ll have you know, you are so wrong about me.”

“Yeah, that explains why you caught my reference to Gulliver’s Travels so well back there.” Violet gave a laugh as she fluffed at his hair and told him calmly, “Relax. This isn’t a date, remember?”

There was something about the look in his eyes that had her wondering if maybe he wasn’t lying just a little, but she chose to ignore it. She’d come this far, might as well see what the rest of the dinner bought.

To her surprise, two hours later as they stood in front of the door to her hotel room, she had to admit that it hadn’t gone that badly. It had been a little bumpy to start with, but when they got started talking, it had gotten better.

“See, that wasn’t so bad, right?” Ethan chuckled as he leaned in, brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes. Violet shrugged and smiled. “I never said it would be. If you go that far on a non date, does beg to question.. How over the top do you go on dates, Carter?”

“Is that a hint that maybe you want to find out?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“But you’re not denying it or saying no either.” Ethan leaned in a little closer and bit his lip. This close to her, he could see the flecks of green in her eyes.. The little freckle right beside her right one.. He chuckled again and took a deep breath. “One date.”

Violet raised a brow. “I..”

“Just hear me out. Go on one date with me. If you still think I’m whatever you have yourself convinced I am after that, I’ll drop this.” 

Violet mulled it over.

Tonight hadn’t been that bad. And she’d found out a few things about the guy that yeah, maybe had her a little interested. If she got a bad feeling, she told herself, she could always just put a stop to everything.

“Fine, okay. One date, Ethan.”

“Awesome.. You can pick where we go.”

“There’s this horror movie coming out.. We could go see that. Friday night, maybe?” Violet tilted her head as she looked up at him. Ethan nodded, giving her that smirk. “Yeah. That works for me.”

He waited on her to unlock her hotel room door and after lingering a few seconds and talking a little more, planning out when to meet and where, Ethan got back onto the elevator.

From beside him, Ziggler spoke up with a smirk. “You’re wasting your time, man. She’s not gonna cave before that deadline.”

“At least I’m even making an attempt. I mean you did say you were part of this whole thing, Ziggler.. What have you done?”

Dolph chuckled and shrugged. “Picking my moment. Waiting on her to get tired of playing with little boys and move on.”

“What you mean is you tried earlier and she laughed her ass off and walked away.. I kinda heard all about it. What’s the matter, Ziggler? Losing your touch? Or did you never have it to begin with?”

“Oh, I have a plan. Trust me.”

The elevator stopped on Ethan’s floor and Ethan got off, fuming and glaring as the doors slid shut.

… I shouldn’t have taken this bet… I’m not getting a good feeling… Ziggler is up to something… But Ethan shoved it out of his head and flopped onto his bed, replaying the night. It had gone way better than he thought it would. Now all he had to do was keep things going.

X

Ethan paced the corridor, waiting on Ziggler to show up at the arena. The past few dates he’d been on with Violet had been a real eye opener. 

And the pull he felt to her only grew. And the closer it got to the whole deadline, the more Ethan found himself, despite his best efforts, doing the very thing he said in the beginning he wouldn’t do, getting attached to her.

Even though she did her level best to keep him at arms length. Even now, after a few more dates, she still acted as if she was waiting on the other shoe to drop or him to get bored and move on.

He wanted the whole thing to be real. And when he was around her, things did feel real. They argued, they taunted one another, and she made him laugh. She kept him on his toes. She never really… Demanded anything or asked for anything. And things with her were so easy that despite him telling himself he wasn’t going to catch feelings, he kind of had.

He had to call the bet off. That was the only way he could go into things like he wanted with a clear conscience. 

Ziggler chuckled and eyed him as he paced back and forth. Clearing his throat, he spoke up.

“You texted?”

“The bet’s off.”

“What do you mean the bet’s off… “ Ziggler eyed Ethan with an amused smirk. 

“Just what I said. The bet’s off. I’m not doin this. I don’t have to do this. I want to get to know her without this hanging over my head.”

“What you mean is you caught feelings and now you’re gonna welsh on the bet.”

“I’m not welshing. You want money?” Ethan dug around in his wallet and tossed a handful of bills at Ziggler and nodded to it, “There. There’s the money. But I’m not doing this.”

“What happened to you being better at being alone, huh? This was a piece of cake.. Surely it can’t be that hard to get her to fall for you, right? So what I’m hearing is..” Ziggler clucked his tongue and shook his head as he rubbed his chin. The whole thing was amusing him. He’d called this exact outcome two weeks ago when it all started, the night they made the bet. Truth be told, Ziggler only egged him into it because he sensed that maybe Ethan was a little.. Attached to the girl in question already.

And he wanted to make the little shit look bad in front of her, get her for himself without even having to make any real effort. All he had to do was swoop in and give proof that Ethan’s interest was purely monetary and then offer himself up as a shoulder to cry on.

Both men were caught by surprise when a throat cleared from behind them.

Ethan tensed all over. He didn’t need to turn around to know he’d find Violet standing there. The only thing that had him going crazy at the moment was just how much she’d heard.

Violet gave him the coldest dismissive look he’d ever seen and she stepped between the two men.

“Well? Don’t stop talkin on my account..” Violet bent, picking up the money Ethan threw at Dolph, counting it out calmly, quietly. Dolph cleared his throat and started to say that Ethan was the one who’d suggested but Ethan growled and stepped up, his chest against Violet’s back. Violet tensed and s tepped to the side, shaking her finger at Ethan.

“Don’t you dare fucking touch me. You disgust me.” and she turned to Dolph, laughing and shaking her head.

“Save it, you washed up 80’s relic.. I heard the whole fucking thing. I know exactly how it went down. And I know what you were probably going to do at the end too.. You’re so fuckin predictable..”

Violet finished counting the money and gave another bitter laugh. “A thousand fucking dollars? That I’d what? Fall in love with one of you? I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or be offended.”

“Violet it’s not..”

“Shut the fuck up! Both of you. Just save it. Here, take your goddamn money. Oh and Ethan? Our date tonight is off. I’ve got better shit to do than waste my time on a disgusting bored little rich asshole like you.”

Before Ethan could stop her or even explain what he’d been trying to do, Violet was gone, shoving through the crowd in the hallway, disappearing into one of the rooms backstage. Dolph turned to Ethan and smirked, gathering up the money.

“Well.. this has been fun. Not exactly how I thought it’d go, but still amusing as hell.”

Ethan swung and when his fist connected with Dolph’s nose, it was enough to send blood spraying all over Dolph’s light gray shirt. He grabbed hold of Dolph’s shirt and stared him down, barely able to control his anger. “I’m gonna fuck you up.”

“Why? Because I found your weakness and I exploited it? Because you finally found someone who could beat you at one of your own little games? Bring it on, Carter.” 

Ethan shoved past him and despite knowing he wouldn’t find Violet, he took off down the hall, looking for her anyway.

He got to the last door on the hallway and Nikki and Alicia were standing in front of the door, arms folded. Naomi cleared her throat and spoke up. “From what my girl just came down here and said, you’ve  done enough. Get lost.”

“Only way yer gettin through ‘at door is through me.”

“And me.”

“Just.. Tell Violet it’s not what she thinks.. I was trying to call the whole damn thing off because I didn’t wanna start something with her based on a fucking lie. I was going to tell her myself tonight.”

“Right.. Sure you were. Heard that one before.” Naomi glared up at him and when Jimmy and Jey stepped up behind her, Ethan swore to himself and turned on his heels, walking away. As he did, Alicia shook her head.

“This is on me. I’m the one who told her not all the rich jackasses were rich jackasses. I’ma go talk to her.. Y’all just.. Keep that fucker away.”

“Gladly.” Nikki glared up the hall at Ethan’s retreating back…

Alicia peeked into the room and the small trash can bounced off the wall as Violet paced the room, swearing and laughing and belittling herself. “You’d think I’d fucking learn.. Guys like that are all the same.”

Her phone was ringing but Violet was ignoring it. Alicia walked over and rolled her eyes, seeing Ethan’s number on the screen. But she did pause when she realized that in the space of time he’d walked away, he’d texted her about 8 times. She raised a brow but silenced the phone and before Violet could punch the door again, Alicia caught her hand and shook her head. “Uh uh girl! No. I am not taking your ass to an ER when you break your damn hand! He is not worth it!”

“Funny, considering everyone around me was telling me “maybe he’s not like all the other assholes.”

“I deserved that.”

Violet sighed and sank down into a chair, exhausted. “No, no you didn’t, Fox.. all you were tryin to do was make me take a risk. I should be adult enough to know that risks don’t always work out.”

“No, they don’t.” Alicia sat down next to Violet and asked, “You good?”

“I will be. Just.. Feel so fucking stupid, ugh! He said and did all the right things.. I told him shit that.. I mean.. I’ve told you a little bit but.. I told him things that I just.. I couldn’t talk about it and he listened! I fell for the oldest trick in the book. I’m so fucking stupid. So stupid.”

“No girl, you’re human. Nothing wrong with being human.”

“It sucks.” 

They both laughed and Alicia eyed the cell phone when it lit up again. “The fuck is his deal, I swear?”

“He’s been calling since I overheard the whole thing and went off on them both. I’m not answering. Fuck him.” 

Chapter Text

“Strike out, Ziggler?” Ethan asked as Dolph walked back over to the bar, fuming and glaring across the bar. Dolph sat down on the stool next to Ethan’s and shook his head, still staring intently in the direction of Violet, one of the girls on the roster.

“I don’t fucking get her, man. It’s like she gets joy in shooting every single guy who even attempts trying with her down.”

Ethan chuckled. “Maybe you’re not her type. Or maybe, Ziggler.. Maybe you’re losing your touch.”

“I’m not losing my touch. I bet you anything if she’d just talk to me without shooting me  down before I get a word out of my mouth she’d be all over me.”

“Right.. That’s why she put her hand in your face, said nope and turned away.” Ethan chuckled, gazing at Violet and letting out a breath.

He could relax. She wasn’t interested in Ziggler at all.

Not that he’d ever admit to being interested in her as anything more than an actual challenge, of course.

Even as he entertained the passing thought, deep down, he knew that might not be entirely accurate. 

“Well, lets see if you can do any better, Carter.” Dolph waved his hands in Violet’s general direction and Ethan took a sip of his bourbon and shrugged. “Do you really want me to make you look bad? Because that’s what this feels like, man.”

“Oh no, no.. I wanna see what excuse you come up with when you try and get her to talk to you and you strike out too.”

“Whoa, hold up..  The only way I’m going over there is if I know it’s a sure thing and I’m interested. Neither of those conditions have..” Ethan was middle of the way saying that he had no intention of going over there, but Dolph smirked and started to cluck like a chicken.

“Okay, fine.. Let’s make this interesting..”

“I’m all ears, Carter…”

“A thousand dollars says not only can I get her to talk to me, but I can get her to go on a date or two with me. I mean.. Unless you’re not willing to bet the same on your end. I understand.” Ethan gave a cocky smirk as he eyed Ziggler up, waiting on his response. He honestly didn’t even think Dolph would consider it, the guy was notoriously cheap.

“A thousand dollars, hmm?” Dolph stared intently at Violet who was across the club, dancing and laughing with Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross. He turned his attention back to Ethan when Ethan chuckled and cleared his throat.

“I don’t bet unless there are high stakes. I mean if you’re a little bitch, say so and we can just go back to drinking..” Ethan trailed off as the plan formulated… A sure fire way to both knock Ziggler down a few pegs and invent a creative excuse to get to know her better.

Everybody liked money, right?

That’s what he was pinning his entire plan on.

“Oh no, no.. You opened the gate..” Dolph took another drink from his bottle and then wiped at his mouth. “Fuck it. I’m in. Let me show you how you really get a girl, yeah?”

“Right. We’ll see about that, Ziggler.”

“By all means, Ethan.. I took my shot for the night.. Go ahead.. Show  me how it’s done.” Dolph gestured in Violet’s direction and Ethan stood, wiping his hands on the front of his jeans as he made his way through the crowd, stopping behind Violet.

Violet saw Alicia’s brow raise and she bit her lip, asked Alicia calmly, “Ziggler’s back, isn’t he?”

“Oh no, no.. This time it’s Ethan Carter..”

“Hold my tequila and watch this shit.” Violet held out her bottle to Alicia  who took it and proceeded to take a big sip.

Violet turned and just as she did, a crowd rushed around her and Ethan Carter, pushing them thisclose together.

Violet tensed and swore, her middle finger going up at one of the people who’d been in the crowd. “Wanna watch where the fuck you’re going maybe?”

“Feisty.. I like that.” Ethan chuckled in amusement and Violet tilted her head to the side, smirking up at him. “Good for you.. You have a reason for coming over here or?.. Because I’ve already told Ziggles I wasn’t interested.”

“But I’m not Ziggler, am I?” Ethan moved in a little closer, a hand at her hip, steadying her because he’d seen her sway a little as if she were tipsy.

“No..  But..” Violet bit her lip, going silent under his firm gaze. He guided her down into a chair nearby and then he took the chair opposite her chair, turning it so that the back of the chair was against his chest. Violet rubbed her forehead and grumbled something about people being weird tonight  and Ethan laughed.

“You can relax.  I only came over because it occurred to me that you might be more than a little… Tired.. Of Ziggler constantly popping up. What if I told you I had a way to put a stop to that and make him look like a complete fuckin idiot.”

“I’d say I’m curious.. Not drunk enough for this shit, but curious… Proceed, sir.”

Ethan bit his lip and weighed his word, because presentation was.. Of utmost importance here.

And he wanted to present this just the right way.

“Well? I’m waiting.”

“A thousand dollars.. To act like we’re into each other. It might make Dolph back down.”

Violet nearly doubled over and fell out of her chair laughing but she stopped when she saw the serious expression in Ethan’s eyes.

“Oh wait..  You’re being serious. A thousand dollars… To do what, exactly?” Violet took a breath in an attempt to stop her laughter and Ethan grumbled, but then he thought about it. He honestly couldn’t blame her for the laughter. He’d probably have laughed too. “To go on a date or two.. To act as if we’re dating.”

“Cash up front?”

“If you want.. Wait, does this mean you’ll do it?”

“I’d do it for free, to be honest. Anything that makes that toolbag Ziggles look like a fucking idiot amuses me. But the money is a perk.”

… and yeah, maaaybe… maybe it gives me an excuse to find some reason to be annoyed by you or dislike you so I can finally get you out of my damn head… She didn’t say as much, but it was definitely a big driving factor too. She’d never admit  that, of course. Something told her Ethan’s ego didn’t need to be made any bigger and that maybe, if he knew about her little.. Thing for him, well.. He’d probably get an un needed ego boost.

“So you’ll do it.”

“Sure, fuck it. What do I have to lose?”

Ethan eyed her a few seconds, a brow raised. 

… that was a lot easier than I thought it’d be…

… almost too easy. Is she up to something? Or maybe she kinda… No, she doesn’t like me. She’s giving all the classic little cues of being visibly bored and annoyed right now… Do not read too much into her agreeing to this, anyone would if you offered them a thousand dollars… people are just like that….

… correction, you’re used to everyone being like that… maybe there’s hope this time?….

While he’d been lost in his own mind, Violet had been sitting there, sipping her tequila. Alicia kept nagging at her to at least talk to the guy, see if there might be something there, but until now, she’d managed to put Alicia off.

… it can’t be that bad… it’s only a few dates… if I get tired of him or he’s a huge dickhead, I can always just tell him the deal is off… and it might actually keep Ziggles and the one or two other dumb fucks who lack the ability to process the meaning of the word no to actually give me a break for a little bit… Violet cleared her throat, meeting Ethan’s gaze. “Seal the deal with a shot? Or is tequila a little too much for your delicate rich boy sensibilities?”

“I drink tequila, thank you very much.” Ethan mocked offense but he laughed and nodded, waving over a drink server, getting them two shots of tequila. Violet tried to shove money for her shot into his hand but he gave it back, shaking his head. “Nah, it’s just a shot.”

“Yeah, a ten dollar shot.”

“Well, I don’t drink the low end tequila?”

“Yeah? Well I do.”

“I don’t see how.”

“Because tequila is tequila to me.”

Their shots came and they clinked the glasses together, slamming the shots of tequila back. Violet slammed her glass upside down on the table and smirked. “You do not drink tequila often. Every single time you’ve come in here this week, you’ve ordered bourbon on the rocks.”

“ Were you watchin me?”

“I’m observant.”

“You were watchin  me… Interesting.”

“So, I’m assuming our deal starts now? I wanna dance, Ethan Carter.”

Ethan stood, pulling her up  from the chair and pulling her close.

Across the bar, Dolph grumbled, crossing his arms and scowling in the direction of Ethan Carter III and Violet. From beside him, Randy Orton chuckled.

“Seriously?”“What, Orton?”

“You’re gonna let him get with her? And here I thought you had so called charisma.”

“Fuck off, Orton. You’re still annoyed that she poured a bottled water over your head back at the arena earlier, right? Because yeah, if you’re wondering, Orton.. Everybody saw that shit. And laughed.” 

“Yeah? Well it looks like you’re not much better, Ziggler. Because she’s not dancing with you.. Remember our bet, Ziggler.. She’s gotta get with you before the Fourth.”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll get it done.”

“Doesn’t really look like it right now.”

“Again I’m gonna say it..Fuck off, Orton.” Dolph went back to watching Violet. Now apparently, Violet was going to dance with Ethan Carter. He’d literally just asked her to dance and she’d told him she was too tired.

“This is interesting…” Dolph mused to himself as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

If Ethan was going to play this way, Dolph would just have to step up his own game. That was all there was to it. He was not in a position to lose out on a girl he’d been eyeing for himself for weeks now to some egotistical prettyboy like EC3.

“Game on, Carter. Game fucking on.” Dolph mumbled as he waved over a bartender and ordered himself -and Violet, a drink and had a server take the drink out to her, waving and smirking as soon as she’d gotten it.

Violet took the drink and sniffed it, making Ethan laugh.

“You can’t ever tell with that one. I mean he dresses like a Crue reject.. I’d think he’s not above spiking my drink. News for him though…” Violet stopped mid sentence as Ethan, who’d been staring at her, fixated on this little dimple in her cheek that showed itself when she gave her little amused grin. She snapped her fingers at him and he asked, “Yeah?”

“I was saying, if he thinks he’s gonna roofie me and I’ll magically find him passable enough to sleep with, he’s in for a rude awakening. I don’t even think a roofie would make him attractive. Or me placid enough to even consider it.”

“You really don’t like Ziggler at all, do ya?”

“More or less him and any or all guys like him. Which.. We happen to be surrounded by. There are maybe a handful of decent guys on this roster.” Violet found her gaze drifting to Ethan’s strong stubble lined jaw as she bit her lip and leaned in a little, giggling quietly, “and the rest, I wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire in front of me.” 

“Only a handful, hmm?” Ethan leaned in slightly, brushing a fallen strand of hair out of her eyes and she eyed him, trying not to have any kind of reaction to the way his hand felt on her.

If she gave him any kind of indication that yeah, maybe she partially considered him among that handful, she suspected that his ego would most definitely triple in size.

X

“So, how was last night? You and Carter were lookin really cozy when Noam and I left. And this is the third time y’all have snuck away to hang out with each other? Something I should know, Vi?” Alicia’s voice broke through Violet’s present train of thought as she read a text Ethan sent her after getting back to his own room the night before. Seeing her looking down at her phone, Alicia reached for it and Violet put it out of reach, shrugging as she reached for orange juice.

“It went.”  Violet was vague and she didn’t have to look at her friend to see the pout that came as a result. Alicia laughed and then took a sip of her own juice. “Okay then.. Keep your secrets, Vi.”

“I’m not exactly keeping secrets. Nothing noteworthy happened. He picked me up in the lobby, took me to Chili’s and we ate, then we met up with you guys, he bought me shots and we danced.. Not anything scandalous, I mean….”

“What you mean is you danced with him only…Every single dance until last call.. Together. Even the slow ones. Girl.. That’s more than ‘nothing noteworthy.’ Now what I’m wondering is just how long you’re gonna keep lying to yourself. Nothing noteworthy my ass.. I’ve seen the way you look at him, Vi.”

“He amuses me and so does this situation we’re in… Seriously, Alicia, that’s it, that’s all.”

“Amuses.. That’s what the kids are calling it now, hmm? And just when the hell are you gonna tell me about the full extent of this situation, hmm?”

“You know what I mean and you know exactly why I’m not…”

A throat cleared from above and Violet looked up to find Ethan standing there, giving her a look. He chuckled. “Well, go on. Don’t stop on my account.” Ethan sat down in the booth seat beside Violet and Violet swallowed hard, trying desperately to regain her train of thought.

… and of course, like usual, it’s not gonna happen with him around….

… ugh, why can’t I just like… not notice this guy? He’s exactly like all the other guys I’ve known or been involved with in my life…

“ I said what I said. You can dance. You’re not quite as high maintenance as I thought you were prior to last night.” Violet finished, taking the last sip of her orange juice. Ethan chuckled, a brow raised at her quip about him being high maintenance.

“Whoa, hold up.. Did you just call me high maintenance?”

“If the designer kicks fit, wear them, bud.” Violet mused, toying with her glass. Across the booth, Alicia was watching it all unfold and resisting the urge to make a remark about the heavy tension between them.. That was there now and it always seemed to fill the space whenever they were around one another.

Let her find out for herself, Alicia thought as she texted Noam her thoughts.

Alicia stood and cleared her throat. “I’m gonna go see my doctor about a little vitamin d. You don’t hassle that man too much. At least play nice!”

“Yes mother!” Violet called out teasingly, earning her a middle finger from Alicia. Ethan chuckled and shook his head, sitting  there a few seconds.

“So.. Last night wasn’t that bad, huh? I bet I can do better.”

“ You think so, hmm? Well.. You can always try to impress me when you take me out this weekend.”

“This weekend, huh?”

“Mhmm.. If we’re gonna do this, Carter.. I’m getting my share of amusement out of the deal.”

“Amusement, hmm?”

“Mhmm.”

Ethan leaned in a little, staring at her intently. If Drake hadn’t wandered over, the tension between the two of them would’ve kept getting heavier and heavier. For a split second,  he’d almost swear that he saw her eyes fluttering a little, kind of how someone does when they’re anticipating a kiss or some other kind of intimate contact.

But she was right back at that amused little  smirk and giggle, her pokerface so to speak before Ethan could even comment. Drake sat down on the opposite side of the booth and aftera few seconds spoke up.

“Thought you’d like to know, Ziggler just had flowers sent up to Violet’s room.”

“I swear to fuck.. If he sent me daisies again..”

“You don’t like daisies?”“Nope. Sunflowers.. Or wild flowers, handpicked? I’m.. Not too impressed with the ones you buy at a florist.  But that idiot seems to think that making my room look  like the front parlor of a funeral home is gonna win him points.. Uhm, no. I mean.. I am not gullible. I know all he wants is a screw.”

Ethan filed away the little tidbit she’d given just then about the flowers.  Drake gave his friend a knowing look and then, cleared his throat, nodding his head to the doorway. “And here he comes.”

“Violet, there you are.” Dolph had a bright and smug grin on his face. He flopped down right beside Drake and started talking a mile a minute.

Ethan slid his arm around Violet upon seeing her tense up at Dolph’s presence. “We were talking, man. Get lost.”

“Your name isn’t tattooed on her anywhere, Carter.”

“ To be fair, I don’t recall asking you to sit down and start talking either, Ziggles.” Violet pointed out. She scooted closer to Ethan. If this was going to work, it had to look real.

… oh god,  his cologne makes him smell like a fucking mountain man.. And gummy bears… nope, abort abort.. Move away from the hunk, Violet… the thought came, but Violet ignored it, of course.

This was just a part of their agreement. And besides, she reminded herself, Dolph did look thoroughly annoyed at Ethan sitting beside her with his arm around her.

Ethan chuckled, the chuckle  quickly vanished as soon as he realized just how soft Violet’s skin and hair was when it brushed against his side. He tensed a little, a momentary flinch, but he took a deep breath and another sip of his coffee. “You’re still here, Ziggler?”

“Like I said.. Freedom of speech.”

“I wish they’d revoke that for dumb fucks, by the way.” Violet mumbled as quietly as possible, Drake snickering as soon as he realized what she’d said. Ethan cleared his throat. “Actually, Violet..  I was wondering if you wanted to go out tonight too..”

“You were, hmm?” Violet gazed up at Ethan, biting her lip, swallowing hard.

It was not going missed by Dolph, the little cues they were unintentionally sending each other.  It was annoying as all fuck but he couldn’t help but notice.

On the same token, neither could Drake.

Then again, everything with these two, whether it be an argument or a simple conversation.. It always somehow seemed just a shade more intimate. It was very telling of the two, Drake thought to himself, they’d agree to this whole crazy scheme of theirs without so much as a second thought…

“Where?”

“Well, I thought we could go for a drive..”

“Mhmm?”

“And maybe, we could get something to eat, somewhere more private.”

Violet leaned in since Ethan had turned to face her better and she tugged his tie to pull him in closer, full flirt mode activated. “I like that idea a lot, actually. Privacy.”

Ethan swallowed hard. For a split second, her flirting seemed so realistic he actually had to stop and remind himself they were not a thing and after the bet was over, she’d most likely go  back to  the way she’d been going before.

And deep down, yeah.. It kind of sucked to think about a little bit and he was already dreading it just a little bit.

Then  again, he thought to himself, I did have  a  bit of a thing for her before this ever really started.. The more I’m around her,  the more reasons I find for it to grow..

X

“Thought you said it wasn’t a date.” - Alicia’s statement had Violet looking  from where she sat on the counter facing the mirror. Her hand paused midway to her lips and there was deep red lipstick in her hand.

“That’s your lucky red lipstick, girl.”

“It’s not, when did I ever..” Violet protested, even as she acknowledged it deep down. Yeah, it was her ‘lucky’ lipstick. And she rarely used it outside of situations in which she… Hoped to get lucky, for lack of a better word. It didn’t stop her from vehemently protesting her friend’s argument, however.

“The lifeguard you pretended to drown for, at least two guys from some podcast thing who interviewed you, that bouncer at the one club down from your house.. You can lie to yourself all day, girl.. Don’t forget.  I know your ass. I’ve known you way too long for you to lie to me and get by. Start talkin.”

At least a week or two of keeping everything to herself was finally catching up to her. Ethan had told Drake, there was no reason she couldn’t tell Alicia. Besides, she thought to herself, having someone else in the know.. It might keep me focused and on the ball.

She took a deep breath and then came out with it.

“This thing with me and Ethan is.. Definitely not what it looks like. For starters, he’s paying me a thousand dollars to spend time with him.”

Alicia’s brow raised and she snickered. Drake and Noam had been discussing it earlier at length, but somehow, hearing Violet say it was… More amusing for her.

“Come again?”

“You heard me. There’s nothing going on between us beyond him having a mighty need to embarrass the hell out of Dolph because that jerkoff apparently bet HIM a thousand dollars that he couldn’t get with me by the Fourth of July and on my end it’s… Keeping Ziggler and Orton and one or two others away.. Or I thought it was, at first.”

“Mhmm.. You realize this sounds just like the plot from Pretty Woman, right?”

“Down to the ‘ broke ass girl winding up with a literal prince charming.. That’s not what’s at play here. The part that’s got me stumped is Ethan and me spending so much time together, while enjoyable.. Has not made Orton or Ziggler fuck off even the tiniest.. And.. It’s annoying holy shit. If anything, it’s only made Ziggler even more persistent.”

“Are you sure that’s all?”

“Yes… No.. Okay, look. Maybe sometimes when we’re hanging out like we have been I’ve been kinda.. Like… Maybe.. Finding it a little bit too easy to slip into a role.. Like the other night when all of us went out to that sports bar to watch the fight?”

“Mhmm.”

“Don’t give me that look, woman! Help me figure out a way to fucking stop it. You know what always happens to me whenever I wind up catching feelings for a man way the entire fuck out of my league, girl!”

“Don’t stop it.”

“Huh?”

“Let it happen, girl. I have a feeling.”

“I’m gonna need more to go on than you having a feeling, Foxy.” Violet started, but Alicia shrugged and  refused to say anything further. Violet pouted and shook her head, giving a begging look. 

“Just give it a chance.”

“Every single time I do that, Al… I wind up getting hurt.”

“Maybe this time is different. Besides, from what I’ve been hearing, Ethan’s put out a lot more than just that thousand dollars he gave you up front… Goin above and beyond to impress you. From what Drake told Noam, he’s literally never done that in the entire time they’ve known one another.. Just something to think about.”

“Yeah, well.. Stuff is nice.. Just.. wish I had some other kinda indication of how he felt too. Because he keeps everything really casual. Hasn’t even attempted to kiss me.”

“And now we’re at the root of the problem. That’s what’s annoying you.”

“A little, yeah. I don’t make the first move, you know this.”

Alicia doubled over laughing and Violet folded her arms over her chest and tapped her foot at Alicia. “Glad to see you find this amusing. May I remind you, when it was you in a similar situation with Dar, I helped before I laughed at you?”

“Girl, if you lied anymore and lightning was to strike..” Alicia eyed her and then stopped laughing.

“Ya know… you could make the first move.”

“Oh no, no. No. Nope.”

“And why the hell not?”

“Umm, we have an agreement and the second I go adding feelings to this it will get messy as all hell.” Violet explained as she finished her makeup, gave her hair a fluff and started to get dressed.

But Alicia didn’t have a bad idea.. She could flirt a little and call it part of their agreement.

He’d probably never even realize it.

“I saw that look, girl. You had an idea.”

“Yeah, I thought about what you said.. I can flirt. I mean.. What’s the harm in it? Especially if he’s as oblivious as I think he will be.”

Alicia almost spilled what she’d overheard Drake and Noam discussing earlier about the whole thing, about how Ethan was using this to get to know her better because he too had feelings for her and he wouldn’t admit it either, but instead, she kept it to herself. Let them learn on their own was the better way to go.

X

“So when exactly are you planning on telling her that you’ve got feelings for her, Ethan?” Drake asked the question casually and to his surprise, Ethan had an answer this time. With a smirk, he told Drake that he intended to tell her that night, when everyone got together to watch fireworks at some fireworks show at the town they were all in.

“This should be interesting. Which shirt, Maverick?”

“White one. Something was mentioned that I happened to overhear about Violet preferring the whole tee shirt and jeans look to your usual suits or blazers…”

Ethan’s ears perked. 

“She’s mentioned me outside of this whole thing? What’d she say? You can’t go quiet on me now…” Ethan demanded, waiting impatiently. Drake shrugged and told him calmly, “Just pay attention to her actions tonight.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I think it’ll become quite clear tonight, when the two of you are out and revealing your whole plan to Ziggler.”

“You think so, huh? In that case, white tee shirt and jeans it is.”

“No blazer.”

“But..”

“Barbecues are messy. You said it yourself.”

Ethan grimaced, but did as he was told.

X

Dolph watched Ethan and Violet with a smug look; his arms folded over his chest. His eyes darted to his watch. From beside him, Orton cleared his throat and nodded in their direction.

“ This is your big plan? To stand back and let that kid just take her right out from under you?”

“Just watch and see, Orton.. Any way, it’s better than you, popping up everywhere only to have Violet blow you off or Ethan get in your face.”

“At least I’m even trying.”

“And making yourself look like a complete and total tool in the process. Just trust me. I have a plan.”

“Doesn’t look like it.” Orton scoffed.

“Just wait and see, Orton. Oh and have my money ready. Might wanna.. Take some notes too.” Dolph caught sight of Ethan heading towards a concessions vendor and he made his way over, flopping down on the blanket Violet was sitting on top of as she stared up at the sky.

“They’re not even shooting the fireworks yet.” 

“What do you want?”

“Hey, whoa.. Why do I have to want something? Can’t I just come over and talk to ya?”

Violet eyed him and bit her lip.

She had a feeling she knew what he was about to say, and she prepared herself.

“Go ahead.”

“Just wondered? Why Carter?”

“Why not him?”

“Well, for starters, I heard that he was betting a thousand dollars with certain people that he could get you to fall for him.. By tonight, actually. Please don’t tell me that worked.”

Violet pretended to think it over and she pretended to be visibly upset by the thought, fidgeting and even a sniffle or two. Dolph slipped his arm around her and she fought the urge to shove it right back down.

For this to work, she reminded herself, he’s gotta think I’m upset. 

Oh but she wanted to put him in an arm breaking submission so badly at the moment.

Dolph sighed. He dropped his gaze and then, he delivered his big line.

“I was asked to be part of the bet. The reason I’ve been sticking so close is.. Well, I actually like you. I’m not pretending. I had to do something to try and drive a wedge between you and Carter.”

…. and it had absolutely nothing to do with you being an entire sleazeball and wanting to get laid… mhmm, right. I’ll believe that when I believe you have ice to sell me in the desert…

“So you weren’t… part of it?” she looked up and over at him, eyes big, somehow she even managed to call forth a few crocodile tears. He eyed her, tensing.

“I wasn’t. But Orton and Carter, they were.”

“They were, huh?” Violet spared a glance back towards Ethan and she took a deep breath. The line he was standing in was a pretty long one, but it was plenty of time to lay groundwork.

She leaned in a little bit. Dolph’s arm around her caused him to snug her closer to his side. “It’s gonna be okay though. You can let it all out.”

… and I suppose you think it’d wind up with me ugly sobbing as I let you carry me off to bed… ha, not even if Ethan and I weren’t already working on a way to one up you…

Dolph chuckled to himself. This was going exactly as he’d planned. If he could jump up and pump his fist in victory, he would. He smirked at Randy when Violet was staring down at the blanket, probably trying to stop herself from crying, he thought to himself, and Randy rolled his eyes, laughing.

Ethan caught sight of Dolph making his way over and his eyes darted to his watch. “He’s so fucking predictable. Too predictable.” Ethan muttered to himself as Randy wandered over.

“I’ve gotta admit, Carter. If you and Violet are up to what I think you are, I didn’t really think you had it in you.”

Ethan tensed and glared.

“We’re not up to anything.”

“Save it, man. I heard the whole thing that night at that bar. You two are doing this to teach Ziggler a lesson. A lesson he shoulda learned years ago. That is the only reason I’m not saying anything… well that and knowing Ziggler is gonna have to give me a thousand dollars by the end of the night.” Randy shrugged, a mildly amused look in his eyes as Ethan eyed him.

“Relax, man. I’m not sayin a word. If I were gonna, I could’ve done it already.”

Ethan relaxed a little and grumbled. He should have taken Violet outside and far away from prying ears to talk to her that night. Just the thought of Orton being in on anything he was involved in annoyed him to an extreme.

And maybe that’s what spurred him to forgo standing in line and jumpstart this whole thing. Just to get it over with, so he could get to the part of the night he’d been waiting on pins and needles for.

He walked towards where Violet was sitting, with Dolph trying to ‘reassure’ her in her supposedly upset state. He cleared his throat and Violet looked up at him and mouthed quickly, “Thank God.”

“The hell are you doing?”

Dolph eyed him and Violet bit her lip. “Dolph was just telling me about the bet.. I’m glad you walked over, Ethan..” Violet stood, making Dolph raise a brow as she rose to tiptoe and pulled Ethan’s mouth down to her own by tugging at his shirt, “Now we can tell him we know already, together..”

“Wait, what?”

“Oh, I knew all about it.. Did you really think for one second, Dolph, I’d really let you console me?” 

Dolph looked from Ethan to Violet and Ethan reached into his wallet. “A thousand dollars, as promised.” he gave Violet a wink and she pretended to take the money, stuffing it into her pocket. She turned to Dolph and rolled her eyes. “Maybe I wanted to be in on the fun too.”

“You two.. Were..”

“Mhmm. Just to see how far you’d go to make yourself look like an ass. You’re disgusting, you know that? Betting in the first place, man.. Then all the creepy stalkerish type shit you did during the whole thing.” Ethan smirked and Dolph swore, squaring up.

“Oh you wanna fight?”

The fireworks started going off overhead.

Violet found herself sandwiched between the two. “Hey! Hey! Get fucked, Ziggler. But I think it should be obvious by now, it’s not gonna be by me. Now maybe you’ll finally take no for an answer when given and fuck off.” she turned away, facing Ethan, deliberately putting her back to Ziggler. He didn’t matter right now.

She took a deep breath.

“This whole thing.. It.. taught me a lot. For starters… I wrote you off way too quickly and for that, I am sorry..”

Ethan stared at her intently, anxious all of a sudden.

“And?”

“And, Ethan.. Maybe it showed me what I really want…” Violet paused, biting her lip, fidgeting and shuffling her feet. Ethan gave a cocky sort of smirk, starting to catch on to what was happening and what she meant.

His hands went down to her hips, squeezing and he leaned down a little, her forehead against his. “Are you tryin to say what I think you’re tryin to say?”

“Maybe..”

“There is no maybe. If you are.. Just..” Ethan closed the distance between their mouths as the fireworks show kicked into full gear overhead, pulling her up into his arms, deepening the kiss. “I was hoping I wasn’t the only one that actually wound up falling by the end of this.. You had me wondering Violet.. A lot, actually.”

“Yeah? I’m good at that.” Violet giggled, her fingers gripping his jaw, greedily pulling his mouth in for yet another kiss….

Chapter Text

… what the hell is the attraction there?…. The words didn’t come out of Sami Zayn’s mouth, but then again just going by the scrunched up face of disgust that Sami was giving  AJ Styles and the way he was only halfway bothering to pay attention to her was enough to show anyone around just how annoyed it made him.

He could see the hurt look in her eyes and it made him angry. It made him want to walk over and punch AJ Styles right in his fucking mouth if he had to be honest about it. The jealousy he felt right now, all the things he’d do a thousand times differently if she was with him and not AJ… It had his body tensing and his fists clenching and unclenching at his sides.

From beside him, Kevin spoke up.

“Starin over there at them isn’t gonna make anything happen. If you want something to happen, Sami, you’ve gotta actually do somethin to make it happen. What happened to your heart, huh? You used to be the guy who loved a good risk.”

“She’s my best friend… This is more than just a risk, Kevin. If I told her and she… Forget it, you wouldn’t understand.” Sami’s jaw was locked tight, so his words came out in forceful anger. Kevin shook his head and nudged him.

“Good thing you got me, huh?”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, just that I talked to that fuckin prick Shane and got you a match with Styles tonight. You gotta do something to get rid of all the anger you feel towards the guy and the situation.”

Sami’s eyes were fixed on her again and Kevin followed his best friend’s intent stare. She tore past them, her head down, making the quickest exit possible to the door. Kevin gave Sami another nudge. 

“Go on, man.. You’ve got ten minutes until your match with AJ. Make ‘em count. Get your foot in the  door.”

Sami eyed Kevin and the door she’d just practically bolted out of. He bit his lip and Kevin swore quietly. “Go on, do it.”

“But..”

“If you don’t start off like this, AJ wins. Even if he loses the match tonight, he still wins. Because she won’t know she has a much better option.”

Sami took a deep breath, rubbing his chin as he thought it over. He couldn’t hold off anymore. He had to do.. Something.

Even if it messed their friendship up.

Sitting back and sitting on his feelings had gone on long enough. Too long, actually.

“Okay, alright. I’m goin.”

He started out the door of the arena and into the parking lot, where she’d gone. It wasn’t hard to find her, she was sitting with her back against the wall of the arena, her knees drawn to her chin and her head resting on top of them.

She didn’t have a jacket either and she was shivering. He sat down next to her.

“I went to try and find you.. I know you have a match tonight and thought you’d be nervous.” Sami spoke up.

She looked up at him, wiping at her eyes, giving him her best ‘I’m fine, really,’ smile. It was a smile he’d suffered through seeing a lot lately. And seeing her eyes bloodshot from crying and glistening with tears still waiting to fall…

X

Tess looked up at the sound of his voice and she quickly set about to composing herself. It was stupid, she reminded herself, to get upset because AJ wasn’t as excited as she was about her potential big break tonight. He had to focus on his own match.

Seeing Sami sitting there had her blinking. They hadn’t talked much lately and she’d missed it.

“Sami, I.. yeah.. I got nervous so I… Came out here.. To breathe.” she lowered her knees, leaned her head back against the wall and exhaled loudly.

But her breath was shaky. She tensed, cringing.

The last thing she wanted was to fall apart, but that was in danger of happening. What did I expect though, she thought to herself, Sami is the one person I can’t ever hide anything from. She sighed and shook her head.

If she couldn’t hide it, what was the use in bothering to try. Wiping at her eyes, she glanced over at Sami. She could tell something had him beyond pissed off.

“ I just.. I thought AJ might actually be a little more happy and supportive of me having a chance at an onscreen match. All he could say was not now. I’m busy.” she took on a mocking tone towards the end, mimicking exactly how AJ had said it to her. She laughed quietly at herself.

Getting upset and crying was stupid.

It wasn’t doing her any good.

She found herself gazing at Sami, who was still looking down at his hands, almost as if he were in deep thought.

If she knew there was even the smallest chance that he… She shoved the thought out of her head, not daring to finish.

What happened next surprised her.

Sami looked up and stared at her intently. He did this for at least five and a half seconds. The air getting thicker and more tension filled with each one that passed. And then, he exploded. He stood and started to pace back and forth, ranting about AJ and how angry the way AJ treated her made him, saying that when he got his hands on him tonight he’d have whatever Sami dished out coming and he’d have had it coming for a really, really, really long time.

It took a few seconds for her to process.

But when he picked up a garbage can and raised it, prepared to throw it, Tess jumped up, grabbing it and lowering it, a brow raised and a puzzled expression on her face. “Hey! Whoa! Sami.. calm down.”

“I can’t, okay? For months now I’ve kept my mouth shut. I’ve stood back and I’ve watched him hurt you over and over and I just.. I fucking can’t anymore, okay? I’m so fucking tired of it. And then you just take it, you act like that’s what you deserve. But it’s not, okay? It’s not what you fucking deserve.” 

Tess managed to get him to drop the garbage can and she put her hands on his arms. “Hey, Sami.. Whoa. Are you okay?” as she stepped a little closer. She hadn’t ever really seen him  get quite this wound up outside of the ring.

… and he’s wound up because of me, is it wrong that I feel both… worried and a little turned on by this?… i mean, when was the last time AJ honestly got this worked up over anything involving me? It… feels nice to.. Have someone want you and care about you this much… and then it clicked for her.

Sami was trying to say something. Something that otherwise, he might not have been able say. Something that he was having trouble saying now.

And then it clicked further.

His avoiding her.. It bothered her more than she realized. It was the entire reason she’d been out of sorts for a while now. Things hadn’t been the same, not having him to talk to. She missed him.. A lot more than she’d let herself realize.

She stepped even closer, tilting her head to look up at him as she toyed with the strings of his hoodie.  “Sami..”

Before she could get another word out, she found herself being pulled into a kiss that was deep and rough and full of want. His fingers tangled in her hair, his teeth grazed her lower lip, she nipped at his back, whimpering quietly as her fingers dug into the front of his hoodie and his shoulders. His hands moved down her back, stopping on her ass as he squeezed and pulled her completely against him, nipping at her lips again, enough force in the kiss to leave her lips starting to tingle and swell. She deepened the kiss this time before he could break it, because he tried to.

He finally did manage to break the kiss and he looked down at her, breathing heavily, her face all flushed, her hair disheveled and her lips swollen and starting to turn a deep pink and he bit his lip, staying silent for a little bit. “You deserve better, Tess.”

“Maybe you’re right… Did you have any suggestions?” she moved closer to him, arms around his neck.

That kiss.. His whole em passioned speech just before it happened.. It had really opened  her eyes.

Sami pulled her closer and leaned down a little, his forehead against hers as he muttered quietly, “I think the answer to that should be obvious.”

Chapter Text

He felt her head against his thigh and he tensed a little. Then he thought about how it might wake her up and make her move and he took a deep breath and attempted to relax. Tentatively, his fingers reached down and smoothed away some hair that was currently covering her face.

She rolled onto her back and for a few seconds, he thought she’d realize what she had done and awaken, moving to sit up. He tensed again before he could stop himself and stopped beneath the red light, glancing down at her.

 if I told her how I felt it’d never work. we’re complete opposites and not only that, she’s my best friend… I don’t want to ruin that. But I know I can’t keep it inside much longer… Sami’s mind wandered as he sat waiting on the light to go green.

He could feel Kevin’s intent gaze from the backseat and when Kevin’s throat cleared, he glanced in the rearview and gave a firm shake of his head before turning his attention back to the sleeping brunette using his thigh as a pillow currently.

Kevin leaned in and whispered into his best friends ear, “Opposites, man.. you know what they’re always sayin about opposites. Just shoot your shot already, damn.”

She mumbled something and sort of curled into herself lying on her side, the movement caused her head to settle higher up on his thigh and Sami sucked in a deep breath, his grip on the steering wheel tightening. The red and black plaid blanket she was using to cover up with was slipping and just before the light went green, Sami managed to grab it and spread it back out over her.

Something she said earlier that night out of her own mouth when he stopped her from wiping the hallway with Mandy Rose’s head came back to her.

“You’re the only one who can do this, ya know? The whole calm me down and make me see reason thing…” and she’d hugged him until one of the other guys got Mandy away safely and Sami let her look around.

People were always telling him that they assumed she and Sami were a thing; Sami would kind of sigh then shake his head and correct them quickly -mostly for her sake because why would she willingly settle for him, but thinking back on it… Samara didn’t really bother correcting anyone who’d assumed it when they were out somewhere together.

Before, he’d just assumed that she didn’t care enough to take the time to set things straight. Thought that maybe she didn’t so one or two of the guys, namely AJ and Ziggler, would leave her alone..

… you’re overthinking, Sami…

… maybe not. She did say that about me calming her down earlier… and lately, she’s around a lot more, she’s even asked me to teach her new moves… Me.. not one of the other men or women we work with

“If it helps, Zayn… Everybody in back knows how she feels about you. I mean… everybody but you. Shoot your shot. Do it before someone else does. She’s getting close to Finn too, remember? Do you really wanna just sit back and let the chance slip through your hands?”

Kevin settled back into his seat and he shoved his headphones back in before Sami could even ask him for an explanation. Sami turned when the GPS spoke up and instructed him to do so, merging with traffic on the busy interstate.

… she usually rides with one of the girls. Tonight she passed it up to ride with you and Kevin

He rubbed at his eyes and yawned and Kevin was tapping his shoulder. He met his friends gaze in the rearview and mouthed “What?”

“Pull over. I’ll drive two hours, man. I’m getting hungry anyway and there’s a diner up ahead. We can get food and then when we come out, I can take over.. We’ll see where Samara chooses to sit.”

Sami glanced down then bit his lip as he thought about it and finally, he gave a nod. “Okay. Alright. I’m getting so fucking tired I can’t keep my eyes open anyway.”

When the diner came into sight, Sami pulled into it and parked at the front of the building. He chuckled when he heard her grumbling and saw her hand raise to shield her eyes from the bright neon sign in the window of the diner.

“Sweet. Food.” Samara sat up, stretching and yawning. Sami glanced at her and smiled, nodding. “Yeah Kevin’s hungry.”

“So am I. I could eat a house right now.”

Sami snickered and Samara eyed him, deadpanning, “Seriously. I’m starving. What are we waitin on?”

“Nothing.” Sami and Kevin got out and Samara got out after untangling herself from her blanket. She assumed that she’d probably have to catch up to Kevin and Sami inside, but to her surprise, Sami was standing by the door waiting on her. She stopped in front of him, raising to tiptoe to fluff his hair, smiling up at him.

Neither of them were moving. Samara found herself pressing against him as a group of people walked around them to go inside. Sami’s hand slid down her sides, squeezing her hips for a moment, holding her in place.

“You didn’t ride with the girls tonight.”

“Didn’t want to.”

Sami eyed her a few seconds. They were inching closer together and she raised her hands, her fingers tugging at the strings of his hoodie. 

“Mara..”

“Sami..”

As she said his name, her lips brushed up against his and before he could stop himself, the groan came. His grip on her hips tightened, he found himself pulling her up just a little. She sucked in a ragged breath and swallowed hard, staring up at him. Neither of them were blinking.

“Why didn’t you ride with the girls tonight?”

“Because..” Samara trailed off, fidgeting a little as if she were nervous. After about two seconds of glancing down, she made herself meet his gaze and after a few more seconds of just staring at him intently, she took a deep breath and made herself continue, “Because if I don’t do something about this… About the way I feel.. I’m gonna go fucking insane.”

“Wait, huh?” it caught him off guard and Samara held her finger against his mouth, shushing him. Her right hand raised, resting across the back of his neck and she mumbled again quietly as she looked down at her sneakers. Sami tilted her chin, a hand cupping her jaw. “What do you mean do something about the way you feel? How do you feel?”

“I..”

It wasn’t like her to be at a loss for words. Sami repeated himself and Samara chose to let her actions answer for her as opposed to using words. Before he realized what was actually happening, he was being kissed.

And not just a little kiss either.. Her teeth bumped and scraped against his lower lip as her grip on him tightened. To keep them from falling over, Sami leaned against the bricks behind them and pulled her up his body,a quiet growl falling from his mouth as she wrapped her legs around his hips and deepened the kiss, her tongue slipping past his lips, his tongue meeting hers in a rush.

His fingers clutched at the ends of her hair, tangling in it, tugging her mouth in deeper. “Is this your way of telling me you like me?” he asked in a quiet and breathy whisper as the kiss finally broke seconds later.

“No.”

His face fell and Samara swore to herself and then took a deep breath. “It’s my way of saying I’m in love with you, you big idiot.”

Before he could process, she’d climbed out of his arms and was starting to head towards the door. Sami pressed his back against her, stopping her and turning her around as he laughed. “You were seriously gonna just say that and walk away?” as he stared down at her, the purple from the neon above the door tinting her hair, making it appear to shine a deep purple. He reached out, smoothing hair out of her face. “You weren’t even gonna give me time to answer?”

“I… Panicked?”

“Why?”

“Don’t know..”

Sami chuckled, pressing into her. “You have absolutely no reason to panic. None. Not when I feel the same way.”

It was her turn to be shocked and she did, staring up at him, her mouth agape. “Wait… what now?”

“Well.. I mean I thought kissing you back would kinda… say what I can’t. But since it didn’t, I’m crazy about you, okay?”

Her eyes lit up and she gave this giggle as she shuffled her feet and looked up at him. “You realize this means you’re stuck with me, right?”

“You realize that’s what I want, right?”

Chapter Text

“If there weren’t an apocalypse goin on, what would you be doin?”

The question was innocent enough and Evie asked it mostly to pass the time while Daryl sat out on night watch and she kept him company. Daryl lit a cigarette and shrugged before offering Evie his flask. After a few minutes of staring off into the distance, he chuckled quietly.

“I’d have me a dog. And we’d probably be livin in the woods, off the grid. Probably still be bailin Merle’s ass outta whatever jam he manages to get himself into..”

He didn’t say it, but deep down, he felt like if the apocalypse -and Shane’s complete mental break hadn’t happened, he and Evie Grimes would never have crossed paths. She sighed and placed a hand on his upper arm, leaning against him just a little.

“You don’t believe we’d have met either way.”

“I wanna, but I mean, let’s be real here, woman.. I’m from one side a life, you’re from a whole other. I don’t see you goin inta biker bars and just packin up on a whim to go wherever ya happen to end up.” Daryl answered it honestly, and while that bugged her a little, the fact that he didn’t believe in silly little things like good luck or fate, Evie appreciated the honest answer. She took a deep breath and then after another sip from the flask they were sipping out of, she stared off at the distance for a little bit herself and started to speak.

“I think you’re wrong. I think that sometimes, no matter how it happens, some things are just meant to happen. And I like to think that meeting you woulda been one of those things, Daryl.”

Daryl turned to look at her, reaching out, tucking some hair behind her ear. He gave an amused sort of snort and asked quietly, “Is ‘at so? You’d probably have married ‘at asshole though.”

“I used to think the answer to that was yes, no hesitation.. Lately, I’m… Not so sure. Actually, no. No, Daryl, I would not have married Shane. Because either way, my brother still would’ve been shot, he’d have still gone into the coma. My grief and Shane’s inability to keep his dick outta my sister in law would have driven us apart. And if not that, pretty sure I’d have just left town after graduation.. I always wanted to travel..”

Daryl’s brow quirked and he asked after a few seconds, “Alright, so what do you think you’d have been doin?”

“Well, I probably would’ve traveled. I always wanted to see Maine, I heard it’s real pretty in the fall. Probably would’ve gone to college somewhere far off. Boston or somethin.”

“See? I rest my case, woman, because you wouldn’t catch my ass in either place.” 

Evie gave Daryl a playful tap to his arm and a glare. “ You gonna let me finish talkin or?” 

“By all means, woman. Finish what you were sayin.”

“I’d have eventually come back to Georgia. And probably took random odd jobs until I found a position at a law firm or something.. I coulda been the waitress that poured your coffee at 2 am when you’re comin back into town from another late night Rescue my idiot brother mission.. Or maybe I poured your brother drinks at a bar… And I noticed you and we got to talkin about life.. I don’t care what you think, Daryl Dixon.. In any life, I’d have chosen to meet you.”

Daryl took a deep breath, staring at her. His heart felt like it’d beat right out of his chest and run away. The look in her eyes right now, he let the thought fall away and focused instead on a carefully calculated reaction to her words. After a few seconds of heavy contemplation which he could tell she was getting nervous and starting to worry that she’d said too much, he reached over and sort of lazily pulled her into his lap.

“ So you think either way it went, we’d have still met, hmm?”

“I do, actually. I just wish you believed that. You’re a good man, Daryl Dixon. An amazing man. I’m lucky to know you. I can’t say that enough.” 

Daryl cleared his throat, not sure how to respond. Just the thought that she really and truly believed every word she said, -and meant them.. It meant so much more to him than the rough as nails redneck was used to attempting to convey.

When she snugged herself against him, he casually slipped his arms around her and after a few seconds, he asked a question of his own.

Tentatively, of course.

“Fine.. Since ya got all these big plans, woman.. What if there wasn’t an apocalypse goin on and we had met… what do you think we’d be doin right now, hmm?”

“Well, I’ve also always wanted a farm… Big old place out in the middle of nowhere.. Maybe a garden by the sea..” Evie trailed off, leaving Daryl to consider what she said. “You could spend all day in the woods huntin.”

“Maybe even find work in a garage or somethin. Always liked workin under the hood of somethin when I was younger. Woulda made somethin outta it if Merle didn’t stay in so much shit..” Daryl said it before he could stop himself. And the thing that was both scary as hell and comforting to him?

As she talked about her little garden by the sea and the farm in the middle of nowhere, he could see it all so clear in his mind.

And before he could stop himself from doing so, Daryl blurted out, “ No cats though. They’re sneaky little shits.”

“Oh come on! You can’t have a farm without a cranky old tom who hangs around your barn and knocks up all the lady cats around. Meows at all hours of the night because he got into your brother’s moonshine…”

“So Merle’s here too, hmm?”

“He’s important to you. So, I would love him. Even when he was being a cranky old fuck.” Evie promised.

Daryl found himself fixating on her mouth, leaning in a little, wanting to kiss her, but not being sure at all whether opening that door would be a particularly good idea.

Evie, of course, went for it.. Closing the distance between their mouths, cupping his scruffy jaw with her hand to pull his mouth in completely. He groaned quietly and took over the kiss, his hands squeezing her thighs just to keep himself somewhat together.

“Yer wrong about one thing.”

“Hmm?”

“If any cat of ours got inta Merle’s moonshine, probably wouldn’t live t’ tell the tale. Merle couldn’t make the stuff t’ save his life.” Daryl chuckled as he deepened the kiss. Evie giggled and as the kiss broke, she leaned against him, face buried in his shoulder. “Maybe if I just close my eyes and take a nap, I can dream about it.”

“Why don’t y’ do that, darlin.. So when y’ wake up, y’ can tell me more, hmm?” Daryl mumbled as he stifled a yawn with his hand, wrapping his poncho around her to at least keep her a little warm as she caught a nap. 

He went back to watching the darkness, focused intently. But he did his own bit of imagining too.

Chapter Text

“What is your deal with him anyway? Why him? There are… so many better options around us. He’s Zack, I mean.. C’mon.” Carmella eyed her best friend as they did push ups. When Leia didn’t seem to hear her, Carmella cleared her throat loudly.

Even that didn’t do it. Leia’s eyes were firmly glued to the ring, where Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins were currently sparring.

Well, maybe more goofing off than sparring.

Carmella rolled her eyes and tried another tac as she switched from push ups to crunches. “If you’re gonna stare at him, maybe ya walk over and say somethin’? I mean.. What have ya got to lose? Unless, of course, you’re afraid.”

“I’m not afraid, shh. He’s about to hit the Rough Ryder, I love this part.”

“Oh good lord, woman.” Carmella rolled her eyes and came to a full stop with her crunches, nudging her friend, nodding in Zack’s direction. “Go talk to him! Jesus.”

“The last time I tried to do that he looked at me like I’d grown three heads.. And all that came out when I tried was a fucking mouse squeak. We both know that’s not me. The timing isn’t right anyway..”

“Yeah? When will it be? Never? Takin a little risk now and then won’t kill ya, Leia.”

“No, but when it blows up in my face, which we both know it will, that’s a whole  different story.”

“Look.. He ain’t my cup of tea. But he ain’t a jerk either. And lately, he’s kinda been just.. Drifting.”

“And?”

“Maybe you could give him a direction? Or at least somethin so he’s not always mopin around backstage.”

Leia mulled it over and she stared at the ring intently. She took a deep breath as she rose from the floor of the gym and started to make her way over. At first, she kept a decent distance from the ring, but she was leaned against a vending machine, sipping her bottled water and watching intently while her mind raced, tried to come up with some kind of clever plan.

It hit her then. She liked learning moves. Carmella had been teaching her a few lately. She worked backstage but she’d always just loved to grapple and spar.

As Zack and Curt were coming to a stopping point in their sparring session, Leia wandered over to the ring, propping against the apron, staring up at the two men.

As usual, Curt went into charmer mode, winking at her. “What can I do  ya for, darlin?”

“Actually.. I was kinda hopin to talk to Zack.”

Zack eyed the petite brunette, curious. He pointed to himself after looking around, chuckling quietly. “About?”

“Well, I was.. Forget it, it’s dumb.” Leia shuffled her feet, tilting her head to the side as she twisted strands of hair around her fingertip and blatantly ignored her cell phone blaring Rob Zombie’s Children of the Grave cover from her pocket.

Carmella, being nosy and trying to ‘guide’ her as always. She’d even done this when they were kids.

She turned, fully intent on walking away, but Zack reached out, tentatively grabbing hold of her wrist to stop her. She turned back to face him and he stared down at her a few seconds, biting his lip. “No, what’d ya want?”

“Well, I was.. Umm.. I was wondering if you’d show me a few moves.. I mean..” she took a deep breath, why the hell wasn’t she more outgoing and less awkward? This had been so much easier when she played it out in her head and he laughed his ass off at her, sending her on her way. She’d never actually stopped to consider that he might actually hear her out.. Now he looked like he was seriously thinking about it and Leia had no idea what was going to happen next or how to handle it without looking like an awkward teenage girl with a crush or something.

Let’s be real, she thought to herself,  you never honestly left that phase behind… and she blew at the hair that kept falling down into her eyes waiting on whatever he was going to say.

Zack eyed her and raised a brow. “You want me… to show you a few moves… In the ring?”

“That’s kind of what I asked.. Look, if you don’t wanna, just forget it. This was stupid. It sounded a lot better in my head. I should stick to dancing, gymnastics and yoga..” Leia was going to walk away, but Zack caught up to her, tapping her shoulder, chuckling when she turned around.

“Do you always run away like that? Because it makes it kinda hard to actually talk to you.”

“ I just thought you… I mean you were taking a while to answer..”

“ I will, okay?” Zack said it quick, probably too quick, and he found his eyes roaming over her  slowly. He’d been into her for a while now, but he figured that if he were to approach her, she’d most likely laugh her ass off at any attempt made. So, it caught him a little off guard when she approached him first -and when she seemed really nervous about it. “What’d you wanna learn?”

“Anything, honestly. Just.. I don’t know? I didn’t think this out beyond asking if you’d show me a few moves.”

As soon as she said it, Zack noticed that her cheeks went bright pink, wait, was she blushing? He chuckled to himself, nodding to the ring.”C’mon.. We can do some easier stuff to start off with.”

“Oh, what? Afraid you might hurt little old me? I’m tougher than I look, Zack.” Leia moved closer, her hand resting palm down against his chest as she stared up at him with a challenging sort of smirk. Zack chuckled and bit his lip, smirking right back.

“Feisty, hmm?”

“A little, yeah.”

.. okay, good, now just keep opening up.. Leia coached herself as she stepped into the ring, bouncing on her toes. “You should know.. I took self defense and boxing as a kid.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Zack gave a laugh and stepped up closer , he started off with a bear hug, chuckling next to hear ear when she squeaked and that accent broke through heavily, “You ass! Warn a bitch next time!” but she managed to wiggle and squirm herself free and immediately went for a leg sweep.

Zack fell back against the mat, staring up at her, laughing. “You got me down, what are you gonna do now, hmm?”

While she was standing there, pondering about what she’d do, Zack was locking his arms around her knees and dragging her down to the mat. He reversed things so that she was on her back against the mat and she raised her legs, squeezing his hips, using her legs and thighs to manage to wrangle him back onto the mat, then she was on top, pinning his hands beside his head and he looked up at her, laughing.

“Okay, you’re quick and you’ve got moves. Keep it up, tiny and I’ll be teachin you the rough rider any day now..”

Leia was staring intently at his mouth and the second the reason why she actually might have asked Zack to show her a few moves clicked for him, he groaned quietly, tugging her down flat against him.

“Something tells me you had alterior motives, and it wasn’t to unlock the secret of my finisher.”

His lips brushed hers and she swallowed hard, her breath catching in her throat. She laced her fingers through his, staring up at him.

“I..”

“Cat got your tongue, tiny?” Zack’s hands dropped their hold on her hands and moved to rest on her hips since she now sat straddling them. He gave a squeeze and chuckled quietly, biting his lip as he looked up at her. “It’s just a simple question.”

“What if there is, Zack?”

He pulled her down a little so that she was leaned over him. Leia closed the distance between their mouths and he groaned quietly, parting his lips willingly. His hands slipped down from her hips, gripping her ass, rubbing her right against him and when she whimpered, her lips brushing right up against his, her tongue quick to dart out the second his lips parted for her, she felt his fingertips digging into her ass. “Fuck.”

It was unclear if he groaned it or she did, or they both did at the same time, but Zack’s tongue took dominance quickly, and when she rocked herself against him a few seconds in, he bucked up into her from below, a quiet and dark chuckle breaking through their heavy breathing. “Is that what you wanted?”

“It’s a start.” Leia felt bolder. Maybe it was Zack kissing back, maybe it was her finally being tired of holding back.Either way, now that the fire was lit… Zack sat up, Leia’s legs circling his waist. He tugged at her hair, a hand on the back of her head, cradling it, guiding her mouth back to his. His mouth strayed from hers, trailed down the side of her neck and she squeezed his sides tighter with her thighs. Zack growled into the kiss quietly. “A start, hmm? What else did you have in mind?” he broke the kiss so they could both catch their breath as he looked up at her expectantly, waiting on an answer.

“I.. actually didn’t think this all the way through.”

Zack snorted in laughter and cupped her jaw, making her look at him. “Did it work out the way you hoped?”

“Better, actually.”

Chapter Text

“Follow me, they said. It’ll be fun, they said. Now it’s dark and cold and I’m lost in the fucking forest in the middle of nowhere. Fuckers.” as she said it, she heard a twig pop nearby. Tensing all over, she froze in the clearing, turning every which way.

“Okay, look. This was cute five minutes ago. It’s not cute anymore!” Claudia paced the forest, eyes darting around at every little sound.
A few seconds passed and she decided to try again.

“You can all come out now, this isn’t funny. You know I hate the dark..and being cold… and the woods… Anyone? Okay, you got me.”

Nothing.
Not even a bird’s call. Not even a breeze. And then quietly, another twig popped. Claudia tensed and caught her breath, turning in the direction she thought she’d heard the quiet noise in.

Nothing.

“Assholes.” Claudia started to walk in what she thought was the direction she’d come in and just as she took a fourth step, she heard the snap of a twig, closer this time. Claudia froze and after a second or two of mental preparation, she slowly turned around.

The wolf stood there, eyes fixed on her intently, it’s head tilted. It gave the wolf a curious expression, almost as if it were trying to figure out just what the hell she was even doing there. Claudia took a step back carefully and the heel of her boot caught on a rock. She landed on her ass in the dirt and she hissed as she felt her ankle starting to throb and a dull pain shoot through her calf. She made an attempt to stand, but that dull throb only worsened and she sank back down, swearing to herself.

The wolf stepped closer and she tried to scoot away. The wolf seemed to pick up on her fear and it settled on it’s hind end, watching her with that same curious expression. Claudia glanced towards the animal and bit her lip, speaking up. “P-please… Just don’t eat me. I can almost one hundred percent promise you that I won’t taste good. Not even a little bit. Shoo!”

The wolf continued to sit, whining quietly, despite her trying to shoo it away.

And then, it happened.. The voice was deep and quiet, almost soothing in a way, despite it’s definite rough and growly tone… But she heard it, plain as someone had been speaking to her aloud.

… Close your eyes…

She raised a brow, studying the wolf intently. She wasn’t even sure exactly why she thought the wolf was the source of the voice, but deep down, she just knew somehow. “No,there’s no way. You’re just scared, you probably imagined it.”

She gave a nervous laugh, because who does that, sitting in the forest at night alone and injured… and talking to themselves.

…apparently, i do…

She felt this heavy and slow burning heat settling into the pit of her stomach, which did nothing to help it’s nervous churning. Her skin felt tighter.

As a result, she wound up tugging off the leather jacket she was wearing as she had the passing thought that it wasn’t really that warm to begin with. She hissed as the chilly night air hit her bare arms and she eyed the wolf who hadn’t moved. It stared right back at her, ears perked, head tilting ever so slightly as it whined.

… will ya stop being stubborn? Do what I ask…

She wasn’t sure why she chose to do it, but she found herself closing
her eyes and answering the command mentally, “ my eyes are closed. Just… don’t… like… eat me.”

… if i were gonna eat you, I’d have done it an hour ago when I first caught your scent…don’t open your eyes… otherwise, this is gonna get even weirder…

‘ weirder than me… doing this… lost and alone and hurt in the woods at night?’

The snort from nearby had Claudia peeking through mostly closed eyes. The wolf had apparently made the noise, almost as if it were agreeing
with her. She grumbled and raised her hands, using them to cover her eyes. “Better?”

… yeah,for now… I’m gonna need you not to scream too… when you uncover your eyes…

Claudia counted to 3 slowly and then she started to lower her hands cautiously. The wolf was gone and a massive man stood there in it’s place, his leather vest and second skin jeans making him seem as if he stepped off the cover of one of her stupid books that she’d left back at the cabin.

“I…who are you? What happened to the wolf?”

“You ask too many questions.” the man stepped closer in one easy stride, bending and picking her up bridal style. Claudia wiped at her mouth, the scent of him was strong and enveloped her. She remembered an earlier stop on the trail, when she’d gotten too hot and she’d had to sit down and catch her breath.. She smelled the same smell on the wind then and secretly, she’d spent the remainder of the hike trying to catch it again, wondering what it was.

The thought prompted her next question.

“Were you… following me and my friends earlier?”

“You can say that, kinda.” the man started to walk towards a grouping of trees, carrying her. He grunted to himself when she mumbled something about this having been one hell of a weird camping trip so far before falling silent, her head against his neck and shoulder until she raised it to ask one more question.

“What’s your.. Name? I mean, if you’re gonna take me god knows where…”

“To my cabin, but continue..”

“I just.. I wanna know your name. Mine is Claudia.”

“Claudia.” the man repeated, and something about the way he said it sent a fluttery sensation right to the pit of her stomach. His mouth turned upward in a smirk and after a few more seconds of walking, he answered quietly, “Name’s Baron. I live out here.”

“Baron.. So.. do you do this often?”

“Never, actually. Figured there’s a first time for everything though.” Baron stepped through the treeline and Claudia eyed the cabin and then him, a brow raised.

“You live here?” somehow, the quiet and quaint little cabin in the forest both suited him perfectly and didn't suit him at all. The contradictory thoughts only made Claudia more curious, more eager to dig in and solve the mystery that was her wolf in shining armor.

“It’s quiet.” Baron answered, shrugging. The cabin has been his solace for years. Years of solitude gone like smoke on the wind. Because then she showed up and her scent, it got to him.. He had to reach out, to find her. She was his. There were no two ways about it, no compromise the wolf within was willing to make on the fact. She belonged with him. And seeing her in person finally, Baron thought to himself, I can't argue with the animal side.. He's got pretty damn good taste. Even if she's a chatterbox.

“Mhmm..”

He carried her up the steps and stopped at the door, throwing it open. A Great Dane ran past, heading for the trees before bolting back tohim. “Hey, whoa.. Down X. We gotta get our guest inside.”

“I’m… fine.. I can.. try to text my friends, something. I don’t wanna be in your way.”

“You’re not. And you’re not goin anywhere until I get a look at your ankle.” Baron answered as he put her onto a black leather couch and walked into the next room, emerging a minute or two later with a beer and a box.

He sat on the table in front of her, picking up her boot clad foot and putting it on his thigh, loosening the laces and hissing at the sight of swollen ankle as he gingerly tugged at the boot to pull it off. It hit the floor with a quiet thud and Claudia managed to mumble, “Thanks.. For bringing me back here.. I mean,if you’re not gonna kill me or whatever.”

Baron snorted, stopping short to stare at her a few seconds. “ That’s
cute.”

“Well, I mean.. you never know?”

“If I were gonna kill you, I’d have just done it.. back there… When I was the wolf.”

Claudia blinked and stammered. “You.. You were… Wait, what?”

“I was the wolf you saw.. I’m the wolf you’ve been hearing at night.. I know you've heard me, darlin.. Don't even try to deny it.” Baron stated as his gaze shifted back down to her ankle and he shook his head. “It’s sprained.”

“That’s obvious.” Claudia retorted, wincing as he touched a particularly tender spot on her ankle, tensing up as a low and dull throb of pain shot through her body. Yep, she'd really sprained it out there. She wouldn't be going anywhere for a little while, at least not under her own power.

Baron met her gaze and bit his lip, leaning in. His hand raised and Claudia stared intently, following it’s path as he reached out and smoothed his hand over her hair, coming away with a twig. She got the distinct feeling that there was something he wasn’t saying, and that it was something huge, but for the moment, she was more or less focusing on
the dull throbbing pain in her ankle.

And, of course, the way it somehow managed to spread upward, making her cunt throb too. Baron gave an amused smirk as he chuckled quietly.

… ya know I can kinda sense what mood you’re in, right?… my,my, my… what a dirty little mind you’ve got there…

When he did it again, Claudia gave him a dirty look and took a deep breath.

“How are you doing that?” even though she wasn't sure she wanted the answer to the question, she had to know. How was he able to talk to her without ever speaking a word aloud? More to the point, how was he able to know her exact thought? Even more to the point, how did she somehow instinctively know his? Just from the depth and heaviness of his scent, at that?

No one had ever bothered explaining this whole finding your true mate process to her before, so naturally, she had a lot of questions. And even more urges.. Like the urge to kiss him. To be closer to him. To feel the weight of his body on her body... She tried to stop the flood of desires she felt and thoughts she had, but she couldn't. Nothing she tried seemed to work. He seemed amused by it, chuckling as he stared her down before answering her question.

“ ‘t’spart of what I am.. The animal, I mean.” his tone was lazy and he reached down, picking up the beer and taking a long sip. Despite herself, Claudia’s eyes were drawn to his neck… To his mouth and the way his swallowing the beer called attention to his lips. And all over again, she found herself confronted iwth the profound desire to grab hold of his jaws, pull his mouth against hers and kiss him until she couldn't breathe and that smug look was gone from his face.

“If ya wanna kiss me, darlin… all you gotta do is do it.”

Chapter Text

“ You alright, Switchblade?” the guy on the weight bench near the punching bag Jay White was currently beating the shit out of spoke up. Jay stopped and caught the bag, turning to glare at the guy. He shrugged.

… no,not even close, but hey, I’m gonna have to make it okay…

“ I’m fine.”

“Just heard some of the guys talkin earlier.”

Jay’s fists clenched at his side. He gritted his teeth and asked as calmly as he could, “Did y’ now? Well, y’ can run back to ‘em and tell ‘em that if they’re worried about anythin affectin me, it’s not. I’m untouchable. Nothin hurts, okay?”

Oh, but everything hurt.

There wasn’t a part of Jay White that was even a little okay with anything. But she’d left him no choice. She was the one who chose to leave. She was the one who couldn’t handle all the time apart, the dirt sheet’s lies, all of it. He didn’t know what to say or do to convince her that if he wanted another he’d be with another.

He assumed that she’d know that. That his actions proved true; that they were good enough to convince her that he wanted her and her alone. … apparentlyit wasn’t good enough, she’s halfway across the bloody world about to marry some other man...

Just the thought had him tensing all over again, grinding his teeth. If there was one thing Jay hated above all else, it was being made to feel powerless. And her leaving him like she had, without even giving him a chance to fight for what they had… it made him feel more powerless than anything he’d ever gone up against.

He swung at the punching bag again and again and again. It didn’t make anything feel any better. He probably would have kept going if not for the nosy guy speaking up again.

“I thought you were one of those guys who fought for something. Who got what you wanted, no matter what.”

Jay stopped the bag and turned, giving the other man a death glare. “The ‘ell are y’ suggestin about me, huh?”

He stepped up, the other man chuckled and waved his hands after raising them. “Easy, killer.. Not suggesting anything.. Except maybe you didn’t want whatever it is that’s got you all worked up as much as you thought.”

“Y’ don’t know me.”

“I thought I knew enough about you to know you wouldn’t just give up on something.. Or someone, should I say, without a fight.”

“I’m not giving up! She fucking left.”

“And you didn’t even try to stop her, did ya?” the other man smirked, sizing Jay up with a look on his face that really got under Jay’s skin. Jay grumbled and shoved past the man. It wasn’t his business and Jay wasn’t about to get into it with someone he barely knew.

“Just proves everyone right.” Okada called out and Jay stopped, glaring at the two men as Okada thanked the man whom he’d been talking toand slipped him a few bills. Jay chuckled dryly and shook his head, pointing to Okada. “I should’ve known you were up to this. You must be really worried about goin against me, playin these games..
Didn’t work, nice try.”

“Contrary, Switchblade. I think my ‘game’ served it’s exact purpose. You’re more rattled than I’ve ever seen you. Hope it doesn’t turn our upcoming match into a disaster.”

Jay growled, for a split second he nearly went back and kicked Okada’s teeth down his throat, but he stopped himself. Something the other man said earlier in the conversation came rushing back to him and suddenly, Jay White knew exactly what he had to do.

Four hours later, he was standing in line at the airport, waiting to board a flight to San Fransisco, where Esme was.

Esme was being poked awake. The kid in the seat next to her was staring at
her when she opened her eyes and she yawned, eyeing the kid. “What?”

“You’re dressed funny.”

Esme looked down at the wedding gown, the night before replaying in her head. She laughed and shrugged, offering no further explanation. The
pilot came on the intercom, announcing the flight’s landing in Japan, at the airport.

Esme shot up out of her chair, grabbing her one bag in a hurry.

The second she stepped off the plane she felt this peace, this sense of overwhelming relief wash over her in waves. Her mom’s advice came back to her and suddenly, it all made sense.

This was the right thing. This was a good thing.

Now she just had to hope it wasn’t too late to fix the damage she might have caused between herself and Jay when she chose to run rather than face her worries and fears and feelings head on. As she rounded a corner, she collided with someone in her hurry to get to the cab
waiting area.

“Watch where you’re…” a very familiar voice started to snap and Esme found herself actually looking up from her phone, from the text she’d been trying to pour her heart into to the man in question. “Jay?”

“Esme?”
Jay tried to maintain an air of nonchalance but his eyes gave him away. Esme took a deep breath. Words… Those were failing her at the moment.

“It should have been you, you fucking jerk. I was so so so stupid, I… I threw away happiness, I… I really fucked things up. I’m sorry, Jay. I’m sorry and I love you. I don’t think Daryl ever stood a chance, honestly..” Esme trailed off as Jay pulled her against him, his hand smoothing over her hair and chuckled quietly.

“I was comin to get y’. Was going to march into ‘at church and raise hell til ya listened to me.”

Esme snuggled closer and looked up at him. Jay trailed his thumb beneath her eye, catching the tear that was threatening to fall. “I left. I got to the chapel and I was getting ready and… nothing felt right. So I just bolted. I didn’t even go back to my place to pack or anything… It didn’t hit me where I was going until I bought the
ticket back here.”

“ That dress has to be uncomfortable… I mean ya look amazing but..” Jay studied her, his hand cupping her jaw to keep her looking at him.
“It’s not you.”

“I know. I hate it. Can we just go home? Please?”

“That’s th’ best thing I’ve heard all day.” Jay scooped her up and strode out of the airport..

Chapter Text

She was exhausted when she walked through the door. Lip looked up from the three books open in front of him and patted the empty spot beside him on the couch. “Tough day, huh?”

“I don’t even know if I want more kids now, to be quite honest.”

“They’ll be fine, baby girl. Those kids you keep, they’re entitled little shits. Got all that money. Get away with murder. Our kids won’t, you know that, baby girl.” Lip spoke in a soothing tone as his fingers smoothed over springy dark curls. Sage sat up on their sofa and moved to his lap, plopping herself right on top of the book he was currently reading, sliding her arms around his neck. “And how’d your first day go, hmm? Enjoying it, aren’t you? Having all those hot little college freshmen call you Professor Gallagher?” she teased gently. Lip bucked himself against her, his hands squeezing her hip. “I’ll have ya know, princess. Not one single freshman girl tried to throw herself at me.”

Sage rubbed against him and his grip tightened again in warning. She tilted his chin and mumbled against his mouth quietly, “Yeah? Well maybe I am, Professor Gallagher. I’ve been a real bad girl. Gonna make me stay after class? Spank me?”

“Jesus, woman.” Lip barely managed to keep from growling as the book slid off the couch and hit the floor with a solid thud. He stood, Sage wrapped around his body, and Sage giggled, latching her mouth onto the side of his neck. 

“You’re a very bad girl, Mrs. Gallagher. A very, very bad girl. Tryin to seduce me with a kid sleepin upstairs.” Lip mumbled quietly as he stopped on the fourth stair up, pressing her right against the wall as his hand wandered down, cupping and squeezing her cunt as he thrust against her. “Spankin you is the last thing on my mind right now, actually.”

“Oh? So what is on your mind?”

“How fast I can rip that dress off ya without wakin up lil bit.” Lip answered as he ghosted his mouth down the side of her neck, locking eyes with her. His hand slipped down, and then started to venture between her thighs all over again and he groaned when he realized just how soaked she was. “Goddamn. Ready for me, hmm?”

“Always, Lip.”

“Always, hmm? I’m not gonna lie, I like the sound of that.” Lip mumbled, leaning in to steal another kiss as he fumbled with the knob on their bedroom door.

Chapter Text

“Damn. That’s hot.”

“He looks just like he stepped outta that tv show, Sons of Anarchy.”

“Who is he and where can I get one?”

Claudia was lost in her own thoughts and if not for the rough hands stopping at her hip and the scent of him filling her nose from behind, she’d never have given a seconds thought to what her friends were all saying. A quick look around the table revealed that their jaws were all nearly on the floor and Claudia gave a little giggle and shrug before turning around to face Baron, nuzzling her head against his chest.

“You made it. I was worried you wouldn’t show up tonight.”

“You’re here. Where else was I gonna go?” Baron’s hand raised, cupping her jawline, making her look up at him. She swallowed hard and he stepped between her legs. He could feel the stares of her friends, but he shoved it out of his mind.

He was only at the little dive bar because that’s where she was and there was no way in hell he was going to leave his sexy little Omega unwatched and open for the taking. His lips grazed against the healing bite on her neck and he chuckled as he felt her practically purr while trying to press even closer to him. 

“So that’s where you were.. Hey, if I tripped in the forest over nothing… do you think I’d find one like him?”

“I wish I had your luck. You wander away from the group on a hike and find a man.. All I manage to do is get poison ivy when I crouch to piss..”

“Jesus, get a room.”

All of her friends commentary fell on deaf ears because Claudia was only focused on Baron. A slower song started to play and she bit her lip, looking up at him with a begging pout. “I know you said you don’t dance.. But this is one of my favorite songs.. Please? Pretty please?”

Baron pretended to think about it, even stepping away and staring at her intently, rubbing his chin in thought as he did so. He grumbled, mostly in teasing and then after more of that little begging look of hers, he pretended to relent. Before she could even slip off the stool, he’d slid her off and was guiding her out into the middle of the floor.

He didn’t have to pull her close, she was already snuggling up to him as close as she could get. She stared up at him a few seconds and it prompted him to ask her what was on her mind.

“Just thinking about how this was the last thing I expected to happen when I agreed to go camping with the girls..”

“Oh really… That a good or a bad thing, darlin?” Baron asked the question idly as his hands wandered down, squeezing her ass, rubbing her up against him as he smirked down at her.

“Oh it’s a good thing. A very good thing.”

Chapter Text

“I’m gonna die alone in a house full of cats with no job or no food and bills that I couldn’t pay… First Mindy and Billy got married, then Julie and Matt and now you and Landry are getting married… And I totally bombed that interview earlier. I couldn’t have sounded like a less capable candidate for the job if I tried.. Everything is totally fucking up.”
Amber looked up at her sister Tyra and reached for the bottle of red
wine in Tyra’s hand. Tyra backed away then seeing Amber’s pout, she poured some into the empty wine glass sitting in front of her sister.

“You’re not gonna die alone in a house full of cats. And you will find a job, okay? This stuff just takes time is all.”

“I am! Hello, I’ve been on four interviews this week alone.. And all the others I’ve been to since I moved back..”

“First of all, Amber, pretty sure you have to actually like cats. Secondly, you’ll find somebody. There’s somebody out there for everybody. Third.. I’m telling you, at least think about coming down to East Dillon High on Monday and filling out to be a substitute teacher or the secretary or something. Everything is gonna be okay, little sister. Just relax.”

“And literally every single time I think I have found somebody or my life is finally gonna settle down and go my way, something winds up going wrong.. Hello, I woke up to a break up text? Came home from work to find out that the locks were changed and all my shit was sitting outside? Then the very next day, I get laid off.” Amber shook her head and took a sip of wine. “I’m just saying.. I wanna be happy. Like you and Mindy. And lately, it feels like every single thing I touch turns to shit. Hence the reason I dragged my ass back to Dillon and am currently riding mom’s sofa.”

“You’ll figure everything out. I’ll help you.”

“You don’t… I need to do this on my own, Tyra.”

Mindy spoke up from the doorway, “Do what on your own?”

“Figure my life out.. It’s like… I look at you and Tyra and I don’t know… I realize just how much is missing, how much I messed up and how many chances I let slip through my fingers.”

“She’s still being a downer, huh?” Mindy glanced at Tyra who nodded. “Job interview didn’t go so well.. Then she got all mopey on me.”

“The club is hiring.. I mean someone’s gotta take my place. And you always loved to dance.”

“Dance. Not be groped by jackasses all night.” Amber corrected gently and Mindy shrugged. “The tips are good, though. And you’d save up to get your own place real quick.”

“ That is a good..” Amber started to say it but before she even got a word out, Tim Riggins spoke up from the door. “It ain’t a good idea.
Doesn’t matter how good the tips are.” as he stepped into the room and grabbed a beer for himself from Landry and Tyra’s fridge,uncapping it and taking a sip, never once dropping his gaze from the youngest of the Collette sisters.

Amber bit her lip and took a sip of her wine as she retorted, “Spoken from the man with a job and his own place.”

“That I built with my own bare hands.” Tim added, a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth. He hadn’t seen Amber in years. The difference in age between them back then may have been what kept him from ever really paying her any attention.

But since she’d shown up at Mindy’s place earlier in the month, he had to at least admit that he found himself just a little curious.

“Right..” Amber finally found the will to tear her eyes away from his and say something. She took another sip and Tim flopped down at the table behind her, taking a long sip from his own can. “Just because shit’s gone to hell.. Don’t mean you have to resort to that.”

Tyra eyed Tim and Mindy caught her sister’s eyes and mouthed “C’mon.” as she nodded to the living room and spoke up, clearing her throat. “Amber? Me and Tyra are gonna go in the livin room and look at some more bridal magazines. Weddings don’t plan themselves.” as Tyra caught on to what Mindy might be up to and smirked at her younger sister before meeting her older sister Mindy's gaze and replying “Right behind you, Mindy.”

As soon as the kitchen door closed behind the other two women, Amber stood. The problem was, so did Tim. And in the small room, it put them chest to chest. Tim chuckled and stared down at her. “What’s your hurry?”

“Nothin, I mean..”

“Sit down.” Tim nodded to the seat across from him and Amber sank down into it, reaching for her wine glass. Tim grabbed it and held it out.

After a few seconds of him staring intently at the Pabst logo on his can, he spoke up.

“I’m gonna feel like a third wheel on Saturday.”

“That makes two of us.” Amber lamented, taking another long sip from her wine glass, trying her best NOT to think about her stupid childish crush on Tim Riggins from back when she was a kid. Or, she thought to herself, trying not to re-imagine accidentally walking in on him when he was getting out of the shower at her sister Mindy’s house earlier in the week when she’d crashed there after a night out. It wasn’t working, she could see it in her mind as clear as she’d
seen it with her own eyes.

“You’re blushin.”

“Am not.”

“You are.” Tim was eyeing her, smirking a little. He turned his attention back to his beer can and muttered mostly to himself, “Everybody’s getting married.”

“So I’ve noticed. I mean first it was Mindy and Billy, then it was Matt and Julie and now it’s Tyra and Landry.. But I’m happy for my sisters and Julie.. I mean.. They found great guys. I just seem to have a shit radar.” Amber dragged her finger around the top of the glass and bit her lip as she laughed and shook her head. “Then again, to be fair, Mindy’s always tellin me to stop pushin so hard.. Shit will happen on it’s own time, she says… Tyra, she’s just doin her usual bit, tryin to fix all my messes for me…”

“It’s an older sibling thing. Billy did it a lot. Still does it.” Tim remarked, looking up from his bottle to catch her sort of gazing at him. He leaned in a little and tucked a few strands of hair that had fallen into her face back behind her ears as he laughed and shook his head.

“What’s so funny?” Amber pouted.

“Nothin. Just thinkin.”

“About?”

Tim started to stand and make his way out of the kitchen, but he stopped and sat back down. Glancing into the living room, he shrugged. “I always thought I’d wind up workin here.. In a garage.. Married to either Tyra or Lyla.. Look, my point is, life is funny. And it’s not as bad as you think it is right now. I mean.. from what I heard you tellin Tyra and Mindy about the guy in Chicago, you dodged one hell of a bullet.. And it hasn’t been that bad, coming back here, right?”

“Not really.. I mean, I have gotten closer to Mindy and Tyra than we were.. and getting to see my nephew and the twins is great.. And finally making things right with mom… The two of us helping each other through everything..” Amber smiled and then she caught herself doing it again, sort of watching Tim when he wasn’t paying
attention.

Before she could stop herself, she’d asked the question.

“Hey..What if we went to my sister and Landry’s wedding together? I mean.. not like a date or anything, but..”

Tim looked up at her and smiled, finishing his beer and aiming it at the tall trash can designated for beer cans in the corner of the kitchen.

“Soyou’re askin me on a date, huh?”


No..I mean not unless you wanna take it that way?”

“Maybe I do, Amber.”

“Okay then… it’s a date.”

Chapter Text

Barbie looked from man to man, totally unimpressed. Folding her arms, she cleared her throat when they finally took a break from their whole territorial thing. “Will you two kindly knock it the fuck off? And get lost, your Alpha stink is probably what’s keeping my true Alpha from making himself known.”

“You don’t have an Alpha. You could have me, but you won’t stop being stubborn.”

“I’d clearly be better for you than that asshole. C’mon. Think about it. You and me, baby.”

“All you two idiots are doing is making me dryer than the Sahara desert. Fuck off.” Barbie practically spat the words at the two men and luckily, it was enough to send them away. This time.

 oh but those two twat waffles will be back. They always come back… if I could just hurry and figure out who back here is my true Alpha…

… but what if it’s somebody you don’t want to be mated to?…

… anyone has to be better than Oney Lorcan and fucking Matt Cross… anyone…

Almost as if she’d summoned it, the scent was back again and it was… So heavy. It dominated the air and Barbie breathed in deep. Fanning herself, she leaned back against the brick wall and let her eyes flit around the room, careful to not settle on any particular member of the roster. 

It couldn’t be Tyler Bate or Trent Seven.

She knew it wasn’t any of the Undisputed Era, she’d gotten close enough to each man earlier in the week to realize that they were not only not the scent she’d been trying to find, but their scents all actually repulsed her.

None of them had that unique combination of Big Red chewing gum and freshly upturned earth like this scent. And while normally, the scent of dirt did literally nothing for her, in this case it was… Like the most erotic thing she’d ever smelled in her life.

It wasn’t Johnny Gargano, either.

So far, no one she’d tried to get close to matched this particular scent.

Distractedly, Barbie stepped away from the wall and gave in to the urge to follow her nose. As she started to walk down the hall, the scent got heavier and heavier, beckoning her. Turning a corner and entering catering, she managed to collide with Pete Dunne around the same time that the scent suddenly intensified. Pete gripped her arms, a gruff swear coming as he said something to her about watching where she walked, only to trail off in mid sentence.

“It’s you.”

They both said it at the same time, but Dakota called out to her and she bit her lip, staring up at her true Alpha a few seconds, trying to get a read on how the current situation affected him.

She couldn’t. He masked his thoughts on the matter heavily.

Barbie’s face fell and she turned abruptly, hurrying over to Dakota and one or two of the other girls.

Pete blinked and turned to scowl at Tyler, who’d just come up behind him and shoved him playfully. “What was ‘at about, Dunney?”

“I found ‘er.”

“And yer not over there with ‘er why? Who was it?”

“The blonde talkin t’ Dakota and the other girls. Th’ one with curly hair.”

Tyler followed his friends gaze and he gave a low and appreciative whistle as he muttered quietly, “Y’ lucky fuckin bastard. Well don’t let me stop y’. Go on, go to ‘er.”

Pete raised a brow and rolled his eyes, shaking his head. 

“Yer an idiot, Dunney.”

“Don’t think she was too happy with th’ realization I’m ‘er Alpha.”

“Or maybe, she took one look at yer grouchy mug and retreated because she thought she pissed y’ off. I mean if y’ gave ‘er the look y’ gave me just now, Dunney…” Tyler pointed out as helpfully as possible, but when Pete shook his head no, Tyler grumbled and shook his head.

“Well, I found him.”

“Seriously? Who? I need to know.”

“It’s Pete Dunne. But I don’t… I really don’t think he was thrilled when he realized what was happening… So.. That’s that.”

“What the hell do you mean that’s that? Pete’s always a grouch, that’s just who he is.”

“This was different. He looked annoyed. Maybe I should just give in to one of the other unmated douchebags who keep offering…” Barbie knew deep down that even as she said it, she’d never go through with it, because when she’d realized it was Pete… Something just clicked for her.

She sighed and shook her head, shoving it all out of her mind for the time being. “C’mon.. Someone in here is staring and it’s kinda creeping me out.” Barbie grabbed hold of Dakota’s arm, practically dragging her out of catering.

She collided with Roderick Strong in the hallway. Swallowing hard, she stared up at him, mumbling an apology. Roderick flashed her a grin and leaned against the doorway, pinning her in. “No need to apologize, darlin. You alright?”

“I’m fine, just.. In a hurry.” Barbie nodded to the doorway he was currently blocking and he chuckled, moving to the side. He caught hold of her wrist and held her there a few seconds the second he saw Pete Dunne staring at her from the doorway of catering.

“If any of these idiots mess with ya, Blondie.. Come find Roddy, alright?”

Barbie pried her wrist loose and gave him a thumbs up before rushing off.

Pete’s fists clenched and Tyler muttered to himself with an amused laugh, “And ‘ere we go.” before quickly grabbing hold of his best friend and starting the process of talking him down from whatever ‘punishment’ Pete was currently doling out to Strong in his head.

Pete growled and took a deep breath.

“What y’ need t’ do, Dunney, is go to ‘er and tell ‘er that whatever she thinks isn’t th’ truth.”

“What I need t’ do, Bate, is go down t’ the ring and call ‘im out. Maybe if I make an example out ‘f him, none of the others will even think about tryin it.” 

“And when y’ scare th’ living hell out of ‘er Dunney… what then? Just wait til the next time y’ see Strong lurking around, go over and intervene. That proves yer point without anybody bein afraid or havin t’ die.” Tyler eyed his best friend as he said it.

For once, Pete seemed to agree. Tyler let out a breath and then, they made their way down to the ring for the match they had.

– ( LE TIME SKIPPE )

“Clearly, me staying at the hotel while everyone else went out was a stupid idea. I’m so freaking bored!” Barbie was pacing her hotel room, fingers tangled in blonde curls as she tried to keep the worst part of her heat starting at bay.

She eyed the door and then her phone and remembering the annoyed look on Pete’s face earlier, she swore and grabbed the phone, firing off a text.

→ Hey, I’m gonna meet you guys after all.

→ No sense in me locking myself away and saving myself for an Alpha who clearly couldn’t want me less if he tried.

→ It’s that club near the beach, right?

Without waiting on a response, she showered and got out, putting on makeup and digging through her closet. When she saw the skintight little red dress that one of her friends got her as a ‘joke’ she bit her lip and hesitated. She almost passed it over in favor of something casual, her favorite jeans and crop top, but then she thought about it.

She knew who her true Alpha was now. And given that he didn’t seem like he’d be beating down her door anytime soon, was there really any sense in waiting or getting her hopes up?

She tore the tag off the dress and took it into the bathroom, changing into it. Before she could talk herself out of going out and having a fun night, she walked down the stairs and through the lobby.

Just as she went to reach for the handle on the door out of the lobby, Pete stepped in.

“Where th’ hell are y’ going?” Pete blurted it out before he could stop himself from doing so, earning him snickering from both Tyler and Trent.

“Out.”

“Out where?”

“Out. I’m supposed to be meeting someone. Can you kindly remove yourself, sir?” Barbie gazed up at Pete, tapping a stiletto against the floor impatiently.

“Not like ‘at.”

Barbie glanced down at her dress.. Before she could stop herself, she was glancing back up at him with a smirk. “Oh? And you’re gonna stop me how, sir?”

“My name is Pete. Not sir.” Pete was moving closer, Barbie was… beyond well aware of the difference in their height. She swallowed hard and fought to reign herself in because if she didn’t…

It wasn’t going to be pretty.

Self composure was harder than she’d always thought it’d be when she finally found her true Alpha.

She felt her thighs clench.

Pete was eyeing her up, almost as if he were in disbelief that she’d talk back to him.

The thought made her smirk a little, giggling quietly. She cleared her throat. “I’m running late. Either you’re going to do something about what I’m wearing, Alpha, or you’re going to move out of my fucking way.” she said it in her politest tone of voice. Pete edged closer, a hand hesitating before settling on her hip.

He stared her down intently.

Tyler and Trent cleared their throats, exchanging looks and Barbie raised her hand, resting it palm down against the front of Pete’s hoodie, staring at the door they currently blocked intently.

“It looks like I’m gonna have to be the one who walks away.” Barbie said it as she tried to side step Pete.

Pete stood there, watching her walk out of the lobby, his hand in his hair. 

“ ‘at went well, Dunney.” Trent broke the silence. Pete’s response was to shove his gear bag at Trent and start to storm out the door. Trent and Tyler shared a look and grumbled. Tyler found a room service attendant and put the bags onto a trolly to be taken up and he caught up to Trent in the parking lot just in time to watch everything as it happened.

Pete caught up to her and tapped her shoulder. Barbie came to a stop and turned, staring up at him with a look of curious amusement in her eyes. “You? I thought we settled this in the lobby, sir.”

“It’s Pete. And we didn’t.” Pete’s tone was firm but quiet. She was migrating closer.. A quick scenting revealed everything and he groaned inwardly as soon as he realized that Tyler had been right back at the arena.

She’d gotten the wrong idea. She had no idea just how blown away he’d been to find out that the vanilla scent he’d been chasing for a while now was her.

Or that he’d noticed her around the time he started to smell mentioned scent and he’d been… attracted, to say the least.

His eyes darted down to the red dress and he cleared his throat. “ Maybe y’ thought I was makin a suggestion, but I was being serious, Omega.”

“My name is Barbie.”

“Barbie.” Pete repeated her name, still gazing down at her intently. Barbie tapped her feet impatiently again, her tongue gliding over her lips to moisten them. Pete’s eyes darted up, settling on her mouth and the attention that the gesture bought to it. He shrugged off his hoodie and thrust it at her.

Barbie eyed the hoodie and then him and she gave a quiet giggle.

“I’m not bein’ funny.”

“No, but… Do you think when you say jump, Alpha… that I’m just gonna ask you how high?”

“Not at all. I’d say it goes both ways.”

“I’m not putting on that hoodie. And why does it matter anyway? What I wear, I mean..” Barbie was moving closer, despite her best efforts to refrain from doing so. Pete gave a satisfied smirk when he felt her body tuck into his. He chuckled and rubbed his chin, trying to think about a response.

Barbie’s phone lit up and started to ring.

“One second.” Barbie answered the phone and she was in the midst of telling Dakota the situation when Pete took the phone and informed Dakota that Barbie wasn’t going to make it.

After ending the call, he held her phone out to her.

“Y’ weren’t in any shape t’ go out alone tonight anyway.”

“Who are you, my father?”

“No, but I am yer Alpha. We both know it.”

Barbie scoffed. “Now you want to claim it.”

“Wanted to earlier. Someone didn’t really give me much time t’ react.”

“The annoyed look on your face was reaction enough.” Barbie stepped away, turning and preparing herself to walk away. She’d never been the kind of girl to just fall in line, follow a rule or an order.

She would’ve kept walking too if Pete hadn’t called out calmly, “ Y’ can keep fighting it.. But y’ know what y’ really feel. I can smell it in yer scent. Fightin is only gonna make it worse on y’.”

“I’m not fighting anything, pal. If you want me, come and get me, Pete.”

Barbie started to slink away and for a split second, because no one was around to see him do it, a smile played on Pete’s lips as he took a deep breath to reign himself in and started to calmly walk after her.

She’d just stepped into the club and was waving at the girls when she felt him pressing into her from behind. “Okay, Barbie. I’ll play yer game. But know that when I play games, I play them t’ win.”

Barbie bit her lip to keep from whimpering and after a second, she managed to reply, “We’ll see, Pete. Think you can handle dancing with me or would that be too much?”

Pete turned her around, pulling her close.

“I don’t dance.”

“This works too..”

Chapter Text

Being the new girl in Dillon was hard. Especially given that Arabella didn’t really do the whole football life. Being the new girl in town who can’t math to save her miserable life though?

Harder.

Especially considering the counselor, Mrs. Taylor.. She thought maybe Arabella could benefit from a tutor. Not just any tutor though.

Landry Clarke.

The kicker for the Panthers.

“He’s just a guy, Belle.” Arabella reminded herself as she took a deep breath, staring intently towards the football players lunch tables. Tim Riggins sat to Landry’s left and to his right, Matt Saracen.

 this is going to be so fucking awkward…

… not if you remember that one, he’s dating Tyra Collette and he won’t even give you a second glance and two, he’s a football player. Football players all have some sort of ego thing

Across the lunch room, Matt Saracen happened to look up, brown hues darting around, searching the crowd for his girlfriend Julie. Instead of finding Julie, he spotted the new girl in their grade.. Staring at Landry with this look of blind panic all over her face.

Word going around was she was a shy kid. Hell, she barely spoke two words in the whole month she’d been attending Dillon High. And she really didn’t have any friends in the town, either.

It amused Matt, so he nudged Landry, who grumbled and looked at him before following his gaze.

By now, the petite brunette was walking towards their table warily, almost as if she were afraid they’d bite or something.

“What’s the big idea, Matt?”

“Just gonna tell you she was starin awful hard.”

“There’s the thing with…” Landry started, but he sighed. Technically, he reminded himself, Tyra Collette was just using him until something better came around. And she hadn’t been talking to him much, she’d been going above and beyond to avoid him.

So technically, Tyra wasn’t an issue.

“She’s pretty.” He didn’t mean to mutter it, but he did before he could stop himself. Tim overheard and nodded towards the brunette, wiggling his brows. Matt chuckled, because Landry may or may not have mentioned in passing the same thing… about a thousand times.. Matt noticed that  she’d stopped about halfway over, she was talking to Mrs. Taylor, the conversation seemed to have this kind of pleading tone and it ended with Mrs Taylor guiding the girl in question towards their table. 

Tim chuckled and leaned in. “Shy one, ain’t she?” as he nodded towards the brunette. It seemed to make her quickly avert her gaze and focus on the floor.

“Gentlemen.. If you don’t mind, I’m gonna borrow Landry from ya.” Mrs. Taylor nodded and Landry stood, walking over to where the brunette sat a few tables away, picking at deep red nail polish, staring intently at the tabletop as she did so. Mrs Taylor cleared her throat and Arabella looked up, her cheeks immediately darkening.

“You didn’t have to do that, I… I was gonna ask him, ma’am. I swear.”

Mrs. Taylor gave a soft laugh and shook her head, turning to Landry and explaining the situation.

“Arabella is new in town. And she’s about to fail Calculus again. She could really, really, really use your help.”

Landry eyed the brunette, noted how she made a point not to make direct eye contact, the blush of her cheeks. He cleared his throat and addressed her directly. “If you don’t want me to tutor you, all you gotta do is say so.”

Arabella’s head snapped up and she shook her head, a pleading look in her eyes. “No, no, no.. It’s not that, I just… I was kinda scared to ask. Figured you’d be real busy, what with football and rally girls and all that jazz.”

… Her accent is something… really does a number on a guy…

Of course, Landry had to own up to the fact that maybe he’d seen her around. She lived out near him, after all.. And maybe he’d let his gaze linger just a little when she wasn’t looking. She always had her nose stuck in some magazine or a romance novel or writing in some old battered notebook that she always put away whenever anyone stared too long.

Maybe he wanted to get to know her better and maybe he’d slipped up and said it to Saracen once a while back and forgotten -or tried to.. 

Matt’s nudging him made sense now, naturally, Matt hadn’t forgotten their talk.

“Rally girls?” Landry gave a blank look and Arabella shrugged. “I may not talk much but I hear all about it.”

Mrs. Taylor looked back and forth between the two and cleared her throat. “So this is settled then? You’ll tutor her? Thank you so much for doin this, Landry. You’re a sweetheart.” she made a hasty retreat and Arabella nodded to the empty seat across the table from her own.

Landry pulled out the chair and sank down.

“So, umm… Tell me what days you’re busy and we’ll work around that?” Arabella suggested and Landry shrugged. “Football’s almost every afternoon, but we could do it after? I mean if you want.. Whatever days work for you are fine with me.”

“Considering I’ve got a 35 average right now…” Arabella admitted it sheepishly, her hand going to her mouth and the gesture drawing attention to delicate fingers and how small her hand was. Landry shook his head at himself and gave a quiet whistle.

“Math isn’t my thing. You probably think I’m an idiot.. I just… Yeah, I’m gonna shut up now.”

“No, no. It’s okay. I mean I’m not the greatest at…”

“I know you’re in nearly all AP classes, so don’t even. I wish I was half as smart as you.” Arabella sighed and twisted a dark brown curl around her fingertip, continuing, “Do you like… Want my number? So you can call?”

Landry nearly choked on the water he’d taken a sip of but he nodded, giving her a friendly and reassuring smile as he made the joke, “Relax. I don’t bite. That’s Riggins, if you’re into that sort of thing.”

Arabella glanced over to the table Landry had been sitting at and burst into laughter, rolling her eyes. “Not even!”

… You mean there’s a girl out there whose not immediately attracted to Tim Riggins?…

“I mean.. I can see what the attraction might be to most girls, but nope. Reminds me too much of my oldest brother Tommy.”

“Oldest brother?” Landry started, but then he remembered seeing her with her mom and her siblings in church last sunday and he remembered that she came from a single mom multiple sibling family. 

“Yeah. He’s 23? All the girls just love him. And he’s an idiot.” Arabella laughed and then she blurted it out before she could stop herself, “Don’t you live on the same street as me or something?”

“I do, actually.”

“Awesome!” her face lit up when she smiled at him and he chuckled, standing. “Are you afraid of the guys?”

“No, just tend to avoid ‘em. Over half my brothers play football, so I get enough of that at home. I just like… I froze? Sometimes I get weird about askin for help.” 

“Well, you don’t have to be weird with me. It’s okay. I don’t mind. I gotta walk back over to grab my stuff.. Do you wanna walk with me?” he asked, half expeccting her to say no, instead, her eyes met his and after a second or two in which he was almost sure she was blushing and he knew he was, she nodded.

While he grabbed his bookbag, he noticed that she sort of squished herself against him and apparently, Matt noticed too, laughing and giving him the thumbs up as he mouthed to him, “What was that?”

Landry mouthed back “Tell ya later, man.” and he turned to Arabella, asking if she wanted to go back to the other table.

“Yeah. Thanks for doing this.. Maybe I can help you with something sometime?”

“Maybe so..”

Chapter Text

It was the same dream every night. And Yvette found herself sitting up in bed and glaring daggers at her cell phone because she quite frankly hadn’t wanted to wake up.

She finally became coherent enough to reach for her ringing cell phone and she stifled a giggle at the pictures that the girls had been sending her all night in an attempt to get her to come out and meet them at the club they’d gone to.

When she got to the third photo and she saw him standing there, she nearly dropped the phone and then she picked it back up, rubbing her eyes.

Then, when the image didn’t change, she fired off a quick text to Carmella.

→ Hey, sis?

→ The guy in the third photo… Wearing the Superman tee shirt and the baseball cap.. Who is he?

→ Don’t go getting any bright ideas.. I’m just curious.

By the time she’d stumbled into her bathroom and splashed her face with water to wake herself up completely, her sister Carmella had texted her back.

← That’s just Gulak.

← He’s single, by the way.. And definitely a better guy than that last douchebag you were with. Knows how to treat a girl real good. ;P

← I’m gonna get ideas, Tiny. I’m ya sister.

Yvette almost didn’t text back. But the dream came back to her all over again and she could feel every single touch those hands of his made.. Hear that voice, low and deep, the husky laugh. Hell, she could even smell his cologne. The end result was her texting back her sister.

→ Okay, look.. Remember those dreams? The very vivid, very fucking explicit ones? He’s the guy.

→ That sounds insane. Ignore me. This has to be lack of sleep.

She flopped down on her couch with a pint of ice cream and the remote to the television and she was just about to turn on Netflix when her phone lit up.

It was her sister, on a FaceTime call.

“Mella?”

“Girl, what the hell? Were you sleepin?” Carmella stepped away from the noise to talk to her sister. Of course, she happened to linger close to Drew when she did so, and she made sure to talk really loud.

She could feel his eyes on the phone in her hand.

The second Yvette saw him standing there, she bit her lip and went quiet. She could feel herself blushing. “Seriously, Mella?”

“What?”

“What part of don’t get any bright ideas did you not understand?”

“What? I’m not doin anything.”

“She’s not, Yvette. How you doin, girl? Why didn’t you come out with us?” R Truth was blocking the view Yvette had of her literal dream man and Yvette was at least partially grateful for it because she probably looked like death warmed over.

Double shifts tend to do that to a person.

Yvette giggled and bit her lip, taking a bite of her ice cream and Carmella groaned. “Girl… You’re seriously just still sitting there? With netflix and the cat and ice cream?”

“Umm, yeah? Remember? Double shifts all week?”

“Come out with us!” 

“I don’t know…”

“Please?”

Carmella was cut off by the tap to her shoulder. She turned and found herself looking up at Drew Gulak and before she could stop herself, the amused grin came. “What’s up, big guy?”

“Is that your sister?”

“Mhmm.”

“I.. Nevermind. It’s insane.”

Drew started to walk off, mentally kicking himself for even butting in and intruding on a phone call, because he understood how scarce family time was when you traveled like the roster tended to, but before he could, Carmella was grabbing hold of his wrist and handing off the phone to Truth.

“What’s up?”

“I’m telling you, it’s crazy.”

“Try me. C’mon, give it a go, Gulak.”

“I’ve… Look, I’ve been having the same dream every night for a week solid now and… Your sister, she’s… Kind of the girl in said dream. I told you it was insane.” Drew was trying to ease out of the potentially awkward situation, but Carmella wasn’t having it.

Yvette saw her sister talking to Drew and she swore under her breath, making R Truth laugh. “What’s up? Why you lookin all down tonight?”

“I’m not down, I just.. I swear to fuck, if she’s telling that poor man that I’ve been having dreams about him or trying to set us up..”

“Ah, she just worried about ya, tiny.”

“I know, but she needs to stop! I’m fine, I… Okay, look.. Maybe I just saw him on tv or something and like… my brain took that and ran. But here she goes…”

Truth raised a brow and Yvette braced herself, stomach fluttering nervously. And not in a good way this time.

Carmella listened as Drew described, in vivid detail, the exact same scenario her sister described. When Drew finished, Carmella was staring at him and he took it to mean that Carmella actually thought he was crazy. He started to stand and walk away, but Carmella’s words stopped him.

“She’s been havin the same dream.. About you.”

Drew’s brow raised. “Wait, what?”

“You heard me, big guy, don’t even play. Do you wanna talk to her?”

“I don’t wanna intrude…”

“I’m gonna spend the next three days with her, big guy. It ain’t intruding if I asked ya. Now.. do you wanna talk to her or not?”

Drew took a deep breath and chuckled, shrugging. “Sure.”

Carmella motioned Truth over with the phone and she took it.

“Hey, Vette?”

“Yeah, Mella?”

“When I said no shenanigans, I lied. Somebody wants to talk to ya. You two have a nice long chat, okay? I’ma make Truth take me out to the dance floor.” Carmella grabbed R Truth and practically dragged him away, leaving Drew with a hot pink and heavily bejeweled phone. He chuckled quietly and Yvette tried to will her brain and her mouth to work together and stop betraying her.

But what do you even say when you’re face to face, well maybe not exactly, but… What do you say when suddenly confronted with the fact that the man you’ve been having very specific sexual dreams about actually exists?

Or that naturally, your sister works with the guy?

Drew chuckled again and cleared his throat, plunking himself down onto a stool. “So..”

“So..” Yvette echoed. “What’s your name?”

“It’s Drew.. What’s yours?”

“Yvette. It’s nice to meet you?” Yvette tangled her fingers in her hair and then gave a soft laugh. The sound made him smile and he chuckled, nodding.

“Your sister…”

“Oh god… No, she didn’t tell you. I swear to God, she’s never been able to keep a secret.”

“No, no.. It’s fine..” Drew reassured her as he stood, pacing back and forth, ultimately deciding to step out of the bar they were all in so he could actually hear. He hadn’t wanted to come tonight, but Ali and a few of the other guys dragged him out.

“What exactly did she tell you?” Yvette asked, while crossing her fingers but knowing deep down that her sister was a grade A blabbermouth and that knowing Mella, she probably told him every single little detail.

“Nothing.. At least not until I asked who you we re.”

Yvette opened and closed her mouth and laughed a little, laying back on her couch so that her legs reclined over the back of it.

“Are you laying upside down?” Drew chuckled and Yvette nodded. 

 come on, seriously… say something, damn…

“Yeah.” she finally managed to form a word. “You were saying?”

“I asked about you first. Just so you know. I.. had to when I saw you while she was face timing you.”

… if he says he’s having the same dreams.. No, no.. that won’t be it… hell, if he is even interested in me at all, I might just like… faint…

…. Do not blow this, Gulak… do not make it awkward….

“Why did you? I mean.. Not that it’s bad, I’m just curious..” Yvette wanted to kick herself as soon as she asked the question. Drew chuckled and rubbed his free hand over his head, taking a deep breath.

“This is gonna sound crazy..” Drew warned but Yvette shrugged and slipped her spoon into the pint of ice cream after finally sitting up again and taking a bite, she told him, “Just try. I work the ER. In New York. Trust me, I’ve seen some shit.”

“Okay.. Well, a week ago, I started having these insanely intense dreams..”

Yvette nearly choked on her ice cream, but she managed to keep herself mostly composed, even as the dream she’d been having replayed in her mind. “Continue?”

“And you’re kind of in them..”

That time, Yvette couldn’t compose herself. She actually did choke on her ice cream a little and after a second or two, Drew asked, “Are you okay? Do you need help?”

“I’m fine, it’s good.. You said you were having dreams and I’m in them?”

Drew mulled it over. This had to be creeping her out. He’d blown it. He took a deep breath and worked on a plan to pull the conversation out of the danger zone and back to a more neutral topic, but to his surprise, she took a deep breath and then she said something that had him gaping.

“I’ve been having dreams about you too.. Very… Interesting ones.”

Yvette figured that maybe he was just hitting on her, she knew how some of the guys operated. But she got this feeling that Drew wasn’t that kind of guy, either, so she wasn’t really sure what to make of it. After a few seconds, she cleared her throat. “That wasn’t a line, right? When you said that? You were being serious because.. I’m not lying. And then I saw you in one of the pictures my sister texted me and… I kinda asked about you too.”

“I don’t do the whole pick up line thing. I prefer to just say what I want.”

 except when you’re being a chicken shit… his mind corrected, but he took a deep breath.

Yvette stood and went into her kitchen, putting the pint of ice cream away and her spoon into the sink and she admitted with a laugh, “Mella was trying to get me to come out tonight but like… Nightclubs and bars are not my thing.”

They both blurted it out at the same time, “I prefer quiet and less crowds.” and both of them laughed. 

Yvette took a deep breath and then asked, “Hey… do you wanna ditch the bar? I have netflix.”

“And ice cream.” Drew joked gently as he thought it over. “Yeah. I’d like that. Text me directions and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

“And sent. I’ll see you soon?”

“Definitely.”

Chapter Text

Tim bent, tugging off the heavy soled work boots. The scent of chili hung heavily on the air and his stomach growled. She was in the kitchen, the football game playing on the radio, and all he could do was grin lazily when the dog ran out to jump up on him.

A look around his living room revealed that apparently, she’d had time to think it over after their talk two nights ago and she’d moved most of her stuff in.

The house he built actually kinda felt like home. Or what he thought home might feel like.

He walked to the doorway separating the kitchen from the living room and he stood there, thumbs in his belt loop, watching her move around the kitchen, laughing when she went to open a higher cabinet and grab something just out of her reach. She’d been about to climb onto the counter, but Tim moved up behind her, grabbing for the bowls, chuckling as he nuzzled into her neck.

“You’re back early…” Amber turned to face him, staring up at him as she put her arms around his neck. Tim nodded to the living room. “Gonna take me up on my offer?”

“Mhmm. I mean… you did make a good point. I’m here every night lately anyway and it saves a trip across town.”

“That right?”

“Well, there is the fact that I wake up to see your sexy grouchy ass first thing every morning too..” Amber purred as she gripped the front of his oil stained white tee shirt and used her grip to pull herself up to his level, her lips meeting his. Tim gripped the edge of the counter and her hip, pulling her against him, pressing her back against the counter as he laughed and muttered, “I’m not that grouchy.”

“Tim Riggins, you’re lying your ass off right now.”

“ I could be hurt by that if I were a more sensitive guy.” Tim joked, the kiss breaking as he stared down at her. “I’m just glad you decided to take me up on it. Things… They feel better when you’re here.”

“I know what you mean.”

Before she could stop the words, they were out.

“I love you.”

Tim smiled and nodded, leaning in for another kiss. “I love you too. Wasn’t expecting it to happen but I’m happy it did.”

“Me too.”

“So… are we eatin tonight, or?”

Chapter Text

Angel swore as she scanned the comment section of her boyfriend Tyler’s latest Instagram post. Rolling her eyes, she shoved the phone into her pocket. Naturally, he was late and getting later.

“Waiting on Bate?” Roderick spoke up from behind her and Angel shrugged, glancing at the door and then turning to look up at her best friend, sighing. “Isn’t that how it always is lately?”

 it wouldn’t be that way if you were mine… Roderick thought to himself, but wisely, he kept his thoughts to himself. No sense in losing his best friend over unresolved romantic feelings. He sank down onto the barstool near him and patted the empty one next to it. “C’mon, darlin. Sit down. We’ll have drinks and you can talk to me.”

Angel sat down, glancing at the time after she’d done so. “Yeah, I’d like that. He’s obviously not going to show up.” she said as she waved over a bartender and shoved some money across the bar. “Keep ‘em coming.”

She glanced over at Roderick and smiled, nodding to the title belt sitting on the bar in front of him. “How’s it feel to finally have that? That was one hell of a match. I think I was screaming so loud down in hair and makeup that everyone heard me. I would’ve come down to hug you but you know how Tyler is lately..” Angel trailed off, fixing her eyes on Roderick as he took a long pull from the bottle he’d just been handed. Roderick stared back intently and after finishing his sip, he chuckled. “Felt like a fucking dream. Had to pinch myself twice.”

“I bet. I know you worked your ass off for it, so it just made me so happy for you.” Angel smiled and found herself leaning against him and kind of giving him a halfway -but lingering, hug.

From behind them, Tyler cleared his throat, glaring openly at Roderick. “Every time I find Angel lately, I find yer arse.” Tyler made no secret at how annoyed he was and Angel glared at him for it as she reluctantly pulled away from the hug she’d been giving Roderick giving him an apologetic smile. Roderick shrugged and took a few more sips of his second beer, glaring at Tyler as he thought to himself just how lucky Bate was and how stupid he was acting.

Normally, Angel wouldn’t have said anything, but she’d already had a few shots and maybe her tongue was a little looser at both ends because of it. Before she could stop herself, she spoke up. “Maybe if you weren’t always fucking late.. Or gone.” as she turned to face Tyler with a hand on her hip and the other one tugging at the ends of her hair. She kept her distance, she wanted him to know that she was upset and that yes, she was sick of his attitude lately any time she tried to have a conversation with Roddy like she wanted. He knew they were best friends before he’d gotten involved with her, she didn’t see why lately, he was starting to have issues with it… especially given the way he’s always late or missing things you want him to do with you or just plain unattentive… the thought came back and nagged at her even though she did her level best to keep it out, … Roderick’s been there for you more than Tyler has lately…

Tyler stammered and Angel kept firm, gazing at him intently, completely non amused. When he finally did manage yet another weak excuse, - the post show interviews and an insane crowd backstage, Angel sighed and shook her head. “I’m not in the mood to fight, okay? So if you want to spend time with me tonight, accept the fact that maybe, I wanna have a drink with my best friend to celebrate something very important to him.”

Tyler nodded, moving closer to Angel and glaring at Roderick over her shoulders. Angel backed away a little, shaking her head. “Are you gonna stop being a dick?”

“Y’ know how I feel about always findin him around y’.”

“And you know we’re best friends, so we’re gonna spend time together. I don’t stop you from talking to your ex on Instagram, do I?” Angel pointed out, sighing. “Just forget it. Look.. I don’t want to fight. Can we just get drinks and find something else to talk about?”

Roderick cleared his throat and stood, hugging Angel. “Maybe I oughta get to the hotel. Make sure Adam doesn’t get the better bed.” 

The hug lingered again, he couldn’t help but notice it. He muttered quietly, “ I don’t wanna make the two of ya fight. I’ll see you around.”

“I’m so sorry, I don’t know what’s gotten into him lately.” Angel muttered back, breaking the hug as she felt Tyler’s eyes on them and heard him clear his throat. As Roderick walked off, Angel turned to Tyler, a hand on her hip, giving him an annoyed look. “Did you seriously have to be a jealous ass? I don’t get you lately. You disappear for hours to the gym, you’re always posting those fucking thirst traps on Instagram and you’re nothing if not friendly with anybody else.. But I get one friend and you’ve gotta stomp that shit out. This doesn’t work that way. I’m not like the last girl, okay? If I were gonna cheat on you…”

“It’s not ‘at.. Just.. I don’t like th’ way he’s always lurkin. Always starin at y’ when y’ don’t realize it… And th’ way he drops everythin just t’ hang out with y’. Yer my girl, okay? I don’t like th’ idea that Roderick fuckin Strong could take my place like ‘at.”

Angel’s mouth opened and closed and she shook her head. “I can’t do this with you tonight.” she muttered as she shoved past Tyler, grabbing her coat from the barstool and hurrying out of the bar.

Tyler grumbled and sat down, glaring angrily up at the tv screen.

Almost every  single part of him wanted to go up to Roderick’s hotel room, kick in the door and drag the guy out into the hallway, show him who Angel was dating in the hopes that maybe Roderick would fuck off and away.

Then a smaller part of him knew that if he did that, it might just cost him Angel. And an even smaller part of himself, deeper down.. Wasn’t entirely sure that’d be a really bad thing. They’d been having a lot of problems lately.

Roderick’s increased presence only highlighted and illuminated those issues, making them so hard to ignore that it kept Tyler irritated.

And all of him knew that Angel being upset tonight was all on him. He had behaved like an ass. He’d let the jealousy blind him, he’d let earlier events of the night get under his skin and he’d taken them out on her.

Her response shocked him. He hadn’t realized just how much some of the things he did bothered her in turn.

Sighing, he paid his own tab and stood, making his way out into the night. He had a lot to think about. And he needed to at least try to reconcile himself with everything she’d said… Maybe it wasn’t too late.

Deeper down, he had this feeling that it might just be.

Chapter Text

“What the hell is going on?”

Both men stopped shoving at each other and turned to look at Angel. Angel looked from Roderick to Tyler and back again, shaking her head. She’d heard Tyler start the confrontation, and she wasn’t thrilled with him at the moment. 

Tyler started to speak and Angel raised her hand, silencing him. “I don’t want to hear it. I’ve told you a thousand times, Tyler.. Roderick is my best friend.”

“But I..”

“Just don’t, Tyler. If you can’t trust me…”

“I didn’t say ‘at.”

“You don’t have to. Literally every single action you’ve taken to this point proves it. Look.. I’m not your ex girlfriends. I don’t start dating a guy just to turn and fuck around.” 

She bit her lip and found herself facing Roderick, raising a hand to his face, the bruise already forming on his cheekbone and extending upward to circle his eye. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know what’s gotten into him.”

“He’s a fuckin idiot.” Roderick barely managed to un grit his teeth to say it, glaring at Tyler over his shoulder the entire time. Tyler got angry all over again and stepped up, this time Angel put herself between the two.

“Just fucking stop!”

Her shouting when she normally wouldn’t seemed to snap both males focus back to her and off their anger.

Tyler stepped closer to her, about to rest a hand at her hip and Angel couldn’t stop thinking about how every single little action he took lately just proved how little he knew or trusted her, so she lowered his hand with her own and then sighed.

“Just go, Tyler. I’m not doing this tonight. I need to think..”

Tyler’s stomach sank and his eyes darted from Roderick to Angel. He eyed her and she nodded, pointing her index finger to the door. “I meant it. Go.”

“What about ‘im?”

“What about him? You picked this fight. The least I can do is patch the guy up.” Angel deadpanned, pointing to the door again. Tyler lingered there and before he could stop himself, he said it, “Y’ need t’ think about what y’ doing here, Angel.. Because if y’ do this..”

“Are you seriously asking me to choose right now, Tyler? Because if you are…” Angel’s stomach churned nervously and she fought to keep the sound of her about to cry out of her voice. It still wavered.

The weird thing was that while it hurt to think Tyler was issuing her an ultimatum, she also felt… Free.

And scared to death with how she planned on responding. She’d never taken to ultimatums that well, Tyler should’ve known that.

“Tyler, go.”

Tyler gaped for a few seconds, but he made a hasty retreat, making sure to slam the door hard behind him. Angel rolled her eyes and turned to look up at Roderick, nodding to the chair in front of her stylist station. “Sit down, big guy.. I’ll go get a bottled water outta the back, maybe it’ll be cold enough to stop the swelling.”

She turned to walk away but Roderick grabbed her wrist, eyeing her in concern. “You good, Blondie?”

“As good as I can be.”

“Ya didn’t have to do that.”

“Oh yes.. Yes I did. I’m sick of the childish bullshit.”

“I’m sorry I lost my cool and exploded.”

“I know. It’s really not you I’m angry at. I mean I’m a little mad, but I’m more angry with him right now.”

“If he don’t trust you..” Roderick started to say something, but he stopped himself. Angel stared up at him a few seconds and nodded, mumbling quietly, “He knows how important you are to me. If it bothered him, he never should have pursued me. I mean… you’ve been there for me when no one else has and I… You’re like a part of me.”

They were migrating closer, Angel didn’t fully realize it until his arm went around her and she was pressed totally against him. His other hand cupped her jaw, tugging her gaze upward. “It’s okay to cry, Blondie. I know it hurt.”

“Not as bad as it should’ve.” it slipped out before Angel could stop it. She rose to tiptoe, brushing her fingers over the bruise gingerly as she shook her head. “I cannot believe he went there and did that. Idiot. I…. need to go get the bottled water.” and she made herself step back, turn and walk to the back of the room, grabbing the bottled water.

She’d been just about to kiss him and it.. Well, frankly, it shocked her a little. Even though it shocked her, she still wanted to do it. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she missed him walking up behind her until she felt him tentatively press against her from behind and gripping her hip to turn her around.

“You good, Blondie?”

… how did I go from you being my best friend to suddenly wanting to kiss you?…

Angel bit her lip and found herself staring at his lips intently, as she puzzled it out. Roderick chuckled and reminded her again, “It’s okay. You can let it out. Not gonna say a word.”

Something inside her snapped and into his arms she went, raising her own to rest on his shoulders as she pressed against him. “I shouldn’t do this, I…”

“Do what?” Roderick was eyeing her, confused. Had he missed something?

“Tyler was right.”

“No, Tyler was bein…” Roderick started to protest, but her finger pressing against his lip cut him off mid sentence. Angel took a deep breath and explained quietly, “Somehow, he realized this before I did.”

“Realized what?” Roderick, despite knowing it wasn’t the best idea, -or even remotely a good one, found himself migrating closer, staring down at her, his hands squeezing her hips to hold her against him just a little longer.

Maybe it was feeling the way he felt and quietly ignoring it or whatever for so long, but he just.. Couldn’t. “He was bein a jerk.. Whatever he said… i’ll go beat his ass. You want me to beat his ass?”

“No, I.. I don’t mean all that. I mean, the way he was always so irritated by me spending so much time with you. He saw it before I did.”

“Saw what?”

“That I.. I have feelings for you.”

It took a second to sink in, what she’d just said, but when it did, he smiled bright and asked quietly, “Wait.. what are you sayin right now?”

“I’m saying, Roddy.. You’re not just my best friend. I don’t think you ever were just my best friend. I mean maybe at first…” Angel bit her lip as she said it, her stomach churning nervously as she looked up at him, waiting on some kind of reaction.

A reaction she got when he pulled her up his body and swept some things off the counter nearby, sitting her on top of it, cradling her face in his hand as he pulled her in for a deep and slow kiss that left her totally breathless.

Chapter Text

Roderick spotted her almost the second she walked through the door to the arena’s backstage area and he slunk over, cornering her up. 

“How you feelin tonight, Blondie?”

… I was good until you appeared… Barbie thought to herself but she managed to refrain from saying it. Instead, she focused on scanning the hallway and Roderick seemed to pick right up on it. A smirk came easily as soon as he announced, “If you’re lookin for Dunne, he ain’t here yet. Probably off with some chick or something.. But if you need something..”

“If I need something, I’ll handle it myself.” Barbie said the words through a jaw clenched tight as she backed away from Roderick. His scent was overpowering and truth be told, off putting. It was almost enough so to make her gag.

Nothing like Pete’s scent. Just the thought of her true Alpha, despite their current stand still… It was enough to clench those thighs tight to ward off the slick threatening to flood them.

 Roderick leaned in a little, winding a finger through one of her curls as he stared her down, chuckling. “Now why would I make ya do that? I’m not Dunne. I mean, what kinda guy just leaves his Omega unattended?”

“What kind of guy continues to make creepy fucking advances just because a girl happens to be unmated though?” Barbie gave a bit of a smirk as she tilted her head to the side and looked up at him, asking the question in the most innocent of tones. “And anyway, whose to say I didn’t send Dunne packing too? I mean… to be fair, you don’t really know my situation. You barely know me.”

“That could change, darlin if you’d just let it.”

“Could it now?” Barbie was stepping a little closer, pretending to be interested. Her original thought was that maybe if she came on a little strong, he’d lose interest and fuck off and away.

She wanted to kick herself when the opposite of her desired effect happened and instead, Roderick moved in a little closer, a hand at her hip. Barbie’s eyes darted around the hallway and she spotted Pete, coming out of catering.

 it’s not like it’ll matter anyway… he claims that he was just shocked, but he’s been kind of weird about things… and there was that whole thing with that chick Maeve…

Rather than backing away, which she should’ve done, she continued to stand right where she was. It wasn’t as if he’d have a reaction. He might say one thing but he’d yet to really… prove it.

… to be fair, you’ve been dodging him… because deep down, you don’t really know that he wants the bond like you want it

Maybe, she thought to herself, a little test wouldn’t hurt.. 

The second he picked up on her scent, Pete Dunne found himself walking out of catering as if he were entranced, following it and eventually, spotting her.

With Roderick fucking Strong of all people. His temper surged and deeper down, whether he liked to admit it or not, he felt a little worried.

Was she still unsure about their bond? Was that why she’d made herself scarce most of the week since the night at the club?

Well, he thought to himself, he was about to put whatever she was up to right out of her head.. Maybe she needed to be reminded that she had an Alpha, all she had to do was make it known she wanted or needed him. A quick scenting of his mate had him smirking to himself.

So she was testing things, hmm?

Well, he’d just have to show her where he stood on the matter.

He made his way over, pressing against her back and clearing his throat. “ This prick botherin y’, Barbie?”

Barbie tensed a little at first, but she turned and stared up at him, her hand raising to tug at the string of his hoodie in an attempt to distract herself. With the most innocent tone she could muster, she told Pete, “We were just talking..”

“Is ‘at so?” Pete looked from Barbie to Roderick and he gave Roderick a firm glare of warning while migrating Barbie’s body so that she was now pressed completely against him. She gave a quiet gasp and bit her lip and when their eyes met, he could see that smoldering stare.

And the hint of her being a little… Turned on. Curious. Wanting him to touch her more.. Wanting -and waiting, to hear what he’d say or see what he’d do next. The ball was clearly in his court.

He mumbled quietly, “I told y’ when I play, Barbie.. I play t’ win.”

“And I told you, Pete.. I wasn’t going to just give in without a fight or some proof.” Barbie muttered back, her lips boldly grazing against his and making his grip on her body tighten ever so slightly.

Roderick started to speak up but Pete shut it down. “Can’t y’ see she’s busy, Strong? Fuck off.”

Barbie turned to look at Roderick and she gave a shrug and an apologetic sort of smile. As he walked away, Pete turned Barbie back to face him, cupping her jawline with his hand. 

“What will y’ have me do, Omega? What proof do y’ need? Yer mine. You know it and I know it.” 

Barbie managed a quiet gasp as she felt his hand squeezing at her ass, rubbing her against him. She felt her cheeks heating up. “Kiss me. Right here, right now.”

Pete eyed her and the few people lingering in the hallway. As soon as he saw her starting to smirk and scented that despite the smirk, she was losing hope, he smirked and bit his lip, leaning down and crashing his mouth onto hers, teeth digging into her lower lip as he did so.

When she squeaked at the surprise bite, he stopped and eyed her in concern. Her eyes were popped open wide and she opened and closed her mouth and Pete chuckled. “Y’ gonna let me finish?”

“I.. yeah.. But this doesn’t mean I’m giving in. It means maybe I’m closer.” Barbie stated firmly as Pete gripped her tight and leaned down, only to be pulled the remainder of the way by his impatient Omega, who surprised him by sinking her teeth into his lip and tugging, then slipping her tongue between his lips as her leg raised to his hip. Pete gripped her thigh, squeezing, rubbing her against him and his other hand tangled in her hair, pulling her mouth in deeper. “ What about now?”

“Closer.” Barbie breathed into the kiss as it started to break, the two pulling away, straightening themselves up and trying to catch their breath.

“Seriously.. It ‘ad t’ be ‘at prick?”

“He presented himself. I’m impressed. You didn’t like.. Maim him.”

“God knows I wanted t’. Yer mine.”

“Almost, Pete.. Almost.”

“No, yer mine. I play t’ win.

Chapter Text

He had to make her thaw towards him. And if her scent were anything to go by, he had to do it soon. The only problem with this?

His mate seemed to raise hide and seek and games of cat and mouse to an art form. He hadn’t seen much of her in nearly two and a half days, so when he caught her scent in the lobby of the building and he spotted long blonde curls just as she was about to step into an elevator, he hurried over, stopping the doors before they could slide shut. He stepped onto the elevator and cleared his throat.

Barbie’s head snapped up and she tensed all over, swallowing hard. She knew he’d spotted her, she just didn’t count on him stopping the elevator, cornering her in like he had.

… to be fair, you left the poor guy with no other option…

… because I don’t think he actually wants the bond in it’s entirety…

… but what if he does?…

She let out a ragged breath as he stepped as close to her as he possibly could, one hand lingering at her hip, thumb rolling lazily over her heated skin beneath her thin black tee shirt and his other hand raising, resting the back of it against her forehead and coming away with a quiet swear. The slick was coating her thighs and pooling in her panties in less than seconds and Barbie clenched her thighs tight. The only problem with this was that it made her knees a little wobbly and she swayed.

Pete caught her quickly and leaned her against him, staring down at her.

“What are you even doing, Pete? I mean… Do you even  know what you want?”

“Woman why th’ hell are y’ determined to keep me at bay? Do y’ not realize what it’s doing to y’?” Pete asked his question without answering the one she’d asked. Barbie tapped her foot and went to step away, sighing.

“Look.. I’m not looking for… I mean… Nevermind.”

“What?”

“It’s quite obvious why you want this so bad right now.”

“Is it now?” Pete stepped close again, stopping the elevator as he did so. They weren’t getting off until this whole dance they’d been doing ended, one way or another. “Or is it y’ scared?”

Barbie bit her lip and stared up at him intently. “I never said I wasn’t. Look, you and I have totally different ideas on.. This.. and I just… This is something that means a lot to me and I… when I realized it was you, everything just clicked until I thought…”

“Thought what?” Pete’s hand cupped her jaw, guiding her eyes back up as soon as he saw her about to drop her gaze. “Answer me, Barbie.” he commanded her as he desperately tried to scent her and try to figure out what kept her throwing up the walls she seemed to enjoy throwing up at every turn.

Pete let go of her jaw and Barbie held his gaze, trying to come up with an answer. She  fumbled for words because Pete was pressing against her again, his hands sliding up and down her sides, squeezing her hips. Almost like he was attempting to calm her down. 

“You were annoyed when you realized what was happening. I don’t know, okay?” Barbie finally got something out and Pete stared her down, trying to come up with something to say that at least partially explained his end of things.. Without getting too personal and letting her in too close.

… if y’ want ‘er, one of y’ is going t’ ‘ave t’ cave first and she’s in a panic…

“Fuck it.” Pete mumbled gruffly, mostly to himself before crushing her against him and pulling her up a little, directly into a deep kiss. His tongue parted her lips and she whimpered. She started with her palm down on his shirt, as if she intended to push him away, but she wound up clutching a hand full of the material and pulling him in even deeper as she climbed up his body and wrapped her legs around his hips. “Y’ asked what I want..” he muttered against her lips as the kiss broke, “ My answer is you. I want you.”

Barbie’s mouth opened and closed and she tried to catch her breath and process what Pete was getting at, while simultaneously trying not to let the throes of heat send her rushing into something as huge as this was to her. Her hand raised, dragging through his hair, tangling in the ends of it as she greedily pulled his mouth back against her own.

He tensed as she rubbed against him and when she whimpered quietly, he growled, deepening the kiss, his teeth sinking into her lower lip, tugging. “Any closer now?” he asked, wondering if maybe he’d gotten through to her.

“I think I’m melting..” Barbie mumbled quietly, quick to add, “You win.” to which Pete smirked and answered, “I told y’ when I play, I play t’ win.”

Chapter Text

The football field loomed ahead, the sky overhead a blend of oranges and pinks and reds. Practice was running late because the Panthers were heading to state. Arabella gazed down at her wrist watch and re - crossed her legs when Tyra Collette wandered over and sat down beside her.

“You’re watchin.”

“I’m kinda… I don’t know. Nothing better to do I guess?” Arabella tried to cover exactly why she found herself at the football field but Tyra eyed her and shook her head, giving her a soft laugh. “Or, Arabella, you like somebody a little bit.”

Arabella’s mouth opened and closed and finally, she sighed. “Doesn’t matter anyway, he’s still hung up on you.”

The statement had Tyra conflicted but deep down, she felt this… Urge. To give the brunette sitting beside her that nudge and confidence boost necessary to maybe make her feelings known.

Maybe that’s why she opened her mouth.

“Am I with him though?”

“No, but if he only wants to date you, there’s really nothin’ I can do but respect it. No sense in trying to force things, my momma did, Mindy can probably tell her everything about how that worked out. Pretty sure she’s heard the whole story while they were getting ready to go out and dance.” 

“ I think you’re wrong. See, I asked Landry to meet up. He blew me off. Said he was tutoring you. And honestly? He’s been blowing me off a lot lately.”

Arabella tensed. Was Tyra pissed at her? Or blaming her? She started to apologize but Tyra shook her head, silencing her. “All I want from you is a promise.. That you’ll see what a good guy he is and value that. Because it’s what he deserves and what I’m too damn scared to give him.”

When she said it, she stood and walked away, leaving Arabella to sit and collect herself. She blew out a ragged breath and turned her gaze towards the field. Landry was running out onto it, getting into position to kick the ball. 

Arabella jumped up as the ball soared through the goal posts. She didn’t even realize she’d jumped up until Julie Taylor glanced at her and sort of gave a smile and wave before eventually making her way over and sitting down.

“I heard what Tyra said a few minutes ago. And I think you should go for it. I mean… From what I know of Landry, he’s a really good guy. And Tyra she.. I mean she’s my friend but I know she only really sees him as a safety net. There’s a dance coming up. You could ask him to go. Matt may have mentioned that maybe if you were to hint around and act interested, maybe he’d even ask you.. Just a thought.”

Arabella stared at the younger girl and mulled it over, casting a backwards glance towards the field, more particularly, towards Landry. She dragged her hand through her hair, giving it a tussle, flipping it to the side to attempt getting it out of her eyes.

“Ten minutes!” Coach Taylor called out, signalling that practice was almost over. Matt wandered over to Landry and flopped down, nodding up towards the bleachers. “Somebody showed up. She never watches. Still gonna stick by your whole she’s not into me theory now, Landry?”

Landry’s brow furrowed, and he followed his gaze towards the bleachers, just in time to see her standing, fidgeting a little. When her eyes met his, she gave him a wave and cupped her hands around her mouth to shout “Hi!” at him before sitting back down next to Julie and Mrs. Taylor, getting back to the conversation she apparently had going with Julie.

Tyra’s throat clearing from the fence had him looking her way and he walked over, casting a wary glance at her. “What’s up?”

“ She really, really likes you. Just thought you oughta know. Do somethin, Landry. Remember that whole speech you gave me about the Giving Tree? Someone finally sees exactly what you want seen. Open your eyes, or somebody else will. There’s a guy in my second period class whose really into her.”

Before Landry could actually get anything out, Tyra was walking away, her hands shoved in her pockets.

Landry wandered back over, sitting down on the bench next to Matt. “Just because she came to watch doesn’t mean…”

“She’s said a thousand times that she’s not into the whole ego thing that most of the guys on the team have goin on. Wake up, man, damn! If you don’t, Riggins is gonna make a move. Do you really want that? Because I don’t think you do. Then there’s that guy whose into rodeoing, remember, you were about to lose it because he was hitting on her?”

Landry rubbed the back of his head, glancing up towards the bleachers again, staring at her intently. “Okay, what the hell.”

“Finally.”

Matt chuckled as he said it, but honestly, if Landry made a move, it’d be sparing endless hours of internalization on the poor guy’s part. Analyzing and over analyzing every single thing she said or did, and then talking himself out of what was actually a pretty well known fact amongst the rest of the team, hence the reason none of the other guys who did like her a little really went out of their way to make a move… Because they all felt like sooner or later, she’d officially be as spoken for as she was unofficially.

The two of them were almost always found together. They had inside jokes. She’d even dragged him out to a rodeo a few towns over to watch her oldest brother Tommy ride bulls.

Practice ended and Landry took a deep breath, walking up to the fence, hopping over it and climbing the bleachers. Arabella looked up, bit her lip.

“I thought we could get food before you go attempt to teach me to math….” she gave this cute little hopeful smile, he realized then that she tended to do it often whenever she just randomly showed up and asked if he wanted to hang out.

“We can, I mean if you want..”

“Awesome! Let’s get to my car then, I’m starving.” the dramatic tone in her voice had him snickering.

She went to gather the knapsack she’d had with her, but Landry reached for it. “I got ‘em.”

“You’ve got your arms full with the pads and shit though?”

“I got it.” Landry insisted.

Julie looked from one to the other, leaning in to whisper into Arabella’s ear, “Just do something. Otherwise, he’s not gonna pick up.” before walking away to catch up to Matt.

Arabella stared up at Landry a second or two before finally letting him get her books, grabbing for his helmet and holding out the powerade she’d stopped at a vending machine and gotten him.

“I… thought you’d be thirsty or something. I kinda drank a little though.” she gave that soft laugh and Landry took it, uncapping the bottle and drinking half, shrugging and smiling. “Thanks.”

It surprised him when she did it, but when she laced her fingers through his and gave a small squeeze, he did the same, holding onto her hand.

“I give warning.. My mom’s been on a bit of an 8 seconds soundtrack kick so guess whose got the stupid cd stuck in the cd player now?” Arabella shook her head and Landry laughed. “It’s fine. I guess I can deal with country music tonight.”

“Try bein me, pal. Move to Texas and think you’re gonna pick up a decent alt rock station..”

“To be fair, you said yourself they didn’t have any in Louisiana either.” Landry pointed out as he took her key and unlocked the trunk of her mom’s Mustang to throw his gear into it. Arabella was standing right behind him when he turned around and for a split second, the two were kind of pressed together. He stared down at her and she stared up at him.

Tim’s truck revved nearby and Tim stopped, leaning out the window.

“Hey, Arabella? If you wanna hang sometime.”

“ No, Tim. The same as last time. I know I couldn’t keep up with ya, I’m not even gonna make an attempt to try, sir.”

“Aw, c’mon, hon.”

Landry grumbled, looking from Tim to Arabella. Arabella turned her gaze away from Tim, catching him mid stare and staring back herself. She reached up, toying with the collar of his tee shirt a few seconds.

Okay, she wasn’t usually that touchy…

“Somethin wrong, Landry?”

“No, not at all.”

She hadn’t made a move to lower her hand. Landry swallowed hard and cleared his throat, chuckling quietly. “What happened to I’m starving?”

“Oh, I’m still hungry.” Arabella blushed a little, but found herself migrating closer, the advice given to her by both Julie and Tyra playing back in her head, urging her to do… Anything.

“Uh huh.” Landry was moving closer too. He swallowed hard, gazing down at her intently. “Where’d you wanna go and eat?”

“Well, I mean… we could go to the diner..”

“We could… But my mom, she’s got somethin cooked already. And we were already gonna go there… Plus, all the guys are gonna be at the diner.. It’ll take forever to order.”

Arabella bit her lip as she felt his hand brush against her hip. She giggled, because she could tell he’d tried to sneak the touch in and seem smooth about doing it, which was typical of him.

As a sort of answer to the gentle and slight touch, she pressed against him and raised an arm to drag her fingers through his hair. “And your mom does cook way way better than the person they got cookin down at the diner. Just like.. Don’t tell Matty that he’s not cut out for being a burger flipper, okay?”

“It’s our secret.” Landry barely restrained the urge to groan as her pressing even closer had the two of them sort of molded together. “What made you come to watch tonight?”

“Curiousity?” Arabella answered, her eyes lingering on his mouth as she licked her lips. “ Sides, my brothers were being major pains in the ass and my mom had that idiot from the club over, I wanted to get outta there.. Next thing I know, here I am. Go figure?” she shrugged it off.

“Did you like what you saw?” Landry was starting to pick up on the fact that maybe she was flirting with him. And maybe she had been, very subtly, for a while now. And something in him snapped, and he decided to maybe try flirting back with her.

“It was interesting.. Definitely worth further exploration.” Arabella’s hand rested against the front of his tee shirt, lightly gripping at the fabric. Her stomach growled noisily and Landry snickered. She lightly tapped at his arm and he pretended it hurt, pouting.

“Awww, whaddya want me to do now, hmm? Kiss it all better?”

Before he could stop himself, he’d blurted out the question. “Would you?”

“Maybe.”

He sucked in a breath, exhaling sharply when her response was to raise to tiptoe ever so slightly, using the grip she had on his tee shirt to tug him down to her level partially. Her knapsack fell out of his hand, settling on damp pavement with a quiet plop and his hands slid down her sides, squeezing at her hips as he clumsily leaned in even further, their lips brushing. 

Her hand left his hair and rested across his neck, greedily pulling him in even closer. When their teeth bumped, they both drew back a little and laughed, but as the laughter died away, they were doing it again, the staring intently at each other’s mouths and moving in closer. This time, Landry scooped her up and sat her on the closed trunk of her mother’s Mustang, moving to stand between her legs. His hand dragged through her hair, tugging as he leaned down, going in for another kiss.

Her lips parted and her tongue slipped between his lips as her legs circled his waist. “Mmm.”

Her eyes fluttered open and shut and as the kiss broke, both were left wiping their mouths, staring all wide eyed at each other.

The growling of their stomachs broke through the blissful post kiss silence and Arabella spoke up. “We should probably get going?”

“Yeah.. The parking lot’s almost empty and it looks like it’s gonna start raining.”

Arabella handed him the keys to her mom’s car and slid off the trunk, straightening herself up a little. Landry opened the passenger door and she got in, him going around to get into the driver side.

As the car started, he felt her hand slipping beneath his on the shifter and he glanced over at her, giving a smile.

“So, there’s this dance on Friday..”

“Oh thank God, for a minute there I was worried I was gonna have to just bite the bullet and ask you first.” Arabella answered, giggling as Landry stopped beneath the one red light in town, waiting on it to go green, staring at her.

“You were gonna ask me?”

“Umm, I thought that me always popping up wherever you are would’ve clued you in.. I really like you. A lot. Have for a while now.”

“So, does this mean I can look forward to you maybe watchin me play more often?”

“If you want me to.”

“I definitely want you to.”

“So I will then. Only if you’re gonna kiss me like that more often, because damn..” Arabella fanned herself, giggling when he opened and closed his mouth and turned bright red.

“I think that can be arranged.”

Chapter Text

The paper fell out of his locker backstage, and before Mox could bend and pick it up and shove it back inside where it belonged, Sami was grabbing it off the floor and reading it, leaned against the door of the adjoining locker, using a cheesy narrator voice to really call attention to the good parts.

Mox snatched for it but Sami dove out of his way, snickering. “What’s your deal, man? It’s just an old note.”

“It ain’t just an old note. Give it back before I knock ya teeth down ya damn throat, Callihan.”

Sami eyed his friend and then the paper in his hand and a realization hit him. About a forgotten drunken conversation when they were both talking about regrets and things they’d do differently.

The letter in his hand was a break up letter, so it begged to question, why would Mox hold onto the damn thing?

Unless it belonged to Jane, the source of his friend Mox’s  one regret. “Jane wrote this, didn’t she? The night she packed up and left while ya were gone to a show in the next town..”

“Give me the fuckin note.”

Sami thrust it at him. It was either that or Mox bust his nose and frankly, Sami wasn’t into a trip to the ER that night.

“Still say ya oughta find her. You guys are gettin time off after this pay per view.. maybe ya head back to Ohio a few days, hmm? I can take ya, since I’m goin back after I watch your ass win this pay per view… Not like I got anything else goin on right now.” Sami offered his friend.

“And I said it’s in the past. I keep that to remind myself that this really is all I got, okay?”

“You got me.”

Mox snorted and Sami pretended to look hurt. For the time being, he dropped the subject.

It’s just too bad Mox’s mind didn’t. Instead, he found himself doing it again, just like he did a lot lately, and he found himself wondering what might have happened if he’d just… Tried a little harder, stopped fighting her so much and keeping her at arms length back then.

He thought she’d left because he was always gone. He was only just really realizing that it wasn’t him always being gone that had driven her away. It was him, keeping her at a distance, picking fights, doing stupid shit, making her doubt how he really felt. He was older now, so he could see the situation for what it was and he knew he was totally at fault.

Before, he kept the letter as a reminder that he’d literally given up everything for wrestling. Now, he kept the letter because it reminded him that he’d come a far cry from the guy he used to be. He was better, because of her.

And tonight, he kind of wished he’d be leaving the arena and going home to her. All the other guys had someone waiting. Mox was only going to have his empty Vegas apartment.

Maybe that dog who hung around the alley waiting for someone to throw food down.

And Sami’s simple question nagged at him again.

Why not reach out to her?

It was worth a shot, right?

He found himself opening and reading the letter again, furrowing his brow over the bottom of the page where the paper had gotten old and torn away at some point.

“Ps I Lo..”

( LE TIME SKIPPE)

The bar was playing his match tonight. The owner, Phil, he had a thing against WWE, but when he found out that hometown boy Jon Moxley switched over to AEW, he said he’d start showing their pay per views, so now, every few weeks, Jane found herself sitting at the same old bar her old man had when she was a kid on football weekends, nursing a Guinness and watching a sport that she only kinda loved because it made the man she loved happier than anything.

… sad part of it is, it made him happier than I did… the thought surfaced and Jane rolled her eyes at herself, ordering another beer and more hot wings. “Extra blue cheese this time, Phil. I see you skimping on it, I’m not stupid.”

As she dug into the plate of wings once they got bought out to her, she stared at the tv, watching Mox in his latest PPV match, yelling at the screen, prouder than anyone could possibly be of a man that while not hers, she still very much considered her man.

If she thought he’d have her back, she’d reach out. She was older now, she realized just how childish she’d been back then, how much she tried to force him to be and do things that he wasn’t and couldn’t at the time.

… if I had a chance to do it over… i’d just be happy he was mine… if he walked through the door right now, I’d go to him so fast…

What happened next shocked her.

The owner came out, walking towards the door.

Jane was torn between watching the Pay per view and watching where Phil went for some reason. When she saw who Phil was talking to, and saw both of them looking her way, she quickly turned her attention back to the television, busying herself with the last of her hot wings and the remainder of her beer, waving over a server for another.

She already had the beginnings of a decent pyramid in front of her.

The chair across from her own screeched as it was pulled out. Her heart was hammering in her ears. When she looked up, her eyes got lost in the endless baby blue of his and she swallowed hard.

“You’re on…”

“They film ‘em a day or two before they show ‘em, doll.” Mox explained calmly. Well, as calmly as one could be, given what he was doing on a whim.

Everything changed, and yet.. She was still as devastatingly beautiful as she’d been the day he spotted her dancing in the dance studio down the hall from the room he’d been sparring with Sami and some others in.

“Mox..”

Jane was still shocked. She pinched herself, swearing when it hurt. And then her thought from ten minutes before came rushing back and she didn’t think, she reacted.

Leaning in, she grabbed hold of the collar of his leather jacket, pulling him across the table and over the remaining plate of wings. Her lips crashed against his greedily and all she could do was this bizarre mixture of crying and apologizing and telling him over and over that she still loved him and she regretted leaving every single second since the night she’d done it.

The kiss broke and Mox smiled. It felt foreign, wearing a smile. He hadn’t really smiled in a long time. “Had a little time between shows and I happened to come back.. I had to see ya.”

“You did, hmm?”

“I… wanted to tell ya I was fuckin dumb. I shoulda come to ya the night ya left and went back to ya dad’s place. I shoulda fought harder. We… we coulda made it work. I coulda tried… something.”

“It’s my fault too.. I was putting too much pressure on.”

“No, all ya wanted was to know ya were loved. I guess that’s why I came… Wanted to tell ya I never stopped.”

“I never stopped loving you either.”

“You wanna get outta here, maybe take a walk?”

“I’d love that, actually. Your match is the only reason I came down to watch tonight. Fuckin cable is out at my place. Guess my post dated check of Fuck You didn’t go through.”

Mox snickered and stood, holding out his hand, pulling her off her seat and against him as they walked out of the door.

Chapter Text

2 weeks downtime and not one single call. Not a text, nothing. It really blew her mind how Seth would  just willingly throw away what they had. And then, on top of it, not only blame her for it ending, but do all he could to paint himself the ‘victim’ in their relationship. The thought sneaked it’s way into her head and frustrated, Eve sighed and wrinkled her nose, continuing down the path that thought had her going down..

… then again, he had one foot out the door for the last year of it and I know it…

With that thought to finish things for the moment, Eve picked up her bags and started to make her way towards the check in area, avoiding as many of her co workers as she could in the process.  God knows, they probably all took his side. Everyone here does. Seth never does a damn thing, it’s literally any and everyone else’s fault… that thought had her scowling to herself. She swore to herself she was going to just let this roll off her, hide out until it all blew over. And what was she doing? Standing in the middle of a crowded airport, letting Seth Rollins win all over again.

The tap to her shoulder had her turning and the glare came easily as she stared up at Mandy Rose.

“Didn’t you cause enough damage before we left for downtime? Next time you want someone all to yourself, life pro tip, you blithering idiot.. At least try to find something true to run back and tell your target. I mean… Me and Roman, seriously? The guy thinks I’m an annoyance, at best…”

… does what she said really matter?…

… he obviously believed it…

… the funny thing is, what upsets me most is that I truly do believe that Roman thinks I’m an annoyance… Two weeks ago, it was Seth and me fighting… maybe the time away was good for me…

Mandy shrugged and sighed, giving her one of those condescending looks. “Are you still accusing me of that? Gosh, so pathetic, get a life.”

“I’m not accusing you of anything, I’m stating facts. Now move, Mandy or I’ll - “ her statement was cut off by someone clearing their throat from behind. Roman stood there, Seth not too far away. Seth barely even looked at her, and Eve made herself stare at anything but her former boyfriend.

 Nope, not gonna happen… not gonna let those puppy eyes sway me, and obviously, it’s better that we don’t speak, so yeah… just gonna look for a hasty exit… Eve thought to herself as her eyes darted around them. She’d been just about to make a break for it, but Roman inched closer to her side, making her tense as the scent of him filled her nose all over again, rugged and spicy. Eve glanced up at him and Roman smirked down at her, mouthing something. She couldn’t move.

Seth was staring a hole through her, and he acted as if he suddenly had something to input. Which he did, seconds later. “Here we go again, man.” was muttered in more annoyance than anything as Seth rolled his eyes and shifted his gaze to Eve, almost as if he were blaming her for popping off, making a scene that he now had to bear witness to. Eve rolled her eyes right back and went back to letting them wander around, doing anything but meeting those dark eyes of Roman Reigns yet again.

 because the way he stared at her lately, it was… enough to melt the clothing right off her body…  She cringed as the thought came, because considering the huge mess and the accusations before downtime started and she told Seth she wasn’t going back to Davenport with him, - and Roman’s sort of standoffish attitude towards her, prior to the little ‘break’ between her and Seth, it was the last thing that needed to be happening right now. She needed to have a little more respect for herself than drooling over her ex’s best friend.

Even though God knows, that man is a walking sex ad…

“She told you to move, Mandy. Why not do something useful for once and move. Nobody wants to hear whatever this is.” Roman turned, narrowing his eyes at Seth as he told him calmly, “And you.. Just shut the fuck up already. Don’t even think about startin it, Seth, or so help me God, you will not like the outcome. Aight? We good?”

“Super.” Seth said it with as much venom and sarcasm as he could muster. Ever since Roman started lurking around Eve, who was supposed to be his girl, Seth was getting more and more tired of the way Roman just kinda… Took over things.

… Or made Eve smile a time or two, made her laugh, you know deep down, there’s something there, even if they both swear there isn’t… and it drives you goddamn insane…

Eve turned finally, with all intentions of yeeting herself as far away as possible from the whole thing in it’s entirety  and she  found herself body to body with Roman Reigns. Like usual,her mouth opened and closed and Roman continued to give that calm thousand yard stare at Mandy - and Seth, she noticed, both of whom finally relented, though Mandy grumbled and pouted and visibly sulked about it the whole time. Seth just gave Eve a look as if somehow, he blamed her for this too. And Eve rolled her eyes when they met his, just as he went to walk away.

Eve’s feet shuffled awkwardly and she raised a hand, dragging it through her hair. Her mouth did the awkward as hell open and close bit for at least another few seconds. Roman chuckled and nodded to the check in counter. 

“We kinda need to check into the flight.”

“I.. uhh.. Yeah. Look, thanks for… that… just now.”

Roman laughed and shrugged. “Not a problem, baby girl. Kinda got sick of her shit when she was tryin to run interference with Naomi and Jimmy a while back.” and while he didn’t say it, he thought to himself, … and then there’s the fact that nobody messes with my girl…

Eve picked up her bag and started to turn away but Roman grabbed at her wrist just as a crowd came by that would’ve knocked her over. She felt his other hand rest across her lower back and that chuckle…. Dear god.

Roman started to lead the petite brunette across the lobby, navigating them easily through crowds and the like until they reached the line for check in. The entire time, it was on the tip of his tongue to just come out and speak his piece on the actions of his former close friend Seth as of late, but he thought better of it.

Even though, he thought to himself calmly, as soon as Roman figured out what Eve was to him, he was filled with this deep seated rage that made it damn near impossible to be around Rollins without wanting to kick the other man’s head in.

 she belongs to us… everything will be okay now… baby steps, man… you gotta take baby steps… everything that happened earlier this month really hurt her… Seth’s good at constantly hurtin her. Gotta earn her trust, get to know her better, let her know it’s okay to depend on me and that I ain’t Rollins…

She must have said something and he missed it, because she was giving a quiet laugh, shaking her head and preparing herself to turn away from him and towards the line in front of them both.

“What’s wrong?” he leaned down to mumble next to her ear. Eve swallowed hard and made herself meet his gaze and answer quietly, “Nothing I just… I kinda annoy you. You act really tense and edgy around me.. I figured you were getting annoyed, so like… I was gonna turn around and give you space?” the statement came out sounding like a weak attempt at a question instead.

Roman laughed, almost snorting at one point before stopping himself to meet her gaze and shake his head. “It’s nothin like that, baby girl. I can promise you that.” 

“Oh..o-okay?”

The fluttering in her stomach that tended to happen around him -or in awkward situations like the one she’d just been helped out of by him, it was back and in full force. 

Eve fanned her face and shook her head.

It felt hotter in the airport and Roman’s cologne was almost overpowering, but not in a bad way.

In a comforting way.

It was the best explanation Eve could come up with.

Roman eyed her up. Her scent was almost sweet enough to make his mouth water. He wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, suddenly super conscious of the fact. She wasn’t really saying much and just a quick scenting gave way that she felt comfortable… Well, beyond the jumble of thoughts and emotions his mate was currently trying to work through.

“You okay?” he asked the question, his hand rubbing at her lower back lazily as they moved up in the line.

“Seth and Mandy can pretty much ruin anything.” was the only explanation Eve gave and she shrugged, shaking her head with a cross look in her eyes. Roman glared in Seth’s direction and then turned his gaze back to her, stating calmly, “You’d probably be a lot better off if you quit lettin that asshole get to you. He’s gonna pull the little wounded bitch act. If you act like it doesn’t bug ya, he’ll knock it the fuck off. That’s how he operates, trust me baby girl, I know him like the back of my hand.”

Eve stared up at Roman intently for a second or two. “I’ll umm.. I’ll definitely have to remember that.. Hey, weird and totally random, but… Do you wanna sit together on the plane?”

“I’d love that, baby girl. You hungry? After we check into the flight, we can go find somewhere to get food, we’ll have about two and a half hours to wait.”

“I’d love that, Roman.” Eve smiled up at him and Roman smiled back, chuckling. “That’s good.”

Chapter Text

Every single time they made plans lately, it seemed as if some greater force went above and beyond to make sure those plans fell through. And frankly, Drew was getting more than a little frustrated with the fact.

From the sound of it, so was Yvette. He shifted his bag from one hand to the other and switched his phone to the opposite ear after a healthy frustrated sigh at the latest flight cancellations.

“Flight just got cancelled again.”

“Damn it, no!” Yvette groaned quietly, staring up at her own cancelled flight on the screen nearest her.

“So, I was gonna try to fly to you instead and surprise you.. But my flight also got cancelled just now. Somebody up there really wants to drive me insane, I think.”

“I know what you mean.” Drew rubbed the back of his head, glaring at the screen nearby that was almost taunting him. It was only the third attempt he’d made to book a flight to visit her.

He hadn’t seen her since the last time he’d gotten downtime, and towards the end of that, they both got sick, so it was more or less misery and company.

Yvette bit her lip and sighed in frustration. “It’s almost funny if it wasn’t keepin me so damn frustrated. It’d be like that one rom com I made ya sit through..”

Drew chuckled, but an idea was beginning to form. By now, they were both realizing that their dreams were their bond, their link to each other as soulmates, so to speak and Drew found himself wondering if maybe there wasn’t some hidden gateway there…

He scoffed at himself, but honestly, he missed her so much right now that he’d take anything.

“Hey, Yvette?”

“Yeah?”

“I wanna… Try something. If it works, we won’t.. Need phones, exactly. If not, I’ll call you back, I promise.”

The way he kind of stumbled over his words and the husky tone of his voice had her stomach fluttering almost instantly, and she felt her cheeks heating up as her eyes darted around the busy airport she sat in, waiting.

“Close your eyes, princess. I’m going to do the same. Hanging up now, okay?” Drew instructed, taking a deep breath, trying to focus his energy on what he intended to try doing.. Yvette started to ask why - and what he was up to, but instead, she felt compelled to do as he instructed, so she closed her eyes and focused on leveling out her breathing. Her eyes were getting heavier and heavier. 

Drew’s breathing started to even out, syncing with the way hers had been before she hung up the phone. He found a quieter area of the lobby and stretched across a few empty seats. He was pretty much stuck waiting, so leaving the airport wasn’t an option at the moment. He continued to really focus, tuning out all the noises and talking around him. Something felt different. He was getting sleepier and he was starting to drift away. All at once, the noise around him just vanished. He dared to open his eyes and it was to find himself in a room only dimly lit by candles.

She wasn’t here yet. Would she be able to do it too?

Before long,Yvette found herself getting sleepier and sleepier. She moved to a row of seats that someone hadn’t taken up to sleep on for the night already and she stretched out. At first, she thought whatever was going on wasn’t going to work, but the more focused she got on her breathing and the way he’d sounded before hanging up, the more the noises and distractions taking place all around her seemed to fade away until finally, there was nothing.

She opened her eyes and  she found herself standing in a room only dimly lit by candles. Somehow, she sensed that what they were doing was something major. And the thought excited her. Maybe that’s what drew her forward, almost giddy with anticipation.

“Drew?”

She wasn’t sure why she felt like he’d answer, but she stepped further into the room and waited. She was just about to give up, but then she heard movement. “Drew? Is that you?”

“Back here.”

The tone in his voice had her thighs clenching tight. She hissed quietly and tried to collect herself before she called out again, “Back here where?”

“Follow my voice.” Drew called out, his heart beating a little faster, excitement sinking in as he realized just what they’d managed to do. They’d actually opened a gateway between their minds that was only previously available to them both when they went to sleep at night.

He took a deep breath and called out to her again patiently. “C’mon, princess. I’m waiting. Just walk to my voice.”

Yvette started to move forward, towards the end of the room his voice was coming from. Drew, growing impatient, eager to see her, to touch her, moved forward also, the two meeting midway.

Yvette pressed against him, raising her hand to trail it along his jawline and he gave a low growl as he pressed even closer against her, the end result being that Yvette’s back was now pressed against a wall. She whimpered, but the sound was caught by Drew’s mouth as it invaded her own hungrily. Gripping at his shoulder to hold herself up, she moaned quietly, her tongue slipping past his lips and tangling with his as she rubbed against him, something she’d probably not have been brave enough to do in reality just yet, but she felt bolder. 

It felt so fucking good, his hands and mouth all over her. Another quiet whimper escaped as his hand slipped beneath her shirt and she felt his body pressing into her, rubbing her against him while whispering next to her ear, “It worked, I can’t believe it worked. Missed you so fuckin much. Going to show you how much, do you want that?”

Her head fell back as his hands squeezed her tits. She was struggling, to breathe, to answer him, but the way his other hand cupped her jaw, bringing her head back down so that she stared right at him forced her to focus. She rubbed against him even more, sucking in a ragged breath when she felt the way he strained against his pants. “Answer me, princess.” he commanded, staring at her intently, waiting, demanding some kind of vocal confirmation.

“Y-yes.” slipped out of her mouth in a moan and his mouth covered the sound, a groan of his own coming seconds later as he gripped harder, grinding her against him, deepening the kiss to a point they were both using each other to stay on their feet.

“How much, hmm?” he drawled the question lazily against her neck as his hand crept down, then up her dress, rubbing shamelessly against her cunt, squeezing and practically growling when he heard the quiet whimper she gave. She slid her hand down the front of his pants, rubbing her hand over his length, gripping carefully and he groaned, bucking into her hand, mumbling into her skin “Let’s find somewhere more comfortable, okay?”

“Mhmm.” a barely coherent response but then again between actually being with him.. Feeling his hands on her, his mouth.. Hearing him whisper dirty things against her skin, literally everything he’d admitted openly he wanted to do to her.. Knowing that they found some magical loophole that in fact made this possible.

It was all too much; not enough.

It would never be enough.

As her strokes got faster, Drew thrust himself against her hand and trailed his hand up the outside of her leg, finding the thin string that held her panties together and giving a firm yank, tearing them away and tossing them onto the floor. A shiver passed through her body as his fingers sank deep into her dripping core, massaging and scissoring as his thumb rolled lazily over her clit and he pressed himself into her even more, grunting, groaning and almost whimpering as she gripped his cock even tighter and he realized just how wet she was, and only getting wetter for him. “Fuck.. Princess.. So wet.”

“Your fault.” she managed to gasp as she rocked herself against the way his fingers plunged into her. “Now. Please?” she begged before she even realized she’d done it. Drew chuckled darkly and stopped the motions of his fingers, staring down at her, licking his lips as he leaned in a little.

“Not just yet.”

“Come on.” she continued to beg, even attempting to pout at him. He stopped completely, removing her hand from his pants also and then he scooped her up, carrying her further back into the room. Her back hit the cloudy softness of a mattress and his hands found her hands as he pressed himself into her. 

“Just wanna get a taste first, princess. Be patient. We have all the time we need, okay?”

“Drew, please.. Now. Need you inside of me now.”

“I know this, princess. But first, I need to do this. Because I have been dying to taste you.”

Chapter Text

Hazy morning sunlight filtered in through threadbare plaid curtains and Shane rolled over. When his arm settled over a body next to him, he jolted awake.

The nightmare from the night before was still fresh in his mind. It was all so vivid; so real. Rick in a coma, then a fever hitting and putting a grinding halt to the world as he knew it.. Being forced to choose and making the wrong damn choice.

Evie lie there, and she seemed to feel that he’d woken up, because she was rolling over, curling herself against him, a hand going up to shield her eyes as she grumbled about getting better damn curtains.

Shane couldn’t shake the nightmare, and he got this distinct feeling that he’d had it for a reason. That there was a lesson within.

 don’t take an idiot to figure out the lesson is not let outside people interfere with me an’ Evie… the thought came clear as a bell and Shane sat up, rubbing his eyes. It prompted Evie to sit up, eyeing him in concern.

“You okay?”

“Just one helluva nightmare last night, darlin.”

“About when you were a kid?”

“Nah, this was.. Different. This was worse.”

Evie almost pushed for more details, but something about the look of sheer panic and pain in his eyes stopped her from bringing it up. Instead, she leaned against his back, peppering kisses across his shoulders as she rubbed her hands up and down his arms.

“There’s a game on. Wanna go re heat the pizza from last night and just snuggle up on the couch and watch it?”

Shane grabbed hold of her hips as she slid off the bed, pulling her down into his lap, smoothing hair out of her face as he gave her his most serious look. “You know I love ya, right? That I’m only yer man?”

“Shane, what the hell was that dream about?”

Before they could say anything, an emergency siren went off over at the town hall. They shared a look and Evie went to stand - probably to go look out the door, but Shane grabbed hold of her, putting her behind him. “Stay close.”

“Shane, what’s going on with you? It’s probably just a test.” Evie whispered back. Shane opened the door just barely and peeked out.

The Millers down the street were hurrying to cram their things into the back of an SUV.

A glance up the block showed that other neighbors were doing the same. The sky was bright and sunny, it was a typical Georgia Saturday morning and yet deep down, Shane got the distinct feeling it wasn’t.

He shut the door quickly and leaned against it, pulling Evie against him, staring down at her after breathing in the sweet rose scent of her shampoo. “Darlin, we gotta get our shit an get outta here. I don’t know what’s goin on but all the neighbors are doin it. That can’t be a good sign.”

Evie’s natural response was to try and peer out the window next to the door and when her face went pale and her jaw dropped , her scream echoing through the house, Shane pulled her away from the window, peering out himself.

A little blonde girl in a hospital gown and a pink house robe was shuffling down the block, with half of her face gone, and blood and skin hanging from the part that wasn’t.. She looked like she was chewing on the skin hanging from that side of her mouth and her body was slumped over, the flesh sloughing off as her feet dragged the pavement leaving almost brown bloody trails behind her.

“Evie, we gotta get our asses outta here. We ain’t got time t’ talk about this.” 

Evie nodded in response and Shane raced down the hall, back into their bedroom with Evie hot on his heels. He shut the bedroom door, starting to shove his grandma’s old heavy wooden armoire in front of the door, just to be safe.

“She bit that kid… She just walked up and bit him..” Evie was pale, shaking and staring at the faded hardwood floor in disbelief at what she’d seen.

She’d heard rumors that some new virus was out there, and that it was dangerous, but the news hadn’t mentioned it in almost a week now.

Was their town being hit by whatever virus this was?

Shane knelt next to her, cupping her jaw. “C’mon, darlin.. Y’ gotta stay with me, okay? We gotta get outta here.. Together.”

When she didn’t respond, Shane picked her up over his shoulder and after stopping by his gun cabinet to grab his Mossberg, the box with her engagement ring inside of it and a box of ammo, he bolted out the door on side of the house, making a break for his Bronco.

He put Evie inside and swerved into the road, and when he looked back in the rearview, more of whatever that little girl had been were rounding the corner behind him, slowly but surely.

“Don’t look back, darlin. Just trust me.. You.. don’t wanna see what I just did.”

“Okay..”

Shane fumbled around with the knobs on an ancient Kenwood cd player and finally, he found a station giving a detailed report.

They were calling for an evacuation.

“You think we oughta call Lori and Rick?”

“Hon, yer brother’s gon get ‘em out. I’m sure we’ll see ‘em on the interstate…” Shane said it but he relented. “I’ll call Rick. Make sure he’s awake and hearin what’s goin on.”

He called Rick and found out that they’d already gotten out of town. It made him breathe one hell of a lot easier. And the nightmare from the night before came rushing back.

Maybe it hadn’t only been a lesson, but a warning as well.

Not that he’d ever put much stock in that kind of stuff… But maybe it was a needed wakeup call.. A reminder to focus only on what was closest to his heart. Not to let himself forget where his heart really was.

… hint taken… he thought to himself as they hung a right and turned onto the ramp leading onto the interstate and the fairgrounds, where the newscaster had told everyone to head out to on the radio not even five minutes earlier.

Chapter Text

The dry desert heat hit her with the force of a speeding car as soon as she stepped outside of the airport terminal and Jane had to stop and attempt to catch her breath. It had all been a whirlwind of events, from Jon walking back into the bar in Ohio -and subsequently, back into her life, to the two of them spending hours on the phone day and night, to Jon flying back in for a surprise visit not even a month ago.

 

Today, Jane was reciprocating. She knew his schedule at the moment was hell, but she knew they had an entire four days to sit back and just be together before he went back out on the road with his new company, AEW. 

 

She glanced at her cell phone, biting her lip.

Without hesitating, she sent off a text.

 

→ You’ll never guess where I am right now.

 

A few seconds passed. She’d made her way to the row her assigned rental car was parked in and she was just about to unlock it when Mox finally texted back.

 

← The Bahamas?

← Where?

 

Finally unable to hold it in any longer, Jane opted to call him. Mox answered, out of breath.

 

“Heya doll. What’s up, hmm? Missin me?”

“So much that I kinda booked a red eye to Vegas and my flight just landed.”

 

She heard swearing and the sound of one of the guys Jon worked with and hung out with laughing as he told him, “Smooth, man. Fucking smooth. Way to drop your phone on your dick.”

 

“Shut the fuck up and shut the door, man! I’m tryin to talk here! My woman’s on the phone, damn.”

Mox must have picked the phone back up, and Jane laughed quietly. “Everything okay?”

 

“Yeah, Adam’s ass was just leavin. Stay put, baby girl. I’m on my way to ya.”

 

“But I rented..”

“Cancel it. I’m gonna pick you up myself. Because yeah, maybe I missed ya that damn bad.” Mox’s words were a rush, almost tumbling out one over the other and Jane felt her thighs clench and her cheeks heating up even more.

 

And this time, it wasn’t the damned warm desert wind.

This time, it was that tone of voice. She knew exactly what was on his mind and she knew exactly what her reward was going to be for this little unexpected surprise of hers.

 

And she was almost giddy all over in anticipation….

 

Chapter Text

The apartment door was ajar. It was odd, but Sami was used to the quirks of his roommate Moira by now. However, when he opened the door fully, a sight greeted him that he was clearly not expecting and altogether blown away at the sight of.

 

… As if I needed yet another reason to fall harder… the thought bounced around in his mind for a second or two and he cleared his throat. Moira looked up from where she knelt on the floor, playing with a little toddler girl who looked similar enough to her to be able to pass for her daughter.

 

… oh shit, he’s probably irritated now… the man is gone on the road 90 percent of the time and the last thing he probably wants is a kid underfoot… wait, why’s he looking at me like that?... Moira gave a sheepish smile and spoke up. “I didn’t think you were gonna be back yet…”

 

“Well, this explains the plastic tiara I found in the pantry last time I was back for downtime. Didn’t you get my text earlier? I tried to give you a heads up…” Sami trailed off. Moira picked up the little girl and stood, smoothing her free hand down her jeans and the little girl hid her face in Moira’s shoulder. Moira nodded to her and explained quietly, “My sister, she… Look, my niece needed somewhere stable to stay and god knows my mother was not it… I was gonna tell you but there wasn’t any time, I…”

 

Sami stepped closer, giving a shrug, fixing his eyes on the little girl. “Aw, hey there. What’s your name, huh?”

 

She raised her head to look at him and after whispering to Moira, she answered quietly, “Keely.” and her thumb returned to her mouth. Sami reverted his gaze back to Moira and said “You don’t have to explain anything to me, okay? I get it.. Family is family.”

 

“I understand if you don’t want me subletting with you anymore, I mean.. Keely is with me for the forseeable future…”

 

“It’s fine. I mean that, I really do. And I’d honestly like it if you and I kept subletting?”

 

Moira eyed Sami, a brow raised. Didn’t he realize just how much in the way that a 3 year old was going to be? What if he wanted to bring a girl home?

 

Just the thought of Sami bringing a girl home, like all other times she’d had the thought, made her stomach churn anxiously.

if the thought of him finding someone really makes you that uneasy, maybe tell him how you feel, idiot … Moira thought to herself, but she shoved the thought out.

 

No, she’d made their living situation weird enough by doing what she’d done when she assumed guardianship over her 3 year old niece on a protective whim.. No sense in further making things weird by word vomiting just how deeply in love she was with the man.

 

Keely looked up and her eyes brightened a little. She tugged on her aunt’s sleeve and leaned in, whispered quietly, “He on tv.” and Moira gave a nod and a quiet laugh. “Yeah, peanut, that’s the guy you saw on tv.” as she glanced at Sami and explained quietly, “I… got curious and decided to watch a few episodes? And now, apparently, I can’t stop?”

 

Only because you’re on there and you’re so good at what you do and I can see this… whole other side of you … the thought was drowned out quickly. Moira shuffled her feet and shifted her gaze to Keely for a second or two. If she looked at him right now, she was almost afraid he’d see what she wasn’t saying in her eyes.

 

The heavy tension was lingering between them, she’d have been an idiot not to notice it. She only hoped it wasn’t because she had her niece staying with her. She didn’t dare hope that there was anything more resemblant to what she wanted it to be though.

 

… If I don’t do something about the way I feel soon, I’m going to lose my mind...

 

Sami’s gaze shifted to Moira and she quickly attempted to downplay it, but Sami noticed the deep pink tint to her cheeks, almost as if the admission was not something she wanted to come out.

 

He wondered why, but he didn’t ask.

 

“ So you watch wrestling?”

“Only with Moia.” Keely answered after a few seconds, and only after she’d looked up at her aunt as if she were asking if it were okay. Sami got the feeling that whatever the kid had been through to lead to her staying with Moira had been hell, and he found himself glad that Moira had taken her in.

 

Sami chuckled and reached for the little girl. Keely shied away and Moira explained quietly, “She’s gotta get used to you. I mean beyond seeing you on tv… I’ll explain later.”

 

Sami gave a nod and picked his bag up. “I’m gonna go throw my bag in my room. Then maybe we can find something to do. It’s too pretty out to keep her cooped up in here.”

 

Moira bit her lip and watched as Sami disappeared down the hall and into his room. She took a deep breath and mumbled mostly to herself, “That went a lot smoother than I thought it might go..”

 

Sami leaned against the door and took a deep breath, an attempt to pull himself together. Seeing her with her niece, with her guard down, when she wasn’t aware she was being watched had been an insight into her that he hadn’t previously had.

 

He got the feeling that whatever she wasn’t saying about Keely’s living situation before Moira took her in wasn’t going to make him happy to hear. And he was trying to get his head around how to proceed now, having seen this whole other side of her moments ago and the new level it gave to feelings he’d been feeling for over half a year now.

 

“ Keely’s a part of her. Either I accept that, or I try to get over Moira. And I really don’t see that happening.” he mumbled to himself as he stepped back out into the hallway, nearly colliding with Moira in the process.

 

“Hey, we could go to the farmers market. Don’t they have the animals there still? Or the zoo..” Sami trailed off, wondering if he’d just come off pushy, too eager.

 

Moira bit her lip and smiled. “Actually, Keely and I were gonna have to go to the farmers market anyway. It’s October. And do you know my sister never even bothered with holidays for her? So she’s never known the joy of scooping all the ick out of the inside of a pumpkin just to stick a candle in there… I mean.. If you want to go. You’re probably tired..” she trailed off.

 

It hit Sami like a ton of bricks then. She was nervous.. But she’d seemed to really perk up when he suggested going somewhere in the first place. Maybe his feelings weren’t as one sided as he thought.

 

The thought had him sort of grinning, leaning in the doorway of his room as he tugged at the strings of his hoodie to distract himself, keep his hands moving, keep his mind focused and keep him from going overboard and laying it on way too thick right out of the gate.

 

“I asked, didn’t I?”

“I know, just.. That was one hell of a flight.. I don’t wanna make you feel like you have to..”

 

“I want to.” Sami made sure to emphasize the fact as he spoke and she stared up at him, for a split second, her brain ceased to function and she could only nod. “I’ll go find her jacket then..”

 

“I’m ready when you are. Kinda excited. Now I have someone to help me feed the ducks on that pond at the edge of the park.”

 

“Oh god.. No, no.. Don’t you dare get those ducks started! They’ll swarm us.”

 

Sami chuckled, teasing her and grinning, “Oh wait, I forgot.. Thanks to you being inable to stop watching a movie that scares you, you’re afraid of large bird swarms.”

 

“ Bite me, Zayn.”


… Oh, I’d like to do a lot more than that, Moira… Sami thought to himself as she disappeared down the hall and into her room...

Chapter Text

He came into the library almost every day that week. Sat in the back with a tall stack of books almost completely hiding him from view. Whether he was actually reading the books or not, Viv wasn’t entirely sure. 

 

He never really said a word. But whenever she’d make her way past his table, she’d feel those eyes fix on her. If she stopped and turned in his direction, he was always looking down at the tabletop or a book.

 

It wasn’t creepy or anything, Viv just didn’t understand why he did it. By Friday, she got it in her head that she was going to ask him why. For some reason, just the prospect of even speaking to the mysterious young man had her almost giddy.

 

The morning started off normally enough, he made his way in out of the rain, hanging the tattered jacket on the rack by the door, giving a nod as he silently walked past the desk and back towards his table. When Viv looked up from checking in some returns, he already had his stack at the table.

 

She bit her lip and stared at him a few seconds intently, gathering herself. The nerve to ask him why he kept staring at her came and left as she stared at him intently. She put it out of her head by lunch.

 

Normally the guy left for about 30 minutes and he’d return. Today, however, he didn’t move from his seat at the table. Viv eyed the clock.

 

Due to the weather, - a nasty storm rolling in from upstate, the kindergarten class she normally read to didn’t come in, so other than the handsome and mysterious stranger, there were no other library patrons to deal with and there most likely wouldn’t be.

 

… it’s now or never…

 

The thought was dominating her mind as she approached the table. She nearly chickened out and walked past, but his hand reached out just as she got beside where he sat and it curled gingerly around her wrist.

 

It was so unexpected that Viv jumped a little. The man furrowed his brow as he stared up at her, almost as if he were trying to puzzle something out in his head. He was staring at her intently, as if he were waiting on her to recognize him.

 

“Do I… know you? I do. I know you.”

Oh god, that voice.. It was deep, almost sensuous.. The perfect low pitched velvety rasp. Her thighs clenched, even if she’d never admit it. She met his gaze and raised a brow at his peculiar opening statement. Her tongue trailed over her lips and she saw it when his eyes flickered upward, following her tongue’s movement intently as the slightest smirk tugged the corners of his mouth upward.

 

c’mon, say something

why does he feel so familar? Like I should know him like the back of his hand but I don’t…

 

“N-no.” the word tumbled out quietly, but her gaze was locked on him. A quick glance down at his hand revealed that it was still holding onto her wrist. He glanced down and sheepishly, he let it go.

 

He seemed upset by her answer.

Maybe they went to school together when they were kids? The thought prompted her to ask if he’d attended school in Castle Rock and he shook his head.

 

“You don’t watch television much, do you?” he asked quietly.

It hit her then, she’d been seeing him all over the local news. Apparently, they’d found him locked down in an off limits area of Shawshank. The thought had her heart racing a little.

 

Was he as harmless as people assumed? Or was he dangerous?

 

For someone who started off her week restless and wondering if anything good or exciting was going to happen in her quiet little town again anytime soon, or if she should take her sister’s advice and leave Castle Rock, see the world… She wasn’t entirely sure this was the adventure she was looking for exactly.

 

And yet the guy gave off this magnetism. Before she realized what she was doing, she’d sank down into the chair next to him.

“Yeah.. y-yeah, maybe that’s where I know you from.” Viv managed to stammer as those deep chocolate colored eyes locked on her. He shook his head and repeated calmly, “I know you. Quite well, actually.. Just not here.”

 

Viv’s brow raised and she started to stand but he grabbed her hand again. “Please don’t go. I’m not crazy.”

 

Viv stared down at him and under that intense stare, she lowered herself back into her seat.

 

He kept hold of her hand and as soon as it started to happen, she gasped. Her mind was literally flooded with all these images.. Of him, of her -even though she looked nothing like herself for some strange reason, she knew it was her instinctively.. Of the two of them together.. Of a wedding in which for some reason, Henry Deaver’s mother and boyfriend Alan were in attendance as Mother of the Groom. 

 

“I knew it when I saw you. You’re her, but you’re not. I couldn’t forget my own wife.”

 

He dropped hold of her hand and Viv took a few shaky breaths, staring at him intently, with all the images burned into her mind and replaying over and over. The lights flickered overhead. They shared a look and he bit his lip, leaning in a little, taking out a tissue, dabbing at her nose. “I’m sorry, I just..”

 

“H-how’d you do that? What were you doing?”

 

“ I don’t know, I just..” he took a deep breath. “I promise I’m not trying to scare you.”

 

Viv nodded. Somehow, she got this sense that he wasn’t. That he was confused, probably dealing with some serious problems as a result of being locked in a cage for nearly 27 years according to the news reports.

 

“ You were different… There. When I really knew you. You seem lonely here. Lost.”

 

Viv shrugged. She hadn’t ever really given much thought to either thing. But now that she was thinking about it, she’d never really felt like anything fit or made sense about her life. She’d never really felt like she belonged where she was. That her life was supposed to be totally different.

 

She drummed her fingers against the tabletop and that large hand closed around hers, silencing the quiet tapping. She glanced over at him and after a quiet staring session, she finally found something to say.

 

“What’s your name? Everyone calling you Kid has to be exhausting.”

 

Somehow, she knew what his answer was going to be before he said it. When he told her his name was Henry, she nodded.

 

“What’s your name here?”

“Viv.. What was it wherever you’re talking about?”

 

“I… can’t really remember that yet. Some things are still confusing. But you were a librarian there too. I know that.”

 

Again, all Viv could do was nod in agreement. All she had to go on as far as this bizarre and intense confrontation was concerned was what she’d seen in her own mind when he’d grabbed hold of her hand a few minutes before.

 

She gasped as more mental imagery flooded her mind, her back against a door, his hand disappearing between her thighs, his mouth buried in her neck, the scrape of teeth and facial hair against her skin as she felt a mark forming under the pressure of his mouth. Her hands down the front of his pants as she rubbed against him almost desperately. He seemed to know what he’d done, blushing just a little as he mumbled a weak apology and dropped hold of her hand quickly.

 

“It’s… it’s okay? I think?”

 

They sat in silence for at least ten minutes and the growl of her stomach reminded her that she’d come back not only to find out what his deal was with the staring, but also to tell him that the library needed to close for lunch.

 

He seemed to know exactly what she was about to say, because he stood abruptly and cleared his throat. “Do you want to close down for lunch?”

 

“I need to.”

“Missy, she took me to the diner once. We could go there.”

 

Even though it might well not have been the brightest thing she’d done, she nodded and stood too. “We can. I’m.. hungrier than I realized.”

 

He chuckled as her stomach growled almost on cue. They grabbed their jackets and he accidentally pressed into her from behind as he reached around her to open the door. She gasped just a little and swallowed hard, trying to reign herself in and pull herself together as more memories flooded her mind and they were… Nearly twice as erotic as that last round he’d inadvertently sent her.

 

This time, something even stranger happened.. Underneath all the other noise / conversations and laughter from the memories, she could almost hear this quiet mumble.. It was him. He was thinking about how much he was drawn to her in either time.

 

Rather than comment, Viv tried to pretend she hadn’t heard it, because quite frankly, she was fast approaching her quota of strange and unusual and sensual overload for the time. Instead, she stepped out into the hall and when he’d done the same, she dug around in her pocket for the keys, swearing when she realized they were still on the desk.

“I left the keys.”

 

She stepped back into the library and searched the desk, aware the entire time of him lingering, leaned in the open doorway, watching her. She bit her lip and after not finding the keys anywhere, she turned. Doing so put her body to body with the giant of a man and before he could stop himself, his hands were slipping down her sides, squeezing her hips as he stared down at her mouth intently, his throat bobbing as he swallowed hard.

 

“Henry?”

“Y-yeah?”

“Nothing..” Viv mumbled quietly, staring intently at his mouth now. She jumped a little as she realized that her hand was resting palm down against his chest and she could feel his heart thumping hard and steady.

 

… if it keeps me from thinking about the way his cock is strained against his jeans right now and just how badly I wanna…. Find out if it feels as good as it apparently felt in those mental images… she trailed off when his facial expression changed and he leaned down a little, curious gleam in his eyes. His hands moved from her hips, gripping handfuls of her ass and squeezing. 

 

He mumbled under his breath and she didn’t hear it.

“What’d you say? Just now, I mean.”

 

“I missed you so fucking much. So much.” he stared her down intently as he said it, leaning down and in closer, his lips brushing against her lips, drawing a whimper out as she gripped the edge of the desk her ass was now pressed right against. He lifted her up and sat her on top in one fluid movement that happened so fast she didn’t even realize it had. As the kiss deepened, she circled her legs around his waist and he groaned into her mouth, one of his hands venturing upward, tugging down the messy bun she had piled her hair into that morning.

 

When the kiss started to break, they slowly pulled apart, gaping at each other. There was this almost ambery glow to his eyes as he wiped his mouth and worked on catching his breath.

 

“Food.” Viv managed to gasp out the word and hastily, she located the keys, grabbing them with a shaky hand, nearly dropping them. He nodded, giving a smallish smile. “You okay?”

 

“I, uh… To say it’s been a while is a huge understatement.” Viv said it and immediately wanted to kick herself. He chuckled, falling into step with her after she’d shut the door to the library and locked up again. “We did that backwards.”

 

“We did.” Viv was still trying to wrap her head around the day in it’s entirety, and she couldn’t. He spoke up again, “ We did there too. Spent a month coming into the library, working on ways to approach you and then you approached me first.. You kinda spilled a latte on me too. Then fell into my lap.”

 

“ Yeah, that sounds about par for the course.” Viv shook her head, giving a sheepish laugh as she looked up at him.

 

“What does all this mean?”

“I don’t know. But I have a feeling I’m stuck here now.”

 

“Oh?”

“Mhmm.”

 

Deep down, even though she didn’t dare say it, the thought did give Viv a little thrill. Maybe she could get to know him better.. Like they were now.

 

… wait a minute, what the hell… am I buying into this?...

 

Chapter Text

The tension in Adam’s body didn’t go amiss by Kenny and the Bucks. And as soon as they followed his gaze, Kenny was quick to grab the back of his best friend’s black tee. “Easy.. Whoa.”

 

“What the fuck is he doing over there? Talkin to her?” Adam could smell the tension and the slight fear on her from all the way down the hall. His fists curled at his sides and he shoved them into his pockets. “Who does he think he is, huh?”

 

Adam took a deep breath under the instruction of his friends, but it wasn’t helping. And when Pac leaned in and dared to touch her, Adam walked over, stepping up behind her, his hands quick to go to her hips, his chin resting on top of her head.

 

“This asshole botherin you, darlin? You just say the word and he’s gone.”

“You said no fights..” 

 

Adam had promised her no fights, but this was different. This was Pac being an arrogant asshole and ignoring the discomfort of Adam’s Omega. He’d seen enough of the whole thing to know that she’d been trying to get away from the guy, he just wouldn’t fucking let her.

 

He kept following, talking himself up and Adam down.

 

Pac snickered at the words from the soft spoken female and his gaze flitted boredly to Adam as he taunted, “You promised your Omega no fights, Hangman. I think our match on Tuesday makes it clear who the real Alpha is here.”

 

Adam growled, Pac growled in response, the two stepping up to one another, Adam quickly putting his Omega behind him, practically snarling. “I think we both know that this will be totally different, Pac. So if you want some?” Adam shoved at the other man as he sneered and stared him dead in the eyes, “Come get some.”

 

“Y’ sure y’ want me t’ do that? Won’t it make y’ look weak in front of ‘er when I beat yer arse again?” Pac made the comment calmly and Adam gritted his teeth, shoving at Pac harder.

 

Behind him, Katya was trying to grab hold of his arm, press against his back, anything that normally worked to calm down her hot headed Alpha. She knew why he was doing it, he must have scented the tension and fear she felt when Pac cornered her up and wouldn’t let her get away easily.

 

“Adam!”

“Just a second darlin. I’m about to beat the hell out of this arrogant asshole.” Adam didn’t even look back at her, instead, he was staring straight at Pac, both men tensed up and ready to fight at any second.

 

In desperation, Katya stepped between them, molding herself against Adam, her hand reaching up, cupping his jaw to tug his gaze down to her. “ He’s not worth it.”

 

“Oh, I know how worthless he is. Everybody else is gonna when I get done with him, baby girl.”

 

“Nonsense, you’ll just wind up getting yer arse handed to y’ all over again.”

 

Katya did something she normally wouldn’t dare do and she whirled herself around, facing Pac, glaring up at him. “Can you fuck off? I’ve been trying to get away from you at least ten minutes now. Was it not obvious when I got up and walked away the second you sat down next to me in catering? Or when I started to walk faster when you came right out behind me? Do you not know how to take a fucking hint?”

 

Adam could feel her getting angry. Adam also wasn’t about to sit back and let his Omega handle this situation, not when it was his to handle. It was his duty to protect her.

 

She’d been afraid.

She needed him to protect her. 

Now, she was getting angry and upset and she needed him to calm her down.

 

“Darlin, move.”

“Adam..”

 

His mouth nuzzled against her pulse and she barely restrained a whimper. Adam whispered quietly against her skin, “Baby girl, let me do what I’m supposed to.”  his tone was firm as he spoke. When she hesitated, he gently grabbed her hips and guided her out from between them, out of harms way. And the second he knew she was out of harms way, he sent his fist smashing straight into Pac’s nose.

 

Katya felt a surge of pride and as the fight progressed, she didn’t even realize she was shouting, urging Adam on until it ended and Adam was making his way back over -well, more or less being dragged by Kenny and Cody , and she went to say something and realized she was hoarse.

 

Then again, actions were always far better than words.

And in a fit of boldness, she got Pac’s attention by calling his name.

“I want you to watch this, sir. And I want you to watch it closely.” Katya told the other man calmly. Adam eyed her, a quiet growl slipping out of his mouth as soon as he picked up on the way arousal hung heavily in the air all around them and amped her scent up.

 

“Darlin?”

He had a split second to get the word out and Katya was climbing his body, wrapping her legs around him and tugging at his hair as she kissed him until he could feel his lips starting to ache. He deepened the kiss, chuckling as it broke, resting his forehead against hers and staring at her.

 

“Were you tryin to prove a point?”

“Maaybe.” Katya teased in a sing song voice, giggling shortly after as she let her hands roam all over him.

“Oh yeah? And what point was that, hmm?”

 

“I’m yours.”




Chapter Text

She’d been watching the damn show for hours and Jack was getting a little annoyed. There had to be some way to get her to stop drooling over bikers and pay her attention.

He started to say something but it was greeted with “Shh.”

Instead, he stood, blocking their tv set. 

“Hey! I’m about to miss the best part!”

“Yeah? Make me move, baby girl and I’ll go sit down and let ya keep watchin.” Jack was only teasing, of course. His petite girlfriend Anya, however, took it as a personal challenge.

It really shouldn’t have surprised him.

Anya hopped up from the sofa, raising to tiptoe and teasingly, she grabbed hold of his tee shirt, pulling him down to her level. “Awwww… are you jealous of bikers, baby? Is that what this is?”

Jack scoffed and pretended that no, it wasn’t that very thing. “Nah, darlin. This is a dumb show.”

“Uh huh.” Anya nodded, giving an amused smirk as she stared up at him. Maybe now he was getting a good dose of how she felt when he was tuning out everything but his old college’s football games on tv.

Truth be told, she wasn’t even really all that interested in the tv show on. She just wanted Jack to think she was. Because yeah, on occasion she could be spiteful.

“It is! Those guys probably haven’t seen a bike in real life. None of ‘em. Probably never shot an actual gun or been in a real fight, either.”

“Oh yeah? Well I heard Charlie Hunnam actually owns one, so…” Anya gave a shrug and a giggle while trying to peer around Jack at the television set, mostly just to further annoy him.

Jack caught onto what she was up to and as soon as he did, he laughed and slid his hands down her sides, grabbing her ass, hauling her against him. “Is that so, baby girl? Bet he still can’t kick my ass.”

“Baby.. I love you but.. You sir, are a softie. Facts are facts. I can kick your ass.” Anya stated as she gave him the most innocent smirk she could muster. They were body to body. Jack’s hands squeezed her ass a little rougher and he stared down at her intently, a pout forming.

“What? You really think so, darlin? Do you wanna wrestle?”

Anya toyed with the front of his shirt, dancing her fingertips over his chest. Oh, she knew exactly what she was doing. She knew how he felt about being touched. She knew exactly what to do to get what she wanted.

It was working so far.

It always worked.

She felt his chest muscles ripple, tensing up and she heard him swear under his breath. Instead of caving in like she thought he would, like she was used to, he barely brushed his lips against hers as he mumbled into her mouth, “I asked you a question, hon. I expect an answer. Do you wanna wrestle..?” 

“It depends… Are we talking clothed or naked?” Anya asked, trailing her fingertips down Jack’s chest as she rubbed against him ever so slightly and stared up at him. Jack smirked, picking her up and carrying her up the stairs.

“Hey, my show!” she cried out as he gently tossed her onto their bed.

“Your show can fuckin wait, hon.” Jack stared down at her as he licked his lips slowly, leaning in closer….

Chapter Text

They’d literally just finished carving the pumpkin and gotten Keely down for the night. Moira was cleaning up the mess pumpkin carving made when she felt his intent gaze from across the room. She put down the knife and turned around, intending to catch him, and when she did, she found their bodies pressed together, because he’d moved to stand right behind her.

 

He was staring down at her with this… Intense gaze. Almost like he wanted to say something but the words weren’t fully formed.

 

She raised her hand and snapped her fingers to get his attention. “Sami?”

 

“What’s up?” Sami swallowed hard as he found himself unable to stop staring at her lips and focus.

 

All day, they’d been sort of tentatively flirting back and forth. He’d had an amazing time spending the day with her, then again he always seemed to so it really shouldn’t have surprised him. Spending all day with her had really driven home the fact that he needed to do something, to say something.

 

Because he wasn’t an idiot, he’d seen the way other guys watched her, the way they seemed to gravitate towards her and seek her out. And if he wanted to be with her, he needed to at least try making it known. 

 

He’d come into the kitchen with every intention of doing just that, but at the moment, all he could do was.. Stare at her.

Oh, and think to himself how beautiful she was, inside and out. Naturally.

 

He took a deep breath and just as he went to just spill it all, Moira cleared her throat.

 

“Sami I…”

“Yeah?” the word came quick and he wanted to punch himself. Here he was, tensing up, making things a thousand times more difficult than they really had to be. Kevin was always telling him he had the tendency to do that.

 

“ Nothing..” Moira chickened out and she wanted to punch herself in the throat when she did it. Spending the whole day with him had been… Well, if she hadn’t previously been in love with the guy, like crazy in love with the guy, she was now. She could sense he wasn’t buying her weak cop out, so she plastered on a smile and grabbed a pumpkin. “Wanna help me set these out on the balcony? I’d have done it with Keely, but she was so tired from today…”

 

Sami grabbed the pumpkin with the cat face carved into it and he followed her out of the kitchen and down the hall, into the living room. The entire time, his brain was practically screaming at him to do something, just throw caution to the wind and do something, but the entire time, he found himself unable to come up with anything to say or do to even begin to attempt bringing up the whole thing.

 

He stepped out onto the balcony with her and she’d just sat down her pumpkin and stood up straight again when he did. She bit her lip as she stared up at him a few seconds.. Intently.

 

Almost longingly.

 

Her hand raised. She honestly meant to push her hair out of her eyes, instead, she wound up resting her palm against the front of his hoodie. “Keely had a really great time today. Even though you two managed to attract every duck in the vicinity right to us.” she pretended to pout and laughed quietly. Sami beamed and nodded, chuckling himself.

 

She was doing it again, the little blushing and lip biting thing she did that drove him absolutely insane. Something in him snapped in that moment.. Or maybe it clicked.

Sami found himself leaning down, hands gripping her hips. “Stop me if…” he mumbled the words in a softer whisper and when she didn’t make a move to back up or try stopping him, his lips captured hers. To his surprise, Moira gave this small whimper and gripped hold of his hoodie, then she deepened the kiss. Sami’s teeth latched onto her lip and she did the same, mumbling quietly, “I have wanted to do this for a while now.” just as the kiss broke. Sami blinked in shock and for a second or two, his mouth opened and closed as he tried to process what she was saying. 

 

Then he smirked and rubbed his chin as he admitted, “It was driving me insane. I’ve almost said something.. Or kissed you.. So many times.”

 

“Oh thank god. Me too.” Moira was pressing against him now, her arms going around his neck. “You know you’re the whole reason I even bother watching your wrestling show, right?”

 

“I am, huh?”

“You are.”

 

“Do you wanna go on an actual date tomorrow night?”

“I’d love that.”

Chapter Text

Katya hated the way it felt; her skin burning and crawling and at the same time, feeling tight. The feeling that the air was somehow thicker. The sweating and last but certainly not least, the horomones.

Horomones equalled supreme horniness. Meaning that even the most mundane thing suddenly took on an almost erotic nature. 

She kept catching his scent, only for it to be gone by the time she finally got a chance to leave her work area and try to locate it backstage.

She hit the thermostat and glared. “There’s no way this is set to cool. It feels like a fucking sauna in here.”

“It’s set to cool.” Britt Baker spoke up from the doorway as she stepped in, eyeing Katya curiously. “Is everything okay?”

“Hell no! A certain little problem decided to present itself tonight.”

“Certain little problem.” Britt mumbled only to quietly exclaim, “Oh..” and then an even lower “Oh.. That’s not good.” as she shook her head. The next thing Katya knew, she was being guided down into the chair sitting in front of her mirrored workstation and Britt was going to grab her a bottled water from catering.

All of this meant one thing and Katya found herself both thrilled and slightly horrified by what was taking place.

Her Alpha was in the building somewhere. Her true Alpha.

That’s the only reason all of this kickstarted. It had to be. There wasn’t any other logical explanation for it.

She fanned herself with a copy of the night’s program and her head fell back as she closed her eyes. The door opened and then it closed quietly.

“Britt?”

No one answered and then this rank scent filled the room. Katya swallowed hard and sat up.

MFJ stood there in his knockoff Burberry scary, smirking.

. Just fuckin great. Naturally, my heat starts and now I’ll have to deal with every unmated Alpha asshole back here…. Damn it, what’s taking Britt so long, I wonder?...

He moved closer, Katya wrinkled her nose and sprayed her favorite perfume; a vain attempt to drive out the way MFJ’s scent was almost totally off putting. The whole scenting thing…. It was by far one of the bad things about being an Omega.

When he stood next to her and he leaned down, sniffing at her, she gulped. “What?”


“ I thought you might need some help with your little problem, Omega.”

“Not from you, no thanks I’ll pass.”

Rather than leave, he continued to stand there, staring down at her with an almost amused smirk, almost as if he seriously thought she were confused and hadn’t meant to tell him no.

“I meant it, sir.” Katya tried her best to sound as firm as possible, even though she felt her stomach churning, her hands beginning to shake a little and she knew damn well that at the end of her sentence her voice wavered ever so slightly. She’d never really enjoyed confrontations.

Or being cornered.

“Sir.. I like that.” he responded, only leaning in even closer, a finger curling beneath her chin which she attempted to shrink back from as best as she could.

“I’d like it if you left.” Katya repeated it, luckily for her, it was firmer this time. She wanted him gone, she was going to have to really act like it, which meant being rude, being louder than she normally would. Whatever it took to get the guy away from her.

“Sassy… I like that too.” he was leaning down and Katya was shrinking back. The guy clearly had that typical sense of Alpha entitlement and no clear sense of personal boundaries. Those two things coupled with his overwhelming and totally unappealing stench, well… It was a safe bet that she wasn’t getting closer. No amount of money in the world would get her closer.

He stared her down a few seconds; again, she got the distinct feeling that the jerk was not used to hearing the words “no, i’m not interested, not even slightly”. It wasn’t a surprise.

Britt cleared her throat from the doorway. “Get out, MFJ.”

“Oh? And whose gonna make me?” he seemed to scoff at Britt as if to challenge her. Britt stood straighter, stepping closer to where the two of them stood as if she were going to do something. 

Katya turned, stared him dead in the eyes and pointed to the door. “ Go.”

“You’ll be begging for me later. Especially when none of the other Alphas around will even give you a second glance.” he walked out the door and Katya took the bottled water from Britt, uncapping it and drinking down half, choosing to let MFJ’s parting words go ignored.

She tensed when the scent she’d been driven crazy by all day long filtered into the room and despite her best efforts not to, she found herself whimpering and staring at the doorway longingly.

All Britt could do was laugh and shake her head and mumble audibly, “Thank God I’m a Beta and do not have to deal with this.”

“I wish I could say that right about…” Katya trailed off as the scent grew closer and closer. She sat down the bottled water and bolted for the door just in time to throw it open all the way and be hit with a wall of that almost mouthwatering scent that belonged to her true mate.

And the second she realized just who it was, she slammed the door shut and leaned against it heavily, trying to catch her breath. 

“Oh.My.God.”

“What? Did you figure out who he is?” Britt asked, staring at the other woman intently, waiting on an answer.

Katya took a deep breath and muttered mostly in shock, “I think it’s Adam. God, I hope it’s Adam. It has to be him. It has to be...”

“As in Hangman? Holy… Wait, I thought you were saying he was sexy as hell…. I thought you’d be excited?”

“ Oh, I am… Just have… Literally no clue how to even begin to tell him?”

“Girl.. Pretty sure that as an Alpha, he knows.”

“I doubt it.”

“They always know, Kat. Especially when it comes to their Omegas.”

Out in the hallway, Adam stood, staring at the door to hair and makeup, a hand wound in his hair as he tried to puzzle out whether the scent he’d been practically running down just now, because he sensed the distress of her, -your Omega, and he’d had no choice but to at least try to locate her.

The door was shut.

The scent was strong, almost enough that his mouth was watering. He lower the hand currently rubbing the back of his head and wiped the back of it across his mouth, taking a deep breath and sniffing the air.

She seemed calmer now.

Still, the fact remained, whoever she was, she was right behind that door…  Kenny nudged his side, nodding to the door. “Well?”

“She’s in there, no doubt.”

Nick spoke up. “ I could’ve sworn I saw Britt go in there.”

The door opened and Britt said something to whoever else happened to be inside and then she walked out and right past Adam. As soon as she was out of ear shot, Kenny gave a look as if to ask Adam if Britt were the source of the scent he’d been chasing over the course of the day and Adam shook his head, staying where he stood and staring at the door.

Whoever she was, she was still inside the room.

“Fuck it. I’m not standin out here all day. I’m not a wimp.” Adam stepped forward and just as he did, the door opened again.

And he was promptly hit with a wall of vanilla, heavy and sweet.. He bit back a groan as he fixed his eyes on her.

His true Omega.

She couldn’t have been more than 5’1, maybe not even that tall.. The sweater she wore hung down to her thighs and it’s sleeves covered her fingers, the thing was clearly way too big for her. Her jeans were full of holes and fit almost like a second skin and she was wearing a pair of those boots that were fuzzy on the inside, but Adam couldn’t help noticing that despite her being dressed for the weather, a fine mist of sweat gathered on her skin. One quick scenting revealed exactly why this was so and before Adam could stop himself, he gave a low growl that was closely followed by an almost needy whine. He felt himself getting harder and harder by the second and he took a few deep breaths, desperately trying to calm himself the fuck down.

It wasn’t working, naturally.

Nick and Matt followed his gaze and chuckled quietly.

“Her name is Katya. She’s going to be doing hair and makeup, I think. Matt talked to her on the elevator earlier… Right before you got all hostile because you smelled her on him and flipped out?” Nick was trying his hardest not to laugh. Matt smiled and shrugged. “She was kind of quiet. Standoffish. Like she’s not a real big people person.”

Kenny was snickering by now. “Kind of reminds me of someone else we know when he chooses to be that way.” he mused, earning him a middle finger from Adam who finally managed to tear his eyes off her. His mind was racing. Because now her scent held curiosity.. Longing.. A little nervousness too.

Her eyes met his and they stood there, in the middle of the crowded hallway, staring at one another. When she fanned herself, Adam chuckled and rubbed his chin, giving a smirk and a slight grin as he waved.

Okay, so maybe he was trying to be a smartass. 

One of them had to do something, so he figured it might as well be him, so he started to walk towards her. 

… she’s fucking gorgeous… keep it together dumbass…

… mine…

… all mine…

Katya watched him walking towards her, frozen in place. She whimpered as the scent of him got stronger and he got closer. The closer he got to where she stood, the more she fidgeted under his intently focused gaze.

She swallowed hard as he came to a stop in front of her, licking his lips, leaning in carefully. Her eyes fluttered open and closed as she felt his nose just barely brush against the side of her neck and heard him mumble something, mostly to himself and in shock.

“ Uh hi?”

“Hey.” It took a few seconds, but Adam finally got the word out. He found himself staring at her, totally unable to stop doing so. Not that he really wanted to anyway.

“Was everything okay just now?” the question was out before he could stop himself from asking it. She bit her lip and shrugged, staring back up at him. “MFJ decided to grace me with his presence. I think Britt scared him away.” 

Adam’s gaze momentarily flitted over to Britt, who was standing with Kenny and the Bucks, and he chuckled. “Yeah, she can be intimidating. But you’re okay, right? I mean if he messed with you at all…” his eyes fixed on her, full of concern.

“I’m fine.”

“I know the guy freaked you out a little, darlin.”

Katya swallowed hard, staring up at him. Everything inside her wanted to ask if he knew what she did, but she didn’t dare. When he spoke again, he pretty much answered her question.

“I’m your alpha. I’m gonna pick up on that.” Adam reached out, tucking some hair that fell into her eyes back behind her ear. It occurred to him that she’d been worried about whether he knew or not too, it was the main reason he said what he did. She was apparently twisting herself in and out to come up with a way to say it or ask him if he knew.

He didn’t want her worrying.

“Oh, I… I wasn’t sure how this worked.”

“You’re gonna be fine, darlin. Just let me take care of ya, yeah?” Adam moved a little closer. When she didn’t back away and instead, came closer as well, he slipped both arms around her waist, stared down at her. “ Just wanna keep you close… That’s okay, right?” and he barely restrained the quiet groan that came when she moved even closer, nodding up at him, swallowing hard. She took a ragged breath of her own and answered quietly, “Yeah, it’s more than okay.”

He gave a bright and goofy grin, raising his hand, stroking the hair at the back of her head. God, he thought to himself, all I wanna do is fucking.. Touch..  Hold… Kiss.. Among many, many other things...

Chapter Text

Adam stood in the doorway of the bathroom in their shared hotel suite, his eyes roaming over her while she wasn’t looking and she had her head leaned back against the edge of the tub, her eyes closed and her legs hanging out of it.

 

Her hair hung over the edge, making him chuckle quietly, because she reminded him of a mermaid and the thought made him smile to himself. She must have sensed him there or heard him chuckle when he had, because her eyes opened and she turned bright pink, not bothering to cover herself. She stared at him intently, almost as if she wanted to say something but she was having a hard time finding the words.

 

Adam stepped into the bathroom, shutting the door behind him. “You look cozy.”

“I am. I think I was starting to drift off.” Katya responded sheepishly as her eyes darted over his body and she felt her thighs clench. She could smell the desire dripping from his scent, it was more than enough to cause the insides of her thighs to start getting even slicker. He was kneeling down beside the tub, reaching for one of the wash cloths and dipping it into the water and as he soaped it up, she swallowed hard.

 

What she did next definitely surprised her, as it was something she typically wouldn’t have done, especially given the fact that they were still trying to get used to one another.

 

But damn it, she needed him.

 

All their little touches up to now had been mostly innocent. And while that was good, because it showed her that her Alpha was trying his best to honor her boundaries and get to know her, with her heat taking over, it wasn’t enough tonight. She’d known it was going to be a long and hard night… She’d offered to take a different room earlier, but Adam wouldn’t hear of it.

 

He said it was too risky, and that he could handle reigning himself in, but if she were in a different room, he’d drive himself crazy worrying about her.

 

Adam blinked in surprise when she rose up a bit in the tub and lightly gripped the neckline of his tee shirt, tugging him closer, almost pulling him over the edge of the tub. “Darlin?” he questioned, a quiet growl falling from his mouth when Katya’s lips brushed right against his own. He got a tight grip on the edge of the tub and cleared his throat. “ Somethin you want?”

 

“ I thought I could handle this.” Katya mused, not dropping his gaze for a single second as she did so. “I thought I needed time to get used to this.. To you, as a person. I don’t need time.. I… I need you.”

 

Her lips brushed his a second time, right as the meaning in her words sank in for him. He leaned in closer, pressing her back against the tub. One of his hands dipped down into the water, gripping her hip and squeezing as he crashed his mouth against her own. She nipped at his lip, tugging. “Adam?”

 

“Hmm?”

“The tub is big enough for both of us.”

 

“You trying to ask me for somethin, baby girl?”


“Maybe I am.” Katya’s voice wavered slightly and she gave a soft laugh.

 

“Either you are or you aren’t.” Adam raised his other hand, cupping her jawline, staring directly into her eyes. The sheer unbridled sweetness of her scent clearly indicated that yeah, she was hinting at something, but Adam wasn’t one to make any assumptions either.

 

“ If you want..” Katya trailed off, whimpering softly as soon as she picked up on the thickening in his scent, “you could get in here with me. You’re burning up. And you’re not only supposed to take care of me if I’m remembering correctly.”

 

“I could.. But do you want me to?” Adam dared to dip his head down slightly, his lips dancing right down the side of her neck. When she moaned quietly, shifting in the soapy water, and her head fell to the side, giving him full access to her neck, he growled to himself, feeling his cock strain against his jeans. It was getting entirely too hard to keep himself reigned in, but he’d promised her at the beginning that he’d give her time… To get used to each other.

 

Katya’s little whimper was almost enough to break him. When he dared to scrape fangs against her bare skin while nuzzling his nose against her as well, she shivered and moaned urgently, “ You have no idea how much I want you to.”

 

Adam pulled away, making her pout and him chuckle. He tugged off his shirt and after taking off the heavy soled boots he wore, he started to tug at his jeans. Katya stared intently the entire time. By the time he was slowly inching down his boxers, she was whining impatiently. She moved forward in the tub and he got in, leaning against the back, pulling her on top of him as he moved his hands slowly over her sides.

 

“ This is helpin, right?”

“More than you realize.” Katya barely gasped as she was rubbed right against him...

 

Chapter Text

“Everything looks like shit on me. That’s it, I’m not going to this fucking dance.” Jane threw down the fourth dress and stared at herself in the mirror, shaking her head. She was only even going to this stupid thing because her grandmother was making a big deal about her going.

It wasn’t like she wanted to go. The guy she’d rather go to prom with was gone, he left town to go off and become some kind of famous wrestler or something. His own words.

As if on cue, the phone rang and Jane grabbed for it. Mox promised he’d call her the second he got where he was going. “Well, dickhead?”

“Hey to you too, Janey.” blue eyes darted around the bar and when the guys got too loud, Mox gave them all a silencing glare. It only got him teased by Callihan and Cole, but Mox ignored the two jackasses and turned away, busying himself by doodling on a napkin. “Ya find a dress?”

“I’m not goin to that stupid prom.”

“Janey, c’mon. Ya promised ya grandma.”

“I know, I know.. I just.. I don’t wanna. Besides, I look like shit in all the dresses she picked up for me to try. Besides, I asked that dumbass in my Bio class if he’d take me as a friend. Turns out he’s already goin with someone. Or I’m ugly as fuck and he’s just too polite to point it out. Or he’s lyin and...”  Janey trailed off, rolling onto her back on the bed and Mox sighed on the other end of the line.

“First of all, ya not ugly. Second, ya don’t have t’ go with somebody to go.” Mox calmly pointed out. He grabbed the beer Callihan bought over to him and took a long sip, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth as he finished. “Ya grandma just wants ya to have a good time. She’s tryin to cheer you up.”

… just tell her already, damn…

He was hell bent on not ruining the surprise though. He knew how much Jane really wanted to go to prom and thanks to peeking in her journal when he stopped by to see her before he left town, he knew exactly why she was digging her heels in about going.

Apparently, she only wanted to go with him. But she’d never admit it, she’d never admit a lot of things she wrote about him in her journal and those things… They were another huge reason he was out of Ohio and trying to make a name for himself. He wanted to be the best he could be, for her. He wanted to be able to give her everything he thought she deserved, despite knowing that she’d be fine with just being with him.

He wanted to give her so much more.

Jane eyed the phone and bit her lip. “ I don’t wanna go, okay? Why’s it so important I go, huh? It’s gonna be lame.”

“If you don’t go, ya gonna look back and regret it.”

“Or maybe I won’t, Mox.”

Mox took a deep breath, trying to keep from telling her exactly why he wanted her to go so badly. If she didn’t go, then he couldn’t show up in the stupid damned tuxedo. He couldn’t give her the necklace he’d bought for her.

 but if she doesn’t wanna go, maybe you could surprise her at home… take her out somewhere real nice… ya gonna have plenty of money, man… and the thought had him taking a deep breath.

“Maybe ya won’t. If ya don’t wanna go, don’t. I gotta ask ya somethin, okay?”

Jane raised a brow and rolled over onto her stomach, propping on her elbow. She tried to picture him, all sweaty and probably bloody, probably fresh from a fight.. She found herself wondering if he was wearing the sleeveless vest, or if he’d just fought in jeans tonight. She found herself wishing that she wasn’t stuck in stupid Ohio, doing what she promised him she’d do. She didn’t get why it was so important she stayed, she could’ve easily finished high school wherever he wound up. It would’ve been their big adventure, just like they always talked about. She could’ve gotten by on her photography and worked as a waitress too. 

She just missed him.

She hadn’t seen him in over a month and she was afraid it was going to be like her parents all over again.. One day, she’d try to call their face to memory and realize she couldn’t anymore. The thought had her eyes stinging with tears and she wiped at her eyes, scowling about it.

She just didn’t want to forget him or lose him too and now that he was gone, despite him diligently keeping in touch, she was so afraid that very thing was going to happen.

“Ya there, Janey?”

“Yeah. I was just thinkin.. Ask away.” Jane sat up and took a deep breath or two. This happened, it was a fact of life. Sooner or later, she reminded herself, even the best of friends drifted away from each other. It sucked and it was sad, but it was true.

And she was most likely going to lose him before she ever got to tell him just how special he was to her and how much she loved him, faults and all.

“Ya trust me?”

“That’s a stupid fucking question, Mox. You know I trust you. Probably one hell of a lot more than I trust anyone else.” Jane answered quickly, wondering what made him ask that.

“I need ya to go to our place. Saturday.”

“But you were saying a minute ago you wanted me to go to the stupid fucking prom too.. What do you want me to do, Mox…” Jane trailed off and he chuckled. “You said ya didn’t wanna go to prom. So, I thought maybe if ya went somewhere you were comfortable instead, might make ya feel better.”

… it’s only gonna remind me you’re not here, but okay.. Jane almost said it aloud, but she didn’t dare. Instead, she agreed to go to their spot on Saturday night at 6. And given that her grandma had already given her a ‘free pass’ for the night, Jane decided that maybe she could just get ready like she planned to go to prom, go to their little spot down by the docks and change somewhere in a bathroom. Why Mox wanted her to go, she had no idea, but it certainly seemed urgent.

( SATURDAY NIGHT )

“Okay, grandma. I’m heading out.”

“Wait, I want to get a picture of you, sweetie.”

Jane tapped her foot against the floor but she smiled, nodded and let her grandmother get a picture of her. She felt guilty for not just telling the woman she wasn’t going to prom, but she was going to wander around the docks, she knew it wouldn’t matter but her grandma would worry the entire time, but she also knew that she might disappoint the older woman.

That was the last thing Jane wanted to ever do was to disappoint her grandma.

After her grandma got another picture or two and hugged her, Jane set out, walking quickly, cursing the stupid heels and the wind and the fact that the stupid dress didn’t have any sleeves at all and herself for not bringing a jacket.

She hadn’t even been able to grab a change of clothing, her grandmother had wanted to hover close, to reminisce about her own prom and how her grandpa saved her from the unwanted advances of some “uppity jock guy” that night. And Jane, well.. She’d had fun listening to the woman’s stories, and letting her grandma do something. They’d been talking and her grandmother admitted that it wasn’t so much wanting her to go to prom, but wanting her not to stop living just because that “sweet boy two doors down” was gone. Her grandmother had apparently been worried about her as of late, because she hadn’t been as bright or as happy as she had been before Mox left.

Jane stopped to lean against a factory and leaned down, taking off the stupid heels, glaring at them as she rubbed her foot.

It was almost 8 now and she was within sight of the docks. 

Someone was standing there, their back facing her.

In a suit.

They weren’t so much standing there still as they were pacing a little. Jane almost just turned and left whoever it was to their pacing, but then, the pacing man turned to face her and when she saw him, she didn’t think or bother censoring herself, she just started to run right for him, flinging herself at him as soon as she reached him. Mox wrapped his arms around her, easily lifting her off her bare feet, breathing in the scent of her shampoo because God knew he’d missed it the entire time he’d been away.

“Mox? Is this why you kept tryin to make me go to prom?”

All Mox could do was shrug and stare at her. “Fuck..”

“What’s wrong?” Jane cocked her head to the side, looking up at her friend. Mox blurted it out before he could stop himself.

“Always thought ya were beautiful but goddamn..” he mumbled quietly, rubbing the back of his head as he stared down at her.

Jane almost laughed, thinking he was just kidding her, but the look in his eyes stopped her in her tracks. He dug around in the pockets of the stupid suit, swearing, almost panicking when he thought he might have left the box with the necklace inside on the bus he’d gotten off of earlier, but finally, he found it and pulled it out.

“I got ya somethin.”

“Jon…”

“Shh.. There’s somethin I been wanting to say. If I don’t say it now, I won’t.” Mox was doing it again, the pacing and mumbling thing he tended to do when angry or nervous. Jane reached out, stepping in front of him and stopping him where he stood. “Say it then, Mox. You know you can tell me anything.”

“I love ya. I love ya so goddamn much and goin away, it wasn’t cos I wanted t’ leave ya, ya gotta know that. It was cos one day, I wanted to… I bought ya this. I saw it and I remembered how upset ya were when ya lost the one like it ya mom gave ya.” he held out the box and Jane opened it, staring at the rose gold heart shaped locket that was almost identical to the one her mom always wore when she was alive. She wiped at her eyes and for a second, his face fell. 

Why was she about to cry?

“I fucked up.”

“No, no. No. This is.. It’s perfect and it’s beautiful and I..”

Words were failing her at the moment, so she rose to tiptoe, tugging at the tie that he hadn’t even tied right, pulling his mouth down to her own, pulling him into as deep a kiss as she could. Mox deepened it even more, gripping at her lower back, holding her up as best as he could. 

“Ya what?”


“I love you too. I always have.”

“I was gonna take ya to that one real fancy restaurant.. If ya hungry?” Mox broke the kiss to ask and Jane gave a soft laugh, nodding.

Chapter Text

“ This blind date was a bad idea. You know my luck, this is going to end badly. Either it’ll be awkward as hell or he’ll be a self absorbed jackass like Tom or I’ll drink way too much red wine and throw up all over the guy…” Vanessa could feel her best friend giving her the eye, so she trailed off after finishing weakly, “I’m just saying, it was stupid of me, letting you guys talk me into making a stupid dating profile. I suck at this and I attract the worst…”

“We accept the love we think we deserve. Just trust me. Tonight is going to be great.” Donna replied to her friend’s rambling. “Now the text said he’d be the guy in the black blazer… I wonder..” Donna’s eyes darted around the nightclub, particularly the VIP area, because that’s where Pierre, the guy she’d set her best friend up with tended to prefer hanging out when he came to this particular nightclub.

As Donna was scouring the VIP section, Vanessa’s eyes were also darting around, searching for any sort of an exit she could use if the date went south like so many of her others tended to. She spotted the man in the black blazer hanging towards one of the side doors and she swallowed hard.

“Wish me luck, Donna.”

“Huh?” Donna had just spotted Pierre, her friend’s blind date for the evening and she was just about to wave him over to their table and introduce Vanessa to him, but Vanessa was standing and moving quickly through the crowd towards the back of the club.

“Shit, she’s bolting. I knew she’d bolt.” Donna stood too, but Pierre reached the table just as she did and he let out a low approving whistle. “You look sexy tonight.”

Vanessa spotted the man again, just about to step out into the alley, and she tapped his shoulder cautiously.

Digger Harkness nearly jumped out of his skin and swearing, he whirled around. He’d been prepared to either throw a punch and run or chew out whomever had come up on him like they had, but all that changed as soon as he saw her standing there.

The girl from the dance studio just down from the bank he’d been casing -and had coincidentally just robbed, hence the need to steal someone’s jacket in the cloak room and try to hide out in the crowd until the cops were long gone. The one he’d spent way too much time lurking in the hallway watching after he’d gotten done casing the bank for the day.

“Wow… I.. Hi. You look nothing like Donna said you would. I’m Vanessa… Your blind date?”

Digger raised a brow and he started to say something, to clear up whatever it was she thought, but something inside him decided better of it. Instead, he leaned in a little, chuckling.

“What? Were y’ expectin someone taller, luv?” he asked, going into full on Boomerang charmer mode, something he hadn’t done in a while. Though she wouldn’t know it.

Vanessa gave a quiet giggle and shrugged. He towered over her -and it wouldn’t matter anyhow, she wasn’t very big on judging by appearance alone. He seemed excited.

Or maybe he was nervous?

Digger leaned in, muttering against her ear, “Do y’ want t’ dance?”

“I’d love that.”

His thought was that if he kept moving, if he kept himself towards the back of the club, then any cops who may come into the club searching for him wouldn’t see him and he wouldn’t have to pass up the chance to spend time with Vanessa. When she agreed to dance with him, Digger was quick to pull her close, keeping his back to the front of the club.

Something seemed off but Vanessa wasn’t too concerned with it. After all, this blind date had already beaten the others she’d been on as of late. The guy seemed nice enough, if not a little fidgety.

When his hand migrated down, gripping and squeezing her ass to hold her closer, she rested her face against his chest and he made this quiet noise, kind of like a groan.

That rough hand gripped at her body tighter and she sucked in a ragged breath as the end result was her, being rubbed right against his muscular frame. She tilted her head to look up at him and he leaned down a little, muttering quietly against her lips, “Havin a good time?”

“I am.”

“Me too.”

Just as he caught sight of the cops talking to the doorman, he swore to himself quietly. 

“Think y’ might want t’ leave with me? Go for a walk?”

“I’d like that.” Vanessa let him lead her out of the club and he did so in a hurry. It was almost enough that she asked what the hurry was, but something told her that the less she knew, the better. She’d promised to at least try to give this blind date a chance, and so far, she’d been pleasantly surprised. Once they were outside in the alley, Digger pulled her against him, his arms going around her because he could see her shivering a little in the cold night air. He finally wound up shrugging off the black blazer and draping it around her shoulders as he stared at her for a few seconds, not saying anything.

“Is everything okay? You seemed kinda… Nervous?” Vanessa asked the question before she could stop herself and she felt a wave of relief wash over her when he was quick to reassure, “Oh yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Just not all ‘at into crowds.” as he slipped his arm around her and they started to walk down the alley.

“Oh god, me either. I had to be talked into coming on our blind date tonight. I’m a disaster.”

Digger shook his head and chuckled quietly. He’d feel bad for the man who was supposed to be on a date with her, but honestly, he couldn’t be bothered to do so. Everything happened for a reason.

Or so Digger was choosing to believe.

“ Yer not.”

“You have no idea.”

“Well, I’m willin t’ bet yer not. And I plan t’ find out.” Digger pulled her closer against his side. Sirens screamed past the end of the alley and out of habit, Digger pressed against the wall and pulled her against him, Vanessa was now looking at him with a raised brow.

Digger shrugged and explained in the simplest terms, “ I’m not a fan of authority.”

“Ooh, a bad boy.” Vanessa wanted to kick herself, she barely knew this guy and here she was, flirting like this. Digger chuckled and leaned down slightly, staring intently at her mouth, “Y’ like bad boys, hmm?”

“Maybe.”

“Then yer really goin t’ have fun. Let’s get goin.”

“Where?” Vanessa asked as he chuckled, leaning in closer, pressing the side of his finger into her soft red lips, “It’s a surprise, luv. We’ve got all th’ time in th’ world. Let’s just get lost, yeah?”

Chapter Text

The sweet and slightly tangy scent was back again and it had Mox tensing all over, pacing the hallway and clenching then unclenching his fists. He’d never felt more like a caged animal than he did this very moment.

 

Mox didn’t fucking like it. Oh, he liked the comfort knowing that he did have a mate and that he finally knew where she was and she was close.. It was the feeling like a caged animal that Mox couldn’t stand, that had him seething.

 

He’d been trying to shove it out all day but he’d yet to actually succeed. Trying to follow the scent trail to find her was futile, he always seemed to get wherever she’d been as she’d just left the area.

 

Oh, he had his suspicions about who she was. And even more suspicions about why she was kept so scarce, dangled just within his reach. These suspicions were confirmed almost the second the scent started to get really strong and Mox’s mouth began to water as fangs pricked at his gums, threatening to puncture through skin.

 

His cock was so hard it fucking hurt to breathe.

Mox knew exactly what this meant and he knew exactly why if he were to try and follow his nose again, he’d just miss her, again.

 

And frankly?

It was really starting to bring forth Mox’s inner animal. And Mox wasn’t in the mood to reign it in either.

 

Someone was staring at him, he could feel their eyes.

He turned and the scent of her got so fucking strong. He sniffed the air and bit back a groan as his eyes met hers. She kept staring, biting her lip and fidgeting. He picked right up on the unease in her scent and he felt that Alpha kicking in, taking over. Whoever had her uneasy was going to have hell to pay at his hands. He stopped himself, took a deep breath and tried to rationalize what was going on right now, all the while, staring right at her. He was honestly afraid to look away, afraid he’d look back and she’d be gone again.

 

… fuck… i’m done for… i’d kill for her.. Mine… all mine…

 

He took a step forward, intending to make his way over to her side, his rightful place, but Shawn Spears stepped between them and stared him down, arms folded over his chest.

 

“The fuck do you think you’re about to do, huh?” Shawn chuckled and shook his head. Behind him, he felt her tense up, felt her tugging at his hand. 

 

“Not now.” Shawn’s words were sharp when he addressed Mox’s omega and Mox saw the way she flinched. He growled quietly, shoving himself against the guy. “I’m about to talk to her. Somethin you apparently don’t fuckin know how to do. My question to you, man is..” he shoved at Shawn again, “who the fuck do you think you are, huh? Keepin her from me.” 

 

“Keeping her… From you. That’s rich, considering she’s mine.”

 

Mox’s eyes happened to settle on her and he shook his head, snorting as if he refused to accept what Shawn was saying. Which he did, with every fiber of his being. He couldn’t help but notice the way she seemed tense around Shawn. Almost like she didn’t want to be near the guy, let alone, be trotted out like arm candy or a trophy.

 

The thought of it sickened him.

The thought of it had him wanting to rip Shawn Spears limb from limb. If she weren’t standing there, he most likely would have. 

 

His Omega was the only tether keeping Shawn Spears tied to this mortal plane. But just as soon as she’s somewhere safe, bet your entire ass, Mox found himself thinking, I’m gonna fuck you up. They’re gonna need special qualifications to identify the body down at the morgue when I’m done with you.

 

He never said a word, just calmly shoved at Shawn again. Shawn shoved back, not even bothering to move her out of harms way. It fell to Mox to do or say something to get her the fuck away from the fight that was about to take place.

 

“Hey, uh Blondie?”

 

She seemed to both perk up and tense at being directly spoken to by him. It really gave Mox a clear picture about how shit worked between Shawn and Mox’s kept Omega. The thought only made Mox clench his fists tighter. His reasons for snapping were growing more and more and his reasons to stay calm, while greater, were shrinking with each second that passed.

He got the sense about his Omega.. She was the shy sort. Timid, probably easily spooked. And it didn’t take an idiot to guess how Shawn might have picked right up on that fact and somehow worked his way in, used it to his advantage.

 

And that only further fuelled the rage within.

 

All Grace could do was tense up and watch the growing confrontation in concern. When Mox addressed her, she shifted her gaze to him and swallowed hard, trying to get her mouth and brain to work together.

 

… say something… She coaxed herself, but it didn’t work. She was still caught in the grips of her shock that she had a true Alpha, he was here and from the way he acted and the heavy notes of concern and desire his scent held, what Shawn claimed -that she wouldn’t be wanted, was a blatant lie, most likely cooked up by the man to keep her from waiting it out and trying to hope against hope that her true Alpha presented himself.

 

Knowing that, she just found herself disgusted with what was going on currently. All she wanted was to go to Mox, to be with him. To give herself over to him completely without hesitation. 

 

She tried to push past Shawn, to go to Mox, but Shawn reached out, grabbing for her hand, jerking her right back behind him. He turned and eyed her, glaring. “You belong to me. You better remember that.”

 

“ I don’t belong to anyone.” Grace attempted to be assertive, but Shawn laughed and then mumbled in a lower tone, “You will, soon enough.” 

 

“The hell I will.” Grace answered, shrinking away from him when he stepped closer. The only reason she even agreed to this stupid gimmick in the first place is the higher ups not wanting unmated Omegas roaming wild and free in the back, playing havoc on the unmated Alphas and causing chaos.

 

If she’d known Mox was her true Alpha, - or that he’d even have been a little interested in the whole concept of a bond like he apparently was come to find out , she never would have just agreed to valet Shawn. 

 

If she could turn back the clock.. Knowing what she was aware of now, she never would have even given Shawn a second glance because Mox was quite literally everything she’d ever hoped for in an Alpha and then some. She locked eyes with Mox and Mox nodded to the side of where they all stood, trying to get her to move.

 

She tried to but Shawn, being the slippery eel he was known for, moved her right in front of him, smirking just as soon as Mox immediately stepped back just to keep himself from hurting his Omega. Shawn gave a dark chuckle at the action and scoffed. “I thought you were reckless, Mox. I thought you didn’t give a fuck about anyone but you. Don’t tell me you’re gonna go weak now, hmm? This is gonna be easier than I thought.”

 

Mox growled, stepping right back up. The movement put him right against her which was good, it meant he could get hands on her, get her out of the way and make one hundred percent certain that she was safe and remained safe.

 

Mox glanced down at the blonde Omega nestled between himself and Shawn and he boldly reached down, grabbing hold of her hips, pulling her closer to himself, glaring at Shawn the whole time, daring the other Alpha to do something.

 

Shawn stepped closer, every intention of doing the same thing, but Mox was quicker and he carefully plucked his Omega from between the two, raising to full height, smirking at Shawn as he did so. A quiet growl came from both males and Mox leaned in a little.

 

“Know what, Spears? I think I’m just gonna take her. I mean, she’s mine anyway. And you treat her like shit. She’s shakin she’s so goddamn scared of you.”

 

“It’s this.. The fighting.. That’s not helping...” Grace spoke up at last, even though her voice was almost a whisper. The whole confrontation was making her uncomfortable, the fact was only slightly mitigated by Mox staying close and providing her with just a little calm. “Definitely him though.. The way I know he’s gonna get angry later.” it slipped out before she could stop it, sealing Shawn Spears’ fate.

 

Shawn’s place in Grace’s life was reaching a speedy expiration. His days as her so called Alpha were numbered. If Mox had his way about how things played out, it was all going to end tonight.

 

Tully showed up before the fight could really even get started, whispering to Shawn. When Shawn tried to shove through Mox to grab her, Mox shoved him down onto the floor, leaning over Shawn, hauling him up by the collars of his vest, sneering in his face. “You ain’t gonna lay a hand on her. Ya not even gonna fuckin look at her. I’ll fuckin kill ya. Get lost you little bitch.” Mox let him fall back to the floor and Shawn sprang up, hitting Mox in the head from behind when he turned and he was more focused on Grace than he was on Shawn and any attempt at retaliation he might make.

 

Mox leaned into her, cupping her cheeks, staring down into her eyes. “Ya gonna be okay.”

Grace managed a nod and clung to Mox to stay on her feet when Shawn crashed into the two from behind. Mox growled quietly, whispered into her ear, “My changin room.. It’s down the hall. Get ya ass in there. I won’t be a second tops.”

 

“Mox, no..”

“Go, damn it. I’m gonna fuckin rip his head off. I don’t want you out here in the middle.”

 

His tone was firm enough to send a coating of slick rushing down her inner thighs and after a second, she was finally tapped on the shoulder by Riho, who grabbed hold of her wrist and muttered quietly about needing to get her out of harms way, whisking her off and away down the hall.

 

Mox whirled around and grabbed a chair in one fluid motion. The chair met Shawn’s head and Shawn grabbed at it next, trying to shove it into Mox’s midsection. The fight was just reaching that point of out of control when Cody ran down the hall, with some of the others, quick to break the two up.

 

“I want him in that ring! Tonight! He’s tryin to take my Omega.”

“You want me, Spears? You fuckin got me. And you won’t even be alive to breathe on her when I’m through with you.”

 

“So, you two are getting a match tonight. To settle this. Until then, Mox, Grace stays with you.” Cody spoke up, looking from one man to the other. Mox nodded, smirking at Shawn, reaching out to give the man one last good shove. “Works for me, boss. I’ll see you tonight, sunshine.” Mox snarled at Spears before stalking off, heading in the direction of his changing room… He had to make sure Grace was okay. If that asshole had done anything to her and Mox found out, then tonight, Mox was going to make doubly sure he ended Shawn Spears.

 

Shawn Spears’ days were numbered. He was quite literally, a dead man walking.

Chapter Text

Fraternization was frowned upon.

 Especially, Drew thought to himself, when the fraternization in question involved the bosses girl.. However, a silly little thing like rules - or her dating his boss for that matter,  hadn’t ever honestly stopped Drew McIntyre before and Drew wasn’t honestly willing to let it start now, either. 

He had to have her all to himself. Fuck the rules, fuck the red tape. Fuck the fact that he kind of worked for her boyfriend as an enforcer. Her boyfriend didn’t deserve her, didn’t know how to handle her. Didn’t know what she needed or even liked.

Her boyfriend’s attention was always on making money… Or sneaking around behind her back with any number of bimbos under his employ. 

Drew simply couldn’t fucking take it anymore. So tonight, he decided. Something was going to be done. He was going to make his presence known. It was simple really.. He’d seen the way she’d stare at him when she thought no one was watching. And the little accidental brushes against him in the elevator… Or the seeming to appear wherever he happened to be, like two nights ago when she wound up in the gym, watching him train for an upcoming prize fight. That whisper quiet voice she spoke to him with, the way it kept playing back over in his head at night whenever he’d lie down to sleep.

He was long past the point of ignoring the situation in the hopes that it’d resolve itself. Long past pretending not to notice all of the above. Long past pretending to barely notice Adele whenever she was around.

No, he’d made up his mind.

Adele was going to be his.

He caught sight of her walking into the club and the smirk came easily. This time, when her eyes darted around the crowded club, he didn’t busy himself or make it seem as if he didn’t notice. No, this time, when those big brown eyes settled on him, he was leaned casually against the wall staring right back at her.

Her cheeks turned pale pink and when her tongue slowly rolled over her lips, he chuckled and rubbed his chin.

He saw the widening of her eyes when he dared to wink at her. Before he could even think about making his way over, his boss was beside him, nudging.

“I need you to do somethin for me.”

“Wot?” Drew’s tone may or may not have come out impatient and irritated, then again, the guy did have the worst sense of timing ever and he always had. Drew tore his gaze off of where Adele had been standing seconds ago and fixed them on his boss. “Wot do yah want?”

“I’ve got a little private party goin on up on the fourth floor. Adele insisted on comin tonight. I need you to keep her busy. Whatever you’ve gotta do. She just doesn’t need to come up to the fourth floor. Are we clear?”

 Just say it’s an orgy and bloody go… Drew resisted the urge to say the words aloud, but then it hit him.. This was it, this was his shot.

This had to be a sign.

When Drew smirked and chuckled and made a remark about his boss’s plans for the night, his boss glared and repeated himself, rolling his eyes and wandering away to find the three women he’d most likely be taking up to the fourth floor. 

Drew watched impatiently, waiting on his boss to make a hasty retreat and almost the second he had, Drew started to search the crowd of club goers for Adele. He spotted her over by the bar, staring out at the crowded dance floor wistfully.

He made his way over, sitting on the stool beside the one she had her back turned to and he leaned in, boldly grazing his mouth right against the outer edge of her ear.

Adele jumped, barely restrained a whimper she felt at the sudden contact of rough lips against her ear. She turned, tearing her eyes off the dance floor.

Just like she thought, the second they arrived earlier, her boyfriend immediately excused himself.

… you know what he’s doing… and you know that two can play at that game… so why not do what you want to do, what you’ve been wanting to do for weeks now, hmm?… the thought came and for once, Adele didn’t bother shoving it out of her head.

She was getting more than a little sick of being ignored, pushed aside for the club or his side chicks or his shady business deals made in dark alleys. She was getting sick of excuses and empty promises and having to rely on her battery powered best friend and every little run in with Drew McIntyre she’d ever had since the man started to work for her boyfriend to get her through lonely nights whenever her boyfriend was out God only knew where.

It was her turn to have a little fun.

She turned to face Drew and swallowed hard at the look in his eyes. He was staring at her with this intense look. He leaned in, reaching out, taking the beer he’d just ordered. He took a long pull from the bottle, not breaking his gaze once. “Yer boyfriend assigned me to yah.”

The tone in his voice, all rumbly and low and gravelly.. It had her clenching her thighs and barely managing not to whimper in response, especially when coupled with him leaning in closer, chuckling right in her ear as he lazily trailed long thick digits over her bare arms, tracing designs into her skin. She swallowed hard and finally, after about two or three seconds, she managed a passably intelligent response. 

“That sounds about right.” Adele sighed and shook her head. She didn’t even feel as upset as she used to by her boyfriend’s antics anymore. If she weren’t afraid of what he might do, she’d most likely leave.

“He doesn’t realize ‘at’s th’ exact thing ah wanted ‘im t’ do.” Drew said it boldly and as calm as could be. Inside, he was anything but. His thoughts ranged from just getting her out on the dance floor, that petite little body of hers pressing -no rubbing, right against him… To sneaking her out the back way, lifting her up and pinning her against the wall as he slipped his hand up the bottom of her dress, rubbing and squeezing her cunt.

She licked her lips and Drew nearly lost his cool and his focus, but to look at the man, you’d never tell. 

His admission shocked her to say the least. And under that intense gaze, she felt her legs turning to rubber and her thighs getting so slippery that crossing her legs only made them slip off of each other. The way he kept staring at her… If she had to compare it to anything, it’d be the way one looked at a present they were anxiously waiting to unwrap.

She couldn’t recall a time ever that she’d been looked at like that. The thought had her swallowing hard again and struggling to hold his gaze -and not fidget while doing it. The air between them was so thick it absolutely crackled with unspoken tension.. Sweltering heat.

He raised the bottle to his lips and took a few more sips, letting his words sink in for her, just to see what she’d do. He chuckled quietly and leaned in, their foreheads touching. “Wot’s ‘a matter? Cat got yer tongue?”

“N-no.” her voice wavered a little and despite her knowing this was not going to go well, her boyfriend could come up and see them at any second, Adele couldn’t resist leaning in closer and mumbling “Not at all. What’s your plan?”

Drew inched in closer. Those rough lips brushed right against her own when he responded, “T’ keep yah so distracted ‘at y’ don’t give a damn about ‘im. Is et workin so far?”

Adele’s breath caught in her throat as her lips brushed against him and she managed to muster the nerve to dart her tongue out and trail it teasingly over the rough surface of his mouth as she answered, “I think so, yeah.”

Drew’s hand gripped her thigh and his other hand gripped the back of her neck as he leaned in and completely closed the distance between their mouths, the hand on the back of her neck tangling in her hair and tugging her mouth greedily against his as deep as possible. The hand on her thigh started to slowly trail upward, underneath the hem of the little black dress and he hissed quietly as his tongue tangled with hers and her hand found it’s way down to the bulge strained against his favorite pair of jeans, rubbing idly. “Already drippin for me. Ah like ‘at.” Drew’s teeth hooked on her lower lip as he practically growled the statement, his hand moving up her thigh, coming to rest palm down over a pair of very soaked silk panties, rubbing her cunt. When she started to rub herself against the flat of his hand, he chuckled, breaking the kiss to breathe. She was rubbing her hand over the growing bulge in his jeans a little faster, more insistently and when she whimpered, the man snapped.

He pulled her into his lap, removing his hand in favor of letting her rub herself against an aching erection. Teeth connected with lip again and he bit down, tugging until he knew her lips were going to be bruised under the weight of his kisses and bites.

Oh, bet your ass… Drew McIntyre wanted to leave his mark behind. He wanted it known what he’d done.

Adele was well past the point of worrying, caring even if they got caught. She rocked against the bulge strained at his jeans and gripped his shirt, pulling herself closer, burying her lips in the skin along the side of his neck. He gripped her body to hold her in place on his lap and bucked into her from below. A quiet groan came as she moaned against his throat, “Get me out of here.”

“Yer sure yah want ta do ‘at?”

“Positive. If he can have his fun, so can I.”

Drew stood, not bothering to untangle Adele from his body and he strode out the door and into the night in search of the nearest remote place.

He was finally going to have her all to himself. Phase one of his little plan had been a success. He couldn’t wait to feel her body pinned beneath his, to tear off the clothes she wore, to leave his marks all over her.

Something deep down told him she couldn’t wait either…

Chapter Text

“I’m going to tweet this to him. This is hands down, the best sketch you’ve ever done. And when you get watercolor to it? It’s going to be amazing.” 

 

Sylvie ignored her friend in favor of stepping back and staring intently at the sketchbook page propped on her easel. She was focused, trying to spot any differences between the photo her friend had chosen her to draw and color in with watercolor and the sketch itself.

 

And yeah, maybe she was a little more than curious about the unknown subject of her piece. 

 

“What’d you say this guy’s name was again?”

“It’s actually Fergal or something but he’s known as Finn. He’s an Irish wrestler.”

 

“Oh. That explains it then.”

“Explains what?”

“Why he looks familiar. I’ve probably seen him on television as I flipped past to find something worth watching on.”

 

Deep down, Sylvie got this nagging feeling that wasn’t the reason the man in the photo felt familiar to her at all, but she chose to ignore it. There had to be a logical reason. 

 

“That’s probably it. But what if it wasn’t? What if he’s like.. Linked to you somehow?” her friend asked the question as she hopped up onto a hand carved table top and grabbed for the plate of grapes nearby, taking one and throwing it upwards, catching it in her mouth.

 

Sylvie rolled her eyes and laughed. “Are you hinting that there’s a reason you chose him? Or is this about my little beauty mark?” Sylvie’s eyes darted down to her innner wrist on reflex and she stared at the marking.

 

Soulmates weren’t real. Happily ever afters were something reserved for fairy tales - or  erotic novels, and of course, massages if you were inclined to pay a little extra and knew the right people.

 

Every hardened cynic worth their salt knew that. Sylvie learned it at a young age. She sighed quietly, trailing her fingertip over the raised spot of flesh, her eyes darting to the sketchbook page.

 

“I’m just saying.. Your marking has significance to his whole demon gimmick.”

 

“So you did have a reason for choosing him.”

“Kind of.”

 

Sylvie gave her friend a teasing dirty look and wandered over, taking a cluster of grapes, popping one into her mouth as she hopped onto the table top to sit herself. She stared at that damned sketch for a few more seconds and gave a quiet laugh. “Don’t you dare tweet this to him.”

 

“I’m going to. He needs to see it! People need to know how amazing you are.”

“I’m not.”

“You never know, he might even buy it off you.”

 

Sylvie eyed her best friend and gave an exasperated huff, blowing some hair out of her face as she did. “Fine, whatever. I’m telling you, the guy probably won’t even bother looking. C’mon. Let’s go down to the bar down the street and grab a few drinks.”

 

“Yeah.”

 

As soon as her friend was out in the hallway, Sylvie walked over to the sketchpad page and found herself trailing her fingertips over it. Shaking her head and laughing at herself, she walked to the light switch, turning off the dim overhead lights and then she walked out of her apartment.

 

And she put it all out of her head until later in the week…

 

The morning started off like any other, she was up at the break of dawn with Theory of A Deadman blasting from her phone as she hopped around her kitchen, making herself breakfast and feeding her cat, Kierian.

 

She almost didn’t hear her phone ringing over the current song playing, The Truth Is I Lied About Everything, but she happened to see the screen lit up. She raised a brow because normally, her best friend Norma slept in until well after lunch.

 

“He saw it! And he dm’ed me about it!”

“Hang on, what now?” Sylvie nearly choked on scrambled eggs and bacon as her friend explained what she’d done and then what happened in the hours following, with Finn reaching out via DM.

 

“He wants to see more of your artwork, girl!”

“Norma, no.”

“Sylvie, come on! This is huge!”

 

“This is going to be a huge disaster, thats’ what this is.” Sylvie stroked her purring cat’s dark fur as she made the exasperated face at her phone. The cat purred, nuzzling against her.

 

“She’s so silly, Kierian.”

“I’m not silly. I’m being serious.” Norma was still hell bent on insisting that this all meant something, that this was all somehow part of a greater universal plan. Sylvie yawned and rolled her eyes, rubbing at her temple. “What are you doing up anyway, woman? You didn’t finish working the club til three am. You don’t even roll over most days until lunch when I stop by to drop off Ki and drag your ass out of bed and out for food.” 

 

“Stop changing the subject. I linked him to your art blog thing.”

Sylvie groaned, lightly hitting her head against the tabletop as she did so. “Why the fuck even? Norma, why would you do that? Now he’s gonna know I’m weird. You know how weird all my drawings are, how dark themed I like things.”

 

“Hello, the man’s gimmick is that of a demon possessed wrestler.”

 

“So?”

“So, I thought it’d be easier than asking you for permission and having you do something fucking dumb like deleting your art blog. This is huge, Syl.”

 

“The guy probably isn’t even interested in art, Norm. You know how those  type are.”

 

“I can assure you, Syl.. This guy? Not like the kind of guys you’re normally interested in.”

 

“Either way, I highly doubt anything else happens. But it is kinda neat.”

 

Norma had to get off the phone and this left Sylvie alone with her thoughts. She found herself standing in front of the table, staring down at the sketch as she gnawed on the corner of a piece of burnt toast.

 

“ I mean, c’mon.. The guy is interested in a picture drawn of himself. He’s probably every bit as self absorbed as any other celebrity type. He’ll probably take one look at my art blog and realize that I’m fucking weird.”

 

----

Finn stared at the blog page, not really blinking or moving much. Or saying much. Maybe that’s what prompted Seth to nudge him, nodding to the blue website on his screen as he cringed. “You’re on there? Man.. No. Do yourself a favor and get the entire fuck off that garbage site.”

 

Finn didn’t answer, instead, he stared intently at the landscape sketch.

Every time he focused, he’d notice something new hidden in the sketch. Now, it was the shadows of the trees, the way they seemed to twist and extend almost like outstretched arms.

 

It drew his eyes into the center of the sketch, where a medieval maiden and what appeared to be some kind of cloaked dark figure stood, holding hands, staring up at one another.

 

Seth coughed and rubbed his head, taking a bite of the apple he’d snuck aboard the plane and he tried again. Nodding to the screen he glanced at the bright splashes of red leading right towards the center of the sketch on it’s bottom portion.

 

“Is ‘at supposed to be blood? Kinda morbid..”

 

Finn ignored the observation in favor of scrolling further down. When he stumbled across a written post, he chuckled quietly and even though it felt wrong, it felt like he was reading someone’s private diary, he couldn’t stop himself from reading.

 

The post was titled “Single Woman Seeks Good Man” and it was this long rollercoaster ride of possibly the worst date a person could have ever gone on. By the end of the post, Finn was feeling this strange sense of connection to the unknown artist slash blogger. Like he knew her like the back of his hand. His eyes darted down and he casually dragged the tip of his finger over a spot of angry red raised flesh.

 

It appeared last night.

 

It didn’t hurt or anything, it was just kind of… There, for lack of a better word.

Finn dragged his gaze off of the spot on his skin and continued to scroll through the blog.

 

She made absolutely no mention of wrestling. For all intents and purposes, she didn’t even seem to be a fan. Her friend, the one who tweeted the sketch she’d done of him was. 

 

He stumbled through a few similar personal posts to the first one he’d read and he took a deep breath, making himself look away from the laptop as he stretched his arms and popped his knuckles.

 

“Well?” Seth asked.

“Well what?”

“You were obviously zoned out there, man. Obviously, it was interesting. What’d you find?”

 

“Nothin. Nothin that’s any ‘f yer business.” Finn shut the laptop and started to cram it back down into his backpack and Seth chuckled. 

 

“Whatever you say, man. Hey, did you ever find out who the chick was? The one who drew that badass picture of you?”

 

“That’s whose blog I was lookin at.”

 

“Oh really now. Why didn’t you like.. Send her a message or somethin, shit.”

 

Finn shrugged, rubbed his hand over the back of his head as he thought about it. Sending a message wasn’t a bad idea. 

 

“And wot would I say, hmm?”

“Tell her you liked her artwork. I don’t know why, the shit’s creepy as hell and kinda morbid, but that’s a start. Introduce yourself. I don’t know, man. Just say something, because you just spent three out of four hours on this flight scrolling her damn blog.”

 

He did have a good point.

Finn dug his laptop back out and pulled up the site again. He went straight to her blog and he hovered the pointer over the ask box, almost queuing it up several times and yet somehow, not able to bring himself to.

 

… what if she’s like th’ other women I meet?...

Somehow, even as the thought occurred to him, he had this inexplicable feeling deep down that he was completely wrong.

 

Seth sensed Finn’s reluctance.

“Just go for it, man.”

 

Finn cracked his knuckles again and chuckled quietly, muttering that if only it were that easy. 

 

Then again, it wasn’t as if it were that difficult, either.

 

Something inside him kept fixating, insisting he do something, reach out in some way. He put it out of his head while unboarding the flight. Then again, while he was in the Uber to go to the hotel. Then again once he’d gone out to get some food.

 

Finally, he was back in his room and settling in for the night and he found himself looking at her blog again.

 

She’d posted a new text post and his eyes scanned over it. In this one she detailed this long recurring dream she’d been having.

Finn nearly choked on his bottled water as soon as he got about midway through the post.. Where she was entering the forest, waiting on the Demon with a racing heart and sweaty palms.

 

Something stirred inside him. It hit him then, part of the reason he’d chosen the Balor gimmick.. His own oft recurring dream from childhood.

 

He was a demon, one of the ancients. He waited in the forest for his queen, a simple maiden, one of the Queen’s handmaids. He waited because the demon entity possessing him wanted to claim her for his own. To make her his queen.

 

He just always seemed to awaken just as the petite raven haired female came into sight….

 

When he finished reading the post and realized that they were having two different halves of the same dream, he sat there stunned. And finally, he clicked on the Ask.

 

----

Sylvie was wandering her semi darkened apartment with a cup of yogurt in her hand. The sketch was hanging there, taunting her. She’d gotten more information from her friend Norma earlier about this guy she’d sketched, this Finn Balor.

 

And what Norma hadn’t told her, Google had been more than happy to do.

 

She found his instagram and his twitter accounts. And reading some of his posts really gave her a deep insight to the man. It also further confirmed that sense of deja vu she’d been feeling since last Monday, when Norma printed out the photo and challenged her to sketch.

 

Something was nagging at her, about his alter persona, the demon Balor. She’d… Seen the markings somewhere.

 

She dropped the spoon when her phone started to go off, it was Tumblr, notifying her that she had an anonymous ask and the sudden noise in otherwise quiet startled her.

 

Her eyes settled briefly on the strange circular marking on the inside of her wrist and she sucked in a sharp breath.

The circular marking was bursting into color, brilliant blood red and almost obsidian black. She bit her lip as a thought occurred to her.

 

The guy she’d sketched and his demon body paint.

To confirm her hunch, she went to Google search and typed in Finn Balor, Balor.. The fourth image showed him in full body paint.. With the same patterns as the circular patch of raised flesh on her inner wrist.

 

The one that had always been there.

 

“No.. No.. This is all some kind of weird fever dream. This kind of stuff doesn’t exist.”

 

She pinched herself, swearing when it hurt like hell. Trying to put it out of her mind, she pulled up her blog and took a deep breath as she clicked on her ask box.

 

Anonymous said:

 

Hi. Yer artwork is somethin else. Very.. Intriguing. And I got a sketch y’ drew of me? I guess I just wanted t’ reach out. T’ say that yer blog definitely caught my eye. And t’ say that contrary t’ what yah ‘ave experienced, there are still good guys out ‘ere.”

 

Sylvie laughed and shook her head.

 

“Okay, Norma, there are pranks and then there’s this.. I get that you mean well and you can’t resist a good match making scheme but seriously, woman… Sometimes things are best left alone.” Sylvie muttered mostly to herself as her black cat, Kierian made it’s way over, rubbing it’s side against her cheek.

 

“Ki, c’mon furball.. Mommy’s tryin to figure out how to answer this. Aunt Norma is apparently in the mood to play pranks.”

 

The cat meowed, the meow followed by a yawn. 

 

She went to delete the ask, but something in her chose not to. Instead, she typed a simple answer.

 

“Hahaha, okay, Norma. ;P This did cheer me up though.”

 

---

Finn watched the blog, waiting. Had she seen the question?

 

“She probably deleted et. I can’t blame ‘er. Just goin offa th’ picture of ‘er, she probably gets all sorts a weirdos.”

 

He’d just refreshed and he saw it.

 

He chuckled as soon as he realized that she seemed to think Norma was playing tricks. He knit his brows together in concern as soon as he read the last portion of her short answer.

 

And it prompted him to reach out again.

 

---

Sylvie had been just about to shut down her laptop for the night, but she found herself checking her blog again. Sure enough, she had another anonymous question.

 

It had her rubbing the back of her neck and biting her lip.

 

Anonymous said: 

“ Tis isn’t yer friend. It’s really me. The person y’ drew a sketch of. I can prove it, if y’ willin ta let me.” 

 

After a few seconds, she came up with a clever way to figure out whether this person was an imposter or whether he was legit who he said he was. She answered his question with her own little challenge.

 

“My instagram is @sylviejo84.. If you’re really who you say you are, message me on there. Maybe I’m curious.”

 

Not even Norma had her personal instagram. She rarely used the thing anymore, she took most of her commissions from Tumblr or Patreon as of late and she had a very set client list for the most part.

 

So, if she got any activity on her personal -and mostly private, Instagram in the next few minutes, she’d know.

 

---

Finn almost just put away his laptop and went to bed, but something in him was compelled. He had to see if she’d answered his second ask. When he realized that not only had she answered, she’d given him an actual way to contact her beyond actually taking the time to make a blog on the blogging platform - which was… not something he was eager to do, he’d heard the rumors about the place and it just didn’t seem like his cup of tea frankly ,  he jotted down the instagram handle she’d given and after doing so, he went to Instagram.

 

He choked on the sip of water taken when he pulled it up and the first picture he saw was an actual picture of her.

It was a few years old, but still a really good one. No filters or dog ears or anything in sight. The only artsy thing she’d done to it was to make the colors of the fall foliage in the trees surrounding her more vibrant, darker hues of orange, deeper  yellows and reds. He rubbed the back of his head and sitting his laptop he stood, pacing the hotel room.

 

He had to see more, know more.

 

It was in his head now, he had to keep going.

 

Naturally, he found himself sliding into her DM’s.

 

→ Hi. I don’t normally do stuff like ‘is.

→ There’s just somethin… familiar… about y’.

 

---

Sylvie had just settled into her bed and turned on Ghost Adventures and she was beginning to think that yeah, Norma had been playing a trick on her earlier to cheer her up.. But then her phone dinged loudly.

 

It was a notification from the Instagram she’d given out.

 

She’d gotten a message or two. So she opened the app and read the older messages, answering the ones still relevant. Then she took a deep breath, staring at the remaining message.

 

Oh, she knew the instagram handle well by this point. She’d spent most of the day creeping it, curious about the man her best friend had her sketch.

 

She swallowed hard and took a deep breath. She still couldn’t quite get her head around him answering… Let alone, bothering to contact her.

His account was verified. From what little Sylvie did understand about the way social media worked, it meant that more than likely, he was who he said he was… Or damned good at faking it, she thought to herself, still reluctant to let go of her cynicism.

 

→ Hi?

→ I normally don’t give this out… To anyone. So I hope to fuck you’re not some roleplayer or an imposter… Sorry… 

→ There’s something familiar about you too.. And since I did that sketch of you, whoo boy.. Weirdness abounds in my life.

 

She’d barely sat down her phone just in time to react to her cat jumping on her and starting to knead at her chest while slapping it’s tail at her face like usual when her phone pinged again.

 

← Not an imposter, ‘f ‘at y’ kin be sure. It’s fine, I get it.

← Weirdness? Explain what y’ mean.

 

Sylvie took a deep breath and moved her cat down to her lap and she started to reply.

 

→ I’ve had this marking on my inner right wrist all my life. About four hours ago, it fills itself in with color? Like a tattoo? And then there are these dreams. They usually don’t hang around when I wake up, but for a week solid now, I can recall everything in them to memory perfectly.. Including what I believe to be you.. In the weird body paint you wear for your act or whatever… It’s weird, I’m weird.

 

→ skagjohaga’reoirjewoierew.

→ Sorry! I guess my cat wanted to say hello. She’s probably getting edgy, I normally let her have my phone at night, she plays this tap the mouse app?

→ I never do this but.. If you wanna actually talk… My number is ( 504) 555-5555

 

Almost as soon as Finn sent his reply, he was getting one back. He scanned the messages, chuckling quietly to himself as he raised his hand to rub the stubble lining his jaw. As he did this, his eyes happened to settle on the strange marking.

 

And his mouth hung open wide when he realized that like her message suggested, his own marking was filling in with color. He scratched his head over that one and after getting to the part of the message where she gave her phone number, he dialed it, standing to pace his hotel room.

 

---

Sylvie had just turned off the tv. She was curled up in bed, petting the cat when her phone started to ring and an international area code with an unknown number popped up on the call id screen. She answered it quickly, raising to sit in bed.

 

“Hi?”

His voice.. Holy shit, she only thought she had a thing for deep voices and thick accents. Hearing him talk was… Enough to make her bite down on her lower lip to keep from doing something stupid like whimpering.

 

“ Hi. Et’s me. Finn. Th’ guy y’ drew th’ sketch ‘f?”

 

“Y-yeah.. I’m Sylvie.”

 

He repeated her name and she felt a shiver race through her body. She took a few deep breaths in an attempt to pull herself together. 

 

“You really went through a lot of trouble to reach out. Is there anything I can do for you?”

 

“ Just knew when I saw yer blog dat I ‘ad t get t’ know y.” Finn admitted. After a long pause, he blurted out that his own marking was changing colors, to a sky blue and a deep black.

 

“That’s strange.. I.. I don’t know what to say.”

“Me either.” Finn answered, chuckling. He heard meowing and when he asked about it, Sylvie explained that she had a 4 year old black cat named Kierian. Finn chuckled and took a few deep breaths.

 

And deep down, in the back of his mind, that sense of familiarity was really starting to double. Everything about her seemed familiar. He was drawn to her.


Now, he just had to get to know her better. Hopefully, he thought to himself, this call was the start to that.

Chapter Text

Her eyes darted to the fire escape. Normally by now, he was standing there, hand raised to knock on the window. She hadn’t seen him in days and frankly, she was starting to grow increasingly worried.

 

Parts of her tried to not focus on it. Other parts of her knew that her kissing him might not have been the smartest thing to do. The man was standoffish at best. He’d made it clear in the beginning that he came to her because she was a nurse and he couldn’t exactly go in to an ER when he did whatever he did to get himself bruised, bloodied and beaten to hell and back on a recurring basis.

 

It was nothing more than that. The fact that he’d been scarce since she was stupid enough to kiss him in a moment of weakness, that probably made him seek out someone else.

 

Or that’s what she hoped.

 

“You barely know the guy, Samara. Stop worrying.” she said it to herself quietly as she busied herself with putting away her laundry and cleaning up the dishes from earlier. She’d just flopped down onto the sofa when she happened to glance at the fire escape.

 

A single red rose lie there where he usually stood.

 

She pushed open the window and stepped out, hurrying to the railing, peering down in the alley just in time to watch him turning a corner, that familiar olive colored jacket with the hood up.

 

She bent, picking up the rose, passing it under her nose and after a few seconds, she stepped back into her apartment, sinking down onto her couch. The rose sat on her coffee table and she tried to push it back in her mind, what he even left it for, why he didn’t stay. By the time she laid herself down to sleep, she’d pretty much forgotten all about it. And she’d resigned herself to the realization that she wasn’t going to get any answers.

 

But then she heard knocking.

Her first instinct was to sit up in bed and reach around, feeling for the old wooden baseball bat she kept stashed in case of a break in. Slipping out of bed, she made her way into the living room and she bit her lip as she spotted him, standing in the window, knocking.

 

She eased it open.

“It’s one am.”

 

Frank eyed her and then the bat and chuckled quietly. After a few seconds, he sighed. “Told myself it was best to stay the fuck away.”

 

“Look, if this is about me kissing you after the last time I patched you up, I’m-” he pressed his finger against her mouth, cutting off the flow of her words and stared down at her intently for what felt like hours, but was actually only a few seconds.

 

Her breath caught in her throat and he leaned in just a shade closer. “It aint.. I mean, it is, but it ain’t. What I’m doin.. It’s dangerous. I shouldn’t have ever started comin to ya.. But I couldn’t stay away. Still can’t.”

 

He was stepping away, pacing in front of her. Samara stopped him and grabbed hold of his hands. The moonlight illuminated bruises and scrapes and she sighed, nodding to the partially open window. 

 

“Whatever you’ve gotta say, you can say it while I’m stopping you from dripping blood everywhere, okay? What the hell happened this time?”

 

Deep down, she knew her question, as it was every time she asked it, was going to be met with silence. She wished he’d say something, anything to ease her mind. But she knew he wouldn’t. Frank Castle was one of those men who would rather die than ask for help… Or admit their feelings.

 

He did better with actions, not words.

 

She busied herself gathering medical supplies and Frank drummed his fingers against the tabletop, struggling with what he wanted to say, what he needed to get out, just in case things went awry when he did what he planned.

 

The words weren’t coming and he had a fucking headache.

He cleared his throat and spoke up. “About the kiss.. That’s not why I made myself scarce. I was outta town.”

 

“Oh?” Samara was surprised that he even said that much. She settled onto his knees, taking a white rag soaked in alcohol, easing it over bloody and broken skin, hissing as she did so. “ It’s okay. Look, I’m not gonna ask you for answers. I’m not going to push. I just want you to know.. I am here.. If you wanna let whatever this is that is eating you alive out.. If you want to let someone in.”

 

He stopped her hand and held it in his own, staring up at her as he nodded. “I know. And you don’t know just how much that means.”

 

“It’s okay. I get it, okay? I’m not gonna push.”

“Good.. Because if you asked me what’s goin on, darlin.. I don’t think you’d like my answer and I ain’t lyin.” Frank answered quietly, not dropping her gaze a single time. He was still holding onto her hand. She knew it wasn’t a good idea, he hadn’t taken the kiss well, or that’s how she was taking it, no matter what he said.. But she couldn’t resist attempting to cup his cheek. He let her rest her hand against it, mumbling something she couldn’t quite make out.

 

The tension in the air was thick enough to grab. Maybe that’s what prompted her to stand and move towards her coffee maker. “You look like you could use a good cup of joe.”

 

“Always, darlin. You know my thing about coffee.”

 

She fixed the coffee, pouring it into two cups and heaping creamer into her own, sitting down after she sat his cup in front of him. For a few seconds, Frank stared down into the cup, almost like he was trying to say something.

 

“I ain’t good at this.”

“Then don’t worry. Look. I’m a big girl. I can realize that what I did last time you showed up was.. Probably out of line.”

 

“Thing is, I wanted you to do it.”

His words shocked her silent and he looked up. “ But bein with me is dangerous for you.”

 

“Again, I’m a grown woman.” Samara insisted, earning a nod. “Just keep comin back to how I couldn’t keep her safe is all.”

 

“Frank..”

 

“I care about you, okay? More than I should. Told myself I wasn’t gonna get attached.”

 

The admission made her heart beat faster. She sat there quietly processing. Frank stood and leaned down, brushing his lips against her forehead. “Gonna go now. Let you get some shut eye.”

 

“You can stay…”

“ I don’t know that’s a good idea, doll.” Frank said as he disappeared through the window. 

 

Samara sat there, staring at the window, processing what he dropped on her before leaving...

Chapter Text

The door banged shut and the scent of him filled the room. The unease she’d felt a little while ago started to melt away. Grace was smart enough to be wary though. Mox wasn’t just any Alpha. Mox was one of the wild ones. There was no telling how he’d react to anything at any given moment. The last thing she wanted was to do or say something wrong.

 

She didn’t even realize she’d been holding her breath until he stepped up to her, hand reaching out and cupping her jawline. Like her, he was keeping a little distance. One quick scenting revealed that also like her, he wanted to be so much closer. He wanted no distance between them, but for whatever reason, Mox felt that keeping a little space between was safer.

 

Grace studied him intently, gaze fixed on baby blue eyes that almost seemed to glow neon in the semi darkened room. The breath she let out was ragged. Things were so intense right now. So up in the air. She had not one clue what was about to happen.

 

Truth be told, it both scared her and excited her. Mox seemed to pick up on the slight excitement in her scent and as  a result, that rugged smirk surfaced, tugging up the corners of his mouth. He stepped a little closer, not breaking her gaze.

 

“Goddamn.” the word was choked out in a hoarse whisper. The sound of his own voice almost threw him off and he raised a brow. She wanted him to get closer. She was okay with it, with him.. The thought shocked him to his core. The rumor going around about him, one that he didn’t bother trying to dispel, was that he was dangerous and he gave zero fucks.

 

mine mine mine all mine…. Gonna treat ya so good, kitten…. Gonna take real good care of ya …. He didn’t dare say the words aloud not just yet. But the thought was there and it was taking hold, cementing in his brain. There was a light in his world now. The very thing he thought he’d never feel. He could feel it awakening.

 

Thick digits reached out cautiously again, caressing her face. Grace nuzzled against his fingers before she could reign herself in. She did the same, raising her hand, resting it against his stubble lined jaw. Mox nuzzled against her hand, almost as if he were trying to let her know that it was okay, she was safe now.

 

And god help him, she’d be staying safe .

 

Grace picked up on the shift of his mood and the result was her dropping her guard completely. One look into those glowing blue eyes of his drove home the fact that she had absolutely nothing to fear from him, ever.

 

She carefully pressed against him, staring up. “ Thank you.”

 

“For what, kitten?”

“For doing what you did… With Shawn.”

 

Mox’s fingers curled underneath her chin, tilting it up so that she didn’t drop her gaze. He shook his head and said quietly, “You don’t gotta worry about him anymore. I’m not gonna let him or anybody fuck with you. I mean it.”

 

It was probably the most she’d heard him say yet.

 

“I-I… I know.” Grace stared up at him, licking her lips. His music hit and he eyed her, sizing her up.

 

“If ya don’t wanna come down.”

 

“Oh, I’m going, Mox.” Grace took a deep breath, giving a look to the door. Mox nodded, pulling her closer. He pressed his lips against her forehead and mumbled quietly, “Let’s go then, hmm?”

 

Grace curled into his side and he slid his arm around her, pulling her even closer.

They made their way down the ramp and inside the ring, Shawn was jumping, practically snarling at Mox. Mox didn’t even give the man the grace of the ref ringing the bell, he just went in and started to attack, succumbing to the blind rage he felt earlier at the way he’d seen Shawn daring to treat his Omega.

 

He barely realized the match was over when Shawn tapped and the ref was raising his hand in victory.

 

He was going to get out of the ring, but he turned and strode back to Shawn where he lie on the mat, leaning down, pulling the other man up by his collar. “ If she hadn’t been out here, man? I’d fucking kill ya. It’s because of her ya still breathin. Think about that shit while you go on Twitter and bitch because I beat your ass.”

 

He stepped through the ropes, made his way to where Grace sat between JR and the other announcer, scooping her up out of the chair, wordlessly carrying her up the ramp.

 

“Are you… okay?”

“Everything’s perfect now, kitten. And I don’t think you gotta worry about Spears anymore.”

 

Grace rested her head against the crook of his neck, nuzzling her nose right against his pulse as she muttered a quiet “Thank God.” and held onto Mox just a little tighter. A lot had happened tonight but Grace finally felt free.

 

Safe.

 

And definitely happy. 

Those weren’t things she’d really felt in a long time, either. And they definitely weren’t things she took lightly.

 

“Let’s get outta here.”

“Where you wanna go, kitten?”

“Anywhere you’re goin, Mox.”

Mox smirked and chuckled quietly. “Anywhere, huh?”


“Mhmm. I mean it. I’ll go anywhere.. As long as you’re with me. Just feels better.”

“I know what you mean, kitten. I know exactly what you mean.”

Chapter Text

Jay half expected her to pop up at ringside. When she didn’t immediately skip down and plant herself in a chair near the announce table like usual, he immediately felt bad about being short with her earlier in the day.

 

By the middle of the match, with her still nowhere to be seen, he began to really get the sense that something was awry. By the end, he knew it, he could feel it in his bones.

 

He looked for her in the lobby of the hotel they were staying it, a little shocked when all he got from one of the others was that she went out and no one knew when she’d be back.

 

Jay went up to his room and flipped idly through the television for a few hours. Every now and then, he’d glance at his phone as if he expected it to ring at any second. Instead, there was silence. He grumbled at himself and his inability to just let things be. 

 

He yawned and gaped in shock at the time when he bothered to check.

 

It was almost two am.

 

She’s probably in her room now… just put it out of your head … 

 

Jay wandered over to the floor to ceiling glass doors that lead onto the balcony and he found himself staring down in the parking lot.

 

No sign of that death trap she called a car. 

 

The realization hit him like a brick wall in a speeding car. He stood there, mouth agape as he tried to wrap his head around the fact that somehow, despite it being against his very nature, he’d grown attached to the little hellion currently keeping him worked up and worried.

 

He’d gotten used to her just being at his side and now suddenly, she wasn’t.

This realization lead to an agitated vampire pacing his hotel room while checking around with anyone he thought might know her.

 

And growing increasingly worried when half of the people he thought might know her either didn’t know her or weren’t willing to tell him what the hell she was up to tonight.

 

It lead the man to what he considered a desperate act on his part. He threw on the leather jacket without even bothering to put a shirt beneath. He didn’t bother changing out of his sweats and he just put on the first random pair of shoes he spotted.

 

Something had to be wrong, after all, she was always there, always around.

 

Just as the elevator opened in the hotel lobby and he stepped off, she strolled into the lobby, looking tired and more than a little agitated, talking on her cell phone with her free hand moving a mile a minute. 

 

He fell in behind her and when she went for the elevator, he reached out, impatiently tapping her shoulder.

 

Their eyes caught in the chrome door’s reflective surface and she bit her lip, going silent.

 

“Switchblade… What are you doing out of your room? I mean… normally you’re either not even at the hotel or you’re off somewhere brooding.”

 

“What are y’ doin just now comin in, woman? Do y’ not realize what happens to pretty little things like y’ self in this city when y’ out after dark, unattended?”

 

“You do realize that I transform into a giant cat with murder mitts.. Right? I think I can take care of myself. Don’t see why it matters to you.”

 

The elevator arrived, the doors sliding open. She stepped onto it and Jay was right at her side. She waited until he wasn’t really looking at her, but grumbling and bitching about how he should’ve just let her fend for herself and not even bothered coming down and how it was clearly a bad idea, and she gave a satisfied little smirk.

 

Okay, so maybe this had been her plan all along.

Besides, when he went off on her earlier for always being underfoot, she’d had to teach him some kind of lesson, right?

 

She had to prove his whole “vampires and shapeshifters never mix” theory totally wrong and in her eyes, him seeking her out first - and her friends practically blowing her goddamn phone up letting her know he was looking for her while she’d been out running the area in her other form , was proof that she was right.

 

There was hope and this could work.

 

She cocked her head to the side, looking up at the taller male and sizing up his bizarre fashion choice for the night. Before she could stop herself, she was doubled over laughing and Jay stood there, looking irritable.

 

“The fuck is so funny?”

“What the hell are you wearing? Are you.. Those are not biker boots.. With sweats, no shirt and a leather jacket.. Did you just get dressed in the dark?”

 

Jay glared, flipping her off and then he took a deep breath as the laughter died away.

“About earlier…”

 

“Yeah?” she stepped closer, gripping the lapels of his leather jacket loosely as she stared up at him. Rather than do the usual and tense up, he pulled her closer, arms around her, staring down at her.

 

“I was wrong.”

 

“Obviously, nimrod.”

 

“If yer goin ta call me names, I can just go.” Jay as per usual was being his over the top dramatic self. She shook her head and pouted, grabbing at his wrist as he went as far as to step away and pretend to be about to make the elevator stop.

 

“Okay, alright, fuck.. I’m sorry, Jay.”

 

The sound of her, saying his name… It filled him with this euphoria, like a high he didn’t want to come down from. For one thing, it was the first time she’d bothered to call him by his name when she wasn’t pouty and annoyed or needy and seeking attention. For another, it was the tone in which she did it.. Quieter than usual, almost a whisper.

 

He flashed his cocky grin, turning around to face her, his hands at her hips. “ I never could stay annoyed with y’ long, kitten.”

 

“ Sure as shit didn’t seem like that earlier when you snapped at me.” she pouted, pretending to still be hurt, even going as far as dropping her eyes and staring at the floor. Jay tucked his fingers beneath her chin, raising her face so that her eyes met his and he chuckled quietly, moving closer all over again.

 

“For that, I’m sorry.. Let me make it up to y?”

 

“ I’m listening.” she practically purred as she pressed herself totally against him and rose to her tiptoes, gripping the front of his jacket as she pulled him down into a kiss..






Chapter Text

The strip of photos were still tucked away in the corner of the mirror on her dresser. She didn’t dare take them down despite everyone around her telling her she had to and trying to tell her he’d been a bad man.

 

Ella knew otherwise. Desperate situations and desperate measures. She blamed herself constantly for what happened that day at Shawshank. He’d just been trying to make a corrupt and unjust system more fair. He’d always been one of those guys, couldn’t stand a bully.

 

As she stared at the strip of photos, she sighed and thought back to the day they were taken. She and Dennis had been juniors in high school. Her, being the wilder one, suggested actually using their skip day. Dennis argued her up and down that it wasn’t a good idea, but by the end, she had him laughing that laugh, smiling at her.. By the end of the day, she’d fallen even deeper in love.

 

“Dennis… why’d ya have to go and play hero?” she mumbled the words sadly as her fingertips trailed over his face in the photographs. 

 

The room was freezing, it hit her when she found herself wrapping her own arms tight around her to keep the cold out. When she took a breath, she saw it in the air and for a split second she’d almost swear she smelled his cologne. Her eyes fluttered open and closed.

 

The cold enveloped her like a hug but all she felt was empty. The pain was almost too much to take. Then the anger at what he’d done came bubbling to the surface and Ella picked up the glass sitting on her nightstand and she threw it full force at the mirror, shattering it.

 

“I hate it! You could still be here with me but you just had to go off the deep end, you had to keep pushing. You know the deck is rigged, baby, it’s always been rigged in this town! You left me and I hate it!” she didn’t even realize she was standing in the middle of her room shouting at those photos until the lights flickered and a second later, the room went dark.

 

“I just want you back.” she broke, sobbing and flinging herself at their bed. She must’ve fallen asleep, because she felt groggy when the sound of him hissing her name in the dark just like he used to when he got in from night shift at the prison… She sat up, rubbing her eyes. The sleeves of that ratty old plaid shirt Dennis always wore around covered her hands and rubbed against her eyes.

 

His cologne was fading out of it now. How much longer until she couldn’t just close her eyes and recall his face to memory perfectly?

 

She heard it again.

 

“Dennis?”

 

Wait, no.. he was gone. How was she hearing him?

 

Ella hadn’t ever really considered the possibility of ghosts, but when she glanced at the doorway and saw him standing there, giving her a sad look, she didn’t think, she just stood and walked over to him, trying to reach out for him.

 

She closed her eyes and she could feel his hands stroking her hair as she sobbed and beat at his chest. Icy cold fingers tilted her chin upward and she breathed in, then out. 

 

“I had to try, baby girl. I had to do the right thing. Just wish it hadn’t ended like it did.”

“I wish I’d noticed something was wrong with you sooner, I’m sorry, so sorry..”

“It wasn’t anything you did. Nothin you could’ve done would have changed shit. Baby girl, I just… I can’t stay. I wanted to see you one more time.. Tell you that I’ll always love you. But you gotta let all this go. You gotta let me go.”

 

“I can’t, Dennis.”

“You have to. For your own good. I’ll see ya again, I promise.”

 

And then, he was gone.

 

Ella wiped at her eyes and she found herself walking to the dresser and reaching out, taking the pictures out of their space in the corner. With a sad sigh, she took them and put them away in her mom’s old Bible and then she put that away in the drawer she kept it in.

 

It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was literally all he asked of her, so she had to do it. She loved him that much.

 

And sometimes, if you love someone, you have to just let go.

Chapter Text

Normally, Adam Page wasn’t the type who listened at doors, but his name came up relatively early on in this particular conversation and the more he listened… The more he wanted to hear her say. He wanted to see just how far she’d dig herself into this particular hole. He stifled a groan, his fists clenching and unclenching at his sides as he tried to process what he was hearing and what he wished like hell he could do with it.

 

From inside the room, Ava continued talking, blissfully unaware of Adam standing right outside, in the hallway. Britt had caught sight of Adam lurking and so had Riho. Thing is, neither woman were feeling particularly inclined to warn their best friend. No, this crush of hers had gone on for far too long and both women were in the firm agreement that something had to happen. And if it was Adam, finally overhearing the way she felt, so be it. So Britt continued to let Ava go on.

 

“Look, all I’m sayin is that Adam Page could bend me over his lap and spank me any day now. And did you see that look when he got angry and started takin it to Hager with the chair? God damn, I thought I’d explode. I swear I started off tonight wearing panties. Damned if I know what happened after that little switch of his got flipped. All I can think about right now is what I’d do if he unleased all of that… On me. Jesus, that was fucking intense. I need a holy water bath, girls, because my mind is absolutely filled with sinful things I’d like to do to that man and that I’d willingly let him do to me.. Starting with those goddamn thighs and just how much I wanna ride them.”

 

Ava fanned herself and bit her lip as she tried her best to stop fantasizing about what she’d witnessed earlier. But knowing that the man had all that.. Just locked inside, waiting to escape.. It really opened a can of worms that Ava wasn’t entirely sure she was going to be able to close again anytime soon.

 

She reached for the radio, lowering the volume and she stared intently at the door. She could’ve sworn she’d seen someone standing in the hall and maybe it was her paranoia because of what exactly she was saying, maybe it was just her, not being fully used to the people she worked with aside from Riho and Britt.. Either way, she made her way over to the door, closing it.

 

Britt froze for a few seconds, exchanging a look with Riho. Both were wondering if Ava had seen Adam lurking and getting an ear full of the things Ava wouldn’t ever dare say to his face.

 

Hell, she wouldn’t have told the two of them either, save for the last time they all went out together and Ava had one too many to drink and it all just sort of slipped out during a little game of “Would You Rather?” in which she said she’d rather stand naked in front of a crowd than admit to him that she felt things for him.

 

Out in the hall, Adam leaned against the wall, trying to wrap his head around… This whole other side of the quiet little hair and makeup specialist that him getting fucking fed up tonight had apparently unleashed.

 

From next to him, Kenny spoke up.

“You look like you’ve just seen some shit. What’s up, Hangman?”

 

“Oh, it’s nothin I saw..” Adam trailed off as he replayed everything he’d overheard Ava saying about him a few minutes before in his head. It was only the millionth time he’d done it in the past few minutes.

 

“Hmm?” Kenny fixed a curious gaze on his friend and Adam went on to explain in detail what he’d overheard Ava saying. Kenny was laughing by the end and Adam knitted his brows together, muttering quietly, “It ain’t funny.. Now that I know, what the hell do I do, huh? I mean I go in there for beard trims and stuff. And you know how hard it is for me to keep myself together already around her.”

 

“Now that you know?What the hell do you mean now that you know?  You mean it hasn’t been painfully obvious all along? I mean c’mon, think about it a little, man. She’s always coming to you if she can’t reach something or she can’t open something.. Or that time her car wouldn’t start? Who did she ride with?”

 

“I asked her. Otherwise, she was about to hitchhike. In downtown Chicago. At night, all alone.” Adam insisted, but deep down, things were starting to click into place for him and he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.

 

Kenny cleared his throat and Adam’s head snapped up, just in time to catch Ava, walking past them. She had those earphones in, probably had her heavy metal turned up full blast. Adam stared after her as she speed walked right past, swallowing hard.

 

For all intents and purposes.. She was a tiny little thing. Really didn’t speak much. He had absolutely no reason for the prospect of opening his mouth and saying something to strike pure and unbridled panic in him like it had, prior to now. Now, knowing what he felt like he knew about how she felt… That put things in his favor. That put the ball in his court and gave him an upper hand.

 

“Well?” Kenny mouthed and Adam tore his gaze away long enough to chuckle quietly.

 

Adam stretched and he set off, catching up to Ava just as she was about to head into catering. He tapped her shoulder and she turned a little, slipping out her ear bud.

 

“Adam, hi.. Was I supposed to trim you up tonight, hon?”

“No. It’s not that.” Adam stepped closer as a large cluster of people made their way up the hall and forced him to do so. He saw the way her eyes fixed on him for a few seconds, saw her swallow hard and blink as if she were trying to make herself stop staring. It occurred to him that she was a little fidgety.

 

Her whole spiel about him and the side of himself he’d unleashed during his match earlier came rushing right back. And Kenny did make a good point. Sooner or later, one of them had to do something.

 

It might as well be him.

 

Adam chuckled quietly and bit his lip. “Just saw ya heading this way and thought I’d catch up. Talk to you. We really don’t get to talk much.” he held her gaze, biting his lip and leaning in a little. A strand of dirty blonde was hanging right in her eye and he reached out, tucking it neatly behind her ear. As soon as he’d done that, he could’ve sworn he heard her make this quiet little whimper. When she swallowed hard and nodded, staring up at him a second or two, it took every ounce of willpower he had not to just spill it all right then and there, but he managed to refrain.

 

Ava took a deep breath as she puzzled the whole thing out.

She was just being paranoid, that had to be it. Adam was a nice guy. And on occasion, he did at least say hello in passing. 

 

… but he’s got his hand… at your hip.. And holy shit, he’s standing closer…

… get a grip, damn… the hallway is crowded, it caused him to have to move closer… as far as the hand thing, maybe he’s just a touchy person… none of this means anything so stop reading into it, holy shit...

 

Convinced she’d talked herself out of an impending breakdown, she nodded and made herself at least attempt to behave in a hopefully normal way. She finally managed to respond to what he said, smiling. “No, we don’t. So, what’s up? Are you okay? That whole thing earlier looked… Really intense.”

 

“I was frustrated.”

“I don’t blame you.” Ava said it quickly, adding the thought mentally, - and holy shit was it easily the most erotic thing I’ve ever seen with my own eyes , her cheeks immediately heating as she started to blush all over again at just the thought of the way he’d been manhandling the others out there and that damn look in his eyes, the way he stormed around, chair in hand, unleashing this whole other side of himself.

 

“Didn’t scare you, right?” Adam couldn’t resist asking. When her cheeks darkened just a little more, he gazed at her intently, stepping even closer. “Because darlin, that is the absolute last thing I’d ever wanna do.”

 

“ Not at all.” Ava hesitated as her words got caught in her throat because they criss crossed with a quiet whimper that she only barely managed to restrain. Britt and Riho were calling her name from down the hall and she bit her lip, caught in his gaze. “I… should go see what they want. But I’ll see you around, right?”

 

“Oh definitely, darlin.” Adam assured her, giving a little smirk. As she made a hasty retreat, he leaned against the wall, patting himself on the back for how smooth he’d played that while also trying to pull himself together, because once he’d touched her those few little accidental times.. It wasn’t enough. And he’d very nearly given in to the urge to just pin her against the wall, pick her up by her ass and kiss her until she couldn’t breathe and her lips were all swollen from his kiss.

 

Ava rushed into the hair and makeup room and she shut the door behind her, leaning heavily against it as she inhaled and exhaled sharply and fanned herself.

 

“Y’all.. I swear to fuck.. Somebody up there is tryin to end me tonight. That man and his goddamn… Everything. I can’t. I cannot, nope. The things I wanna do. Is it wrong to want someone to put me over their knee and spank the hell out of me because that’s… a thing I never knew I would be into until his little temper tantrum out at the ring tonight.. And just now, holy shit, whooooo boy.. Let me tell you. He was doing that thing. You know, the sweetheart thing.. The one that damn near makes me melt and I… I lost it. I bailed. Ugh, fuck… I’m so awkward.”

 

Riho and Britt exchanged looks and with a quiet laugh, Britt asked for a further explanation and Ava happily gave it, all the while, tearing herself down for over analyzing simple things and turning what was probably only Adam being nice to her into some erotic little fantasy in which he took her against the wall in the hallway in her mind the whole time.

 

It was only towards the end of her pouring it all out that she realized that she had actually been overheard this time.

And naturally, she’d been overheard by the one person she maybe didn’t want to overhear.

 

Her words stopped and trailed off, her mouth opened and closed. Riho and Britt stood, making a hasty retreat out of the room and Adam stepped in, shutting the door behind him and reaching out to lock it. His eyes didn’t leave her a single time and Ava knew by the look on his face that yep, she’d been caught dead to rights. This time, he’d heard everything she said, not a mistake about it.

 

Her mouth continued to open and close and Adam leaned against the wall casually, arms folded over his chest just watching her, waiting.

The tension in the room was almost thick enough to touch. Someone had to say something.

 

It was clearly not going to be her.

Ava wanted to punch herself in the throat because she couldn’t make her brain and her mouth work together and form words. Clever ones, preferably. So, she did the only thing she thought logical and she stepped towards Adam, preparing to make some lame excuse about needing to get somewhere.

 

But Adam stopped her, a hand gripping at her hip lightly.

“Uh uh..” Adam shook his head, a gentle and teasing smirk as he stared down at her. Ava swallowed hard and sucked in a deep breath. When she finally could speak, she asked timidly, “How… How much did you hear?”

 

Adam chuckled, glancing down at her lips hungrily. “Enough, darlin.” and after a few seconds, he leaned down slightly, tilting her chin so that she had to look up at him. “Now I have a question for you.. Cat got your tongue? I mean when it was just you and the girls in here, you were… awful chatty, baby girl.”

 

“I...I…” but her brain was stalled out for the moment. Adam’s hand lazily rubbed her side, an attempt to relax her. He chuckled and bit his lip, holding her gaze. “You could’ve told me all that.. Would’ve saved a lot of time… and tension. Because all that stuff you were goin on and on about me doing to you? It’s been on my mind for a while now. You have no idea how long.”

He stepped away, confusing her. But he sank down in a chair, reaching out for her hips, pulling her down so that she straddled his thigh. She whimpered and he took a deep breath.

 

So far, -hopefully, at least, he hadn’t come on too strong or crossed any lines. He gave a dark chuckle, staring her right in the eyes.. And then, ever so slowly, averting his gaze downward.. To her mouth. He was doing it again, the lip biting thing that drove her crazy.

 

Ava took a ragged breath and went to adjust herself so that she was sitting on his lap but Adam gripped her hip, shaking his head. “Stay right there, darlin.”

 

“But…” Ava started, but Adam’s hand raised, resting on the back of her neck, his other hand giving her hip a gentle squeeze as he pulled her closer and mumbled against her ear, “I said stay right there.. Maybe I wanna give you what you wanted.”

 

Ava’s heart was beating so loud and fast it was making her ears ring. She swallowed hard, whimpering when he adjusted the way he sat in the chair, opening his legs wider, purposely rubbing her right against his thigh. Adam heard the sound and then he snapped.. He was pulling her mouth against his, gripping her hips in a way that she had to rub against his thigh and as she moaned into the kiss, gripping at his chest, hissing as she rubbed against him and the way his hand pressed into her hip only made her really bare down on his thigh. 

 

“Adam..” her head fell back as the kiss broke and she started to rock her hips, dragging her cunt over his bare thigh. Adam barely managed to refrain from growling, especially when he realized she was soaked. He greedily captured her mouth with his own for another kiss and she really started to speed up, making him chuckle into the kiss.  “What’s up, hmm?” he drawled against her neck lazily as his lips ventured down the side of it, slowly, carefully… paying attention to what he was doing, taking his time and noting mentally what areas made her whimper or moan and grind her cunt against his thigh harder and faster. If he thought he was hard before, he was well past aching now.

 

“Fuck.” he growled as he finally couldn’t take it anymore and wound up pulling her completely onto his lap so that she was now rubbing against the bulge straining at his trunks. She bit her lip and her fingertips dug into his scalp and his bicep, sending a shiver down his back because it felt good and he hadn’t been expecting it. Ava whimpered quietly as she rubbed against him, eyes widening at just how hard he was already. 

 

“It’s all your fault, baby girl..” he nodded down to his lap, making her blush and giggle and feeling a little bolder, she leaned in, pouting against his mouth, daring to tease her lips against hers as she whispered quietly, “Oh yeah, cowboy? Lemme make it up to you?”

 

“Anything you want, darlin. You’re in charge. I’m just here to give you what you want.” Adam swallowed hard, staring up at her intently as he closed the distance between their mouths yet again, his teeth tugging at her lower lip as his hand slipped between her thighs, moving to rub against her cunt...

Chapter Text

“Whoa, hold on.. What the hell do you mean I’m not going out? Who are you again?” Barbie eyed her Alpha as she placed a hand on her hip and dragged the other one through thick blonde curls. She made sure to bat those lashes, giggle and roll her eyes to emphasize just how little his say so mattered.

 

But deep down? Even if she’d never admit it without it being dragged out first, that little spark of hope built a little bit more.

 

Pete grumbled to himself. Tyler’s watchful gaze had him re thinking his words. When he picked up on the way her body was hot all over and the subtlest sway as if she were dizzy, he didn’t think, he just reached out, grabbing hold of her. “Just how stubborn are y’ goin t’ be, woman? Do y’ not realize that what yer doin will make y’ sick? Or do y’ just not give a damn?”

 

“Why do you? I mean, you were the one who looked so annoyed to  discover… Nevermind, I’m in the mood to go out and dance. Not stand here and argue with you, a literal brick wall.” Barbie turned and prepared to walk away, - it was her only defense because the longer she stood there with him, the more that little sliver of hope grew and god knew, she wasn’t about to pin all her hopes on Pete Dunne actually wanting their bond as mates , but Pete chuckled and with lightning quick reflexes, he stood blocking her path.

 

“God! Do you have to do that?”

“ I do if it means y’ don’t do somethin stupid. Use yer ‘ead woman.”

 

Barbie tilted her head to the side to stare up at him. She tried not to let on that she was searching his scent for any kind of clue as to his current emotional state, but yes that’s exactly what she was doing.. And what she discovered about it, well… It definitely threw her for one hell of an unexpected loop.

 

Pete was done arguing. For one thing, he wasn’t the kind of man to waste time or energy when he knew he was right. For another, the more they argued, the more she threw those little walls of hers up. And judging by her scent, she was doing it for self preservation.

 

He’d won . She was just fighting tooth and nail for whatever reason.

Pete saw no point in it, so rather than stand in the hotel lobby and continue to fight, he simply reached out, picked her up and started to walk towards the elevator with her wrapped around his body.

 

Barbie bit her lip and sucked in a harsh breath. The feel of his body against hers.. The sheer panic in his scent at her situation and her continuing to fight the bond.. The things he wasn’t saying but she was clearly picking up on thanks to his scent amplifying… She rested her head against his shoulder and took a few more shaky breaths as he pushed the up button on the elevator.

 

“And while we’re on th’ subject. I don’t like y’ talkin t’ Roddy. Or any of th’ others. That little flirtin’ thing y’ do.” Pete stated it calmly and he felt Barbie raise her head slightly. He pressed his back against the wall and she mumbled against his ear almost teasingly, “You don’t, hmm?”

 

“Didn’t me tryin’ t knock their fuckin heads clean off prove ‘at?” Pete muttered quietly. He felt her starting to cling to him a little. The tiniest sliver of hope he’d been trying to keep from growing, it grew a little despite everything. When she seemed to breathe in deep, her nose buried in his shirt, he smiled to himself a little, quickly letting that smile disappear so he’d appear all business. Couldn’t have her actually seeing how much she was getting to him, nope.

 

Barbie inhaled deep, the scent of him filling her nose, serving to calm her down and cool her off a fair bit. She was trying so hard to keep the walls up. But every time she threw another curve ball at the stubborn ass man carrying her in his arms right now, Pete Dunne just saw fit to bulldoze right through it.

 

It was almost as if he were determined to have her, no matter what he had to do. It was starting to make her hopeful and her being hopeful? That scared her to death.

 

The elevator came to a stop and Pete grumbled, shifting her around in his arms so that he could grab the handle of her suitcase and slip his own bag onto his shoulder a little better. 

 

“I can walk, sir.”

“Y’ nearly fell over three fuckin times. Yer not walkin right now, woman. Especially not in ‘ose heels of yers.” Pete replied, his tone firm and calm and an almost husky low whisper. Barbie bit back a whimper.

 

If he had one tenth of a clue what his fucking voice did to her.

 

It was pathetic, she was pathetic. The thought caused her to scowl at herself and pout and Pete saw the pout, eyeing her. He chuckled.

“Would it really be ‘at bad t’ give in?”

 

“I don’t… I don’t know, okay?”



Chapter Text

The whole thing had been a whirlwind. Mox hadn’t really had time to stop; to process.. To figure out his next move. They’d been driving for hours, neither of them not really saying much. Mox was starting to get exhausted. So, he pulled into a parking lot and started to search for a hotel for the night.

 

Grace stirred and when her face rubbed against his jean clad thigh and she gave a quiet - and needy , whimper, Mox actually noticed something about her scent.. Something he hadn’t really stopped to consider before, but given her actions and reactions to some things thus far, his suspicion made perfect sense.

 

Her scent was pure… Almost totally unbridled and easily enough to overwhelm. Now that any remnant of Spears had worn off, Mox could really smell her. As in, for miles. The thought of what he suspected had him giving a quiet growl as he bucked in his seat and gripped the phone in his hand tight, lest he suddenly go butter fingered.

 

Grace was sitting up now, rubbing her eyes and looking around. Mox stared at her intently, trying to figure out just what to say -and do, about his suspicions. The last thing he wanted to do was let that animal within out too much, come on too strong and scare the hell out of her. Grace eyed her Alpha with a concerned raised brow and stifling a yawn, she asked quietly, “We stopped. Is everything okay?”

 

“Everything’s fine, doll. Nothin to worry ya pretty little head over. Just tryin to find a hotel.”

 

Just as he said it, he found one about a quarter mile down the interstate. He pulled up the directions and hit start on his phone’s navigation and Grace leaned herself against him, wiggling around until she was at least a little comfortable again. Mox barely stopped the growl threatening to spill from his mouth. He took an arm off the wheel, slipped it around her and she gave this soft little whimper.

 

He only thought he was hard enough to break before. Now, he was well past that.

 

He shifted in his seat and pulled out of the parking lot, merging with traffic. Grace leaned her head against his shoulder and the scent of her filled his nose, at least partially calming him for the time being.

 

Now he had a whole other set of concerns.

 

Was she going to want to room with him? They barely knew one another and given how skittish she seemed to be, would asking her to do that for their own good be fair? She’d just been through god knew what with that other bastard. 

 

For as much as he seemed to be letting it overwhelm, Grace, he noticed, seemed calm. She seemed to pick up on his being in his own head and she reached out, lowering the volume on the radio.

 

“Mox…”

“Yeah, doll?” his tone came out husky, and as the slick gathered on her thighs even more, Grace swallowed hard, trying to put her thoughts together. She could tell he was overthinking pretty much everything and… She was worried herself, because she was picking up on the root of his worries.

 

Something about her… Being untouched.

Even more about whether sharing a room would be pushing too far and moving too fast. 

 

“Nothing, I just.. You seemed like you were really thinking about somethin and worried. You’re not…. Like… changing your mind?” she asked the question and held her breath, only taking a deep and ragged one when the SUV coasted to a stop beneath a red light just as they were in front of the hotel and Mox chuckled quietly, shaking his head, fixing his gaze on her.

 

“No, not at all, kitten… Ya not… changin yours, right?” Mox caught his breath, staring intently as he waited on an answer.

“Not at all.” and it didn’t even take her half a second to answer. She met his intent gaze with this cute little shy smile and he gave a smirk in response, nodding as he took a few deep breaths.

 

He’d be the last to admit it, but even the half second gave him way too much time and space to over think and as a result, to panic. 

 

“Good. Cos ya not gettin rid of me anytime soon, kitten. I mean that, okay?”

 

“I know.” She answered through a yawn, cuddling into his side even more. The SUV came to a stop in front of the doors leading into the hotel and Mox leaned down, sort of nuzzling his nose into the top of her head, mumbling in a quiet and growly voice that had her nearly purring out a response. “Gonna go get us a room, kitten. If you don’t wanna share a room, say somethin.” he muttered quietly, Grace lifting her head to look up at him, swallowing hard. 

 

“I.. I wanna share a room with you.”

 

Mox nearly choked on the breath he’d been holding when she answered. He eyed her, as if to ask her if she were sure.

 

“I’m… being serious, Mox. I want to share a room with you.”

 

It went without saying that Grace was having thoughts of her own currently, and whether she realized it or not, those thoughts were almost transparent to her Alpha and they were putting him into quite a state of uproar. Her scent’s pure and unfiltered sweetness suddenly amplified and Mox wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, clearing his throat.

 

He felt like he ought to say something, but absolutely no words were coming. “Ya.. ya sure, right?”

 

“I said it, didn’t I?”

 

…. Mine, all mine and when I’m done, nobody else is gonna touch her or even fuckin look at her… gonna take real, real good care of her, so help me… the thought was fragmented but when Grace picked up on it -and it’s double meaning, she whimpered, squeezing his thigh with her hand. Mox tensed, biting back a groan. They couldn’t just sit in the parking lot all night.

 

But he didn’t wanna leave her at the moment, either.

 

Grace bit down on her lip when she felt that rough hand of his creeping up the inside of her thigh, stopping just below the hem of her dress, keeping things safe and tame. She whimpered again and Mox sucked in a breath, turning to the side and pressing into her, greedily tackling her mouth in a deep kiss that left her breathless and dizzy when it broke. A kiss full of groping and his quiet groans, her answering whimpers and moans all swallowed up by his mouth, the way his tongue parted her lips and took total control of the kiss. His other hand tangled in her hair, tugging her deeper into the kiss. When he sank his teeth into her lower lip and tugged, she tried to rub herself against his hand clumsily. 

 

“Gotta go… Inside..”

“I know, just… Hurry back, please?”

“Believe me, doll.. I intend to.” he took a few long and shaky deep breaths as they pulled apart and after adjusting himself as best as he could, he got out of the SUV, walking into the lobby quickly, almost dizzy from lack of oxygen and the sheer fucking heavy sweetness of his mate’s scent. He had to have looked drunk as all fuck to the desk clerk, who looked up when he dinged on the bell at the desk for assistance.

 

The desk clerk made his way over and Mox checked them into a room. As he walked back out into the parking lot, he had to stop, collect himself a few seconds. After doing so, he got back into the SUV, pulling around to the side of the building their room was.

 

He’d gotten a room on the special wing after explaining the situation to the desk clerk in a very hushed tone. 

 

Grace swallowed hard, still reeling from his hands and mouth just seconds ago. Her heart was hammering against her chest so hard she thought it might just explode. As Mox killed the engine, she leaned in, intending to brush her lips to his stubble lined jaw, but instead, he turned to face her at the same time and their lips brushed and… Something in both of them snapped. Mox was pulling her over the console and into the driver seat, into his lap. Grace sucked in a sharp breath as soon as she felt the way he strained at the denim covering his lower body. She dug her nails into his shoulders and Mox gripped her hips, trying not to push too far, beyond aware that his suspicions had to be correct. They had to be, she’d blushed all over when he dared to slip his hand beneath her little sundress a few seconds ago.. And then there was her scent.. The way every single little touch sent slick rushing down her thighs and amped up it up, Mox had barely touched her a few minutes before, he’d been keeping it relatively tame and she was dripping already.

 

“Goddamn.” he gasped as her head fell back and she clumsily rubbed her throbbing soaked silk covered cunt right against the growing and aching bulge strained at his favorite pair of ratty jeans. He squeezed her hips, almost as if to warn her, but her neck… Exposed like that… He was trailing his mouth down it before he could bother stopping himself, feeling the prick of his fangs at his gums, mouth watering, lust hazing his thoughts and driving him to keep it up.

 

“Mox..” she breathed his name against his neck as she nipped at it. Mox growled quietly, nuzzling against her, bucking into her from below, his hands moving around and squeezing her ass to grind her against him even more. The steering wheel had to be digging into her back, but she didn’t mention it until the horn blew when he accidentally pressed her back against it. It was enough to stop them mid kissing session and him to mutter quietly, “The hotel room, doll... “

 

“Y-yeah.” the word came out as a whimper and she clung to him as he opened the driver side door and stepped out, not bothering to untangle her from his body, opting instead to carry her up to the room, pressing her back against the wall as he stopped to fumble in his pocket for the key card he’d been given at the front desk while also trying to kiss and touch her as much as he could manage to do. After fumbling with the lock for a little bit, he managed to get the door open and he stepped inside the room. Grace’s body rubbed against his with each step he took and she nuzzled her lips against his neck, making him groan and tense up, gripping her tighter just so he didn’t drop her.

 

“Kitten.. Fuck.” he gasped quietly as he got her sat down on the top of the dresser in the room. They needed their bags from the SUV, but honestly, Mox was only focused on one thing.

 

Her.

His sweet little Omega.

 

“Fuck it, the bags can wait.” he growled against her throat as her head fell back and her legs fell apart, allowing him to step between them. His teeth ghosted along the side of her throat as his hand gripped her thighs, squeezing, trying yet again to stop himself from going too far too fast.

 

“Mox, oh.. Higher..” Grace’s legs opened wider and she swallowed hard, licking her lips. Her nails dug into his shoulders and he mumbled huskily, “Ya sure?”

 

“ Yes.. fuck… Need you touchin me.. Now.” Grace’s lips against his own again accentuated each word and he ventured his hand higher, fingertips brushing against soaked silk.  She rocked herself against the cautious movements of his fingertips and Mox growled, breaking his mouth away from hers, ghosting it back up her neck. His teeth lingered over her scent glands and her pulse and he swallowed hard, catching his breath a few seconds.

 

“Do it. I want your bite.” Grace urged him gently, her hand moving from his chest, down to the hand he had between her thighs, guiding his palm even closer. He rubbed her cunt harder and faster, fangs piercing through his gum line and his mouth watering, dying to taste her, mark her and make her his own. 

 

“Ya do, hmm?” Mox hummed distractedly as he started to sink his fangs into her skin. She gasped, tightening her grip and he muttered quietly, “Gonna… do somethin to take ya mind off the pain… don’t let me… hurt ya.”

 

Rough and thick fingertips brushed her panties to the side and as his finger trailed over her dripping slit, he dug his teeth into her neck deeper. His finger grazed her clit and Grace whimpered, tensing just a little, a quiet hiss following the whimper. “Not hurtin…”

 

“It did at first… The bite I mean.” Grace moaned out as he started to rub her clit a little faster, trailing his finger down, carefully working her open. He pulled himself away from her neck, staring at her, wild and lust filled gleam in his eyes, pressing his forehead against her forehead. “Gotta ask y’ somethin, kitten.”

 

“Mhmm?” Grace stared up at her Alpha, able to catch her breath for a few seconds.

Mox swallowed hard and pressed into her completely, sliding her forward on the dresser top, unable to resist it.

 

Close wasn’t close enough. He couldn’t possibly ever touch her too much.

Rut was taking over and it was almost impossible now for him to reign in that animal inside.

 

“You a virgin, kitten?”

 

Grace nodded, about to glance down, afraid that was going to make him slam on the brakes. Surely he’d want someone who stood a better chance of actually satisfying him.

 

Mox tilted her chin with one hand, continuing to work his finger in and out of her cunt with his other hand. “Nothin t’ be ashamed of, kitten, I just wanted to know.. So none of this hurts ya.”

 

Oh god, his voice.. So low and gravelly and raw. Grace sucked in a harsh breath as she finally managed to mumble a quiet “Yeah. I’m sorry, I just…”

 

Mox chuckled a little, brow raising, wondering why she’d be sorry about it. People made too much of a big deal about things. He shook his head, pulling her jaw to pull her mouth into his again as he muttered quietly, “No reason to be sorry at all. Not.A.Single.One.. just means ya really mine now.. In every way I can have ya.”

 

He worked a second finger into her cunt, Grace bit his lip and moaned into his mouth, rocking her hips against his hand as she started to get used to the way it felt. “So goddamn wet, doll. Fuck. And I’m only just gettin started with ya.”

 

“Oh, Mox.” her voice rose slightly, breaking through their heavy breathing and the noises of their kissing. He slowly slipped his fingers out, passing them between his lips, holding them to her. “Don’t ya wanna taste how sweet ya are, kitten?”

 

As his fingers slipped between her lips, he groaned, stepping close, pulling her off the top of the dresser, stepping over to the bed and laying her against the mattress, following her body down. Feeling her pinned beneath him had him growling, his hands all over her, his mouth making a trail full of gentle bites and nips to her skin as he spread her legs and slid his fingers back into her cunt deep. Grace gripped at his back, the comforter on the bed, anything she could get a hold of as his mouth ventured lower and lower. He rose up to tear the sundress off, tossing it back behind him into the room. His tee shirt followed, settling onto the floor. Her bra didn’t stand a chance and it followed, shredded. His mouth continued to venture lower and Grace sucked in a breath as his stubble brushed against her bare skin and his tongue continued to lazily trail over her skin. “Mox, oh god..” she was fidgeting all over, trying to get used to the way this all felt. 

 

“Relax, kitten. Your Alpha’s gonna take real good care of ya.. And I’m gonna start by lickin you clean.” he breathed the words into her skin as he tugged at her panties with his teeth, stopping to gaze up at her, catch his breath. And then he was back to it, her hand dragging over his scalp as she fought to both get accustomed to how it felt, someone… Doing these things to her.. And to keep from bursting into laughter on the occasion that his rough stubble did rub against her skin, tickling. When she’d try to cover herself, he’d raise up and lower her hands, shaking his head as he stared down at her. “Don’t do that, baby girl. I wanna see you. All of you .” 

 

He lowered himself again, going back to what he’d been doing. He hooked his arm beneath her thighs, pulling her cunt against his mouth. Grace’s breath caught in her throat as he gave 4 strokes of his tongue tracing an M into her folds. Her fingers dug into the comforter and his shoulder and she arched her hips upward, making him groan as he inhaled the scent of her as deep as he could. He stopped to stare up at her, note the expression of her face and the way her skin was slick with light sweat, the way her tits bounced with every little fidgeting move her body made. Taking a deep breath, he trailed his tongue in a circular motion, connecting the O just over her clit, then lazily trailing his tongue around the circular bundle of nerves as his fingers dipped into her dripping heat even deeper. “Oh.. Oh.. Mmm..”

 

“ Feel good, doll?”

“Oh.. Oh yeah..” Grace could feel her stomach fluttering lazily as a slow burning heat settled into the pit of it. Her body felt hot all over and yet somehow cool at the same time. As he trailed the X into her skin, his tongue joined his fingers deep in her cunt and she rocked her hips against his face, speeding up when he encouraged her to move faster, slowing down to let him breathe. His nose bumped against her pelvic mound at one point and she moaned quietly.

 

Mox could feel her nails really digging into his shoulders and it only drove him to plunge his tongue in and out faster. He stopped and stared up at her, licking his lips, making his way up her body and leaning down to conquer her mouth in a deep kiss. “Goddamn, kitten..” he mumbled into her mouth as she kissed back greedily. 

 

“Now, please?”

“Ya sure.”

“Mox, I need you.” she whimpered, an unabashed begging tone to her voice that had Mox both smirking and bucking himself against her, drawing a gasp. “Gonna have t’ go real slow.”

 

Grace nodded. Mox rose up, stepping away to tug down his jeans slowly. His boots were discarded and he kicked away his jeans. His boxers followed suit and Grace swallowed hard at the sheer size of him, blushing all over. 

 

“Ready for me, kitten? Because I can’t fuckin wait to bury my cock in you.” that gleam in his eye sent a pleasurable shiver all through her body and she found herself begging again as Mox settled himself on top of her, pulling her forward on the bed slightly. Grace hissed as he wrapped his hand around his cock, trailing it between her slit, teasing her with the tip. He sank into her slowly, not moving for a few seconds because he felt her tensing up. Their foreheads bumped when he went in for a kiss at the same time as she did and they both laughed quietly. “Ya good, doll?”

 

Her hips moving against his own in a desperate attempt to get him moving, had him smirking, chuckling into her skin as he dipped his mouth, trailing his tongue slowly over her nipples, staring up at her with a teasing smirk as he did so. She wrapped her legs around him and tried to use her heels to push him deeper inside and he groaned as he started to fuck into her slowly, carefully. Grace tensed as she felt the knot slipping into her, locking them together and her fingertips dug into his shoulders as her heels dug into his ass to drive him in even deeper. It felt so good. She barely realized that she was moaning as loudly as she was over being totally caught up in the moment, but each little moan Mox managed to coax from her had him smirking into her skin and her mouth, or digging his hands into her hips, arching them a little more so he could drive into her cunt even deeper.

 

Oh, he was going to make sure she remembered tonight vividly. This may not have been the scenario he’d have chosen, especially not given the weight of it all, but he was going to do his best to make it memorable for her.

 

“Mox, please.. Faster.”

“Ya sure, kitten?”

“Y-yes.” she managed to gasp as she bit into his neck and clung to him, her hips snapping to meet his with each thrust. 

 

He sped up, nearly bottoming out as a result. A quiet growl fell from his lips as he tried to control himself, slow down a little, peppering kisses along her collarbone and leaving little bite marks everywhere he could manage to do so. “Mine.. all mine. Ya feel so goddamn good wrapped around my cock, kitten.” he encouraged, barely managing to hide a pleased with himself smirk when she whimpered and moaned and she was so loud that he had a feeling anyone in the next room could plainly hear her. “Gonna cum for me again, hmm? C’mon.. Give it all to me.”

 

Her orgasm burst through her, leaving her limp and cllinging to him as he fucked into her harder, faster and deeper, kissing her tenderly all over her face. “Ready to feel me?”

 

“Oh… Oh fuck.. Yeah, Mox.. Wanna… feel you.”

“Anything ya want, doll. And I mean anything.” Mox grunted as he felt her walls really clench his cock, the remainder of her orgasm coating his length and driving him straight into his own orgasm. He pressed against her carefully, kissing her all over, touching her, staring down at her as he worked to wrap his head around everything that had taken place between them so far. His lips pressed against the fresh mate bite in the side of her neck and he worked on catching his breath, not bothering to pull himself out or untangle her body from his.

 

His hand rested against her forehead and he let out a deep breath when he realized that the fever she’d had earlier seemed to have vanished. And his own was gone as well. He collapsed against the mattress, spent, pulling her partially on top of him.

 

“We need to get up and order food.”

“I don’t wanna move.”

“Me either, kitten.” Mox muttered as he stifled a yawn and cuddled her against him, his eyes starting to get heavy from sleep.

Chapter Text

The shrill cry of her alarm barely registered to Sadie until it stopped. She sat up in bed, rubbing her eyes and stretching her arms over her head. The third snooze alarm started and Sadie sat there a few seconds, trying to process.. To get back into reality, if you will. 

The vivid -and yet distinctly vague, dream she’d been having for the better part of nearly 3 weeks now was hard to shake after awakening, she was used to that. What she wasn’t used to was the urgency the dream seemed to have lying beneath this time.

She could close her eyes and easily call it back to memory. Well, every part of it except for the groom/ father of the child she had by the end of the dream.. Because while the sights, sounds and even smells in the dream were all so vivid and bright… The groom in this scenario was not.

And just before she’d awoken, he’d been whispering something.

She couldn’t remember it now, to save her life. And this was bad because Sadie got the distinct feeling that whatever he’d been whispering was something she wanted to hear. What if it was important?

That thought had her laughing to herself and shaking her head as she slipped out of bed and ventured over to the window, the sheet wrapped around her body trailing behind her as she went. She pressed her hand to the cold pane of glass and peered out, up at the moonlit sky.

“It’s just a dream, nothin more. It’s probably dumb as hell, fixating on the damn thing like I’ve been doin.” her words came slow and soft, followed by the revelation as to why exactly she seemed to fixate on that dream the way she did.

Standing here in her grandma’s big 2 story farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere, staring up at the moon, she suddenly realized that whether she chose to acknowledge it or not, there was something lacking as of late. She felt restless again. Like she was sitting back and waiting, and while she did that her life passed her by.

Sure, she had a comfy life - she’d almost dare to venture way too easy. But as she stood there, staring up at the moon, several things were occurring to her all at once.

The biggest of these things was the fact that at 26, she’d never taken any actual risks. She’d never done anything on a whim. She’d never gone after anything she really wanted, deep down.

 Just like you let Adam get away… Seeing him on tv the other night really drove that home…

… you know it never would have worked, he’d be gone all the time…

… you won’t ever know, will you? Didn’t even attempt trying, you just panicked when he said he loved you  and instead of saying it back, you  broke it off… You were so damned afraid that it’d be like your mom and dad all over again that you panicked… And now, it’s probably too damn late…

The phone was ringing and she grabbed it off her nightstand, answering.

She winced as she heard her friends shouting at her.

“Guys, it’s like… Midnight.”

“Duh!” - Shayna was the one with the phone at the moment but in the background, Sadie could hear the rest of her friends in the background. “What the hell were you doing? Sleeping?” - Shayna asked the question and Claudia snatched the phone.

“You are not about to sleep. It’s too early! Come on, please?” 

She gave a quiet laugh and then sighed. She was about to try and beg off, - Mimi was politely pointing out to the others that maybe she was tired, but then the dream came rushing back… And with it came that feeling of… Something missing.

She didn’t want to lie in bed replaying both the dream and the last time she had actually seen Adam over in her head, so after a few seconds, just as Louisa was about to tell them to let her go back to sleep, that we all did have work in the morning, she spoke up.

“Give me ten.”

“You’re serious.”

“She’s bullshitting us again.”

“If you want to go to sleep it’s totally fine.”

She cut into the conversation going on between all of them and spoke up. “No, no.. I wanna come. I don’t know why I was makin such a big deal. I’ll be there in ten minutes. Wasn’t like I was going back to sleep anyway.”

Mimi had the phone now, a concerned tone to her voice as she asked what was wrong and if Sadie was really sure she wanted to come out. She heard Louisa and Claudia asking her in the background if everything was alright and she laughed quietly, catching sight of herself in the mirror over her bathroom sink. She grabbed her hairbrush as she listened to her friends talking, trying to drag whatever was wrong out of her and she loved them for it, but like… she couldn’t explain it, either.

Shayna was the one who guessed it. I don’t know how, because I’ve only mentioned this dream maybe twice.

“Is it that super realistic dream you keep having?”

“Among other things, yeah.” I answered as I slicked on deep red lipgloss. Cherry flavored. …. Adam always enjoyed this one when I wore it…

…It’s been four and a half months, Sadie…

… He’s obviously fine with things ending, because he didn’t try a single time to stop you from breaking it off with him.. He still hasn’t. It wasn’t like it was that long ago.

Again, the practical side of her brain was taking over and she scowled in frustration, the expression scrunching up her face and making her realize that she didn’t really smile that often, either.

“What other things?”

“It’s nothing, just… Like… Ever felt like something’s missing? Nevermind.”

“No, I know what you mean.”

Claudia had the phone now. “You could have moved in with Mimi and me when we asked, I mean if it’s a lonliness thing.”

Sadie gave a soft laugh and grabbed for her jacket and her keys. She realized about halfway out the door that she was wearing a pair of pajamas and a tank top and glancing back at the porch, she just… Decided she didn’t honestly give enough fucks about the way she looked to go back and change.

By the time she got to the little bar and grill we all hang out at most of the time, she was starting to relax a little. Not much, but enough.

By the time she was sitting down between Shayna and Louisa, stealing food off their plates when they weren’t looking -and were covertly arguing over the bouncer at this place that Louisa has a thing for and why Louisa won’t walk up and talk to the guy already, she had started to really realize that the dream was recurring for a reason.

She needed to do something.

She needed to fix the mistake she obviously made.She was not so sure why she knew it was Adam in her dreams, but she just knew.

Sadie didn’t have to see him, didn’t have to clearly be able to hear him speaking. she just had this intense gut feeling that the dream was about him -and it was fallout from the way she handled things back then. 

She must have zoned out, because Mimi was clearing her throat, eyeing her expectantly. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

“Yeah, yeah. Just like… Thinking.”

“About?” - her friends were all staring at her right now and man, did that make it hard to get out what she was trying to get out. She took a few more fries off of Shayna’s plate and dragged them through a milkshake sitting in front of me and after chewing thoughtfully, she sighed.

“That damn dream. Remember Adam?”

“Hold up… He’s the hot cowboy you were dating, right? The one who went on to start wrestling?”

She nodded. “That’d be him.”

Louisa eyed her, nodding. “Yeah, I remember him. What’s up?”

“He works with the competition now… For the company Sami’s wrestling with? Yeah.. One of the owners is being a completely clueless bag of dicks and it’s making Sami miserable… Has to do with a drop in their ratings and a rise in the other companies.” Shayna spoke up and Sadie laughed, nodding. “Yeah, I’ve been… Watching… Aew… Since I flipped past one night about two weeks ago and saw him on there..” she gave a sheepish shrug. 

“Get the fuck out. I thought you said you weren’t even remotely interested in pro wrestling. That was your excuse when Mimi and I tried to drag your ass to Vegas.” Claudia looked up from her snapchat conversation with Zak to stare right at me.

“I know what I said, but.. He’s so intense. I watched him in that ring and like.. I can’t explain it. I was… I was seeing all these little things I never noticed before. And I can’t stop thinking about it all.”

“Just say you’re thirsty.” Louisa was joking with her gently and Mimi snorted in laughter but then she went quiet, almost thoughtful. She instantly got this feeling she was plotting something.

Unfortunately, she had to piss, so she jumped up and excused herself to go to the bathroom.

XXX

“You guys remember Mox, right?”

“Yeah, that guy you met when you and Claudia went off to that Vegas show, right? Isn’t he a fighter too?” Louisa eyed Mimi and Mimi nodded, almost excitedly. “He is. And here’s the interesting part. Mox works with Adam.”

The bouncer made his way past and Louisa fanned herself with a menu, eyes following him intently as he moved towards the back of the club to break up a fight. After Shayna cleared her throat and nudged her, Louisa turned her focus back onto what Mimi seemed to be suggesting.

Mimi continued, “ When Claudia and Zak and I and the other guys were all in Vegas for that pay per view they were filming, I… Kinda spotted Adam backstage. I thought at first he was just there as a fan like we all were.”

“Did he say anything?” Shayna asked as she finished firing off a text to Sami, checking in to make sure he was okay. He wasn’t happy with the direction they seemed to be taking with his on screen persona lately, and while he did his best to hide it, pretend it didn’t bother him, Shayna knew better. She glanced up and Mimi shook her head no, reaching for her bottled water and taking a sip. 

“No, but.. He was talking to Mox right before Mox walked up to me and introduced himself and got that one really crazy drunken asshole away from me… So..”

“Yeah? Oh man…. Yeah, do it. Do it. I mean, if you’re thinking about doing what I think you’re thinking about doing…” Claudia looked up from snap chatting Zak to laugh and nod. “Either you do it or I’ll drive her to the arena they’re at next and leave her there.”

“Hard same. I’ve always kind of figured that she didn’t really want to break things off with Adam, but you know how weird she can be with big decisions. She was a lot happier.”

Louisa spoke up, tearing her eyes away from the bouncer. He’d gotten close enough to read the tag on his shirt this time. His name was Braun, she filed it away for later. Maybe she was considering just going for it and making some kind of attempt to talk to the guy.

She had to do something.

To take her mind off of it, she forced herself to focus on the conversation taking place between her friends at the moment. “You guys do realize she will never.. Never.. Ever… even consider the possibility that there’s still a chance. That we’re gonna have to essentially coax her into doing anything about this whole thing. But we all know it’s eating her up inside.”

“She can say it’s not, but it totally is. The entire blind date Zak and I set her up on, she was all mopey and shit. She’s been all mopey and shit for a while now.”

“She has. She tries to hide it, but she’s not very good at it?” Mimi laughed quietly and nodded towards the area in the bar the bathrooms were located at. “I’m gonna text Mox.. I think I know exactly how to go about doing this…”

“Remember, she cannot have one single clue we’re up to something. Otherwise, she’ll hide in that damn house and we’ll NEVER get her out. I swear, she’s a hermit.”

Mimi texted Mox, explaining the situation as best as she could in short sentences. Mox wound up calling her because to quote him, “Can’t text to save my fuckin life, got no interest in learnin. I’d rather hear someone’s voice.” so Mimi stood and walked out, making sure she was by herself once she got outside.

“You know that guy you’re working with? Adam?”

“Yeah, Hangman. Guy’s always slappin my fuckin ass. Why?” Mox sounded worried, maybe even a little jealous. Mimi bit her lip and quickly reassured him and then she explained the situation, Mox chuckling and pacing, she could hear his footsteps echoing.

“I’ll talk to him.”

“Are you sure?”

“Course I’m sure, baby girl. I can tell it means a lot to ya.”

“It’s not just that.. I have this feeling about those two.”

“Anything you want me to do, kitten.”

Inside the bar, Louisa stood, taking a deep breath. She made her way past where Sadie stood in line, ordering herself a drink and she nudged her friend. 

“Wish me luck.”

“Whoa, what?”

“I’m going to fucking do it. Tonight is the night I talk to him.”

Sadie followed her friends intent gaze and she let out a low whistle, smiling. “You better, or I’m totally shoving you two into a back room and leaning against the door.”

“You wouldn’t dare.”

“Oh, I think I would.”

“Oh, so you can meddle, but we can’t? That’s not really fair.”

“Louie… The longer you stand here, arguing the unfairness of the whole thing with me, the less time you’re gonna get to go over. It’s just a word. All you have to do is say Hi.” Sadie insisted, more or less trying to wiggle her own way off of the hook. She let out a deep breath when it seemed to work and burst into giggles when the bouncer Louisa was currently planning to go over and talk to seemed to have the same idea.

“I’m gonna go steal more food. You.. Talk to him.” Sadie nodded to just behind her friend and Louisa turned, finding herself body to body with the giant of a man. He gave this smirk and nodded to the dance floor, leaning in.

“I don’t do this often but.. You wanna dance?”

“I don’t dance with strangers sir, so maybe if you introduce yourself…” Louisa teased gently, moving a little closer, staring up at him. “I’m Louisa.”

“Name’s Braun. I’ve seen you around. Every time I think I’m gonna get to talk to ya, those goddamn idiots from that frat house two blocks over start fightin.” Braun chuckled, the sound booming. Louisa swallowed hard and nodded, smiling. Her heart was racing a little.

Shayna watched Braun leading Louisa out onto the floor and laughed softly to herself. “Finally. It’s about fucking time.” 

“What’s that?” Sami asked, falling back against the bed in his hotel room, the phone resting between his ear and shoulder.

“That guy. The bouncer from the sports bar I bought you to meet most of my friends? The one Louisa is really, really, really into? He just asked Louisa to dance.”

Sami chuckled and then sighed. “I’d really rather be there with you right now.”

“I know, babe. I know. But I promise.. This weekend, I get on a flight. And I am all yours for the next week. No distractions.”

Sami smiled, raising to sit, grabbing the remote, then deciding against the television. He rubbed his chin and mumbled thoughtfully, “So I have you all to myself, hmm?”

“Mhmm. And we can do anything you want.”

“Oh really, now.. Anything? Because you realize that’s a blanket statement, yeah?”

“Oh, trust me. I’m well aware.” Shayna scanned the bar, searching for Sadie and Claudia, finding Sadie leaning against a wood column with a beer sitting on the rail by her hip and a poolstick leaned against her body. 

Claudia was sitting a few booths away, snapchatting with Zak.

“Find any ghosts yet?”

“This place is a bust. The only thing scary about it so far is the raccoon that ran out when Aaron kicked in the door. It’s probably condemned.” Zak chuckled. “Are you upside down?”

“Yeah. I’m trying to spread so we don’t lose our booth like the last time. Everybody just kinda scattered. Oh.. News.. Guess who actually left her house tonight?”

“Sadie actually came out with you guys? Ya know, if she weren’t so hung up on that guy Adam or whatever…”

“Zak, no.”

“I’m just saying, she and Nick were really hitting it off when we all went out to that abandoned house last time I came to town to film.” Zak shrugged and Claudia nodded. “They were, but I honestly believe Adam was just it for her. Still makes zero sense, why she broke up with the guy.”

“Probably cold feet. She seemed real skittish when we were all hanging out.. Remember? Nick tried giving her his coat, she politely declined. Then when he put his arm around the back of the booth behind her, she sat up? Yeah.”

“I felt so bad for Nick. He’s a sweet guy.”

“Nick’s a dumbass.”

“Well, that too, but I mean. He was really pouring it on that night and it was like Sadie wasn’t having it. And she told me the next day that if it weren’t for her mind being elsewhere, she’d have had a great time.” Claudia shook her head and rose to sit up, eventually standing. “In other news.. I may have gotten permission..”

“Fucking seriously? How? I thought that guy.. Your neighbor, I mean. I thought she was hell bent on not allowing anyone to investigate that property?”

“Power of persuasion.”

“Babe…”

“Thank me later, Bagans.”

“Oh, I intend to.”

“Color me curious.” Claudia started to say as she walked over, tapping her friend Sadie on the shoulder.

“Wanna play against me?”

“How about winner plays?”

Claudia eyed Shayna and then the table. “Well shit.. Sure, why not.”

“Oh, c’mon, don’t pout! You won four games last time.” Shayna pouted as she said it, ending in a laugh. Sadie flipped them both off and muttered something about having an off night.

“Damn right I did.” Claudia laughed and grabbed for a poolstick, chalking the tip.

“So, Sadie… Back to what you obviously think we’ve all forgotten.. What is it about that dream that keeps bothering you?”

“Damn it. I was hoping y’all forgot.” Sadie sighed and then rubbed her temple and let her eyes scan the table for a potential shot. “I’m calling the 9. Middle left pocket.”

“Not unless you’ve got Jedi powers.”

“You’re about to get fucked over.”

“Don’t hit too hard, otherwise it’s gonna bounce right back out of the pocket.”

“Ladies? Can I shoot or no?” Sadie teased her friends, taking a sip of her drink and bending, aiming the pool stick at the cue. She grumbled and flipped off the table when the cue followed the 9 ball right into the pocket. 

“Okay, alright, fine.. In the dream, I’m getting married. And while I can’t see who it is… I just.. I’ve been thinking a lot about how bad I screwed the whole thing with Adam up… And… I don’t know,” Sadie took another sip and fidgeted with the bottle after sitting it down, finally making herself say it out loud. “I think the dream I’ve always had has been about Adam. And that night, when I ended things… It wasn’t what I wanted to do at all. I panicked.”

“Okay, so… What are you going to do to fix it?”

“Oh nothing, not a damn thing. Obviously he’s fine with it? I mean it’s been over four months now and I haven’t heard a word out of him….” Sadie dragged her fingers through her hair and raising her beer to her lips, she took a few long sips to finish it off. 

Her cell phone buzzed, making her jump and she took it out, for a second, she found herself hoping against hope that it’d be him but..

It was work.

“And apparently, I’ve gotta go into the station. I’m really really really regretting the decision to work Forensics, y’all. It’s gonna be another long night.”

As she went to walk out the door, Mimi stopped her. “Maybe it’s not too late to fix things. You never know.”

Sadie eyed her friend and after hugging them all goodbye, she grabbed her coat and set off for the station she worked at. And the entire time she was processing the scene she’d gotten called to, she kept thinking about everything.

By the time she was preparing to leave the station, she’d tried at least six different times to put it out of her head once and for all, he’d looked really happy on television and he was doing what he loved. What if her breaking things off that night was better?

It didn’t feel like it though.

XXX

Her number was still in his phone. Tonight, he tried again to delete it, just because Kenny suggested that maybe if he weren’t going to do something, make some attempt to reach out, then maybe he just needed to let go.. He had the number highlighted, his finger hovering over delete and then those dreams came rushing back to him.

“Damn it.” Adam launched the phone and it settled onto the floor of the hallway after bouncing off the wall. Mox picked it up, stifling a laugh, fixing his gaze on the other man and raising his brow.

“That upset about the outcome of the match?”

“No, it’s not that.” Adam didn’t even really intend to blurt it out, but he did. And once he’d blurted that part out, the rest came flowing out as well. Mox stood there, torn between mildly uncomfortable at the way Adam was just spilling his guts and partially amused.

He smirked to himself. Maybe what he promised his girlfriend Mimi he’d attempt doing wasn’t gonna be so hard to do after all.

Might even be as easy as taking candy from a baby. Or that goddamn skateboard from Darby.

Either way, he saw an opening, and ever the opportunist, he took it. He grabbed a chair, straddling it so that the chair’s back pressed into his chest and he just sat there, letting Adam go on and on.

It wasn’t like the guy.

By the end, Mox had his opening and then he spoke up. “What if I told ya there might still be a chance to fix things?”

 this would be even better than what Mimi suggested. If he could just talk the damn guy into going to the girl Mimi had been telling him about earlier…. He could tell Adam wanted to…

Adam eyed Mox. He couldn’t tell whether Mox was being serious and knew something he didn’t or whether the guy was just trying to suggest something, either way, he shook his head, took a deep breath.

“I’d think she made it real clear that night how she felt about us. I told her I loved her and she got this look of terror on her face then she suddenly has to leave? Not seeing how I could do anything. I just know it’s driving me fuckin insane because I swear it’s her I’m dreamin about.”

Mox didn’t know or care to know what he was referring to, frankly, it wasn’t his business. But, Adam apparently needed to get all this out.

“I’m sorry, shit.” Mox shrugged as he said it, and Adam coughed, nodding. The tension settled in as the two went quiet and Adam spoke up again. “What makes you think there’s a chance to fix things… I mean… You sounded pretty convinced.”

“My girlfriend’s best friends with her. Said that it’s been real rough on her too. Or somethin like that.”

“Whoa, what?”

“You fuckin heard me, Hangman. My girlfriend knows her. And maybe my girlfriend was mentioning the fact that this chick is tearin herself up over endin it now. Or somethin like that. Look, all I know is it’d take nothin to fix the whole thing. But from what Mimi’s told me, you’re gonna have to be the one to do it.”

Adam shook his head. From where he stood, what would the point be? She was the one who broke things off. He’d just been leaving her alone, letting her have her space, throwing himself into competing, traveling and doing whatever he could not to think about just how much he fucking missed her.

… Pride, man… Pride is what’s gonna cost you… Either you lose your pride or you keep it and let her go completely…

After dropping that bombshell, Mox stood and stretched. “Just do somethin, man. Because ya head ain’t in it lately. And ya got shit to get done.”

Adam eyed him, a brow raised. 

“I don’t wanna wrestle against ya when ya not in it. Ain’t safe for you or me, man. I don’t give a fuck what you do but fuck… Do somethin.” Mox walked off and Adam stared at his phone again.

“Maybe he’s right…”

XXX

It had been one hell of a Monday. All Sadie really wanted to do by the time she finally left the lab was go home, soak in a long hot bath and crawl into bed and sleep for her next two days off.

The cat brushed against her legs as soon as she opened the doors and she bent, picking it up. “Hey Sir Mew.”

The cat purred, nuzzling against her. 

“I know man. Mom had a real long day. Let’s get you food, hm?” Sadie flipped on the lights and started to walk towards the kitchen, getting her cat his food. She turned on some music and opened her fridge, wrinkling her nose at the contents - or lack thereof, that it held.

“There is… Literally nothin here I wanna eat.” she grimaced as she caught sight of a Chinese takeout carton that had to have been in the fridge at least a week now. Grabbing it, she tossed it in the garbage.

She was just about to grab her keys and head back out, to a diner a few blocks over, but her cellphone started to ring and someone was knocking on the door.

She looked back and forth between the two, trying to decide which to answer first. Finally, she answered the call and started to walk towards the door.

“Oh my god. Oh my god, oh my god, guess who called me.” Louisa was breathless on the other end of the line, and Sadie gave a soft laugh as she reached for the door handle.

“I told you he’d..” but as soon as she had the door open and saw who was standing there, her words trailed off.

“Hey, did you hang up? I’m gonna come over tomorrow and raid your closet.” 

“That’s a great idea! Hey, Louie?”

“What’s wrong, Sadie Lynn…” Louisa raised a brow at her friend’s suddenly spaced out tone of voice. Sadie’s answer was enough to put her at ease.

“It’s… Adam is here.”

“I’ll call you back later, girl. Talk to him!”

“I.. Yeah.. Okay.” 

Adam raked his hand through his hair, sizing her up as he stared down at her. The last 20 odd hours were a blur of him leaving the hotel where the show had been stopped, driving here with maybe a few hours sleep caught in an empty parking lot here and there. He didn’t know what he was in for, all he knew was that one of them had to fight.

 Mox better not be lyin or I swear to fuck…. He was starting to get paranoid because she was standing there in front of him, not saying anything. … Why isn’t she sayin something?…. I knew this was a bad….  The thought was driven out of his mind when she suddenly stepped closer. Much closer.

“You’re… I thought you were on the road… You’re missing a show…” Sadie’s words came so fast she nearly stumbled over them and Adam chuckled, shaking his head no. He stepped closer, cautiously.

He figured that par for the course in their not so distant past, he’d have to make the first actual move or be the one to say it, so it surprised the hell out of him when he found himself shoved against the door frame and her molding against him.

“Sadie?”

“ I never should have let you go.” She muttered it quietly, shaking her head as she looked up at him nervously. Trying to work up the nerve to do something.

To kiss him.

Seeing him standing on her porch only drove home just how much she really missed him.

When she grabbed hold of his black tee shirt and started to use it to pull his mouth down to her own, the weirdest thing happened. Every single frame from the recurring dream she’d been having for a while now suddenly played back in total vivid clarity in her mind and it was enough to leave her gasping as she saw the blank spaces and blurry images filling themselves in.

Adam groaned, not wasting any time grabbing her ass and pulling her up his body, meeting her mouth with his own. “It was you. I knew it.” maybe one of them mumbled it, maybe both… The words were swallowed up by teeth nipping at lips, by tongues clashing hungrily, almost desperately. Her hand raised and she dragged it through his hair, tugging, causing him to grip her tighter and growl quietly.

“I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry..”

“Shh.. It’s okay, darlin. Everything is gonna be just fine now. I promise. Ain’t lettin you go again, I swear.”

“I hope not. It’s been hell.”

“It has for me too. Trust me on that.”

Chapter Text

Catherine was pacing the hallway when Drew stepped through the curtain post match. He chuckled to himself quietly and wandered over, just about to tap her shoulder and ask if something was wrong when she realized he was standing behind her and jumped a little, placing her hand over her heart.

 

“Is everything okay?” Drew eyed his girlfriend in concern and reached out, carefully tucking a long red strand of hair behind her ear so that it was out of her eyes. Catherine bit her lip and nodded, but Drew wasn’t quite convinced. She looked like she had something on her mind.

 

She seemed like she was a million miles away a lot lately, if he had to be perfectly honest with himself and thinking about it had him a little worried. Was she wanting to break up? Had he done something wrong?

 

He took a deep breath, focused on the present and not what seemed to stay nagging in the corners of his mind lately.

 

“Everything is fine, I mean it.” Catherine stepped a little closer, stared up at him as she tried to reconcile herself with the fact that Drew was a perfect gentleman and the perfect boyfriend.

 

But seeing him unleash a certain animalistic side of himself whenever he had a match left her with… Certain curiosities where he was concerned. And given their relationship still being fairly new, she tried her best not to let her mind wander down that road yet.

 

If she tried to cross a line and he wasn’t ready, she was about half afraid she’d mess things up between them and that wasn’t what she wanted.

 

Oh but you know exactly what you really want, the problem is asking for it… It shouldn’t be this hard just to tell a guy you want him to pound you nine ways to Sunday … 

… On the other hand, this isn’t just any guy… and I don’t want to make a mess of it…

 

Drew rubbed his chin in thought, staring down at her while she rummaged through her purse for her ringing cell phone. Every single thing about her, from her posturing to the way she was a little shaky handed, to even the way she managed to drop her phone back into her purse three different times spelled out tension.

 

He stopped her, making her look up at him. 

“Hey, what’s really going on, huh?” his finger tucked beneath her chin to tilt her head up. Whatever was going on, it had her more than a little flustered, because the sight of slightly pink cheeks greeted him. He raised his hand to her forehead to feel it.

No sign of a fever or anything that might indicate that she just wasn’t well. She started to try and look down again and he stopped her, making her look directly at him instead.

 

“Hey, c’mon. Tell me what’s going on? What’s got you flustered, hm?”

 

… Oh boy, you don’t know what you’re asking right now…

… jesus, Catherine, just tell him, holy shit… the worst he can do is laugh and then politely remind you that you two are still getting used to each other… or break it off with you…

 

Catherine took a deep breath and she honestly intended to tell Drew what was going on, why she was so tense and jittery lately, but instead, something entirely different came out.

 

“ Well, there’s this Halloween party… I know you don’t like those things…”

 

Drew nodded, leaning in a little. “Mhm?” he said, waiting patiently on her to continue. She seemed to be having a lot of trouble even getting this out. Given that she was notoriously skittish and nearly every bit as reserved as he made himself seem to be for her sake… It wasn’t a surprise that she was having trouble. Drew wished it wasn’t the case, but it was.

 

“ I just.. I really wanted to go?” Catherine added the last hopefully as she gazed up at Drew. Drew rubbed his chin, pretending to give it more thought. Really, he already knew he’d say yes.

 

Her face started to fall, and he stepped closer, gingerly slipping an arm around her. She bit her lip and he’d almost swear that if he didn’t know any better, he heard her whimper.

 

He cleared his throat to keep himself focused on their conversation and less on just how her little whimpers and the way she bit her lip, the way she practically squirmed at each touch was… A huge turn on for him. The less he thought about that, the less distracted he’d be. He nodded. “I see.. And is that the only thing that’s bothering you, princess? You know you can tell me anything, right?”

 

… Oh boy… except for this… because I don’t really know how… Catherine thought to herself as she leaned into him a little, feeling him relax slightly. She took a deep breath and looked him dead in the eyes and nodded, giving a sweet -and hopefully convincing, smile. “Uh huh. I know, Drew. That’s it, I promise…”

 

Drew nodded, staring at her a few seconds, trying to shake the feeling that no, she hadn’t just told him everything on her mind, far from it.

 

But they were still so new, still adjusting to each other. Trying to get comfortable.. He smiled to himself when he felt her shrinking into his side as the hallway grew more crowded. Nodding to catering, he asked her if she’d eaten anything yet.

 

She shook her head and he frowned at her in concern.

 

“I was waiting on the crowd to kinda die down first?”

Drew nodded. She wasn’t a really big fan of crowds at all. That’s why her wanting to go to a crowded Halloween party being thrown at some cabin in the middle of nowhere was kind of a surprise to him.

 

But she wanted to go.

 

They started to walk towards catering, Catherine telling him about the Halloween party and the cabin it was being held in overnight as they did. Something clicked between the hallway and Catering and Drew got the distinct impression that her asking about the overnight party and if he’d go with her, was the prelude to.. Something much bigger.

 

Something that despite his best efforts not to think about it, it had been on his mind non stop.

 

Catherine barely restrained a quiet whimper when she felt his palm against her back, rubbing carefully just beneath her tee shirt. She wanted to kick herself the second she caught herself about to whimper. She glanced up at Drew and he flashed this sort of thoughtful grin at her. Now he looked as if he were in deep thought.

 

As they wandered through the line, Drew asked about the party. If they needed costumes and the like… If she really wanted to go.

 

“I’d like to, yeah. According to Bayley, everyone will have their own room in the cabin…”

 

“I see.”

 

“But…” - don’t chicken out!

“But?” Drew eyed Catherine, waiting on her to finish what she’d been about to say. After what felt like far too long, she finally got it out.

 

“I thought… Maybe we could share a room? I mean, unless you don’t want to. Forget it, that was stupid, I don’t know why I blurted that out..” Drew placed his finger against her lips to stop her from saying anything else and he chuckled, leaning in just a smidge closer. Her back was against the wall now. Their bodies sort of pressed lightly against each other. “I’d like that a lot. See? That wasn’t so hard now, was it?”

 

“N-no.. I just.. Didn’t want to overstep any boundaries.”

“You haven’t at all.”

 

…. She’s definitely hinting… I’d have to be blind as hell not to see it… Drew thought to himself as he took a few seconds to focus himself, because just the prospect that she too might want to take things to a more intimate level, well.. It pleasantly surprised him. He’d been worried that her mood lately was because she was trying to politely distance herself. 

 

“Are you sure?”

“Oh, I’m more than sure, princess. I mean that.” Drew reassured her. From behind them, a throat cleared and Drew lead Catherine to a seat further back in Catering away  from everyone else.

 

Rather than sitting opposite her, like usual, he opted to sit beside her instead, sprawling out in the chair slightly, almost lazily leaning against her.

 

“So… if we’re going to this party… what should our costumes be?”

 

“I don’t know.. I mean I thought it’d be kinda neat to go as like… a mobster and like… his girlfriend the burlesque dancer? Even though the costume that I saw was… Kinda well.. You know..”

 

Drew swallowed hard. He didn’t really ‘know’, but he had a vague idea. And his part of the costume was fairly easy, he owned a lot of suits.

 

Drew chuckled. It was cute the way she seemed to get so easily flustered sometimes. He leaned in a little and wiped at a droplet of ketchup next to her mouth, maybe letting his touch linger just a few seconds, his thumb on her lower lip. She swallowed hard and then he heard it again, that noise, the cute little almost whimper she seemed to make every single time he touched her.

 

“I like that. I can just wear one of my suits?”

Catherine giggled, nodding. “Well, there is that new black one..”

 

“You like that one, hm?” he leaned in a little, placing his hand over her hand on the tabletop. His mouth was right next to her ear, he was sitting as close as possible, and it still didn’t feel to be close enough for his personal liking.

 

But he was trying to stay professional. He was also trying not to do too much and too fast. After all, she was definitely skittish. He didn’t want to push - or seem as if he was trying to .

 

From above, Bayley’s throat clearing sent the two springing apart and she gave a knowing smirk and a laugh. “You two are so cute. Catherine, are you coming up to the cabins? We’re all thinking of heading up after the show since it’s not that far..”

 

“Actually, yeah.” Drew spoke up, adding quickly, “It is okay if I come too?”

 

“Of course! I told Cat to invite you too.” 

“We’re gonna share a room.” - as soon as Catherine heard herself blurt it out, she wanted to punch herself in the throat. She went quiet and Bayley smiled. “I was actually gonna ask if you two wouldn’t mind doing that. There are a lot more people intending to show up than I thought?”

 

Drew could sort of tell she was flustered and the thought had him smiling to himself. When his hand found her thigh beneath the table, Catherine sat up bolt straight and barely managed to keep a straight face. His fingers were lightly squeezing, rubbing a little as if to soothe her nerves and she bit the inside of her cheeks as she felt the urge to clench her thighs tight.

 

Drew heard the little sharp exhale and he smirked to himself a little bit. She seemed to lean against him a little, the tension leaving her petite frame and he took advantage of this to whisper in her ear almost innocently, “Everything okay, princess?”

 

“Everything is fine.” her words came out so fast she almost tripped over them. She looked up at him, a brow raised as she studied him while he wasn’t paying attention, instead, talking to Bayley and a few others.

 

Was he… up to something?

 

She got this distinct feeling that yeah…. He was.

 


 

 

The drive to the cabin had been pretty quiet. Catherine had dozed off in the passenger seat. It gave Drew some much needed time to think. To sort of plan things out as it were.

 

He was at least 99 percent sure she was hinting at wanting to take things between them to another level, in the best way she could, the way she was most comfortable with. If he didn’t know her so well by this point, he’d never have figured it out.

 

He was so excited that his body felt full of pins and needles. At a red light, he glanced over at her and he carefully leaned across the seats, adjusting her so that she didn’t wake up with a neck cramp.

 

He brushed his lips against her temple before pulling away, and he found himself drifting back into plan mode.

 

He had to approach this carefully.

 

Thing of it was, he was dying to take things to the next level and get more serious with her. He wasn’t stupid, he knew he loved her and that she was pretty much it for him.

 

He just didn’t want to force things.

 

The dirt road to turn off into the area of the lake where the cabins were came into view and Drew cleared his throat as Catherine sat up, rubbing her eyes and stretching. He pulled their car to a stop next to Tony Nese and Cesaro and a few of the others who had ridden together.

 

“I can’t believe Tony came as the fucking tiger from the cereal.” Drew nearly snorted in laughter as he caught sight of Tony’s costume.

“What is Cesaro supposed to be?” Catherine asked, a brow raised before turning her attention to grabbing her suitcase and messenger bag.

“James Bond, I think.”  Drew answered as he killed the engine to their car and got out, going around to open her door and grabbing her messenger bag, asking with a raised brow, “You’re going to work?”

 

“Not if I can help it. I just don’t like leaving my laptop in a car or anything. I’ve had one get stolen like that, remember?”

 

“Yeah, I remember, you told me it happened at Wrestlemania this year, when you were waiting to change flights.” Drew answered as he slipped his arm around her. Tony and the others made their way over and Tony gave a low whistle that had Drew glaring at him ever so slightly.

 

“That is one hell of a costume, Catherine.” Tony winked and turned his attention to Drew as he asked pointedly, “Where the hell is your costume, huh?”

 

“I’m wearing it.”

“No, you’re dressed like always, dork.”

 

“Actually, he is wearing it. If you’d actually paid attention, you’d have seen the fake tommy gun.” Catherine spoke up, anxious to keep anything from starting between the two.

 

Plus, the way Tony tended to flirt shamelessly with her whenever Drew was standing literally right there… It made her uncomfortable and got irritating.

 

Drew smirked at Tony and Tony looked from Drew to Catherine, almost as if he were about to say something. But Drew gave a quick glare and Tony grumbled, hastily retreating.

 

Drew pulled Catherine against his side and smiled down at her, nodding towards the campfire that was being started by a few of the others. “We should probably go over and get warm, huh?”

 

“Yeah.”

He saw her shiver a little, so he draped the jacket to his suit over her shoulders. As he did this, he noticed her eyes roaming. Almost carefully, like she was trying to be sneaky with it.

 

“I think you’d better stay close to me.” Drew mumbled against her skin before stepping away, the two of them making their way over to the fireside. On a whim, when Catherine went to simply sit beside him, he grabbed her hips and guided her down into his lap.

 

Catherine didn’t manage to restrain her quiet whimper this time and Drew snugged himself against her, his arms slipping around her. “This is okay, right?” he asked in a whisper.

 

“Y-yeah. Totally.”

 

If her thighs were clenched any tighter, they’d really be aching. When she felt his beard graze against her skin, she sucked in a sharp breath. Drew shifted her around in his lap and then asked her if she wanted something to drink.

 

“Hot cocoa, yeah. I’ll… go get that right now.” Catherine shot up out of his lap, she just… needed a minute or two to collect herself.

Drew eyed her and as she stood, he did too. They made their way over to the hot cocoa being passed out and lightly, he pressed against her from behind just a little bit more than he normally would in a public situation.

 

“Everything okay, Catherine?”

“Yeah, yeah. Everything is great.” again, her words came so fast she stumbled over them slightly. Drew moved to stand in front of her and stared down at her intently.

“If you’d rather sit somewhere else…” he said it in a rush this time, because he was afraid he may well have just gone overboard, come on too strong.

 

Catherine remembered the talk she’d had earlier with Asuka and Kairi. Rather, the two of them telling her to ‘get a grip’ and ‘make a move’, reminding her that it was a new age and women made the first move all the time.

 

But Drew seemed to be beating her to the punch.

And if you don’t step up soon, he’s gonna think you don’t want him being more affectionate… and that’s the last thing you want, Catherine thought to herself as she took a few deep breaths and tried to pull herself together before she made this an unholy awkward mess. 

 

It was ridiculous. They were both adults. If she wanted things to get more serious and more intimate… She was going to have to act like it. Show him that she liked it when he did these things.

 

Because god yes, she did. She loved every second.

 

She wanted so much more and it was starting to drive her crazy, keeping it in.

 

His hand skimmed her side, lightly squeezing her hips as he held her in place. Catherine swallowed hard, tried to catch her breath and for the love of fuck, pull herself together.

 

for the love of fuck, do something… this is… more than he typically does as far as public affection

 

And so, she decided to at least try.

 

After all, he was initiating, so obviously, he was fine with more touching.

 

She raised her hand, gripping the lapel on his suit jacket, pressing against him. Drew gulped and inhaled deep. His heart was literally pounding away at his rib cage as if it was going to burst through. He stared her down, chuckling quietly. 

 

One of them needed to address the situation. Taking a deep breath, Drew cleared his throat and mumbled quietly, “Something has been wrong lately, hasn’t it, princess? And I think I know exactly what it is.” he trailed his fingers over the lacing at the neckline of her costume lazily as he gave her a long and intent stare. She was blushing again, her mouth opening and closing as if she were trying desperately to say something in response.

 

“It’s okay. I think I get it.”

god I hope so … Catherine thought to herself as she managed to mumble the word “Yeah?” and tilted her head slightly, looking up at him.

 

god I hope I’m not totally wrong or way off base… I can’t be, she’s… Responding to everything I’ve done so far … “Yeah.” Drew toyed with the skinny ties at the neckline of her dress, mostly just to give himself something else to focus on.

 

Because whether he seemed it or not, he was currently nervous as hell. This was really risky. It could go totally wrong or it could go perfectly right. It was the biggest risk Drew had taken in a while.

 

“O-okay..” Catherine went quiet and Drew pulled her a little closer, muttering quietly. “And if I’m right. I really think we’re on the same page, princess.” he fixed his eyes on her, licking his lips slowly.

 

Catherine clenched her thighs tighter. Just going by the look in his eyes right now, she got the distinct feeling that they were on the same page. Knowing this relieved her. She no longer had to worry about just how to go about asking for or voicing what she wanted.

 

“What do you think, hm?” Drew gasped a little when she stepped closer, gingerly sort of rubbing her body against his. She swallowed hard, staring up at him.

 

“I think so too.”

He beamed when she said it, for a split second, hints of that goofy side peeking through. It made her smile too and she gave a soft laugh while feeling all the tension just seem to disappear. She cozied up and Drew nodded to the fire. “Did you still want hot chocolate, or would you rather go back and sit down?”

 

“Oh, I still want hot cocoa…”

 

Drew poured them both a mug and held hers out to her. “You like a lot of marshmellows, I remembered.”

 

Catherine giggled, taking her cup and taking a sip as they walked back over to the fire. Drew pulled her into his lap all over again so that she was sort of sitting on one of his thighs. His hand rested on her thigh, fingers lazily trailing over the fishnet stockings covering her legs as they attempted to listen to Sasha telling a ghost story.

 

About halfway in, when she shifted her sitting position, Drew groaned as a quiet warning. But when she did it again, he squeezed her and muttered against her ear, “If you don’t stop that princess… I won’t be able to control what I do as a result.”

 

“Is that a promise?” - she said it before she even realized it and Drew gave a low and dark chuckle at her question. “We really are on the same page. Interesting.”

 

Catherine turned in his lap to face him. Drew positioned her so that she was sitting on his thigh again and wrapped his arms around her after sitting down the mug of hot chocolate. Catherine took a sip of her own and sat it down on the ground beside his. She was staring intently at his lips and he leaned in just a little, mostly as a tease. When she leaned in too, he smirked a little, backing up just a hair. Catherine pouted and muttered quietly, “That’s not very fair.”

 

“You’re absolutely right, princess.” Drew leaned in closer, trailing his fingertip over her lower lip, feeling it quiver as he did so. She whimpered quietly and when he gripped her hips, guiding her so that she rubbed against his thigh, Catherine bit her lip and with little further enticement, she started to rub against his thigh. It did nothing to dull the throbbing between her thighs, but she felt herself starting to really get wet.

 

“Only children would be scared by these stories. Wanna go inside?” Drew muttered lazily against her mouth as she nodded eagerly. He stood, Catherine wrapped around his body, not bothering to care how it might look to the others, focused only on what they both seemed to want to happen. 

 

As they started towards the cabin, Tony called out to them and Drew muttered to Catherine quietly, “Ignore him. He’s a moron.”

 

“Oh, trust me. I realize this.” Catherine answered, grazing her lips against the side of his neck. Drew sucked in a sharp breath and stopped on the porch of their little cabin, digging for the key Sasha and Bayley had given them when they arrived. But it was kind of hard to focus on finding the key when he was holding her, dancing his lips right down the side of her neck, daring to leave the tiniest of bite marks faintly visible.

She gripped his shoulder, digging her nails in as her legs squeezed his hips. The end result was her rubbing right against his cock and he groaned at the way it felt. He finally managed to get the key out of his pocket and unlocked the door. He stepped into the cabin and spotting the nearest flat surface, he sat Catherine on top of it. “I believe we were right about here, hmm?” he slipped his hand between her thighs and her back arched as she gave a quiet hiss of pleasure and started to attempt peeling off his suit jacket.

 

Drew stopped her, stepping back and shaking his head. Catherine raised a brow, gulping. He rubbed his chin and chuckled darkly as he stared at her, undressing her with his eyes.

 

“You just have one little thing wrong, princess… I’m in charge here. I’m going to be the one making you feel good. Understood?” 

He was standing closer to her again, waiting on her to give an indication that she understood. Catherine bit her lip, nodding as she stared up at him. Drew stepped back between her legs and he muttered calmly, “Let’s try this again, hm?”

 

This time, as the palm of his hand rubbed right against her dripping cunt, he groaned into her mouth, rubbing harder. “So wet for me already.”

 

Her head fell back and she rocked herself against his hand. His fingers brushed delicate dripping lace to the side and grazed over her slit, circling her clit, making her bite her lip. “Oh… Drew..”

 

It was starting to sink in.. All her little whimpers and moans in the past.. They all were for a very distinct reason and as that reason formed in Drew’s mind, he decided that naturally, he had to test his theory.

 

Oh, this was going to be so much fun for him.

 

He stopped all movement of his fingers and gazed down at her, biting his lip. “Do you trust me, princess?”

 

“ I do.” she replied without hesitation. He gave that crooked smirk that she often saw him get during a match whenever he was just about to unleash the side of himself that secretly drove her wild with desire. 

 

“That’s good to know.” Drew loosened his tie, taking it off. For the time being, he set it to the side and fixed his eyes on her again, sliding her off the top of the dresser after glancing over his shoulder to the bed nearby. Catherine whimpered at the look in his eyes, swallowing hard.

 

Had she just unleashed something?

Somehow, yeah.. She got the feeling that she definitely had….



Drew picked her up, stepping over to the bed and gently he tossed her down onto the mattress. He grabbed the tie from the dresser and Catherine rose up, propped on her elbows, watching him, curious as to what he was about to do.

 

Drew turned to face her, pacing as he mulled it over. He chuckled and approached the bed. “This is just to make sure you remember that tonight is about me making you feel good, princess. Let me know if it’s too tight.”

 

“What’s too tight?” Catherine barely got the question out as Drew was bending down. She realized that he’d taken off the belt to his pants and she squirmed in anticipation.

 

This… This was exactly what she’d been hoping would happen. She wanted so badly for him to just let go, to unleash that other side of himself that she had the feeling he worked so hard to keep pent up. To fuck her until she couldn’t think straight, taking total control of her body. She longed to give herself away to him completely.

 

He leaned down, raising her hands. “Grab the rails, princess. Again… Tell me if these are too tight.” Drew waited until she’d grabbed the rails as he’d asked and then he wound the belt around her wrists loosely, enough so that she could get her wrists out if she really tried at it and squirmed or fought the restraints hard enough, fastening the belt through it’s shiny buckle.

 

She was squirming already, whimpering, begging for him. He sat down on the bed, leaning over her, fingertips trailing down, starting with her lips… Then lower, to the neckline of the dress, not breaking eye contact with her a single time. He leaned down sort of kneeling over her, burying his lips in the side of her neck and Catherine surprised him by wrapping her legs around his waist, pulling him down on top of her. He rose up, chuckling. His lips danced down her throat, peppering small bites here and there against the surface of her skin and Catherine squirmed, trying to work her wrists free while also trying to rub herself against him as much as possible because she couldn’t get enough friction and she was aching now. “Drew, c’mon…”

 

“Oh no.. No, I’m going to take my time with you, princess.” Drew rose up on his knees, staring down at me. Even if it killed him, he was going to take this slow.. Savor the moment.

 

And take his time, he did. His hand ventured back up the short hem of the dress as he leaned down closer and Catherine arched her back away from the bed, her body meeting his, making him groan quietly, mumble something about how the dress was in the fucking way as he rose to his knees again, nodding his head as he muttered quietly, “Sit up.”. With a tug, he’d torn the flimsy costume and he was pulling it away, tossing it onto the floor. He eyed her appreciatively, the black strapless bra and the black hi cut lace with garters to attach her stockings. He let out a low whistle, because he’d often imagined what she looked like beneath all the baggy cardigans and blazers and somehow, he’d managed to almost capture it perfectly in his mind. Almost.

 

There was something about seeing her like this.

 

“Fuck.” the word came quietly and Catherine saw a flash in his eyes as they met hers again. He bit down on his lip and when she started to wiggle the heels off, he shook his head. “Leave those on.”

 

Catherine giggled quietly, giving a nod. 

 

He pushed her back against the mattress and licked his lips, staring down at her. “Fuck. Just looking at you, all tied up and beneath me… The things I’m going to do to you, princess… But first.” he turned his attention to the strapless bra, slipping a finger beneath the band as his teeth grazed against her neck, throat and then his mouth ventured lower, teeth sinking into the soft flesh over the top of her left breast while he worked the bra off and flung it onto the floor with the dress he’d torn off her. Catherine’s eyes fluttered open and shut and she tried to work her wrists against the belt he had around them but she quickly gave up in favor of rubbing her body against his as much as possible just to attempt relieving the dull throbbing of her cunt thanks to all the teasing. “Drew, please…”

 

He squeezed her breasts together, lazily dancing his tongue around her nipples, locking eyes with her as he gave a smirk and slowly shook his head no. His mouth moved lower, inching slowly down her abdomen. Catherine’s back arched away from the bed and she tried to use her legs to squeeze him, move herself against him that way. He chuckled, stopping mid lick to look up at her. “So impatient. I’d almost think you’ve been wanting this for a really long time now. Have you? Hmm?” he asked, turning his attention back to the trail he was leaving down her abdomen, the little bites that raised goosebumps on her pale and soft skin.

 

“Y-yeah.” Catherine managed to gasp as she tried again to work her wrists against the belt. It wasn’t working, then again, Drew’s mouth was making it hard to focus on pretty much anything beyond how good it felt. His beard tickled her skin and she felt the beginnings of stubble burn along her lower abdomen. When his teeth hooked in the thin waistband of the panties she wore and he started to tug downward, she exhaled aloud, sharply. “Oh… Drew…”

“Yeah, princess?”

 

“Want it so bad.. C’mon, baby.. Let it all out.” Catherine muttered as he parted her legs, a low growl as he worked with the fasteners of the garter belt holding her panties in place. Once he’d gotten the belts free, he gave a triumphant smirk as his eyes met hers again and he licked his lips slowly. The moon peaking in through the window over the bed illuminated her almost perfectly and he watched a few seconds, the way she writhed below him, trying desperately to get her wrists free, to grip at anything.

 

He was almost tempted to release her hands, but not just yet.

 

No… he wanted freedom to have complete control. He wanted to see just how long he could tease her, just how much he could make her beg for it. 

 

Catherine whimpered as she felt his tongue and beard against the insides of her thighs. When he hooked his arms beneath, spreading her legs even wider and stopped to look up at her, she bit her lip and sucked in a sharp breath, pouting down at him.

 

“If you want your wrists free, you’re gonna have to do it, princess.” Drew challenged, adding in a quieter and huskier tone, “Because I’m about to be entirely too busy to do it.” 

 

Her breath caught in her throat as Drew’s tongue lazily inched closer and closer to her dripping cunt. Drew growled as his tongue darted over her slit, circling her clit next, the taste of her filling his mouth. “Fuck.”

 

“Drew, oh… Mmm..” Catherine’s cries echoed off the walls of the cabin and Drew’s lips turned upward in a smirk as he slowly circled her clit with his tongue again, his nose bumping against her pelvic mound as his tongue worked right down her center, teasing, nipping at her folds with his teeth before slowly burying his tongue as deep inside as he could. He lifted her hips slightly and Catherine tried again to grip at his back with her legs, but his arms beneath her thighs kept her exactly where he wanted her. He stopped and looked up at her. “So goddamn sweet.”

 

He chuckled as he realized that she was trying the belt again, trying to get her wrists free before turning his attention back to what he’d been doing. Catherine tried desperately to get any kind of grip on anything, but between Drew’s grip on her lower body and the belt holding her wrists against the rail of the bed, she just couldn’t and she was starting to get really frustrated.

 

“Just wait.. I’m gonna..” Catherine started, her head falling back as her eyes fluttered open and shut when his tongue buried in her pussy even deeper. Words were totally gone at that point, her body tensed in anticipation of the orgasm threatening to rip through her at literally any second. When he stopped just as she was about to get off and started to lazily lick her clit all over again, sucking at her folds too. “Drew, baby.. Oh fuck.”

 

She was getting louder. It was only turning him on more, making him bolder. It felt good to be able to let go, let this side out . If he’d known, he thought to himself, he definitely would have obliged her this sooner. A lot sooner. 

 

“Gonna cum for me, princess?” Drew asked, a dark chuckle accentuating the question as he rose up to watch her. She almost had her wrists loose.  As soon as he turned his attention back to her cunt, burying his tongue deeper, working it faster, Catherine really started to attempt getting her wrists free. Drew groaned as he felt her getting wetter and wetter and he felt her body tensing. He mumbled against her pussy, “C’mon. I want you to cum for me, now.”

 

The tone of his voice combined with that thick tongue buried deep inside her pushed Catherine right over the edge and she felt her orgasm ripping through her. She managed to get her wrists out of the belt just in time to dig her fingers on one hand into his shoulder and bury her fingers on the other hand in his hair, tugging at it, pushing his head downward, moaning the word “Faster.” and “Fuck.” breathlessly. Drew groaned at the rush of wet and the heavier taste of her as it filled his mouth and he licked her clean greedily, holding her legs tighter, determined not to give control up.

 

When she started to come down from the high of her orgasm, he made his way back up her body, gripping her jaw, pulling her into a deep kiss. She managed to tear away the white button up shirt, not even bothering with the buttons and Drew growled in her mouth, nipping harshly at her lips. “That’s it, princess.. Let go completely. I will if you will.” 

 

Catherine’s hand ventured down, struggling with the button on his pants. Drew’s shoes hit the floor with a thud and he rose up, helping her out by tugging down his pants. Catherine swallowed hard as her eyes roamed his body freely. She bit her lip and took a shaky breath.

 

She rose up,  pulling him down onto the bed. Drew swallowed hard as his eyes fixed on hers and he saw this… gleam in them.

 

This was fucking hot.

Rather than try to take control again, he thought that he’d let her have her fun. For now.

 

“Grab the rail.” she muttered as she trailed her tongue along the outer edge of his ear. Drew groaned, bucking himself against her from below as she straddled his hips. He held her gaze and chuckled. “What are you gonna do, princess?”

 

She started to trail her mouth down his neck.. And then the front of his throat. Her hand circled his cock as she scooted back to straddle his thighs. She started with slow and careful strokes and Drew growled quietly, bucking against her hand. “Go ahead. Because I spend a lot of time thinking about it… Those soft lips of yours wrapped around my cock.”

 

Catherine whimpered and licked her lips, locking eyes with him as she started to trail her mouth down his abdomen. He still hadn’t grabbed the railing on the bed. He didn’t intend to, either.

 

Her tongue lazily danced over the tip of his cock, teasing at the slit, her hand moving up and down, a little faster now. She glanced up at him and he groaned, thrusting his hips upward, pushing his cock into her mouth just a little. “Fuck, Catherine.”

 

His fingers tangled in thick red locks and he used his grip on her hair to guide her mouth down onto his cock deeper, thrusting a little faster. When he felt his cock brush almost against the back of her throat and her mouth tighten around it a little, he gripped her hair tighter, tugging as the other hand gripped at the blanket. “Catherine, shit.. Feels so good. So fucking..” Drew gasped as Catherine started to bob her head up and down, her tongue circling the tip as she gave a teasing smirk. Staring up at him, watching him come apart the way he was right now, getting louder, practically squirming. It only made her bolder, more determined to make him crack and make him get louder.

 

“I’m gonna fucking pound you into the mattress.” Drew gasped as she started to bob her head and pump her hand even faster. Drew reached down and tilted her head upwards when she came up for a breath and with a smirk, he pulled her up, quick to get her on her back beneath him on the bed. “Are you ready, princess?”

 

“Drew! Fuck.. God yes..” her sharp cries echoed through the room again and Drew’s hand circled his cock as he guided it along her slit, teasingly rubbing at first, lining himself up. As he sank in, Catherine tensed, the way he stretched her and filled her making her cry out. She dug her nails into his shoulders and Drew caught eyes with her, a questioning glance that was answered as she tried to raise her hips, rocking them against his cock. He gripped her hips and shook his head, growling at the way she tightened around his cock almost perfectly.

 

Her legs wrapped around his waist and he rose up, gripping the railing on the bed with one hand as he stared down at her, slamming into her slowly. Catherine’s moans and cries got even louder and Drew lowered his mouth to her neck, leaving an even bigger mark on it’s side behind. He gave a satisfied smirk at the way the skin started to purple, knowing that everyone was going to see it and while it wasn’t like him, maybe this would deter Tony’s incessant flirting with her.

 

As his cock bottomed out buried deep in her cunt, Catherine’s nails dragged up and down his back and Drew growled quietly, starting to slam into her harder, faster.. Enough to cause the railing on the headboard to beat against the wall steadily. “I’m so goddamn close. Think you can cum again for me, princess?”

 

“Drew, ugh, fuck.. “ Her nails really dug into his skin, he could feel the sting as sweat beaded and rolled into the broken flesh left behind.  “That’s it, princess.” he muttered breathless as he buried his mouth into hers, nipping at her lower lip. Catherine nipped at his lip, her legs tightening around his waist. Drew’s breath caught in his throat as he felt her clench his cock. It took everything not to get off just at the way it felt, but he managed to stop himself, focusing instead on fucking her right through her orgasm. 

 

He couldn’t hold off anymore, so he muttered lazily against her lips, “My turn.” as he pulled out and pumped his hands over his length, his seed coating her stomach, rolling down. 

 

He grabbed for the torn dress and cleaned her up, Catherine pulling him down and into a long kiss that left him breathless.

 

As the kiss broke, he asked quietly, “Was that what’s been wrong with you lately?” and she gave an almost shy laugh, nodding her head as she answered quietly, “I… didn’t know how to like… say this is what I wanted?”

 

“All you have to do, princess.. Is say it.” Drew answered, trailing his fingers lazily over her lower lip as he fell onto the bed beside her, pulling her so that she was partially draped on top of him. 

 

Chapter Text

Everyone was in costume and by comparison, Rosalie felt that hers was possibly the tamest. Which suited her fine, in all honesty. She wasn’t into the skin show that most people tended to turn the holiday into if she had to admit it.

 

A flyer caught her eye and she gave a wistful sigh as she read the words. Apparently, the roster was holding a couples costume contest backstage. Given that she felt like she was the ‘help’, - and the even more regrettable fact that she wasn’t seeing anyone or mated to anyone, on the roster or otherwise that she could bring if she were planning to go , she highly doubted that she was invited to this little party and contest, so she put it out of her head. 

 

Even if she wanted to go, going was probably not the best idea, her Omega status and being unmated and what have you. And she could feel her heat cycle beginning, so that was also a huge deterrent in her attending the little costume party. Someone backstage was her Alpha, and she wasn’t entirely sure whether knowing would be a good thing or not.

 

and even if I wanted to find him, it’d probably go badly, given that I’m me and… yeah … she shoved the thought out of her head, even as the irony of her costume for the night’s festive air hit her with the force of a speeding train. Yep, she was little red alright… But she wasn’t going to find her Big bad wolf anytime soon, of that she had no doubt.

 

From behind her, Randy Orton spoke up casually as he leaned in a doorway, eyeing her up and down. “Little Red Riding Hood. That’s cute.”

 

“No and no.” Rosalie stepped around the man, about to push open the door on her workstation. She had costumes to get mended and fittings to attend to, no time at all to be the test subject for whatever Orton had in mind.

 

“Aw, c’mon. Don’t be like that.” Orton was blocking her way. 

“Get outta my way. Unlike you, I actually have a purpose?” Rosalie stuttered slightly, flinching. She’d never been fond of being cornered like Orton seemed to do as of late. She tried to step away. 

 

“Ouch. If I had feelings, that might hurt.” Randy was stepping closer, all up in her personal space. Rosalie groaned inwardly, grumbled a few swears. If she didn’t enjoy her job as costume designer, she’d probably explode on the man. But honestly, she enjoyed her job entirely too much to give it more than passing thought.

 

“Well, I mean… Who doesn’t have a match tonight? When was the last time you actually had an actual match worth watching  anyway, hmm? Exactly my thought. Now move before I…” Rosalie trailed off and Orton leaned in, a finger hooking in the neckline of her dress as he smirked down at her, “Before you what, little red? Go on, finish what you were saying.” the finger hooked in her neckline was pulling her closer and Rosalie began to feel like shooting off her mouth as she had may well have been a serious mistake.

 

From behind them, a throat cleared. Rosalie gave a grateful look to Naomi, who stood there, eyeing Randy with a hand on her hip. 

 

“Is there a problem here?”

“Randal was just leaving, actually.” Rosalie glanced up at him, the firmest look of warning she could muster in her eyes. Randy glanced from Naomi to Rosalie and then, as he walked away, he called out casually, “See you tonight, little red.”

 

“Only in my nightmares, you human barfbag.” Rosalie retorted, muttering a few swears under her breath in her native Italian before turning to unlock the fitting room so that Naomi could come in and be fitted up for the ring gear concept she’d drawn up and emailed to Rosalie a few hours prior.

 

“Sorry about that.” she apologized and Naomi eyed her, snorting in laughter. “Girl, you have not a damn thing to be sorry for. That fool needed to be taken down a few pegs.”

 

Rosalie laughed gingerly and then sighed, shaking her head. “I swear, it’s like the fifth time that asshole has used his nose and tracked me. I mean I know my cycle is close, but damn. I’m using suppressants and doing my best, y’all.”

 

“Girl.” Naomi closed the door quickly, eyeing the petite brunette in concern. “Does Trips or Steph know? That you.. You know..”

 

“They do, but I’ve assured them that it won’t affect my work. I’ve also told them I fully intend to take every necessary precaution, including sequestering myself into the Omega wing at the hotel when it does begin...”

 

“Or, you could just try to figure out why your heat’s being triggered..” Naomi suggested casually.  Rosalie nearly pricked her finger with the needle in her sewing kit and she swore, raising her finger to her lips, catching the droplet of blood. She knew she had to look absolutely panicked and the truth of it, she was.

 

Because trying to find him, she was convinced, was only going to go badly.

No matter how badly she wanted the opposite to be true and for things to go better than her wildest dreams.

 

She just wasn’t anything special. Which is why it baffled her that Orton continued to pop up lately. The guy had to have some kind of nose on him, to scent her so well despite the dulling of her scent thanks to the super strength suppressants she’d gotten.

 

“Or do you already know? You do, don’t you?” Naomi attempted to figure out why Rosalie looked so panicked when she mentioned Rosalie possibly attempting to find her true Alpha. It had to be that.

 

“No, I don’t. And honestly, Naomi.. I’m kinda thinking it’s better it stays that way.”

 

Naomi raised a brow, tilting her head slightly to look at her friend, perplexed by the statement. She knew how badly Rosalie wanted to find her other half, so it made no sense to her as to why she was suddenly so against it.

 

“I do know that he’s someone that we work with. I’ve… caught their scent on numerous occasions, I just… Always chicken out and hide rather than try to follow.” Rosalie admitted as she got out the tape measure and began to take Naomi’s measurements.

 

Not wanting to pressure her friend for more, Naomi changed the subject. “So are you going to that costume party? I think it’d be good for you, you could get to know everybody back here better. Since you’re gonna be spending a lot of time traveling with the show.”

 

Rosalie bit her lip and shook her head no, nervously. “No I probably won’t. Because it’s just… I don’t think I’d fit in well?”

 

“Girl.”

“Naomi, no.”

“Rosalie, yes.”

 

Rosalie gave a defeated shrug and then muttered, “Fine. But if Orton pops up one fucking time, I’m gonna shove my the heel of my  shoe through his eyeball.”

 

Naomi laughed and then placing her hand on Rosalie’s shoulder, she assured her friend, “Just don’t worry, okay? Me and Jimmy and Jey got you.”

 

Rosalie nodded and bit her lip, then glanced down at her costume. “This is gonna be so childish compared to the skin show everyone else is gonna put on…”

 

“But if that’s what you’re comfortable in, girl, don’t you even worry about the rest of them.”

 

Rosalie took a shaky breath, nodding and then smiling. “Okay, fine… I suppose going for a few minutes couldn’t hurt.” - her sentence trailed off and a whimper came rushing out as she caught the scent of her true mate again and sniffed at the air, fidgeting.

 

Her skin was starting to feel tighter, almost tingly. “On second thought….”

“Girl, you’re coming.” Naomi cut her off, shaking her head as she laughed at her friend’s tense posturing, nose in the air while pretending not to be distracted and entranced by whatever the scent of her mate held. “I’m gonna be right back.” Naomi stood so quickly and she flung the door open right as Rosalie began to act the most affected by it.

 

Elias stood outside, a hand in his hair, acting pretty much the same way Rosalie seemed to be acting at the moment.

 

As soon as her scent hit his nose, he tensed all over and grunted quietly to himself, eyes darting around. The closed door across the hall was flung open by Naomi and as soon as he fixed eyes on the tiny brunette in the Little Red Riding Hood costume, everything just… Fell into place.

 

He knew somehow it had to be her . He could practically feel it in his bones. She was the scent he’d been catching sporadically, only to lose it’s trail before he could ever properly catch up to her.

 

“Naomi, what the hell?” Rosalie moaned aloud, attempting to shut the door quickly. Naomi shrugged and then said “I’d apologize but I’m not sorry. Look, you at least needed to know who it was. And now, you do. I mean… it has to be him.”

 

“Yeah, but that’s where it ends.” Rosalie warned, taking a few deep breaths, trying to resist -and failing miserably , opening the door just a smidge and peeking through the crack at him as he stood there, obviously in deep thought mode. 

 

His head snapped up before she could get the door shut again and when she did lightly slam it completely closed, he grumbled to himself, staring at the closed door in confusion.

 

Did she not want to be bonded?

 

Who was she, to begin with? How had he missed seeing her around?

Standing in the middle of the hallway staring at a closed door was getting him more questions and no answers, so he took a deep breath and started to walk over, but Randy stopped him, casually speaking up. “Good luck with that one. She’s kind of a bitch.”

 

“Oh really? How?” he demanded, giving Randy a firm look of warning as his body tensed all over in anticipation of a fight. Randy chuckled and then answered calmly, “Well, I shot my shot and she shot me down. On more than one occasion. But I mean hey, if she’s so picky she won’t pick me, it’s not my problem if you wanna insist on trying.”

 

“What the fuck do you mean you shot your shot?” he stepped up closer to Randy, fists clenching and unclenching as he glared down at the other man. It was taking everything in him to stay calm and not just knock Orton’s fucking head right off his shoulders for him. It wasn’t like Elias at all, but then again, he’d just found her and he was now finding out this sleazy fuck had apparently dared to approach?

 

Elias was NOT a happy man at present.

 

“I told her that if she wants a mate, look no further. I mean… Nobody else is gonna step up and she’s hot.” Randy was saying it, well aware that he was currently about to push too far, say too much. 

 

But not really caring, either. It was just Elias, it wasn’t like Elias was going to actually fucking do anything... He scoffed at Elias, squaring up, practically daring him to do something about what he’d done. He smirked and Elias growled quietly, grabbing hold of his tee shirt, holding him at the wall. “I need you to hear this clearly, Randal. Get it through your tiny, dense brain. She is not yours to mess around with. I don’t even want to see you looking her direction.”

 

Randy scoffed at him, shoving him back. “So what if I do, huh? What the hell are you gonna do about it, Elias? You won’t do shit.”

 

Jimmy and Jey happened to catch wind of what was going on and the two cleared their throats, giving Randy a warning look, their arms folded over their chests. “You at it again, Orton?”

 

Elias rolled his eyes at Randy, muttering a dry “Apparently. But he’s about to really see something.”

 

“We’ll see, Elias. We’ll see.” Randy shot off as Elias went to step closer, fully intending on just totally losing it and trashing the hallway with Randy’s skull if he had to to get his point across, but instead, Jimmy and Jey formed a wall, keeping the two seperate. 

 

“He ain’t shit, man. Don’t let that fuckin idiot ruin your shot at gettin a match tonight.”

 

Elias snarled, “Oh, I’m getting a match. See, when I leave here, I’m going straight down that hallway. And I’m going to demand a match against Randy.”

 

Randy chuckled, rolling his eyes, waving a hand dismissively. “Go ahead, man. I can beat you in my sleep.”

 

Elias lunged and he and Randy wound up getting into the beginnings of a brawl in the floor of the hallway, during which, Elias caught her scent again, closer… Heavier.. He heard her shouting and as the fight was broken up and he was dragged away to calm down, he felt an insistent jab at his shoulder.

 

He turned to find her standing there, staring up at him, her face all flushed with a confused look in her eyes, her mouth opening and closing like she wanted to say something but she couldn’t find the words.

 

Instead of actually saying anything, she grabbed his hand and started to lead him towards the little room she’d been watching him through the crack in the door of before. 

 

She hadn’t said a word, and he felt like someone had to say something. So, he stopped them in the middle of the hallway and chuckled, staring her down.

 

“Where are you taking me?”

“To my room.”

 

His mind swam with ideas at her suggestion, and the dry wit threatened to leap right out, much less a cocky line or two he thought might be clever, but he got this sense about her… She wouldn’t realize he was only teasing and she’d think that he too was being your typical Alpha, which Elias prided himself on definitely not being. 

 

So, for the time being, he kept all comments to himself and went with a nod. When she started to walk again, grabbing hold of his hand to continue leading him, he stopped them again.

 

“Do I at least get your name?”

 

“Do you want that little gash in your face taken care of? Look, sir.. If it’s all the same to you, I’d really prefer NOT to linger out here, not right now, not with….” she trailed off and it clicked for him exactly why she was in such a hurry.

 

Apparently those suppressants she thought were so strong weren’t strong at all. And apparently, his petite little mate well… She was currently going through the beginning stage of heat.

 

Just the thought had Elias barely restraining a growl as he started to strain against the leather jeans he wore. He swore to himself and let her lead him to her work room. The door slammed shut behind them and she locked two locks on the door and he chuckled quietly.

 

“A little paranoid, aren’t you?”

“Force of habit.”

 

“You were hiding from me, weren’t you? Before, when Naomi threw the door open.. Why?” Elias was staring up at her as she gently pushed him to a sitting position on a chair nearby. She wasn’t answering, instead, she made a point to busy herself finding her thrown together first aid kit. She probably wouldn’t have answered him, but Elias wasn’t having it, and he stood, stopping her, those large hands wrapping around her upper arms carefully as he stared down at her. “Hey.. Why were you hiding? For that matter, how have you managed to elude me since the first time I scented you?”

 

“I don’t know?” Rosalie shrugged as she took a deep breath. She was trying not to but the more he asked, the more he seemed to want to know, the more her hopes about the situation went up.

 

Her eyes darted around the room and Elias made her look directly at him. “It’s me, right?”

 

Rosalie’s brow quirked. “What? Why the hell would you even think… No, it’s not you. I’m not good with people.” she air quoted the words as she explained.. Or attempted to.

 

“Does Randy.. Does he bother you a lot?”

 

Her lack of an answer said it all and Elias swore to himself. Now he knew exactly why Randy always seemed to have the faintest trace of her scent on him whenever they had an encounter.

 

“He won’t anymore.” Elias stated, making her keep eye contact, his hand cupping her jaw.

 

She had these big brown eyes he could easily get lost in. He nearly did, just staring down at her, trying to reassure her she was safe.

 

Rosalie eyed him and then gave a little smirk and shrug. “ Especially not after I jam my fucking stiletto in his eyeball.”

 

“No. I mean I’m going to handle it. Me. Not you.” Elias took that firm tone and Rosalie eyed him, curious before asking quietly, “Oh yeah? And what are you going to do about it, hmm? Because…” she sighed, shaking her head, not finishing the rest of her thought.

 

“Because what?”

“You are aware that I’m.. Not like the rest of the women we work with, right? I mean you’re lookin at me.”

 

Oh believe me, I am definitely looking … Elias thought to himself as he chuckled, tilting her head up. “What’s that even mean?”

 

“ I’m me and usually, things don’t tend to work out for me.” - it wasn’t exactly what she wanted to say, but close. Close enough without her seeming to whine and complain about the fact that she was about as ordinary and bland to look at as the sterile white walls in the room they currently stood. 

 

Because that would just seem trite and petulant. Everybody said those things. … However, everybody doesn’t have other people telling them these things every time they turn around, either… 

 

Her mom had always told her growing up that she’d better get real good at something real fast because if she was hoping to get by on looks alone, she never would.

 

Just the thought had her kind of frowning. 

 

Elias noticed the frown and got the sense that she somehow felt like maybe she wouldn’t be good enough, or what he might want. Nothing could really be further from the truth, because that first initial glimpse earlier… He’d been blown away. So much so that he’d had to stand out in the hallway and process it all.

 

She was his.

Now, he clearly just needed to make her see and believe that.

 

Rosalie nodded to the chair and he sat down, she lowered herself onto his thighs, close to his knees. Not too close to him, but close enough for her own personal comfort. Taking the peroxide out of her first aid kit, she leaned in and dipped a q tip into the cap from the bottle after pouring some into it. A ginger swipe at the small cut on his cheek had him swearing and her giving this soft little giggle as she shook her head.

 

“You’re a baby.”

“I’m not, that stuff burns!”

 

“I barely touched the q tip to the liquid or your face, sir.”

 

“Call me Elias… What’s your name?”

 

“If you really want to know, you’ll find out.”

 

“Oh, I’ll find out.” Elias stated as he stared up at her intently. He wanted her closer. He got the sense that was a little while in coming. “When I find out, how will I tell you?”

 

“Assuming you can find out before midnight, I’ll be at that stupid costume party thing..”

 

… Perfect… Elias thought to himself as an idea began to form. Rosalie finished her patching him up and he walked out into the hallway, one goal in mind. And at first, anyone he asked was either unwilling or simply didn’t know her name..

 

But by the time he got to the costume store just before closing, he had her name. And a few other things about her, from Naomi, that explained a lot about her reaction to their bond.

 

And tonight, well.. Tonight, he fully intended to put all doubts to rest.. To show her -and the other Alphas on the roster , that she was his and he fully intended to have her all to himself.

 


 

 Rosalie wasn’t sure why, but she found herself looking for him when she got to the little club that they were holding the party and costume contest at. 

 

Rumor had it, not that she’d asked outright… Elias didn’t come to these types of things often.

… And then there’s the whole fact that he might not really want you for more than a matter of convenience… Or your bad luck… Take your pick…

 

She was standing off by herself sipping a mixed drink when she caught his scent nearby. Her eyes darted around and when she didn’t spot him, she put it out of her head.

 

After talking to Naomi and wandering outside, Randy Orton cornered her up. She tensed and looked for an exit. Every time she tried to side step and head back inside, Randy blocked her exit. 

 

“Hey, c’mon.. Look, earlier, I fucked up. I wasn’t trying to come off the way I did.”

 

Rosalie eyed him, laughter following. “Oh, wait.. You’re being serious? Or is this one of your many go to tricks to try and get some girl to crawl into bed with you? I’m not interested.” she shoved past him just as the scent of Elias filled her nose. She’d honestly been intending to just leave the party, because Randy kept popping up and obviously, Elias wasn’t going to show.

 

Elias raised the wolf mask and glared at Randy. “Do I need to beat your ass again, Randal?”

 

“ I mean… you’re the one who let her come out all by herself. Not very Alphalike behavior, Elias.” Randy challenged, the two of them stepping up, as a result sandwiching Rosalie right in the middle of them. 

 

“Oh for fucks sake will you two stop?”

 

Her words seemed to fall on deaf ears, but Ziggler came and practically dragged Orton away. This left her standing there, body to body with Elias.

 

Rosalie gulped and stared up at him, not sure what to say beyond what she ultimately did say. “You came.”

 

“I promised you, Rosalie.. He wasn’t going to bother you anymore.” Elias stepped closer, swatting at the stupid wolf mask as it tried to slide back down over his face. Rosalie laughed and said, “Color me shocked. You actually found out my name? Who told you? It was Naomi, wasn’t it?”

 

“In her defense, I wasn’t gonna leave her alone until she did.” Elias chuckled. From the door, Naomi yelled out Rosalie’s name.

 

“What’s up?”

 

“The couples costume contest is starting. You gotta come watch me and Jimmy win the damn thing!”

 

Elias spoke up. “ This is highly doubtful. I mean, Rosalie and I are going to be entering too.”

 

Rosalie blinked in shock as she met his gaze. “Wait, huh?”

 


“Well, I mean I did go to the trouble of buying this damned annoying mask… And you are Little Red Riding Hood.” 

 

“Okay, okay.” Rosalie gave this little smile and that soft giggle again and Elias held out his arm. “So.. are we showing them how to properly do Halloween?”

 

“Sure. Why not?”

Chapter Text

“You know the legend! You know, the one where the guy in this tomb is a fucking vampire? That’s one really good fucking reason NOT to go into this tomb.” Dionne hissed at her friend as her eyes darted around the graveyard. But leave it to Esme not to listen.

Esme paused and looked back at her friend, giving a laugh. “Are you insinuating that you believe in vampires? Because that’s what it sounds like. And that is insanity. I’m going in. There’s no way in hell I’m about to let Jane and Anika beat us in this scavenger hunt. Now if you’ll excuse me… I have a coffin to pillage.”

“Esme, this is not a good idea.”

“So leave then, Dionne.” Esme muttered, swearing as she couldn’t get the heavy chain on the doors to budge. “Who the hell puts chains on the doors of a tomb anyway? I mean I know grave robbers were a thing back in the day, and this is New Orleans… But seriously? What’d they think this guy was gonna do? Rise from the dead?”

About halfway into her rant, she happened to catch sight of her friends face.. More to the point, she happened to catch just how pale her friend was going, mouth opening and closing and when it finally stayed open, a deafening scream pierced the otherwise quiet night.

And then, a throat cleared from above.

Esme looked up to find the man standing there, arms folded in amusement as he stared down at her intently. In literally a split second, he was standing on the ground right in front of her, between her and the door.

“Just what do y’ think y’ doin, luv?” 

When his fingertip grazed at her cheek, she shivered at the coldness. And it wasn’t just the night air, even if that’s what she convinced herself it was. She started to scream, but his finger pressed into her lips and he leaned in a little, mirthful smirk on his face.

“Boo.”

Esme suddenly got control of herself again, because seconds before, she hadn’t been able to move or anything and when she did, she bolted, nearly knocking down her best friend Dionne in the process. The two were over the wall along the backside of the cemetary in a matter of seconds and Jay sighed, shaking his head and giving a quiet chuckle.

He could still smell her blood, he could still hear her heart racing. If he wanted to catch her, he could do so, easily.

But for now… He’d let them be.

Later, though.. Later on, he fully intended on showing up at the young college coed’s apartment over that little bar down in the Quarter.

And then, he’d just have to make sure she invited him in.

So, he bided his time, waiting. At 2 am, he started to make his way there. Her blood called to him and the closer he got.. The sweeter the scent of it. The more his mouth watered. The harder he had to fight back the blood lust, because it wasn’t the only kind of lust he was feeling.

Esme sat up in bed, working to pull herself together. She’d had this strange and vivid dream about the man from that tomb in the graveyard earlier. And now that she was fully awake, she couldn’t shake the dream. Or him.

She slipped out of bed, the sheet wrapped around her and she made her way to the window. A gasp came when she peeked through the tapestry she used as a makeshift curtain and caught sight of him, standing on the street below, looking up at her window.

When he waved, giving her that devils smirk as he did so, she shut the tapestry covering her window and she pressed against the wall.

“Holy fuck, holy shit.”

As soon as she caught her breath, convinced herself that she was still half asleep and had imagined it, she peeked out again.

This time he was standing closer. Right beneath her window. Waving. He held up his wrist, tapping at it, as if she were keeping him waiting and suddenly, this impulse took over.

Before she realized it, she was slipping on a tee shirt and then the oversized flannel shirt she slept in some times.. She felt dazed. Almost like her actions were not her own. She made her way down the stairs and out, around to the alley on autopilot.

Cold hands covered her eyes and he muttered quietly against her ear, “Don’t scream. Please. I just.. I ‘ad t’ see y’ again.” before stepping around to stand in front of her, eyes roaming over her body slowly. His fangs prickled at his lower lip and he swallowed hard.

Why had he come? This was a very bad idea. Because the last thing he wanted to do was feed on her or god forbid, turn her. But earlier, when he’d seen her, there had been this… Connection to her. He couldn’t explain it, but he’d known that he wasn’t going to forget her so easily.

“Who are you?” Esme finally managed to speak. Jay studied her for a few seconds. Rather than the whole truth, he gave her his name.

“Jay White.”

The name sounded familiar, but nothing came to her right off the bat, so Esme shoved it down. Despite everything in her telling her to turn and run back inside, she stepped closer. Her hand rested palm down against the jacket he wore.

“This is one hell of a costume. Halloween ended a few hours ago though, bud.”

Jay chuckled. “Did it now? Shame I missed it.”

Esme bit her lip, thighs clenching.. The tone of his voice, the way he stepped closer.. The way he was looking at her right now, all of it was turning her on, despite something deep down nagging at her, insisting that this was not a good idea at all.

“It did. If you came to scare me, congrats. It’s working.”

“I told y’, luv. I came because I ‘ad t’ see y’ again. After y’ left, I couldn’t get y’ out of my head.” Jay closed the distance between their bodies completely, reaching out to tuck hair behind her ears. She hissed at the coldness in his skin and he sighed. “Sorry. Sort ‘f can’t help that I’m so cold.”

“Why are you so cold? It’s almost like you’re…” Esme stopped short of saying it but the thought was there. Jay chuckled quietly and asked, “Dead? Was that the word y’ were lookin for, luv? I’m not. Just have a… condition. Can never seem t’ warm up.”

“Oh, okay..” Esme trailed off, gaze fixed on him. Before she realized it, she was huddled closer. Not for her own warmth, but in an attempt to keep him warmer? The thought shocked her and she stepped back abruptly. The man gave her a smirk, almost as if he knew what she’d been thinking prior to stepping back. 

“You’re not dressed properly for th’ weather, luv.” Jay nodded to a pair of seemingly endless bare legs and she looked down, palming her face and swearing. “I… guess I was in a hurry?”

He chuckled quietly. “Y’ were, hmm?”

“I guess? I don’t know, it was weird.”

And it had been weird. Because now that she was really thinking on it, she couldn’t remember feeling in control of her own thoughts or her own body for that matter. And yet, despite her being totally against coming down to see him, here she stood.

The night only seemed to be heading towards the weirder, because she found herself doing something that she normally wouldn’t ever do.

“Look, it’s kinda chilly.. And it’s late… I mean early… Do you maybe wanna move this up to my apartment?”

Jay nodded, even though he knew deep down that going into her place was a very, very bad idea and that whatever thing, whatever pull he felt to her had to end because he absolutely refused to turn her… He fell into step beside her and they started to talk on their way up to her apartment…

Chapter Text

“Yeah, I’ll take a love potion number 9.” Anya called out to the bartender, pounding the bar loudly. Beside her, Britt and Riho were trying not to laugh when the bartender stated to pour the finishing touch and Anya reached across the bar, tipping the woman’s hand. 

 

“Are you sure you wanna do…” but the bartender was silenced by Anya’s slight glare and with a shrug, she muttered “Suit yourself” and kept pouring. When Anya wasn’t looking, the bartender smirked to herself. The girl had been going on and on and on about some Jake guy since she came in… And she seemed really upset, even crying at one point, about a recent relationship ending. Normally, the bartender wouldn’t meddle, but she sensed that this time, meddling might just help Anya out. So, she mixed up the drink, exactly as strong as Anya asked for, knowing full well what it might lead to later on in the night. 

 

“I want everything to be beautiful and nothing to hurt. Because god help me, I’m not leaving this party until I’m being carried out.” Anya told the bartender, taking a huge sip and immediately wincing at the burn as the drink slid down her throat, immediately following with a fit of giggles as she asked the bartender, “What’s in this? It’s pretty good!”

 

The bartender was nowhere to be found. Anya shrugged it off and took a few even bigger sips. 

 

From beside her, Britt spoke up. 

“I’m gonna take it to mean that your little talk with the NXT pretty boy about his thirst trapping and flirty Instagram comments in return didn’t go so well.”

 

“Let’s just put it this way, Britt… No. We fought, I’m crashing at my sister’s house now. Ty was being a gigantic ass, so I left. And I texted, telling him to ship me my stuff or do something with it so I can come get it when we’re free again.”

 

Britt cringed.

 

“And I am now seeing way more of fucking Hager than I ever wanted. And when I say way more… I mean way more. Do ya’ll realize just how irritating and cocky he is?” Anya sipped her drink and let her eyes roam the club for a few seconds. She half expected to see Jake lurking, but to her surprise, she didn’t. It prompted her to mumble a quiet “Thank you God. The last thing I needed was yet another Told you so from that fuckin jerk. Or him, trying to play daddy or whatever the fuck it is that he does when he lurks.”

 

“Why is he staying with your sister and her husband again?” Riho asked as she looked at her friend and mused to herself that she thought Anya might possibly have feelings for the man. Britt was in agreement, they’d had a long discussion on a flight about this very thing.

“Because apparently, Mike is an old friend of his from college or something and he’s helping Mike attempt to break into MMA. Training him and shit.. And his apartment’s being redone? I don’t know, but anyway… I have… seen more than I care to of Jake Hager.”

 

“We know.” Riho and Britt said it at the exact same time with Britt adding, “Me think the lady doth protest too much. C’mon, at least admit it a little.. You like the attention. You enjoy arguing with him. Otherwise, you’d do what you usually do and pretend like he doesn’t exist.”

 

“Instead of flirting with men you know he can’t stand at every turn.” Riho added, an amused smirk on her face as she sipped her own drink and looked around the club.

 

“I’m not doing it on purpose.” Anya was quick to defend herself, even as it nagged at her just beneath the surface that yeah.. Maybe she did harbor a certain joy over flirting with guys she knew full well that Jake Hager wasn’t very fond of.

 

Her phone pinged and seeing Tyler’s number, Anya rolled her eyes. Britt held out her hands and dutifully, Anya deposited the phone. “Do not let me have it. I don’t care what I say, how hard I’m crying. Tyler Bate was the biggest mistake I ever made. For that matter, I was probably the worst thing to happen to him. Don’t know, don’t care.”

 

Britt nodded and put the phone into the pocket of her leather trench coat, donning her mask. “Ladies? I say we mingle.”

 

“Let’s do it.” Anya was already giving not so subtle winks across the bar to a guy dressed as GI Joe. She smirked and started to slink over, only to bump right into Jake Hager in the middle of the floor.

 

“An MMA fighter. Oh my, how original.” Anya grumbled at the sight of his so called costume . Although, knowing Hager , she thought to herself, it was quite possible he heard her talking to her sister about coming out with Britt and Ri tonight and he decided to come by after working out… Just to ruin her good time .

 

It was almost as if the guy wanted to see her miserable. Like he thrived on it or something, she’d almost swear to that.

 

Jake rolled his eyes and glanced down at bare legs and retorted, “And what’s your excuse darlin? Pants too expensive?”

 

“At least I’m in costume .”

“As what, exactly?” Jake asked, while standing so that the guy who’d been making off color remarks about Anya since Jake came into the bar had absolutely no view of her body.

 

tell yourself again how you can’t stand her and she’s a pain in the ass… Jake thought to himself as he waited on her answer, folding his arms across his chest. She was tapping her foot, attempting to peer around him every chance she got.

 

“Ever seen Risky Business? Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I didn’t think so..” Anya suck popped a gum bubble and tapped her foot again, blowing at strands of hair that kept falling right into her eyes. She’d never admit it, but her legs were actually kind of cold.

 

She raised the drink to her lips, taking a long sip as she eyed his attire again. “I mean… Was douchebag taken?”

 

Jake grumbled and then gave the stiff answer, “I don’t exactly have my entire wardrobe at my disposal right now, darlin.”

 

“Well, on the upside.. Those shorts do make your ass look really, really good.” - okay, what the fuck was that? Why did I say that?’ it slipped out before Anya even had a chance to stop it or even realized she was going to say it.

 

She went to take another sip and realized her drink was empty. Pouting, she realized that one, Jake wasn’t going to move his massive muscular frame out of her way so she could go line up her next ex like she’d been planning and two, if he weren’t going to move, she might as well walk away because she really didn’t have the gusto for one of their usual knock down drag out fights tonight.

 

No, fighting with Tyler Bate over why it wasn’t appropriate for him to continue to thirst trap on Instagram when he had a girlfriend had sucked all that right out of her.

 

…. Then there’s the whole pesky thing about you feeling really, really bad every single time you get into it with Jake… . Her brain pushed that pesky thought to the forefront and before she could say anything else stupid, she turned away and slunk back over towards the bar, ordering another drink.

 

Jake saw the guy about to make his way over and he slung out his arm, letting it fall right in the middle of the guy’s chest.

 

“Yeah, I don’t fucking think so.” Jake chuckled, sizing the guy up. The guy squared up and laughed, glancing at him. “Who the hell do you think you are, huh? Think you’re gonna stop me from takin her home? I doubt it. I just overheard that entire conversation. I’ve got more of a chance with her than you ever had in your wildest dreams.”

 

Jake hadn’t ever been one for wasting time and having words when a few simple shows of brute force would suffice. So rather than come up with a retort for the drunken idiot, he grabbed the guy’s collar, slammed him against the wooden beam they were standing nearby and snarled calmly, “ I’m Jake Hager.” as he loosened his grip and let the guy settle on the bar room floor on his ass. He turned and walked away, scanning the crowd at the bar because thanks to the idiot he’d lost sight of her.

 

And her wandering around pants less, with drinks a plenty just… Was not a good combination. Not for him at least.

 

He spotted her again. She had another drink in her hand and she was dancing around a little to the Metallica song someone put on while the DJ took a break. Jake wandered over, stepping up behind her just as she went to turn around. He chuckled because she was drunkenly humming the words - well, she was trying to hum the words to Am I Evil, and the second she realized she was pressed close to him, she bit her lip and went quiet, glaring up at him with a hand on her hip.

 

It only hiked the shirt up, giving anyone who happened to be around a good view of her ass.

 

Just the thought had Jake clenching his fists. Sometimes he’d almost swear that she did every single thing she did, on purpose, with the sole intent on getting a rise out of him, scaring the shit out of him or giving him gray hairs well before the time he was ready for it.

 

“Your ass is showin. You realize that, yeah?” Jake’s lips grazed her ears unintentionally and Anya bit back a whimper before she realized what she was about to do and stopped herself. Instead, she scowled up at him and after a few seconds, she blurted out  “And? I wanna bite your ass.”

 

Jake blinked, staring at her a few seconds. Her mouth opened and closed and she swore to herself. Jake chuckled and eyed the drink in her hand. “How many of those have you had?”

 

“Not enough.” Anya insisted, trying to hurry and turn away and gulp down the remainder of her mixed drink. 

 

“Yeah? Well I’m gonna say otherwise.”

 

Jake took the drink and took a sip, nearly choking at the over abundance of alcohol in the drink. “Jesus, woman.” he sat it down, out of her reach and moved to stand in front of it. 

 

Motley Crue began to play and Anya muttered “Buzzkill.” while still pouting over the fact that he’d taken her drink away, making him stifle a laugh. Anya stepped closer and stared up at him a few seconds, trying to play coy and reach around him to grab the drink again. Jake grabbed her wrist and shook his head firmly. 

 

“Oh come on!” Anya stomped her feet and Jake snickered. “Did you really just stop your feet at me, darlin? I mean, c’mon.”

 

Anya poked out her tongue.  “You and your stupid sexy man leggings.” she muttered, making Jake eye her again. He could sense her mood shifts like the back of his hand even though they barely knew each other beyond work and now, having to share a living space.

 

Prior to it, beyond occasional jabs at each other, they didn’t really do a whole lot of talking to one another.

 

Right now, she seemed really, really sad. Parts of him wanted to rip Tyler Bate limb from limb but other parts were more focused on her.. More to the point, on the way she had this little habit of deflecting sadness by being loud, wild and bold, acting as if she had not one care in the whole world.

 

Her sister mentioned once that Anya hadn’t ever really liked dealing with emotional turmoil. She hated being angry and she hated being sad even more. So, she acted out to try and pull it out of herself.

 

Someone changed from the godawful heavy metal and hair bands they’d been playing to music more familiar to Jake.

He started to hum along to Body Like A Backroad and in an attempt to try and keep her from going for the damned drink again, because he could see in her eyes, that was indeed her plan, he took another shot at her costume.

 

“ By the way, that’s not a costume. Don’t you sleep in that all the time? How are pajamas a costume, huh?”

 

“I like you better when your mouth isn’t doing the thing where it moves, Jake. Much better.” Anya sighed as she said it, blowing yet again at the hair that kept falling into her eyes. 

 

Jake didn’t really know what to say to that because honestly, he tended to think that Anya, for whatever reason, hated him. So he stood there, eyes darting around the crowd. He stepped closer because maybe he happened to see a guy or two staring her direction and maybe, whether he chose to admit it to himself, he didn’t like that.

 

“Anyway, if pajamas aren’t a costume, Jake, then neither are those man leggings and that shirt. Because don’t you work out in those all the time?” she mimicked him, accentuating her statement with another attempt at poking out her tongue. 

 

Across the bar, the bartender spotted the young woman she’d been pouring love potions into all night and she propped her chin on her hand, watching the young woman with a much bigger and muscular blond man.

 

She briefly wondered if that were the Jake in question and she gave a quiet laugh because she happened to be really good at body language and right now, his was saying everything opposite of what the young woman believed to be true. There were all these subtle little touches.. The way he stood in front of her almost protectively.. The way he leaned down and in to hear her when she said something.

 

The boss told her to get back to work, and so for the time, she stopped observing her “case” for the night. She’d have to check back in on the two later.

 

Jake snorted in laughter, giving an annoyed roll of his eyes. Anya was swaying a little now, and he reached out, grabbing her to attempt keeping her steady. Which sent her lurching forward and pressed against him. “I don’t, actually.”

 

“No, sometimes you’re shirtless.. With that one pair of sweats that should be illegal to wear out in public.” it slipped out before Anya could stop it and her hand raised, going to her mouth as she scowled at having said it out loud. Jake nearly choked and he eyed her intently. 

 

“Keep talkin, darlin.. I’d almost think you were hittin on me right now.”

“Oh, I’d hit that alright.”

 

…. Why in the fuck do I keep admitting this shit?....

okay, either she’s drunk and saying what she really feels, or there’s an end to that statement she just made… Jake kept waiting on her to say something else - like with a car, or in the throat, but Anya never did, choosing instead to go quiet on him, sinking down into a chair nearby, propping her elbows, covering her eyes with her hands.

 

Obviously, the act was getting tiresome and now, the way she really felt was coming out little by little.

 

“Ya know, you keep sayin stuff like that..” Jake started, shaking his head and going silent, staring at the Guinness sitting in front of him, twisting the glass bottle around, mostly to give himself something else to focus on. She’d gotten her drink back and she took a few more sips, shrugging. Not really choosing to address any of the remarks she’d made so far.

 

“It’s just the drink. Don’t go gettin that ego out on me, Jake.”

Jake turned to look at her. The look in her eyes was.. Something else, it really wasn’t one solid emotion he could pinpoint in particular. He leaned in a little, biting his lip, staring intently at her as he smirked and tilted her chin so that she had to look at him.

 

“Or, darlin.. Maybe that drink is just making you say what you really think. Drunks speak the truth.” Jake hadn’t meant to blurt it out quite so blunt, but that was what he’d always heard.

 

He didn’t dare hope that was the case here. 

 

Anya took a few sips of her drink, pouting when the cup was empty again. She was about to stand to go and get more, but Jake gripped her wrist. “I’ll go.”

 

“It’s called Love Potion Number 9.” Anya called out after him and Jake made a mental note of it, walking towards the bar. He glanced back at Anya, swearing when he saw a guy lurking near, about to walk over. She wasn’t paying any attention, so Jake made a detour by the DJ booth on his way over.

 

“I know y’all have it, you were playing some of his songs earlier.. It’s that song All of Me?”

 

The DJ smirked. “Somo or John Legend, man?”

“Either one.” Jake shrugged, not really caring which version played as long as the song got played because he’d heard it on the drive back from the gym to Anya’s sister’s house earlier and it really did make him think of her a lot.

 

“Sure thing.” the DJ selected the track and queued it to play next. Jake wandered over to the bar and a woman wandered over, looking at the empty pink glass. “Lemme guess. The blonde wants a refill?”

 

“Yeah… I don’t know it’s a good idea.” Jake admitted, the bartender giving him a sort of soft knowing grin as she assured him, “I got ya. Don’t worry, she won’t know it’s not alcoholic.”

 

“Thank you, darlin.” Jake took the beer he’d gotten himself and the ‘refill’ for Anya and twisting the top off of his beer, he started to walk back towards where they’d been sitting right as the song started to play.

 

Anya looked up to find Jake holding out his hand, nodding to the packed dance floor and she raised a brow because at first she assumed he was joking. He kept holding out his hand and after a few seconds of careful consideration, Anya let him pull her up out of the chair and lead her out on the floor, sipping on her drink as they went. 

 

“Truce?” Jake asked as he pulled her just a little closer. Not too close because he didn’t want to make things awkward or make her think he was trying to be a sleaze.. But close enough to satisfy him and keep from freaking her out or anything.

 

“I mean.. I guess. But to be fair, Jake, you bought it on yourself… Showing up to a costume party at a nightclub in your workout gear? I guess I can forgive it, I mean, you have been givin me somethin to look at all night.” Anya teased and Jake chuckled, shocked when she stepped even closer on her own..

Chapter Text

 

It honestly felt like everyone she cared about had completely cut her out of the loop and Poppy didn’t like it one little bit. Currently, she found herself pacing the back room of her mom’s apothecary, which she’d gone to take over. Pacing and swearing under her breath.

 

The storm that had been brewing all week was finally reaching a noisy and scary climax, with winds and thunder that rattled the old glass panes in the shop windows. Poppy rubbed her arms and glared at the cell phone in her hands as once again, not only Dean’s cell phone, but also her grandmother’s and Sam’s as well went straight to voicemail.

 

“That’s it, I’m going to that bunker and I don’t even give one flying fuck how “dangerous” it is for me to be there with him. I’m going to him. I’m going to make sure he and my grandmother are alright, since apparently, everybody in the place has forgotten what a fucking mobile phone is used for.” Poppy’s tirade was interrupted by a slow clap from the back of the room and she turned, a scream dying on her lips as she saw her birth father leaned casually against the wall.

 

“Y’ know.. If I had raised y’.. I never would’ve allowed y’ t’ be with Dean Winchester of all people.” Crowley mused as he stepped into the light and just.. Stared at her. The flaming red hair his mother possessed, apparently, from what he’d heard around, his dry wit and quick temper. She certainly had several of his former low ranking demons quaking at her. He sighed and raised his hand, brushing shaggy growth back from her eyes.

 

“What are you doing here? You’re… You’re supposed to be dead.” she stammered, followed by flicking holy water on the man. Crowley chuckled and reached out, touching her temple as he answered calmly, “I’m here, poppet, because you summoned.”

 

“I did no such thing! I’m strictly white magic… Not whatever you are.. Were, I mean.”

 

“I’m yer father, y’ should be happy t’ see me.”

 

“I don’t know you.”

“Obviously, y’ wanted to, because you thinkin is why I’m manifesting here.” Crowley eyed his daughter, nodding to a rattan chair nearby. 

 

Reluctantly, Poppy sat. Crowley paced back and forth, not much for the whole parental guidance thing but knowing that obviously, his daughter needed him, hence the reason he was pulled through his final rest and back here. To her.

 

He started by taking the keys and pocketing them.

 

“What the hell? You better give those…” but he laughed and shook his head no. “Dean Winchester himself pleaded with you to leave him alone. To have the normal life he can’t. Why on Earth are you rushing out to make sure he’s alright? And your so called grandmother?”

 

“Rowena has been more like family to me than almost everyone in my life ever was. Give me back my keys.” she went to raise her wand but Crowley was faster and the wand shot out of her hand and across the room. And then, she was sat back down and this time she couldn’t move.

 

Crowley set about making himself at home, although to Poppy’s shock, this apparently included him making them both a cup of tea and then swearing and complaining when the tea wasn’t to his liking. He finally sat down next to her and he sighed.

 

“I’m rubbish at this. The gist of this visit, Poppy, is to tell you that maybe you should listen to Dean and heed his warnings. Everyone those two love wind up dead or they wind up hurt. No father wants that for their child. Not even me, heartless bastard I’m told I am.”

 

His words shocked him. They shocked her too because she was opening and closing her mouth as if she didn’t know what to say. Finally, she sighed, a sad sound. “I know he’s right, I just… I can’t. I know this won’t amount to much with you, sir, but somehow Dean Winchester and I are linked. I gladly gave up a huge part of my heart when we met and I… Don’t know if I could ever get it back, if I even really wanted to. All  I want to do is make sure he’s at least still alive… A world without him or my grandmother or Sam or any of them in it is a scary one for me, okay? They were family… At least I thought so until they cut me out.”

 

“They did what was best for you. Rowena made Dean swear to her that no harm would come t’ you. What they’re about t’ go through, Poppy.. There’s no place for you there. You need to be here, living a normal life.. Because that’s what Rowena and Dean want you to do.”

 

“So what do you do just blip around eavesdropping?” Poppy looked over at her father and the man shrugged, taking a sip of his tea and grimacing as he did. He put down the cup and answered after a few long seconds of staring at the window in front of them, “When it concerns one of the few people I might care about, I do.”

 

Before she could say anything else, he was fading and the lighting returned to normal and Poppy stared at her cell phone, sitting on her mom’s worktable. With a sigh, she turned it off and pocketed it.

 

After locking up the shop, she made her way down to the bar at the end of the block. After the conversation she just had, she needed more than one good stiff drink…. And she needed to think.

 

Did she listen to practical advice given to her by a father she barely knew? Or did she just go bursting in to the middle of things like she longed to do, that way she could at least attempt to keep those she cared about safer?



Chapter Text

The woods were dark and quiet, almost too quiet. The further in Sylvie wandered, the harder her heart beat. The more excited she grew. Up ahead, the red smoke swirled all around and rather than run from it, like one typically would, Sylvie found herself running towards it instead. 

Right as she was about to finally reach the red mist from her dreams lately, two things happened to awaken Sylvie. One, her cat jumped onto the bed and flopped down next to her head on the pillow and two, her alarm started to beep and the ringer designated for it started to echo throughout the otherwise quiet of her bedroom.

Sylvie should’ve felt relief at waking up before potential danger revealed itself and turned a perfectly not so normal dream into a possible hellscape, but instead, Sylvie was beyond frustrated. She stretched as she sat up, lifting a hand to shield her eyes from sun blaring through uncurtained floor to ceiling windows. After managing to pry herself out of bed, she stumbled blindly down the hallway and out into the main part of her apartment, towards the kitchen.

Coffee. Before everything else, coffee.

She opened up her laptop and went ahead, signing into Skype. Finn liked to call sometimes, and she was sort of hoping that maybe, since he hadn’t gotten to in the past few days, he would today.

Almost as if he read her mind, as soon as Skype signed in, she was getting a video call invite from him. She waved sheepishly and Finn chuckled on the other side of the screen.

“Ah know ya didn’t just wake up.”

“I did, actually. I had a late one last night. Halloween marathon, remember?” Sylvie said as she worked on opening a tin of food for the cat, placing that on the counter. She turned her full attention to the screen and when she realized that he was in an airport terminal, she raised a brow. “You’re back already?”

“Actually, ah thought I would come to you.” Finn cleared his throat as he said it, nervous as hell. He’d decided to just take the leap and fly to Seattle. Surprise her. Because while phone calls, video chats and texts were nice, Finn was dying to meet her face to face. To be with her in reality, not with screens between them. The cat wandered over, standing in front of the screen. Finn chuckled and waved.

“When will you get here?”

Sylvie was suddenly so excited she couldn’t really contain herself. She’d been dying to broach the subject of meeting in person, but every time she started, she found about a thousand good reasons to wimp out and not do it. Finn glanced at his ticket and with a smirk he told her his plane would land in an hour.

Before Sylvie could stop herself, she offered to pick him up. Then, she really surprised herself when she offered up the air mattress or her couch. Finn bit his lip and eyed her, thinking on it a few seconds before nodding, giving that bright grin of his that Sylvie was growing to secretly love so much.

“And ah gotta go. Flight is boarding. But I’ll see y’ in another hour.” Finn touched his fingertip to his lip and then the screen went dark as he hung up. After the shock cleared, Sylvie proceeded to rush around, straightening things up as best as she could. Opening her closet only had her grumbling because…. This.. thing between them was still new enough that sometimes she worried that there was no way in hell a man like Finn Balor was ever going to remain interested in her once he really got to know her.

…. Ah think yer wrong about dat….

When she heard it in her mind, she jumped slightly, startled. The voice sounded like Finn’s voice and yet, somehow it didn’t at all.. i t was lower.. More gravel filled.. Almost as if he just woke up.

She put it out of her head, laughing at the thought of suddenly turning from a pessimist to an optimist and after finally grabbing a pair of decent black skinny jeans and one of her favorite sweaters, she hurried to the bathroom to get a shower.

It happened again while she was showering.

… Is dat a rose above yer bum?…. ah like da view… a lot.. maybe there is hope for th’ boy…

This sufficiently spooked her enough that she dropped the shampoo and conditioner she used on the shower floor and yeah, she was peeking out of the curtain.

She was totally alone in her apartment. Well, except for the cat, Kierian. Kierian was in her usual spot though, curled up in front of the window in the living room with the sunshine right in her face. 

“Okay, that’s freakin me out a little bit.”

… ah’m not tryin t’ scare y’ lass…. 

She really checked her apartment after the voice inside her mind answered her thought spoken aloud. There were only five minutes left until she went to pick up Finn at the airport. She spent every single one of those as she drove to the airport, trying to come up with some halfway reasonable answer for what had been going on all morning.

By the time she was parking in the lot of the airport, she was still coming up totally blank.

… ah normally don’t get involved with the affairs of my ‘ost… but in dis case….  Ah feel ah need t’ make exception… Since it’s rare dat Finn and ah agree on anythin’…. ah wanted to meet y’ too. seeing as my host will be soon…

“Okay, what the hell is going on?” if Sylvie hadn’t lowered her voice, people passing her up on the way into the terminal would’ve probably thought she was going insane or having some kind of breakdown or something. Thankfully, she managed to keep her voice down. 

… Wot’s goin on is dat ah’m choosin y’ to be my queen… so y’ can get used t’ hearin from me… and just like that, whatever had been happening seemed to stop. Sylvie wasn’t sure how she knew for sure, she just had a feeling that she wouldn’t hear that voice again.

But it wouldn’t stop nagging at her brain, either. She scanned the airport, eagerly waiting and when she saw him stepping off his flight, before she could be bothered to stop or to censor herself, she was running straight for him. He met her halfway, lifting her off the ground in a hug, spinning her around a little bit.

“It’s nice to meet you.”

“It’s nice t’ finally meet y’ too. In person and not just talkin to ya on da phone.” Finn answered, stepping back to really look at her.

If he thought she was beautiful through screens, that was nothing compared to how beautiful she really was, in person.

When he heard Balor stirring around in his head, he almost wanted to groan internally. This time, the ancient demon wouldn’t be silenced. 

… y’ come t’ meet my chosen queen and y’ bring ‘er flowers?… wot of a crown? Jewels?… The bleedin heart of anyone who wronged ‘er? Dat is how it should be done, boy….

Finn did his best to ignore it, focusing on her instead, but Sylvie noticed that he tensed a little.

For a split second, she wondered if maybe like before, weird things were going on with him too. 

“Ah’m starvin. Accordin t’ Yelp, there’s this real good diner nearby. If y’ want to stop and get a bite?” Finn held out his arm as they made their way over to the terminal doors.

Sylvie smiled and nodded.

“ I’m really glad you came, Finn.”

“So am I.”

Chapter Text

Pete’s nose nuzzled into her neck as he pulled her closer. Her scent was sweeter, almost heavier. Not in that oh so special way that meant another heat cycle incoming, but something entirely different. Something new.

When he went over everything about her that was slightly different lately, the realization came crashing into him like a brick wall at a speeding car. The end result was Pete Dunne, bolting upright in bed.

Barbie was sleeping, but she felt it the instant that Pete’s arms unwrapped themselves from her body and when he sprang up the way he did. She sat up next, yawning and whining about the time and how tired she was.

Pete was still fully in the grips of shock at the moment, so he didn’t hear her talking to him, he just kept sitting there. Barbie realized that he hadn’t explained himself at all and it worried her, so she moved to sit in his lap, taking his stubbly face in her hands, making him look at her.

“Pete?”

“Yeah, love?”

“Everything okay? You kinda shot up out of bed like you had a nightmare or somethin.” 

Her voice was that slow soft and sleepy drawl that he’d never admit to, but he could listen to it for hours. The shock was sort of wearing off now, - at least as best as it could considering, and Pete pulled her closer, his hands locked together across her lower back. He kept staring.

“Everythin is alright. Y’ need yer rest.” Pete nodded to her side of the bed but she shook her head, giving him that pout and defiant stare. “Oh no, no sir. That is not how this works. You don’t get to keep being the onion.”

“Did y’ really just describe me usin an analogy from that cartoon movie?” Pete grabbed her tighter, holding her closer as he pouted down at her. 

“I did, now start talking.” Barbie tilted his chin up to make him keep looking at her. She cozied against him completely and while she had her head down and wasn’t looking directly at him and he knew he could get away with it, he smiled briefly in the darkness, his hands moving slowly up and down her back.

Or they were until she slid off his lap and made a break for the bathroom.

Now those vague suspicions were really starting to grow, and with them, so was hope.

Barbie stood up and Pete pulled her against him, looking down at her. “Y’ empty now, princess?”

“God I hope so. I’m… never eating at that barbecue restaurant again. Nope.” Barbie snuggled against him, looking up in concern. He still hadn’t told her what it was that made him bolt up in bed out of a dead sleep.

She wondered for a split second if maybe he wasn’t picking up on what she’d been suspecting for a little over a week now, but had been to afraid to actually go and have her suspicions confirmed.

Because she wasn’t entirely sure just how well Pete Dunne was going to take the news that there was a good chance that he might possibly be about to become a father.

She’d go and get a test or two tomorrow while he was down at the gym with Tyler and Trent.

On her end, though, she’d been so excited about the thought that she was really having a hard time keeping her suspicions to herself. It was getting way, way, way too hard not to say something. And she was dying to know, as afraid of the outcome as she might be.

“Probably for th’ best.” Pete answered as he scooped her up and started to walk back down the hall to her bedroom. Once he was sure she was snuggled into the bed -and her limbs were tangled up in his again the way he’d grown accustomed to and preferred, he laid there, just thinking about it.

It took everything in him not to wake her up again, to say something. The even bigger shock to him was that he was a lot more excited than he imagined he’d ever be if he were in this position.


 

“Pete.. Isn’t it a little cold out?” Barbie tried to protest, but Pete was persistent. He was draping one of his heavier jackets around her and opening the door and leading her out all before she even got anything else out.

Why he wanted to walk around her neighborhood on Halloween night, she had no idea. She’d been sitting on her good news all day, and damn it, it had taken her nearly two hours and at least three tries to get the honest to god vegan meal that she attempted to cook with her own hands made and Pete apparently just wanted to roam around as opposed to sitting down and resting and letting her tell him her good news.

All around them, neighborhood kids were scattering around, all decked out in their costumes. Barbie gave a quiet giggle and snugged herself deep into Pete’s long jacket, only complaining about the cold a little. But when she saw the little baby in the stroller, with a pumpkin onesie on, she couldn’t wait another second.

Pete raised a brow as Barbie bought their walk to a grinding halt.

“Yer sick.. I knew it was a bad idea.” Pete frowned, shaking his head and preparing to take her back inside. Barbie gripped his upper arm and explained calmly, “You know I went to all this trouble, I had this big plan for how to tell you..”

Pete eyed her as she wiped at her own eyes. Yep, another checkmark on his mental checklist. She seemed to cry at the drop of a hat lately.

He wanted to blurt out what he thought -and how he’d decided he felt about it, to reassure her, because he was… Definitely happy with the thought, but instead, every single time he tried, Barbie shushed him.

“What I’m trying to say, Pete, is I’m pregnant and… Look, I know it’s soon and everything and I… I’m happy, okay? So if you’re not, you need to say something now.” but instead of him going into freakout mode like Barbie had been fearing all day long, she was being scooped up, wrapping her legs around his waist, his hands squeezing her ass as he chuckled and admitted at last, “I knew it.”

“Wait, what?”

“Well, yer scent changed. All a ‘at crap y’ used t’ be able t’ eat without any affect seems t’ send ya runnin straight t’ the bathroom… Yer cryin all th’ time, for nothin more than droppin a french fry onto th’ floor… It’s really not that hard t’ figure out, love.” Pete muttered against her lips as Barbie took a deep breath and eyed him.

“You… You thought so too, but you didn’t say anything?”

“I had t’ get used to the idea… But I am now..” Pete trailed off, but Barbie had to press him. She had to be sure he was really alright with everything.

“And? How do you feel about it?”

“Happy, woman, how th’ hell did y’ think I’d feel, hmm?” Pete muttered as he stood her on her own feet again and admitted, “I bought y’ out here tonight because I was tryin t’ come up with a way t’ tell ya that I want all of this with y’… Plus, it is a holiday, even if it is a silly one.. Didn’t want th’ little one t’ miss it?”

“Awww…. If anybody knew you were an actual teddy bear and not a murdery one.”

“Don’t do ‘at, woman.” Pete pretended to scowl, laughing as he slipped his arms around her as he muttered quietly, “Y’ mentioned food?”

“I did.. But I warn you, it might not be that good.. I did attempt cooking.”

Chapter Text

It was a little after midnight. Evie hadn’t been gone all that long, they’d spent Halloween night watching horror movies, talking and taking trips down memory lane. It all left Shane feeling nostalgic. It left him longing for what might have been, even if he’d die before admitting it just because he was half afraid that admitting it wouldn’t do a damn thing but drive her away.

Suffice to say, the ringing of his cell phone just as he was starting to drift off -and yeah, maybe dream of some of those ‘might have been’ situations, caught him by surprise.

When he heard her scream on the other end of the line, he felt himself starting to panic a little.

He knew that she had an overzealous fan who sent her weird letters, who occasionally popped up at shoots and the like, but Evie kept telling him the entire time that he expressed concern about it earlier in the evening that the guy was harmless, that she hadn’t heard from him in months since her old bodyguard caught him lingering outside a hotel she was staying in and ran the guy off then talked her into getting an order of restraint.

He knew and he didn’t like it. And he told her he didn’t like it, her staying out at one of the old cabins on set. She said it was method acting, that she wanted to get a feel for the character she was playing.

He’d pointed out that the place was old, surrounded by forest and should’ve been torn down years ago, not to mention, if her stalker were to make an appearance, she was miles out of town, near the quarry was the only place she could get cell reception. And naturally, given her loathing of weapons, she didn’t have anything but pepper spray and an old baseball bat.

He’d actually casually suggested that she stay with him, but she’d politely declined.

She screamed and the line went dead and he spent the next five seconds flooding her cell phone with calls and pacing, punching a hole in the dry wall. She’d sounded like she was running, wherever she was. He didn’t have time to waste, so bearing that in mind, he grabbed his Mossberg, a box of ammo and his keys and as he sped towards the outskirts of town, he called Rick and explained the situation. She’d apparently tried to call them both but lost signal, because he saw Rick and Lori’s SUV falling in behind him.

About a mile out and three miles away from that old camp by the lake, Evie’s convertible sat in the ditch, a door open and the engine running.

The tires had nails in them and Shane looked back and realized exactly why.

Someone had laid a strip of spikes across the road and covered it.. Then when her tires blew and she got out… He swore and kicked at the sports car, leaving a dent in the door and Rick started to look around, started calling out to his sister Evie.

Something told Shane that it wasn’t a good idea. He hushed his friend, explaining, “Don’t call out to her. We don’t want her answerin and whoever might be out here gettin to her before we kin.”  and instead of calling out to her, he started to walk towards the treeline, Mossberg slung over his shoulder. Rick took the other side of the treeline, with his dad’s old shotgun.

The glow of a cell phone screen caught his attention about the same time as he saw a third person stalking around quietly, looking for something. Now, it could’ve been a hunter, trying to do a little off season and illegal hunting, but Shane somehow doubted it, these woods hadn’t been a popular hunting spot in years.

He fired off a warning shot that settled into the tree the other person stood next to. When he saw Evie stand and start to run, he yelled. The other person fired off a shot of his own and Shane ducked behind the cover of trees, reloading his gun with shaky hands. The adrenaline was surging.. But it didn’t feel like the movies made it seem. Instead, everything seemed to move in slow motion. He saw Evie find Rick and he yelled out to her to get out of the forest.

The other person was still firing off shots, missing more than anything. Shane stood and leaned out, firing off a few rounds. He knew when he hit the other person, because he saw them drop to the ground, holding onto their leg. Shane walked over calmly and after Rick yelling out to make sure he didn’t need back up and him yelling back that Rick needed to call 911, he bent down to the guy and grabbed hold of his shirt, smirking.

“You’re under arrest, motherfucker. I’m gon make sure you cain’t ever even look at ‘er again, ya hear me?” Shane hauled the guy off the ground, putting an arm around his shoulder, making a point to tell Rick to get his cuffs and keep a gun on the guy so he didn’t get any bright ideas as he made his way out of the trees.

He didn’t realize that one of the rounds the guy fired off even hit his arm until the adrenaline wore off and he felt a sharp burning sting. He was raising his sleeve when Evie made her way over with Rick.

“Oh my god, Shane…”

“It’s nothin, hon. Ya need t’ be sittin down. Ankle’s swellin.” Shane stood there, staring down at her, trying to catch his breath. Instinct kicked in and he told her calmly, “If yer not willin to stay with me, at least consider goin with yer brother Rick.”

Evie swallowed hard, looking back and forth between her brother and the man she still loved more than anything. The prospect of sharing a roof with her brother’s wife wasn’t thrilling, but she was… Scared to let go, to give Shane another chance, to be hurt, to hurt him again.

 But if tonight has shown you anything, Evie, it should be that life is short… too short to spend it running from what you know you want… the thought prompted her to speak up, finally.

“Rick, I know what you’re about to say. And I will, okay? I’ll stay at Shane’s.”

“You could’ve stayed with me and Lori..”

“Every time I’m around her we fight and I don’t wanna make you miserable. I promise I’ll check in and visit. I swear.. I just..”

Rick looked from Shane to Evie and after hugging his younger sister tight he nodded. “You scared the hell out of me, lil bit.”

“Think about how I felt when all this started to happen, Ricky.”

Sirens broke the silence and the ambulance and backup squad car Rick called for showed up. Shane and Rick went into all business mode, helping a panicked Evie explain what happened as they took the man into the hospital under police custody.

Rick stuck around while the EMT checked out his sister, and when he was satisified that she was going to be okay, he gave her one last hug, made her promise to come by the next day and he left. It left her alone with Shane and she grabbed hold of his hand, dragging him over to the EMT.

“Woman, no. I’m fine.”

“You got dinged by a bullet, Shane so no.. You’re not fine.”

“It’s just a flesh wound, damn.”

She stopped, a hand on her hip and then instead of an argument, like they would’ve done back then, she took a deep breath and tried something different.

“I know you’re fine baby but can you let them look at it? For me? I’d feel a lot better.”

Shane eyed her and then, after a little grumbling, he let a medic look at the small wound. After it was taken care of, he nodded to her car.

“I’ll call a tow for that death trap of yers in the mornin, hon.”

“It’s not a death trap.”

“Goes way too damn fast for you.”

“It does not.”

“Okay, darlin, whatever you say. Can we finish this in my Bronco maybe? I’d really like t’ get some shut eye, somebody scarin the shit outta me tonight…” 

“That’s the best idea I’ve heard all night.”

Chapter Text

“No. Nope. I’m not staying here. You idiots are aware that this is the hotel that one of the guests went insane in and killed everyone here… Right?”

“That was over a hundred years ago. Live a little.” Carmella adjusted the scarf tied around her hair and Liv giggled. “This could be fun, ya know? Relax, Amie.”

“That’s just it! I’d like to continue doing that.. History can sometimes repeat itself, ya know?” Amelia suck popped a bubble with her gum as she whipped out her mirror and reapplied her makeup just a little. 

Carmella wasn’t going to be deterred, apparently her fortune teller costume was going to go right to her head tonight. “Girl. Ya act like the ghost of the murderer is gonna rise from the grave and kill you tonight.”

“It’s Amelia, first of all, Liv.. And second…This place is fucking spooky, okay?” Amelia shivered as she got out of the backseat of the SUV and stared up at the building, dragging her fingers through her hair and gulping. “I mean, I swear it looks like there’s a permanent gray cloud hanging over it. I’m not getting a good feeling about it.” 

“Amie’s cuter. I’m gonna just keep callin you Amie.” Liv answered, with Amelia shaking her head as she repeated, “Amelia. Not Amie.”

“Like I said, Amie’s cuter. Mella, your sister’s a stick in the mud.”

“No, she’s a little princess, that’s what the hell she is. Can’t see this is gonna be an adventure because it ain’t some fancy five star B n B.” Carmella looked around, digging for something. She gave a triumphant whoop when she found the key that the caretaker left behind and turned to her sister.

“We’re doin this. So ya might as well sit back and enjoy.”

Amelia hugged her arms around herself and through chattering teeth, she turned to Carmella and asked, “Well? If you wanna do this, lead the way.” as she flashed a smug look. She was at least partially sure that now that Carmella and Liv were actually getting a good look at the place in person, there was no way in hell they were going through with it.

To her shock -and horror, rather than either of the other women chickening out, Liv brushed between both and ran up the steps, giggling as she disappeared into the building. Carmella smirked right back at Amelia and Amelia swore and grumbled and grabbed her suitcase and makeup kit and followed behind the two. “I’m not even sure why I keep letting myself get talked into these crazy ass ideas you two have.”

Ruby and Sarah spoke up from nearby, “We said the same thing. And yet, here we are.” with Nikki Cross echoing in agreement, “Though it was really nice of th’ owners t’ let us all invade their bed an’ breakfast for a whole weekend. Just t’ party.”

At this, Amelia turned to face Carmella, a hand on her hip and her free one tugging at thick dark blonde  waves. “Are you fucking shitting me right now? You expect me to spend an entire weekend.. Here.”

“Kind of have to, boo. We’re locked in now.” Carmella spoke up.

Liv   bit her lip, and looked from woman to woman. “Hey, no fightin. You two get along or I’m gonna go find that get along shirt ya moms sent with ya both last time we went back at downtime to visit.”

“CARMELLA WHAT THE FUCKIN’… WHY?” Amelia exploded, grumbling at her older sister. From nearby, Ruby snickered and nudged Liv, nodding to the two. “Do they always do this?”

“Only every five minutes. Mella, she’s just tryin to break Amie there outta her plush little comfort zone.”

“And obviously, Amie doesn’t like it.” Sarah snickered, moving close to the two to attempt breaking up sister on sister violence.

More vehicles began pulling in and parking and Amelia bit her lip, glaring at her sister with her arms folded over her chest.

“Will it make ya pout less, Amie, if I told ya I invited somebody ‘specially for you? Even though I didn’t wanna because you know how I feel about the damn guy? And I know all the two of ya are gonna do is argue?” Carmella asked her sister, barely hiding a grin of amusement.

If she thought she was getting on her sister’s last nerve before, that was… Nothing compared to what she had up her sleeves. So maybe she’d orchestrated a little fun for Halloween / her sister’s birthday. What was the harm?

If Amie would just get with it, Carmella thought to herself, this could really be one hell of a weekend…  

Amelia took a deep breath in an attempt to calm down and she turned around, intending to head to the desk, where Carmella and R Truth and Liv were passing out room keys, but she managed to find herself body to body with Roderick Strong. She gulped and then she attempted to shove past him as she pondered to herself why the hell exactly that her sister would invite the guy if she knew that all they ever seemed to do was argue.

… because maybe your whole ‘hidden crush’ isn’t so hidden? Mella knows you like the back of her hand… did you really think you were gonna hide your feelings from her, of all people?... 

She grumbled when he caught hold of her hip and reached out, straightening the ears on her headband, snickering as he did so. “Black cat, huh? Real cute.” 

She gave a nod, felt her cheeks getting warm. Normally, he’d follow with some kind of snarky comment, so honestly, she was kind of waiting for that to happen. When it didn’t, she mumbled a quick thank you and after a few seconds, she managed to get something out.

“Soldier, huh?  I always did like uniforms.”

“Good to know, kitten.” Roderick muttered as he watched her slinking away. From beside him, Adam chuckled and nudged him, nodding in her direction. “See? Wasn’t that hard to say somethin nice without a fight, was it? Now, maybe try actually flirting with her instead of being the way you usually are, man. Otherwise, Matt Riddle’s over there talking about how he’s gonna make a move. And I know you don’t want that, do ya?”

“Hell no. I don’t even fuckin think so. I told that little shit not to even breathe around her. Guess I should’ve really driven the point home.”

“No fights.” Adam raised his hand, giving Roderick a stern look. “Not this weekend.”

Across the room, Amelia stood talking to Carmella. Apologizing, rather.

“I’m sorry, it’s just like… It looked really scary. I mean scarier than any horror movie. I love you for doing this.” Amelia hugged her sister and Carmella smiled.

“Saw ya talkin to Roddy.” Carmella mentioned casually, eyeing her sister.

“Yeah, it was weird.” Amelia glanced back at Roderick, who was talking to Adam and Kyle and Bobby and she shook her head, quickly tearing her eyes off him.

“Oh?” Carmella’s ears perked. She wondered if there was still time to stage an intervention, to steer her baby sister in the direction of someone more… appropriate for her sister.

Her eyes darted around the room and she mentally weighed the men present against her own personal standards for date-able guys for her little sister.

Anybody but Roderick. Liv seemed to pick right up on what she was doing and gave a sharp nudge and a shake of her head no, leaning in to whisper into her friends ear, “Let things happen on their own, yeah? Let her decide.”

“Yeah, but I’m half afraid her mind’s all made up.”

“So? What’s so wrong with Roddy, huh?”

Amelia cleared her throat and spoke up. “It was weird because I think he complimented me.”

Carmella smiled at her sister and shook her head. “Maybe he’s callin a truce. I mean he’d better be, I made him swear to his best behavior otherwise I wasn’t invitin him.”

Amelia groaned inwardly. “Mella, what the hell?”

“I didn’t want you two fightin and you to be all mopey and moody all weekend. It’s your party!”

“Okay, alright.. But no tricks. Promise?”

Carmella crossed the fingers on the hand out of sight and she nodded. “I promise.”

Amelia eyed her, suspect.

Carmella might claim she wasn’t up to anything, but Amelia knew how her sister operated. 

Before anything else could be said on the matter, Carmella stepped up, hitting the dimmer for the lights. Everyone started to quiet down and Carmella started to tell the story of the bed and breakfast they were all standing in, with help from Liv and Paige, who’d apparently googled the place prior and was in full on ghost hunter mode now.

“If everybody wants to follow me..” Carmella swept open the parlor doors in a dramatic fashion true to form for her and Amelia couldn’t help but give a soft giggle. Carmella had really went all out for this weekend. She shot her sister a glance and mouthed a thank you as she walked past her and into the room.

“Uh uh. Nope. I’m not tryin to call up spirits.”

“Where’s the booze?”

Carmella gave a dirty look to Alicia and Bianca, both of whom were eyeing the Ouija board on the table warily as Paige wheeled in a cart loaded with drinks, mixing herself up one after she’d gotten it to it’s spot close to the table.

Amelia hugged herself tight. On first glance, it honestly seemed as if she was the only one in the room cold right now. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it, but she figured that maybe it had to do with poor circulation and the clingy leather black dress she was wearing and how it did little to cover her up. From beside her, Matt Riddle leaned down and whispered, “If you want.. Got a hoodie.”

“I’m fine, thanks.” Amelia declined politely. She’d honestly rather freeze than take a hoodie from Matt Riddle. She took a mixed drink from Paige, hoping the alcohol would warm her up a little bit and she sat down.

Roderick noticed Matt about to sink down into the chair closest to Amelia, but he shoved him out of the way while everyone was pre occupied and flopped down next to her, chuckling. “If ya sister thinks this is scary… It ain’t.”

“Good to know.” Amelia stared at the board, biting her lower lip. She was…. Getting this distinct feeling of being watched, it was to a point where she actually turned around and looked around the room. Roderick cleared his throat and nodded to her bare arms. “Must be real cold.”

“Not really, no.”

“Ya got goosebumps, woman.”

“I’m fine.” it came out quick. Too quick. She could feel herself tensing as the stories that Page and her sister Carmella and Liv told them all about the bed and breakfast came rushing back, as did her own statement prior to entry.

This was going to be one long weekend. She reminded herself that Carmella was doing this for her and she put anything negative out of her head because damn it, one way or another, she was going to have a good time.

The spirit box and Ouija Board communication attempts were a bust, - save for Truth swearing up and down he heard someone walking around upstairs, which she had too, but she was not about to look like a baby at her own party, and everyone was lingering in the parlor, drinking and talking, just sort of relaxing with no cameras or pressure on them.

When the plate crashed to the floor, everyone in the room kind of stopped and looked around.

“I didn’t do it.” Paige was quick to say it, Carmella was nodding in agreement, but her mouth was opening and closing in shock.

“We said goodbye when we finished with the board, yeah?” Carmella asked Liv, who nodded. Ruby muttered calmly, “We did. But sometimes that doesn’t matter? I’ve seen things start to happen…”

“Shhh. No. Nobody wants ghosts hangin around, don’t you even.” Alicia shushed her as Adam chuckled and spoke up. “Pretty sure there’s a rational explanation.”

“There has to be.” Matt echoed. 

When the lights flickered for a few seconds and went dark, Amelia, despite her best efforts, screamed and started for the door and she wasn’t the only one. 

“Let’s just go up and go to sleep. Less easy to get to us if we’re all locked into our room.” Ruby made the suggestion and pretty much everyone among them seconded the idea. Amelia hurried up the stairs, finding her room.

She shut the door behind her heavily and she leaned against it. When she felt the hairs on her arm starting to stand up, she sucked in a breath. Something was there, she could feel it. She then spent the next hour trying to get ready for bed and trying to convince herself that she wasn’t having some kind of weird Sixth sense moment. She’d just crawled into bed when one of the heavy shutters near the window banged shut on it’s own and she shot up out of bed, grabbing her phone and her key. 

“Oh no. Not tonight, Satan. Not tonight. The spirits can have this room.”

She made her way down the hall, surprising herself when she bypassed Carmella’s room and found herself stopping in front of Roderick’s instead.

She banged on the door, eyes darting around the hall. The lights were doing that flickering thing again and it seemed like the coldness in the air followed her.

“C’mon, open the door… Please?”

Roderick had just really started to drift off to sleep but then his door was nearly being beaten down. “What the fuckin hell?” he slipped out of bed and made his way to the door, flinging it open and giving a sleepy smirk when he saw Amelia standing there, barefoot and in a thin silky looking robe. He rubbed his hand over his head and after a few seconds, he stepped out of the door, letting her step into the room. He shut the door behind him and she turned abruptly just as he stopped behind her, putting them body to body with her looking up at him, eyes wide with fear.

“Everything okay?”

“Fuck sleeping in that room. Whatever is there can stay there. I am not about to sleep in that room by myself. Nope.” Amelia was talking so fast her words were stumbling over each other as they came out and Roderick, despite it not being a good idea, found himself snickering quietly. She gave him a pout, put her hand on her hip as she tilted her head to look up at him.

“What the hell is so funny?”

“Ya get scared… and ya show up at my room…” Roderick rubbed his chin in thought. Amelia grumbled and started to turn towards the door, but he grabbed her wrist and swore under his breath, trying to stop her from leaving, because obviously, she was afraid of something and he wanted to make sure she was okay.

 “ Just seemed odd, is all. We don’t get along that well.”

“I don’t know why, okay? It was dark? I got confused?”

It would’ve been believable if he hadn’t been looking in her eyes when she said it, or seen the way she went all squirmy when he said something about it. He tucked his fingers beneath her chin to tilt her head so she had to look up and at him again. “Normally, I’d give ya hell.”

“I know, you promised Mella no arguments.. It’s okay, say whatever.” Amelia swallowed hard. …. His eyes are so fucking deep… she thought to herself right as she started to really get lost in their depths. Roderick swallowed hard, shaking his head no. Instead of saying something, he asked in a calm tone, “Okay, try explainin all of that you did when ya came in.. From the beginning.”

“So I was getting in bed and like.. First of all it’s really fucking cold in there? And I keep feeling like there’s.. Like I’m not by myself. I convinced myself its’…” Amelia laughed at herself, this all sounded stupid now that she was calming down and telling him. Roderick cleared his throat. “Go on?”

“Then that damned shutter thing slammed against the window and I noped right the fuck out… I was gonna go to Mella’s room but… I came here instead.. I should go back to my room. Stop being a baby.” she went to stand, but Roderick grabbed hold of her hips, guiding her back down onto the bed.

“Want me to come down and look around?”

 no, I kinda just don’t wanna go back in there… wanna stay in here with you but fuck if I’m about to admit to that anytime soon…. Amelia thought to herself, nodding yes instead. He might not want to share a room.

“Unless you’d rather share the room with me.” Roderick asked, eyeing her. She stood and told him quietly, “I need to go back and face this. I’m not a baby.”

“Never said you were.” Roderick stopped her mid sentence and then stifled a yawn. “Look, it’s late. You’re tired, I’m fuckin exhausted.. Do ya just wanna share the room tonight?”

“I guess so…”

He grabbed pillows, intending to just give her the bed and sleep on the little two seater sofa in the room. Amelia busied herself settling into bed. She watched him settle onto the impossibly small couch and she grumbled at herself but hissed his name.

Roderick sat up, brow raised.

“There’s no way you’re gonna be able to sleep there. Just get in the damn bed.”

“You sure?” Roderick coughed to cover the fact that he nearly choked at her suggestion. He waited on her to change her mind but she patted the empty side of the bed. 

“We’re adults. I’m too sleepy to argue. Get in or not.” Amelia muttered through a yawn. Roderick made his way over and got into the bed, crossing his arms behind his head just so he didn’t accidentally do something stupid like wrap them around her.

Amelia wiggled around, trying to get herself comfortable and warm, but it seemed as if when she accomplished one, she lacked the other. And given that she was tired and still scared from earlier, she lacked the self preservation she’d normally have had in spades.

The self preservation that would’ve kept her on her own damned side of the bed.

Roderick tensed and bit back a groan as he felt her leg slip over him and one of her arms wound up going over his chest as she cozied the pillow closer to him. Her hair brushed against his ribs and he could kind of feel her temple, brushing against bare skin.

. Well fuck… there goes sleepin tonight… he thought to himself just as he started to get comfortable again. Maybe a little too comfortable, because as he began to drift off, one of his arms went from the back of his head to being around her, which pulled her closer.

She gave this quiet little contented purr and snuggled against him a little more dozing right back off. 

Roderick turned over onto his side and he figured she’d stay put. To his surprise, she mumbled something in a sleepy whine about being ‘too cold’ and there she went, tangling her legs between his, tucking herself into his chest, snoring quietly. He laid there a few seconds, raking his fingers through her hair, trying to get himself back to sleep, which he finally managed.

Amelia woke up after she’d been asleep a little bit and found that she couldn’t move. She was apparently clinging to Roderick like a koala bear to a limb and Roderick had quite the grip on her body. After a few seconds of trying but not wanting to wake him up, she gave up and settled back into the position she’d been in.. But not until she’d managed to lay there and kind of…. Trail her fingers over his skin.


 

The sun was filtering in through thick antique drapes and Roderick grumbled, sleepily raising a hand to shield his eyes. 

His eyes popped open when he caught the scent of cotton candy and something soft brushed against his nose. Then he realized that he was spooned against Amelia and that she was obviously comfortable, because she had a grip on his hand and she was not letting up on that grip. Her light snores made him snicker quietly and almost as soon as he felt himself getting hard, he tried to move a little. But thanks to the grip she had on his arm, he really couldn’t go anywhere.

And then, she started to wiggle around a little, as if she were waking up, but trying not to. He tried to shift around a little.

“Mmmm… Right there, Roderick.”

He nearly choked when he heard it. He went from being partially asleep to wide awake. She wiggled against him a little more, giggling quietly. “Mm… your hands..”

He thought he’d braced himself, but no. Then she rolled over, facing him. Her leg settled over his hip and as it did, she grinded against his hip. Before he could stop himself from making the sound, he’d groaned.

Amelia’s eyes opened as soon as the tip of her nose and her lips brushed against something that was… Clearly not her pillow. 

She wasn’t in bed alone.

Bits of the night before came back to her as she started to wake up fully and she bit her lip, making herself meet his gaze. She hadn’t moved yet, but she was moving away just a little bit in the effort not to make things awkward.

For a few seconds, neither of them really said anything. Roderick chuckled quietly and asked her, “Sleep good, darlin?”

“Yeah..” Amelia answered through a yawn and Roderick nodded, adding quietly, “Definitely seemed like it.” 

Amelia froze and Roderick teased gently, “Dream me made you all wet, huh?”

Her mouth opened and closed and for a good five and a half seconds at least, she couldn’t really say anything. Which was rare for her. 

She gave a smirk and finally managed to answer, “Yeah… dream you.” 

Roderick gave a pout and then leaned in, brushing some hair out of her face as he bit his lip and stared her down intently, “ Dream about me a lot, Amelia?”

The way her eyes darted and wouldn’t meet his for any decent length of time after he asked gave him the answer she wasn’t going to apparently. He moved in just a little closer. Amelia swallowed hard, but she didn’t back away either. She leaned in to meet him. “Maybe I do.”

“Maybe you do, hmm? Interesting.” Roderick closed the distance between their mouths completely, his teeth sinking into her lower lip as his mouth met hers. He pulled her against him completely and the hand not cupping the side of her face slipped down, squeezing her thigh after he’d raised her leg and let it settle back over his hip.

Amelia whimpered into the kiss before she could stop herself, rubbing herself against him just a little bit. Her hand raised, dragging through his hair. Just when things were really starting to get interesting, his door was being pounded on again.

They sprang apart and both tried not to laugh when Adam called through the door, “You’re gonna miss food, man!”

“I’ll be down in a little bit.” Roderick answered, turning his attention back to her, leaning in.. “Where were we, hmm?”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean just cover for you? I can’t just cover for you. What if someone does a room check tonight?” Priscilla was pacing, eyeing her roommate. Victoria wasn’t paying her any mind, she was too busy gathering candles, the mason jar filled with water she’d let charge from the moon and the coin floating lazily inside, and last but not least, the bell. Priscilla eyed Victoria as she hurried around the room. 

“What’s with the outfit anyway?”

“This outfit, I’ll have you know, belonged to my mother.” Victoria adjusted the flower crown on her head and blew at the bangs pushed into her eyes in irritation. Why did Pris have to ask so many questions? Especially tonight, of all nights..  “Look, just cover for me, okay? I never go anywhere, you know that. If I’m doing this, just assume it’s important to me.” 

Priscilla still didn’t have a good feeling, but she mulled it over and gave a reluctant sigh. “Okay, alright. But you’d better not be gone all night. And I better not regret this, either.”

Victoria gave the other girl a hug and out of the room she went, not bothering to stop once she hit the hallway. She bolted straight out the back way, her run picking up full speed once she was outside and the treeline was in sight.

She reached the clearing in the forest between Hawthorne and town in almost record time, just as the moon was really raising higher in the sky. Spreading out the blanket, she lit the white candle and she sat out the water, sinking down, sitting on the blanket and closing her eyes, really focusing her thoughts and intentions on what she was about to try and do.

…. I can’t just let her die, if she dies I really will be all alone in this world and I… I don’t want that… 

She felt it the exact second that energy shifted and she gasped, her eyes opening wide as she stood, arms out stretched as she spun in circles. 

Michael had been standing, hidden out of sight, watching her perform her little ritual. He heard what she said, he knew what she was asking for. All he wanted to do was get closer. 

Because it seemed like she was the one thing that didn’t fit, no matter how hard she tried. She wasn’t like the others. It drew his attention.

Just as she stopped the lazy half spin she’d been doing, he stepped out.. Right behind her. Victoria turned around, found herself body to body with him.

Michael Langdon. The guy she’d only caught a glimpse of as they escorted him in to Hawthorne. 

… Oh but that one glimpse was burned into your mind, wasn’t it?…

“You’re supposed to be in your room.” her voice wavered ever so slightly as she looked up at him. Michael dragged his hand through thick curls and stared down at her intently, a dark chuckle breaking the silence. 

“And you see, I would be, Victoria. But you summoned me.”

Victoria gaped and shook her head. “I did no such thing!”

“Oh but you did. This,” he swept his arms wide, giving her a bit of a bright grin. “Woke me out of a dead sleep. Why.. You must be some kind of witch, Victoria.”

“I’m not..”

“Maybe it was what you asked for then.” Michael rubbed his chin in thought as he stared at her intently. “You do know.. I could help you. My father..” he started to say it, but Victoria shook her head, eyes going wide as she pressed the side of her finger against full and soft lips. The touch sent a shiver straight through Michael’s entire body. He grabbed at her wrist as she went to step away. He wasn’t sure why he did it, but he knew that he didn’t want her to move.

The way she stood close.. Little to no fear. It wasn’t the way he was growing accustomed to being treated. 

She went to lower her eyes, he tucked his fingers beneath her chin to raise them right back. “ Why not ask for something else, hm?”

“Because that’s literally the only thing I want. Not to lose my mother… Even though she’s… Look, she’s all I have left, alright?” Victoria’s breath caught on the last few words because he stepped just a little closer, this intense look on his face. She tensed a little, but not in a bad way, to her shock.

In anticipation. She wanted him to get closer… To touch her more.

Michael picked up on the fact that her tension wasn’t so much tension as it was her strong desire for physical contact and the thought intrigued him. He smirked down at her, lazily trailing his finger along her jawline.

“You have to be freezing.” he nodded to the sundress and it’s lack of sleeves. Victoria shook her head no, but when she opened her mouth, “I am a little.” came out instead and she wanted to kick herself. The air around them was thick somehow, she’d almost swear she heard an electrical buzzing in her ears.

His eyes were even bluer up close.. Staring down at her, filled with concern?

It was probably the first time in a long time anyone actually bothered to really look at her. She definitely got why so many of the others whispered that the guy had a soul piercing gaze because yeah, he did.

Something her mom used to say about the devil and how he wasn’t a monster chose that exact second to pop back into her mind. Of course she’d said it about some asshole biker that she bought home who turned and stole not only their rent, but her stash of pot, but yeah… The sentiment felt like it was appropriate here too.

In short, everything in Victoria screamed for her to run, to get as far away from him as fast as she could, but somehow she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. 

… he’s just a guy…  

… but you know what everyone is saying…

… again, he’s just a guy…. Just go if he scares you that bad…

… maybe I don’t want to….

The last thought was the one that prompted her to take a few shaky breaths and look up at him again on her own this time. “What’s in it for you, hm? People don’t just do things for others without some selfish reason..”

“Oh, we’ll worry about that later. You said you don’t want to be alone, right? What if I promised you that you’d never be alone?”

“You can’t promise that, that’s the thing.”

“Oh, but I can. And I can back it up, too. My father is very powerful, after all.”

Victoria snorted, laughing. “Yeah, I bet you say that to all the girls.” she hugged herself and tried to clench her jaws so her teeth didn’t chatter. Michael sighed and shook his head, slipping out of the jacket, draping it around her shoulders. “ I’ve actually never said that to anyone. I’m being honest. Maybe, Victoria, I just really want to help you. You’re not like the others.”

“And you know this how?” she stopped their walk towards the school to look up at him.

The way the moon lit him… Almost too perfect. She’d die before admitting it, but she could easily stare forever and feel not an ounce of guilt or shame.

She didn’t like knowing that, she didn’t know how to feel about him having that much power over her, but that was the honest truth.

Michael studied her intently, shrugging and giving a smile. “You’re just not. You’ve had my attention for a while now, Victoria, if you want the truth.” he held out his arm, waiting. “We should get back inside.”

“We should..” Victoria pouted, despite herself. She stepped closer to him as the chill in the air grew and Michael’s hand rested at her hip as he stared down at her. When he bit his lip, she whimpered. He leaned down slightly.

“You want me to kiss you right now.”

“I…”

“Shh.” his lips brushed right against hers as he pulled her against him. He backed away and studied her intently. “C’mon. Let’s get back inside.”

As he walked her toward her area on the grounds, she stopped them and asked, “What about… you know?”

Michael’s face lit up and he chuckled, leaning in, smoothing hair out of her face. “It’s going to be taken care of.”

As he walked away, Victoria stood there, trying to collect herself. And she found herself wondering exactly he meant by “it’s all going to be taken care of.” but she also found herself thinking that maybe it was simply better not to ask.

Chapter Text

8:30. Hotel lobby. I’ll be the one in the kilt.

That was all the napkin she found tucked beneath her windshield said. Vivi wound her fingers through her hair, eyes darting around only to find no one around but her. She tucked the napkin away into her pocket and told herself the best thing to do -since this was clearly a trick, was to put it right out of her head. She turned sharply and started to make her way into the arena again, struggling with the rolling makeup case and trying to take a call from a client she kept lined up when she was home for downtime.

Vivi made her way past and Drew McIntyre’s eyes fixed on her as he smirked to himself. She’d gotten his note and if her laughter was anything to go by, she thought that someone on the roster was up to something.

Technically, he thought to himself, he was. But he’d never been the kind of man to just sit back, let what he wanted slip through his fingers. And there was no way in hell he was going to sit back and let Orton, of all people swoop in and try and get his hooks in.

Or any other man on the roster, for that matter.

It was a pretty well known fact amongst the males on the roster that Drew had called dibs, despite Drew never managing to be in the same place as Vivi long enough to make her aware of the fact.

That was going to change tonight.

He fell into step behind her right as the makeup case lost a wheel and she apparently noticed a run in her stocking and stopped to slip her shoe off to deal with it. Drew swallowed hard, waiting a second or two before reaching out to get her attention, choosing instead to watch as she worked the fishnet down her leg after unhooking it from a black lacy thigh garter.

He cleared his throat calmly and she turned, nearly catapulting herself right into him in the process.

 She’s so fuckin tiny compared t’ me… the idle thought came and went as he nodded to the candy pink colored makeup case and it’s missing wheel. He bent and picked it up.. And yeah, maybe in the process, he picked up the heel she hadn’t put back on yet either, holding it out, the most innocent of smirks on his face as he let his gaze move slowly up her legs, then the rest of her body and after lingering on her mouth -those full red lips ‘f hers, he thought to himself as he let his gaze linger there, finally, he met her eyes. “Ah believe this is yours?”

Vivi’s mouth opened and closed, for once she was at a total loss for words. Then again, she thought to herself, this is the exact reason you actively avoid the guy, because damn.. The thoughts he puts into your head with just a few words… 

She finally reached out, taking the shoe from his hand and slipping it back on, gingerly propping her hand against his shoulder to keep herself upright. She tensed when she thought she felt his stubble graze against her and barely kept from gasping.

“Today is obviously not my day.”

“ ‘At’s a shame.” Drew was standing. Rather than reattach the wheel to her rolling makeup kit, he’d picked it up instead. Weighed next to nothing if he had to be honest, so it wasn’t like it was a big deal to him. He may have purposely started off walking a step or two behind her, merely to enjoy his view, but he caught up to her right outside the door, pulling the handle open. Their bodies brushed right against each other and he gave a calm smirk when he happened to glance down at her just in time to see her gulp.

 Interesting. Ah’m gettin t’ her like she’s always gettin t’ me… 

“Everythin alright?” he asked the question almost as if he wasn’t fully aware of his affect on her, -to be fair, he’s probably not, and Vivi managed a nod. There was something in the looks he kept giving her that had her thighs sliding off each other. She nodded to her makeup kit, currently being carried by the muscular giant of a man and only half in teasing, she asked the question, “Aren’t you afraid of what somebody might say? I mean that’s bright pink.”

“Ah think it brings out da green of my eyes.” Drew teased back, the two of them stopping in front of the door to her work area. Vivi gave a soft giggle and then went quiet for a few seconds in which thankfully, she had the door and unlocking it again to keep her busy, keep her  from staring at him like a proper idiot. Drew boldly pressed into her from behind a little.

“Happy Halloween. Ah meant t’ say earlier that th’ costume looks good on y’.” his voice seemed like it dropped a few octaves, deep and husky and right against her ear, the warmth of his breath and the way he sounded like he was telling her some dirty little secret more than enough to make her nearly drop her damned key. Her hand shook a little, but she hopefully managed to cover the fact as she stared up at him, trying to figure out what exactly he was up to.

Because there was no mistake about it, the man was up to something, pressing against her like he was right now… and the whole thing with her shoe out in the parking garage, the tone of his voice and most importantly, that fucking look he kept giving her.

She stared down at the black tee shirt dress she was wearing, shrugging.  “This old thing?” she flirted with him before she managed to stop herself from doing it, leaning a little closer. “This isn’t even my costume, honestly. Costume’s at the hotel. It might have been frowned upon, wearing it to work.”

Drew caught onto her flirting with him almost the instant she started to do it and he shifted closer after sitting her makeup case on the floor. “Oh yeah? Maybe ah’ll see it for myself.”

“ That all depends, Drew. Planning on going anywhere tonight?”

Drew smirked and shrugged. He couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when she came down to the lobby.. To find him waiting.

“Are y’?” Drew asked the question in return.

Remembering the napkin in her pocket, Vivi shrugged. “There was an offer, but it’s probably a prank or something. Either way, I plan to go to this little nightclub I passed on the way into town last night. Something about a costume contest? Not to mention, it’s an excuse to dance my little ass off.”

Drew didn’t bother stopping the low growl that came as a result of her words and he stepped even closer, a hand resting on the curve of her hip. “Y’ are, hmm?”

For a second, Vivi’s heart skipped a beat and her breath caught in her throat. Yeah, she found herself thinking, he was definitely up to something.

 what if he’s the one who left the napkin?…

… right, and you’re going to win the Powerball without even buying a scratcher… Vivi shoved the thoughts from her mind and nodded slowly. She raised her hand, toying with the collar of the sleeveless duster he was wearing. “Mhm. As much as I’d rather stand out here.. I need to get in there and get set up. Happy Halloween, Drew.”

Vivi stepped into her workspace and shut the door behind her, leaning against it heavily as she let out several shaky gasps. She hadn’t realize just how…. Breathless he tended to leave a person.

“He knows exactly what he’s doing when he does that shit. He’s probably just done all that to make me look like an idiot…” Vivi muttered to herself as she grabbed a bottled water and started to set up for the night.

That napkin was practically burning a hole in her pocket the entire time. Now, the question begged to be asked.. Was she actually going down to the lobby at 8:30?

Or did she want to look like an idiot, or worse, be disgusted by who she might find waiting there, if it weren’t some kind of Halloween prank?


 

8: 00 found Drew standing just out of her line of sight in the lobby, looking from his phone to the elevators and wondering if she was going to show. She had to be curious.

By 8:25 he was kind of starting to think that she wasn’t going to show. And he was just about to get on the elevator or go to the bar across the lobby and grab a few rounds, but the door slid open and she stepped off the elevator.

His eyes roamed her body openly and he kept standing out of sight. He wanted to take her by total surprise, so he planned to walk up behind her, press the single blood red rose in his hand into hers.

He could definitely see why she hadn’t worn the costume in to work and every single part of him wanted to scoop her up over his shoulder and carry her back up to her room. Or his.

When he heard Orton let out a low approving whistle at her, he turned swiftly, forearm across Orton’s neck as he glared and shook his head. “Ah don’t think so, Orton. Get fucked.”

“Oh, I’m plannin on it, McIntyre.”

Drew gave a calm and cold laugh. “Not by ‘er. ‘At’s a damned good way to make sure y’ don’t keep breathin.”

“Oh really now? And whose gonna stop me, hmm?”

Drew grumbled. He didn’t have time to dole out the ass kicking he could manage with both hands behind his back and one eye closed. He shoved Randy back against the wall, turned on his heel and started to fall in behind her.

Randy called out in a taunting tone, “Nice skirt asshole.”

“It’s a kilt, y’ little bitch.” Drew answered, the statement causing Vivi to stop in her tracks. She was just about to turn around but Drew gripped both her hips and mumbled against her ear, “Not just yet.” as he pressed the rose into her hand.

“What about now, hm?” Vivi felt her legs turning to jello rapidly from the knee down at the tone in his voice. If she thought he’d been hell on her sex drive in the hallway at the arena earlier?

It was nothing compared to right now. Drew turned her around, staring down at her, this look in his eyes that almost made them gleam as he fixed them on her. “Where d’ y’ think yer goin in ‘at, hmm? And by yerself?”

“Wait… It was you?” Vivi wanted to kick herself, blurting it out like she did, but she was honestly surprised and shocked and that was all that was coming at the moment. Drew chuckled, looking around. “Do y’ see anybody else around us in a kilt and warrior facepaint?”

“No.”

“Then yes. It was me. Trick or treat… Or should I say, no tricks, all treats, hm?” his eyes roamed over her even slower as he bit his lip and held out his arm.

“Where are we going?”

“It’s a surprise, Aphrodite.”

“Hey, you knew who I was supposed to be.”

“Wasn’t ‘at hard t’ figure out.” Drew chuckled as he lead her to the doors of the lobby, his hand slipping down, gripping a handful of her ass as he used his other hand to push open the lobby doors.

Oh, he had a long night planned, if he had his way about things…

Chapter Text

This was the first time he’d done it and it was unintentional. He opened his eyes to find himself standing in the middle of a room, candle light flickering off the walls and a cool breeze blowing through the windows. He raked thick fingers through long dirty blonde hair and he almost called out, but then he saw the way the reflections reversed in the full length mirror on a wall and he pinched himself and it didn’t hurt.

It had been a dream.

Not his dream, it became abundantly clear when he saw her step into the room, the oversized and plush pale pink towel slipping dangerously low on her body. Blue eyes honed in on water droplets, beading on her skin, rolling right down the front of her neck.

It was what he saw - or rather, who he saw, stepping out of the bathroom and up to the mirror right behind her that threw him for a complete and total loop.

He watched himself step out of the bathroom, stepping up behind her, nuzzling his lips against the side of her neck. Her head fell to the side and when she whimpered his name, he groaned where he stood, watching himself scoop her up and carry her over to the king sized bed, tossing her down onto the mattress.

That next day, who did he happen to run into on the elevator in the building?

Her.

She was obviously just coming in.

“You’re staring.” she mumbled it quietly, without bothering to look up from her phone. Matt shrugged and answered calmly, “Whatever you wanna think, sweetheart.”

“My name is Ariel, Riddle. I’ve been on NXT for a month now, you’d think you’d know it by now.” Ariel corrected him, and his mind filled with images of the night before… The way he’d held her against the wall, fucking into her long and slow.. The way she sounded when he spelled his name out with his tongue while his head was buried between her thighs. The taste of her filled his mouth all over again as if it really had happened and it was enough for the normally laid back guy to clench his fists tight, only to unclench them a few seconds later.

She seemed totally unaffected. Maybe it had been his dream he’d been watching this time, and if so, why? That hadn’t ever happened before when he went out on the prowl through dreamworld.

Why would he dream about her, of all the women he knew and had the option to choose from?

They didn’t get along at all. Constantly arguing, just a few simple words here or there seemed to have her digging right into his skin and him into hers. The room was so tense when they had to be together in a room that it gave him a headache. He hated being irritable, and being around her seemed to be by far the most irritating thing he could think of.

It almost seemed as if someone up there had it in for him, because when he got to the arena, HHH lead her over, introducing them as if Matt wasn’t already painfully aware of her already on his own.

Apparently, HHH wanted him to work with her, since their move sets were similar. And he wanted to get her used to things at NXT, so he wanted Matt to mentor her.. Which meant for the time being, they’d be working closely together as valet and wrestler, with Matt training her when they weren’t on screen.

Had it been literally any other girl, Matt wouldn’t have had a problem at all.

He listened to HHH, nodding and agreeing, but as the man walked off, he grumbled and turned to her, staring at her intently.

“The only way I see this workin, sweetheart, is if we stay the entire fuck away from each other until we have to. Agreed?”

“Thank God you see reason. Doubly agreed.” Ariel answered in an icy tone as she turned on her heels sharp and walked away.

Matt found himself watching her, the way her hips swayed, the way her hands moved a mile a minute when she called someone on her cell phone and started to talk to them, probably doing a little angry venting about their upcoming gimmick together if he had to guess. He leaned against the wall, raking his fingers through his hair and Damien wandered over, looking from him to Ariel’s speedily retreating back before bursting into laughter.

“The Ice Queen? Man, no. Men have tried and literally had their balls handed to them. And I mean literally, man.. Ask Adam Cole.”

“What the hell are you talkin about, bro? I’m just standing here pissed cos HHH said we gotta work together for a gimmick. I’m supposed to ‘mentor’ her.”

“Man, the look on your face just then said otherwise. You were in thought mode. And if you stared any harder, you’d probably be blind right now.” 

“Fuck off, bro.” Matt grumbled, flipping Damien off as he took a few long and slow and deep breaths.

And meanwhile, down in the girls locker room, Ariel was pacing the room like a lioness in a cage, swearing. From behind her, a visiting Asuka tapped her shoulder, grabbing the garbage bin just as she was about to pick it up and throw it.

“What is wrong?”

“I have to work with that fuckboy Matt, that’s what.”

Asuka almost burst into laughter, but she kept it in. Barely. Ariel eyed her friend, hugging her and apologizing for the bad mood she caught her in. She sank down on the bench and groaned quietly, tugging at her hair as she did so. “And the worst part of it?”

Asuka sat down.

“Those stupid fucking dreams I started having, you know the ones… Right after he got signed? They’re back.” Ariel muttered hollowly. She didn’t dare voice the actual worst part of all this, -her deepest kept secret, the way she really felt about Matt Riddle, but that was only compounding all of this and making it so much worse.

“Things were so much easier when he was still on the indies and I didn’t know who the hell he was beyond talk and rumors I heard about the guy. Ugh.. This is gonna be a long few weeks. Because if we’re in an angle together, we’ll have to travel together and all that jazz.” She glanced over at her friend and asked, quietly, “What do I do?”

Asuka almost told her to stop pretending to hate the guy and at least admit to herself that she felt literally everything but hate for him, but she knew better. She knew it would fall on deaf ears. Instead, she sighed and after a few seconds, she answered calmly, “You will keep yourself together. You are a professional. If anyone can do this, it’s you. You will simply avoid him whenever you don’t have to be around him.”

“And when I do?”

“Be civil. Don’t snipe, don’t try to get under his skin just because the thought of him gets under yours.” Asuka hugged her friend and then stood, holding out her hand. “Catering calls my name. Want to walk down?”

“Oh god, yeah. I need plenty of caffeine if I’m going to have to endure him later.” Ariel stood and the two started to walk down the hall towards Catering. As she walked, she spotted Matt, leaned against the wall, listening to music. He glared and she poked out her tongue as they passed him up.

“Ice queen.”

“Douchebag dudebro.”

“Ooh, sick burn, sweetheart. Too bad I’m rubber and you’re glue.” 

Ariel stopped, tensing all over and she whirled around, fully intent on tearing him a new one, but Asuka grabbed hold of her hand, practically dragging her down the hallway while trying not to laugh.

“What the hell is so funny? The man is just.. Ugh, fuck him.

… oh but you do.. Every single night… in your dreams… you know deep down, all this is is tension because you wanna know if it feels as gratifying in reality as it does every single time you close your eyes to sleep, right?….

Ariel chose to ignore her inner thoughts, torturing her and reminding her that no, she didn’t actually hate the guy, quite the opposite and instead, she chose to focus on filling up a plate.

Asuka took a deep breath and spoke up.

“You do know that this only happens because you keep denying how you really feel, right?”

Ariel grumbled and tried to protest like usual, but Asuka gave her a firm look and she leaned in, whispering into her friends ear. “That stays between us. Because if his ego got any goddamn bigger, he’d never fit through a normally sized opening again. Besides, there’s my condition.. Remember last time I let someone even a little close? She went haywire and almost killed the guy! Normal people… they can’t handle it..”  Ariel used air quotes as she referred to her succubus side, something of a touchy subject for her and something hardly no one, save for Asuka and one or two others long gone from her life actually knew about her.

Sometimes it felt like she was trapped in hell. Was it possible to hate yourself and yet, deep down, absolutely love the power you potentially held? The places it took you and the pleasure it bought you, every single night if you chose to wield and harness it properly?

Because that was her predicament.

… and you’re afraid that if you even try letting Matt in like you obviously crave, it’s only going to be a complete fucking disaster… her mind dutifully finished her train of thought. Ariel took a forceful bite of her sandwich and found herself watching Matt as he slunk into catering and over to the area they kept bottled waters, grabbing one for himself.

She bit down on her lip, crossing and uncrossing her legs as she took several sharp and shaky breaths.

She was practically squirming all over at just the thought of the way he’d been touching her last night in her dreams. The way he held her up and plowed into her, using his own weight to support her, no wall to aid him. The way that damned tongue sent her shattering over the edge until she was practically shoving him away from her throbbing, achy cunt because he just wouldn’t stop.

She lowered her head, lightly beating it against the table with a groan.

Now just how the fuck was she supposed to spend so much time with the guy, knowing what she knew she was capable and how she felt?

All while still trying to maintain an air of complete and total disdain for him?


 

He found himself drifting off. He actively braced himself, because he tended to just show up in random dreams whenever women around him needed it most and as a result, there was no telling where he’d be when he went into dreamland.

The second he recognized the room from his dream the night before, he swore quietly to himself and took a few deep breaths, gripping the back of a chair he stood near just to have something to hold on.

He tried to get himself the fuck out, but like the night before, it very much felt like he couldn’t just leave. Unlike most initial visits, whenever he was awaiting the invite in or dreading being asked to leave, he couldn’t do either thing of his own free will this time. Usually, he got a feel for the enviorment around him and if he didn’t like it, if it didn’t mesh well with his own desires, he’d simply leave.

He was stuck… In either his dream or hers, he wasn’t entirely sure anymore.

Curiosity got the best of him and he moved closer, watching the door she’d come out of the night before in a mixture of anticipation and dread.

On the one hand, it did make him a little smug. For as much as she made out like she hated him, she dreamed about him at night, obviously. On the other hand, he wasn’t entirely sure this was actually her dream, because he’d be a liar of he didn’t own up to having a few private fantasy sessions -starring her, of course, of his own.

Unlike others, Matt learned at an early age how to properly harness the dream world. How to shield his own dreams from entry.

… until now, because you’ve gotta admit, bro… this looks just like that dream you had on the bus a few weeks ago… now you’re here… so it’s gotta be her dream… unless it’s not….

He watched as she slunk out of the hotel bathroom totally nude, getting onto the bed, making her way up his body slowly. Just the reckless and sloppy way their mouths met, the way he could see his fingertips digging into her thighs and then her ass when he moved his hands.. He could almost feel it as if it were happening.

“Fuck.” the one syllable became two as it slowly left his mouth. He could hear himself laughing, taunting her.

Ariel was just getting to that relaxed state of sleep. Where the stress of her little white lie didn’t matter. Where she could /fantasize/ that she was able to be open, admit to Matt -and most importantly herself, how she truly felt. She could hear the soft kissing noises, and then a quiet whimper as his hand squeezed her ass tight, grinding her right against his cock as she straddled him, staring down. It was the same surreal feeling she’d been having lately, like she was watching her own fantasy play out.

Except it didn’t feel like that.. It had the distinct air of a first visit, waiting to be invited into someone’s dreams at night, or to be turned away. Her heart was racing just a little faster. She swallowed hard as she watched those hands trail down her sides slowly, squeezing her hips, pulling her down and completely flush with his body, then gripping them so that she rubbed right against his cock. She felt her own thighs tightening, felt her cunt actually starting to throb with need. “Jesus.” she muttered quietly before returning her full attention to the scene playing out in her? Someone else’s? His?… no, it can’t be him, he actually does hate me… but what if…. The thought formed and it was gone, vanished like a puff of smoke on the wind. She couldn’t even allow herself that potential for hope here. The reminder had her pouting a little, whimpering as she watched her dream self getting all the things she secretly wanted so bad she could taste them. 

 ,,Somebody wants the King of Bros real bad tonight.” Matt chuckled, a teasing gleam in his eye as he rose up, mouth latching onto her neck. Her fingers dug into his shoulders and she rocked her hips against him, whining. 

,,I will always want the King of Bros. Sadly, he’s ruined me for other men.” she sighed, pretending to be annoyed as she shook her head and stared down at him having just gently pushed him back on his back. Her legs squeezed into his sides and he bucked up into her from below, teasingly, until he stopped.

He pouts… The hell do you mean sadly, sweetheart? Just means this ass belongs to me. His hand grips her ass, grinding her right against his cock and she gives a begging whimper and pouts. ,,If you’re going to tease me, Matty, I’ll just go.” She started to slip off him and he grips her hips, pouting up at her. ,,Aw, c’mon, sweetheart. You know I’m not teasing. It’s all yours. All you gotta do is take it.”

The sunlight as it poured in through the window of her hotel room was almost blinding when she opened her eyes and untangled herself from the sheets, tugging down the tank top she slept in so that it was back over her body. Ariel took a few deep breaths and fell back against the mattress, staring up at the ceiling. For a few seconds, she heavily contemplated texting him.. Offering an olive branch. But knowing how she truly felt about him -and how deep those feelings ran and how risky it would be, letting him any closer than a healthy arms length, she put her phone down and sat there, just letting her dream replay in her mind now that she was awake.

Matt rolled over after the dream ended and promptly rolled off the bed. Sitting up, he leaned his back against the frame and sat there, trying to collect himself and clear his mind. One thing was apparent… He was now totally confused. He wasn’t sure if he was a guest in his own dream, or if he was in her dreams somehow.

And if he was, that meant she wanted him to be there… Which made things even more complex, because she seemed to hate him with every fiber of her being.

He sprang up off the floor and grabbed a pair of gym shorts, tugging them on. He’d worry about all this after he had food in his stomach. Because like the night before when this all started, he was fucking exhausted and starving like he hadn’t eaten in at least two days.

Just as the two stepped out in the hallway, they collided.

He glanced down at bare legs and for a few seconds, despite all attempts not to, yeah, he stared. Hard.

“My eyes are up here, bro.” Ariel grumbled as she went to move past him and push the down button on the elevator. “Are you going down too?”

Matt glanced around, pointing at himself.

“Look, I barely fuckin slept last night, Riddle. I do not feel like entertaining you. I asked a simple question. Are you going down too?”

“Yeah.” Matt rubbed his hand through his hair, stepping onto the elevator behind her as soon as the door slid open. When her body brushed his, it felt like a live wire ran over his skin and he hissed. Ariel turned, looking up at him with a raised brow.

“So this is how ya look.. Without all that crap on your face.” - oh shit, wrong move, bro. 

Instead of the angry onslaught of words, too many fucking words that he expected, Ariel shrugged and eyed him, a brow raised. “Thanks, I think?”

. Okay, that was too damn easy…. Matt thought to himself, giving his forearm a covert pinch as soon as he knew she wasn’t paying him any mind. He grimaced when it hurt.

The ride down to the lobby was silent, the air thick with tension so that it almost crackled. Matt shuffled his feet and fidgeted his hands, not quite sure what, but knowing he had to do or say something. When he opened his mouth, what came surprised him.

And if the look on her face was anything to go by, it surprised her too.

“What I said yesterday.. Maybe we could give this whole workin together thing a try. I mean, personally? I don’t like misery. So maybe we..”

“Could try to get along?” Ariel finished his statement, head tilted slightly as she looked up at him, biting her lip. Matt bit back a groan at the memory of just how good those soft plump lips felt wrapped around his cock and he shoved his hands in his pockets, taking a few slow breaths to keep himself reigned in.

“Yeah, that.”

“Fine with me.” Ariel answered, just as the doors slid open.


 

The four hour drive to the next town hadn’t been that bad. It was nearing the end and Ariel dozed off about an hour before. Matt caught himself glancing over at her when she started to squirm and mumble in her sleep.

When he thought he heard her mumbling, -no, moaning, his name, he sucked in a harsh breath and quickly, before the light turned red completely, bought the SUV to a stop. He figured she’d wake up, but she didn’t.

She did look like she hadn’t been sleeping well since the morning they called a truce on the elevator. The truce seemed to be working, surprisingly enough. Enough so that he was a little concerned about the possibility of her not sleeping. And confused, because despite her not sleeping, the dreams continued.

And it felt weird, knowing that somehow, he was an active voyeur in his own sleeping mind. Almost like he was waiting on something. … Or someone

In the seat next to him, Ariel continued to sleep. They were pulling into the hotel parking lot and Matt didn’t want to awaken her.

So after killing the engine, he made his way around, opening her door and scooping her up in his arms, starting to carry her towards the lobby of the hotel.

Ariel woke up and bit her lip, pulling herself away a little, her face burning. The dream she’d been having was intense. She’d been kind of avoiding sleep for a few days now, mostly just to try and stop herself from getting too attached to the fantasy, because that would make the whole situation weird.

To wake up in his arms was… a strange comfort. She climbed down, standing on her own feet and stretching. “Sorry, I guess I dozed off.”

Matt cleared his throat, nodding. “Yeah.”

Their turn at the desk came and the desk clerk told them there was only one room left and they turned to stare at each other.

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Okay, we’ll take it.” Matt reached out, taking the keycard. They made their way out and around to the room and as he slid the keycard in the lock, he had to fight with himself about why confronting her over the fact that she was dreaming about him was a very, very bad idea.

Standing next to him, leaning against him just slightly, Ariel yawned. “I can’t keep on making myself stay awake.”

“So you haven’t been sleepin.”

She shook her head, looking down. “Nope.”

She screeched when he scooped her up unexpectedly. “You’re takin the bed. I’ll get the floor or somethin.”

“Matt, no.”

“Ariel, don’t fuckin argue.” Matt muttered, the scent of her perfume filling his nose and the softness of her lips as they accidentally brushed his neck when she tucked her head against his shoulder and neck all making it hard for him to concentrate.

He put her down and closed the door. Ariel saw the loveseat in the room and she looked at Matt’s lanky frame and laughed, shaking her head no. Matt shrugged it off.

“It’s not a big thing, sweetheart.”

“You are… Never going to fit your gigantic ass on that.”

“Gee, thanks.” Matt flipped her off as he turned and headed back out to get their bags and pull their rental SUV closer.

As she waited on her bag to make it in, she paced the room, weighing her options. If she let herself go to sleep… There was that possibility she found herself in his dreams again. Which, given the situation, would be a little.. Awkward.

And if she offered to share the bed, it was only going to be twice as awkward.

But she couldn’t let the poor guy attempt sleeping on the awkward and small and stiff as a board loveseat either.

She sighed and blew at her bangs, tapping her foot.

If she didn’t have this whole ‘surprise bitch, I’m a succubus’ problem.. If things were normal and she didn’t have to live in fear of him finding the truth out and running like hell.. Like she’d gone through countless times before.

Matt burst into the room, swearing and shaking the snow out of long shaggy hair like a dog. “It’s fucking cold, holy shit.”

“Obviously.” Ariel muttered, staring down at the tabletop. She looked up to find him staring at her, watching her with a raised brow.

“Everything okay, sweetheart?”

“Ariel, Matt. It’s Ariel.”

“Whatever. Same thing.” Matt muttered mostly to himself as he took a deep breath, repeating his question and emphasizing her given name with an annoyed look as he did it and Ariel looked up at him, nodding to the bed and then the loveseat.

“Either you let me take the loveseat or we share the bed. But there is no way in hell I’m going to make you take the damn thing.”

“Oh no. NO.” Matt swallowed hard, looking from her to the loveseat and then the bed. He rubbed his chin in thought and after a few seconds, he muttered a quiet, “Okay, fine.”

“We’re both adults, it’s not a big deal.”

“No, it’s not.” … oh, except for the fact that I can just kinda come into your dreams, sweetheart. If you had one tenth of a clue… Matt thought to himself as he watched her going through her bags, digging out a pair of black panties and an oversized black tee shirt that had obviously been worn so much it was going thin in a few…. Key areas.

He gulped and turned abruptly when she started to shed her clothes. “Shit. Warn somebody?”

“Why? It’s not like you haven’t seen it a thousand times before, I’d think?”

“Yeah, well..” Matt grumbled, catching a glimpse of her as she pulled her red tee shirt over her head and went for the clasp to her bra and promptly swearing under his breath.

… yeah, I have seen it a thousand times before but somehow this is… different…

He heard the door to the bathroom close and he sank down onto the bed, letting out a ragged breath. “Holy fuckin shit. She’s a walking distraction, I fucking mean it.” he mused to himself, giving a quiet chuckle as he turned on the tv and stopped on a local channel that happened to be playing the movie Point Break.

About ten minutes passed and the shower stopped. Ariel stepped into the room and squeaked as she dove for the bed, landing next to him. “I love this movie.”

Matt shifted his glance over at her. “No way.”

“Mhmm.”

Matt remembered what she admitted and he turned off the tv. She pouted, he nodded to the top of the bed. “Sleep. We gotta be up at fuck all o’ clock, remember?”

“Spoilsport.” she poked out her tongue and as she turned and started to make her way to the top of the bed, Matt caught hold of her. “If you keep sticking that tongue out at me…” he trailed off and Ariel blushed a little, a smirk coming quickly as she leaned in. “Yeah? What are you gonna do, Matt Riddle? Spank me?”

 you have not one fuckin clue just what I could do, sweetheart, if you’d just let me… the thought was an idle one, but it had his entire body almost tingling in anticipation. He let go of her and she wiggled between the sheets. He tentatively got into his side of the bed, laying there with his arms behind his head, starting to drift off himself.


 

Ariel knew exactly where she was. But something felt different this time. She got the distinct feeling she wasn’t the only one present and the thought almost prompted her to call out.

Before she could, she heard him mutter a quiet “Fuck” from behind her and she turned, staring up at him.

“M-matt? How?”

“Well, see… here’s the thing.. I’m kind of an incubus. How the hell…. You..” he’d reached out, cupping her cheek as he stared down at her. Ariel swallowed hard, taking a deep breath.

“ I’m a succubus.. That’s how… So am I in your dream or are you in mine?”

Matt smirked. “So you do dream about me.”

She lightly popped his chest and he pretended to pout. “Hey.”

“Don’t do that.”

“Do what, hm?”“The whole cocky smug bastard thing. Don’t. Wait..” Ariel realized what he admitted and she stared at him a few seconds as it sank in. “So we’re… We can…”

“Looks like it, sweetheart.”

“So does this mean you dream about me too? Because that’s kind of… It’s why I wasn’t letting myself sleep. I didn’t want to have to explain.. Well, this.” She swept her arms wide to the room they stood in and Matt shrugged, dropping his gaze.

Freed because they were in a dream world, Ariel reached out, tucking her fingers beneath his chin and making him meet her gaze as she swallowed hard. “Well?”

“Okay, alright. Yes. I do.”

Ariel stepped closer, her hand coming to a rest on his chest. “It makes sense now. We were in a holding pattern because we both have to be invited in..”

“And?” Matt met her gaze, holding his breath as he waited on her answer.

“You’re still here. If I didn’t want you here, Matt, you wouldn’t be… What about you?”

“Oh, I definitely want you here.” something in him snapped as he stared down at her. Gripping her ass, he slid her up his body, Ariel wrapping her legs around him and sliding her fingers through his hair as his mouth met her own hungrily, teeth sinking into her lower lip.

She met his hunger with her own, earning her a quiet growl when she rubbed her body against his almost desperately. Matt clumsily made his way over to the bed, laying her down on it, following her down as he stared down at her, a smirk on his face.

“Fuckin finally.” he muttered right as he started to tear off her clothes….

Chapter Text

She gasped and Daryl turned, on high alert. But when he found her holding a DVD to her chest with this smile on her face, he eyed her and reached out, prepared for it to be yet another silly and cliche rom com.

He eyed the cover with a raised brow. “The Addams Family? This some kinda horror movie?”

“No! Oh my god, you’ve never seen this, Daryl? That’s it, I’m taking this back to Alexandria with us.”

“Woman.” Daryl stopped short, because she gave him that damned little pout of hers. The one that even if he’d die slow and burn before admitting it, had a bit of an effect on him. He grabbed it and put it in his bag, pumping his fist when he happened a glance at the other dvds on the shelf and noticed a few older movies like The Wraith and ET.

He put those into his knapsack and then gave her a firm look, suggesting with a shrug, “Less yer plannin t’ eat these, I suggest we move into th’ kitchen.”

Evie gave him a mock salute and she skipped towards the kitchen, starting to rummage the cabinets while he took the pantry. When she found the bottles of liquor, she made her way to the door of the pantry, holding one out to him. “There’s enough here to take some back for Denise, for sterilization purposes on wounds and enough you can have your own bottle of Jameson, Mr. Crankybutt.”

Daryl reached for the bottle and popped it open, taking a long sip. Evie took it from him, taking a sip of her own. “I’m gonna… go check out the upstairs.” she muttered just as she found herself about to step closer, about to do the thing she tended to where she touched him and it seemed to either annoy him or startle him… No sense in making things awkward.

She made her way up the stairs, rummaging the closets and the master bath, gaping at the sheer size of a custom built garden bath that could fit at least five people in it at once. 

Daryl wandered in just as she was starting to rummage the closet. “Holy shit, these shoes cost more than my crummy job at that law firm paid in a month.” she held up a pair of designer heels and he eyed them and then her.

“For why?”

“What do you mean for why?”

“Look like they could throw y’ down and break yer neck, woman.” Daryl grumbled, even as his mind formed the perfect mental image of her in said heels and little else and he tried like hell to shove it right back out.

He accidentally stepped too close when he went to step into the literal room that served as a closet and she turned, staring up at him, biting her lower lip. Grabbing a blazer, she held it up to him and he snorted, shaking his head.

“Ain’t wearin that. Don’t like that shit.”

“Aw, c’mon.”

Daryl’s eyes lit on the second skin fitting black dress just as hers did. She walked over to it, circling where it hung, with earrings and a necklace sitting beside it, almost as if when evac was called for the area, the owners of the house had been getting ready for a night on the town. She pulled the dress down and Daryl grumbled, turning around so he didn’t see her.

Covering his eyes wasn’t enough because the wall mirror still gave him quite the view. He coughed and closed his eyes too. When Evie got the dress on, she tapped his shoulders.

“Can you zip me?”

Daryl tugged the zip upward, swallowing hard as he did so. She turned to face him, holding out the suit jacket. He shook his head no and she did that pouting thing again and with grumbling, Daryl took it and put it on.

“Ya know, we’re probably stuck here for the night.” Evie muttered quietly after they’d sat there on the floor of the closet for a few seconds, just listening to the storm rolling in outside.

Daryl passed the bottle to her and chuckled quietly. “Yep, reckon so. Won’t be able t’ see shit t’ chance tryin t’ get back to Alexandria tonight.”

“This isn’t so bad.”

“Guess not. ‘Cept for this damned monkey suit.” Daryl grumbled as Evie met his gaze and leaned in, brushing shaggy hair out of his eyes. She bit her lip because now that she had leaned in closer, she wanted to keep doing so… Until her lips met his..

She couldn’t recall a time ever wanting to kiss someone this bad. It was driving her insane. So, it came as a total surprise when Daryl shotgunned more of the Jameson and leaned in himself, a hand resting in the hair at the back of her neck. “Fuck it.”

His mouth met hers and she gasped, gripping the collar of the jacket as she mumbled into the slow and deep kiss, “Ya know.. As sexy as the suit is, Daryl… Like the leather vest a lot more.”

Daryl’s mouth turned upward in a smile. “Do ya now.”

“Mhmm.”

“Thought y’ liked fancy pretty boys like the one on that dvd ya found downstairs.”

“You know me better than that.” Evie pouted against his mouth, moving to sit in his lap, her fingers dragging his scalp slowly, making him give a quiet groan and squeeze her hips. “Besides, you’re better than Gomez.”

“Oh really now?”

“Yeah, you are. I mean that.” the kiss broke and she was working on composure. So was he. He cupped her cheek and nodded to the dress. “Y’ look real good in that.”

“Oh?”

“Mhmm.” Daryl leaned in for another kiss…