Jessica watched as Chris and Andrew circled each other in a mock match, practicing for the tag team event later that night.
"Okay guys, break time," Jessica said, looking at her stopwatch.
"Give us a few minutes, okay hon. We’re just going to run through our finishing moves one more time, and then we’ll meet you in the lunch room, okay?"
She sighed, "Okay." On her way back to the locker rooms she turned around and yelled, "You better make sure you smell good before you come back!"
Catching the wicked grin playing across her features, Chris countered with a poker face, "Old Spice or Lady Stetson."
Her grin faltered slightly, but she thought to herself, *One of these days I’ll one-up Chris in the one-liners department.* Squaring her shoulders, Jessica made her way backstage.
"That was good, man," Andrew said, giving Chris a high five. "So you guys banter back and forth like that all the time?" Andrew questioned.
"Yeah, but I expect her to beat me one of these days. She’s promised me that," he said with a grin.
As soon as she disappeared behind the curtain, a gloved hand reached out and grabbed Jessica from behind. Jessica tried to pry the stranger’s hand off her mouth, but the last thing she saw was darkness.
When Chris and Andrew reached the lunch table, they saw no trace of Jessica. "Has anyone seen Jessica?" Chris asked Al.
"No, sorry, the last time I saw her was this morning, when she was with you guys."
"Thanks," Chris said, frowning. Chris’s jaw muscle twitched, "She’s almost never late.." he trailed off. "Andrew, I’ll see you later okay, I’m going to keep looking for Jess."
Andrew grabbed an apple off the buffet table as he passed by. "I’ll help you look for her. We can split up and we’ll meet back here."
The Hardys, Amy and Al got up from the table. "We’ll help you look for her too," Matt said. "Thanks, I really appreciate this guys," Chris said.
Later that evening:
Chris was pacing back and forth in his dressing room with Nora worriedly looking on.
"We’re going to find her, okay. Vince has most of wrestling security combing the grounds for her. She’s okay, I just know it," Nora said confidently. Her feelings betrayed her though. This whole situation bothered her, if it had happened to Jessica, were other wrestlers or fans at risk. If so, it had to be an inside job right? Her rapid thoughts were derailed when a loud knock sounded on the door. Chris jumped nervously, thinking it might be some good news on his wife.
It was Michael Cole. "Hey, Nora," he said with a smile, "your match starts in five minutes."
"Thanks," she said.
"Chris, we’ll find her okay, I promise," and with that said she closed the door softly behind her.
Nora made her way to the ring, looking confident, but inside she was a bundle of nerves. This was her first match, and she was without her tag-team partners. As soon as she stepped into the ring, she was jumped from behind. *Okay, Jeff wasn’t kidding when he said Tori would do anything to win!* Tori put her in a sleeper hold, but Nora broke out of it and reversed the hold.
Meanwhile, Jeff was watching the TV set backstage. He was nervous for Nora. He knew Tori was a formidable opponent.
Back in the ring, Tori choke-slammed Nora into the mat. Tori started to climb the turnbuckle, but Nora grabbed her by the hair, making Tori lose her balance. She hit the mat with a groan. As Tori got up, Nora clothes-lined her. She climbed the turnbuckle and did a moonsault on Tori. She grabbed Tori’s leg and had the 2 count when someone grabbed her by the hair and started pulling her out of the ring! She tried to wrench free of Dean’s grip. "Nobody makes a fool out of me!" he spat out.
"You did a good job of that yourself," she said sharply.
Dean dragged Nora out of the ring in a headlock. She stepped on his feet and kicked him in the shins, but he still hung on. Tori’s eyes fluttered open and she slowly started to get up. Just then the Hardy’ s music came on and Jeff came running down the ramp towards the ring. Jeff reached the ring just in time to see Dean slam Nora’s head into the steel steps. Jeff grabbed Dean and tossed him onto the mat.
"Come on," Jeff said, "you’re such a tough guy, why don’t you fight me," he challenged. The elder Hardy came running out towards the ring. Matt helped Tori up and got her out of the ring, because Jeff and Dean were getting ready to duke it out inside the ring. Shakily, Nora made her way back into the ring.
Jeff’s eyes glittered in frustration as Nora reentered the ring, "Nora, stay out of this," Jeff commanded.
She shook her head, "You started this Dean, I’m going to finish it," she said, her eyes glittering in determination.
"Bring it on babe," he said nonchalantly. She charged at him, but he sidestepped her. She realized too late that she had too much momentum and tumbled out of the ring. She landed face first on the hard floor. Slowly, she got up.
Matt helped her back into the ring, "You sure you want to do this?" he asked.
She nodded, "Turnabout is fair play," she said evenly. She stunned Dean with a drop-kick to the face. She jumped off the top rope and knocked Dean out with Amy’s trademark move, the hurricarana. Even though it was not an official match, Nora pinned Dean and Jeff stepped back into the ring to act as referee. He raised Nora’s hand in triumph, then Jeff did He and Matt’s trademark gesture: the guns. Matt took a deep breath, *it was now or never.* Matt casually walked into the ring. "Congratulations, Nora," Matt said coolly.
"Thanks," she said, a little surprised at his attitude towards her.
"Jeff, this one’s for you," he said maliciously. Jeff’s face had no time to register surprise as Matt did the Twist of Fate on his own brother!