Acquiescence

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Pushing the glasses up her nose, her fingers flew over the keys on her keyboard, sky blue eyes focused on the screen.  Her long black hair was pulled back at the nape of her neck in a bun, a few strands framing her forehead and cheek.  It was early morning hours on a Monday and she had a deadline she had to meet.  Her boss would not be happy with her if she didn’t make it.  Never had she missed a deadline and Emery wasn’t about to start now.  Smirking, she typed even faster on her laptop and nodded, hoping the boss enjoyed what she had in mind for one particular wrestler.

 

Since 1996, she had worked for the World Wrestling Federation -it was now known as World Wrestling Entertainment- as a creative writer for the company.  Emery had worked her way up the ladder until she became the top lead script writer, which only took her 2 years to achieve.  Vince McMahon had been ecstatic over the ideas she came up with – the Undertaker having a long-lost brother, for instant.  The whole storyline between him and Kane had been her idea entirely.  Emery didn’t want credit for it though because she was a woman living in a man’s world.  A man’s business. 

 

Vince respected that, setting up a proxy for her, which was a man by the name of Matthew. 

 

His job was to calm the wrestlers down when they didn’t like their ideas or storylines, so she never had to deal with any of them directly.  It was a sneaky way to do things, but…Emery just wanted to see her ideas come to life on-screen and didn’t need any kind of credit or recognition for them.  Once she finished a few hours later, with 3 cups of coffee inhaled, Emery dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a Kingdom Hearts t-shirt, her favorite video game franchise, before heading out the door to go deliver her current idea to the boss.

 

Vince had been the one to suggest she have a proxy.  A person with a face to take the ‘credit’ as lead script writer; someone who could claim the ideas and put in at the meetings with the actual wrestlers.  However, she had been adamant that it be a man.  He had respected that, knowing not being able to claim the credit was probably hard, but she had also known that no one would take her seriously, not his boys, that was for sure.  He could recall many times when her poor proxy had gotten threatened, assaulted a little and knew, if the boys had realized it was this tiny little woman who was giving him these delicious soap opera lines, they’d up their game and try to intimidate her, or worse.  So, she posed as just another staffer, and nobody had given her a second glance.  Well… maybe some did; she was an attractive woman, but most people never looked past her glasses and graphic t-shirts.  Probably a good thing.

 

“Hello, Emery.” He greeted after calling out ‘come in’.

 

“Mr. McMahon.”

 

Emery nodded her head in acknowledgment with a soft smile, never having an issue with her boss.  He was terrific and the fact he understood why she wanted a proxy was a lifesaver.  It saved her a lot of headaches, that was for sure.  Emery was not a confrontational person, not a fighter and only stood a mere 5’7 weighing around a buck and a quarter, if that.  She was small, but had a very large, vast mind full of ideas and enjoyed watching them portrayed on television.

 

“As requested.” She handed over the newest idea her devious brain had come up with, sky blue eyes lighting up while he read over the words and waited to receive his input – yes or no.

 

He had to read it twice, contemplating the potential outcome of letting this one roll.  Hell, he had done worse and allowed worse.  What was beautiful is Emery had all these great ideas and then, when he’d offer his input, she always found a way to work it in.  She always took his suggestions seriously and was invaluable to him.

 

“Hmm…” Vince finally nodded, beckoning his assistant from her corner and handed it to her. “We’re running with this.  Make the arrangements.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

Emery wasn’t surprised when Vince handed the script to his assistant, keeping a soft smile on her face.  He rarely turned her ideas down, not even the GTV one.  Not one of her finer ideas, but nobody was perfect.  He ran with it the best he could and some of the things shown were hilarious.

 

“I know this is a huge risk to take, Vince, but if you want to build new stars, I feel this is the best way to do it.” She watched him nod in agreement and left the room, not needing to say much else.  Whipping her cell phone out, speed dialing her proxy, Emery informed him there would probably be a very angry Undertaker headed his way before the day was out.

 

Groaning after getting off the phone with Emery, Matthew wondered why he took this job in the first place and shook his head.  Why did he have to take the fall for Emery all the time?  Oh wait, that’s right, that’s what he was paid to do!  Emery was a great woman, smart and funny, but some of her ideas were OUT there.  Such as this one.  Was she insane?  He wondered if sometimes she didn’t care about the consequences he had to suffer because of her ideas.  Sighing, Matthew suddenly dreaded going into work tonight because it was Smackdown! and he knew there would be trouble with Undertaker, thanks to Emery.

 

~!~

 

The problem was convincing Taker that this was in the best interest of the company.  The man had done a lot for what was ‘best for the company’, because Taker was usually a company man.  However, Taker had also been less than impressed with Batista.  In fact, Vince was pretty sure he had referred to the new guy as ‘all show, no substance’, with an explanation concerning those muscles being easy targets.  Taker probably wasn’t going to take this one very easily and Vince sighed, knowing he’d manage somehow.

 

Vince looked up a knock sounded at his office door a few hours later at the arena, smiling at the sight of Undertaker and squared his shoulders. “Taker, we came up with your next storyline and I think you’re really going to like this.  It involves you doing something and achieving something you’ve never done before in the company.” At the man’s arched black brow, Vince handed over the script. “You will be winning the 2007 Royal Rumble and go onto WrestleMania to be in one of the two championship matches.”

 

The Undertaker, or Mark Calaway, depending on which one he felt like answering to that day, slowly raised an eyebrow as he took in his boss.  He had learned long ago, when Vince had that gleam in his beady eyes, good was a relative term.  He had been a cornerstone of the WWE/WWF for over a decade; he was recognized as a locker room leader, the judge when there were disputes between the boys and, sometimes, the executioner as well.

 

“I’m onboard, so far.” He agreed, folding his heavily tattooed arms over his chest.

 

This is where things would get a little tricky.

 

“Good, I’m glad to hear it.  Now Taker, I know you’ve always done what’s best for business.  You’ve always put the company first, correct?” At the man’s curt nod, he continued. “After having a meeting with the lead script writer, we’ve decided that it’s time for the new blood to shine at WrestleMania.  What that means is, you will lose at WrestleMania this year against…Batista.” Who was the current world heavyweight champion on Smackdown!.  Raw had a separate champion since the brands were split. “But you’ll still get that Royal Rumble win you never have, so it’s a win-win for both of you…”

 

Mark considered that, his emerald eyes flashing pure venom for a moment before settling back to their normal shade. “And to who, do I owe this brilliant idea to?” He asked casually, planning on beating down the writer.  And Vince.  And Batista.  Sure, he had never won at a Royal Rumble, but to lose his streak to that punk?

 

“Matthew.”

 

He’d wait and bide his time; Mark did want that Royal Rumble win, but afterwards, Matthew would get his head knocked off his shoulders.

 

~!~

 

Winter was her favorite time of the year, but damn was it cold!  Emery walked inside the arena, carrying her bag at her side and shook some of the snow off her shoulders.  It was nearing Christmas time, just a few weeks, along with the Armageddon pay-per-view event, which she had to finish.  There were great matches on the card, the talent was amazing on Smackdown! compared to Raw.  Then again, she was biased.  Humming under her breath, Emery walked into her office and began setting up for the night, taking her winter coat off to drape it over her chair.  She looked up when a knock sounded at her door and smiled at Matthew, who looked apprehensive.

 

“How’s it going?”

 

“Just tell me why, Emery.  Why do you insist on pissing off the wrestlers with these ideas?  Do you realize what’s gonna happen when the Deadman gets here tonight?” Matthew was TOAST.

 

“That’s for me to know and you to find out.  Don’t worry, I’m sure Vince smoothed everything over with him and he won’t hunt you down.” She hoped anyway.

 

Lies, all lies.

 

Mark walked into the arena, his hair hanging down around his face.  He wore black jeans and a black thermal, his hands covered in his leather biker gloves, boots on his feet and his duffel over his shoulder.  He was still not amused, but would bide his time.  Obviously, the lead writer, Matthew, had lost his mind and was gay; that was the only explanation because David Batista, while having the look and some moves, was a joke as a wrestler, performer, sports-entertainer, whatever one wanted to call it.

 

In truth, Emery didn’t like David Batista either.  She didn’t think he had what it took to make it in this business and she’d been around a long time.  10 years, actually.  She’d seen the best and the worst – he wasn’t in the Undertaker’s league.  However, it made sense to her to let the new blood go over the veteran.  That was how the business worked and why it continued having the insurmountable success it did year after year.  Undertaker did put guys over he felt were worthy, but this time it was out of his hands.  Matthew voiced his concerns and she listened, but then sent him on his merry way to do her bidding like he was supposed to.  It’s what he was paid for.  When Smackdown! began, she stood up and stretched, deciding to head to the cafeteria for a quick bite to eat.

 

The problem with people these days, and all these young ones, was while they needed the veterans to help them get over sometimes, they didn’t know the struggle anymore.  Not of making it, by paying dues and working Indies; those territories were fast drying up and the only opposition these days was some company called TNA.  They kept trading that talent back and forth it seemed.  WCW and ECW were nothing more than a figment of people’s imaginations – though Vince had brought back ECW as one of the three major shows currently going with all of them having different wrestlers.  Hell, even OVW was out of business!  Vince had consolidated all the major players under his belt; what did he care about those who had been here forever, helping him hold onto what was his company?  His eyes narrowed as he surveyed the cafeteria, taking in all the old familiar faces and the newer ones.

 

“Hey Em, how’s it going?” Sandra, the main seamstress in WWE, greeted with a smile, grabbing some food while she had a minute to herself.

 

Emery had known Sandra for close to 5 years and loved her spunky attitude, smiling back. “It’s going.  Looking forward to my days off though.” She received the same ones – Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays – like the wrestlers off along with the other employees of the company.

 

“Oh, I hear ya, girl!  I can’t wait to get home and see my grandbabies!” Sandra was in her 60’s and had the most beautiful grandchildren, though she was biased and didn’t bother denying it, showing off pictures whenever she could.

 

“Join me and you can show me some updated pictures of them.” They headed to a table near the back and sat down, Sandra immediately whipping the pictures out while Emery ate her salad. “Your grandson into video games?”

 

“Yes.” Sandra didn’t sound happy. “Rotting his brain, I tell ya.”

 

Emery didn’t comment, just smiled and nodded.

 

Once he was done taking inventory of the wrestlers, he began eyeballing staff.  Technicians, they ran the production booth.  Medics, self-explanatory.  Some security, headed up by Big Jim; he had tussled a time or two with them.  Ring crew and the drivers.  Assistants to those higher ups who traveled.  Seamstresses, head one included, sitting next to… either she was one of the underwriters meant to fill in the smaller junk, or she was an assistant to a writer.  Mark didn’t know.  She was a dork, that was about all he did know.  No Matthew.  Well… he began smirking, dork chick it was.

 

“Look at this one – oh hello, Mark.” Sandra had to tilt her head in order to look up into his eyes, her own dark eyes sparkling. “Need another order on tights done, honey pie?” She had absolutely no fear and was probably the only woman that got away with calling the Undertaker ‘honey pie’.

 

Emery had looked away from the picture, thinking Undertaker wanted something from Sandra and continued eating while they conversed.  Taking her phone out, she began scrolling through her email to see if anything interesting had popped up.  She smirked, seeing her preorder for a game she’d been waiting to come out was finally ready to be picked up once she arrived home tomorrow.

 

Sandra was THE only person, man or woman, who could call him that and be left standing alive.  Anyone else, and he didn’t care about gender, would wind up being choked the hell out. “Not right now, darlin’.  Soon though.  I’m thinking something special for when the Rumble rolls around.” His emerald gaze moved from the seamstress to the dork. “Mind if I borrow…?”

 

“Her name is Emery.  You know everyone, how do you not know her name?”

 

“It’s a guy’s name.”

 

Mark didn’t usually associate male names with chicks.  It suited her.  Those glasses… he inwardly rolled his eyes when Emery looked up finally, taking in the t-shirt.  He flashed her a grin that usually knocked the panties off most woman, though there was a hint of something feral in it and she just blinked.  A geek and a dyke, apparently.

 

What this man didn’t realize was Emery had worked for the company a LONG time, longer than Sandra.  She didn’t associate with very man people though, keeping to herself.  Most of her acquaintances called her a hermit, which she had no problem with.  Hotels, arenas and home were her usual spots to go besides GameStop whenever a game came out she wanted to check out.  Since when did the famous Undertaker want to talk to her?  He was an asshole and everyone knew it, but they also respected him for what he’d contributed to the business.

 

“Emery is actually a boy AND a girl’s name, Mr. Calaway.” She corrected him with a cool smile, pushing her glasses up her nose again, not taking offense to what he said. 

 

“You’re the first chick I know with that name.”

 

Mark knew, had known, a lot of women in his time.  He had been quite the whore in his younger days and felt zero shame over it.  He wasn’t above slutting around these days either, being more cautious and selective about who he took to his bed.

 

“Anyway, I don’t care, DC.” He gestured for her to stand up. “I want to talk to you.”

 

“Oh, take a moment you two, I’m being waved at,” Sandra frowned as she took in the trunks being waved at her, sighing. “You know, if those boys would just pick a weight and size and stay at it… or wear spandex.  I miss spandex, it was so easy and it stretched…” She stood up, taking her photos with her, leaving the two alone.

 

Chapter 2

 

That also worked and he sat down in the newly vacated spot, stretching his long legs out before him. “What’s your job again, DC?”

 

“You will address me by my name if you want me to talk to you, Mr. Calaway.” Emery narrowed her sky-blue eyes at him, not believing the audacity of this prick and could only imagine what DC stood for.  She didn’t want to know or care. “Actually, your time is up because I have a job to get back to.  It was so nice talking to you.  We really must do this again sometime.” Her tone dripped with sarcasm. 

 

Snorting, she turned and walked out of the cafeteria, rolling her eyes.  Most men looked right past her because of the glasses and her look, which suited her just fine.  It wheedled out the jackasses and kept them away from her.  Mark Calaway might’ve been the locker room leader, but he was also arrogant, pompous and downright childish at times.  She’d known him, or of him, far too long to be intimidated by him.

 

He let her walk out of the cafeteria then he followed, his longer legs easily catching up. “Wrong, sweetheart,” Mark caught Emery by the back of her shirt and easily pulled her back.  Picking her up by the t-shirt back, he hauled her bodily into the first empty room, shutting the door behind him before setting her down. “I have all the time in the world.” He folded his arms over his chest as he stared down his nose at her. “Where’s your boss?  Matthew?  The little bastard has been hiding from me all fuckin’ night and I want a word with him.”

 

“Couldn’t tell you, Neanderthal.” Emery muttered, checking her shirt to make sure he hadn’t stretched it too badly with that stunt. 

 

This was her favorite Kingdom Hearts t-shirt and if he so much as tore one thread, she would find a way to hurt him.  This man had never approached her like this, not once, and she wasn’t about to give away Matthew’s location.  It looked as though Mark wasn’t happy with idea for his WrestleMania match…she immediately bit back a smirk, knowing he had no clue it was her behind the scenes.  She was the puppet master for every single idea this man ever had in his career.

 

“And even if I did know, I wouldn’t tell you.”

 

~!~

 

“I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”

 

John Bradshaw Layfield sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose at Vince’s incredulous look. “I said… the Undertaker spray painted HAVE U SEEN MATTHEW,” Pausing, he emphasized that by raising his voice and doing air quotations with his fingers. “On Emery’s shirt front, and she is… upset and out in the hallway.”

 

“Oh, sweet Jesus…” His star had issues, lots of them.  Taker was respected, sure and when it came to the boys, he was stern, but God help them all if the man was pissed off. “That’s… that’s all, right?”

 

No, Mark had used his black pen to autograph her forehead. 

 

To DC, XOXO Neanderthal.

 

To say Emery was NOT happy would’ve been the understatement of the CENTURY!  She regretted writing Neanderthal winning the Royal Rumble, gritting her teeth.  When she refused to give Undertaker what he wanted, he’d resorted to bully tactics.  High school bullshit she thought she was passed since she’d been bullied heavily throughout school.  When JBL gestured her inside Vince’s office, Emery couldn’t look the man in the eye, but it was clear as day on his forehead.

 

“Emery…”

 

“I want him fined, Vince.” Her voice was deceptively calm and low, sky blue eyes nothing more than ice behind her glasses. “Fine him…and I want him to stay away from me.  Matthew is to deal with the wrestlers, that was the deal.”

 

“I understand.” Vince couldn’t lose her.  She was way too invaluable and had worked here too long to be treated like this. “I will speak with him…and give him a fine.”

 

“Good.” She hoped it was a hefty one for the Neanderthal. 

 

“JBL has a t-shirt for you to change into…” Vince said lamely, not sure what else to say to his lead script writer.

 

Storming out with the WWE logo t-shirt, she went straight to the bathroom to try to scrub away the message on her forehead and shed a few tears in the process, changing her shirt.

 

~!~

 

Matthew was well paid for his job.  He dressed the part, handled the wrestlers and everything else and got all the credit for Emery’s ideas.  He also got all the crap spewed at him.  When he heard he needed to go calm Taker down and why… he was suddenly considering finding employment in Russia.  He had dealt with the man through some bad ideas, according to Taker at least and the last blow-up that came to mind was the Ministry of Darkness angle.  Taker had been onboard, up until it came time to align with the Corporation, then he had gotten pissed.  He hadn’t enjoyed that then and he wasn’t going to enjoy this now.

 

“How… what?”

 

“The line isn’t being changed.  You can tell him that.”

 

Bradshaw, or John as he preferred these days, sighed. “I’ll come with you.” Mark and he went way back. “And I’ll give him the fine, and remind him to keep his… hands to himself.”

 

~!~

 

“What the hell happened to you?” Randy Orton, a third-generation superstar, and one of the fastest rising stars on Smackdown asked, staring wide-eyed at his friend the moment she walked out of the women’s bathroom.

 

“Don’t ask.” The black ink had barely come off as Emery put a hand over her forehead to hide what it said. “Where is the trainer’s?” She needed rubbing alcohol in order to get rid of what was written on her forehead by the Neanderthal.

 

“Follow me.” Randy guided her down the hallway toward the trainer’s room, curious to know what her forehead said. “Just let me take a quick look, please?” His blue eyes pleaded.

 

“No, don’t ask again.” Rapping on the trainer’s door, Emery stepped inside after hearing ‘come in’ and rubbed the back of her neck awkwardly in front of a bewildered Larry.  She rarely visited the trainer’s room. “Hi Larry, do you have some rubbing alcohol?  I need to…get something off my forehead.”

 

“Yeah, of course.” Larry blinked in confusion, procuring it along with a few cotton balls. “Do you want me to…?” He held them both out, gesturing at her head.  When Emery affirmed in the negative, he sighed and passed them over, turning his back on her so she could do whatever it was she was doing in peace. “Everything okay?” Very rarely did they have to deal with the writers, unless it was Matthew, but the man was well compensated for the beatings he sometimes got.

 

“Sure, everything’s great.” Or would be after she got her revenge against Undertaker, scowling at the message still clear on her forehead.

 

“Who is Neanderthal?”

 

Emery felt her cheeks turn a deep crimson while scrubbing the words away hastily, using 10 cotton balls until it was gone. “Nobody.  Thanks Larry.” She walked out of the trainer’s office and suddenly pulled Randy into a nearby dressing room, closing the door behind her. “Neanderthal is Mark ‘I just fucked with the wrong writer’ Calaway and I need your help to get him back.  You game?”

 

Randy’s eyes widened, his jaw on the floor and saw the ice in her eyes, swallowing hard. “What did you have in mind?”

“First of all, how good are your artistic skills?”

 

When Undertaker walked out of the arena later that night after the show, ready to head back to the hotel, he found his Titan motorcycle, he brought on the road from his personal collection, desecrated.  There was a picture of a dick and a head spray painted in neon green on the side.

 

Under any other circumstances, he would have pegged the culprits instantly as DX – Triple H and The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels.  Those two had been a pain in his backside for years.  However, they were also on RAW, and RAW was not anywhere near their current location.  Also… he knew who he had a run-in with today and it was a geek in a kiddie t-shirt with stupid glasses.  Sighing, Mark dropped to one knee to take in the damage, aware his face was slowly turning a shade of red only the devil wore well.  This was his bike.  Not a prop owned by the WWE, but his and someone had just signed their own death warrant.  Growling, he straddled the seat and immediately regretted it, dismounting just as quick and stared down at it along with his pants.

 

In his defense, Randy also had to pee.

 

~!~

 

After her 3 days off, it was time to head back on the road for the Smackdown! house shows.  Instead of a live show, Smackdown! had an extra house show on Mondays and then taped Smackdown! on Tuesdays for it to air on Thursdays.  Wearing a Yoshi shirt from her favorite Nintendo brand, Emery made her way inside the building with bag in hand, her black hair braided over her shoulder this time.  Immediately, she was bombarded by Matthew.

 

“What the HELL did you do to the Undertaker?!” He demanded, breathing heavily and could hear the man growling from a distance, shivering. “Emery, he is PISSED.  Someone fucked his bike up and he’s demanding answers from EVERYONE.” Especially him.

 

“Damn that sucks.” Emery didn’t sound the least bit sorry or scared, walking past her proxy to head to her office.  Nobody would be able to pin the deed on her and Randy because, unlike Taker, she hadn’t put XOXO DC with the artwork, though she was tempted to.

 

It was interesting.  Matthew, the lead writer, worked from a room with other writers and his little DC had her own room.  There was no name plaque or anything, but she had it.  It was also interesting how Matthew ran in and out of that room, always looking around cautiously and Mark knew why.  Matthew was avoiding him.  They had a run-in earlier in the evening and the little bastard had kicked him in the knee to escape.  He was livid.  First his bike, then being kicked by a midget in an ugly suit.  Bradshaw had already informed him, if he messed with anyone tonight, his fines from last week would seem like a child’s allowance compared to this week’s. 

 

He had given his friend the finger.

 

Mark was out for blood.

 

Technically, Emery didn’t have her own office per say, but Vince did allow her to choose from the empty rooms unoccupied.  She didn’t want to work with the other mindless writers they had hired and made it crystal clear.  Most of their ideas were changed to her liking and then sent to Vince.  Emery had worked there for 10 long years, had never left and was completely loyal to Vince.  Throughout the war with WCW, she was an asset to him and irreplaceable.  The only thing she had asked for was a quiet place, alone, where she could work her ideas out and he’d granted her request.  Finding a room down one of the empty hallways, and one the wrestlers weren’t using, Emery walked in and set up shop for the evening.

 

“Hey!” Matthew squeaked out. 

 

He had been bringing some of the other writer’s horrible ideas to Emery, only to find himself being picked up by the back of his neck.  He was a small, wiry guy, so he supposed he was easy to lift.  Nevertheless, being picked up like he was a kitten was a blow to his manly pride.

 

“What?!  I didn’t do it.”

 

“I know.” Mark leaned against the wall, right outside that door, dangling Matthew in front of him. “But I know your little… loner…. assistant did, or she had someone do it.”

 

“I don’t know anything about that either!”

 

“Let’s just focus on us, hmm?  You and me.” Mark held Matthew eyelevel with him, adjusting his grip ever so slightly. “I’m onboard with the Royal Rumble.  Thank you, I like this idea.”

 

“Okay?  You’re welcome?”

 

“WrestleMania, not so much.”

 

Matthew swallowed hard at the way Taker’s voice had gone from friendly and congenial to something dark and sinister.

 

Emery could hear his dark voice clear as day behind that door and rolled her eyes, not giving a damn what he liked or didn’t like.  He wasn’t the lead script writer, she was!  He would put over Dave Batista and deal with it, like he dealt with the Corporate Ministry.  Another low blow in her career, though she would never admit it to the Neanderthal.  The idea had looked great on paper, but when it actually came to fruition, it fizzled drastically and the Unholy Alliance had been formed with Big Show to save Undertaker’s character.  Feeling bad for Matthew, Emery decided to go save her proxy before he had his backside handed to him and opened the door, pushing her glasses up on her nose.

 

“Mind letting him go, Neanderthal?  We have a meeting regarding OTHER scripts besides yours.” Or she would report him to Vince again.

 

Matthew blinked when he was actually dropped and scurried into the room past Emery, letting her handle the Deadman.

 

“Have a nice night, Neanderthal.” She slammed the door in his face and got to work with Matthew. “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah, I’m fine, but… why… why did you interfere?” He asked, rubbing the ache out of the back of his neck. “Not that I’m not grateful, because I am… I just… he’s scary.”

 

Matthew wondered if she had ever even found out what happened when Taker lost interest in lines, or hated them.  That hadn’t been an issue since… the Corporate Ministry line, but back then, Taker had gone out of his way to tank the idea, at house shows and live television.  He had acted bored, ignored everything around him and it had just been foolish as hell.  The man had no regard for others, or how it would affect them.

 

Mark was not amused and somewhat offended by that little dyke that thought she could order HIM around.  Maybe, he’d go bug Vince and see what info he could dig up.  Or… maybe he’d just ‘sacrifice’ her one of these nights, on live television for the world to see.  Might be a fun way to mess with Batista once that ball got rolling.

 

“Because I’m sick and tired of you getting your ass handed to you because of me.” Emery spoke quietly, not wanting the Neanderthal to overhear them and held her hand up before Matthew could utter another word. “I know it’s your job to handle the wrestlers, but you also need to defend yourself against them.  You can’t let anyone, not even the almighty Undertaker, push you around.  He’s been fined heavily for destroying my t-shirt and writing some obnoxious bullshit on my forehead in black pen.” At Matthew’s wide eyes, Emery folded her arms in front of her chest. “He wanted to know your whereabouts and I told him no, in my own way.  Now are these the ideas?” She snatched the papers from him, looking over them and pinched the bridge of her nose, feeling a headache coming on. 

 

It was going to be a long night.

 

Letting Emery have the night from him, Mark wouldn’t be a week by week trick pony.  He’d let her relax.  Let her friend Matthew relax and he’d just wait.  He had gone to see Vince and the old bastard had told him she was just Matthew’s underling, who also preferred to work alone.  Helpful as a pet rock that one.  He’d focus on this little thing with Kenny boy -Mr. Kennedy- and then David.

 

“Deadman!”

 

Speak of the devil, maybe he would kill Matthew after all.

 

“Man, did you hear the news?!  Of course, you probably did, you’re the Deadman after all.” David grinned, holding the world championship over his shoulder and he was dressed to the nines in a crisp grey suit. “Thanks for this opportunity, I won’t let you down.  And I’ll always be grateful to you for letting me break the streak.” He blinked when the man stalked away from him, wondering what he’d said and shrugged, going to do a photoshoot for the upcoming magazine.

 

Chapter 3

 

Armageddon came and went with Undertaker dominating Mr. Kennedy, after taking a horrible fall off the top of the set.  That had made the crowd gasp and hold their breath, everyone wondering if the Undertaker was finished.  Only for him to get up, dust himself off and finish the match by annihilating Mr. Kennedy.  Definitely a match that went flawless and Emery smiled to herself, enjoying it immensely.  They had great chemistry together; she’d known that the moment she’d started writing their feud out.  Mr. Kennedy was a rising star on the Smackdown! roster and would continue to excel as long as he kept his cocky attitude in check.

 

“Hey, come to my dressing room and take a break.” Randy said by way of greeting, finding her makeshift office with ease. “London has the new WWE game and we wanna check it out with you.” She was a gaming fanatic, knowing everything there was to know about video games.


Shrugging, Undertaker and Mr. Kennedy’s match was over, so she didn’t see the harm since there was only one other match of the night. “Lead the way, Orton.”

 

Mark shoved back behind the curtain, sweat dripping off of him and flipped his soaked hair back off his head.  If Kennedy could just remember that he wasn’t a superstar just yet… he’d do fine.  The man was cocky as hell.  He remembered being that way when he had first started out.  Mark had gotten it beaten out of him by the veterans.  Lesson learned.  He had earned the right to be the asshole he was now.  He spotted Randy Orton leading the dyke down the hallway and popped an eyebrow, wondering what that about.

 

Paul London looked up when the door to the dressing room opened, grinning at sight of the best video gamer he’d ever had the pleasure playing against. “Oh man, you brought the Queen here, eh?”

 

“Like I wouldn’t?  I wanna watch her whoop your ass again!” Randy crowed, slapping his friend on the shoulder and got a chair for Emery.

 

“Why thank you, Randy.” Emery sat down and took the controller from Paul, looking at the screen at the new video game the WWE was coming out with.  They always got first crack at it and she was excited, sky blue eyes igniting. “Let’s do this and I’m gonna pick the lowest ranked person in the game, just to give myself a challenge.  And still whoop your ass.”

 

“That would be Hornswaggle then…”

 

She smirked, choosing Hornswaggle. “Bring it.”

 

The fact that she used Hornswaggles character to beat not only Paul, but himself… and she did it without using cheat codes or anything. “Oh.  My.  God!”

 

“Ems, I swear to God, if you ever tell anyone about this… How?  How do you do this?” Paul got down on his knees before her, hands clasped up as if praying. “Please – please teach me your ways, I am not worthy!” He started bowing at her.

 

“Get up, you asshat.” Randy laughed, also enjoying playing games, but he was a secret computer game nerd.  Emery did that too, it was great.  They had their own guild in World of Warcraft.

 

Ever since he’d been brought back over from Raw -Vince had decided to do it for some reason he still didn’t know-, Randy had never been happier.  Triple H was the main cat on Raw and nobody would outshine him.  Randy had been in his group called Evolution back in 2004 and hated it, thanking his stars when the company decided to put him on Smackdown! only.  Then changed their minds by putting him on Raw before bringing him back again.  Vince couldn’t make his mind up…and he hoped the flip-flopping was done.

 

“Practice makes perfect, sweet cheeks.” She pinched Paul’s cheek for emphasis and laughed at his reddened face, kissing the top of his head. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone I kicked your ass playing Hornswaggle.”

 

Her giggles filtered throughout the room, loving both of these guys like they were brothers.  That’s what she considered them and they treated her like their little sister.  They had each other’s backs.  It was a weird combination, but it worked for them.

 

“Randy, don’t forget our guild has a meeting at midnight tonight.” She reminded him, standing up and decided to get back to her room to pack up to go back to the hotel since the pay-per-view was almost over.

 

“That woman is something else.” Paul shook his head, still not believing what just happened. “I even picked the Deadman and she destroyed me!”

 

“Yeah, that’s par for course, you should’ve seen what she had me to do to Taker’s bike.”

 

“Wait… that was you and her?”

 

“He put his hands on her and… he decided to treat her like she was a kid back in high school.  Fuck him.”

 

“Is THAT right?” Mark had been on his way out after a very long, very hot shower and these bozos were talking with the door wide open.  When Randy’s jaw dropped, he just began laughing.

 

“Oh… fuck…”

 

Randy did NOT like the sound of the laughter coming from Taker and swallowed hard, surprised when the man merely walked away from their door. “I gotta warn her.” Whipping his cell phone, Randy quickly sent a text to Emery to get the hell out of the arena before it was too late, his fingers flying over the buttons.

 

Paul still couldn’t believe they had actually been the culprits behind spray painting the UNDERTAKER’S motorcycle.

 

After reading the text message, Emery felt like strangling Randy and couldn’t believe he’d outed them both!  It didn’t matter.  Undertaker would’ve found out sooner or later and, besides, he deserved it after destroying her favorite t-shirt AND writing on her forehead.  He’d manhandled her, bullied her and…Emery gritted her teeth, swinging her laptop bag over her shoulder and left the building, heading to her rental.  It was no surprise to find the Neanderthal waiting for her, straddling another bike no less and it was right in front of her vehicle so she couldn’t leave.  Great.  The look on his face and in his eyes frightened her, but she wouldn’t show it and folded her arms in front of her chest, not saying a single word.

 

“Sorry, sweetheart, but your ride… has problems.”

 

All four tires had been slashed, and not by him.  Not that Mark had stopped the hooligans who had done it.  He hadn’t, just watched and offered his opinion.  All four, not just the two they had been intending.

 

“Looks like you need a lift, DC.” They needed to have a chat anyway. “Hop on, sweetheart.” It wasn’t really an offer so much a command.

 

“How about not and say I did, Neanderthal?” For some strange reason, being called DC unnerved her and lit a fire inside of her…and she didn’t even know what it stood for! “I’ll find my own way, thanks.”

 

Emery was not stupid by any means and did not trust this man, not after what she’d done to his motorcycle.  Hell, knowing him, he’d probably been the one who slashed her tires and had blamed it on someone else.  He was out of his mind to think she would accept a ride from him, running her black painted fingernails over her forehead where he’d written that lousy message into her skin.  Figuring she’d say that, Mark sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose.  Dismounting, he walked up to her, took her bag and tossed it behind him.  Something expensive sounding made an odd noise from her bag.

 

“Hope that wasn’t important.” He said flatly, next picking her up by her side and carried her under his arm towards the bike. “I wasn’t really giving you options, sweetheart.  You’ll ride with me, we’ll sort out our issues and hopefully… we’ll be the best friends ever afterwards, hmm?”

 

“What the fuck, Calaway?!” Emery shouted, squirming against him and tried to break free, but it was no use.  This man didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘no’.  Trying to get off the bike, he’d made sure she didn’t move by mounting her IN FRONT of him on it and scowled darkly. “You just broke my laptop!!  Let me off here right now!” He’d scooped her bag up to slide it in one of his saddlebags, while holding her against him under the arms.  She would more than likely have bruises by the time all was said and done. “You-” Her words were cut off as he took off from the parking lot.

 

Emery just prayed she survived this hellacious ride, her breathing now erratic along with her heart pounding vigorously against her chest.  Hellacious was a great term because he went out of his way to make her scream.  Mark expertly weaved in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds, frowning when he realized she wasn’t screaming.  It wasn’t until he finally stopped for a red light that he realized she was pretty clammy looking, but… exhilarated.  This broad was crazy!  There was no way she enjoyed this, was there?  Green light came on and they did it all over again. 

 

“Are you having… fun?”

 

At first it was scary, but then her adrenaline cranked up and Emery enjoyed the speed, the wind whipping across her face.  When he asked her if she was having fun, all she did was smirk up at him and shut her eyes again as he took off down the road at top speeds, pushing his motorcycle to the limits.  Emery loved rollercoasters and speed, anything to make her heart leap in her throat.  She’d leaned back against Undertaker while he weaved in and out of traffic, knowing it was the only way to ride or else she would’ve gone flying off the bike.  Her broken laptop was temporarily forgotten along with her anger at this man, reaching up to push her glasses up on her nose so they didn’t fly off her face.

 

Well this wasn’t exactly what Mark had planned when he made the decision to take DC for a ride.  He had planned on scaring her until she either broke down screaming, crying for him to stop or she passed out from fear and terror.  Instead… she was enjoying this.  Maybe it reminded her of some video game and she was a secret adrenaline junkie.  She was that kind of chick, right?  He was pretty sure a lot of her shirts had video game crap on them.  What would have under usual circumstances been a 20-minute ride to the hotel, everyone seemed to be staying at, took over an hour and when Mark finally came to a stop in the parking lot, he could see she had relaxed quite a bit against him.

 

“Wow…” Emery let out a breathless laugh and sat up a little, never experiencing a motorcycle ride quite like THAT one. 

 

Her father owned a motorcycle and had taken her for a ride, on occasion, when she was younger, but he sold it after a horrible accident.  She had missed it, the adrenaline rush, but it was NOTHING like she’d just experienced.  Looking up at the hotel, the smile deteriorated from her face as Emery felt Taker’s big body directly behind her still.  He hadn’t moved and his arms prevented her from dismounting.

 

“I really hope you plan on replacing my laptop if you broke it with your temper earlier.” She said scathingly, resting her hands on her jeans. “And we will never be friends, bank on that, Neanderthal.”

 

“Well, aren’t you a little spitfire…” He rumbled, sounding darkly amused, which he was. “If your laptop is broken, you can bill me.  I’m sure you’ll go running to McMahon anyway, so tell him to add it to my tab.” Mark dismounted and reached for her, pulling her off his motorcycle a little harshly. “I want you to talk to Matthew.  I’m not losing at WrestleMania to Batista.” This was what all this was about. “Any other time, sure, but not at that show and not to that jackass.”

 

“Are you serious right now?” Emery felt like socking him in his arrogant face, gritting her teeth.  He had chased her down, had someone slash her tires, destroyed her favorite t-shirt and printed in black ink on her forehead because of the storyline? “No.” At his narrowed green eyes, Emery shook her head defiantly. “The line is set in stone and there’s no changing it.” She could if she wanted to, but now she wanted to make this bastard’s life a living hell. “Sorry you wasted your time.  Now give me my bag.  And don’t worry, I WILL be billing you.”

 

No changing it huh?  She was really going to make him do this the hard way?  Mark had absolutely no problem going out there on the biggest stage of them all and beating David Batista to a bloody pulp.  He had yet to be defeated at WrestleMania and sure as hell wasn’t starting now, not with this guy.

 

“Fine.” He took her bag out of the saddlebag and dropped it, hard, at her feet.  If that laptop hadn’t been broken, it was now. “Have at it, DC.”

 

“You are an asshole.”

 

The laptop wasn’t a regular one either.  It was the most expensive one out there to date – an Alienware.  It was designed for gaming nerds like her and could more than handle any games she downloaded onto it.  This one in particular had cost her over $3,000 and she planned on reporting him to Vince, again.

 

“So what?  A line pops up that benefits the rookie, not the vet, and you’re going to treat the writers like shit for it?  Are you 5?” Snorting, she hoisted her bag over her shoulder, shaking her head sadly. “You’re supposed to be the locker room leader, someone people look up to, not a bullying childish asshole, Neanderthal.  I’ve been around this company a long time – probably longer than you realize and I’ve never seen someone act the way you have simply because they don’t like the line they’re given.  Guess what, sometimes you gotta do shit you don’t want to.  So maybe you should put the company FIRST instead of your pride for a change, yeah?”

 

Who in the hell did this bitch think she was?  Put the company first?  Mark had, as a general rule, always put the company first.  Over his family.  Over his career.  Come on, the breaking character crap?  In sweats?  That was him taking one for the team.  Losing to some grade A assholes to put them over, or sell seats?  He had been here for years, helping Vince keep things floating and hadn’t even bothered asking for more, well-deserved, shots at the main title!  The only thing he did care about, would fight over, was WrestleMania so… yes, he would act like a 5-year-old and Emery had just made herself an enemy.

 

When he didn’t say a word to her, Emery took that as the end of the conversation and walked into the hotel, the anger radiating off her small body.  She didn’t care if what she said was out of line to the Undertaker, he was a bullying asshole and needed to be knocked down a peg or three.  Once she arrived in her hotel room, Emery immediately unzipped her laptop bag and pulled the remains of her Alienware out, growling loudly. 

 

That bastard really broke it! 

 

Sky blue eyes iced over as she surveyed the damage, wondering if there was a way to salvage any parts and decided to take the hard drive out.  She could plug it into her new one, which would be overnighted as soon as she made the phone call to Dell.  Then Emery made a call to Randy, waiting for him to answer and informed him something happened to her laptop, so she wouldn’t be able to make their WOW meeting.  When he asked what it was, she told him not to worry about it and hung up, suddenly feeling exhausted.

 

Mark had absolutely zero fucks to give about her personal property.  She had his classic motorcycle vandalized; getting that taken care of and the paint and finish redone hadn’t come cheap.  For some little mouse, who had apparently been lurking in the shadows all these years, she sure was a mouthy, arrogant little bitch.  Too bad about her being a dyke though, he thought broodingly, as he poured himself a drink.  Standing at the bar in his hotel room fresh out of the shower and as naked as the day he had been born.  He bet she was like every other little geek out there, down for hot, crazy sex.  And he wasn’t above making someone emotionally attached and vulnerable to him to get his way.

 

Chapter 4

 

“So, are you going to tell me what happened last night?  I saw your rental.” Randy demanded, sitting at the table in the hotel restaurant and popped a piece of bacon in his mouth.

 

“I don’t wanna talk about it.” Emery stabbed her pancakes like that had personally done her wrong, scowling at the thought of her precious laptop being destroyed by that Neanderthal. “I’ll have a new laptop hopefully by the end of the day today…if they can get it shipped fast enough.”

 

“Well, you weren’t attacked or anything, right?” Randy eyeballed her skeptically and growled when she slapped his hand for trying to steal another piece of bacon. “Hey, I’m hungry!”

 

“Then order your own food.”

 

“But I like yours better.” Randy argued, his hand darting forward again.  He quickly pulled it back with a howl of pain when he got the business end of her fork in the top of his hand, cursing under his breath. “Fine – fine.” He gestured for another plate, having finished his first quite some time ago.  Randy was a big man and needed more than those tiny servings they called the ‘house special’, which was ridiculous. “Was it Taker?” He asked quietly, knowing the man had overheard him and Paul and probably wasn’t pleased at all.  That was their bad and he felt like a jackass.

 

Emery didn’t keep anything from Randy, trusting him explicitly and nodded, stabbing some eggs to pop in her mouth, chewing slowly. “That prick forced me on his bike last night and thought he’d bully me into talking to Matthew about the scripts.  If he only knew the truth of the situation.” Randy was the ONLY one in the entire company, besides Vince and a few others, who knew she used a proxy for the scripts and most of the ideas were actually hers. “I told him no, I’m not talking to Matthew and he needs to start acting his age and put the company first.” At Randy’s wide eyes, Emery giggled softly and popped more eggs in her mouth. “I’m not backing down just because he’s the almighty Undertaker.  Though, I do feel bad for Matthew…”

 

“Yeah, no shit.” Matthew was going to wind up eating dirt when Taker put his ass in the grave, that poor little bastard. “You… you told him to put company first?” Randy could only imagine how that had gone over, shaking his head and sighed, balling up his fist. “He can’t keep harassing you, Em.” Maybe he should have words with the Deadman, swallowing hard.  He could hold his own and had faced Undertaker at WrestleMania a few years ago. “Why don’t I start walking you out at night?”

 

“I just don’t understand why NOW he’s coming after me, targeting me.” Emery’s eyes narrowed thoughtfully, pursing her lips together. “Do you think Matthew told him?” Randy shrugged in response; of course he wouldn’t know the answer to that question. “I’ll kill him.  I’ll kill that little asshole if he opened his mouth after all this time.”

 

Vince paid him WELL to be her figurative beating post.  It was awfully coincidental how Taker suddenly targeted her out of the blue.  He hadn’t come after her with the Corporate Ministry angle or any of the other ridiculous ideas she’d had for his character over the past 10 years.

 

“I think it’s time I had a chat with my proxy.”

 

“Good idea, but also… you’ve purposefully let yourself be seen as just an underling, right?” Randy hadn’t been around anywhere near as long as she had, but she had told him enough. “Another writer, not THE writer.  Also, this is WrestleMania, he’s never lost one, has he?” When she shook her head, he sighed. “Yeah… he probably thinks by targeting you, Matthew will change his mind or something.” Except it wasn’t Matthew who made those calls.

 

“He can target me all the wants, it’s not gonna change what goes down at Mania.  The line is written, signed and sealed by Vince.  There’s no way he’ll change his mind now.  The only way Taker walks out of Mania winning the title from Batista is if he jumps script.  And I don’t even think he’s stupid enough to do that.” Emery said confidently, not seeing the hesitance in her friend’s eyes.  She could be very vindictive when she wanted to be and, after what that Neanderthal had done to her and her belongings, she considered his payback at its finest. “I’ll handle it, don’t worry.  Now, tell me what happened in the meeting last night.”

 

Putting aside his thoughts about the Undertaker and the Phenom definitely about to be breaking lines and saying fuck all to scripts, he dived into recounting the Guild meeting she had missed.  They were dorks, and he really didn’t care.  He was a closet dork, sort of, but it was nice having someone to pal around with on the road who was just as big a World of Warcraft player as him.

 

“Raid, tonight.  We can rent you a laptop if we need too.”

 

“Shouldn’t be a problem.  I can just borrow Paul’s laptop if anything.” It wasn’t the first time she did and wouldn’t be the last, especially if Taker kept pursuing her and this war they were in. “We got plenty of gold and shit, right?”

 

At his nod, Emery’s sky blues lit up wickedly, rubbing her hands together and finished her breakfast.  Good, there’d been a guild they’d been at war with, trolls of all things, and it was time to wipe them off the map.  They had stolen a great deal of their treasure, so Emery and Randy would be out for blood tonight since they were the emergent leaders of their guild.  It would be fun to watch the trolls get blown up and dismantled.

 

“I’m riding with you today to the next area.” Emery didn’t bother asking, walking out of the hotel with Randy and her belongings in hand, texting Paul to see if she could borrow his laptop until her new one arrived.

 

As if he had a problem with her riding with him.  He’d prefer it actually, now that Taker was acting like some schoolyard bully and knowing what he did of the guy.  What he had heard whispered in the showers, it could and probably would escalate.  Sighing, Randy ran his fingers along his scalp, keeping step with her, even as she texted with Paul.

 

~!~

 

“Um, we have a big problem, Em.” Alison, one of the creative writers, announced the moment Emery and Randy walked into the arena.

 

“Okay, you need to calm down and breathe, Aly.  Then you can tell me what’s going on.” Emery waved at Randy as he jogged off down the hallway, knowing he wasn’t needed for this conversation.

 

“Nobody can get a hold of Matthew.  I’ve tried calling and texting him all day, but no dice.” Alison looked worried, her brown eyes filled with concern over their fellow coworker and friend. “He’s the one who gives the approval on all of the scripts…”

 

“Relax, I’ll handle it.” The writers often came to her, when Matthew did one of his disappearing acts, and she had a pretty good idea why he was nowhere to be found. “Walk with me and tell me what the problems are.” They headed down the hallway together as she listened to Alison, nodding or shaking her head for approval or denial.

 

Sighing, Alison began recounting everything going on tonight with the scripts.  The major problem was the fact that the Undertaker had come in with a smirk and Matthew was missing.  So naturally, everyone was assuming that Matthew was dead, his body buried somewhere in a million tiny pieces.  Then there were so many tiny issues and usually Matthew handled those, right?  She began unloading on Emery, feeling close to tears and ready to tear her hair out.

 

Emery had to wonder if Alison was cut out for this job because the poor thing looked ready to have a complete mental breakdown. “I want you to go take a Xanax, tell Larry you need one and then I want you to chill out.  Don’t worry, I got everything handled.” She assured the woman, patting her back and gestured her to the trainer’s, knowing Larry kept anti-anxiety medicine on hand for the rookies with first matches. 

 

Stopping by to retrieve the laptop from Paul, Emery promised to take care of it and have it back to him tomorrow, just waiting for her Alienware to arrive.  Once she was set up in an empty room, Emery began looking through the papers and scribbled notes Alison handed off to her.  None of this would be happening; she would be changing every single thing and snorted in disgust, wondering where the hell Vince found these people.  All the while, she tried getting a hold of Matthew, but his phone kept going straight to voicemail.

 

Matthew had finally been found by Taker and, when he had refused to change the line going into WrestleMania, he had gotten tossed into the trunk of his rental, minus his phone.  Taker had been ‘kind’ enough to pop some air holes for him, but that was about it.  He was DONE with this job.  Emery was a cunt, doing this.  She knew he took so much hell for her ideas and had even gotten his backside handed to him a few times, but never once had she volunteered to step up and claim her work.  Sure, he was well paid, but enough was enough.  He was done.  If he had to take the beatings and the credit, then he wanted the actual job.  In that trunk… evil ideas began to form.

 

~!~

 

“There a reason ‘DC’ is spray painted on your door out here, Emery?”

 

Her head snapped up, looking at Tom, who was another writer on the team and frowned, standing up to see what he was talking about. “That son of a bitch…” In deep purple spray paint, the letters DC were painted on her door for everyone to see. “I really gotta find out what that stands for…” She grumbled, rubbing the back of her neck and waved Tom off dismissively.

 

“What does DC stand for?  Dick Chick?” Tom groaned when she kicked him in the shin and hopped on one foot, holding his shin with the other hand. “It was a JOKE, Em!”

 

“Not funny.” Undertaker would PAY for this!!

 

That was all him because Mark was an asshole that way.  Doubly so, Matthew was in the back of that rental and he began laughing his backside off when it was towed.  Watching from the top of the building where he had come to ignore everyone while he considered the fine he had received.  It was pretty hefty.  Apparently, DC, or one of her friends, had tattled to Vince.

 

At the next area, which was Sunday, Emery decided to pay the Deadman back and found his dressing room with ease.  The word DEADMAN was in black letters on the door was a dead giveaway.  Nobody was here yet; Emery had come earlier and pulled the neon green spray paint out of her bag.  The security was on the grounds, but hardly any were in the building.  Quickly, Emery spray painted the word NEANDERTHAL in capital letters, a smirk curving her lips and made sure his door sign was destroyed by spraying over it completely.  She left the arena with the evidence in tow, tossing it in a nearby garbage can along with the black gloves and went to go grab her laptop, which had been shipped to this location.  It was currently waiting for her at the local post office.

 

The problem was… not everyone in the building was as educated as the nerdy bitch and a lot of guys didn’t even know what the hell that five-dollar word meant.  She would have been better off putting CAVEMAN up there.

 

That was where Paul came in.  When he heard people asking what the hell a Neanderthal was… his prankster side kicked in and he snuck into the office.  He found an outdated computer and used it to make little posters of the Undertaker’s face with NEANDERTHAL on it along with the definition.  Those got passed out.

 

Now Mark was pissed.

 

“You didn’t, please tell me you didn’t…” Emery couldn’t hold back her laughter, holding the flyer in her hand with wide sky blues, shaking her head at her friend. “I can’t believe you did this!”

 

Paul beamed proudly kissing the top of her head. “I figured you’d enjoy that.” He would do anything for Emery, thinking of her as a little sister and he was annoyed the Deadman had started bothering her.  Randy told him everything that’d happened and it was time for some payback.

 

“I’m going to put this on the wall in my room and every time I look at it, I’m going to smile.” She kissed his cheek. “Thanks, Paulie, I owe you one.” She walked out, laughing softly and did exactly as she said she would once she found her room for the night.  Not even an hour later, the door was tossed open and an irate Undertaker stood in the doorway. “Do you mind?  SOME of us are working, Neanderthal.”

 

“You call this working?” He growled, holding a stack of those posters in his clenched fist. “This isn’t fuckin’ working, Emery, this is being a mega cunt.”

 

He had found them everywhere.  Taped to walls.  His doors.  Even in his goddamn bag!  Someone had actually gotten into his personal belongings to put those there.  When he had taken his bag out to his motorcycle for safekeeping, because he wasn’t about to have his stuff messed with, Mark pinched the bridge of his nose, letting out a very long sigh.

 

“They were taped all over my motorcycle.” Work, indeed.

 

Paul had done quite a number apparently and that made her grin, unable to wipe it from her face. “Actually,” She paused, turning her new Alienware laptop to face him, which showed the scripts she was working on. “I’ll admit, I spray painted your door just like I know you spray painted mine.  But I didn’t have anything to do with the flyers.  Do I know who did it?  That’s for me to know and you to find out, Neanderthal.” Emery shrugged nonchalantly, leaning against her chair and folded her arms in front of her chest. “I guess I’m not the only one who thinks you’re a bullying asshole, huh?”

 

“You’re cute, precious, real cute.  I don’t think you can keep using that little poor me, being picked on bullshit anymore.  You and your pals are just as bad as I am.” Mark eyed the fliers.  Yes, she was doing tit for tat and then crying out ‘help, I’m being bullied’.  He advanced on her, pushing her, with his chest, back until she was against the wall. “If I were you, I’d stop while you still have your head, DC.”

 

Chapter 5

 

“And what if I don’t?  Tell you what, I’ll stop when you stop.  I’ll stop calling you Neanderthal when you knock this DC shit off, whatever the hell it means, and start calling me by my NAME.  Emery, in case you forgot it, jackass.” Defiance shined through her icy sky blues while staring up at him, though her heart rate had picked up a little when he advanced on her. “You.  Don’t.  Scare.  Me.  Neanderthal.” With every word she said, she poked his chest with her finger and smiled sweetly at him as his face turned a bright shade of red. “So, I highly suggest you leave me the hell alone and take your business to Matthew.  Because I’m not helping you.” Maybe she was signing her death warrant mouthing off to this giant, but he had angered her to the point where she didn’t care about the consequences.

 

“Hey bitch, you hard of hearing?  I did use your name, Emery.” She must’ve had shit between her ears because he had just said it right after coming in the door.  Emery he was also provoking him like no one had before. “You’re mouthy and you’re cocky.  You’re one of those little broads who thinks her shit doesn’t stink and everyone else is wrong.” He knew the type.  She just happened to have weird glasses and stupid shirts to go with the attitude. “Nothin’ a good old-fashioned, passionate ass whipping won’t take care of, Dork Chick.” He was just the man to deliver it, too.

 

“No, that would be YOU.  You think you’re right simply because you don’t like what’s happening with your character and you feel you need to change it by being vindictive, hurtful, and borderline abusive.  Mouthy and cocky, thinking the world revolves around you and shines out of your ass. I got news for you, Deadman, it DOESN’T.  I’m not gonna let you push me around.” So that’s what DC stood for…Emery found it to be a compliment and smiled, pushing her glasses up on her nose. “And thank you, I’m damn proud to be a Dork Chick.  Might even put that on a t-shirt and wear it one of these days.” Oh wow, his face was turning even redder. “The truth hurts, doesn’t it, Mark?  Now if you don’t mind, I have work to do and you’re wasting my time.”

 

The more she spoke, the redder his face grew, but he was also changing their positions while she shot off at the mouth.  She was so sure of her place, of herself and her belief that she was protected.  By the time he flipped her over his knee, it was too late.

 

“You’re welcome.” He said, replying to her ‘thank you’ and slapped her ass, making sure to get both cheeks evenly.  Repeatedly.  She wouldn’t be sitting down tonight.

 

Now any normal woman would’ve been upset by having their backside cracked like a child, but not Emery.  She started laughing, openly laughing at the Undertaker while he continued smacking her backside.  It wasn’t until he shoved her off his lap and to the floor that she looked up at him with glittering sky blues, an evil smirk curving her lips.

 

“Was that supposed to teach me something?  Because that felt damn good, actually.” She laughed harder when his face turned into a tomato and actually dropped to her knees, holding her side with tears stinging her eyes.  It hurt since she hadn’t laughed his hard in a long time.

 

What the hell was wrong with this chick?  She liked it?  Did she?  Because usually, people who liked their backsides paddled, didn’t laugh; they moaned and he wasn’t entirely sure what he was feeling right now besides confused.  His hands knew what they wanted to do and wanted to wrap themselves around her scrawny little neck and strangle her until she recited the dialogue from that stupid game on her shirt backwards.

 

“You’re fucked up, lady.” Mark snarled, his low baritone flat. “You touch my shit again, or put up anymore posters, and I’m going to bury your ass in someone’s backyard.” If she left him alone, he’d just… stay away.

 

Crazy was like STDs – catching.

 

“I didn’t touch your shit.  Do you need to clean YOUR ears out now?  I told you, I didn’t do the flyers.  I did the spray painting on your dressing room door and your bike because you decided to be an asshole and destroyed my t-shirt, my expensive Alienware laptop and wrote in BLACK INK on my forehead.” Emery stood up to her feet, cracking her neck and planted her hands on her hips. “Maybe if you would’ve – I don’t know – treated me with a little more respect and asked me NICELY, I might’ve considered helping you out with Matthew.  But since you wanted to be a bullying asshole, well…you reap what you sow in this world, don’t you?” Walking around to sit down behind her desk, Emery folded her hands on her desk and stared at him coolly.

 

“I’m sorry, the first time I actually spoke to you, I shouldn’t have called you DC.” He said finally, staring at her and just shrugged. “But, that aside, I wasn’t an asshole to you then; I was just straightforward.” That was his manner. “You’re the one who dismissed me after telling me off for not using your… girl’s name.” Mark remembered that quite well. “All I wanted to do was talk to you and, instead, you got on your sarcastic little high horse.  If you would’ve just slowed your roll…” And not been a bitch, he probably wouldn’t have turned her forehead into a graffiti wall. “Remember that, sweetheart, you reap what YOU sow.” He mockingly bowed to her before walking out.  If she’d crawl back underneath her weird little rock, he’d just forget all about her.

 

If not… backyard burial.

 

If Mark Calaway knew what was good for him, he would leave her alone and deal with whatever lines she came up with for his character.  Shaking her head, she opened her laptop and began typing again, unable to focus however.  Her backside was burning, no doubt it would be bruised, but it didn’t bother her he’d done it.  Emery was weird – a dorky chick – and also an adrenaline junkie.  Mark had learned that the hard way by trying to scare her on his bike and then spanking her.  Looking at the paperwork on her desk, Emery tried getting her mind focused on work and not the giant Neanderthal that had somewhat rocked her world in his own twisted way.

 

It had been a very long night for Matthew.  He had been found in the trunk of that stupid rental, after it had been towed, and caught a cab back to work.  He had made it in time to hear the altercation between the Undertaker and Emery.  He wasn’t able to see anything, but… it sounded intense and not all that professional at all.  Deciding tonight what he was going to do, now… now Taker had cemented it for him.  He was done being the gopher, the beating post, all of it.  Matthew would start getting what he wanted.  That meant just one thing: Emery had to go.

~!~

 

For the next month, Emery’s life had gone from quiet to chaotic and she had no idea why.  Someone was going around the backstage area and purposefully angering the Undertaker.  The worst part was he thought it was her and it wasn’t!  She was done with the childish games; she’d gotten her revenge on him for her laptop and t-shirt by spray painting his bike.  However, apparently, whoever was doing this to Undertaker had put itching powder in his wrestling tights and messed with his personal belongings. 

 

Emery watched Smackdown! from her makeshift office and saw Undertaker keep pulling at his tights, trying not to seem too obvious about it.  She was a very observant person though, sky blues narrowed on the monitor.  His bellowing throughout the arena told her clear as day someone had pranked him and she could only pray Paul had stopped his antics.  When she confronted her friend about it, Paul swore up and down he had nothing to do with whatever was going on with the Deadman.  It confused Emery to no end…and she was getting pretty fed up with the accusations from the Neanderthal, to say the least.

 

It wasn’t long after Mark started being sabotaged that word was Emery also had issues too.  He had never paid attention to gossip about those who weren’t wrestlers until now, but… he was.  Reflecting on it, he scrubbed his balls, trying to get that crap off of him.  That had just been embarrassing, having that problem out there in front of an audience.  The Undertaker had crotch itch, he groaned and rolled his eyes.  This was the second week in a row that particular joke had been used and he was livid.  If it was her, or one of her stupid friends, he would kill them all.

 

“Oh shit.” Randy grumbled softly, staring at what used to be Emery’s brand new Alienware laptop.  It was now just a pile of junk; someone had smashed it to hell and back twice. “Em…”

 

Gritting her teeth at the sight of her brand new Alienware smashed to pieces, Emery could feel the tears burning her eyes.  What the hell did she do to deserve this treatment?  This was NOT what Emery signed up for.

 

“That mother fucker…” She knew exactly who had done it and stormed out of her makeshift office, only for Randy to stop her. “Get out of my way!”

 

“Whoa – whoa, just think about this for a second, Em, okay?  Please?  I know you’re upset, but confronting the Undertaker is NOT gonna do you any good.” Randy could see the fury in her icy blues and swallowed hard, hoping he didn’t get a knee to his nutsack for trying to save her neck. “We’ll get you another one, just calm down.”

 

“No, fuck this.” She was going straight to Vince McMahon himself, fed up with this nonsense and demanding a new proxy since Matthew was incapable of doing his job.

 

When Matthew was called into Vince’s office and then berated for ‘not doing his job’, he frowned. “What are you talking about?  I’ve been putting out fires all night.  The Undertaker is on a rampage, Batista is pissed because Taker won’t talk to him about this line, and-” He sighed when he was told to shut up and about Emery’s laptop being destroyed. “Another one?” He wiped sweaty hair off his pale forehead, flinching.  Another Alienware, those things did not come cheap and the company did not reimburse private property, not when they provided. “Look, I’m sorry her property was vandalized, but that sounds like Taker and I’m not getting in his way anymore.  I was locked in a trunk, Vince, and then… then I was towed.”

 

“Oh, right.  When was this?”

 

All he could do was stand there, shaking his head. “I’ll handle it.”

 

After ordering ANOTHER laptop, Emery decided to call it an early night before she did something irrational, like destroy Taker’s motorcycle the same way he did her Alienware.  Did he realize how expensive these things were?  Vince wouldn’t replace it either because it wasn’t company property, which infuriated her further.  However, he had written her a check out of his own personal account, one of them, to buy a new one.  It didn’t come out of company funds and she was grateful, thanking him.  It was bad enough she’d already had to shell out for the previous laptop, only for that Neanderthal to destroy it.  Rubbing her temples, Emery slid into her rental vehicle and turned the ignition, frowning when it wouldn’t start.  The car was completely dead.

 

“What the hell?” Getting out and popping the hood, her jaw dropped at the sight of SEVERAL vital parts that made the car run MISSING. “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

 

“Sucks to be you.”

 

Mark snorted, walking right on by her, his bag over his shoulder and in loose fitting track pants.  He had shaved downstairs, figuring no hair meant no powder could cling.  Yeah, wrong.  So wrong and his night had been MADE by visiting the trainer’s room for an anti-itching cream, that he then discovered couldn’t be used until the open wounds from the scratching had closed.  Hell on earth and it was her fault.  Or her stupid friends.  He spotted Paul London coming, obviously to DC’s aid and co-cocked him.

 

“Stay the fuck outta my way, boy.” He growled, handling them when he could tolerate the fire near his balls.

 

“Cock bite…” Paul groaned, wondering what he had done.

 

“Yeah, fuck you too, Neanderthal!  Thanks for destroying my laptop, AGAIN, and now my rental!” That made him stop in his tracks while she went over to help Paul to his feet.

 

Paul immediately put her behind him, shielding any onslaught that might be directed at Emery and narrowed his eyes. “What the hell, man?!  I didn’t do anything to you and neither did she!”

 

“Paul…it’s okay.  He’s an asshole, who obviously can’t let anything go and has to ruin other people’s lives.” Emery snorted, shaking her head and pulled her friend away from an irate Undertaker. “Come on, let’s leave Neanderthal alone with his…issues.” He probably had crabs from a ring rat or something, which disgusted her at the mere thought.

 

Mark hadn’t done anything to her lately, not that she would bother listening or believe him, so he seen no point at all in pointing that out.  Instead, his acidic eyes narrowed at each word the bitch said.  She was probably fucking both Paul London and Randy Orton, that was the only way he could see her still having this job.  What the hell did she even do anyway?  Service Matthew most likely and he snorted at the idea.

 

Paul did text Randy about what had happened, including the laptop incident and the rental.  Emery was going to wind up broke as a joke if she had to keep shelling out all this money.  The Undertaker would find his room service bill in the thousands in the morning.  Randy hadn’t been amused, but at least, Emery would have a nice meal when she got back to the hotel.

 

“Whoa…”

 

Emery blinked at the tray FULL of food waiting for her upon getting back to her room, tilting her head.  She didn’t order any of this.  Frowning, she plucked the card off the top of the tray and raised a slow brow, seeing it was from Undertaker.

 

“No way.  No fucking way would he order all of this for me.”

 

Shrugging, Emery was too tired to question it and rolled the tray into her room, kicking the door shut.  Her new laptop would be arriving at the next area the following day.  She just hoped WOW didn’t kick her off since she’d missed quite a few meetings lately.  After a shower, Emery brushed her hair out and settled in for the night, vegging on the delicious food the 5 star the WWE was staying in provided. 

 

Around 2 AM, she finally fell asleep.

 

The bill Mark was hit with at checkout the next morning made his eyes nearly pop out of his skull.  Who the hell ordered T-bones, and wings… wine and beer, onion rings, chocolate cakes, and whatever the hell the rest of this was, off the menu?  Hotel food was already overpriced and these were the most expensive items on the damn list!  His card was on file and it had been billed; he was less than pleased.  Mark had no idea who he had apparently sent it to, but a little wheedling got him a room number.  He headed back upstairs, planning on getting his money back, either in cash or flesh.

 

Chapter 6

 

Unfortunately for Taker, the occupant to that room was already checked out and the front desk had neglected to inform him of that information.  Emery was on her way to the next area, in a new rental, and moved her head to the beat of the punk rock band she had blasting through the speakers.  She had a mixture of favorites with genres of music, but today punk rock spoke to her.  Randy was in the passenger seat and Paul in the back, often traveling with them.  They were overprotective of her with everything going on lately, so it was no surprise when both hopped in her rental at 6 AM that morning, not giving her a choice.

 

“So you do realize, if Taker ever finds out what you did, he will hurt you, right?” She asked, turning the music down and saw the smirk curve Randy’s lips.

 

“How is he gonna find out?  You checked out and we’re long gone already.”

 

Paul shook his head, deciding to keep his mouth shut and enjoy the peace for the moment.

 

“Besides… it was good, right?  And he’s destroyed how much of your shit?  And you have to pay for all of that out of pocket, I know you got money but you’re blowing through it lately on all this damage he’s causing.” Randy said very reasonably and fingered his pack of cigarettes, wondering if she’d be upset if he smoked in the car.  He usually kept his habit to himself, and outside, but today… today was just one of those days. “He just needs to grow the hell up and deal with it.  It’s a line and he’s blowing everything out of proportion.”

 

“That is true.  I only wish he had e-mail; I’d have every gay site, political, all of it… spamming his inbox.”

 

“Roll the window down or you’ll have my foot up your ass.” Emery ordered with a smile, winking at Paul in the rearview mirror. “You should photoshop his body with a large dick for his head.  Because that’s exactly what he is – a dickhead.” They were rolling and Emery had to calm down before she crashed the car. “Don’t worry, I have a feeling things are going to come to a head with Vince, if this shit doesn’t stop.  Neanderthal thinks I put that itching powder in his gear, or one of you did it, and we didn’t.  So someone else is targeting him and making it seem like it’s my fault.” She didn’t have a 4.5 GPA for nothing and Emery definitely wasn’t born yesterday.  Something was going on. “Matthew better get a handle on things or else he’s gonna find himself on the unemployment line.”

 

“No doubt, he’s supposed to be handling the wrestlers’ grievances and shit, right?”

 

“Yeah and Mattie boy hasn’t been living up to the amount of money he’s being paid.  Think we should put itching powder in his pants or something?”

 

Paul grinned, suddenly getting an evil idea. “I got something better in mind.”

 

It did, briefly, occur to Randy that being mean to Matthew wasn’t a smart idea.  The man had taken crap for years, even if he was extraordinarily paid for it, but things had also escalated to a whole new level of jacked.  The poor little bastard had been locked in the trunk of a car, for who knew how long, and then towed.  He choked on his smoke at the memory.  It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but it was.

 

“Maybe we should just talk to the Deadman, clear everything up?  He can be professional.”

 

“You should quit smoking weed, it’s obviously damaging your brain cells.”

 

“Oh yeah, sure.  I’ll get right on that.” Sarcasm dripped in Emery’s voice. “This is the same man who came to my office, after Paul did those flyers, and spanked my ass so hard, I had bruises for 2 weeks.”

 

Deep black, blue and purple bruises that hurt, but Emery also had a high tolerance for pain…and she was sick in the head because she enjoyed it.  Someone once told her she had a bit of a dominatrix inside of her and maybe they were right.  Who else would enjoy having their ass beaten the way Taker did to her?

 

“Talking isn’t going to fix anything.  The ONLY way this ends is if I change the line for WrestleMania and that’s NOT happening.”

 

“Okay, so… curious.” Randy shifted in his seat so he was staring at Emery. “Why David?”

 

“Yeah, no shit. He’s an asshole, you know that, right?”

 

Paul already knew he’d never get a chance at that belt, he’d never main event WrestleMania.  He was a smaller guy and Vince had a hard-on for his big, burly men.  Everyone in the business knew it.  He just worked to excel where he could and that was about it.

 

Randy knew David, well enough to be disgusted by the man. It was probably a good thing Dave had never realized that under those glasses and geek shirts was a gorgeous woman or else he’d have tried tapping her by now.

 

“He’s the world champion right now and Vince told me he was holding the title until or after WrestleMania.” Emery honestly didn’t think David deserved a WrestleMania main event slot.  Randy was more deserving and even Paul, even with his smaller frame. “I had no choice.  Vince wanted Undertaker in the championship picture, which is why he’s winning the Royal Rumble and going onto Mania to wrestle for the title.  Batista is new blood, as much as I hate saying it.  New blood needs to make their mark in the business.  It won’t grow without newer stars rising to the occasion and Taker is a veteran.  I don’t like it any more than you two, believe me.”

 

“Okay, one last question…” Usually they didn’t discuss the lines because that was… not okay.  She wrote it, they did it, and that was how business worked.  It also helped them to maintain their friendships, not getting personal about business, even if they disagreed with something they were supposed to do. “He’s won…” He did the math. “14 WrestleMania’s, right, like, consecutively?” There were 2 years he hadn’t participated due to injuries in his entire career. “That’s a pretty big deal.  I think he’s going to buck that line of Vince’s, and yours.”

 

That… was true and Randy agreed, but didn’t say anything.  Her job was hard enough without them pointing out the obvious.

 

“That’s between him and Vince then.  All I do is come up with the ideas, good and bad, and it’s out of my hands after that.”

 

Emery shrugged, knowing it was cemented and Taker would lose at WrestleMania, unless he jumped script.  It was a huge possibility at this point.  Honestly, she had no idea what she was thinking giving David Batista the win of a lifetime because, not only would he remain champion, but he would also break the Streak.  WrestleMania was revolved around the Streak – it was one of the main attractions that brought fans back year after year.  All Emery thought at the time was new blood had to win, but the more she thought about it, the more she realized just what a monumental mistake she made with this line.

 

“Fuck me.”

 

“Yeah, no shit, fuck me.” Paul echoed in agreement. 

 

She was a brilliant writer and all, but didn’t really understand the wrestlers themselves and, in some of her lines, it had shown from time to time.  Most of it was great, but there were those rare occasions where her… lack of understanding came through, like with this one.

 

“It’s a cornerstone of the event, and him losing… I don’t think…”

 

“Shut up, you’re not helping.” Randy ordered, seeing the look on her face and lit himself another cigarette, taking a deep inhale letting it out through his nose. “It’ll be fine, Em.  So what if he jumps script?  That’s not on you, it’s him.”

 

I fucked up, she thought, the harsh realization crashing down on her.  There was no changing it either, just like the Corporate Ministry line. “Okay enough talking about work, let’s focus on something else.”

 

Anything because Emery felt nauseous and leaned her head back against the seat, mentally berating herself for being stupid.  Abruptly, the topic switched to video games and what they liked and disliked about the new game the WWE would be selling during WrestleMania time.  After dropping Randy and Paul off at the local gym, Emery went to the hotel to check in and get settled.  The show wasn’t for several more hours and she hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before.  Her new laptop wouldn’t be in until later that afternoon, so she’d have to find something to occupy her time.  Grinning, remembering what she’d brought with her on the road from home, Emery had her answer as she took her key card and headed for the elevator, stepping inside.

 

Humming, Matthew considered what he was hearing.  It was interesting, how things were starting to fall apart backstage because of the Undertaker’s future loss at WrestleMania to Dave Batista, of all people.  He would never understand that one.  Vince was an idiot.  Putting Batista over, sure, but at the Deadman’s show?  Even HE knew better.  Emery going with it and writing it out, expecting people to fall in line… he sniggered.

 

“Well, I’m scheduling you an appointment with my – uh – PA.” He said, nodding at Batista himself, who was not happy by the Undertaker’s lackluster attention to their upcoming feud. “You can talk to her about this line, maybe you guys can figure something out.” He could only imagine how that meeting would play out.

 

“Why not you?”

 

“Because I’m busy and it’s her job to take notes.”

 

After hours video gaming, Emery felt marginally better, breaking long enough to grab her new Alienware from the post office and set it up.  In between loading times, she resumed her playing, ordering some lunch in the process.  Randy and Paul would rip her a new backside if she didn’t take care of herself.  Around 4 o’clock, Emery headed out to the arena in a pair of blue jeans and a Rubik’s cube t-shirt, her hair pulled back in a ponytail.  The drive to the arena, Emery kept thinking back to what Paul and Randy said to her during the drive here, groaning.  Why was she feeling guilty over this line?  Vince wouldn’t change it, she didn’t think anyway.  Maybe talking to the boss about making a last-minute change was a good idea.  Sighing, Emery stepped out of her vehicle and grabbed her bag, turning to walk into the arena only to nearly slam into an annoyed David Batista.  Great, what now?

 

“Can I help you with something, Batista?” She asked cordially, pushing her glasses up her nose and smiled tensely.

 

So this mousy little thing was Matthew’s personal assistant and junior writer… huh?  He stared down at her, the annoyed expression leaving his face as a smile took over, his brown eyes crinkling as he stepped back to give her some space.  David knew well how Taker had dealt with her and he wasn’t about to take that route.  He was on her side and only benefited from this story arc; this win he was supposedly guaranteed at WrestleMania, so he would play ball with anyone right now.

 

“Yeah Emery, right?” He took in her Rubik’s cube t-shirt, grinning even more. “I have a Rubik’s cube lunch pail, it’s tin.” He said, trying to break the ice and she only blinked at him. “Sorry, I – um –,” David scratched the back of his neck. “I collect them.” He was a lunch pail dork. “Matthew said I needed to talk to you about this feud with the Undertaker and try to see about making it work.” Which was next to impossible as long as Taker was having a bitch fit.

 

Since when did Matthew send wrestlers to her?  Wasn’t it HIS job to be her proxy and deal with the wrestlers?  What the hell was going on?  Emery was NOT happy and it clearly showed in her eyes while eyeballing David, seeing he was trying to get on her good side.  At least he wasn’t a dickhead like Undertaker had been.  For now, she would play the proxy, but before the night was out, Matthew would be reported to Vince McMahon.

 

“Well, as you know, Undertaker isn’t happy about this line at all.” She didn’t blame him. “And I’m really not sure how much help I can be as far as making this line work.  That’s not really my job, you see.  All I do is help the others come up with ideas for the wrestlers and they take the ball and roll with it.  Maybe you should direct this to the man you’ll be wrestling instead?” Emery suggested softly, walking with him slowly toward the arena entrance. “Matthew should’ve told you that, actually.”

 

He was a DEAD man.

 

“Take it to Calaway?” David repeated, then chuckled ruefully. “I did.” He turned and showed her the lump on his head, which showed really nice. “He told me to go copulate with myself.” That was him rewording it nicely. “I don’t know why Matthew sent me to you; something about you might have ideas?  I just want the guy to work with me.  I’ll let him beat my ass all the way up until WrestleMania if he wants, as long as he… well, plays ball.”

 

Not wanting to get into a second war with another wrestler, Emery thought over what he said, stroking her chin thoughtfully. “Did you tell him that?  He could beat you up all the way to WrestleMania?” She knew they had a tag match planned for the pay-per-view No Way Out, but Emery had yet to get together with the lead script writer on Raw’s side to hash everything out.

 

“No, but…I’ll do it if it means I win at WrestleMania.”

 

Emery didn’t want to inform him that wouldn’t be happening due to Undertaker more than likely breaking script in order to win the title and keep his WrestleMania streak intact. “Okay, maybe you should start with that.  He might be more entuned with the idea if you told him he could beat you up until WrestleMania time.” She highly doubted it, not believing she was being her OWN proxy and sighed. “Or maybe we should go talk to him together…” This was a really bad idea, but David didn’t look like he would back down easily.

 

David stared down at her intently, wondering if that was the best move. “Sweetheart,” He stopped and shook his head. “I’m sorry, Emery.” She didn’t look like someone who would take kindly to an endearment as a nickname, right off the bat, from someone she didn’t really know other than professionally. “Emery, I know he’s been harassing you and that’s putting it mildly.  I’m not about to let you get hurt on my behalf.”

 

He’d go toe to toe with the Deadman for her, if he had too.  David wouldn’t see Calaway bully a woman just because he was a giant dickhead.  When she continued giving him what he was now dubbing the ‘Emery’ look, he sighed.

 

“If he tries anything, I’ll stop him.” Deadman wasn’t writing on her forehead tonight, or anything else. 

 

Word got around fast.

 

“Thanks, come on.”

 

Walking together inside the arena, Emery laughed at some joke regarding a Rubik’s cube and rolled her eyes, nudging him playfully.  David wasn’t as bad as he was made out to be.  The man was polite and had a great sense of humor.  He definitely wasn’t her type, but at least he treated her with respect unlike the Neanderthal.

 

Chapter 7

 

Taking a deep breath, Emery knocked on the dressing room door marked UNDERTAKER and waited for it to open, the smile immediately vanishing from her face, becoming stoic. “Evening Mark, mind if we come in for a chat?  It won’t take long.” He was lucky she didn’t throw every name in the book at him after what he did to her lately.

 

Mark looked back and forth between the pair, one black eyebrow slowly rising.  He had dealt with them both individually, David a bit more recently.  That meathead had bothered him during a workout and gotten punched for his trouble.  His eyes narrowed and, reluctantly, he held the door open.

 

“By all means,” He growled in a low dark baritone. “Make yourselves at home.”

 

“Look, we just want to talk about the line, okay?”

 

“What?  The one where you pretend you can actually beat me?” Mark snorted, making it quite clear what his thoughts were on that with his tone.  David couldn’t beat him on his best day, not happening.  The idiot had some power moves, sure, but he was all tendons and muscles, nothing in the head.

 

“Look, would it make you feel any better if you were to kick his ass all over the place until WrestleMania?” Emery didn’t flinch when those acidic eyes landed on her, holding her hands up in defense. “Just listen, Mark, please.  You two have to learn to work together because, at No Way Out, you have to be a tag team…” They didn’t know about this yet because the script hadn’t been written.

 

“What?!”

“What?!”

 

“John Cena and Shawn Michaels are opponents at Mania just like the two of you are.  Once you win the Royal Rumble on Sunday, you will have to choose which title to go after.  Shawn will take advantage of that and go after Cena and Vince will decree the two of you teaming up from Smackdown! to face the two of them from Raw.  The two WrestleMania title matches all in the same main event.  It hasn’t been written out yet, but that’s what Vince wants to do.  As far as Mania goes, I’m sorry, but there’s no way of changing what happens.  But you can show your dominance and power against Batista heading into WrestleMania.” In other words, he can beat the living hell out of the man as long as he made it to WrestleMania in one piece. “Will you at least try to make this work somehow, someway?  David is willing to work with you, anything you want to do, as long as you…give him WrestleMania.” Boy did she feel nauseous after those words left her mouth!

 

“You’re fucking serious?” Mark looked back and forth between them repeatedly, his face growing grim as he realized they were. “You are, you’re fucking serious!”

 

As far as David was concerned, that was a pretty good deal; it wasn’t like Taker would be on the receiving end of those beatings and he already knew Taker would hurt him.  Badly. “What?” He demanded, his own voice low and gravelly. “You don’t think that’s a good deal?  Man, this isn’t just your show, you know that, right?”

 

“You’re willing to lie down like a bitch, as long as I let you win WrestleMania?” Mark was offended and pissed; it was quite clear in his venomous tone. “Who the hell do you think I am, boy?” His finger just poked David’s chest hard. “Beat your ass… and you take it, so long as you can end my fucking streak?  You’re not even thinking about earning it, you just want it.  And you,” He rounded on Emery, his finger going for her next. “You think you and your bosses can just hand it to him on a goddamn platter?!”

 

“Don’t you touch her.” David was between the pair instantly.

 

Emery blinked, not expecting David to defend her and swallowed hard, for the first time a hint of fear swirled in her eyes. “We’re not handing him anything, Mark.” Her voice remained low and quiet, knowing better than to mouth off at him right now.  She could KILL Matthew for putting her in this predicament! “He’s going to earn every bit of that win at WrestleMania because of all the ass beatings he has coming his way.  He IS the new blood though…” Cringing at his eyes narrowing to slits at her, Emery could feel David’s entire body tense. “You’re the veteran.  Veterans are supposed to put new blood over, to pass the torch and this is the perfect opportunity for you to do it to David.  Please, just see reason…”

 

“No.” He shook his head, folding his arms over his chest and took a step back before he did knock her head off her shoulders, everything in him tense. “I’ve put over plenty of rookies, more deserving ones at that.” His eyes were filled with barely contained rage, spitting green fire as they narrowed at David. “You aren’t but a few years younger than me and I can guarantee you won’t even last half as long as I have and will.  You’re not in this for the love of it, or even the fans; you’re in it for the money and the fame.  I won’t drop my streak, my legacy, to you.” That was it, final.

 

David’s face had gone blank, his own eyes hardening at each poisonous word that came out of the veteran’s mouth. “You’re not immortal, Taker.”

 

“That’s where you’re wrong.  Out.  Both of you.”

 

Everything Taker said was the truth, though Emery didn’t admit that aloud.  For the first time, she could see the mess she’d truly made with this line and hated herself for it, not remembering ever feeling regret with any line she came up with.  WrestleMania was part of the Undertaker’s legacy, a huge part, and she had written this line out, not taking that into consideration.

 

“Come on David, he’s not going to see reason.” They walked out of the Undertaker’s dressing room, the door slamming behind them and Emery lowered her eyes to the floor. “I tried.  Excuse me.” Walking away from David, she went to find a quiet unused room to set up shop and let a few tears fall from her eyes once she was completely alone. “What have I done?” She whispered, covering her mouth with her hand and had no idea how to fix this problem.

 

David was irate to say the least.  He would have done anything Taker had wanted and what he got in return for even suggesting it?  Shit on.  That’s what!  He would never admit it, but deep down, he suspected Taker was right and that bothered him too.  He knew he’d have to game up because, regardless of what he did, Taker would go out of his way to teach him a lesson or two in the ring from here on out and he groaned.

 

“Fucked, I’m fucked.”

 

“Yes, you are.” Randy said in passing, not having any idea what that was about, but agreed thoroughly.

 

~!~

 

“So what’s up with you and David?” Paul demanded a few days later, which was Sunday morning and bounced on Emery’s bed in her hotel room. “Seriously, I saw you two having breakfast yesterday…”

 

“What?” This was news to Randy, his blue eyes widening and then narrowing at their friend. “Em, did he…bother you?” He would RKO David if the man didn’t leave her alone.

 

“Actually…” Trailing off, Emery pulled out the Rubik’s Cube lunch box David had picked up for her, for no reason at all. “He gave this to me and I invited him to eat with me.” She watched both of their jaws drop to the floor. “What?  He’s not as bad as people make him out to be.”

 

“Uh huh, sure he’s not.” Paul did NOT want David Bautista near their little sister. “Just don’t fuck him.”

 

“Not if he was the last man on earth.”

 

“Good…maybe even then…get off with your finger…”

 

“RANDALL KEITH ORTON!”

 

“What?” Randy held up his hands defensively, though his blue eyes were both laughing and serious with a hint of concern. “Em, I know him; we worked together, traveled together and we partied together and that man… is a fucking whore, okay?  He likes women, he likes to sleep around.” David was a good guy, if one wanted a buddy, but he loved women a little too much and too freely. “Just… if he tries anything, let us know, okay?” So he could RKO the douche.

 

“Yes master, right away master.” Emery remarked cheekily, laughing when he pinned her to the bed and began tickling her.  Her glasses were off for the moment since she’d just gotten out of the shower, so everything around her was blurry. “I’m abstinence when it comes to sex, or didn’t you know, Orton?” She shoved him away playfully, shaking her head and slid her glasses on, nodding. “Much better, I can see you two clearly and you’re not blurry blobs anymore.”

 

“How the hell can you be abstinent?” Paul blurted out, seeing Randy had the same question burning in his ocean blues. “You’re a knockout, Em.  People may not see it because of the jeans and t-shirts…”

 

Snapping her fingers, Emery pinched Paul’s cheek and grinned. “You figured out my secret identity, damn you!” She smacked his arm and laughed, loving hanging out with her boys.

 

“Hold on,” Randy dragged her upright and removed her glasses before passing them to Paul.  He used his fingertips to muss her hair a bit, giving her a somewhat wild look and then he lightly pinched her lips, watching the red instantly appear. “You know… you are hot.” He informed her, stepping back so Paul could see.  Just a few changes and she had gone from nerd to sexy.  Most people never saw that, just the geek. “I’d do you.”

 

Paul was nodding, sipping his bottled water and then spit it out. “Wait, what?”

 

“You would?  Well you would be the only one then.”

 

Emery had accepted her fate long ago when it came to men and took her glasses back from Paul, slipping them back on.  Nobody saw past the glasses and video game t-shirts.  All throughout high school, she had to deal with ridicule and only had one picture with her all dolled up, which had been Senior prom.  Her good friend had taken her as a favor since he couldn’t find a date and they actually had a decent time.

 

“And I think you need to get your eyes checked.  I am nowhere near hot.  Now you, on the other hand, both of you actually, are definitely in the ‘hot’ category.  Love you both like brothers though so it’d be like fucking my family.” She shrugged her shoulders and bounded off the bed to fire up her portable PS3.

 

The problem Emery had was she didn’t actually see herself as she was, not really.  She knew she was a nerd and embraced that part of her, but she never actually took a good long look at herself in that mirror.  The woman was smoking hot who could have her pick of men.  But because she kept herself low key, and purposefully hid herself it seemed, nobody ever seemed to look twice.  Minus them, of course.  Randy was right, she was gorgeous and Paul sighed, shaking his head.

 

“Put on something fun and I’ll spank you.” He offered, eyeballing the games she was getting out.

 

“Fat chance of that happening, London, but you keep thinking that way.” Emery remarked, putting on Call of Duty 3, which was one of their favorites together. 

 

Randy and Paul would take turns whenever she blew them up, never playing on the same team.  It was more fun that way.  Emery would never look at herself as a beauty or see herself the way her friends did.  She was fine with who she was – a dorky chick who loved video games and World of Warcraft.  Hell, Emery hadn’t had a relationship since she started in the company, just flings here and there with random people.  Enough to get the sexual urgings to disappear and luckily, she didn’t have that high of a sex drive.

 

“Oh man, come on, that’s not nice, Em!” Paul shrieked, having absolutely no idea what time it was, but he did know they had been doing a lot longer than they should’ve been and she had just shot him in the head.  Again. “Randy’s asleep.” He snorted, having turned to pass off the controller only to find Randy was sprawled out on the floor, face down, his face resting on his forearms. “You keep him up too late playing that World of Warcraft game.” He liked video games; PC was acceptable, but he enjoyed his gaming consoles more. “One more round, I’ll get it this time.”

 

Did those idiots have any idea how LOUD they were being, Mark thought irritably, trying to sleep in the room that was next door to Emery.

 

“You can’t beat the queen, Paulie!”

 

Emery laughed, glancing over her shoulder to see Randy was indeed out cold and shook her head.  They didn’t have to be at the arena until later that evening for the Royal Rumble.  However, she also didn’t want Randy to oversleep, so while Paul played solo for a second, she took his phone to set his alarm.  He would wake up 2 hours before it was time to leave.  Just as she went back to gaming, a banging sounded at her hotel door, causing Emery and Paul’s heads to snap up.  Randy was awake now as well.  Opening the door, she looked up at an irate Mark Calaway and leaned in the doorway, holding her controller.

 

“You lost, Deadman?”

 

“God, I wish… you guys have been at it for hours, do you fucking mind?” She was short, he could see Orton passed out on the floor. “Some of us can’t just pass out like a teenage idiot.”

 

“That’s because you don’t try hard enough, old timer.” Paul quipped from just behind Emery, sniggering when a vein throbbed in Taker’s temple. “Need some sleep pills or something?”

 

Emery giggled, not bothering to hide the amusement in her sky blues and shrugged nonchalantly. “Get ear plugs, we’re not going to stop having fun simply because you’re an old man that needs your beauty sleep.  Have a nice day!” She slammed the door in his face, making Paul keel over laughing and smirked, skipping back over to the bed to resume their game.

 

“D-Did you r-really j-just say t-that to HIM?!” Paul was howling with laughter, shaking his head and kissed Emery’s cheek, wrapping his arms around her waist to give her a squeeze. “You definitely have brass balls, sweetie.  Okay, time to kick your ass.” Or try anyway.

 

Not even 30 minutes later, they were interrupted by the door being pounded on again.  This time, however, it wasn’t Taker.  It was a bunch of women, obviously strippers, and before anyone could say boo, they burst through the door and began ‘working’.

 

Randy woke up and was greeted to Emery trying to push off a tall, leggy blonde who was without any clothing except a G-string and rubbing her breasts all over the other woman. “I am still dreaming…”

 

Paul wasn’t going to bitch about being assaulted, though he did notice they were all kind of… on Emery and he had to wonder what the hell that was about. “Did we order out?” He hadn’t even known call girls worked this early.

 

“NO WE DIDN’T ORDER OUT!!” Emery was livid, shoving the woman away from her and stared at her friends, hoping this was not a lame joke on their part.  It wasn’t funny! “GET OFF ME, BROAD!!” She hopped up on the bed, swiping her shoe from the floor and tossed it at one of the stripper’s faces, clocking her in the nose. “I’m only gonna tell you one time – GET THE HELL OUT OF MY ROOM!!”

 

The women blinked, wondering what was going on and the other flipped her the bird for busting her nose with her shoe, all of them scampering out.

 

“If that Neanderthal did this, I’ll…” She groaned when another knock sounded at her door and stalked over to rip it open. “WHA-” There was a clown in front of her, holding balloons and a second later, pie was tossed in her face. 

 

As if he could go back to sleep with all that noise?  Mark was out in the hallway, braiding his hair back, prepared to go work out or something since he obviously wasn’t going to be allowed to rest; never mind the fact it was a pay-per-view tonight.  When he seen a load of near naked woman come out of Emery’s room, followed by the door being opened again, he was dying of laughter, slumping back against the wall.  He had wondered what that dude with the pie was doing.

 

Emery was humiliated, slowly swiping the pie off of her face after taking her glasses off.  It was a big enough ball in her hand of pie, her eyes narrowing to slits at a laughing Undertaker.  He was openly laughing at her for being pied in the face!  Scowling, Emery threw the ball of pie as hard as she could, nailing him right in the face and stopped his laughter cold. “Not so funny is it now, huh Neanderthal?” She snapped, storming back into her room and slammed the door so hard, the walls rattled.  Randy and Paul had flown from the room as soon as the clown pied her in the face, not wanting to stick around for the aftermath of Emery’s temper.  She didn’t lose her temper often, but right now it was UP.  Tossing her glasses on the sink, Emery turned the shower on and shed her pie filled clothes, gnashing her teeth.

 

“Fucking PRICK!”

 

While Mark was wiping pie out of his eyes, Paul and Randy wasted absolutely no time at all in punching him.  At the same time in the stomach.  He had been laughing, in the hallway, it was obvious he was the one who had pulled all this prank.

 

“Not funny now, is it, asshole?”

 

“Stay away from her, Calaway, or else.”

 

Chapter 8

 

After staying in the shower a full hour, with the cold water beating down on her, Emery finally turned the sprays off, her temper simmered for the moment.  Gritting her teeth, she wanted to retaliate against Undertaker, but what good would it do?  This had to stop; all of the nonsense had to stop.  Sighing, Emery changed into a fresh t-shirt, jeans and braided her hair back, cleaning her glasses with special cleaner she carried with her.  When the clock struck 4, it was time to leave her hotel room as she packed up and head to the arena for the Royal Rumble. 

 

History would be made on this night.

 

Matthew was who greeted her at the door, looking worried. “What’s going on?”

 

“Vince wants to see you in his office.”

 

Frowning, Emery shouldered her bag and walked past him toward the boss’s office, wondering why she was being summoned.  Knocking on Vince’s office door, she entered when he called out ‘come in’ and stepped inside, freezing at the sight of Randy, Paul and an irate looking Undertaker, all eyes turning to her. “Umm…”

 

Paul lowered his head along with Randy, having already gotten hefty fines for their attack on Undertaker, but they had no idea what was about to happen to Emery.

 

“Enough is enough.” Vince said flatly, standing up behind his makeshift desk, hands splayed on it and glared at her before glaring at all the others. “I don’t know what the hell happened today, but I’m done.  Strippers?  And beating down the Undertaker in a hotel hallway?  How’s that look, my top superstars, getting jumped by their coworkers?”

 

“Bad?”

 

“No kidding, Orton?” Vince rolled his eyes. “And you, Taker, really?  I expected so much more from you.  You’ve been harassing her, vandalizing property and acting like some three-year-old!”

 

He folded his arms over his chest, frowning.

 

“Vince, I have no idea who sent those strippers to my room, of all places.”

 

“Tell me what happened now, Emery.”

 

“We were in my room, Paul, Randy and I, and Taker banged on our door demanding us to be quiet.  I told him to get ear plugs, slammed the door in his face and not even 10 minutes later, another knock sounds at my door and its strippers.  And then a clown with a pie.” Emery was as red as a cherry by now, unable to meet her boss’s eyes and took a deep breath. “Taker was outside of his room laughing at what was going on, so I’m assuming he’s the one who sent all of this to my room for a prank.  I don’t know what I did to him to deserve this type of treatment, but I want it to stop just as badly as you do.  He smashed two of my laptops, he had my tires slashed on my rental vehicle and he claims that I’ve been screwing with him since he told me to leave him alone.  I HAVE left him alone, not the other way around.” She’d never been in trouble like this with Vince and could feel her heart thundering in her ears.

 

“And we’re going to totally disregard the fact that she’s got the entire locker room calling me a Neanderthal now?  Or how about those pictures?  Or the fucking room service bill for over $3,000?”

 

“That last one was me.”

 

“You son of-”

 

“You should’ve left her alone then!  Neanderthal.”

 

“You three!  Fined!  You,” Vince whirled to glare at Emery, sighing and shook his head. “You’re suspended, effective immediately.”

 

“Why?!”

 

“Boss, it was us, all us.”

 

At this point, this situation was costing him money and tearing apart his talent.

 

“Paul, don’t.” Emery kept her voice quiet, knowing the boss had spoken and his word was final. “I’ll catch the first flight home tonight.  I’ll email what I have done for No Way Out to Matthew and let him finish it up.” Work came first to her and for 10 years, she’d never had any problems in this company…until this particular line for WrestleMania.

 

“I hope you think long and hard about what you’ve done, Emery.  You’re all dismissed.” Vince was disgusted with all of them, shaking his head sadly and turned his back to the door.

 

Emery didn’t wait to hear anything Paul, Randy and especially Undertaker had to say, walking out of the room to head for the exit.  She would not cry, not until she was far away from here and completely alone.

 

Matthew had overheard what happened through the door and felt giddy, knowing he’d done it – he’d gotten rid of Emery and now it was time to shine!

 

“Wait, she’s fired?” When David heard the news, it was… odd.  He hadn’t realized that Vince cared, until it was explained about this morning and then it made sense, sort of.  But Paul and Randy had both stepped up and claimed their fair share of the blame and it kind of looked like the underwriter had been deemed the problem and the solution.  Fire the problem, problems solved.

 

“Poor kid.” He had grown to like Emery.

 

“Yeah, poor Emery.” Matthew sighed, shaking his head sadly. “It’s just too bad… her getting mixed up with Taker the way she did.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Well, he’s the Undertaker.  You can’t talk to him or treat him the way she did; it never works out.” Obviously… inside Matthew was grinning like an idiot.  Strippers and pie… who knew that was the breaking point?

 

Going home on a Sunday evening, a pay-per-view at that, felt foreign to Emery as she packed her belongings in her suitcase.  Undertaker had gotten what he wanted.  She was gone and now he could do whatever the hell he wanted with the line.  Knowing Vince, he’d probably throw in the towel when it came to Taker and gave the man what he wanted.  Emery didn’t care anymore, she was out of fight and had lost her job, as far as she knew anyway.  Suspended was the same as being fired.  Maybe TNA was hiring, she mused thoughtfully, deciding to look into it after she arrived home.  Just as the pay-per-view began, Emery was on a plane headed to Sedona, Arizona.

 

“I hope Matthew has fun with all of the responsibilities.” She muttered, knowing he wouldn’t last a week with all the responsibility that was about to be tossed at him. 

 

Not to mention, he would have to come up with new ideas, which he sucked at.

 

Mark would go on to win the Royal Rumble that night, as had been planned.  At the end of the whole shebang, as he stood there, enjoying his victory, he found he didn’t really enjoy it.  Yes, he had wanted Emery to stop screwing with him, but not suspended, which was just a nicer way of firing someone.  It wasn’t her fault Matthew had written such a crap line about him dropping to Batista, though… her being fired over what was essentially strippers and a pie… and he hadn’t even been the one to do that.  It left a bad taste in Mark’s mouth.

 

Matthew’s mouth would be full of champagne at the end of the night.

 

~!~

 

“Matthew, I need you sign off on this.”

 

“Matthew, this idea isn’t what we agreed on.”

“We also need an idea for Smackdown!  Vince wants everything rewritten because of how sloppy the script is for tonight’s show!”

 

“Emery should be here.  She’d know what to do.”

 

“Have you called Melissa over at Raw to discuss the finale to No Way Out for the main event?”

 

Randy watched all the writers hounding Matthew a few days later, arching a slow brow at how overwhelmed the man looked.  His eyes were bugged out and he was on the verge of ripping his hair out, from Randy’s viewpoint anyway.  Emery hadn’t even been gone 48 hours and this fool was destroying the writing team!  She really was the oil that kept the writing team running smoothly.

 

“He really does need Emery; it’s obvious she was the brains.”

 

“How did he ever make lead writer?  He’s a moron.”

 

“He must’ve been stealing all Emery’s ideas, this is stupid.  We’re going to drop in ratings so hard…”

 

Even David was paying attention to the gossip and complaints coming from the writing department, shaking his head.  That was messed up.

 

So was Mark, and things didn’t make sense.  All those brilliant lines along with the few stupid ones that were rare and, suddenly, Matthew was floundering.

 

“What the hell is this?” Vince demanded, looking back at Matthew with narrowed eyes and slammed the paper down on his desk. “You were supposed to pick up the ball and run with it now that you’re no longer Emery’s proxy.  Are you telling me you can’t handle this position, Matthew?”

 

“Sir, I…” Matthew never realized just how straining and stressful this position was, swallowing hard at the boss. “Just give me a little time to fix all of this…you won’t be disappointed!”

 

Vince waved him off dismissively, shaking his head sadly. “Just get out of my office.”

 

~!~

 

“Em, you should see how miserable this asshole is without you around.” Paul murmured in his cell phone, Randy nodding in agreement.  They missed her fiercely and wanted her back. “I’m so sorry this happened to you.”

 

“It’s fine, maybe I deserved it after what I did to Undertaker.  Either way, I hope he’s enjoying my position.” Matthew didn’t have a CLUE what the lead script writer did and, just as she predicted, was way over his head. “Keep me updated, I’m gonna go play some Kingdom Hearts.” She hung up, laughing.

 

~!~

 

Sedona, Arizona… god’s hellhole.  This was where people came to die.  It was gross.  He was a Texas man, he preferred the big blue sky, the varied scenery and, sure, it was dry, but nothing like the damn desert.

 

“Fucking lizards…” He grunted, kicking one off of the toe of his boot.

 

Frowning, Mark eyeballed the place, glancing at the address written in the palm of his hand and shrugged.  Emery being gone had caused some issues, and it was weird.  Also weird was the fact that some of the situations that had been happening to him, Paul and London had vehemently denied wrongdoing for and claimed she was innocent as well.  Like the itch powder in his gear and he hadn’t sent those strippers to her room either.

 

Sedona was beautiful with mountains as far as the eye could see, green grass and had a rich land full of valleys.  Her house was light brown, 2 bedroom and all hers, completely paid for.  Besides splurging on the occasion game, Emery had saved her money and invested it well in her first home.  She was born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, but fell in love with Sedona during one of her family vacations.  Her parents were currently in Scottsdale and she’d visited them whenever she could.  Wearing a pair of blue jean shorts and a white tank top that had some kind of video game character on it, Emery had just finished making lunch when a knock sounded at her front door.  She wasn’t expecting anyone and had no neighbors, not for miles anyway.  When she opened the door and came face to face with Undertaker, her jaw actually dropped. 

 

What the HELL was he doing here?!

 

A picture was instantly snapped because he had his cell phone in hand, figuring whatever her reaction to seeing him would be, it’d be hilarious.  He was pleased to know he had been right. “Surprise, sweetheart!” Mark greeted, grinning down at her. “We need to have a chat, Emery.” He had even used her actual name and not DC, which while cruel, was now how she was permanently stuck in his head.

 

“You came all the way to my house to…wait, how did you know where I live?”

 

She sighed when he just waved her hands, gesturing for her to let him inside her home.  This was…incredibly awkward.  He brushed past her to walk inside, not waiting for her invitation and shook her head, shutting the door.  What was there to talk about?  She was suspended because of his ridiculous pranks and antics.  Emery suddenly didn’t care about eating lunch and slid fingers through her waist length black hair.  It was down since she was home; she always had it pulled back in either a braid, ponytail or bun when at work.

 

“What do you want, Mark?” She asked resignedly, folding her arms in front of her chest and watched him survey her living room.

 

“I didn’t send the strippers, or the dick with the pie, to your hotel room.” He informed her, busy looking around her pad.  There were posters everywhere and collectibles; she was definitely a dork.  Then, he turned to look at her and it was his turn to let his jaw hit the floor. “Your hair is down.” He pointed out, then cleared his throat.  He felt like the dork now. “How the fuck do you keep it up all the time?” Because it was insanely long.

 

“Braid, ponytail or bun.  Not hard to keep it up.” Emery didn’t know if she believed him about the strippers and clown with the pie, looking thoughtful. “You have long hair too, how do YOU keep it maintained?” She shot back, padding over to the couch and sat down, crossing one leg over the other.  He was being civil with her. “The itching powder wasn’t me either, I swear.  Paul and Randy didn’t do it either.  We don’t know who did that to you.  Are you gonna take a seat or remain standing?” When he hesitantly settled onto her couch, on the opposite end, Emery turned to face him. 

 

It was surreal this man, who hated her, was currently in her home.

 

“Deep conditioning and hot oil treatments.” He said bluntly and honestly. “I have a great hairdresser, she’s awesome.” Frowning, Mark shifted on the couch, wondering if his backside would be able to get up again; he was sinking. “Someone… is being a sneaky ass, and I want to know who.” So, if it wasn’t her, or her friends, who had done it? “Any ideas?”

 

“Nope, zero.” Emery had thought it over ever since she came home several days ago.  It was Wednesday and she’d been suspended on Sunday. “Congratulations on the Royal Rumble win, by the way.” She felt she owed him that, even though she’d been the one to write it happening. “Wait a minute, you have a hair dresser?” Snickering, Emery didn’t know why she found that funny and stood up from the couch to walk into the kitchen, her entire house an open floor plan. “Want something to drink, Mark?” She had a feeling he’d be here a while. “I have beer, water, juice…and coffee.”

 

“Water, please.”

 

Of course he had a hairdresser, Mark wasn’t the Neanderthal she thought he was and he dyed his hair.  Black, and he was a redhead naturally.  That crap took a toll on a man’s hair.  If he was going to destroy it, he should probably at least attempt to slow down the process.

 

“Well, Emery, I have a list of enemies a mile long.  So, we compare and see if there are any familiar names, or we go on the assumption that we were both being jerked around at the same time and coincidences do happen.” Which he did not believe.

 

Chapter 9

 

“And you’re an idiot for even saying those words because this wasn’t a coincidence.” Emery plopped on the couch and tossed him a bottled water, cracking open one of her crystal lights and sat Indian style. “Someone is targeting both of us and making us rip each other’s throats out, figuratively speaking.  I’ve been thinking about it ever since I came home and…I honestly don’t know who would target me and you at the same time.  It makes no sense considering I’m just a lowly writer on the team.” There was no way she would ever admit to being the lead script writer; Emery liked her head attached to her skull. “I’m nobody special, but you are and whoever saw our…scuffles took advantage.  So, who do YOU think it is, Deadman?”

 

“No idea.” He said promptly, staring at her intently.  If she spoke to everyone the way she did him, Mark could see how Emery might not make friends all that well.  Either she didn’t know it or didn’t care, but she spoke to people like they were all idiots and he wasn’t an idiot. “Someone who doesn’t like you.” Because everyone adored him, or feared him; same difference really. “You go out of your way to piss anyone else off or am I special?”

 

She deserved that, not meaning to speak to him disrespectfully. “Sorry, I just don’t…I don’t know how else to talk to you.  I’m not a conversationalist and you showing up at my front door is a little surreal to me.  I didn’t mean to piss you off, Mark.” Emery meant that, drawing her brows together in thought while staring at him.  He was a beautiful man – a beautiful man who would never look her way or see past the glasses and ‘nerd’ clothes. “I tell you what, let’s start over from scratch.  And I’ll go first.” Scooting closer to him on the couch, Emery sat on her knees and extended her hand with a soft smile, no malice or ingenuity. “Hi, I’m Emery.” She leaned closer to him. “Now you.” She staged whispered, pulling back with her hand still extended.

 

Mark comprehended she was crazy; he had known it for a while, but this just kind of cemented it.  Inwardly sighing, he took her hand and shook it. “Mark Calaway.” He said after a moment, studying her attentively.  He bet if she put on some lipstick and went around in a plaid mini-skirt with a button up top, she’d be a gamer geek pin-up.  And the thought made his emerald green eyes flick over her, looking for the woman under the geek. “The only person who would actively screw with me for giggles is not on the show.” Shawn was an asshole that way. 

 

Come to think of it, Glen Jacobs – Kane – was guilty of pulling pranks too.

 

“I didn’t screw with you for giggles, I screwed with you because you screwed with me first.  But I’m willing to let bygones be bygones if you are.” She raised a brow at him, putting the ball in his court and grinned when he shook her hand, nodding in agreement. “Good, no more screwing with each other.”

 

It was a truce!  They made a truce finally!  Emery was definitely one of a kind woman and she knew it, not to mention her secretive adrenaline junkie ways.  That motorcycle ride with him suddenly flittered through her mind, making her sky blues twinkle.

 

“I’m sorry about…everything.” That included his upcoming WrestleMania match where he was supposed to lose against Batista. “Now, what are we going to do about this fucker who is screwing around with us?  How can we catch them in the act?”

 

“No idea.” Mark admitted, leaning back cautiously into the couch and let out a sigh of relief when it kept on holding him. “But I will tell you this, darlin’, it’s all stopped.  The second you left, everything just… stopped, including the storylines.  Vince is having nightly fits and Smackdown! is going to tank in weeks.  That’s being generous, if Matthew doesn’t fix whatever is going on.” It was odd because it had been Matthew all these years leading the charge, right?  So why was everything going downhill because one woman was gone?

 

“O-Oh really?” Emery rubbed the back of her neck, not liking the sound of what had happened to her writing team since her suspension. “Well that’s on him, not me.” Paul and Randy had given her updates and she knew Matthew was tanking fast, but there was nothing she could do about it. “So nothing else has happened ever since I left…That’s so strange.” It was almost like whoever this person was wanted her gone. “Matthew needs to fix it, I can’t do anything about it, even if I was there.” That was a flat lie, but her neck was on the line right now.  Mark would destroy her if he found out she’d been the mastermind behind all the lines for the past 10 years. “Until my suspension is lifted, I can’t do anything to help unfortunately.  Did he at least finish the script for No Way Out with you and Batista against Cena and Michaels?”

 

“Yeah, he did.” His lips thinned into a grim line as he remembered the morning meeting for that atrocity. “I think that’s about the only thing Batista and I agreed on, ever.  That it sucks.  Vince told him he had 24 hours to fix it; mind you, that was yesterday and I haven’t heard dick about it since.  No idea what Cena or Michaels think because I don’t care.”

 

Both men gave him a headache.  She looked uncomfortable and he studied her thoughtfully.  Blue jean shorts and a tank top, he could not recall ever seeing her in something besides a t-shirt and jeans.  Her legs were a little pale for someone who lived in Satan’s balls, but they were very nice legs, surprisingly.  Mark was quite tempted to reach out and caress her shapely, toned calf.

 

“I’ll admit, when Matthew came to me with the idea for No Way Out, I thought it looked really good on paper.  I still think it’ll be a hell of a main event, even though you have to team up with Batista.” Emery decided to be somewhat truthful with him, switching her position to sit Indian style again, but didn’t move away from him. “You were right.  I think Matthew knows that too, which is why he’s been playing the duck and dodge game, besides being stuffed in the trunk of his rental.” And towed away, she added mentally, clearing her throat. “Your legacy is a big part of WrestleMania and…I think – no I KNOW – Matthew regrets writing the line the way he did.  He wasn’t thinking about your legacy, he was trying to do what was best for the company and it did look good on paper.  But after what I heard you say to Batista in your locker room, I agree with you.  He doesn’t deserve to win and end your streak.  So on behalf of Matthew, and I know it doesn’t mean much, but…I’m sorry, Mark.  Hopefully they can fix it somehow to where you win the title at WrestleMania…”

 

Mark reached out with the back of his hand and felt her forehead. “Not hot, your cheeks aren’t flushed… eyes not glazed over.” Either hell had frozen over or she was serious.  She was sincere and agitated, her eyebrows drawn together in annoyance. “Apology accepted.  If you ever get your job back, remember something… what’s best for the company isn’t always what’s best for the company.  Vince wants big guys like David put over, he has a thing for…. that look.” He always had. “But people like David aren’t in it for the long haul and people need to start paying attention to that.  No point in putting over idiots who won’t be here in the next 10 years.”

 

He wasn’t being a jerk, or talking down to her, but if she did get her job back, maybe Emery would remember this and start really thinking about it.  It’d definitely help her see who was worthy of honors like this and maybe she’d be able to influence her bosses, whoever that would be.  Matt was probably going to wind up fired or in a mental ward for a breakdown.

 

“You’re just full of jokes, aren’t you?” Emery mumbled good-naturedly, nodding in understanding to show she listened to every word he said. “Thank you…and I know Vince has a boner for guys that are…bulky.  That’s not what I consider a champion though.  Batista hasn’t been a very good champion, all things considered.”

 

She’d written all of his lines, but the man never lived up to expectations.  Emery must’ve had a small breakdown when she’d written Undertaker losing to Batista at WrestleMania.  Or maybe her brain had temporarily shut down.

 

“You’re not as bad as I thought.” She murmured thoughtfully, getting lost in his eyes that reminded her of emerald stones and had to look away, shaking herself mentally. “I don’t think I’ll be back for a while, so they’ll have to find a new lead script writer if Matthew ends up fired.”

 

She was staring at him a little too keenly and Mark cleared his throat. “Darlin’, let’s get this straight, I AM just as bad as you thought.  I’m worse even.” He had written on her forehead and rentals.  Best she not get too comfortable though… if she wasn’t coming back… “Wait, what do you mean, Emery?  If you don’t come back and he gets fired, they’d need a new lead?  You think you would’ve had that spot if he got fired?” He was a little curious since her role was still foggy to him. 

 

Obviously she was too smart to be that idiot’s underling, but… that’s what she was.

 

“No, I don’t think so.  Deep down, you’re a teddy bear or you wouldn’t be here talking to me, trying to figure this out.  You’re a nice guy…with an evil streak, I admit that.” She scratched her forehead as remembrance of what he’d done to her, but that was the past and it needed to stay there. “I don’t know if I would get his position.  I’ve been with the company for 10 years, but…” Emery needed to shut up before she gave herself away and tucked a strand of black hair behind her ear. “Hopefully I do come back because I do love my job and I love the company.  But it’s ultimately up to Vince if he wants to bring me back and if he doesn’t, there’s other promotions I can work for, I guess.”

 

“You’re sweet, a little… slow, but sweet.” He was considering strangling her here, in her home, for calling him a teddy bear.  Nice and evil didn’t mix, she needed to learn that. “What have you been doing for 10 years?” Mark asked, trying to remember seeing her before this storyline had royally pissed him off.  He could remember dealing with the writer’s back at the end of the 90’s, irate over what they were about to do to the Ministry angle.  That had been a disaster and he had less than gracefully mucked it up. “You’ve really been someone’s assistant, or a junior writer that long?  Are you any good at writing?”

 

There was the asshole she despised, though Emery kept the smile on her face. “I’m not anyone’s assistant, just part of the writing team.” Flat lie. “And yes, I’m good at my job or else I wouldn’t be working for the WWE.” Baiting her wouldn’t work; Emery wouldn’t slip up, knowing the consequences if she did.  If this man even KNEW all she’d accomplished, and destroyed, with her ideas, he would’ve maimed her in her very own home. “I started in 1996 and it’s now 2006, so 10 years with no issues…until recently.” Of course he didn’t remember her; she was the nerdy chick with glasses and wore video game t-shirts, mostly.  Nobody ever got to see her laid back and in her element like she was now, except Randy and Paul. “It just makes me wonder what a person gets out of targeting someone on the writing team and then you.  What do they get out of it in the end?  Who benefits from it?”

 

This was a mind game – they were in a mind game and it wasn’t amusing.

 

“Vince fires at least half the writing crew every year, so you must be good.”

 

He wasn’t praising her so much as stating a fact.  Vince was just that way, though the old man also thought of himself as a ‘writer’.  Thank the stars that man would let himself be talked out of things.  Some of the things he had come up with sucked.

 

“Well, Emery, let’s look at it this way: since you left, everything stopped.  So, who benefits from you being gone, but also knows I really, really didn’t like you?” Everyone on the writing team came to mind. “Anyone trying to take your place?  Got a lover hidden in the company?”

 

“Oh god no!  No – no – no – no…Nope, I learned a long time ago what happens when you date in the company.”

 

She’d had a fling with someone who was no longer there and it’d been the worst mistake of her life.  Never again.  She’d caught the ‘didn’t’ and Emery felt a little flop in her chest, ignoring it for the time being.

 

“I don’t think anyone on the writing team would be vying for my position since it’s all the same.  We’re all the same except Matthew, who is the lead.”

 

Though the more she thought about it, the more she did wonder if Matthew was behind all of this.  There was no way, the man could barely form a coherent sentence and the ONLY reason why he’d been hired was to be her proxy.  Nothing more.

 

“Or maybe this person stopped because they didn’t want to be discovered and end up buried six feet under in Texas somewhere.”

 

“I already told you, I’d bury them in some random backyard.” Not his own, he wasn’t polluting Texas with some jackass’s corpse.  He actually eliminated Matthew, the man had been lead for years, though it was now apparent why he had been up Emery’s backside.  Matthew was one of those ‘uppers’ who needed a crew of a lot smarter, underappreciated people beneath him to pad him.  And that man did need a lot of padding.

 

“Well, it stopped, and you’re gone so… this is about you more than me.” He felt like he had been a tool, used to get to her, and it had worked quite well.

 

“I don’t like games.” Emery finally got tired of sitting on her hair and shifted enough to pull it back to rest over her shoulder. “I mean I DO like games, obviously.” She gestured around the living room at all of her posters and gaming memorabilia, which was quite a bit.  Every gaming console known to man decked out her 5-tier entertainment center, her huge 70” flat screen television on the wall. “But mind games, no.  Don’t like them a bit.  And whoever this person is, if I find out who they are, what I did to you will look like child’s play compared to what happens to them.” She vowed, a dark tinge in her voice and looked back at her unexpected visitor. “So why did you come here anyway?  Why even bother making amends with someone like me?”

 

Chapter 10

 

“Well, you’re suspended, which is politely saying you’re fired.  I don’t have to worry about you and your friends destroying my motorcycles or printing off posters with big words, so it allows me to be… generous.” As in, not kill her, which had been tempting for a while.  His gaze flickered to her hair, wondering how she managed to use the bathroom without accidents happening and snorted. “And like I said, everything stopped once you were gone.  So either someone realized Vince was on the warpath or someone had it out for you.  Best person to determine which was what would be you.”

 

“Hell, I thought you wanted me gone, hence the strippers and clown incident.” Emery would NEVER live that down, shaking her head.  Who the hell would send strippers to HER room, a woman’s room?  Not that there was anything wrong with girl on girl action, but she didn’t swing that way. “And if I’m fired, I wish they’d tell me so I can start looking for another job.  TNA is hiring in their writing department and other wrestling promotions are looking for writers too.  So, I’m not too worried about it, honestly.” Though she did sound saddened by the fact she’d more than likely lost her job with WWE.  10 years down the drain. “Ugh, this is depressing.  Wanna play a video game?” She laughed at the incredulous look on his face. “Oh come on!  Don’t tell me you’re THAT old you can’t enjoy a game, Deadman?”

 

“Wait, go back…TNA?  You know they suck, right?  And it’s not just the writing, it’s the talent.” They got all the WWE leftovers and rejects and he understood why she thought she’d fit right in.  Shaking his head, Mark eyeballed her collection. “I like racing games.” He admitted, arching an eyebrow, daring her to say something.

 

“Yes, I know TNA sucks, but what choice do I have if I’m fired from WWE?” That revelation about him didn’t surprise her and it was written all over her face. “Considering the ride you took me on your bike, which was amazing, I’m not shocked at all.  Just sit there looking pretty while I set this up.” At his growl, she laughed and bounced over to her entertainment center, tapping her chin thoughtfully. “Here we go, get some real aggression out with this one.” She tossed him a controller and took one for herself, turning the console on. “How about I order a pizza or something?”

 

Vegging out and playing video games – this was Emery’s idea of heaven.  He was familiar with the systems.  Hell, he had grown up with some of these and he grunted when he spotted an Atari, shaking his head.  Talk about making a guy feel old as dirt!  Mark could not believe he was sitting here with her, about to eat pizza and play video games.  The Undertaker had lost his mind.  Green eyes began searching for a camera or a cell phone, not about to have this made up into the next poster.

 

“Sure.”

 

“Beat you again!” Emery gloated, smirking over at Mark, who looked ready to either break the controller or hurl it against the wall.  She wasn’t sure yet. “If it makes you feel any better, the new WWE game they came out with recently, I defeated Paul while playing…Hornswaggle.”

 

She grinned evilly, standing up and swiped another piece of pizza from the coffee table.  5 of them were strewn and haphazardly stacked, not that she minded.  Mark was a lot of fun to be around and hang out with, surprisingly enough.

 

“Oh come on, don’t cry Deadman.  I’m the Queen when it comes to video games, just ask Paul and Randy.  They’ll tell you how many countless hours they’ve spent trying to dethrone me and I get them every time.” Plopping on the couch right next to him, she reached out to pinch his cheek playfully. “Come on, get that scowl off your face.  This is supposed to be fun.”

 

“Darlin’, you are a sore winner is your damage.” She bragged, a lot, and he wondered if that was why her friends seemed to be few and far between. “Not saying you’re not good, because you are.” The fact that she had used that midget in a video game to beat Paul… that was hilarious, he snickered, reaching out to pinch her cheek in return, his more of a warning than a tease. “Got Blur?” His favorite racing/motor mash game ever.  He sucked at the mash part, but he did pretty well on Mt. Haruna. “Come on, Queenie.” When Emery stood up to go look, he lightly swatted her backside.

 

“See, now I don’t mind being called that.  Queenie has a nice ring to it.  And I’m not a sore winner, you’re just a sore loser.”

 

She stuck her tongue out at him, not minding being swatted on the backside.  Didn’t he figure that out when he spanked her?  Now that was a delicious memory…she immediately pushed that thought process out of her head and pulled out the game he wanted to play.  Popping it in, Emery took her place next to him on the couch again and started the game, drawing her knees up to rest against her chest.  There was a reason he picked this particular game and when he actually defeated her, dethroning her undefeated streak, her jaw dropped.

 

“No way!  No fucking way!  You beat me!” Legitimate defeat.  Holding her hand up, Emery high-fived him and patted his jean covered thigh, shaking her head. “Nice going!  Wanna go again?”

 

“Sure.” He watched as she set the options, noting the damage was now at one-hit and respawn off, shaking his head. “That’s cheating, Queenie.” She wanted to be called that, fine, it actually seemed to suit her. 

 

He was also certain that was a bear in those old kiddie books.  Cargo Run, he sucked at that one and groaned, rolling his eyes when he was shunted right out the gate, dying and set down the controller to reach for a slice of pizza, watching as she kept going.  Third lap and the map glitched, leaving her car floating in the water.  Loved the game, but this was the one track that had that issue and he shook his head.  He was having fun, this was wrong, on a lot of levels.

 

“Well that sucks.”

 

“It always does that, I swear.  That’s the only bad thing about this game, honestly.  The glitch was supposed to be fixed, but they never bothered to do it.” Emery shrugged, moving to get up to change out games and blinked when the cheese had slid off the pizza to land right on his shirt.  She bit her lip, trying not to laugh while he cussed and went into the kitchen to grab a wet paper towel and sat down to pluck the cheese away. “If you-” Watching this man remove his shirt, his muscles flexing with every movement, made Emery breathless and she had to get a hold of herself quickly. “Let me throw that in the wash really quick.  I have stain remover, don’t worry.” Shout was her best friend in these circumstances as he handed over his shirt to her. 

 

It’d been a long – LONG – time since Emery felt remotely anything for a man, but Mark was no ordinary man.  Mark smirked the moment she was gone, glancing down at himself.  That had worked out better than he thought.  Now he knew, she wasn’t a dyke; she was just sexually repressed or something.

 

“You don’t have to, Queenie, I can just-” When she took it and darted off down the hallway, he got up and followed, his footsteps silent.  He had years of practice when it came to being quiet. “Thank you, Emery.” He said, green eyes amused when she whirled around to find him right there, noting her eyes were raking him in again.  Mark wasn’t a video game, but he was pretty sure she was sorting out how to play him.

 

“Damn, you need to wear a bell or something.” Emery joked, turning away from him to spray his shirt with the Shout and tossed it in the washer, putting a small amount of detergent in before shutting the lid. 

 

It wasn’t that she was sexually repressed, there wasn’t a lot of interest in the company and nobody glanced her way, besides Randy and Paul.  The laundry room was actually a pantry and he’d taken over half of the space besides the washer and dryer.  Emery had to look up at him, gripping the washer and nodded, smiling softly.

 

“Not a problem, Mark.  I would offer a shirt for you to wear, but…you’re about three times the size of me, so…I don’t think you want to have a Chris Farley moment.”

 

“Who?” She had lost him and could only assume it was from a video game or something.  When Emery’s jaw dropped, Mark reached out with firm fingers and closed her mouth for her. “That’s how… flies get in, darlin’.”

 

That was not actually what he had been about to say, but the woman was washing his shirt and being nice, so he probably shouldn’t provoke her.  Mark eyeballed her pantry, or whatever it was, cocking an eyebrow at how… tiny it seemed, though that was just him.  He leaned forward, his massive body pressing hers back into her washer and reached up, wrapping a stray spiderweb around his finger.  Emery followed his hand to the spider web while her face was pressed against his muscular chest, inhaling his scent for a brief moment.  Sandalwood, gasoline and something she couldn’t put her finger on, but it was intoxicating none the less.  Emery had to get a hold of herself and looked away from him when he backed up a fraction, pushing her glasses up on her nose since they’d slid down a little.  Her heart was pounding vigorously against her chest and her body felt heated suddenly being this close to him. 

 

What was going on?  Didn’t she despise this man?  So why was she suddenly aroused by him?

 

“There’s a – uh – scene in the movie where he puts on David Spade’s jacket and…you know, it would be easier just to show you.  Come on, we’ll watch the movie and you can see for yourself what I’m talking about.” Emery had to get out of this enclosed space before she did something reckless.

 

Except she couldn’t get out because he had her trapped there and Mark ignored her, finishing what he was doing before looking down at her.  Her glasses were steamed and he bet it was due to being nose to chest with him.  He stepped back and bent down until they were eye level, reaching up with his web free hand to take her glasses off of her, rubbing them against his thigh while he stared into her eyes.

 

“You have pretty eyes, darlin’.” He informed her, wondering why she didn’t wear contacts.

 

“Thank you.” Emery wanted to stop him from removing her glasses, but couldn’t get her limbs to work properly.  Her reply came out in a soft murmur, not a trace of humor or disregard. “You do too.”

 

His eyes were gorgeous, emerald gemstones.  It was no wonder women threw themselves at him and worshipped the ground he walked on.  This room was becoming stifling, his scent wafting all around her and Emery had to find some way to put some kind of distance between them, so she did the first thing that came to mind.  She hopped up on the washer while it ran and clasped her hands in her lap, only for him to close the distance between them again, her glasses being set on the dryer.

 

“You probably hear that a lot though.  Your eyes, I mean.” Emery didn’t realize it, but her cheeks had infused a deep crimson from his compliment.

 

“Mine?” Actually, he usually got told ‘great eyeliner’ because he wore it often and, half the time, he forgot to wash it off; he was a tired, busy man.  Mark couldn’t tell if she was blushing from his compliment or from her attempt at one. “Come on, Queenie.” He gripped her waist in his hands, fingers splayed against her firmly. “Let’s get out of this little room, you look ready to faint.”

 

She was flushed and looked clammy, maybe now was a good time to check her temperature.  He lifted Emery up and set her down, feeling her body glide against his.  Mark definitely approved of the tank top and shorts.  Feeling his hands anywhere on her body ignited her in flames.  Her tank top had rode up when he lifted her, so it was skin to skin contact.  She shivered involuntary against him and knew he felt it, her feet finally coming in contact with the tiled floor moments later.  The rest of her house, besides the kitchen and bathroom, was carpeted.  She hated wooden floors of any kind, carpeting all the way.

 

“I’m a little warm…” Emery admitted, watching him back out of the room and took her glasses to slide them back on as her vision became 20/20 again. “Come on, Deadman, we’re gonna watch that movie.” Grabbing his hand, she pulled him down the small hallway of her house without realizing what she was doing.

 

It was odd how she seemed to have forgotten how he bullied her, scrawled on her forehead, basically kidnapped her, literally spanked her and generally made a nuisance of himself.  Of course, Emery hadn’t been an angel either, though her antics had never been physical like his.  Mark had reached the conclusion that she was an adrenaline junkie and a closet masochist; she got her rocks off by being humiliated or put in… awkward positions.  He let her pull him out into the living room, taking 30 seconds to shame the half-mast erection he had gotten back down.

 

If Emery knew what he was currently thinking, she would’ve booted his backside right out the front door and bounced it off his head like a basketball.  As it was, he was being nice to her and she’d be lying if she didn’t find him attractive.  Extremely attractive.  He would never go down that road with her though, they were completely different people.  Opposites did attract, but Emery hadn’t forgotten the incident with the pen on her forward or ruining her favorite Kingdom Hearts t-shirt.  After popping the movie in, she sat on the couch and put a little space between them, grinning as soon as it started.  When it got to the part where Chris Farley started singing ‘fat guy in a little coat’ with David Spade’s – Richard’s – suit jacket and ripped it down the middle, she laughed and pointed at Mark.

 

“That’s exactly what you would look like if you put one of my shirts on.  Only you’re not fat like him, you’re…built.” That was the best word she could come up with at the moment, turning her attention back to the movie.

 

After a few minutes into the movie, Mark knew who she was talking about now and this was just another reminder of how different they were.  He didn’t really care for dumb comedies, more of a suspense/mystery kind of guy, and sports, of course. “Isn’t he the guy who overdosed while banging a hooker?” Even he remembered that, which was definitely the way to go and he grinned lasciviously at the thought.

 

“Yeah he did.” Emery liked a lot of different genre movies; she wasn’t just a one genre type of woman, liking to keep an open mind. “It’s not the greatest movie, but I like it nonetheless.”

 

She stood up halfway through the movie to walk down the hallway to throw his t-shirt into the dryer.  Then she visited the bathroom, braiding her hair while take care of business.  Once she finished with that, Emery walked back out to rejoin Mark and didn’t see him anywhere, raising a slow brow wondering where he was.

 

“Mark?”

 

Chapter 11

 

He was outside, studying the neighborhood.  She had been taking forever in the bathroom, so… reluctantly, he admitted the view wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t overly pleased at the sight of another damn lizard on his truck either.

 

“Emery brought home a man?  I am surprised…”

 

That was a high pitched, fake sugary voice and the very stereotype of dumb blond on the front walk.  Mark had to fight the urge to roll his eyes at the sight of her walking a Chihuahua; those were not dogs, they were rats on a leash. “She sure did.” He rumbled, letting his voice drop to a low, husky pitch, hooking his thumbs through his belt loops.  Mark had foregone the belt and his jeans were hanging just a little low on his hips.  He stood there, black hair down, bare chested and she was gawking.

 

“Oh my… I’m Cindy.”

 

He bet. “Mark, darlin’.” This could be amusing.

 

The front door opened just as he greeted Cindy and Emery immediately regretted coming outside, inwardly groaning.  Why?  Why did the gods have to punish her with the likes of Cindy Bakell?  This woman was plastic all the way around, had so many surgeries to enhance her body it was pathetic.

 

Cindy practically floated over to where they stood, her dark blue eyes devouring the sex god in front of her whole.  That’s exactly what he was. “My – My, Emy, you didn’t tell me you had a new hunk in your life…”

 

“That’s because I don’t flaunt my relationships in front of the world, unlike you, Cindy.  And the name is Emery.” She HATED being called Emy with a passion and didn’t bother hiding her disdain.

 

“Now – now, no need to be snide, kiddo.” How the HELL had Emery landed this man was beyond her! “I was just getting to know your new man…Mark, was it?”

 

“My – wait what?” Emery was now looking at Mark, confusion swirling in her sky-blue orbs.

 

“Yeah, Mark.” He replied, flashing a very charming, predatory smile and slung his arm out, catching Emery and pulling her into his side.  No wonder she had taken forever, her hair was braided.  Mark bet it took her an hour in the shower, just on hair alone. “We only just started datin’, honey.” He drawled, keeping that low, husky voice, the one that tended to cause panties to drop.  Mark could see hers falling, figuratively.  He doubted she was wearing any, that skirt was too short and too tight; he didn’t see any lines.

“Oh…” Cindy was eyeing them speculatively and Mark like he was a piece of meat she wanted to tear into. “So… not serious then?”

 

“She’s into the sex, I’m hopin’ we’re going to get more serious, but…” He shrugged, pretty sure Emery was going to brain him. “You know how it is; try having a serious conversation when all you’re doing is… you know…”

 

“I do?”

 

“Course you do.” He watched as she approached them.  The woman was confused and it showed. “Sex, honey, keep up.  We’re in a physical relationship.”

 

She had never once in her life been jealous of her neighbor until just now.

 

Emery had to snap out of her shocked state if this was going to work, if she wanted to convince Cindy they were… “VERY physical.” Good, her vocal cords still worked, so that was a plus.

 

“How come I haven’t seen you around here then?”

 

“Because we just started dating, didn’t you hear him?” Emery took a chance and slid her hand up his bare chest, snuggling into his side while eyeballing her nosey neighbor. “He came to pay me a visit while I’m on vacation.”

 

How could a man of his stature, of his sex appeal, be interested in someone who looked like they should still be in high school? “Anything I can do to change your mind, handsome?” Her voice came out in a purr, ignoring Emery. “I’m sure you’d rather have a REAL woman in bed than…that.”

 

Her face had turned red at that blatant insult, but Emery kept her temper in check. “Well, Calaway, what do you think about that?” She asked, looking up at him and wondered if he did find Cindy attractive.  Probably.  He seemed like the type who bed-hopped and had his fair share of women like the plastic Barbie doll in front of them.

 

Now, if it had been on his terms, maybe… but as it was, Cindy was acting like an outright slut and a bitch to boot. “No, darlin’, I think I’m good with what I got right here.” He blatantly dropped his hand down to her jean covered backside and squeezed himself a handful. “Besides,” His gaze raked over Cindy sneeringly. “Judgin’ from them fake tits and the obvious nose job, you’re not that much of a real woman, honey.”

 

“You son of a bitch!”

 

“Get lost, broad.” He growled, a hand moving up Emery’s back to grip her neck, forcing her to tilt her head back so he could meet her eyes.  He winked at her before bending down to kiss the corner of her mouth.

 

“No, that’s…” Cindy couldn’t wrap her mind around this travesty and picked up her dog. “You slut!”

 

He was outright laughing now.

 

Emery would’ve laughed if her breath hadn’t been stolen from her body from that slight brush of Mark’s against hers.  Granted, it was just a brush and on the corner, but…it was enough to light her body on fire and felt stomach form in the pit of her stomach.  She had to keep reminding herself he was using her to scare Cindy off while his bone-chilling laughter flooded over her.  His lips were still on the corner while laughing and all she could do was stand there, trying to force herself to add in the laughter since Cindy was still watching.

 

“No, that would be you, sweetheart.”

 

Taking the reins of this situation, since Mark wanted to use her, Emery figured she’d take advantage and slid her hand through his silky black tresses before planting a full lip lock on him, tightening her fingers in his hair.  Damn, he was a better kisser than she imagined and this did nothing to quell the raging fire inside of her.  Cindy’s dumb ass was a glutton for punishment.  She had stopped out on the sidewalk to glare at them some more so… Mark lifted Emery up, guiding her legs around his waist and returned that kiss, making her melt visibly into him.  One hand moved to her braid and he tugged her head back, hearing her moan.  She was… he had been right.  Woman was a masochist and that was something any other time he’d exploit, but right now… they had an audience.

 

“Shut up, Taco!” She shrieked when the dog began screeching in pain, she was off again, not even bothering to look back this time.

 

“She named that poor damn rat taco?”

 

Cindy threw her hands up, shrieking in outrage and stormed away with her dog, practically choking the poor thing.

 

“I – what?”

 

Emery was dazed from that kiss, not expecting him to lift her off the ground or to return the passion.  Pulling her hair had done something to her, the desire swirling in her now slightly darker blues.  It took a few seconds to register what he asked her and Emery nodded, stumbling a little when he set her down on the ground.  Her fingers instantly went to her swollen lips, not remembering the last time a man kissed her quite like that, if ever.

 

“I didn’t mean to kiss you, but she was pissing me off and…” What if he didn’t want to be kissed?  Then the harsh realization dawned on her, crashed over her like a tidal wave…she just kissed the Undertaker! “Sorry…”

 

Emery did not sound sorry at all.

 

“No, you’re not.” He chuckled, stepping away from her and ran his fingers through his loose hair, smirking as he watched Cindy disappear with her rat around the corner. “That was fun, Queenie.” Mark looked down at her, still grinning. “So, want to finish that movie?” His shirt would be done by then he imagined and then he’d leave, before he pulled her hair again.

 

“Yeah it was.”

 

She grinned back at him, the crimson in her cheeks dwindling and lead him back inside the house, shutting the door.  The dryer was still going, but by the time the movie, which was paused, ended it would be finished.  Emery didn’t want him to leave, but it seemed like he was restless and ready to get the hell out of dodge.  While the movie resumed, she cleaned up the living room to get her mind off the kiss, her lips still burning and tingling from it.  What the hell had she been thinking kissing this man?  Shaking her head, Emery shoved all the leftover pizza in a Ziploc bag and put in the fridge and finally sat back down on the couch.

 

He was sound asleep when she returned to the living room.  Mark had driven straight on through from the house show and then been up all day just hanging out with the former dork chick.  She had surprised him and it seemed like Mark had surprised her too.  But when she had started cleaning, he had stopped pretending he cared about the movie and began dozing instead.

 

Finding him asleep on the couch made her heart warm at the sight, so Emery didn’t disturb him and finished the movie.  He wouldn’t be leaving, at least not tonight.  It was too late for him to leave anyway and she did have a spare bedroom with a queen-sized bed.  At the same time, however, she didn’t want to wake him up.  He looked so peaceful when he slept as she watched him for a little while, burning every bit of this to memory.  Once he left, she would never see him again since Vince had practically fired her and that made her sigh sadly.  Hanging out with him was a lot of fun, even scaring Cindy off and the kiss…Emery wondered if he enjoyed it as much as she did or if he was acting.  Eventually, she too fell asleep leaning against him.

 

~!~

 

“For the record, you can’t be fired because Matthew has lost his mind.” Paul said first thing the next morning.  He had found her spare key and let himself in, Randy right behind him. “We brought bagels, doughnuts, and lots of coffee… and extra controllers- WHAT THE FUCK?”

 

Randy stared over Paul’s head, cocking an eyebrow. “That was… unexpected.” He said finally, sidestepping Paul.

 

Not even bothering to open his eyes, Mark reached underneath Emery.  She had shifted and woken him up sometime during the night, so he had turned her back to where she wouldn’t fall off of him.  She made a great blanket.  However, she was laying on her stomach, on him, and his balls needed adjusting.  He used one arm to leverage her up just a little and the other to do said adjusting.

 

“What – where?!” Emery popped her head up, hearing someone shouting behind her and quickly took inventory of where she was at and WHO she was on. “Umm…”

 

How the HELL was she supposed to explain this one? 

 

Her glasses were off, lying on the coffee table, but she knew exactly what rock-hard body she was lying on top of and felt her cheeks burn bright red.  When she moved her knee and heard Mark hiss out, Emery mumbled an incoherent apology and carefully pushed herself up on him.  She wasn’t very graceful though and landed on her backside on the carpeted floor, hearing laughter behind her.

 

“I’m going to kill you both.” Emery knew who was here and rolled over to sit up on her knees, sliding her glasses on her face. “What in god’s name are you two doing here?”

 

First Mark and now them…was the WWE in her part of the country?

 

“We came to see you and bring you presents.  Namely, breakfast and our hot bods.  What the fuck is he doing here?” Randy wasn’t overly pleased at the sight of Emery sleeping with/on the Undertaker.  He flexed beneath his t-shirt, prepared to toss the old man out on his dead backside.

 

“Yeah, why are you two sleeping together?”

 

Mark had rolled onto his side to stare down at Emery, amusement on his face as he blinked his hazy green eyes at her. “Because the sex is good.” He rumbled, his voice thick with sleep.

 

“No – NO it’s not!” Emery shook her head fervidly, eyes wide and held her hand up to Randy before he could put his foot in his mouth. “Chill out.  Oh my god, it’s too damn early for this.  I need coffee.” Stumbling over to Paul, she took the one that looked the sweetest and took a long sip of it, giving him a thumbs up. “Okay, I can think a little more clearly now.  Mark paid me a visit to talk to me about my job…and informed me someone has been sabotaging me.  Because ever since I was suspended, fired, whatever you wanna call it, the pranks and bullshit that happened to him, that he thought we did, have stopped.” She had to take another long swig of her coffee. “We made a truce.  He’s not a bad guy…” Mostly, she added in thought, shooting a playful glare over her shoulder at him before looking back at her friends. “We’re not at war anymore and we’re NOT sleeping together…not sexually anyway.” Her cheeks flamed, not believing she’d been caught sleeping on the Undertaker and plucked a donut out of the container. “Now, we can all be friendly with each other, yeah? Please?”

 

Randy stared down into her face suspiciously. “Not bumping uglies?”

 

“That’s not what you told Cindy, darlin’.”

 

“You shut up or I’ll piss in your gas tank.”

 

Yawning even more, Mark stood up and looked down when both men’s eyes dropped to his crotch.  His fly was undone and he was a commando guy, so everyone got to see what happy trail hairline he did have and the top of his unmentionables.  Emery looked ready to burst a vein she was so red.

 

“That’s gross… Em!?”

 

“I – I swear – I SWEAR to you both we didn’t do anything except talk!” Did Mark enjoy humiliating her like this? “Okay we…uh…we need to get on a different topic.” She stuffed a donut in Randy’s mouth and then Paul’s, shaking her head when both eyeballed her. “Do you really think he’d go for someone like me anyway?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Yup.”

 

“You both suck.  Just eat your donuts and shut up.” There was no way in hell she was telling them about the kiss her and Mark shared.  It was none of their business and it’d been to scare Cindy off. “Mark, I’ll get your shirt for you.” She practically dashed past him to the laundry room, trying to get her face to stop being a cherry.

 

“Swallow boys, show me your talent.” His comment was rewarded with them both spitting out chunks of donuts all over her floor.  He began laughing, the booming sound echoing throughout the house.  Mark made quite the show of zipping his pants up.

 

“Oh you son of a-” Randy halted when Paul held out a hand, frowning. “What?”

 

“You really want her to get mad at you?”

 

When Randy gave him a dark look, he didn’t miss the ice in those blue eyes and his upper lip curled.

 

After taking a few extra minutes to calm her racing heart as well as let the redness in her cheeks disappear, Emery walked out tossing Mark the t-shirt with a smile. “Stain free, just as promised.” The tension was so thick in the room, it couldn’t be cut with a knife. “Do you want some…” She blinked when he took her coffee and promptly took a long swig of it, seeing his face contort in both disgust and relief. “I probably should’ve warned you it’s loaded with sugar.” It was actually a caramel frappe, but… “Want me to make a pot of coffee so you can fix it how you want?” Emery really wished Paul and Randy would stop gaping at her, rolling her eyes at them.

 

As soon as Taker and Emery disappeared into the kitchen, Paul groaned. “Son of a bitch, you think…”

 

“Hell if I know…” This was just weird and they followed the pair, still clutching the coffee and breakfast goodies.

 

She was making coffee and he was unbraiding her hair because that braid was crazy. “You need a trim, darlin’.” Mark pointed out, crouching behind her to finish unplaiting it, throwing Randy a wink. “Got some split ends.” Not too many though, considering the length and the weight.

 

“Fart on him, Em.”

 

“I know – I know.  I’ll do it eventually.  You should know better than anyone what it’s like being attached to your hair.” Emery remarked softly, not minding him redoing her braid and finished with the coffee pot, reaching up in the cabinet to grab a huge mug.  It had the DC logo on it and could fit at least 4 cups of coffee in it easily. “Cream is in the fridge, though…hold on.” Making a face, she moved to the side to pop it open and checked the expiration date, nodding. “Yeah it’s still good.  It’s French vanilla.  Sugar is in this container.  And help yourself to the donuts and whatever else they brought.  We won’t be able to eat all of it.” Finally turning to face him, Emery turned red again because his face was directly facing her… “That’s not a good position to be in, Deadman…”

 

Laughing, Mark moved away from her and ignored the creamer and sugar, preferring his coffee like he liked his women.  Strong and able to jolt his mind and body with energy.  Smirking, he leaned back against the counter and sipped it.

 

“You leaving soon, Deadman?”

 

He shrugged one massive shoulder, still not having put on his shirt.  Mark had draped it around his neck instead. “Darlin’, mind if I borrow your shower?”

 

“Nope, go for it.  And you can stay as long as you want.” Emery smacked his arm lightly when his tongue snaked out to wet his lips, turning red again. “Stop it.” His deep rumbling chuckle echoed behind him as he headed across the living room down the hallway toward her bathroom. “Use the Pantene Pro-V, not the Dove, please!” She called over her shoulder, smirking when he growled and heard the door close, laughing softly.

 

Chapter 12

 

 “Okay, why are you two staring at me like that?”

 

“Em, what the HELL is going on?” Randy erupted, setting the donuts down on the table and planted his hands on his hips. “Do you have amnesia or do you not care what he did to you?”

 

“Yeah!  I mean he wrote in black ink on your forehead and called you a dorky chick.  What the hell?!”

 

“And what about the strippers and clown?”

 

“And being pied in the face?”

 

Emery sat down at the kitchen table, frowning, the happiness in her eyes gone. “What would you have me do?  He showed up at my front door yesterday morning and wanted to talk.  So we talked and hashed everything out.  He apologized for what he did to me and I did the same thing.  I wrecked his motorcycle with spray paint, I shouldn’t even be alive right now.  He’s not as bad as I thought…we actually had a lot of fun playing video games and watching a movie.” The kiss flittered through her mind as well, refusing to bring that up. “And he didn’t send the strippers and clown either.  Whoever was pranking and doing shit to him, they were doing it to me and making us believe we were doing it to each other.”

 

Mark had also taken her on a joyride and beat her backside; he could hear those loud assholes.  He cranked the shower on, turning it to ice cold and stepped in.  He had judged the size first, not about to get stuck.  Emery didn’t have a lot of stuff in there, no frilly girly crap and he wasn’t really impressed with the Pantene and smelled her body wash, which was just a basic scent.

 

“And you don’t think it was him?  At all?  Could this just be a giant game on his part?”

 

That was a good point and it explained Taker’s 180 in regard to her.

 

“If this is a game on his part, then whatever.  I don’t care.  I had fun with him and, until you assholes showed up, a decent night’s sleep!” Mark was the one who came to visit her when nobody else had, even though she knew the boys had to stay on the road. “Even though I was suspended, basically fired, he still came here to warn me about someone pulling the strings behind these pranks and bullshit going on.  So if he’s playing a mind game with me, it’s a piss-poor one.  Thanks for the coffee and donuts, you can both see your way out.” Stalking out of the kitchen, Emery slammed her bedroom door shut and took her pillow, screaming into it.

 

Randy ignored her drama queen act and gestured for Paul to stay put.  He followed her to her room and knocked once before walking in. “Em, I know you don’t want to hear it, but what we meant was… what if this all just one giant game?  The pranks?  He says he didn’t do it, but do you know for sure?  And saying the shit stopped, which it did, but coming out here to talk about it?  Why would he care?  It’s just something to consider, okay?” He reached out and put a hand on her shoulder. “Come on, don’t be mad at me.  I’m only saying it because I care.”

 

Emery put her head in her hands, sighing heavily and had to consider the source. “I don’t know why, but I feel in my gut he’s telling me the truth.” Mark didn’t know about her actual position in the company, so there was nothing to use against her.  If he ever found out that information, however, it would be a different story. “You know me.  You know I’m not very trusting and I keep my shields up.  It took you and Paul a while to break me out of my shell.  This could be a game, you’re right, I don’t know for sure if he’s telling me the truth, but my gut tells me he is.  So, I’m gonna go with it and if I get burned, then I get burned.  It’s not like he’ll come see me again because I don’t work for the company anymore.” She hugged Randy, kissing his cheek. “Thank you for being there for me and for caring.  You and Paul mean a lot to me, even if I end up working some place different.”

 

“Like TNA?” At her nod, Randy rolled his eyes. “There isn’t a doubt in my mind that you won’t be back.  Matthew has no idea what the hell he’s doing and it’s showing.  Everyone is trying to figure out how he was in ‘charge’ all these years, only to start sucking all of a sudden.”

 

“PUT SOME GODDAMN CLOTHES ON!”

 

“Need another towel.” This one only covered part of him and it was soaked already.

 

“EMERY!”

 

Rushing out of the bedroom with Randy, Emery immediately regretted it and lowered her eyes to the carpeted floor, turning red AGAIN. “Oh wow…Umm…you need…yeah okay…be right back.”

 

She would NEVER get the image of that man bare assed naked in her living room, dripping wet!  Holy fuck, she thought, needing to breathe and pulled out one of her larger towels that would at least wrap around his waist.  Preferring bigger towels as opposed to small ones.

 

“Here you go.” She handed it over, refusing to make eye contact with him and tried her damnest not to turn into a cherry.

 

That was more of the Undertaker than Randy ever needed to see and he groaned, turning his face away.

 

“Jesus man… where do you hide that thing?”

 

“Balls deep in your old lady’s ass, quit fucking staring.”

 

Paul had deserved that and Randy was smiling in spite of himself. “Take a picture, Paulie…”

 

“Be a hell of a lock screen.”

 

Emery took control of the situation and managed to shove Mark down the hallway, only because he let her.  She’d taken one of the towels, covering his backside with it while shoving, shaking her head.  There was no way she could move him otherwise.

 

“I’ll grab your stuff from the bathroom.” She muttered, not caring that he was in her bedroom and shut the door, flipping both of her boys the bird when Randy started laughing while it was Paul’s turn to look as red as a cherry.  Grabbing Mark’s clothes, Emery hurried into her room and shut the door so the nimrods couldn’t gawk at him. “Here you go.  Do you need anything else?”

 

Mark could think of a few things.  He had the towel off his hips and he was slightly bent, toweling his hair dry, his backside right in her line of view.  She had walked in on him and he felt no shame whatsoever; he was in the best shape of his life and proud of how he looked.

 

“Nope, I’m good.” He turned to face her.  Her height probably made it awkward because now he was eggs up so to speak.

 

“Okay then, I’ll leave you to it.”

 

Emery walked out, making sure not to open the door too much for the boys to gawk again.  She walked out to the living room and joined them, seeing they already had Call of Duty on the television.  Her home was theirs, it wasn’t the first time they came to visit her.  That was why Paul had a key and so did Randy.  Emery waved off the controller, leaning back against the couch and watched her boys play each other, smirking when Paul beat Randy.

 

“Oh, our guild has another meeting tonight, so don’t forget about it.” She reminded her partner, seeing him nod and stood up to go shut the coffee maker off along with putting the donuts away so they didn’t go stale.  Also, she had to get walking in on Mark Calaway naked in her bedroom out of her mind.

 

“Why do you think I’m here?” Randy smirked at her before sharing a look with Paul. “We're traveling through this area for shows, so… we figured we’d crash here tonight, if you don't mind.” Their bags were out in the rental including his laptop.

 

“You guys are dorks.  So, who was playing Blur?”

 

That was what had been in the system before he had switched everything out.

 

“Well…you’re not gonna believe it, but…” She poked her head around the doorway that lead to the kitchen and pointed down the hallway toward her bedroom.

 

“No fucking way!”

 

“Seriously?!  He…” Paul snapped his mouth shut when the bedroom door opened and went back to playing the game.

 

Emery giggled to herself while finishing in the kitchen, deciding she would have to feed the mongrels since they were staying with her.  If Mark joined the fray, she would be shocked, but it would be nice.  Sleeping in his arms, on top of him rather, the previous night felt amazing.  She’d woken up through the night, seeing he had shifted both of them to lay on the couch with her on top and felt completely content with the position.

 

“What’s for breakfast?” Mark asked with a yawn even as he reached for his now lukewarm coffee. 

 

He drained it and got a refill, needing to go get his bag and change his clothes.  Mark hadn’t been planning on spending the night.  He then idly wondered if she could cook or if she did microwavable meals.

 

“Hey Deadman, you want to play Call of Duty with us?”

 

His eyes narrowed when he heard the sniggers.

 

Randy could not resist and Emery could tell the big man didn’t want donuts for breakfast, shrugging. “Let’s see…how does eggs, biscuits and gravy and sausage links sound?”

 

At his nod, she smiled and pulled out everything she would need to make the food.  Her mother had taught her how to cook, which was the only thing she’d gotten from her while her father was a geek at heart.  Video games, computers…he was incredibly tech-savvy, even at his age.

 

“You boys still hungry in there?”

 

“Dumb question, Em!”

 

“We’re bottomless pits – wait, you’re gonna cook for us?” Paul said a quick prayer to the heavens, grinning. “Man, we need to come here more often and – GODDAMN IT, ORTON, YOU GOT ME BLOWN UP!”

 

“Indoor voices, children!” Emery had also changed into new black cotton shorts and dark green tank top, having clothes folded in the laundry room she hadn’t put away yet.

 

Shaking his head, Mark headed out to his truck to get his stuff.  On his way back in, he spotted Cindy and waved.  When she flipped him off, he began laughing his ass off.  Nosy bitch. “Mind if I borrow your bedroom again Queenie?”

 

“Help yourself, Deadman.” She called over her shoulder, busy cracking the eggs in the bowl while the bacon fried in the pan. 

 

She always added bacon bits, crushed, into her gravy and made the gravy from scratch using flour and bacon grease.  Emery flipped the bacon and turned on the radio in her kitchen to classic rock, beginning to dance while cooking.  Luckily, Mark had braided her hair back for her earlier, fixing it, so she didn’t have to worry about getting any in the food.

 

“We entered the goddamn twilight zone.”

 

“Agreed.”

 

When he came out of the bedroom, he had changed into a pair of faded blue jeans and a black wife beater, foregoing the shoes.  Mark had left his still damp hair down and was finger combing it when he padded into the kitchen.  Halting, Mark could only stare as she danced while cooking, her hips swaying in time to the music.  Smirking, he walked up behind her, placed his hands on her waist and swayed with her, laughing in her ear when she jumped.

 

“Relax, Queenie.”

 

“That’s it, I’m buying you a bell and you’re gonna wear it.” Mark moved way too quietly for a man his size as she flipped another piece of bacon in the frying pan.  She didn’t move away from him, continuing to sway and took a piece of bacon to hold up over her shoulder. “Try it and tell me if it’s perfect.” Emery knew it was and had to suppress a shiver as his mouth engulfed the piece of bacon, his tongue sliding across her fingertips. “Well, how it is and do you mind scrambled eggs?”

 

“My favorite, if you skip the milk and cook them in butter.” Because scrambled eggs were only done one way right.  He smirked when she nodded, resting his chin on her shoulder as he watched, both of them still swaying to the music. “And delicious by the way.” He whispered in her ear.

 

Paul was recording it all on his cell phone for posterity.  This was wrong, on so many levels.

 

“Today’s your lucky day because I only cook my eggs in butter.” Emery flashed a smirk of her own and continued cooking, not minding Mark’s hands on her hips or his mouth right by her ear.  This felt right, comforting and Randy’s warning of this being a mind game flew right out of her mind. “Who is your favorite band?” Emery took him for a classic rock guy and smiled at his answer. “Metallica is pretty damn good, I must say.  Their old stuff, especially.” No sooner did she say that, Enter Sandman came through the speakers and she laughed at the irony, pouring the eggs in the pan before stirring her gravy, already adding the milk to the browned flour.

 

Emery was so absorbed in Mark, cooking, dancing and chatting, she was completely oblivious to the fact that Paul was recording this.  Randy imagined, if things didn’t pan out for them, they could sell the video to TMZ or something for a pretty penny.  The Undertaker, dancing in a kitchen, barefoot at that.

 

“You have some freaky toes, man.”

 

Paul hid the cell.

 

“Not as freaky as yours, Stubby.” Emery shot back, grinning at Randy’s scowl and winked at Mark over her shoulder. 

 

If she knew Paul had recorded this moment, she would’ve socked him in the nose.  Some moments were meant to be private.  She hated social media because it had ruined wrestling for true fans who enjoyed being legitimately shocked like the old days.  The Attitude Era days, where everything was unpredictable, fresh and real.

 

“Oops, gotta pop the biscuits in.” Bending over in front of Mark, since he was directly behind her, Emery already had the oven preheated and shut the door before resuming with the sausage links. “Breakfast will be ready soon, boys.  Stop or save the game.”

 

“Where’d you learn to cook?” Mark wondered if it would taste as good as it smelled.

 

“My Mom, as most girls do.  It’s the only thing she taught me cause my Dad…he’s the true nerd of the family.”

 

The man had 3 computers just in his study and they were all used for different reasons.  Granted, Emery owned a few herself, but only brought one on the road with her when she worked for the WWE.  Paul and Randy had already vacated, so it was just the two of them again.

 

“The plates are up there, will you grab them and put them on the table for me?” She smiled as he did as she asked and turned the heat off on the gravy, which was nice and thick with tiny bacon bits throughout it.

 

Mark set the table without a word, eyeballing everything around him while also paying attention to her and what she was doing.  Emery wasn’t the geek he had assumed, though she definitely cultivated that image about herself.  She said true nerd, but never explained anything beyond that.  Shaking his head, he forced it out of his mind.  He’d eat and leave, before Randy acted on those impulses of his and forced a fight.

 

After breakfast, Mark announced he was leaving, so Emery walked him outside and made the boys stay inside, though they were watching through the window. “Well I guess this is it.” She slid her hands in the back pocket of her jean shorts and hid her disappointment well, not wanting him to leave. “Take care of yourself, Mark.  Thank you for coming to talk to me.” Emery didn’t do goodbyes very well, watching him toss his bag in the bed of the truck he drove here and kept her eyes on him. “I hope I wasn’t too big of a bore.”

 

“It was a trip.” Mark said with a shrug.

 

He definitely hadn’t been bored and he had learned quite a bit about the woman under the dorky t-shirts.  Like… if she actually applied herself, she could probably be a smoking babe.  She already had the body, he knew because he had felt it up close and personal.

 

“I left my cell number scrawled on that thing you had hanging up on your fridge.” When her eyes widened behind those glasses, Mark began laughing. “What?” Was he that bad?  Well yeah, Mark was and reached out to push her glasses back up her nose. “Call me sometime, maybe we can link up for a game of Blur.”

 

“What the actual fuck?”

 

“Get out of the window, dork.”

 

He left his number…Emery beamed brightly and nodded, sky blues twinkling at the memory of their Blur gaming venture. “I will.” She stepped back at he got in his truck and blinked when he swept her up in his arms, hugging her close and her arms instinctively went around his neck. “Drive safely, Mark.” She murmured in his ear, feeling his arms squeeze her a little tighter and felt the reluctance to release her as he stepped into the truck to fire it up.  Emery stepped back, waving her fingers and headed back inside, wondering if she would ever see him again.

 

“I really hope she doesn’t fall for that asshole.” Paul grumbled, watching as Emery headed towards the house, the weirdest smile on her face.  He had seen that look before, whenever a new gaming system was announced.  Instant happiness.  That was just wrong. “And if he’s playing games with her, I’m breaking his joystick.”

 

“You and me both, but I really mean it.  You’d be too busy staring at the damn thing.” Randy snorted, shaking his head as he retreated.  He’d just watch and wait; if Taker stepped one toe out of line of this weird friendship continued, he’d break the old man’s back.

 

Chapter 13

 

Friday morning, Emery was woken up by a phone call – one she never thought she’d receive in a million years.  It was Vince McMahon.

 

“Emery, you’ve been reinstated into the company and I need you to fly out tonight to Phoenix.  That’s where we are right now.  Can you make it?” He was beyond desperate; all of his scripts were in the toilet and Matthew had been demoted to a personal assistant for the wrestlers. “You will have a new proxy hired…”

 

“Really?” Emery stood up from the bed, beginning to pace back and forth, her heart pounding in her ears. “O-Of course I can, of course Vince.  I will be there and I’ll fix everything.  You don’t have to worry.”

 

“I hope you realize why you were suspended and we have no other issues from this day forward.”

 

“Understood, thank you again Vince.” She hung up and started screaming at the top of her lungs. “OH MY GOD!!!!”

 

~!~

 

“A wrestling assistant?  Me?!”

 

Wasn’t that what he had been basically all these years?  Their personal puppet to abuse when they didn’t like the way things were written out.  He had gotten the news that morning and gone to find a quiet place to cry and fume.  Where had everything fallen apart?  Emery was gone, long gone, and she deserved it.  All these years she had sent him out to deliver the news, to take the heat, and for what?  So she could have her privacy?  Her anonymity?  And why couldn’t he just… do her job?  It didn’t seem that hard, it hadn’t seemed… how had that nerdy bitch managed it?  Oh yes, because she had him as her ‘proxy’.

 

Stepping out of her rental vehicle, Emery breathed in the air that was WWE and closed her eyes, relishing the moment.  She’d left her hair down for a change, having it trimmed earlier that day before booking her flight along with Randy and Paul.  It was just past the middle of her back now and looked a lot healthier.  She had a Princess Peach t-shirt on and blue jean shorts since it was hotter than Hades.  Dry heat was still HOT.  Grabbing her bag, Emery swung it over her shoulder and headed inside, grinning from ear to ear.

 

“Home.” She whispered, once again stopping to breathe everything in and went to find a quiet room to work in.

 

“You’re back?” David had spotted her.  He had been in meetings all day long as writers and everyone had been scrambling around trying to sort out what was going.

 

“Yes, she is.” Cheryl, another writer, appeared having agreed to meet Emery here. “She’s working for me now.  Matthew was demoted.” And she was the new proxy.  She had been here for years as well, editing mostly and handling Emery’s revisions, though she hadn’t known it was Emery at the time. “When I was offered the job, I said I wanted her back.  I know how valuable to Matthew she was.”

 

“No kidding… he fucked everything up.  Love the shirt, Em.”

 

‘Thank you.’ Emery mouthed to Cheryl before turning to face David, plastering on a smile and shook her hand. “Always a pleasure to see you, Cheri.” They were friends, of sorts.  She would’ve much rather dealt with this woman than Matthew any day of the week.  Unlike Matthew, Cheryl didn’t put up with any crap from the wrestlers and had a backbone. “Hate to run, but we have A LOT of work to do.” Dragging Cheryl with her, the girls began talking about all the problems with the scripts and Emery could already tell it was going to be a very LONG couple days. “Wow…”

 

“Okay, I just want to say this: I knew there was no way some of these lines were from Matthew.  There’s too much soap opera and hints of romance, which resonates with our female fans.  Obviously, that shit came from a woman.” Cheryl said with a laugh. “Only a woman in this business is able to understand all the nuances of finer entertainment for our female base; the men are so clueless.” Men had come up with the Billy and Chuck wedding thing… that had been a disaster. “So… Vince needs all this redone.” She gestured to the paperwork waiting in the office that was ‘Cheryl’s’. “I’ll be in and out, and for the record, everyone thinks you’re MY assistant, but… I’m yours.  So, just let me know what you need.  I can help sort out the scripts for you and I’m good at the editing aspect and finer details.” She was part of the crew that got to polish up Emery’s gems.

 

“Welcome aboard, I wouldn’t want this any other way except being your assistant because you’re just as good as I am.” Emery meant that truthfully.

 

Cheryl was the only one on the writing team, along with her, who actually came up with decent ideas that Emery twisted to her liking.  The basics of the ideas were still kept and Cheryl had thanked her several times for keeping it ‘authentic’.  There was a lot to fix; Matthew honestly didn’t know what the hell he was doing when it came to writing…at all.

 

“Okay, tell the others not to send any more ideas until I get this all sorted out and we’ll go through them one by one.  Oh, I need to call Karen over on Raw, that’s my first priority.” Fixing No Way Out had to come first and then everything else afterwards. “You rock, Cheri.”

 

“Karen is on a plane right now, but I have her schedule,” Cheryl shuffled through some paperwork.  Being an assistant was natural for her, she had done it before landing this gig. “I’ll email her for you and set up a time for you guys to talk, okay?” She glanced at her watch. “All right, I’ve got to go let the others know what’s going on.” She handed over a business card. “Just text me if you need me.  I’ll be back later to check in.” Cheryl also had to go find Matthew since the little ass had gone into hiding when he found out his new job.

 

Emery saluted her, both women giggling at each other as Cheryl bounced out the door, letting the lead get to work doing what she did best.  Randy and Paul were ecstatic to have her back on the road.  There was one person she hadn’t told yet, figuring he’d find out sooner or later.  It’d been such a whirlwind day and…Emery had forgotten to snatch his number off of her bulletin board at home.  What the hell?  Matthew was out of his mind as she tossed all of it and cracked her knuckles, beginning to start from scratch, including the match for No Way Out.

 

“Idiot.” She muttered, shaking her head and began going over the paperwork, frowning at all the scribbles and changes to her original ideas.

 

“Room service.” Several hours later, there was a knock on the temporary office door followed by Paul and Randy sweeping in. “Uh, wow…”

 

It was like she had never left.  Emery had utilized the walls for visual mapping of the storylines, who was involved in them, if there were any offshoots… it was dizzying. “We brought you a snack; you’ve been in here for hours apparently.”

 

They were dropping and going, because Matthew had been found and he was not having a very good time.  Paul wanted to go see if the idiot was any better as an assistant to the wrestlers then he had been a writer.  Randy just wanted to go gear up and do his thing, but… what kind of friends would they be if they didn’t welcome their girl back?

 

Emery smiled at her boys, deciding taking a 5-minute breather wouldn’t hurt anything and turned since she’d been standing, staring at the visuals on the wall. “Thank you boys.” She kissed their cheeks, hugging them and took a bite out of the chicken sandwich Randy held, groaning. “Oh my god that is so good!” She said through a mouthful, her stomach rumbling with life.  Emery had been so consumed with fixing these storylines, she neglected to take a lunch and thankfully, her boys watched out for her. “Okay, so I have everything worked out for No Way Out and the next week, so far.  I just need to get a few more things done and – OH!” She swiped something off her desk to hand it to Randy. “Our meeting has been postponed until tomorrow and one of our has betrayed us.  So we’re going to expose that son of a bitch.” Of course she was talking about WOW.

 

“Oh that is just… not okay – not okay.” Randy grunted, agitation in his tone as he went over it, shaking his head. “Can’t trust anyone these days, this is sad.”

 

“What’s going on?” Paul began shaking his head when they both just said WoW, rolling his eyes. “Really?  That much drama over a computer game?  You know they have a website for that game right?  Widows of Warcraft or something?”

 

“Maybe you should join.  You just don’t understand; some things are sacred, man.”

 

“We’ve been trying to get you to join for a while, Paulie.  You might as well bite the bullet, join our guild and help us reign over everyone.” Emery stated matter-of-factly, taking another bite out of the sandwich and then walked back over to the wall, moving one tab to the other side. “Okay, that makes more sense now.” She was back in the zone, her element and didn’t hear the boys leave, moving another tab. “Okay, I think I got it now.” Walking back over, she began typing and let her fingers fly over the keys, pushing her glasses up on her nose.  Vince would be ecstatic with these changes, she was sure of it, and if not, then Emery was losing her touch. “Like riding a bike…”

 

Paul would never play World of Warcraft.  For one, he didn’t have the patience for the online communities when it came to multiplayer games of this sort.  Nothing like arguing with a thirteen-year-old kid about situations to make him realize he was borderline pathetic.  Second, he preferred consoles.  About the only PC came he did play was turn-based ones like Civilization, or the earlier Fallouts.

 

“She’s back in the zone, let’s get out of here.”

 

Nodding, Randy called out a goodbye to Emery, but she was so absorbed in her work, she didn’t even notice.  Yeah, she was definitely back.  He grinned as they closed the door behind them.

 

It was nearing midnight by the time Emery left the building, dead on her feet and ready to get back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep.  She didn’t realize the time, too engrossed in fixing everything Matthew messed up in her absence.  The arena was rented out by the WWF for 24 hours, so she could stay there up until noon the next day.  Paul and Randy had come by again to ask if she needed a ride back to the hotel and all she’d done was shake her head at them.  When Emery was in the zone, nobody could pull her out of it until she was ready to leave.  Yawning, she pushed open the door that lead to the parking lot and headed toward her rental, the cool wind feeling good against her skin.

 

“I don’t give a fuck what you were promised or told, I’m not-” Mark growled when David actually shoved him, digging his heels into the pavement before he actually was moved.  He’d give the punk one thing, he was very strong. “You mess with me, boy, and you’ll find yourself six feet under.”

 

“I’m not afraid of you, Calaway.” David didn’t care much for being referred to as boy, not when Taker wasn’t that much older than him. “And you will do this, you have too.” It was an order, delivered in a gravelly voice.

 

“Fuck if I do.”

 

Naturally, this altercation was happening right in front of her rental vehicle, preventing her from leaving and minding her own business.  Great.  Emery was too tired for this, clearing her throat loud enough to where both men snapped their eyes to her.  When would they stop acting like children?  She realized Mark was not happy with the line, but to get into an altercation outside of the arena was unprofessional, to say the least.

 

“Do you two mind taking this little pissing contest somewhere NOT by my car?  I’d like to leave and go back to the hotel.  All you gotta do is move about 20 feet that way,” She paused briefly to gesture the direction she wanted them to move. “And I’ll be able to pull out without running you over.”

 

This steroid munching cock bite had started it, but there was no way Mark would say as much, not wanting to sound like a whiny snitch.  He folded his arms over his chest and took Emery in, his lips curving into a half smirk. “When’d you get back?”

 

“Today, asshole.” David cursed when he got a fist in the face, hands flying to his mouth. “What the hell?”

 

“Didn’t ask you.”

 

Wincing at the sucker punch, she smiled back at him tiredly, nodding at what David said. “Yeah, today.  I was reinstated, thanks to Cheryl, who took over for Matthew.  He’s been demoted.” That was a kind way to put it.  Her eyes drank him in, missing him far more than she’d ever admit, even though it’d been a couple days since he left her home in Sedona. “That was her request – my reinstatement in exchange for the promotion Vince pushed on her.  She wouldn’t have taken it without me on her team, I guess.” Why did she feel bad lying to Mark about this?  He had completely warped her mind!

 

“Makes sense I guess, it seems like a pretty overwhelming job…” Mark trailed off with a shrug. “Writing don’t seem that taxing to me, but whatever…”

 

“Writing?  They have to coordinate individual storylines, reference them with others going on, worry about little branches from a line, plots, and do you know how many each show has going on?” David had slept with a writer for a while, learning quite a bit before they had split and she had gotten fired.

 

“How the fuck would YOU know?”

 

“Pillow talk.”

 

“That’s not even half of what the writing team deals with either.  For instance,” Emery gestured to the two of them at each other’s throats, raising a brow. “Wrestlers who are not happy with the lines and try to take matters into their own hands, for example.” Not that she blamed Mark and had already told him back in Sedona.  This was here and now, however. “And it’s not just Mark either, Batista.  You’ve been hounding him and he’s getting tired of it.  He doesn’t like the line, that’s on him.  Just focus on you, do your job the best you can and everything will work out as it should.” Since when did she become the mediator between these two? “Or rip each other apart, but kindly do it away from my car, please and thanks.”

 

At that, both men promptly, in unison, leaned back against her rental and crossed their arms over their chests, staring at her intently.  Mark knew he could use Sedona to tear her down, but… that wouldn’t be very nice.  They had called a truce and he wasn’t a big enough asshole to make her first night a drag.

 

“Queenie, all the other writers have gone, even the head.  What’re you still doing here anyway?”

 

That was actually a good question. “Queenie?”

 

Chapter 14

 

Good, they weren’t fighting anymore and she grinned at the nickname, patting her laptop bag hoisted over her shoulder. “I had a lot to do for Cheryl and didn’t realize the time until about,” She paused, glancing down at the DC watch around her wrist. “20 minutes ago.  You both have no idea – NO IDEA – the mess Matthew left behind for us to clean up.  And since I’m the lead’s right-hand woman, I told her I’d stay behind to fix as much as I could without falling asleep in the arena.” It wasn’t his business, but since their truce and time in Sedona, Emery didn’t mind explaining herself to Mark. 

 

If it was David…she would’ve blown him off.

 

“Hope they’re paying you serious bucks, that’s a lot of bullshit to untangle.” David stepped away from the car and Taker, smiling down at her. “Emery, you want to have breakfast with me in the morning?  Celebrate you coming back?” His brown eyes were warm and friendly.

 

Was Emery smiling at that idiot?  When were they on good terms like this?  That was just gross. “Feeding people your meat again, Davey boy?”

 

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

 

“As sweet as that offer is, I can’t.  Meetings up the ass tomorrow and they start at 6 AM, sharp.”

 

Emery wasn’t lying.  She’d told Cheryl to inform the writing team they were all going to sit down and go over all the changes she’d made tonight.  She took every single person’s word to heart and their ideas under consideration, never dismissing anyone.  It was the reason she lasted as long as she did on the writing team.  Besides, she didn’t want to have any kind of meal with David, not after spending time with Mark.  He was the one she wanted to eat and talk to; David was in this for the money, fame and that twinkle in his eyes also told her he was interested in more than food.  She would not be another notch on his belt.  The man was a whore, according to Randy and Paul.

 

“Besides, she already knows she can enjoy a buffet with me.”

 

Mark had moved to Emery’s side and draped his arm around her shoulder, pulling her in with a smirk, though his venomous green gaze never left the other man.  David wanted to go toe to toe with him, fine.  Let the games on all fields begin.  And the man was obviously interested in Emery for more than a friendship.  Not happening, every woman David had screwed in the company wound up fired for one reason or another.  Emery had just gotten back, so there was no way he was allowing her to be canned again because of this dick.

 

“Isn’t that right, Queenie?”

 

He meant something completely different than what he had said and rage flashed in David’s eyes, but the smile never faltered.

 

Now they were fighting over her? 

 

Emery didn’t like this one bit, seeing the anger flash in David’s eyes and slowly moved away from Mark, shaking her head. “I am NOT getting in the middle of this, whatever is going on between the two of you.  Why don’t you have breakfast together and sort out your issues, hmm?  I have to get some sleep or else I’m gonna be dead at the meetings tomorrow morning.  Good night, gentlemen.”

 

Opening her car door, Emery tossed her bag in the backseat and then slipped behind the wheel, starting the ignition to pull out.  She yawned again, turning some music on and drove away from both men.  Though Emery had to admit, the buffet idea with Mark did sound appealing and she sighed, hoping he understood why she just blew him off in front of David.

 

“Looks like you got denied too, Calaway.”

 

“She’s not one of your whores.”

 

“You think I want to fuck her?  Just because I asked her to breakfast?” David snorted derisively. “I’d take her to dinner first, not out for an egg McMuffin.  Not unless she’s into that kind of thing, then maybe I’d serve her eggs… sunny side up.”

 

Mark didn’t even think twice about doing it, just punched David as hard as he could, which was pretty hard. “Sunny side up that one.” He sniffed, stepping over the now unconscious man and headed for his Harley.

 

5 hours later, Emery was up and had gone down the street to the local Starbucks for a triple shot of expresso and the strongest coffee they had.  She was going to need it to get through this meeting.  It was taking place at an empty office building Vince had rented out for them to use for a couple hours.  Upon arrival, she was greeted by all the writers and welcomed back with open arms, hugging all of them.  She apologized for what happened, promising to never let it happen again and they were about to make some DRASTIC changes going into No Way Out.  It was a couple weeks away and…Karen had come up with the idea to have Mark and David visit Raw in order to add fire to the feud.  So, they would be pulling double duty starting Monday. 

 

Another 4 hours later, Emery finally dismissed the writing team and shook hands with all of them, feeling dead on her feet.  They had ordered breakfast, but now she was starving since it was a little after 10 AM.  Still breakfast time technically, but since she’d already had that meal for the day, Emery decided to have an early lunch as well.  Randy and Paul were doing appearances for the company, so she was on her own and walked out of the building, wondering if there was a Subway nearby. 

 

A hand reached out and snatched her back into a doorway.  Subway, sure, but there was also a bar that served food.  Liquor and lunch, perfect combination.  Early lunch, but who ate at a bar?

 

“So, Karen tells me I’m going to RAW, any truth to that?” When she looked both relieved and annoyed, Mark smirked. “I got pull around here, Queenie, and Karen and I go back.”

 

“Goddamn you!” She started smacking him repeatedly in the arm, knowing it didn’t hurt and clutched her chest with her other hand. “Seriously Mark, you’re going to give me a damn heart attack or stroke if you keep doing that!” Emery smacked him one more time for good measure, shaking her head at his grin and felt her heart slowly begin dislodging from her throat. “Yes, you’re going to Raw on Monday.  You’re going to ECW as well.” Currently, there were three main shows per week – Raw, ECW and Smackdown!. “You’re going to scare the shit out of John Cena on Raw, do the same thing to Bobby Lashley on ECW and then finally Batista on Smackdown!.  Then the following Monday, you’ll make you’ll choice on who to face at WrestleMania with your Rumble win.  And you have free reign and creative control on how you want to…make your presence felt.  Now here’s question for you: What are you doing here?” This was an abandoned building on the outskirts of Phoenix.

 

“Woman, I’ll snatch you off any street I damn well please and look,” He turned and pointed to the sign hanging over the door. “Bar.  Beer.  Food.  Also, nobody pays me any attention here.” One of the reasons why it had become his favorite place here.  He made sure to have ‘spots’ in the places they tended to come back to every year or so, sometimes twice. “Come on, Queenie, come keep me company.” Mark pulled her into the bar, heading towards the actual bar. “Now, free reign huh?  Your boss okay that?”

 

Considering she was the ‘boss’ so to speak, Emery had no problem nodding her head in confirmation. “Yes.”

 

It was very difficult to deny this man anything he wanted, she’d figured that out quickly while in Sedona.  She was hungry and the smell of food made her stomach rumble, so she figured it couldn’t hurt.  If nobody bothered him here, chances were the other Superstars, like David, wouldn’t walk in on them eating together.  Why was she worried about David anyway?

 

“What do you recommend here, Deadman?  Since this is your ‘place’?” She smirked, looking at the small menu in front of her and decided she’d definitely be getting an order of potato skins with extra sour cream.

 

“All of it, everything is good.” Not that there was much to pick from.  Fried skins, wings, French fries and onion rings, burgers was about it. “We want an order of everything.” He ordered for her. “Beer for me.” Mark eyeballed Emery, wondering if she would drink this early in the day and cocked an eyebrow. “And one for her.” She would. “So… what’s the deal with you and Batista, Queenie?” Why was Batista up her backside and thinking they were friends?

 

“Do I detect jealousy in your voice, Deadman?” Emery teased, giggling at his snort and took a sip of her beer once it was brought over.  The food would more than drown away any chance of a buzz. “Nothing is going on with me and him.  He’s been nice to me and got me a Rubik’s cube lunchbox, but…” She shrugged, looking down at her beer while running the pad of her thumb around the rim of the glass. “I know he’s only being friendly towards me because of the line.  I’m not stupid.” She sincerely hoped that wasn’t the case with Mark.

 

“Why would that matter?  You’re just a fucking assistant, Queenie.  You can’t pull any major strings.  He wants to fuck you.”

 

That was his opinion, though… giving her a Rubik’s cube lunch pail… what the hell kind of courting present was that?  One for a geek and Mark remembered hearing about David’s old tin lunchbox collection, inwardly rolling his eyes.  He couldn’t escape this crap to save his life!

 

“Or he actually likes you.” He admitted reluctantly, grudgingly.

 

If only he knew just how many strings she’d pulled over the years…Emery frowned at his last statement and shook her head. “Then he’s stupid.” She could be blunt when she wanted to be and dipped a potato skin in the sour cream dipping sauce. “I don’t think he likes me and if he does, that’s on him.  I don’t like him.  I don’t respect him.  I think he sucks in the ring, personally, and…he’s just not my type.” At all, she added in thought, groaning at how good the skin was the moment she tasted it. “So he can take his sweet talking and offers for breakfast, lunch and dinner somewhere else.”

 

“You’re a sucker for pain, you know that?” Mark informed her, popping a wing in his mouth, enjoying the burn of the hot sauce.  After a few minutes, he washed it down with beer, studying Emery thoughtfully. “He could be genuinely interested in you as a person and you run him the fuck down.  I… assault you, and your shit, and here you are, eating with me.  Like the abuse, do you?” He winked at her. “My kind of girl.”

 

“No – no I don’t like pain.  Where the hell did you get that assumption from?  And you didn’t assault me…you just spanked me.  I don’t consider that assault.  Foreplay, if anything.” She laughed when he choked on the bite of chicken wing and took a sip of her beer. “And the only reason you broke my laptop was because I spray painted your bike.  And why are we even discussing this?  We made a truce, yeah?” Emery eyed him almost shrewdly, taking another skin in her mouth and wiped some of the sour cream from the corner. “And I’m eating with you because you scared the shit out of me and dragged me in here to keep you company.” He was far better company than David, though she wouldn’t admit it. “And maybe I like hanging out with you because you’re not as big of a dick as others think.” Emery liked him, period, and she was a fool for doing so, but couldn’t help it.

 

Mark just ate in silence, thinking about what she had said and what he knew about her.  He was rapidly reaching the conclusion that she was a sucker for pain, or had been in abusive relationships, because she was justifying everything he had done to her.  She was excusing his behavior.  He did like a messed-up woman and snorted, draining the last of his beer.

 

“You’re fucked up.” He finally started laughing.

 

“If that’s what you think, more power to you.” Emery pulled her wallet out to take some money out to pay for her half of the meal, but Mark stopped her. “Mark, you don’t have to-”

 

She sighed when he merely tossed some bills on the counter, took her hand and pulled her out of the bar, both of them stuffed like Thanksgiving turkeys.  Did he forget everything she’d done to him too?  The bike spray painting, Randy pissing on the seat of the bike, the flyers…Mark had shown a different side of himself in Sedona and now that they were back on the road, nothing had changed.  He was the same.

 

“If I’m fucked up, then what the hell does that make you?”

 

“Darlin’, I already know I’m fucked up.” Mark expressed with a wide, teeth baring grin. “I’m just one of the few people who will acknowledge just how fucked up I am.  You’re still in denial.” About a lot of things, he draped his arm around her, tucking her into his side as they walked. “So where are you parked?” He had brought a cab and needed a ride.

 

“Denial my ass.” Emery yelped when he promptly smacked her backside with one hard blow, not expecting it and smirked up at him impishly. “Maybe I am a little fucked up.” She laughed, leaning against his side as they made their way to her rental. “Hold on.” Stopping in front of it, Emery took her hair out of the bun it was twisted in and flipped it forward to run her fingers through it before flipping it back up. “I did what you said and got the split ends take care of.  So, where are we off to, Deadman?  Wanna drive or do you want me to?”

 

Promptly, he grabbed hold of her hair and pulled her back by it, not surprised at all by the sudden flush that spread from her cheeks on down.  He’d wager it was spreading over her chest as well.  It was an arousal flush and he thought it again.  Masochist.  Mark studied her hair, nodding.

 

“Looks good, Queenie.” He eyed her. “You’re driving and I don’t care, why don’t you try to surprise me?”

 

“You really have to stop doing that.” Emery muttered, trying to get the flush to go away and involuntarily shivered again, nudging him.  Then she drew her hair up several times and finally tied it back in a ponytail, which felt better than the tight bun it’d been in moments ago. “You’re an ass, get in.”

 

Slipping behind the wheel, she fired up the car and gestured to the seatbelt, smirking when he reluctantly clipped it.  Where could she take this man that would totally shock him?  They were in Phoenix so…an idea suddenly popped into her head.  Since he didn’t have a full knowledge about the nerd side of her, Emery was about to open him up to a whole new world and turned on classic rock.

 

He just let her drive, staring out the window and watched the scenery.  Mark was comfortably full and she had the air conditioning blasting, which was great because Phoenix was hot.  Texas was hot, but this was an arid, dry heat that left him feeling like he needed to bathe in lotion.  She was singing along to the radio and he shifted to stare at her.  Just where would she take him?  He was betting a geek convention of some kind.

 

Chapter 15

 

Pulling up to a weird shaped building, Emery grinned and stepped out of the car with Mark, taking his hand. “Come on Deadman it won't be that bad and nothing will bite you.  I don't think.” She giggled at his incredulous look and guided him inside beaming at the wall to wall comic books strewn through the store. “This is the best comic book store ever.”

 

“As I live and breathe...Emery Collins… where have you been all my life?”

 

Not releasing Mark’s hand, Emery grinned at the older gentleman and gave him a one-armed hug.  “Frank, love of my life.  How the hell are you?”

 

“Getting by, beautiful.”

 

She had brought him to a comic book store and it was… who the fuck was Frank?  Mark let go of her hand, walking away to start eyeballing the stuff on the wall.  When he was a kid, he remembered reading the Sunday paper, just to read that particular section.  Comics had sold by dimes and quarters.  These items were expensive these days.  Mark noticed HIS comic and began smirking.  That had been years ago when it was made.

 

“So who is the guy?” Frank nudged his head in the giant’s direction, wondering if Emery had lost her mind to hang out with someone like that.

 

“You don’t recognize him?” When Frank kept eyeballing Mark for a few more seconds, his eyes widened and she started laughing, nodding. “Pick your jaw back up, Frankie.  Yes, that’s exactly who you think it is.”

 

“How the hell did you manage to bring HIM here, of all places?”

 

“Well this is the best damn comic book store on planet earth.  Why wouldn’t I visit my favorite guy?” Emery winked, looking over at Mark who was admiring his own comic book.  It was a mint condition copy, as was everything else in the store. “We were in town, figured I’d stop by and see if you have anything new for me.”

 

Frank chuckled, nodding and gestured her over behind the counter while her…friend browsed the sections.

 

“OH MY GOD, seriously?!” Emery was afraid to touch the comic book he’d pulled out, sky blues wide and hesitantly took it with the utmost care. “This is a first edition…Frank, how?”

 

“I saw that and immediately put it up for you.  That’s the first Green Arrow comic book ever made.  Mint condition, not a scratch or flaw.  It’s worth a pretty penny and I knew nobody would appreciate it more than you.”

 

“How much?” Emery was already digging out her wallet, shaking a little and pulled her credit card out. “Frankie, no…”

 

“Consider it a belated birthday gift.” He kissed her cheek in a purely platonic way and chuckled when she tossed her arms around his neck. “You’re welcome, Ems.”

 

“My Dad is going to freak out when he sees this.”

 

She was geeking out over a comic book and he was not surprised at all.  Mark returned the comics he had been browsing back to their shelves.  He already had his serial, all signed by the artists, and in a vault somewhere along with a lot of memorabilia.  If she had been a wrestling fanatic, he could have probably shown her his collection and made her cream her panties.

 

“Mark.” He held out his hand when he got close, the guy, Frank, staring at him.

 

“Nice to meet you, sir.”

 

Frank shook his hand firmly with a friendly smile, not believing Emery had brought the Undertaker into his store.  They began conversing while Emery continued gawking over her newest acquisition.  When Taker asked how he knew her, he decided to fill the big man in.

 

“Em is a good girl.  Known her since she was a little girl.  Her Dad used to bring her in here at least once a week shortly after I opened.  They lived in Scottsdale and would make a father/daughter trip up here every weekend to see me.  I’ve known her and her family a long time.  She’s like a daughter to me or something.  Anyway, find anything you like?”

 

“Yeah, your surrogate daughter… I’m thinking about taking her home with me.”

 

“What?” He was joking, right?  Frank didn’t know the man other than what he had seen on television.

 

Mark smiled, green eyes sparkling with amusement. “I’m just teasing, sir.” Not really, he just wanted to see Frank’s reaction. “I’d take her out to dinner first.”

 

Emery never picked out normal people, did she?  He sighed wearily. “We need to have the talk, son?”

 

“Sure.” This could be amusing.

 

“What kind of talk would that be, Frankie dear?”

 

Frank smirked, groaning when she hopped on his back in a piggyback ride and shook his head, looking over his shoulder at her. “Aren’t you a little old to be doin’ this to me?”

 

“Nope.  Never too old to have fun, you should know that.” Kissing his cheek, she hopped back down and finally moved to stand beside Mark again, her comic book in the plastic store bag she held at her side.

 

“He said he was gonna take you home and I wanna make sure he’s got good intentions.”

 

Not missing a beat, Emery shrugged with a smile. “He’s already been to my house, so I wouldn’t mind seeing his.”

 

“WHAT?!”

 

Emery started rolling with laughter at Frank’s face.

 

“I followed her home.” Mark declaimed with a shrug, resting his arm on the top of her head just because she was the perfect height for it. “And then taught her how to handle a joystick right.”

 

“What the-”

 

“Video game, man. We were racing, had to teach her how to thumb it right.” He even gestured, looking a little too innocent.

 

“You take him to meet your folks yet?”

 

“No, why would I?” Emery tilted her head, looking confused and then felt her eyes widen, cottoning onto what Frank was insinuating. “Wait – wait, no Frankie, no we’re not – no.  No, it’s not like that.  We’re…friends.” That was the right term to use, right? “We’re not bumping uglies or anything like that.”

 

Frank sputtered. “B-Bumping uglies?!  Emery Collins!”

 

“Well you know, we’re not doing the horizontal salsa…”

 

“Oh dear Jesus…”

 

“I’m not whacking the salami…” Emery couldn’t resist continuing.

 

“ENOUGH!  I got it.  You two, not together.  Got it.” Frank was going to have a heart attack hearing her talk like this. “Just…keep it that way and if you do end up…together, you should introduce him to your folks.”

 

There was no way Mark saw her as desirable in any capacity.

 

“Wait, wait, wait…” Mark held up his hands, a bit confused. “In order to fuck her, I have to meet her folks?  And just what the hell, Queenie, is wrong with bumping uglies with me?  I’ll have you know, there isn’t anything ugly with my-”

 

“Jesus Christ, you are nothing like your character!” Frank interjected, a bit bemused and somewhat freaked out. “You’re nothing, but a foulmouthed bas-”

 

“What was that?” Mark’s hand was firmly around Frank’s throat, not hurting him, but… not letting him move either.  His voice had dropped to pure venom, darkness lacing each word. “Foulmouthed what?  Hmm?”

 

“Bastard.”

 

“Fair enough.” He let the other man go, grinning again. “Not fazed a bit, are you?”

 

“I own a comic book store, you are the LEAST scary person I’ve seen in here.”

 

Emery was startled when he throttled Frank, having every intention of saving her old friend and father figure, but when Mark let him go joking, she immediately calmed down. “I don’t think he was implying you HAVE to meet my parents to have sex with me.  He was just saying IF we did end up together, then you should meet them.”

 

Why would he even want to?  Didn’t he think of her as a dork chick?  Yes, yes he did.  This was a pointless conversation.  Mark was making a point, in his own volatile way and it somewhat turned her on.  Maybe she really was ‘fucked up’ as he so eloquently put it earlier.

 

“He didn’t hurt you, did he?”

 

“Sounds pretty damn sure to me.” Did Emery have any idea what kind of man she was currently hanging out with? “No, I’m fine.”

 

“Good.”

 

“For the record, if I had hurt him, what were you going to do, Queenie?” His tone was drenched in amusement as he stared down at her.  She had looked ready to spring on him; did Emery even know how to defend herself?  Life wasn’t like a video game. “Hitting the X and triangle button won’t take me down, you know that, right?”

 

“Oh for the love of…”

 

“There’s always a way to drive a big man to his knees, Mark.  And don’t you forget it.  Frankie has known me since I was little and I protect my family.” Emery didn’t appreciate being challenged, folding her arms in front of her chest and smiled sweetly at Frank. “He calls me Queenie because of my video game expertise.”

 

“Son, you have no idea just how great she is.” Meaning that on all accounts, not just the video gaming. “And I can hold my own, Ems.  Don’t need you fighting my battles for me.”

 

“When it comes to him, yes you do.  He’s not an ordinary man, if you haven’t noticed.”

 

Frank cleared his throat. “Sure did.” He really hoped the Undertaker didn’t hurt Emery or he would find a way to hurt the big man.

 

“So… let me get this straight,” He drawled, green eyes flashing acid for a moment as he measured her thoughtfully, stroking his chin. “You cook, you’re a video game whiz, you’re an obviously skilled writer, and now you’re apparently capable of taking down a man my size.  You don’t really have much of a personal life, do you?”

 

“I didn’t say I knew how to do it, now did I?  I just said there are ways to get it done.” Emery snorted, rolling her eyes at him and could tell Frank was trying not to laugh. “Traveling with the WWE all the time, don’t really have time for a personal life.”

 

“Hell no you don’t, when’s the last time you visited your folks anyway?”

 

“It’s been a while.”

 

Emery didn’t tell them about her suspension, not until she knew whether she was completely gone from WWE or not.  Thankfully, she hadn’t jumped the gun and told them.  The last thing she wanted to do was disappoint her parents after working so hard to get to where she was today.

 

“I’ll go see them soon-ish.”

 

“You’d better.”

 

“Yes Dad.”

 

“You don’t see them much, do you?” Miss Had No Personal Life, he snorted at the look she gave him and rolled his eyes.  She was perfect for the traveling gig then, never seeing her loved ones, no personal relationships outside of her best boyfriends and, apparently, now him.

 

“How well do you two know each other?” Not a lot came to mind and to be honest, Frank was a little curious about their relationship.

 

“I know she sucks at Blur, but makes damn fine scrambled eggs.”

 

“I really don’t know much about him other than he does great at Blur and is a damn fine kisser.” Emery grinned, shrugging at his arched brow while staring down at her and glanced at the clock. “Oops, we should be going.  Got a show tonight and unfortunately, duty calls.” She hugged Frank tightly around the neck, squeezing him and whispered ‘thank you’ in his ear for her magnificent gift.  It would be a fine addition to her other comic books, which was vast. “It was so good seeing you again, Frankie.” Pulling back, she kissed his cheek and blushed when he tapped her nose with his finger.  A habit he’d done since she was a little girl. “I’ll try to be back soon.”

 

Frank nodded, understanding why she had to leave and eyeballed the giant shrewdly, watching them walk out of his store shaking his head.

 

“Well that was fun!  And I bet you lost your comic book store virginity, didn’t you?”

 

At that, he outright laughed, shaking his head. “Darlin’, with as old as I am… no.  When I was a kid, I used to go visit the one downtown all the time and the old arcade.  I loved Donkey Kong.” Mark rarely saw them anymore, not like he remembered.  Now they were all flashy shooter games and dancing things. “Shit, I’m old, thanks for the reminder, Queenie.” He cleared his throat, deciding he would avoid dating himself anymore. “What was the comic he gave you?”

 

“Donkey Kong was good, but nothing compared to Mario, of any kind.” Emery looked down at the bag, her eyes sparkling and heaved a gentle sigh. “He shouldn’t have done it.  He should’ve sold it and made the money.” Now she was talking to herself, sliding behind the wheel and pulled the comic book out of the bag carefully. “The very first edition of Green Arrow – mint condition.  Never opened, never touched…it’s incredibly rare.  And he just gave it to me.” Emery sounded in awe, shaking her head when he reached for it and immediately slid it back in the bag. “Nope, that’s where I draw the line, Calaway.  You don’t touch the comic books, especially this one.  But it’s nice to know you have a geek inside of you after all.”

 

“You do know Donkey Kong came first, right?” He asserted conversationally, ignoring the look she shot him. “Without it, Mario probably wouldn’t have taken off.  Mario was the ‘opponent’ in the game.  It was like… four or five years after that the Mario games started coming on.” On the original Nintendo, Mark remembered that; it had been after he had graduated school.  He could remember playing some dirt bike racing game that was really crappy in retrospect and the 2nd Mario game, which had been confusing as hell.

 

“Did you forget who you’re talking to here, Deadman?” Emery remarked, starting the car and drove away from Frank’s comic book store, feeling a sense of sadness wash over her.  It was always hard to say goodbye to him, even more so than her parents. “Mario is still better, but I do agree with you that Donkey Kong helped launch Mario’s popularity.  That and Yoshi.” Her favorite Mario character. “They don’t make games like that anymore.  I remember Mario Kart on the Nintendo 64.  I would play that game for hours on end and my Mom would get so mad cause my Dad was the same way.” Deciding to switch topics, Emery stopped at a red light and glanced over at him out of the corner of her eye. “You seemed kinda…perturbed when I told Frank we weren’t together.  If I offended you, sorry.”

 

“No, Queenie, not perturbed, more a little whiplashed by the way you said it.  You couldn’t seem to get it out fast enough, ashamed of me?”

 

Yoshi was a stupid dinosaur and he had skipped the 64 along with pretty much everything else up, until recently  That was only because systems had become portable and he needed a way to wind down that didn’t involve strippers or luring women to his bed.  Apparently, he was getting old.  Or just tired of the games.

 

“Or are you still playing innocent virgin with your family?”

 

“Why would I be ashamed of you?  There’s nothing to be ashamed of.” Emery pushed her glasses up her nose, looking back at the road as the light turned green. “We’re not together though, not the way Frank was thinking.  And my family knows I’m not a virgin.  Being a virgin at age 30,” She paused when his eyes shot open and chuckled, nodding. “Yeah – me – 30-years-old.  You really think I’d be a virgin by now?  Not very realistic and my parents don’t think that at all.  Frankie is a little…old-school, but still a great man.  I’m anything but innocent.” Then she decided to ask him the one question that refused to leave her brain. “Do you think of me as anything other than a coworker/friend?  Are you…attracted to me or were you just pulling Frankie’s leg back there?” Believe it or not, she hadn’t been as engrossed in the comic book as she made them believe, hearing every word spoken between the men.

 

Mark had to think about that, wondering if she had worded that virgin line wrong; maybe she was a little on the frazzled side.  He already knew she wasn’t a virgin, she had to many tells about her preferences.  Mark bet he could tie her up and leave her there, after he was done ravishing her, and she would still pass out without a care.  He’d even let her keep on the glasses, add in some pigtails… could be hot.  Was hot.  He had an erection and mentally slapped himself.

 

“You’re my friend, aren’t you, Queenie?” He shot back, gauging her expression. “I’d fuck you though.”

 

“Yes, friends.  And – what?” Emery blinked, not expecting to hear that out of his mouth and started laughing, though it was a nervous laughter. “Wait, you’re serious?  You’d actually have sex with someone like me?”