Chapter 1


Rain poured down in gallons, which didn’t happen often in the luxury city known as Las Vegas.  Horns blared, people ran across the busy streets, hoping not to be clipped by a maniac taxi driver.  The city never slept, it was more alive than New York ever thought about being.  Lights flashed wildly on the strip, igniting the city at all hours of the day and night.  It didn’t matter when one stepped out to go for a walk, the lights never stopped burning bright and the casinos were always open 24/7.  Very rarely did Las Vegas get rain because of the dry terrain from being on the outskirts of the Mojave Desert.  There was also Red Rock Canyon, a favorite landmark for tourists.  Vegas was beautiful, especially when the sun was out shining brightly.


Just not today.


Anciana sighed heavily standing at a crosswalk, looking down at her watch and saw it was a quarter to 9 AM, knowing she was going to be late for work again.  Vegas traffic was unpredictable, especially when it rained because all the crazy drivers seemed to come out to play.  Though her boss was getting tired of hearing the excuses, Anciana was sure of it.  Her crystal blue eyes looked up at the crosswalk light, watching them change colors.  When the white walk sign flicked on, Anciana immediately hurried across the street with the slew of other people and made her way to the other side, knowing if she ran the rest of the way she would barely make it to work on time.  She only lived a few blocks away from work, so she walked every day, seeing no point in taking a car.  However, now, Anciana wished she would invest in one so she could get to work on time for once.


Stupid traffic, she thought while stopping at another crosswalk with the blinking red light and glanced down at something that caught her eye.  A mark on her pencil skirt – great.  Just what Anciana needed, as if she didn’t already look unprofessional enough with her Aubergine wine colored hair put up in a messy bun.  She looked like a drowned rat with the rain, having forgotten to grab her umbrella on her way out the door that morning.  Glancing up at the crosswalk sign, Anciana saw it had already flicked to the white walker symbol and continued on her way, deciding her boss would have to deal with her appearance.


Her thoughts were cut short as the sound of a car came to a screeching halt, Anciana barely having time to see the headlights heading towards her.  It was too late.  The bumper of the car crashed into her legs, forcing Anciana’s body to fly in the air and coming back down, smacking her head on the windshield.  She didn’t even have time to scream because of how fast it happened; her body sliding off the hood of the car and landing on the concrete with another thud.  Darkness quickly enveloped her as Anciana succumbed to it letting it pull her under, eyes drifting closed while pain radiated through every part of her small frame.


“OH MY GOD, SOMEONE CALL 911!!” Someone screamed from their window, making the driver immediately get out of his car to kneel beside the victim.


The driver, a rather tall man, felt his breath catch in his throat at the sight of the woman and slowly turned her over since she curled up, her face hidden by her arm.  He stared into her beautiful face, which was now bloody due to a cut across her forehead from hitting the windshield.  Sliding his hand beneath her neck and lifted it up, checking her pulse with his other, the driver sighed with relief when he felt it, but it was slow and very weak.  Gently placing her head back on the ground, he stood up and looked down at his hands, starting to tremble with pure fear when he saw a red liquid covering both of them.




It wasn’t his either.


It was hers.


Mark ‘the Undertaker’ Calaway had rifled through this woman’s belongings, scouting out her information.  When the ambulance and police had arrived on the scene, he was practically in tears as he informed them what had happened.  Being charged with vehicular assault was not high on his list of things to do or experience, ever.  Now – now, hours after the fact, he was sitting in a long, busy hallway of one of Vegas’s many hospitals, twiddling his thumbs.  Long, black jean encased legs stretched out before him as he waited on Anciana’s doctors to come out and tell him what was going on with her.  He would be back; he now had to face a judge at a small arraignment, which… he would ensure was a matter of formality and nothing serious.  Jail time, prison time, was not in his cards either.  He stood up when the doors just behind to the right opened, shifting to stare down at the surgeon.




Doctor Horris rubbed his hands together, clearing his throat because he’d worked for hours on his patient and barely kept her alive. “Anciana has a severe concussion and some swelling on the brain.  She slipped into a coma upon arrival at the hospital and we had to rush her to emergency surgery because she started crashing.  We had to relieve the swell on her brain, which is why the surgery took so long.  Luckily, we managed to get the swelling to go down and fixed the hemorrhage she suffered.  She should recover with no problem, but we have no idea how long it will take her to regain consciousness.  Her left arm is broken along with two fractured legs, which also had to be repaired surgically by our orthopedic surgeon, Doctor Matson.”


Basically, in a nutshell, Anciana would be here for quite a while and then, when she was released, she would need a caretaker.  Mark made a mental note to arrange for a temporary live-in nurse for the woman.  She had been hit a bit harder than he had thought, apparently. “All right… who do I speak with to start settling up the bill?” Because that, on top of being here with her until she woke up, was the very least he could do.


“I’m not done, Mr. Calaway.” The doctor could tell the man was a little…anxious and looked down at his chart briefly before back at the giant. “We also had to perform a third surgery, so keep in mind we had to cut into her in 3 different areas of her body.  One of her ribs punctured her kidney and we had to remove it; it was unsalvageable.  She can live with just one kidney though and the other one is functioning well.  Other than that, it’s just a lot of bumps and bruises.  She did have a deep laceration on her forehead from the impact and we had it sewn up by one of our finest plastic surgeons, so she won’t have a scar once it’s healed.  All in all, she’s a tough woman and she’s going to be fine, but we still have her under critical condition until the swelling in her brain goes down fully.” Doctor Horris concluded, dabbing his forehead with a tissue since the room was somewhat stuffy.


Mark stared down at the physician out of narrowed, venomous eyes. “You couldn’t have just said it all at once?” He asked flatly, wondering if the man liked dramatic pauses. “I’ll have my card on file for her medical needs.”


He hadn’t gotten to see her face overly well and the damage he had seen, when he had gotten out of his car to check on her, hadn’t exactly given him an understanding of what she had looked like.  Mark would assume the doctors were as good as they were bragging, and she’d appear fine.  He was a bit more concerned with her mental state.


“How long is the expected recovery period?”


Doctor Horris didn’t appreciate the attitude this man had and squared his shoulders, narrowing his own eyes. “Mr. Calaway, with all due respect, you’re the reason she’s in here with all of these injuries.  You’re the one who struck her with your car.  A little more patience on your part and sympathy will go a long way.” He advised coolly, adjusting the stethoscope around his neck. “Unknown at this time due to the swelling in her brain.  It can be anywhere from 3 months to years.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other patients to check on and I suggest you call a lawyer.  You’re going to need one when the young lady wakes up.  Better to prepare yourself.” He walked away, instructing his nurse to keep Anciana in ICU until he personally instructed her to be moved to a room.  This young lady would be lucky if she ever woke up again and survived what happened.


Everything that doctor said was instantly dismissed.  Lawyer up… not a bad idea, but not for the lawsuit or whatever else the idiot physician thought he would need it for.  He ambled down the hallway, beginning to smirk as he considered options from here on out.  First, Mark would set up that medical fund for his new acquisition and then make a phone call to someone who wasn’t a waste of his time.  Someone who would be able to tell him what he would need at home.  It looked like Anciana would be a long-term investment for him and he was glad he had infinite patience when it came to things that he either wanted or interested him.  All due respect, all due respect… and he hadn’t even tried running.  Mark had answered questions for the police, come to the hospital and had been here for eternity during her surgeries… all due respect.  He snorted, flipping his ink black hair back behind his shoulder.




“Hello, is this Miss Cameria Reynolds?”


“Yeah…who’s calling?”


“Miss Reynolds, this is Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center calling.  We have you down as the emergency contact of Anciana June Williams.  She was brought in this morning to our ER…”


Cameria didn’t pay attention to anything else the receptionist at the hospital said, too busy panicking while trying to pull her tennis shoes on.  The lady had explained the reasoning why she was brought into the ER, but Cameria heard nothing.  Why the hell was Anciana at the hospital??  The worst-case scenarios flashed through her mind while Cameria flew out the door, grabbing her purse she knew had everything in it she would need.  Of course, it would be down pouring on the ONE day Cameria had to speed to the hospital!  Something told her Anciana was in bad shape, especially if the hospital was contacting her.  It definitely wasn’t a stubbed toe or anything of that caliber.  Whatever happened was bad; Cameria jumped into her car and floored it out of the parking garage of the apartment building they lived in, tears stinging her midnight blue eyes.


Being nearly 10 years apart in age did nothing to destroy the bond Anciana and Cameria had.  From the moment they met 2 years ago, there was an instant connection not a lot of people could understand.  Anciana had walked into the bar Cameria worked for at the time, asking for a double scotch on the rocks.  She looked to be having a hard day and presented her ID, keeping her eyes lowered to the bar counter.  Cameria poured her the drink, asked her if she wanted to talk about what was bothering her and their friendship grew from there.  There were nights they closed the bar down leaning against each other, laughing so hard tears streamed down their cheeks.  Neither were alcoholics, but it definitely helped each of them spill some pretty embarrassing and dark stories about their pasts.


It helped Cameria get past a dark point in her life, something she was still suffering through, thanks to her self-proclaimed ex dirt bag of a husband.  2 months into their newfound friendship, Anciana got to meet the douchebag refusing to relinquish his hold on Cameria.  He stormed into the bar at midnight and demanded Cameria to give him a ride home, stone cold drunk.  Cameria had a few drinks in her already and didn’t feel comfortable drinking and driving, but she didn’t want her husband causing a ruckus at her job.  Anciana stopped her, offering to drive him and was pie faced for her troubles when she tried stepping between Cameria and the dirt bag.  A few seconds later, Anciana had whirled him around, kicked him in the gut and delivered a DDT to the hard-wooden floor of the bar, knocking him out cold.


That was the night Cameria vowed to never get on Anciana’s bad side and she found out what her newfound friend wanted to do for a living.


Anciana ran away from home at the tender age of 16, skipping out on her high school education in order to make her dream of becoming a professional woman wrestler come true.  Her father forbade her to pursue the same life he did as a professional wrestler, wanting something better for his daughter, but Anciana was steadfast.  Wrestling was in her blood.  All she ever wanted was to step foot inside the squared circle and kick some major backside, to prove to the world, as well as her family, she could do it.  If Anciana wanted to tell her, she would’ve and 5 years later, she still didn’t know which family.  Hell, Cameria didn’t care where Anciana originated from and considered her a little sister, always having her back the same way Anciana had hers.


After the incident with Cameria’s soon-to-be ex-husband, she was fired from the bar and evicted from her apartment.  Anciana came to her rescue again, offering her to move in and they could be roommates once she got back on her feet.  It was hard living in Las Vegas and Cameria had cried, thanking her for being so kind opening her life and home to her.  Anciana claimed at that moment they were more than friends, they were sisters and nobody would change that.  She would find a way to help Cameria get out of her marriage, which made her decide to get a job as an administrative assistant to one of the most brilliant lawyers Vegas had to offer.  They took on Cameria’s divorce case and Anciana had paid for it out of pocket, telling her roommate not to worry about it.  So far, they had dragged their feet with the divorce proceedings, but hopefully it wouldn’t be too much longer before Cameria was finally a free single woman.


It was Cameria’s turn to be there for Anciana as she broke out of her thoughts, wiping the tears away.  She couldn’t think the worse because, if she did, her world would crumble.  Anciana had kept her grounded for the past 2 years and Cameria had no idea what would happen if she lost her little sister.  Whoever hurt her would pay dearly and possibly with their own life if anything happened to Anciana.


“I’m coming Ani, just hang in there, girl…”


Chapter 2


Mark was not surprised one whit when that woman, with the weird name he hadn’t bothered learning to pronounce, was finally called in.  Finally.  He had gone out of his way to befriend and charm every nurse on this floor, from every shift, though that initial physician and him… well, they were never going to exchange holiday cards, that was for sure.  He had also spent an insane amount of time on the phone with his confidante, arranging for what Anciana would need when she was eventually released and wondering just what kind of woman he was about to be dealing with.  Sighing, he slumped back in the chair next to the bed Anciana lay in, glancing at her, or what he could see of her.


The moment Cameria walked inside the ICU room to see her best friend and saw a giant at her bedside, she immediately became defensive. “What the fuck is he doing in here?” The doctor had informed her what happened, including how Anciana’s injuries came about by being struck by a car by Mr. Calaway. “I don’t want him in here.  Get him out of here NOW.” She ordered the nurse, pointing at the door with fire in her dark midnight blues.


“Ma’am, I…” The nurse had been charmed by Mr. Calaway and she didn’t want to get on his bad side, hesitating. “I don’t think…”


“I. SAID. NOW.” Cameria ordered, immediately going to Anciana’s side and took her hand, tears swelled in her eyes at the horrific condition her sister was in. “It’s because of you she’s here.  This is your fault and you have no right to be here!  NOW GET OUT!”


The nurse sighed heavily, seeing the woman would not listen to reason and decided to go retrieve Doctor Horris to speak with her. “Mr. Calaway, please step outside until Doctor Horris gets here.  I’ve paged him and hopefully he can smooth things over.”


“Not fucking likely.  Fucking prick.” Cameria hissed, glaring at the nurse and already had plans to replace her with someone who HADN’T been charmed by this asshole.


It was hilarious, he mused awhile later, how Cameria thought she was going to start harassing all these poor nurses and try getting them to change out, on every shift.  Obviously, this woman was an idiot, who didn’t realize that nurses were unfortunately, usually, overworked and underpaid.  Quite frankly, there weren’t enough available nurses to be switching around considering most of them worked this floor for a reason.  So, they stayed, and so did Mark, though he was polite enough to remain in the hallway.  Not that that stopped him from hearing her harpy shrieking when she didn’t get her way.


“If you don’t stop shrieking, ma’am, we’re going to have to ask you to leave.  There are other patients on this floor.”


He might’ve been a prick, but he was a quiet one, who didn’t think he was running a hospital floor.


Cameria called the police on Mark Calaway to find out what would be done about this.  He struck a pedestrian because he wasn’t paying attention to his driving.  He blew a red light!  Cameria knew the streets Anciana took to walk every morning and every one of them had a stop sign.  So, this prick hadn’t been paying attention while driving and struck her!  It wasn’t an accident, it was vehicular assault and she wanted something done about it.  She wanted justice for her friend! 


After getting off the phone with the Chief of police, who promised to look further into this since it was still being investigated, Cameria did not leave Anciana’s side.  She refused to allow Mark Calaway in the room, even after Doctor Horris tried smoothing things over.  Cameria wouldn’t harp on the nurses as long as they did ONE thing right and that was keeping the Neanderthal out of Anciana’s room.  Being her emergency contact, and the only person she knew in Las Vegas, no family contacts at all, she had some power to say who and who couldn’t enter the room.  Mark Calaway could sit his ass out in the hallway all he wanted and stew for all she cared.  He wasn’t coming back into this room unless it was over her dead body.


This woman was a colossal pain in his ass.


Mark spent more time with the police, his story never changed, and obviously… the investigation had never stopped, so… her calling the chief was asinine.  He had admitted what he had done and, the only reason his backside wasn’t in jail was because he had posted his own bail, he was still in Vegas because he was waiting for the arraignment, which would determine whether or not anything would be preceding.  His own lawyer reminded him to mind his Ps and Qs, keep up the medical funding, and just relax because he was being paid quite well to do whatever was needed to keep Mark’s ass a free man. It became very obvious that Cameria wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so he began doing what he did best, plotting.  Within a few days… he was in his usual perch outside the room, Cameria in there with the still unconscious Anciana.  Even he winced when a somewhat inebriated man hauled his backside down the hallway, watching the idiot intently, then he hid a smirk.  He was pretty good about entertaining himself.


“Cami, honey, we gotta talk!”


The drunken ass was in Anciana’s room, which he had been barred from, but that did not stop Mark from standing in the doorway, massive arms folded over his chest, eyes narrowed as Cameria’s jaw hit the floor and the buffoon began… bawling at her.


Cameria had a restraining order against her soon-to-be ex-husband and narrowed her eyes at the bawling idiot, simply hitting the security button.  Then she called the police chief to inform him Travis had broken the restraining order and the man was hauled off in cuffs.  Doctor Horris arrived and everything was explained with Cameria in near tears over the incident.  He hugged the woman, letting her know everything would be alright and they would tighten security on this floor. 


Luckily, Anciana had been moved from ICU or else Cameria would’ve been ejected from the building.  She sat back down beside Anciana, stroking her hair and held her hand again, fresh tears falling.  The doctor told her the swelling had gone down immensely in Anciana’s brain, but now her body needed time to recover and heal from all the injuries and surgeries she’d had done.  The woman was lucky to be alive and the fact Mark Calaway hadn’t left did not set well with Cameria.  She hoped the judge threw his ass in jail and some measure of justice came to Anciana for the vehicular assault.  She had absolutely nothing to say to the giant pain in HER ass that wouldn’t leave the hospital.


Unfortunately for Cameria, judgement day arrived, and he was fined to hell and back, which wasn’t overly bothersome.  Mark was also sentenced to a type of probation and, if he so much as got a parking ticket, he would lose his license.  He was ordered to a lot of community service, which his lawyer then litigated via his career.  Considering he went overseas to perform for soldiers stationed in other countries, it was waived almost instantly.  The fact that he had remained on scene, cooperated the way he had, and now was financially caring for Anciana’s medical bills, which were rapidly piling up, hadn’t hurt his cause at all.  He had a feeling Cameria would have an aneurysm and refused to pay for that bitch’s treatment.


The justice system was a piece of shit!  First, they didn’t do anything besides grant a pathetic restraining order to her ABUSIVE soon-to-be ex-husband after he beat and raped her for several years and now…now her friend, her sister, had been hit by a fucking car by this giant asshole and he’d gotten a slap on the damn wrist!  Money truly did talk.  Cameria felt sick to her stomach, not getting much sleep for the past several weeks because she’d been keeping a close eye on Anciana.  She’d dozed off a little here and there, used the bathroom to shower to keep herself clean, but other than that, she hadn’t left. 


Their landlord had been kind enough to bring both of them clothes – they trusted Harriet, an older woman with a kind heart and soul.  Hospital food sucked, but luckily, they had a cafeteria she ordered from.  Due to the divorce, she had a nest-egg built up to live off of until Anciana was out of here and back home.  Her job and life could wait…Anciana was the most important person in her life and she wouldn’t leave her, she would be there for her the same way Anciana was there for her.


As time went on, Mark was disappearing, usually on Mondays, but he was always back the next day.  A little tired sure, but Tuesday by noon, his big backside was planted in that chair outside Anciana’s room.  The nurses were at this point used to him and the roses he brought for each nurse’s station.  Every few days, fresh roses were brought up to Anciana’s room and he had enough spare time to thoroughly be nosy.  Cameria thought he was dirt, he thought she was a royal bitch, who was forever ruined for all men.  She was also losing weight, he had noticed, leaning in the doorway, staring down at the sleeping woman, her head resting next to Anciana’s leg.


It was that day Anciana finally woke up – 3 months later.  All of her injuries had healed up in that amount of time, but she would need extensive physical therapy due to her legs being fractured along with her arm.  A soft groan escaped her as crystal blue eyes slowly opened, blurred vision becoming clear.  Before her stood possibly the BIGGEST man Anciana had ever seen in her life.  The heart machine began beeping faster as her adrenaline increased, despite being asleep for 3 months.  Who the hell was this guy?  Where the hell was she?  Anciana swallowed hard, looking down at her leg where a sickly-looking woman slept.


“W-What’s going on?” She rasped out, her throat incredibly dry from being intubated, extubated and lack of fluids.  The IV in her arm prevented her from being dehydrated, but her throat felt like it was on fire. “W-Water…”


As Cameria was still coming out of her sleep, Mark took advantage to fill a paper cup with water from the Culligan water machine and was there, crouching down on the side opposite Cameria, holding out the cup.  One hand steadying the cup before her lips, the other moved to hit the button to call in a nurse. “Slowly, darlin’.” He rumbled, adjusting his deep, dark baritone to something soft and quiet, watching as her weak, fluttering hands came up to try cradling the cup herself. “Tiny drinks, Anciana.” He was well aware that Cameria was completely up now, though his vivid emerald gaze were fastened on crystalline blue.


This man had a lot of brass balls coming in here and talking to Anciana the way he was!  Cameria opened her mouth to rip him a verbal asshole and clamped it shut, instead buzzing for the doctor to come check on her friend.  Plenty of time for ass chewing later.


“T-Thank you…” Anciana whispered, once she’d downed the entire cup slowly and couldn’t take her eyes off the gentle giant. “W-Where am I?”


“The hospital, sweetie.” Cameria spoke up before Calaway could, frowning at the unfamiliarity in Anciana’s eyes. “Ani, it’s Cami, you know me, right?”


Frowning, Anciana tried racking her brain and came up empty, shaking her head slowly. “No…I-I don’t.  I don’t even know who I am…”


Tears filled her eyes as Cameria glared hatefully across the way at Mark, gritting her teeth. “W-What?  Anciana – your name is Anciana and I call you Ani for short.  We’re best friends and roommates…we…”


Anciana could tell the woman was upset and felt tears of her own well up in her eyes, nothing except fear filling her crystalline eyes. “I-I’m sorry…” She whispered out, looking up when the door opened and a man in a long white coat walked in.


Swallowing down her own emotions, Cameria stayed beside her friend and let the doctor check Anciana over.


She had a severe case of amnesia!  Mark was giggling like a schoolgirl on the inside.  The heartbroken expression on Cameria’s face was hilarious, though he was a master at showing only what he wanted or needed too, which meant he was looking both grave and a hint sorrowful at the doctor.  They were now out in the hallway while Anciana was being tended to by nurses, the door shut to give her a hint of privacy, as well as a moment alone to process what she had just been told.  Cameria shot him a nasty look; he didn’t blame her because, right now, she was a nobody, nothing, to Anciana.


“What are the odds of memory recall?” He asked finally.


Doctor Horris frowned, looking back at his patient and then at the giant along with the peeved best friend, shaking his head. “It’s hard to say.  She may never recover her memory, Mr. Calaway.” He didn’t know why the next set of words came out of his mouth since he wasn’t fond of Mr. Calaway, but the young lady would need a lot of help going forward.  Emotionally, mentally, physically…all of it. “You did this to her, Mr. Calaway, as you’re well aware, so I think it would be best if…she went home with you for the duration of her recovery.”


“WHAT?!” Cameria snapped, her mouth dropping open and shook her head. “No!  Absolutely not, she doesn’t know him!”


“She doesn’t know you either, Cameria.  From my understanding, your living conditions are…less than appealing.  I know she doesn’t know him, which is why I’m suggesting, strongly, to lie to her, at least until we figure out if her memory will return or not.”


Cameria felt her eyes widen, glaring daggers at the giant and folded her arms tightly in front of her chest. “Lie to her HOW exactly?”


“Being her…boyfriend wouldn’t suffice.  It wouldn’t be good enough for you to take her home, Mr. Calaway.  You will need a more…suitable relationship with the young lady.  Basically, you need to tell her you’re married.”


This doctor had lost his fucking mind!


“Cameria, I’m sorry for this, but the fact of the matter is, we’re unsure if her memory will ever return.  Even with stimuli and familiar faces, it might not do anything and, right now, Mr. Calaway has paid for all her medical fees.  From my understanding, he has planned for in-home nursing and whatever else Anciana may need.  Can you provide all of that?”


No, of course she couldn’t.  Mark was frowning, however. “Married?” He echoed, for once sounding like he agreed with Cameria. “And if she does get her memory back?  What then?”


“I’m sorry to say, but that is a big if.  And quite frankly, you’re in a position to financially support her if she requires extensive, long term care.”




Chapter 3


“You can’t do this to her!  She doesn’t even know him!  He could be a rapist, a murderer!  He RAN HER OVER with a fucking car because he wasn’t paying attention to the road!!” Cameria was beside herself, yelling at the doctor as tears of frustration poured down her cheeks. “I don’t care what it costs, I’ll help her!  Don’t send her away with this lunatic!  We have no idea what kind of person he is!” Everybody had lost their minds – the justice system as well as the healthcare providers and doctors…This was a losing battle and she was about to lose the only friend she’d ever had in her life. “Please don’t take her away…I’ll care for her, I’ll get 3 jobs if that’s what it takes!  We can do the in-home nursing here in Vegas, there’s no need to send her with him, Doctor Horris.”


Cameria made several valid points as Doctor Horris sighed resignedly, not sure what more he could do for his patient at this point. “And what if your 3 jobs can’t provide the financial stability Anciana needs along with medical and long-term care?  Do you really think you’re in any position to deal with it considering you have your own battle to overcome with your husband?” That stunt her husband had pulled in the hospital a few months ago had forced the hospital to hire more security for this particular floor. “You need to see reason, Cameria.  Anciana may never be the same Anciana you knew again, and you need to come to terms with it.  I’m sorry.”


“Now, if you promise to stop being… overly loud…” Not his first choice in words, but Mark could play nice. “You can come too, Cameria.” He hadn’t bothered using her name, until now, and his tongue felt scraped raw. “And I find it absurd that you honestly believe Horris hasn’t had my background examined.” He shot Horris a piercing stare. “Especially as he’s suggesting I pretend I’m married to her.”


“Well… obviously, we needed to know… and you were being investigated, so we learned quite a bit…”


“In-home nursing is expensive and, if she needs equipment, will your-”




“Be able to house everything?”


There was zero trust when it came to this brute, but Cameria knew fully well the apartment wasn’t safe.  The floors were rotting through due to termites, amongst other unhealthy problems.  It was home and in the slums…they couldn’t afford anything else.  Living in Las Vegas wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Again, it was home and they were about to rip home away from Anciana.


“No…” She admitted reluctantly, knowing she’d been defeated and Anciana’s fate was now in the giant’s hands. “I don’t want anything from you except to stay away from Anciana, but I know that’s not going to happen.  That’s fine, you can live this lie all you want, but I know her.  She will regain her memory and when she does…hell WILL be brought down on you for what you did to her, Mr. Calaway.  She’ll contact me when those memories resurface, mark my words.” Glancing through the window one final time, Cameria made her way out of the hospital and let the tears flow, feeling more alone than ever.


Anciana had no idea what was going on, so when she was told she was married to this giant man named Mark Calaway, she was more than a little intimidated.


He left Anciana alone for a bit longer, mostly to handle some business.  So that was what it took to get that shrew bitch out of his hair… Mark should’ve thought of this himself. “Dr. Horris… I live in Houston.” At the other man’s nod, he smiled. “I would like for you to recommend who you believe will be a suitable candidate to take over Anciana’s primary care.” Since Horris was obviously not coming with him. “I’d appreciate your opinion.”


“I’ll get you a list, I can think of a few doctors…”


Mark had also procured two plain bands, via one of Vegas’s couriers.  Used. Not too used, but used, to give the impression of being married longer than… 3 hours.  Her ring would be slipped in her purse, which was in a footlocker with the rest of her belongings.  He slid the ring on his own finger and decided it was time to go meet his blushing bride, smirking.


A blushing bride she was not. 


Confused, flabbergasted and annoyed were better terms to describe how Anciana currently felt.  She knew absolutely nothing about her life, but still remembered how to use the bathroom and whatnot.  The necessities.  Amnesia was really weird.  Apparently, she forgot everything regarding her name and family, friends…stuff like that, but as far as writing and showering, cleansing herself, had all stuck with her.  The doctor assured her it was normal, especially since she’d suffered such a horrific accident and head trauma.  Doctor Horris hadn’t told her what exactly happened to her, waiting for her ‘husband’ to get back.  He felt she would need his support and, truthfully, she didn’t know.  Her head snapped up when the door opened at that giant she had woken up to walked inside, carrying a bag in his hand.  Her eyes instantly lowered from him to stare at the blanket covering her legs, chewing her lip thoughtfully.


Amnesia was a mind problem, a mental one, and those physical things such as wiping your own backside were physical things that were trained in the body.  Physical responses.  Those were a bit harder to reprogram, he imagined.  Sighing, Mark moved over to take the chair Cameria had practically yanked from him, setting the bag on his lap.  Anciana looked… well, like she had just come out of a coma.  She was going to be weak, scrawny, gaunt, for a while.  Nothing some Texas sunshine wouldn’t fix.


“Now darlin’,” He spoke in that slow, low, and infinitely patient voice of his. “I know you don’t remember anything, or anyone, but if you got any questions you want to ask, I’ll answer them and maybe we can jog your memory.” He reached out to gently place his hand on her knee, feeling her stiffen. “My name is Mark, Anciana.” He added, a hint of sadness in his tone.


After all, he was her husband and she had forgotten all about him.


“Mark…” Anciana said it slowly, as if feeling it out to see if anything jogged her memory.  Nothing did though. “Mark.” This time, it was said with a little more confidence. “I like that name, I think.”


She smiled sheepishly, tucking a strand of wine/blondish colored hair behind her ear.  Due to her being in a coma for 3 months, the roots of her natural hair color had sprouted, which was blonde.  Her crystalline eyes gazed at him, studying his ruggedly handsome face and found her heart doing a weird flip in her chest.


“It’s nice to meet you, Mark.” Extending her hand, his practically swallowed hers whole and she cracked another smile before gently pulling away. “T-The doctor said he’ll be in soon to tell me what exactly happened.” She had no idea the truth would be changed in order to make Mark completely innocent.


Mark sighed at that, pretty sure Horris would have some crazy explanation that would be an even bigger lie than this marriage.  He’d rectify the marriage bit, in for a penny – in for a pound, he supposed.  It was always better to mix lies with the truth because they went farther.


“Darlin’… you were hit by a car.” He said quietly, watching her eyebrows draw together. “I… I was the driver.” He could feel her hand convulsing in his. “It was an accident, Ciana.” He did not like Ani, it was far too plain for this beauty. “It was raining, and I was coming to get you to give you a ride.” He pulled his hand away from her, burying his face in his own hands for a minute, shaking his head before looking at her. “You usually walked, it’s not that far a walk and it never rains here, but it was that morning…” There.  Truth.  Lie. 


Horris was in the doorway listening, which gave the doctor his cue to add his explanation.


“But I…what?” Anciana made no move to comfort him, in too much shock by this revelation and looked up as Doctor Horris entered the room. “I-Is this true?  He ran me over with a car?”


“Accidentally, yes.” Doctor Horris was shocked by Mark’s truthfulness and figured he’d judged the man wrong, thought less of him than he should’ve. “The roads were slick, it was raining really hard outside that day, Anciana.  The brakes…they got stuck on the rental car he was driving.  Your husband travels for work, you see.  That day, he was coming to see you on his day off and wanted to take you to work, but you’d already left.  He was catching up to you when it happened.”


“He travels for work?” Anciana blinked, looking back at her ‘husband’ and folded her hands in her lap. “W-What’s your job, Mark?”


“I’m a professional wrestler, darlin’.” He informed her, staring at her intently as she took in his size and build with renewed interest. “My schedule keeps me pretty busy, on the road a lot.” Mark took a deep breath, glancing at Horris, who was giving him a very odd look, almost as if he were revising his opinion.  If only they knew. “We have a place in Houston, but you came here to stay with Cameria.” At her confused look, he smiled gently. “The woman who was here, your friend?  She’s going through a pretty bad divorce and she hasn’t been doing so well.” He had done the whole nine yards, lies and truth – always the best way to get away with something.


“Actually, that’s not entirely true.” Cameria stood in the doorway of the hospital room, having thought long and hard about this ridiculous idea of Doctor Horris’ and concluded he was right.  Anciana would need a lot of medical help going forward now that she was awake and Cameria simply didn’t have the funds to do it. “You and the big guy here haven’t known each other very long.  You met at the bar I used to work at, hit it off really well and…well, this IS Vegas.  You two wound up going to an all-night wedding chapel about a month ago and got married.  I didn’t want you being alone in Houston, so I offered to have you stay with me while he’s on the road.  On his days off, he comes to get you and you fly with him to Houston before taking a flight back here once he goes back on the road.”


“Really?” For some reason, Anciana trusted this woman and she had no idea why.  Mark…not so much, not yet. “We…got married at a chapel…what’s that called?”




“Yeah that.”


“Yes, you eloped with his giant ass, nearly gave me a heart attack…” Cameria joked, trying to inject humor into her tone and squeezed Anciana’s hand. “He didn’t win any brownie points by hitting you with his car, but…it was an accident.” Boy did that leave a bitter taste in her mouth. “He didn’t mean it and he…loves you.  You love him.” More bitterness. “And he WILL take care of you…something I can’t do right now.”


Anciana giggled somewhat hoarsely at the ‘giant ass’ comment, nodding slowly. “Okay…you live here in Vegas then?”


“Yeah, but…after you’re better, maybe you can come back here while he’s on the road or something.  Or maybe I’ll come see you while he’s on the road.  We’ll make it work somehow, okay?” Cameria’s heart broke at the confused understanding in Anciana’s eyes, wanting desperately to tell her the truth, but…all she could do was support what the doctor wanted to do.


“Okay…” Her eyes finally looked at Mark, who seemed a little…shocked by what was said from Cameria. “So, when can I get out of here and go home with you?”


Mark decided to let it slide that Cameria was in fact going through a shitty divorce and the idiot had even been here.  That was all on him though, early on, figuring to needle the harpy bitch, who made his ears bleed.  As it was, Miss Cameria was about to be left behind because he had offered once to let her come with them, she shot it down, and that ship had sailed.


“That is entirely up to Dr. Horris.” He said quietly. “He’s making recommendations for a new primary in Houston,” Which also had some superb, top of the line hospitals. “And it’ll take some time to coordinate with whichever hospital he deems fit to work for you.” Not that he cared, money wasn’t a major concern.


“Okay…” Anciana didn’t know what else to say or how to think about this entire situation, laying her head back on the pillow.


“A few days should be more than enough time to find you suitable doctors in Houston, Anciana.  You’ll be out of here soon.” Doctor Horris assured her, having a feeling the giant wanted out of this hospital and he didn’t blame him. “Are you hungry?”


Her stomach growled at that moment, her cheeks turning somewhat red. “I guess I am…”


“Nothing too heavy, stick to soup and lighter food like yogurt and applesauce.  You have to train your body all over again.”


“Okay, thank you Doctor Horris.”


“I’ll go get you something from the cafeteria.” There was no way Cameria would let her wait for the nurses to take their sweet time bringing her food. “I’ll be back.”


Her and Mark were left alone.


Mark leaned back in his chair, studying Anciana just as intently as she was him.  He knew he was a physically imposing man and he was wearing a long sleeved, lightweight black button up shirt, cuffed at the wrists, which hid his tattoo sleeved arms.  He figured he’d wait before springing that one on her.  Long, jet black hair, standing 6’10, pale as he possibly could be, with inky facial hair… he wasn’t normal, by any means.


“I’ve taken some time off to stay home with you.” He informed her, not that Mark hadn’t already taken a very reduced schedule and had only been doing Monday nights.  That would continue for a while because he wanted to maintain his presence on Raw Is War and one of the many reasons he was bringing in around the clock nurses. “Darlin’, I’m so sorry.”


“It was an accident, right?” At his nod, she smiled softly and extended her hand to him, her eyes soft and warm. “There’s nothing to be sorry for then.  This could’ve happened to anyone.  I’m still here, just hard to believe I was out cold for 3 months.” Anciana blinked, realizing for the first time she’d missed 3 months of her life besides of the accident.  3 months was a lot of time and she wondered what all she’d missed in all that time. “So, you’re a wrestler and you travel.  Tell me more about it.” For some reason, in the far recesses of her mind, the words professional wrestling sent tingles through her body.  That was definitely a sign she knew what it was, but the amnesia refused to let her remember. “I don’t know why, but I want to know more about it.”


Chapter 4


Now that was a topic Mark could go on for hours, though he also knew certain things to omit.  Just things that might make one of those eyebrows on her beautifully gaunt face arch.  He began describing how professional wrestling, the way he did it, the company he worked for, was different than wrestling in college, high school, or the Olympics.  She seemed to be… very, very interested in wrestling.  By the time Cameria returned with the food, Anciana was even smiling and laughing softly.  He had been describing some of the wrestlers and their ‘characters’ to her.  Harmless names, harmless characters, nothing like what he was.  Some of these characters Mark told her about sounded out of this world and made her laugh, which felt good.  Not laughing for 3 months couldn’t be good on the human body.  She asked him about his character and Mark had gotten quiet, asking her if she truly wanted to know.


“Yes of course.  You’re my husband, so I want to know everything about you…again.”


Anciana assumed she knew a lot about him prior to getting married, even though it sounded like they had a whirlwind romance.  This man was gorgeous from head to toe, the black hair only making him more appealing and attractive.  Something about Mark made a small twinge form in her mind and heart, Anciana figuring that was the wall that prevented her from remembering all their good times.  Mark was reluctant because his character wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and, while she was definitely going to find out about his… alter ego, so to speak, he wasn’t in a hurry for that to happen yet.  Admittedly, he was mildly curious about how Anciana had been prior to him running her pert little ass over, but… he would take what was now in his figurative lap.


“You’re looking tired, darlin’.” He stood up, moving out of Cameria’s way, so she could set up the tray and all that.  It was odd, he thought, how she had been ‘sleeping’ for the past 3 months and a short conversation had left her looking tired and worn out.  Mark knew it would take time for her to adjust and moved away from the women, though his thoughtful gaze never left his ‘wife’.


After Anciana fell back to sleep and Cameria knew she wouldn’t wake up, her eyes fell on Mark, who was watching the sleeping beauty. “You better take care of her.” She spoke in a low voice, trying to inject malice into it, but all that came out was exhaustion and defeat. “She means a lot to me…and, if anything happens to her, I WILL hurt you.  I don’t care how big and bad you think you are.  You better take care of my little sister.  She’s a good kid and deserves only the best.  And I know you don’t like me and, quite frankly, I don’t like you either, but if you could, please have her call me once in a while to check in.  That’s basically all I want.” When he nodded stiffly at her, Cameria stood up from the chair and leaned over to brush her lips against Anciana’s forehead. “I’ll be back tomorrow to talk to her some more, try to jog her memory.  You should get some rest, Mark.  Good night.” Then she walked out, closing the door behind her and headed home with more tears falling down her cheeks.


That was… weird, very weird, Mark mused, moving to sort of curl himself into the armchair in the corner.  The nurses had brought it in for Cameria since he had been regulated to the hallway.  Catching naps in the waiting lounge had been both uncomfortable and awkward, given his size.  He leaned back, eyes never leaving the woman in the hospital bed.  All the arrangements on his end had been made today; he was simply waiting on Dr. Horris.  Mark had called in an old friend to assist and, with the around-the-clock personal nurses, he figured she’d be back on her feet in no time.  Her memory, on the other hand… he knew right now, as curious as he was about who she was before he had basically erased her, he didn’t want her to regain her memory.


Not now.


Maybe not ever.




Three days later, after making considerate progress and eating regular foods, along with rebuilding her strength, Anciana was released from the hospital.  Mark took her out in the wheelchair and lifted her, placing her in the passenger seat of the car.  She buckled up, still feeling somewhat weak, which was to be expected, but it was nothing she couldn’t handle.  Mark already had their flights scheduled to Houston and she couldn’t wait to sleep in a proper bed.  Hospital beds weren’t comfortable, even in a 5-star hospital. 


Cameria called earlier that morning, wishing her well and hoped she kept in contact, which Anciana planned on doing.  Cameria was her best friend…even if she couldn’t remember their friendship.  They were taking a private jet – Mark’s boss had insisted on it due to what happened – and it was luxurious, to say the least.  Anciana wound up sleeping throughout the flight, leaning her head against Mark’s shoulder and his arm around her, soaking in his warmth.


All things considered, this was turning out better than he had expected.  Anciana had no family, at least none that she had spoken to in years, from what he had learned, so about the only person he would have to worry about for some time to come was Cameria.  However, there was considerable distance between Vegas and Houston and Cameria had missed more than enough work.  She would need to start saving again.  And if she became a pain in his ass again, he might run her over next.  When the private jet finally landed, Anciana was still asleep and he disembarked with her in his arms, leaving their scant luggage to the flight attendants.  He had already arranged for a ride home, something roomy for her to lay out in, knowing she was still rather weak.  Glancing down into her sleeping face, Mark studied her intently, his own eyes hidden by the sunglasses he was now wearing.


The small diamond on her left ring finger caught the sunlight glinted in the sunlight shining through the tinted window.  It was Mark’s Ford F-250 truck that he left at the airport when he came to Vegas.  WWF was in Vegas the day Mark had struck her down with his car and he’d missed that show, for obvious reasons.  Anciana didn’t wake up until later that day in a huge, heavenly bed.  She slowly opened her eyes, smiling softly at the note on the pillow beside her along with an apple.  Mark was outside working and if she needed anything, all she had to do was page him. 


Along with the apple and note was a brand-new pager.  Hers had been destroyed during the accident.  Slowly sitting up, Anciana took a bite out of the apple and sighed softly, looking around the unfamiliar room.  The sheets and comforter were black; she wondered briefly if Mark would mind having a few things changed around the house, more specifically their bedroom.  After the apple was demolished, Anciana slid out of bed and padded her way downstairs, taking her time since she was still weak.


In anticipation of her eventually realizing his house was not setup for a woman, and to maintain the ‘marriage’ lie they had fed her -at least until it was no longer a lie, he was working on that-, Mark had his associates procure some personal items from Cameria prior to Anciana’s release to put around the place.  They had established she had been ‘staying’ with Cameria, but month-long marriage or not, it would be a good assumption on her part to assume she had been here before, even if not to stay permanently.  So, scattered throughout were tiny things of hers, spare used toothbrush in the bathroom alongside his, things of that nature.  He had committed himself to this thoroughly.


Anciana enjoyed the small, yet spacious home she shared with Mark, noticing little trinkets and whatnot that belonged to a woman.  It had to be her.  She remembered what he’d said about traveling a lot and her staying in Vegas with Cameria while he was on the road.  It was obvious she hadn’t spent much time here, but that would change now that she was on the road to recovery.  Her legs…surprisingly, she didn’t need much physical therapy.  It was like riding a bike to walk again and she’d gotten the hang of it before leaving the hospital.  She still had to hold onto stuff like the wall and counters, but for the most part, Anciana had it down. 


Making her way to the window, Anciana saw how beautiful it was and the stretch of land they lived on, wondering what Mark was doing outside.  Some fresh air would do her some good, so she opened the door and stepped out, sighing in contentment at how warm the sun felt against her skin.  It’d been a long time since she felt the sun and been outside for more than a few minutes at a time.


Mark was busy digging a narrow trench outward from the house towards the septic tank.  He had bought the house and immediately began renovating to suit his own rather unusual, somewhat peculiar tastes.  When he was home, he liked doing the work; it was a great way to exercise and he rather liked the pride he felt, the satisfaction, knowing he had gotten his hands personally involved.  He wore just a pair of black, skin tight jeans and work boots, his hair pulled back into a tail at the base of his neck, blue bandana around his head and shades on, along with copious amounts of sunscreen because he wasn’t burning and hadn’t been tanned in years.  Mark caught movement out of the corner of his eye and straightened up, head turning in her direction.


“I-I know you said to page, but…I wanted some fresh air.” Anciana explained shyly, tucking a strand of blondish, wine hair behind her ear. 


Cameria had pointed out she needed a dye job, but honestly, it looked somewhat like an Ombre style with the blonde and wine.  Anciana rather liked it and decided to keep it for the time being.  She looked past him at what he was doing, arching a brow and moved her gaze back to him, trying to stop her heart from racing.  For the first time, Anciana noticed he had tattoos from shoulder to wrist, though the sleeves still had a few spots to be inked.  They made him even more handsome, if that was possible.


“It’s beautiful out here, Mark.”


Hearing his name from her lips, especially how easy it seemed to be coming to her today, brought a rare smile to his own thin mouth. “It is, darlin’.” He chuckled, nodding his head in agreement and moved to lean the shovel up against the house before filling in the space between them.  At the same time, he was mindful to give her room. “One of the reasons I picked the place.” Another, he really liked his privacy. “How’re you feeling?” And how the hell was she up and walking?  His eyes dropped to her legs, knowing she would wear her little pert ass out.


While Anciana was in a coma, the hospital made sure to work her arms and legs on a daily basis to prevent muscle atrophy as well as losing her muscle mass.  She was muscular compared to other women, but not too much to where she wasn’t feminine. “Better than I was, that’s for sure.” Anciana remarked with a smile, shrugging her shoulders and looked up at the sky, closing her eyes to let the sun warm her skin. “This feels so nice being outside and not in a hospital bed.  I can’t stay in bed anymore.”


It was driving her crazy; she had no idea what she did prior to this, but her body looked to be physically in shape.  It was strange…Cameria hadn’t said anything about what she’d done prior to the accident either, only that she’d married Mark and stayed with her whenever he was gone.  For a very good reason since Mark Calaway was a professional wrestler and more than likely worked with Anciana’s family.


“I am hungry, are you?”


“Got lunch sitting in the fridge, just needs heated up.” Mark informed her, surveying her thoughtfully.  If she wanted, he’d haul out one of the lounge chairs from the garage and let her bask in the sun for as long as she wanted. “Come on, I could use a break.” He bent down to retrieve his t-shirt, using it to mop sweat off himself before wrapping his arm gently but firmly around her shoulders, drawing her into his side and bent down to drop a kiss on the top of her head.


Why did it feel foreign to have him kiss the top of her head?  Didn’t husbands do that with their wives?  At least he was affectionate and showed her kindness, she must’ve picked well and saw something special in him.  Through the gothic look he had going on was a strong, sweet man who had taken great care of her.  Granted, he’d been the one who ran her down, but…Anciana found herself forgiving him easily.  Probably due to the fact that they were married and somewhere, in her recesses of her mind, she did love him.  Why would she marry him if she didn’t?


“What did you make?” She asked while they ventured back inside the house, leaning against his side.


“Potato soup.” He shrugged when she gave him a pensive look. “Don’t cook often, but when I do, it’s usually something filling.”


Also, he was having a cheat day: starch and carbs.  Mark guided her to the kitchen, gesturing to the small table in the corner.  Strong but sturdy, it had to be to hold his weight.  Fluttering around would be one of the nurses, though he was also paying them well to remain unseen and out of his hair unless their services were required.


“You’ll have to do some physical therapy, darlin’.” He instructed, his back to her as he began warming up the soup. “Though the way you’re getting around tells me not too much.”


“Yeah, Doctor Horris said the same thing.” Anciana grinned, nodding at the physical therapy comment and inhaled the aroma of the potato soup once a bowl was set down in front of her. “This smells wonderful, Mark.” She dipped the spoon into the soup and held it up to her mouth, a thoughtful frown suddenly crossing her face. “What else did I call you besides by your name?  I know there’s…terms that couples use with each other.  Did I call you baby or sweetie or something like that?” She’d noticed he’d called her darlin’ a few times, his southern drawl seeping into his somewhat dark toned voice.


Mark could think of a fair few things he wouldn’t mind her calling him and he couldn’t keep the darkly amused grin from flickering across his face. “Don’t like being called baby… or sweetie…” He informed her, that wasn’t so amusing.  Mark wasn’t letting anyone call him ‘baby’.  He’d have to run her over again and, this time, at a higher speed so the impact was greater. “You called me honey a few times.” He said finally, deciding that one he wouldn’t mind so much, better than sugar pie or some shit.


Chapter 5


“Honey…honey…hmm…” That didn’t sound or feel right to Anciana, but if that’s what her husband wanted to be called, she wouldn’t deny him. “Alright…honey.” She’d have to get used to it along with everything else. “I’ll – uh – do my physical therapy after we eat.” At his nod, silence reigned between them as both ate their soup in amicable silence.  It wasn’t uncomfortable; Mark had done nothing to warrant Anciana to feel anything except comfortable. “You’re handsome.” It was random and caused him to arch a brow at her. “Do I call you that sometimes too?  Handsome?” That felt better than ‘honey’.


“You did, but it sounded a bit arrogant to say.” Mark conceded, hiding his surprise. 


Telling someone they had called him ‘handsome’ did seem arrogant as hell; the fact that they had never met prior to all this notwithstanding.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that ‘honey’ didn’t set well with Anciana at all and he hadn’t been overly fond of it either, but it had been better than the alternatives.  When she merely smiled, he returned it, allowing a hint of his natural arrogance to seep through.


“On occasion… darlin’,” He rumbled, his already deep baritone dropping. “You even called me God.”


“Oh god…I mean…”


Anciana turned several shades of red, knowing what he meant by that and swallowed hard, chewing her bottom lip.  Intimacy…sex…those were also things she hadn’t forgotten, she hoped anyway.  It would be REALLY awkward to have to learn the whole birds and bee’s scenario again.


“Obviously we’ve ventured down that path.  I don’t think I’d marry someone unless I at least slept with them once.” Something told Anciana she wasn’t a virgin and if she was, well…that was done and over with being married to this sex on a stick. “I’ll just stick with Mark for now…”


Trying to make her cheeks return to normal, Anciana finished eating and stood up, holding onto the table just in case her legs decided to give out on her.  Luckily, they didn’t.  Smirking, Mark leaned back to watch her walk over to the sink, noting the way she was carrying herself and bit back a chuckle.  He imagined that was awkward, trying to remember having sex, or even if it were any good.  Mark already knew it would be simply because he wasn’t a slouch in the bedroom department.


“When I asked you to marry me, we had sex that night,” He informed her, loving the way she cocked her head to indicate she was listening, noting the apples in her cheeks. “Had to make sure we had chemistry in the bedroom first, no sense in tying the knot with someone you didn’t want to sleep with.” And since they were ‘married’…she could think about that one.


That revelation troubled her a little and it showed in her crystalline eyes. “Wait…what?” She hadn’t meant to drop her dish in the sink as it made a small clanking noise, but luckily it didn’t break. “You proposed to me…you wanted to marry me, without us having sex first?  Or did you do it after the fact?” When he clarified it had been after, she felt marginally better, but still thought he was a tad impulsive. “I must’ve been that good in the sack then, huh?” She laughed, the apples in her cheeks growing and her eyes followed him as he circled around the island to stand beside her, dropping his own dish in the sink. “How did we meet?  I mean…I know about the bar, but…what happened the night we met?”


“You were there while Cameria was working her shift.  She was being bought drinks by guys, but… she wasn’t taking them, so you were.” He grinned at her. “Some drunk jackass got in your business and I, thinking you were a gorgeous damsel in distress, stepped forward to rescue you and you took him down yourself.” He watched her intently, having noticed her build and gathered she had been involved in some type of athletics.  Maybe had a few self-defense classes.  A woman living with just another woman, in Vegas, he could see that. “I had to meet you after that.”


“I-I did?” Anciana asked, her tone filled with surprise and slowly looked up into his amused green eyes.  They reminded her of emerald stones. “Cameria didn’t mention anything about being in athletics.  In fact, she was a little…I don’t know how to describe it…cautious when talking about what I did for a living before the accident.” That was frustrating considering she didn’t know jack about anything due to the amnesia. “Hell, for all I know, I’m a fighter of some kind.” Even she noticed the feminine muscular build her body had, though a lot of muscle mass had been lost. “What was our first date like?”


If not for the fact that Mark had been prepared for a deluge of questions, once she had gotten her bearings, when she was ready to ask, he would have been SOL and overwhelmed.  He hadn’t known whether or not she’d be curious right out the gate or not, but… here she was.  Mark had thought through most things beforehand, so telling her about things came easily, he had prepared his stories and then committed them to memory.  He told her about their ‘first date’, leaning against the counter and drinking a longneck as he watched her face intently, taking cues from her expressions and the emotions in her eyes.  Without realizing it, he was discovering all about her while she was just learning.


Their first date had been at a nearby diner down the street from the bar and the apartment building she lived with Cameria in.  It was interesting finding all of this out, reexperiencing it all over again.  Anciana thought maybe talking about her life would make something click in her mind and the amnesia would lift.  No such luck, however.  It was nice to talk to her husband though; he was patient with her and answered any questions she had. 


After they talked, Anciana went to do her physical therapy session with one of the nurses while Mark went back outside to continue working.  She watched him walk out of the house and wondered what the future held for them now that he was a complete stranger to her.  Would their marriage last now that she’d have to fall for him all over again? 


Only time would tell.




“Out of all the things you’ve done, this really is the evilest.”


“That is rude, Paul.”


Mark chuckled into the landline, cordless phone, sitting behind his massive desk.  It had been a long but productive day.  He only had the one phone in the house, never bothering with putting in a second.  He was rarely home and there was no need for multiple pieces scattered about when he could just take this one room to room with him.  Now, he was doubly grateful for that because it meant nobody could listen in on another line to the conversation, such as his wife.  Anyone listening right now would only hear him and he wasn’t saying anything incriminating.


“Is it done?”


“It will be, you really need to understand that having these things forged takes time, especially if you want them to uphold in a court of law.” Which meant, if said item could withstand that scrutiny, then it was legal so far as Taker considered. “How is she?”


“Mmm…” He rumbled, staring out the open door of his office down the hallway.  At the end was the bathroom, and his wife was in there enjoying a long hot soak after a tiring day. “Delicious.”


“Positively scandalous, my lord.” Paul chuckled, shaking his head and almost felt bad for the poor lady, who didn’t have a clue what was happening around her. “How long do you plan on going along with this charade?” He asked curiously, looking down at the paperwork and rubbed his double chins thoughtfully. 


“Oh, for quite a while I should think.  You must consider the 3 months she was in a coma.”


“That is true… and also, an unfortunate side effect of your actual intentions.”

“This works out better, it is also much more fun.” Mark stood up, stretching one arm over his head as he considered that bathroom door.  He bet some Epsom salts would help her out quite a bit and he kept that stuff in bulk. “We’re in it for the long haul, Paul.  Are you game?”


“Of course.” Because his old/young friend always did such amusing things and Paul was a devious bastard at heart. “Happy hunting.”


“Indeed.” Chuckling darkly, he hung up. 


Yes, his wife needed Epsom salt.


Hand delivered.




A long day indeed. 


This beautiful huge black garden tub was just what the doctor ordered, especially the bubbles.  Mark had gotten her different scented ones and currently, the scent of jasmine permeated the air around her.  It was a relaxing scent and soaked into her skin and sore body.  Physical therapy had gone well, she endured the full hour worth of workout on her legs and arms like the therapist wanted. 


It tired her out, however, and she’d taken a 3-hour nap afterwards, not waking up until after 7.  Mark already had dinner ready and waiting for her, asking if there was anything she needed once she finished.  He was making sure she ate to get rid of the gauntness her body had from not nourishing herself over the past 3 months.  She told him a bubble bath sounded good and he’d drawn it up for her before leaving her alone, being a perfect gentleman.


“Mmm…” The bubbles covered both of her intimate areas, so when a knock sounded at the door followed by Mark’s voice, Anciana sank a little further down into the water just to be on the safe side. “Come in.” She called out softly, sliding the bubbly water up her arms and looked up at him, tilting her head at what was in his hand. 


Epsom salts she couldn’t recall using, but knew what they were used for.  How weird was that?  She remembered certain things regarding everyday life and what items were used for such as Epsom salts, but nothing about her actual life.




Epsom salts in general were awesome.  Sprained ligaments?  Epsom salt.  Sore back?  Epsom salt.  Between this and the salve he kept a steady supply of, Mark had his go-to remedies for physical aches, pains and bruises.


“Hello darlin’, enjoying the bath?”


It was a giant garden tub, customized for his size and weight and would hold two of himself, not that he was planning on pushing those boundaries, not tonight anyway.  This was her first day here, or back, he supposed.  He held up the bag, perching himself on the outer ledge of the tub, emerald eyes surveying the view.  All those bubbles, what a shame, because what he could see, and what was sort of outlined, was indeed delicious.


“It’s heavenly, not gonna lie.”


Anciana didn’t know how to be intimate with her husband and felt incredibly nervous, wondering if and when it would happen.  She had actually thought about it a lot since he’d claimed she’d called him ‘God’.  When she looked at him, she did feel desire, but also nervousness because of his size, girth and she was afraid they wouldn’t have the same connection they once did.  They had a whirlwind romance, got married on a whim in a Vegas chapel and she’d only been here briefly.  She reached out gently once he perched himself on the edge of the garden tub to pour some of the Epsom salts in the hot bubbly liquid and chewed her bottom lip, touching his hand.


“Thank you.” She breathed out, feeling even more relaxed and moved her hand hesitantly from his to his face, cupping it. “You’ve been taking such great care of me.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, Mark.”


“You’d be miserable in a tiny apartment.” He informed her honestly, seeing the look in her eyes and reached out to cup her chin gently. “I’ll take care of you, Anciana, now and always.” Mark promised, tempted to bend down and brush his lips against hers but refrained.  Time.  That would come in time. “I’ll let you finish, just yell if you need assistance.  Myself or a nurse can help.”


“Mark, wait…please…” Anciana could no longer meet his eyes and lowered hers, suddenly finding the bubbles more appealing than staring into those soul-searing green orbs of his.  They literally pierced her every time she gazed into them, even if it was only for brief moments at a time. “You still want…” How was she supposed to ask this without sounding like an idiot? “Do you still want me after…everything that’s happened?” Now her eyes rose to meet his. “I don’t…I don’t want you to take care of me because you feel obligated.  We’re married and…w-what if what we had before the accident doesn’t come back?  I don’t know how to feel about you…and I’m scared.  I’m scared because our marriage is so new and…I know I’m not the same woman you met in that bar…and I don’t know if I ever will be again.” That thought caused tears to form in her eyes and she looked away from him, wiping a few away that fell. “I-I’m sorry…”


Mark moved back to the tub, this time lowering himself to his knees and stared at her intently. “Then we’ll just start over, Ciana.” He murmured in a soft, husky tone full of promise, considering her words carefully. 


Then he leaned over, gently but firmly gripping the back of her head and pulled her forward, his lips meeting hers in a kiss.  A kiss that let her know that he did indeed desire her.  He pulled away, a low rumble of approval emitting from deep within at the sight of her flushed cheeks and swollen bottom lip.


“And I will always want you.”


That gesture, that kiss, sent her heart racing faster than ever, along with her pulse, her entire body tingling at the first touch of his lips against hers.  Indeed, there were sparks, even hidden beneath the surface and amnesia wouldn’t, couldn’t, control that or make her forget. “I just had to be sure.” Her tears had dried up and her eyes had darkened slightly from their usual crystalline to a cerulean.  It was a simple kiss, but one that she wouldn’t soon forget from her delectable husband. “I’m – um…I’m ready to get out now.  Will you help me?” She didn’t want one of the nurses doing it when her husband was right here at her beck and call, offering to personally do it.


“Yes.” He answered simply, his tone hoarse as he stood up, towering over her and extended his hands.


There was a towel off to the side, but… he doubted she’d be able to stand up without killing herself.  Conditioned or not, wet tub and weak legs were never a good thing.  Mark, like the good husband he was, kept his gaze firmly fastened on her face, which wasn’t a chore, much.  When he felt her hands sliding into his, he hoisted her up, feeling her palms moving to grip his wrists. Water and bubbles slid down her lush body, his eyes remained on her face, but peripheral vision was a godsend.  Carefully, he stepped back, she followed, lifting herself out of the tub with him for leverage and, once her bare feet were on the carpet, he grabbed the towel and wrapped it around her.  He was going to need a shower of his own.


His arms wrapped around her with the towel as her back pressed against his chest and Anciana had never felt more protected and loved in her life.  Amnesia be damned.  Mark swept her up in his strong arms bridal style and she snuggled against him, resting her head on his shoulder.  Once they were in the bedroom, Mark closed the door to give them privacy and set her down on the bed while retrieving clothing, including undergarments.  She blushed while he insisted on helping her dress, starting with her panties.  Stepping into them, after standing from the bed, Mark’s hands seared her legs, thighs and hips, or at least that’s what it felt like.  Then, she lifted her arms up, not needing a bra and felt the silk fabric of her nightgown go over her head to smooth down her body, the towel gone once everything was covered.


“Thank you.” Taking a chance, she reached up on her tiptoes and softly kissed him before sitting back down on the bed, beginning to brush her hair, which went to the middle of her back.


All things considered, Mark knew if he didn’t at least show he was familiar with her body, she would realize there was a potential problem.  But he also knew not to be overly familiar and that was due to her coma and memory loss, knowing she needed time herself to become re-familiar with him, so to speak.  Mark left her to brush her hair, needing some distance between them and began gathering his own things.  Cold shower.  Definitely in order.


“You look tired.” He commented, staring at her through the mirror that hung over his dresser, nimble fingers taking his hair out of the leather band he had tied it back with.


“I am, that bath really relaxed me.” Anciana admitted, noting the items in his arms and figured he was on his way to grab a shower. 


She finished brushing her hair, leaving it down and crawled up in bed with the remote in hand for the television.  There was also one for the VCR and Mark had a lot quite the videotape collection.  Cable was boring, so she popped in a movie while he was in the shower.  The Crow.  She didn’t know why she liked this movie so much or felt so drawn to it, but it called out to her.  Snuggling back into bed, Anciana barely got through the first 10 minutes of the movie before allowing the exhaustion to take over her body.


When Mark emerged from the shower, his skin was pleasantly cold to the touch.  If anyone beside himself had touched him, anyway and his balls felt considerably lighter.  He hadn’t taken a woman to bed since he had hit Anciana.  Time and his obligations to her wouldn’t allow it.  Mark could have probably had a few of the more attractive nurses, but he wasn’t stupid enough to interfere in any way in the care of the woman who he had so thoroughly destroyed, especially when there was a police investigation against him.  Speaking of that… he was glad it was wrapped up and over with, knowing that this marriage thing would have been a hiccup there.


Chapter 6


A month had passed by almost in the blink of an eye for Anciana as she remained in Houston, continuing her physical therapy.  The life and light were back in her eyes and her gaunt face was filled out again along with her body.  It was no longer skin and bones with a little muscle.  She had eaten hearty meals since coming to Houston and it fattened her up in a positive way.  Her backside was plump and pert like it had been along with her breasts, which were perky. 


Anciana had dangerous curves; a very beautiful woman and she’d even returned to her natural hair color, a deep golden blonde.  Her twin brother…also had blonde hair and crystalline blues – they were fraternal, but definitely looked a lot alike nevertheless.  Not that Anciana knew that because of the amnesia, which hadn’t lifted at all.  The more time she spent with Mark, the more Anciana forgot about having amnesia and just went with what felt natural when it came to her husband.  They still hadn’t had sex yet and she wasn’t in any rush to go to bed with Mark, feeling nervous about the ordeal for some strange reason.


She knew why he left her once a week, twice when pay-per-view time rolled around.  On those nights, he made sure she had everything and everyone she would need, not about to let anything set back her recovery.  Her memory wasn’t returning and that was quite all right with Mark.  He had taken the liberty of walking her through some paperwork, explaining most of it as they went, for her to sign, and then insurance forms, all that fun stuff.  She had processed it and, the fact they had only been ‘married’ a month prior to the accident, on top of his job, well… that was a very valid, and easily accepted, excuse to why some of this hadn’t been done earlier.  He had told her he wasn’t making that mistake a second time.  Now all that was left was to consummate the marriage, and the papers she had signed, certain ones, would be entirely properly valid.


The paperwork was a necessity and she understood that wholeheartedly, paying close attention to everything she signed.  It all seemed pretty standard, including their marriage license.  Mark explained he had to rush back on the road right after their chapel wedding and they hadn’t had a chance to make everything 100% official.  They were married as far as he was concerned, but to the government, the marriage license was vital.  It hurt to watch him leave every week, but Mark assured her he’d be home on Wednesday to see her again.  If she needed him, he’d be there for her in a heartbeat.  The nurses were nice enough, as well as the physical therapist, but luckily, she was done with PT and only one nurse stayed around the house to wait on her. 


She had asked if she could watch him on television and Mark showed her what channel WWF Raw Is War was on.  WWF…why did that ring a bell to her?  The first night he was gone, Anciana watched the show he’d be on and blinked at the dark character he portrayed, though it fit him like a glove.  When Stone Cold Steve Austin came on the television, Anciana felt a huge familiarity wash over her and she wondered briefly if she knew the man.


The fact that Taker had told Anciana what channel… had given his go ahead to watch him, was amusing as Hades for Paul.  Of course, logically, the man had no reason to deny her.  If he had done so, it would have looked suspicious as hell. But still, for someone with no immediate desire to deal with a full, or even partial, memory recovery, Taker sure was pushing those buttons.  Doubly risky due to the fact that they hadn’t even technically made the marriage official in all ways.  But… it was also amusing seeing what would happen, how it would play out.


Steve Austin was a stupid jackass, who shot off at the mouth one time too many times.  This was just dessert as far as he was concerned.


Something stirred inside of Anciana the more she watched WWF programming, a fire within her she couldn’t explain erupting.  What was she missing?  Was she a wrestler or something?  Mark hadn’t mentioned anything and why would she stay in Vegas with Cameria if…Cameria…Anciana immediately stood up from the couch and walked into Mark’s study, where the cordless phone resided.  She picked it up, dialing Cameria’s number -the woman had given it to her prior to leaving Vegas- and waited with bated breath for her to answer.




“Hi Cameria, it’s Anciana, I know it’s kind of late, but I had to talk to you.”


Cameria sat up a little in bed, having dozed off after a long day at the office job she now had and felt tears sting her eyes at the sound of Anciana’s voice. “Of course, sweetie, what about?”


“I know I asked you this at the hospital and you were vague about it, so I’m going to ask again.  What did I do before the accident?  What was my job?”

Cameria knew telling her the truth would no doubt cause a lot of trouble with Mark and, even though she wanted to do that, the amnesia was the never-ending roadblock. “You worked at an office – 9-to-5.  It was boring, and you were actually on your way that morning to quit when you were ran over.”


“Really…” Disappointment laced Anciana’s tone. “I-I thought it might’ve been something more exciting…”


“Like what?”


“Like…maybe I was a fighter or…maybe a wrestler?”


Cameria swallowed hard, wondering why her friend was feeling that way and hoped this was the beginning of her memories returning. “As far as I know, no you weren’t.  You went to the gym to keep in shape, but that was about as active as you got.” She really hated lying to her best friend and cursed herself, knowing she was going to hell for this.


“Right…” Why didn’t Anciana believe her?


Anciana didn’t believe Cameria because Cameria was a lying scum bucket.  So was he, but he hadn’t been her best friend in the whole wide world prior to running her over either.  If Cameria had been smart, she would’ve realized she could have very easily dismissed, and potentially allayed Anciana’s concerns with a remark about him, her husband, being a professional wrestler.  Women.  When Mark returned home, he was somehow not surprised to find Anciana going through old tapes of his, of his past wrestling matches and stood quietly behind her, his bags out in the hallway.  He folded his arms over his chest and just stared down at her, surveying the video she had pulled out.


“Having fun, darlin’?”


“Uh huh…”


Anciana had a bowl of popcorn on her lap and didn’t even hear who was behind her, eyes transfixed on the television.  It was during Mark’s feud with a man named Mankind.  Currently, they were in what was called a Boiler Room Brawl and fighting their way backstage to the ring, where Undertaker’s manager, Paul Bearer, waited with urn in hand.  Apparently, the object of the match was to be the first person to grab the urn.  Mark had taken a BEATING in this match, every move making her cringe, though she smiled whenever he gained the upper hand against Mankind.  The man just did NOT stay down and looked to be enjoying the punishment.  When Mark asked her something else, she just nodded and waved her hand, thinking it was the nurse hounding her to do something.


“Later, Patricia, please.” More popcorn went into her mouth.


Patricia was the nurse, or home help aide, who came in when he was gone and during the day.  They had stopped the around the clock nurses when it became abundantly clear that Anciana didn’t need it.  When he was going to be gone all day and overnight, then someone came.  Rolling his eyes, he quietly removed his boots and walked up behind her.  She was sitting on the floor, her legs crisscrossed, completely absorbed in this match.  He remembered it quite well, Mick had delivered and received one hell of a beating.  Quietly, Mark sank down behind her and with a very devious grin leaned forward until his lips were near the shell of her ear.


“I’m not Patricia, darlin’.”


No…no he definitely wasn’t and Anciana was no longer fixated on the match, a shiver shooting down her spine.  His hot breath against her ear made goosebumps form all over her skin and since she was in shorts and a tank top, feet bare, Mark would notice the reaction.  She smiled, pushing pause on the videotape and leaned her head to the side, giving him full access to her neck.  They hadn’t moved past kissing and touching since the accident; Mark was a very sensual man and knew how to stir her body up, but something held Anciana back.  She didn’t know what it was, but sooner or later she would have to give into her husband.  How else was she supposed to know if they were still sexually compatible?


“Welcome home.” She murmured softly, feeling one of his arms snake around her waist to pull her closer and let her eyes drift closed, moaning out when he hit a certain spot on her neck that made her shiver again.


Anciana was in the habit of inadvertently giving him blue balls and, since they were married in all ways except one, he wasn’t inclined to find himself a ring rat outlet as he had done in the past.  There were only so many times he could handle his issues with his hand before chafing became a problem.  They would get so far and then she’d shut it down, something holding her back.  Eventually, he would break her down, there wasn’t a doubt in his mind that he wouldn’t, and the idea of forcibly seducing his luscious wife was something he was seriously entertaining.  So far, the only thing stopping him was potential repercussions such as her deciding she really didn’t like him.  That wouldn’t do at all.


“Miss me?” He rumbled, running his tongue down the column of her throat, a hand moving to massage her side.


“Mmm maybe…” She responded coyly, smirking at a growl erupted in her ear and melted further against him. “Of course, I did.  And I watched you on TV too.”


Anciana had some private time with him gone while watching the program and had touched herself, trying to stimulate some kind of sexuality.  It worked, she’d gotten herself off and felt marginally better because at least her body responded like it should’ve.  It was early afternoon, so it was too early to start dinner.  Cooking was something she’d grown accustomed to, following a recipe wasn’t hard at all.  Anciana found she could still do that, which was a plus because having someone else cook for her would’ve sucked.


“Did you miss me?”


“Mmm.” He growled in a non-committal sort of way. 


Mark had, but probably not in the way she was thinking, or perhaps hoping.  Hoping would be better, he preferred that.  Mark’s face was buried in her hair, inhaling her unique scent just beneath the shampoo she used.  Letting the hand on her side move up higher, his knuckles skimmed the side of her breast before moving up to rest on her shoulder.


All she wanted to do was throw caution to the wind and tackle him to the floor, to completely surrender to him.  Being caressed, kissed and loved felt amazing, but still…something stopped her.  Anciana groaned, slowly turning until she faced him and slid the back of her hand against his cheek.


“I know you’re probably tired from being on the road, but can we do something tomorrow?  Like maybe…go on a date?” They hadn’t done that yet because of her recovery. “And you don’t have to keep a nurse here anymore.  Patricia told me I’m getting around well and since my physical therapy is done, I don’t need help anymore.  I’m pretty much back to normal, minus the whole amnesia thing.  I want to get to know you better before we…you know…” Now her cheeks were crimson again and flaming.


“Have sex again?” He offered, having been about to say, ‘make love’, but that felt wrong on the tip of his tongue, so it had been discarded.  She didn’t know him from Adam at the moment, so a date sounded reasonable. “Got anything particular you want to go do, darlin’?” He asked, re-positioning them both and leaned back against the couch, moving to stretch his long legs out before him, mindful of her discarded bowl of popcorn.  Mark folded his hands behind his head as he studied her, having several ideas of things Anciana would have liked prior to the accident, but he wasn’t in any hurry to accidentally jog her memory.


“Considering I’ve been in this house for the past month, and then I was asleep for 3 months before that, no…I have no idea what to do for a date.” Anciana admitted somewhat sheepishly, chewing her bottom lip and currently straddled her husband.  That did NOT help matters with the issues both had. “You did tell me you enjoy camping.  Why don’t we do that?  I know you have to be back on the road on Sunday, so that gives us a few days to sleep outside under the stars.”


In a tent preferably, but maybe a roaring fire and the stars with just the two of them, no distractions and nobody else around, would do the trick.  Camping, he did enjoy camping.  Texas had beautiful, isolated spots near rivers… a tent would be a necessity, for inclement weather, and a truck with a cab to store food because animals were a problem.


“We can do that.” He said with a nod, grinning and revealing teeth in genuine pleasure.  It wasn’t all that late in the day; he had caught the first flight he could back and, if they got moving now… he did the mental math. “Up wench.” Mark patted her thigh before squeezing gently, laughing when she did. “You want to leave today?”


“Really?  You’re not too tired from your flight and working?” Anciana laughed when he shot her a look that clearly told her that was a dumb question and rolled her eyes in response. “Just checking, grumpy.”


She bumped her hip against his and raced out of the living room up the stairs to the bedroom to pack her things.  Just some clothes and the bare essentials would be all she’d need.  Maybe she’d finally stop being a chicken shit and sleep with him – kind of ripping the proverbial band-aid off.


Shaking his head, Mark pushed himself off the floor and twisted himself side to side fairly violently at the hips, enjoying the cracking sensation before doing his neck.  He’d let her pack her stuff while he went and began loading the truck, glad he’d been lazy about taking the cab cover off of it.  A few days, out in the middle of nowhere, just them, he could handle that, and it would give them both a chance to get to know one another in a fairly neutral setting.  Mark included necessities such as lanterns, sunblock, knives, etc.  Groceries they could pick up on the way and he added a few coolers before heading to grab his own clothing. 


Chapter 7


Halting in the bedroom doorway upon finding his wife shifting her attention between two pieces of clothing, one in each hand, Mark grinned vivaciously. “I like you in the deep red one, darlin’.”


It was a nightgown in her hand, silk and lace, spaghetti strapped and rested just at her mid-thigh.  The colors were red in one hand and silver in the other.  Cameria had gone back to the apartment to pack up her belongings for her while she was still in the hospital.


“Okay, red it is.” She winked at him over her shoulder, dropping the red nightgown in the bag and felt Mark walk up behind her. “You’ve been so patient with me and I really appreciate it.” His hands slid up her arms and massaged her shoulders soothingly, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head. “You’re distracting me, handsome…”


“I’m distracting you?” Mark sounded incredulous, wondering if the woman was out of her mind and then inwardly sniggered at his own joke.  Yes, yes she was. “You could take them both… we’ll be out there a few days.” He suggested, gently pulling her back until she was leaning into him and inhaled sharply.  This woman was not good for his mindset, at all.  He wanted her, and his patience was for the first time in years, was being tested. “Fine.” Mark grumbled, mentally coaching his erection away. “Get back to packing, darlin’.” He moved to get his own things, letting out a slow, quiet breath.


“Good point, alright then.”


Anciana dropped the silver one into the bag as well before moving to the bathroom to pack up toiletries.  Just as she walked out, a flash of lightening outside made her nearly jump out of her skin.  A storm was rolling in as she rushed over to the window and groaned, pressing her forehead against the window.  The weather had said there was a SLIGHT chance of storms, but apparently that had changed to from slight to definite. 


“Damn it!” Mark turned the television on and flipped to the weather channel; they were under a severe thunderstorm warning. “So much for camping…”


Mark began laughing. “That’s for this part of Texas, darlin’, we’re going south.” Which, from the radar, was nice and sunny.  Beautiful thing, a giant ass state, weather in one area could be very different from another. “Unless…” He hesitated, looking at her intently. “You’d rather not?”


The last time she had been out in the rain, he had run her over and she wound up in a coma for 3 months and now had amnesia for potentially the rest of her life.  Mark didn’t mind traveling in a storm; this was Texas for one and they got some bitch of a storms.  Two… he travelled a lot and was used to being out in crappy weather.  Her, not so much.


“So, the storms won’t be where we’re going?” Anciana’s spirit was picked back up again as she practically danced to her bag, zipping it up. “Well come on then, we better get on the road before the storm gets worse.” Having amnesia meant she had NO recollection of the accident or what kind of weather it was outside.  Cameria had told her it was raining, and the roads were slick, which had been the primary reason for Mark hitting her. “Hopefully there’s a lake or something we can dip in that’s relatively clean because of how hot it’s been outside.” Going south would make it hotter, no doubt.


“Mmm, there’s a river, but where we’ll be, it pools so the water is constantly moving slower.  You’ll be able to swim.” He explained, point blank refusing to camp anywhere there wasn’t water to dip into.  Mark loved to swim; it was a great form of exercise and, given his size, helped with joint issues. “So, I hope you… well, darlin’, to be honest, skinny dipping suits me just fine.” Mark teased, loving the way her cheeks flushed.


“Stop that.” Anciana chastised, wondering if her cheeks would ever return to their normal color around this man. 


His chuckle made her flush harder as she continued packing and made sure to grab her bathing suit.  It was a simple black bikini, new, thanks to Patricia.  She’d gone out and bought one for Anciana since Mark had an inground pool with a canopy overtop to block the sun.  Much like Mark, it helped with her sore joints and exercised her arms and legs.  Since there was a watering hole, she packed shampoo and conditioner, having already shaved so luckily, she wouldn’t have to do that during this trip.  Her period had already passed too, so there was no need to worry about that either.


As if a bikini would help; all that did was make it worse by accenting the goods without properly displaying them.  Mark was amused with this entire situation and quickly finished packing his stuff, heading downstairs and out to the connected garage to toss his bag into the cab, taking a deep breath.  He stepped out the open bay door to inhale the scent of the storm, rather enjoying the rain lashing at his skin because it simmered his boiling blood.  The wind whipped his hair about his head and he smirked, tipping his head back to enjoy it.  A little bad weather was not going to interfere with this date of hers and that was an interesting thought.  Anciana’s idea of a ‘date’, and it would be their first, her first ever since she couldn’t recall others, was a camping trip.  His wife was proving to be as mentally captivating as she was physically.  A few minutes later, Anciana joined her husband and had to admit, the sight of him in the storm was mouthwatering.


“I think we should stop and get some lunch on the way.  Then we can set up camp and cook whatever you brought for us tonight.” She suggested, gasping when he drew her into his arms and plundered her mouth with his, her bag dropping to the wet ground. 


This kiss was different than the others, it held a sense of urgency, longing and need.  Anciana’s head swam and her heart thundered in her chest at the way Mark kissed her, trying to return it with equal amount of passion.  Only when she needed oxygen to breathe did Mark relinquish her lips from his and her breath caught in her throat at the dark forest green orbs staring back at her.


Needless to say, Mark rather enjoyed thunderstorms more than the average person might.  He simply stared down at her through the rain, blinking water out of his eyes after a long moment and then flashed her what most women would consider to be a panty dropping smile.  Stooping down to grab her bag, Mark carried it back inside the garage and placed it alongside his in the back of the truck.  Turning back towards her, he tossed his wet hair back over his shoulders, rather enjoying the cold water covering him because it was a nice contrast against the heat of the day.


“Lunch is good.  We’ll hit up a store when we’re near the area, get what we’ll need for the next few days.  Sound good, darlin’?” He had no intention of leaving that campsite either, not until they were finished with their trip.  Mark took in her swollen lips and flushed face, walking over to cup it between his hands. “You going to make it, Ciana?”


“I’m – uh – I’m not sure…” Though she was smiling and placed her hands over his, softly brushing her mouth against his. “I’m fine.  You just kinda caught me off guard with that kiss.  Not that I’m complaining because I’m not.  It was…different, more passionate…”


Feral was actually the right word to describe that kiss, but Anciana didn’t want to admit that.  One thing she hadn’t said since being brought to Houston was the L word.  Anciana would not, could not, say those words to him unless she was absolutely sure she felt love for him.  Right now, it was lust and like, getting to know each other again and the camping trip would be no different.  No matter what, she would not sleep with him unless she was absolutely comfortable and ready.


“You are soaking wet, you know that, right?”


“Afraid I’m going to catch sick, darlin’?” Mark asked teasingly, smirking when she shook her head and stepped away from her, reaching down to pull his black t-shirt, which was indeed soaked, out of the waistband of his black jeans, peeling it off.  He tossed it onto one of his work benches, muscles rippling with each movement.  Aware of her eyes on him, he didn’t look back at her, figuring he had harassed her enough in the last few minutes. “I’ll change real quick and we can head out.”


Good god…this man had a beautiful body and it was even more so soaking wet.  How the HELL was Anciana supposed to resist him?  She didn’t know if she could do it much longer, her libido was extremely active ever since she’d touched herself.  It was more of an experiment to see if she still enjoyed sex and at least that part of her hadn’t gone away.  At the very least, he didn’t peel the jeans off or Anciana would’ve tackled him to the garbage floor. 


“What am I doing to do?” She muttered under her breath after Mark walked inside the house to put on a fresh shirt and jeans. 


Slipping into the passenger seat of the truck, Anciana waited for Mark to join her and they were off 10 minutes later on their journey.


If he had stripped those jeans off, she would’ve been in for one hell of a treat because Mark went commando, unless he was in the ring, working out, or in loose pants that might fall down.  Being surrounded by people he wasn’t inclined to treat to a view of his appendage, especially.  As it was, he was behaving himself.  Fresh blue jeans, a black beater, hair loose and in the process of drying.  Mark navigated the storm expertly, knowing if she wanted to be a pain in his backside about driving in it, she had every right and reason too.  But she wasn’t even looking anxious… maybe hitting her had been the best thing in her life.


“Come here, darlin’,” He raised his arm, watching as she considered him before unfastening and sliding across the seat, refastening and then leaning into him, letting his arm wrap around her. “Don’t mind the weather?”


“Not really, though the lightning makes me jump a little.” As if on cue, a flash of it streaked the sky and she nudged Mark a little with her small jump, smiling up at him apologetically. “I’m fine as long as I’m with you.  I…know you won’t let anything happen to me.”


Anciana believed that, especially with all the great care he’d given her since the accident.  Mark kissed the top of her head and she snuggled against him more, stroking his chest through the thin beater he had on soothingly.  However, she did look away when more lightning lit up the sky as the rain poured harder.  It made her wonder how Mark managed to see through the heavy downpour and wanted to tell him to slow down or even stop and pull over until it slowed.  However, she kept her mouth shut and put her full faith and trust into him to get them to the camping place in one piece.


The difference between now and Vegas were intentions.  He had absolutely no intentions of winding up in a wreck or hitting anyone else today.  That day…. not so much.  When it did begin pouring harder, he simply slowed down and kept his dim lights on, never pulling his arm from her.  He just ran his fingertips up and down a stretch of her arm, physically comforting her.  Mark could feel her tensing every now and again; he was seriously considering pulling over when it began lightening up, enough for him to feel her relax ever so slightly.


“We’ll be out of it soon enough, Ciana.” He reassured her in a low, soft rumble.


“Thank god…”


Anciana breathed a huge sigh of relief once the sun began peeking through the clouds, a soft smile stretching across her lips as Mark continued driving.  They stopped at a small diner for something to eat, taking it to go and then at a small convenience store once they arrived at the destination.  It was beautiful and right on a gorgeous lake that looked to be crystal clear water.  Mark parked the truck and she kissed him softly before sliding out, stretching her arms in the air.  They had driven for a good 3 hours and she was somewhat achy from the drive, even though it was amazing to snuggle against Mark’s warm body.  The sun was still out, though it was slowly descending on the horizon – another hour and it would be dark.


“Do you need some help to set stuff up?” She asked, walking over to him while he drug everything out of the bed.


Mark considered her, finally just nodding.  Normally, he would have said no because he highly doubted this would be something Anciana would remember, providing she had ever gone camping in her life prior to him.  As it was, he had infinite patience with her, lusting after her notwithstanding.  He began directing her, the tent big enough to house them both with a bit of room to spare for moving around, trying not to laugh when she would get flustered.  Setting up a tent this size was usually a two-person job, but over the years, he had grown accustomed to doing it himself.


By the time they were done, they were pushing dark, however, and the pleased look on Anciana’s face was… well, it made him smile.  Mark had shed his shirt, hair pulled back now, and he left her to put their things in the tent, minus food because of animals.  That stuff would remain locked in the trunk, while he started unloading the firewood he had purchased up at that store.  He turned, arms loaded and hesitated, watching as she stepped out of the tent and right into line with that setting sun, the fading lights catching her hair, both highlighting and hiding her.


Not only that, but the red nightgown she changed into also reflected off the setting sun.  It bathed her in a golden glow, her blonde hair illuminated more than usual.  Anciana had no makeup on either, going natural and the sun also reflected in her crystalline eyes.  Since it was night and they were getting ready to make dinner, she wanted to be more comfortable than jean shorts and a tank top.  It’d been a long time since she watched a sunset, to her short-term memory anyway.  She didn’t know if Vegas had them or if the city blocked them from view.


Anciana wondered if she’d ever get her memories back, half of her wanting them and the other half thankful for a clean slate.  What if she was a bad person prior to being run over?  Mark could’ve changed her life for the better by running her over and that was a very morbid thought.  Then again, she also wanted the memories of their wedding and how they fell in love.  There were so many blank spaces to fill in…she didn’t know how to handle it or the current desire for this man she felt.


Mark could see the troubled thoughts in those beautiful blue eyes of hers, eyes that were quite familiar to him and he sighed inwardly, continuing with his task.  There wasn’t going to be anything major for supper tonight because of how late they had arrived and how long it had taken to set up.  This hadn’t exactly been a planned venture and the weather on their way here hadn’t done them any favors either. 


Chapter 8


Once Mark felt they had enough to last for the night, he got to work starting a low burning fire; it was still comfortably warm out, he just liked fires and it would keep animals from getting too close.  Anciana had moved closer to the flames once it was going and, after removing his shoes, Mark walked up behind her, wrapping his arms around her and planted his chin on the top of her head.


“What’s wrong, darlin’?”


“Nothing, just thinking about everything that’s happened.  I wish I could remember us…and how it used to be.” Anciana dropped her head, closing her eyes and heaved a sigh. “I wish I wasn’t so…hesitant and afraid to be intimate with you.” Now her cheeks flushed a deep crimson and she was thankful her back was pressed against his chest instead of looking him in the eye. “I’m starting to think I’m not a very patient person and I wasn’t before the accident either.  Something is just telling me to hold off on intimacy with you…and I don’t know why.  If we had a whirlwind romance, wouldn’t you think I’d want to have sex by now?  I’m frustrated…and I don’t know what to do about this.” Why was it so easy to jump into bed with him before, but not now?


“I did run you over, Ciana.” He reminded her, sighing heavily though his arms tightened just a hint. “Maybe your mind is still trying to process that along with everything else.”


The intimacy was going to be a factor, he needed this marriage 100% legal and also knew sex had mental implications.  He wanted Anciana bound to him in all ways, not just through a piece of paper.  Mark wanted her emotionally and physically invested in him.


“And you weren’t a patient person,” He chuckled ruefully. “In fact, you were a bit impatient and you always had a bit of a temper.  Took quite a bit to rouse it though.”




Anciana tried not to smile, but found herself amused at having a temper and leaned back against Mark, gazing into the fire.  She had no idea what Mark was really after or else he would’ve had his balls lodged in his throat.  If she knew all he wanted was to sex her up to make their marriage ‘legal’, the man would never be able to perform again.  However, Anciana was clueless to what he was thinking and instead felt guilty for not wanting her husband the same way he did her.


“And you need to stop blaming yourself, Mark.  It was an accident and you didn’t mean to do it.”


“Not the point, darlin’.” He rumbled with a sigh, burying his nose in her neck. 


Mark didn’t want sex JUST to make it legal; he genuinely wanted to fuck her brains -or what was left of them- out.  She was an attractive woman and had regained her meat.  Anciana was built, but with curves that made a man’s mouth water.


“I could’ve hit anyone, but it was you.  Worst day of my life.” He kissed the side of her head, gently moving hair away from ear to nuzzle the area just beneath her lobe with his nose. “Thought I might’ve killed you, Ciana…” In a way, he had.


In another way, though, he had rejuvenated her and given her a second chance at life.  It was like she was reborn all over again – Anciana didn’t know if amnesia was supposed to feel like that, but it did to her. “But you didn’t and that’s what you need to remember and focus on.  Mmm…”


Her eyes drifted shut as he continued teasing her neck and ear, sending shivers down her spine.  Even in front of the small fire, the heat emanating from it was nothing compared to the flames licking at her insides.  Slowly turning, deep crystalline eyes met emerald stones as Anciana brought his head down to softly kiss him, tangling her fingers in his hair gently.


“Food first…then maybe we can fool around a little and…explore?”


“Of course, darlin’.”


Mark laughed, his chest rumbling with it and moved away from her.  He turned towards the truck, the jovial light fading from his eyes as they flashed a poisonous acid.  Blue balls.  She was going to give him blue balls.  He should have probably hit her harder, jarred the sex drive portion of her brain a bit.


“Mmm, you want sandwiches?” He called out over his shoulder, after perusing what was easy.


They had bought some deli sandwiches from the small convenience store and, for what they had cost, he was expecting them to taste like rainbows and magic.  And beer, he grabbed the six pack out of the ice.  Definitely needed beer.




The camping trip was great with foreplay and nothing more.  Anciana wouldn’t allow it and Mark seemed to be on edge because she refused to have sex with him.  Maybe therapy wasn’t a bad idea – Cameria had suggested it the last time they spoke and Anciana had brushed her off.  Maybe she was wrong to do so.  Maybe therapy was the way to go and the ticket to getting her memories back.  Anciana had a feeling, until her memories returned, she wouldn’t be having sex with her husband.  Her marriage was hurting because of the lack of intimacy, but Anciana couldn’t help how she felt.  There was a reason she wasn’t sleeping with Mark and maybe the therapist could figure it out.


The camping trip had been filled with tension.  Mark wanted to tell her to put on a burlap sack.  Explore, fool around and then wear bikinis and those damn nightgowns of hers and expect to not wake up with his erection digging into her backside, was just unreasonable.  Anciana was also speaking a bit more to Cameria than he liked, and that woman was just trouble with a capital T.  She would have to go.  Mark did, however, find a great outlet for his frustrations.  He had started upping his game and beatings in his feud against Steve Austin.  Taking great, sick pleasure in that, staring into those crystalline blue eyes while bashing his heavy fists into the bald jackass’s skull.  When he returned home, his moods had greatly improved.


“So, I was talking to Cami about some of my issues I’ve been having and…she thinks I should go to therapy.  Maybe it would help me regain my memories.” Anciana gauged her husband’s reaction, setting a plate full of spaghetti down in front of him and a bowl in her spot, settling down in the chair. “What do you think about that?”


If it wasn’t for Steve Austin being an outlet to his Phenom, Paul had no doubt in his mind Mark would’ve seduced the poor woman by now to make their marriage ‘official’.  Mark had confided in him about how Anciana was acting and closing herself off…what did the man expect?  He RAN HER OVER with a car and gave her amnesia for god’s sake!  Mark had kindly reminded the old fat bastard that he was just as complicit in this affair as he was.  Paul had shut up at that point and then just chuckled, nodding his agreement.  Devious old prick.

“I’m surprised you’re finally agreeing.” He studied her back just as intently.  She was feeling him out and he flashed her a grin. “You know, I invited your friend, Cami, out here a time or two to visit with you.  Maybe if you asked, she’d come and keep you company for a week or so.” Mark suggested, also having a beautiful spot picked out to lay that interfering bitch to rest.


“I think it’s the only way, honestly.” Anciana admitted, taking a bite of spaghetti and chewed slowly, thoughtfully, relief coursing through her at the fact her husband agreed with her regarding going to therapy. “I’ll make some calls this week and I’ll invite Cami out.  She’s had to get two jobs now that I’m not there anymore…” A sad smile stretched her lips. “I told her she could come stay with us for a while until she figured things out, but she insisted on staying in Vegas.  I don’t think she likes you very much…and I’m not sure why, but at least she’s respecting our marriage enough not to say anything bad out loud.”


“Darlin’.” Mark had to finish chewing; he was not one for bad table manners, minor pet peeve of his. “One, this is delicious and you’re going to make me fat.” He was very glad she could cook, it made coming home a lot better, knowing there’d be a hot meal waiting and he gave her an appreciative smile. “Two, I ran over her best friend and destroyed those memories… Cameria has every right to hate me.” Mark had also interfered in her private life and had every intention of doing it again, not that she would know that. “She’s a proud woman; she’s not going to take any help we, or you, offer her, not without grumping about it a lot.”


Anciana chuckled softly, nodding in agreement with him and reached over to take his hand, lacing their fingers together. “Thank you for the compliment.  And she’ll get over it eventually.  I really don’t know her, I shouldn’t trust her as much as I do, but…I guess my memories are so hardwired into my brain, there are just some things you can’t completely forget even with amnesia.” She took another bite, feeling her appetite returning and could see Mark digging in with gusto.  At least they had a plan now. “She also suggested a sex therapist for us if…regular therapy with me doesn’t work.”


THAT made him start choking on the spaghetti he had just taken a forkful of.  Table manners be damned!  Mark had himself a minor coughing fit as noodles went in places they weren’t supposed to, and he covered his face with both hands, ignoring her while he sorted himself out.


“A… what?” He rasped when he was done, reaching for the glass of water she had set out for him and took a slow sip.  When she repeated herself, he cocked a black brow. “A… sex therapist?  How does that work, darlin’?” And he could just imagine that… the fucking Undertaker in sex therapy.


Anciana tried hard – REALLY HARD – not to laugh at her husband and had to chew her bottom lip to the point where she was sure blood was drawn.  Her face had turned beat red and her shoulders shook, but not a SOUND came out of her mouth.  Poor Mark, he had choked on the spaghetti because of her one suggestion.  It was innocent…enough.


“Sorry.” She squeaked out, handing over another napkin along with ice water because no doubt his throat hurt. “Are you…gonna make it?”


Growling, Mark pushed away from the table when her squeaks turned into giggles and giggles turned into peals of laughter.  He walked around to her, pulled her chair out, lifted his laughing wife up out of the chair and turned to plant her butt on the counter.  Now she was up closer to eyelevel and he bent down, so his nose was near touching hers.


“Let me know when you’re finished, Ciana.” Dark amusement laced his tone as he reached up to brush a tear -she was crying from laughing so hard- away with his thumb, popping the digit in his mouth and growled.


His dark timbred voice sent a rush of heat through her body as Anciana adjusted herself a little on the counter, squirming under his heated gaze.  His growl also did nothing to quell the inferno inside of her that’d been raging for 2 months now.  2 long months – 5 months total – since she’d last had any kind of intimacy.


“I didn’t mean to catch you off guard with the sex therapy talk.” Reaching up, she touched the side of his face and sucked in a breath as his teeth nipped the skin on her wrist, sending another shiver up her arm. “Unless you don’t think it’s a good idea or we need it?”


His ego was mentally informing her that he was a sex god and sex therapy was not in the plans, ever.  However, Mark kept the ego thing in check, reigned in, for now, catching her wrist before she could pull her hand away and looked down.  He could wrap his fingers around her wrist, she was so tiny compared to him, so fragile… one night was all he’d need, and she’d never have problems wanting him again.


“If you think it’ll help, Ciana, I’ll do it.” He said finally, that tinge never leaving his tone, though he personally thought she should let him work her issues out for her.


“I don’t want to do it this way, but…I don’t know what else to do either.  I want you…” Hell, what woman in their right mind wouldn’t want this delicious specimen buried to the hilt inside of them? “I thought foreplay would do the trick, work out the kinks, but…something is holding me back.  And it’s not from the accident.” His fingers stroked her sides, molded them and Anciana scooted closer, her hands stroking his chest through the beater he had on. “I need help, Mark…I don’t know what’s wrong with me aside from the amnesia.  I just need to bite the bullet and do this, and I can’t for some reason…”


He nodded, letting her know he got her words, understood where she was coming from and he did.  Sort of.  Mark had never personally had these issues, so…this was all new to him. “Are you afraid of me, Anciana?” He asked, kissing up the column of her throat, feeling her head lulling back while her hands still caressed his chest.  It’d be his luck, even with amnesia, her intuition was kicking in and that wasn’t a good thing.  He’d have to run her over again and he really didn’t want too, rather liking his wifey.


“Mmm no…” She breathed out, enjoying the feeling of his muscles rippling beneath her soft caresses. “I have no reason to be…”


What was the problem then?  Why couldn’t Anciana just give herself to him?  Why was this tiny part of her brain flashing a neon red sign and warning her of danger?  Mark didn’t do anything to warrant danger…if anything, he was the sweetest man in the world, kind, considerate and extremely patient.  At least, that’s what she told herself since she didn’t remember any of her old conquests.  She married him though and it was for a reason…she would HOPE she was the type of woman to marry out of love.


“I’m scared…of rejection, I think.  What if we sleep together and it’s not the same as it used to be?  What if sex sucks between us now that I’m not the same woman you married?  Don’t laugh, Mark, I’m being serious here.” She smacked his arm, chastising him and pouted when he continued laughing at her. “You may be a sex god in bed, but I don’t have a clue if I’m any good at sex anymore and it’s…intimidating, especially with someone like you.”


Chapter 9


If that was her issue then, as far as he was concerned, it was a non-issue.  Though… Anciana’s last comment had piqued his interest. “What do you mean, Ciana, with someone like me?” He asked curiously, pulling away from her delicious skin in order to stare intently into her face. “Someone famous?  Someone extremely larger than you?  Handsome as the devil?”


Oh yes, he was an arrogant man and he could see she was struggling with the words.  Cupping her face gently but firmly in his hands, he bent down and kissed her, swallowing whatever it was she was trying to say, letting her know with actions that it would be good between them.  Good was likely an understatement; he was banking on explosive.


All she could do was kiss him back, her hands gripping his shoulders before wrapping around his neck, soft mewls escaping her.  He made her feel beautiful, wanted and desired…what the hell was her problem?  However, what he’d said bothered her and Anciana managed to break the kiss, his hands still holding her face.


“I…I don’t care…about how much money you have.  I know that’s not why I married you.” She had to catch her breath, her chest rising and falling rapidly, and her body trembled against him in both desire and uncertainty.  Mark had nailed what she’d been thinking – he was handsome as the devil and those eyes…they were filled with devilish intentions for her. “Your size is…intimidating.  I’m really small compared to you, so that is kinda of nerve-wracking…and you are…you’re gorgeous, okay?” She was out of his league completely and, yet somehow, they wound up married.


Gorgeous, she had called him gorgeous; that was entirely new, a definite first.  Mark had been called many things, but gorgeous was not one of them.  A small girl, back when he had been starting out, had finally grown his hair and then like an idiot, permed it because it had been the thing, had called him ‘pwetty’, but gorgeous was new.  Mark blinked away his surprise, pressing his forehead against hers and inhaled deeply.


“I want you, Ciana.” He growled bluntly, letting the desire lace his tone, letting her hear it, before running his nose down along the side of her face, his lips brushing the corner of her mouth. 


When she moved her head, he gripped her neck, keeping his eyes fastened on hers while he traced the tip of his tongue along her bottom lip, his free hand moving down slowly to rest on her inner thigh.  Agony…that was the ONLY word to describe how Anciana felt as Mark continued his advances on her.  That tongue was evil…she had experienced it firsthand while camping in their tent.  Mark had made her climax so many times, Anciana lost count after 50, truthfully.  He had spent hours showering her with kisses and love, but when it came time to do the actual deed, to actually have sex, she denied him. 


Sure, she had reciprocated the foreplay with both interest and gusto, wanting to make him feel as good as he made her.  Sucking him off had been…interesting…because he was a lot bigger than she realized, especially hard.  She’d only been able to fit half of his girth in her mouth and her jaw hurt the next morning from it.  They had seen each other completely stark naked and tasted each other, doing everything EXCEPT actual sex.


“Oh god…” Her thoughts left her the moment his fingers began stroking her sex beneath her shorts and panties, his eyes still locked on her. “Mark, I don’t think now…mmm…now is…a…” The words faltered and fell from her lips as his large fingers began pumping in and out of her, his mouth sealing to hers.


“Now is perfect,” He murmured against her lips, feeling her hips begin to move in time with his fingers. 


Her mind was saying no, but her body was eventually going to demand she give in and he would be helping her along the way.  The road to hell would be paved with intimacy.  They were completely alone, but he was still muffling her moans and cries and he could feel her slick walls clenching around his fingers, moving his thumb so he could manipulate her clit.


“Cum for me, Ciana,” He ordered in a lusty baritone, gently biting at her bottom lip. “Give in.”


“No…I can’t…I want to, but…” Anciana kept shaking her head, even as her body betrayed her and gave Mark exactly what he wanted, what he craved. “Oh Mark!” Her soft cry echoed around the kitchen; Anciana was very glad Patricia and the rest of the nurses were gone or else they would’ve heard what was currently going on. 


Before she knew what was happening, her shorts and panties were off with Mark working her body into a frenzy with those skillful fingers of his.  Her head was swimming, in a passion haze and her fingers buried in his hair as he knelt down in front of her.  Even with her on the counter, his face was perfectly level with her sex and Anciana cried out again the moment his tongue touched her.


Even if he had to use his mouth and tongue for hours on end to get his way, it wouldn’t be a chore.  She was delicious.  She was clean, well groomed, and tasted like ambrosia.  In a bed would have been preferable, but the fact of the matter was: Anciana was taking this therapy thing seriously and the fact she had brought up sexual counseling was… problematic.  Mark would support her of course, that’s what a good husband did, but the reality was, she needed to be dissuaded from that course.  Binding her physically and emotionally to him was the key to that and her body was BEGGING for attention.  It was her mind that was the problem.  He had absolutely no problem breaking her body, bending it to his will; he knew the mind would follow after.


The alarm bells ringing in her head slowly began diminishing, fading away in the far recesses of her mind.  However, there was only so much gas in the tank and Anciana didn’t want to waste all of it on foreplay.  She had no idea how long Mark kept her planted on that counter, devouring her with his sinful mouth, but eventually he pulled away to rise to his full height.  Her face was flushed, her eyes wide and her breathing erratic.  He kissed her hard, delving in his tongue in her mouth and Anciana once again snaked her arms around his neck, feeling her backside leave the counter.  Her legs had wrapped around his waist instinctively as they kept kissing and touching.


“Y-You’re not making this e-easy for me…” She mumbled in a stammer against his mouth before he kissed her again, carrying her up the stairs to their bedroom. “Mark…”


That was the point.  It wasn’t exactly like she had made things easy on him either.  It was hard being committed to one woman.  A beautiful woman with crystalline blue eyes, sun kissed hair and a body he would murder other men for, just to make sure it was his and his alone.  Once in the bedroom, he kicked the door shut behind them and deposited her on the bed, peeling off his own tank top.  Mark towered over her in nothing except his jeans and his erection was really testing the material tonight, his darkened gaze drinking her in.  The only thing she had left on was her top and he could see her juices -what he hadn’t caught with his tongue -glistening on her thighs.  Licking his lips, he moved so he was kneeling between her spread legs, bending down to trace those areas with his tongue, growling hungrily.


“But therapy…”


Anciana could barely hear the alarm bells now and sprawled back on the bed as he licked the juices from her thighs, moaning.  She was ready and willing, for the first time since being brought here from the hospital.  Anciana watched as Mark’s mouth left her thighs to kiss up her body, dragging the material of her tank top up with each kiss.  She sat up long enough to remove it along with her bra, those emerald stones nothing more than dark forest green pools.


“Mark…” Bringing his mouth down on hers, Anciana pulled him on top of her as they kissed almost brutally, the need for each other far greater than anything on this planet. “Please…” She wasn’t sure what she was begging for, whether it was for him to take pity on her and stop making her senses reel or to take her to heights only she knew they could reach together.  Just as he shed his jeans and slid the tip of his cock up and down her quivering slit, they heard a voice that was unfamiliar to Anciana, but VERY to Mark.


“Ohh Deadman, I’m here!” It was Paul.


“W-Who is that?” Anciana asked breathlessly, the passion haze diminishing from her mind and she immediately pulled the comforter up over her body while her husband looked ready to either scream or kill.


He had been RIGHT THERE!  Mark had felt the heat of her, engulfing just a fraction of him and then that shrill, fat bastard had… “A dead man walking…” He growled, tearing himself away from her and began stuffing his legs back into his jeans.  Mark was going to reach underneath those chin folds, find that fat neck and squeeze the life out of the old man.


“I’m not coming up those stairs, Taker!”


“Because you’re too fucking fat!” He bellowed after opening the door.  Instead of being offended, Paul began giggling and he rolled his eyes, slamming the door and turning to look at his wife, his eyes venomous though it wasn’t aimed at her. “That is a coworker of mine and a very old friend…” Of sorts.  And why that bastard was here… Mark was guessing he wanted to come see the fruits of their destruction.  Her. “I’ll go… get him settled.  He always stays a day or so when he comes by.” Then, Mark needed to go splash ice water on his balls.


All Anciana could do was nod mutely, watching him storm out of the bedroom and looked down at herself, immediately flying into the bathroom.  So close…no, scratch that…she’d already surrendered to him down in the kitchen, even as the faint words left her lips, trying to stop him from pleasuring her.  Now that she was alone again, Anciana let a few tears slip down her cheeks, her body trembling from being denied, yet again, what it wanted.  Mark.  She wanted Mark in every way possible and had been ready, willing, to give into him.


“Shower, I need a shower…” Wiping the tears away, Anciana stepped under the sprays and made them cold, planting both of her hands on the shower wall as they beat down on her.  


What was her problem? 


Did she not like sex or something?


“You looked irritated, what’s got- HEY!” Paul let out a very feminine squeal when he was actually physically lifted by two hands on his shoulders.  He began kicking his short legs, aiming for Taker’s thighs – not the balls, that’d get him killed.


“How dare you come uninvited and unannounced, old man.”


Paul had, in all fairness, tried wrangling an invite from his Phenom, but Taker hadn’t done it.  He got the impression he was hiding Anciana away for now. “Your wife may see you.” He cautioned, seeing the viciousness in those acidic eyes burn even brighter before going blank.  Paul was back on solid ground and brushed off the shoulders of his now rumpled shirt. “Temper, temper.”


“Push your luck, Paul; eventually, you’ll regret it.”


An hour later, Anciana felt back to normal and dressed in fresh undergarments with a tank top and shorts, her everyday wear when she was at home.  Sometimes she opted for jeans, but…for the most part, because of the Texas heat, it was shorts.  Padding down the stairs, Anciana heard voices coming from the kitchen and her curiosity made her go in that direction.  She stood in the doorway, just out of sight, and listened in as Mark proceeded to berate his ‘coworker and friend’ for interrupting what would’ve been an explosive reunion between husband and wife.  Indeed, it would have.


Mark hadn’t outright said what his actual deal was, however, given the fact that he had been having this fit for an hour, Paul was going to guess it was something to do with Anciana and the lack of sex.  He had known that was an issue, one that needed fixed to make this marriage proper in all ways, but he was also a bit curious why Taker hadn’t bothered with ring rats.  It wasn’t like he hadn’t dipped his toes in that pool before.


“Are you quite finished?” He asked, turning away from the sink where he had been making a pitcher of sweet tea and reached up for a glass. “Your wife rearranged everything.”


“It is her kitchen.”


“True.” Paul nodded, knowing better than to mention this marriage being a sham, making a reference to it or anything that had brought Anciana to this point. “I do hope I’ll finally get to meet her.”


Mark was advancing, quietly, his hands outstretched.  One quick rap and Paul would be unconscious.  He had acres of land.


“Don’t even think about it, Calaway.” Paul warned without looking backwards.


“You can meet me now, if you’d like.”


Anciana made her presence felt, walking into the kitchen to start cleaning up the mess from dinner.  It was nightfall, no surprise there.  They had been quite…preoccupied to notice the sun had set on the horizon already.  It was one of Anciana’s favorite things to do, but having sexual relations, or almost, with her husband had been more important.


“I’m Anciana.” She extended her hand to the rather enlarged man and instantly recognized him, smiling softly. “Paul Bearer, right?”


Paul chuckled, gathering she’d watched some of Taker’s old videos. “Yes, well I was, but now I’m behind the scenes for the time being.  And the name is Bill – I’m only Paul Bearer on television.” The whole Mankind business didn’t really work out and the company was currently figuring out a new route to go with his character as well as Taker’s. “You are as beautiful as Mark portrayed you to be, dear.”


“Thank you.”


“No, you’re Paul.”


“Do tell?” Paul let go of Anciana’s hand with a smile, turning back to his sweet tea and began pouring each of them a glass.  He had come one time to find sun made plain tea in the refrigerator.  Texans were barbaric.


“Because Bill is a nice, sweet old man and you are not nice nor sweet, old man.”


He snorted, more than used to Mark’s mercurial moods.  The man was an enigma to everyone, including those closest to him. “You can call me whatever you want, it doesn’t bother me.” He said, sweetly no less.


One of these days, he really was going to wind up murdering his friend.


Chapter 10


“I will call him whatever he wants me to and he said Bill.  So, Bill it is, grumpy.” She smirked as Bill snorted into his glass and smiled sweetly at her husband, sipping her own tea thoughtfully. “I will get the guest room ready for you, Bill.  I didn’t know we were having company tonight.” Anciana shot her husband a stink eye, wondering if he was too preoccupied with trying to get laid to remember a friend staying with them and neglected to tell his wife about it.


Paul already liked this woman and sincerely hoped the Phenom didn’t destroy her fiery spirit. “Thank you, Anciana.  That would be wonderful.  I AM an old man, you know.” He winked, reaching over to squeeze her hand.


“Don’t let him lie to you; I may call him old man, but he’s only like 41 or 42.” Mark informed her, shaking his head. “He’s FAT, that’s his problem.”


“I’m morbidly obese.” Paul corrected, his weight was something he had struggled with all his life and it was also something he had learned to live with, on occasion also own.  He eased himself down into a chair. “And I do apologize, Anciana, I usually call before I come.  I’m afraid… I invited myself this time.”


Piss poor timing.


“You are always welcome in our home, Bill.” Anciana assured him, setting down a plate full of spaghetti and patted his shoulder before walking up to Mark. “I’m gonna go chill out in the living room and give you gentlemen time to yourselves.” She kissed Mark’s cheek, letting him know everything was fine between them and they would get another shot soon enough, nodding to Bill on her way out.


“Such a lovely, polite thing, isn’t she?”


“Mmm, she is.” Mark agreed, sitting down opposite of his friend and now biggest pain in the ass cock block ever.  He twisted, watching as Anciana made her way out to the living room, whistling his appreciation and winked at her when she looked back to smile at him.


He would give Taker one thing; the man was the best method actor he had ever seen.  The man had definitely gone into the wrong profession. “You definitely do not deserve a sweet, polite, beautiful woman like that in your life.  She is way too good for you.”


Mark began drumming his fingertips on the tabletop, both inclined to agree and annoyed that he agreed. “Sure is.” He said, however, his tone genial.


Paul lowered his voice to where only Taker could hear him, sipping his tea thoughtfully. “What do you plan on doing once the marriage is…consummated?  Surely you’re not going to keep her here locked up.” They had a complete background on Anciana, including who her family was and what she was planning on doing prior to the ‘accident’.  Taker was a devious, ruthless man and the fact he’d actually taken his prey homemade Paul cautious. “You DO have some kind of plan, right?”


What would happen if she regained her memories and found out what kind of man Taker actually was?  Or remembered who her family was?  This was a recipe for disaster and it all fell on the amnesia the young lady currently had.


“I have several, actually.”


Of course, he wasn’t above murder as a last resort.  If by chance, Anciana did get her memories back and decided to make his life miserable, murder was it.  He had no intentions of going to prison, ever.  Pushing away from the table, Mark walked over to the counters, rifling in a drawer until he found a deck of playing cards.  If they were going to chit-chat about this, they were also going to look inconspicuous while doing so.


“As it stands right now, I’m not inclined to let her go.” He said quietly, once he was sat back down, hearing the television going and Anciana laughing at whatever she was watching.  He began shuffling the cards. “You still play poker?”


“Of course.” Paul then held out his finished plate, offering a wicked smile. “Help an old man, boy?”


“Oh, for fuck’s….” Grumbling, Mark did, though he aimed a kick at the ‘old man’s’ leg on his way by.


“I understand you don’t want to let her go and I’m with you on that.”


Talk about a problematic, LEGAL, situation if and when Anciana regained her memories.  Paul knew 9 times out of 10, people who had amnesia eventually regained their memories.  He wasn’t sure if Taker was aware of that fact and statistic or not.  It was a fact of life.  It was rare when people didn’t regain their memories unless it was due to a head injury, which she had sustained.  There was a SMALL chance Anciana would never remember, but somehow Paul doubted that would happen.  They couldn’t get that lucky.


“However, given who we’re dealing with and your whole purpose of running her down in the first place…don’t you think it’s time to put the rest of your plan into action?”


“Not until everything is 100% above board.” Mark said patiently, eyeing his cards.  His tone was pleasantly neutral, low, she would have to be standing damn close to hear him, though his tone was obvious.  Just a friendly game between friends.


“And how is that coming?” Paul cringed under the very pointed look he received. “Oh… Oh!” That was his bad.


“You need to learn patience, William.”


“This is a bit of a high stakes game, isn’t it?” He wiped sweat off his forehead, wishing Mark would run the air conditioner, though when those eyes flashed amusement and acid, he frowned. “You really are enjoying this, aren’t you?”


“You have no idea…”


They were playing an old favorite of Taker’s – Texas Hold’em.  It was fitting considering where they were located.  Taker usually played for money, but luckily, he didn’t seem to want to take Paul, his ‘old friend’ for every penny he was worth.


“I’m almost afraid to ask this, but you’ve got me curious.” Paul smirked, moving his cards and kept his own voice neutral as well, not using the high-pitch he did on television. “What do you plan on doing with her once all is said and done?  Once you have what you want, and HE is taken care of?  Cut her loose or keep her for your own amusement?” This poor young lady had been through so much because of his master.


Given that Paul had come unannounced and then spoiled a moment that Mark had been working towards for months now, he was not inclined to be nice to the other man and let him know what his future plans entailed.  He did, however, pick up on the tone in Paul’s reedy voice.  That underlying current of concern, worry for Anciana, and he cocked an eyebrow.


“If I think, for one moment, you’re going soft, I’m going to kill you.” He said tonelessly, watching as Paul paled and busied himself with his cards.  Paul had gotten his hands quite dirty in the past and this time around as he had played his own role in this debacle.  Mark did not need the added pleasure of a doubter or potential turncoat. “Suffice to say, as long as things remain… pleasant, she’ll be fine.”


“You didn’t really answer me.”


“And I won’t either, while you’re on your period acting all… concerned.”


Before the fat man could respond, Anciana walked into the kitchen and dropped a kiss on Mark’s mouth before heading to the cabinet. “I’m making popcorn, do you two want any?” She asked cordially, watching Bill nod while tossing one thing of popcorn in the microwave, humming under her breath. 


Suddenly, it was as if someone zapped her with lightning and Anciana hit the floor like a ton of bricks, clutching her head.  The flashes were brief, the pain was blinding, and she didn’t feel Mark clutch her arms from behind.  As fast as the pain came, it was gone and Anciana slowly opened her clenched eyes, hearing the laughter echoing in her mind.  All she’d seen was two kids running around, both with blonde hair, chasing a kite.  That was it.  What the hell was that?


“Mark…she needs to lie down.  She’s pale and her breathing isn’t normal…”


“I-I’m fine…my head hurts, but I’m fine…” Therapy was definitely looking better by the second.


“You are not fine.” Mark argued gently but firmly, carefully scooping her up into his arms bridal style, cradling her against his chest.


He didn’t need Paul’s professional opinion, he could see there was a problem.  Her pupils were dilated, when they shouldn’t have been because of the light, her breathing was erratic, his fingers were pressed against her wrist pulse point timing the beats.  Her face was pale, pinched, bearing signs of pain and his eyes narrowed in, searching her intently.


“How does your head hurt?  Headache, or something else?”


Maybe Mark did listen when he did those medical lectures… he didn’t know whether to be proud or irritated.


“Headache…” Anciana took a deep, shaky breath as Mark carried her upstairs to their bedroom with Bill following, setting her gently in bed.  The color in her cheeks slowly began returning and her breathing calmed. “I just…need some aspirin and I’ll be okay…” She took the aspirin Mark handed and popped them, snuggling back down against the pillow as he continued staring at her concerned. “I saw something…”


Uh oh, Paul thought, watching Taker’s face intently to see how he’d react to this news.


“I…I can’t explain it, but…it felt like I was struck by lightning.  And I saw…two children.  Blonde.  They were chasing a kite.  I…I couldn’t see their faces, but I can still hear their laughter…” It made her heart twinge painfully in her chest as tears leaked out of her eyes, wondering if it was a memory trying to push through the amnesia. “It happened…so fast.  I couldn’t see their faces, everything was kind of blurry…”


Her memories were returning slowly but surely.  Taker had to act fast or else his plan would go up in smoke.


Anciana planned on making an appointment with a therapist as soon as Mark went back on the road.


Mark could see that therapy bell ringing in her head and that was to be expected, after this episode she had just had.  She had had a flashback it seemed, a memory surfacing, though the idea of it being brought on by popcorn was a little weird, even by his standards. “You and a relative maybe, darlin’?” He asked gently, reaching up with his hands to use his thumbs, brushing away her tears.  When she shook her head with a shrug, he gathered she didn’t know and sighed, bending down to brush his lips against her forehead. “Want me to set you up with a psychiatrist, Ciana?  Houston has a specialty clinic.”


He was playing this very close to the chest, wasn’t he?  But at the same time, it was both necessary and brilliant, to keep this charade up.  This woman was going to need quite a bit of therapy by the time all was said and done.


She smiled painfully due to the headache and reached up to caress his face, shaking her head. “I’ll take care of it.  You’re such a worrywart.” Anciana half-joked, feeling him kiss her wrist and sighed as the aspirin began working its magic on her head, the pain diminishing. 


Why had something as trivial as popcorn stirred a potential memory?  Was she one of the kids chasing the kite?  If so, who was the other child?  There were too many questions and Anciana was drained after feeling like she’d been struck by lightning.


“I’m just gonna go to sleep.  I’m sorry about this, Bill.  I promise to be a better hostess tomorrow.” Providing another memory didn’t surface.


“Don’t you worry about it, Anciana, dear.” Paul assured with a pleasant smile, taking over the spot Mark had just occupied when the big man got up to start drawing the blackout shades.  Ensuring that no light would come bother her, glad for the very dim bedside lamp that was on or else he’d be blind. “You know, I am a medical professional.” He informed her. “If you would like a referral… I could provide you with one.  It might get you in faster to be seen by someone.”


That was very true, Mark thought, disappearing into the bathroom to grab a disposable cup from the dispenser, filling it with cold tap water before walking back out to set it down beside her.


“You are?” Mark hadn’t said anything, but then again Bill already had his hands full with his current job being Paul Bearer. “I’d appreciate that.  Thank you, Bill.”


She smiled at her husband, taking the cup of water and took a long swallow before laying back down on the bed.  No sex would happen tonight, not after that episode.  Yawning loudly, her eyes began droopy and shut of their own accord, drifting off to sleep almost instantly.  Paul waited until they were out in the hallway before looking up at his Phenom.


“Her memories are trying to resurface.  It’s crunch time, Taker.  Consummate the marriage and then bring her on the road, that’s my advice to you.  DO NOT let her see a therapist, especially one that specializes in hypnotherapy.” Being hypnotized a time or two, Paul had recalled some not very fond memories from his own past he would’ve been better off forgetting about.  Taker had to stop beating around the bush, it was time to execute phase 2 of his plan, by any means necessary.


“Wrong, old man.” Mark was grinning, and it was a very wicked grin indeed.  If Anciana could see his face right now, she would have run for the hills screaming because there was nothing except evil intentions written in his venomous eyes. “Come walk with me.” He escorted Paul out of the house and outside, walking away from the house to be on the safe side. Mark was paranoid enough to gesture at objects, like the fencing, just in case she did wake up and got nosy. “You will make that referral to a therapist of my choice.” This was doable. “I want her to trust me, completely.  To have no doubt in me.  I want her to love me.”


“You’ll destroy her.”


“Perhaps,” Mark allowed, nodding his head in acknowledgement. “But bringing her on the road without having her loyalty 100% is not something I’m willing to risk.  Not with Austin.”


“You’re going to destroy yourself too.”




Chapter 11


The first few sessions with Dr. Mathis was enlightening and it made Anciana realize how ridiculous she was being.  She couldn’t force her memories to resurface if they didn’t want to.  That wasn’t how the brain worked and Dr. Mathis pointed that out.  Because of her whereabouts during the time of the accident, there was no family to speak of besides Cameria.  He recommended a change in diet, but nothing other than that besides time and patience.  He also informed her there was a huge possibility, much like Doctor Horris, her memories may never return. 


Today, they would be discussing the intimacy factor in her marriage and how she was scared to go all the way with Mark.  She sat in the office nervously; Mark was back on the road doing his job to provide for them and she was trying to get better mentally and emotionally.  When her name was called, Anciana took a deep breath and walked through the door to be lead to Dr. Mathis’s office.


Mathis was working within the boundaries he had been given.  Help her as much as possible, without actually nudging those memories along.  Apparently, Mr. Calaway believed that those memories may cause more harm than good, and he had convinced Mathis… in a monetary fashion.  Anciana had intimacy issues and he had reassured her that it was perfectly normal.  Given the extent of her injuries and the trauma to her brain, the amnesia, jumping back into sex with her husband wasn’t something anyone could reasonably expect her to do.  She didn’t know her husband from the next stranger, so to speak.


“Now… it’s good, that you and Mark are getting to know each other.” He said slowly as they reviewed the case notes together.  They had discussed her issues with Mark’s frustration, and of course, he had told her that was also to be expected, but obviously Mark was a patient man willing to work on it. “Last week, you said you were fearful, and I asked you to think about it, write whatever came to mind down about having a sexual relationship with your husband.  How’s that gone?”


The irony was not lost on Mark.  He was paying a shrink to get him laid, essentially.


“It’s actually helped a lot.” Anciana admitted somewhat shyly, pulling out the piece of paper she had hidden from her husband and handed it over to Dr. Mathis. 


Some of the words she’d written was uncertainty, rejection, the size of him versus the size of her -yes that was a worrisome factor to her-, the fact they were married so quickly in a whirlwind romance, intimidation, fear and desire.  The ONE word she did not put down, refusing to, was love.  She did not love Mark, not yet, not this soon.  Anciana didn’t know him very well, though they had spent a lot of time together.  It wasn’t nearly enough when he was constantly on the road working and only home a few days out of the week.  3, if she was lucky.


“I suggested us to see a sex therapist, but…Mark didn’t take it very well.  He said he’d go, but I know he doesn’t want to.”


“Well, I suppose that’s understandable too.” Mathis admitted, after a few seconds went by. “If we look at it from his point of view, you’re his wife and he has memories of being intimate with you.  It is probably a difficult thing to reconcile those memories with what is going on now and the possible need for intervention.” He then looked down at the paper in his hands, studying it thoughtfully. “All right, Anciana, let’s start with rejection.  Do you fear him rejecting you?  Has he given any indication that he no longer wants you?”


“No, he’s been more than patient with me and has shown how much he cares for me.” Again, she didn’t mention the L word. “And yes, I’m afraid once we have sex, he’ll reject me because it’s not…it’s not what it once was between us.” This was so embarrassing to talk about.  This was her husband and she was acting like he was a stranger…a stranger who could kiss and just a touch of his lit her body on fire. “I was hoping therapy would help rouse my memories, but…it seems I was wrong.” Lowering her head, Anciana couldn’t remember feeling this frustrated and snorted.  She couldn’t remember anything from her past, only the present. “I think I’m…putting too much pressure on myself when it comes to sex with Mark.”


“All right, Anciana, I know it can be frustrating, coming here and not getting results,” Mathis said gently, kindly, this was something he was used to from all his clients.  People needing an almost instant fix. “But you will get them; you just have to give it a bit more time.  Unfortunately, therapy of any kind is not an instant cure, it’s a process.” He picked up the pitcher of ice water up from its stand on his desk, filling the glass he had set out for her and then his own. “I don’t think Mark will reject you.” He added thoughtfully. “From the way you talk about him, it seems he loves you.  And I do agree, you are putting too much pressure on yourself.  Sex should come naturally, and you seem to be overthinking it.”


Did Mark love her?  Or did he feel he had to take care of her out of obligation since he was the one who struck her down?  Maybe that part bothered her more than she was willing to admit.  There she went again, overthinking things.  Dr. Mathis was right, she had to stop overthinking things because sex had to come naturally.  The desire she felt whenever he was around, the butterflies in her stomach and tingles throughout her body were natural reactions.  It was obvious she was attracted to him, so why was her brain being finicky about this?  About Mark?


“So, what should I do, Dr. Mathis?”


“Well, let’s start addressing your fear, the size difference and then we’ll start discussing a game plan.” Mathis suggested with a gentle smile. “What about the size difference bothers you?  Is it his physical size, body wise?” Because Mr. Calaway was near seven feet and wide… and she was… a lot smaller. “Or are you worried about… anatomical differences under the clothing?”


“He’s gigantic compared to me, so it’s a little intimidating.  I’m not afraid of him, but it makes me nervous because of his…size.”


Anciana felt her cheeks burn crimson, remembering the moment they’d nearly crossed the line and had sex.  If it hadn’t been for Bill showing up uninvited, they would’ve had sex that night with Mark’s…persuasion.  She didn’t know if it bothered her or not that he seduced her into bed, having mixed feelings about it.


“I feel like…I don’t know…” It was a horrible cliché, but Anciana felt like she was in the arms of the devil.  An angel in the arms of the devil.  She had no idea just how right she was in that scenario. “I married him for a reason, but I don’t know what that reason is because I don’t love him the way he loves me.  I haven’t known him long enough to even consider the possibility of love.  And I don’t know why, but I won’t sleep with someone I don’t love.”


Mathis had listened to Anciana patiently, jotting down notes and specific words, things to think about and discuss with her.  When she was finished, he was nodding. “Well, we’ve established that married or not, you don’t have memories of him other than what you’ve created since coming out of the coma, yes?” At her nod, he smiled softly. “So of course, he is a stranger to you.  Instead of viewing this as a marriage, if I may, and worrying about marital relations, perhaps you and Mr. Calaway could try something new.” At Anciana’s curious look, he cleared his throat. “Do you know what roleplaying is?  Acting.  Pretending.” He clarified. “Why not treat this as you two are dating?  Dating is generally the way people discover their compatibility, get to know each other, and I think that you are putting so much stress and pressure on yourself because you are married.  Maybe it’s time to take a step backwards.”


“So, we should…date, or at least pretend to, and gradually work our way up to a married couple?”


At Dr. Mathis’ nod, Anciana found herself smiling at the thought.  Dating her husband could work.  They had gone out on dates, but she’d always thought of them as married.  Looking down at the diamond ring on her finger, Anciana knew this was the right thing to do deep in her heart.  Love would come in time, but rushing it made things a lot worse and pressured.  How would Mark react to this though?  He thought of them as a married couple, surely.  How would he react to her taking her wedding ring off and wanting to start from scratch by dating?


“I hope he understands why I have to do this…” That was said in a soft mumble.


All things considered, Mathis had a feeling that Mark was going to be very understanding.  According to their history, and what they had both told him, they had had a whirlwind romance that culminated in marriage after a month.  Unless the coma and amnesia had basically reboot Anciana after the accident, he didn’t see it being an issue.


“I’m sure he will.  He seems to care a great deal about you.” He stated confidently, hoping to reassure her.




Wednesday morning, Anciana was up early and had the house clean from top to bottom, classic rock music blasting from the radio while she dusted.  Her hair was pulled up in a messy bun on top of her head, skin tight black shorts and an orange tank top, her feet bare.  It was in the mid-70’s outside since fall weather was upon them, so the windows were open, the A/C off.  Anciana hadn’t told Mark about her and Dr. Mathis’ discussion regarding taking a step back to start dating, so she would have to drop that bombshell on him.  She thought about moving out and getting her own place to make it more realistic and believable, but decided against it.  She had no income of her own, no job did that, and something told her Mark wouldn’t allow it.  Humming to Metallica, she finished dusting, put the cleaning supplies away and started breakfast.


Anciana didn’t have to tell him a thing, he already knew.  He was amused with the idea, dating… that was basically what they were doing now; she just didn’t realize it.  Mark had taken some time off again, figuring a week with her may help, or hurt, he wasn’t sure yet.  He also had flat out informed his boss, after that last pay-per-view, he needed some downtime or else he would have issues down the road with his hips.  Big men probably shouldn’t fly the way he did, but… he did it anyway. 


His delectable wife was dancing in the kitchen, shaking her ass to Metallica, and he had dropped his bag at the door along with his shoes, quietly creeping up behind her.  He regretted it.  She had been gearing up to cook, apparently, and Mark hadn’t caught the skillet in her hand until it was swinging at his head.  He managed to sort of duck the blow, it grazed him instead of outright beaned him, but it was enough to make him rethink creeping up again.


“Hi, darlin’.” He was backing off, holding the spot, eyes shut. “Hell of a swing, Ciana…”


“Oh my god!” Anciana immediately dropped the skillet, her eyes wide and jaw dropped, not believing she just nearly took her husband’s head off!  What the hell was she thinking?! “I-I’m sorry!  I-I didn’t think you’d be home so soon…I don’t know why I did that…” They were out in the middle of nowhere in Texas, on a stretch of land, but that didn’t mean someone couldn’t break into their home and attack her. “Here.” Anciana hesitantly reached up, placing the bag of ice against his head and chewed her bottom lip, tears shimmering in her crystalline eyes. “I’m so sorry…” She whispered, feeling his arm wrap around her waist to pull her closer against him.  Anciana felt lower than dirt right now and let a few tears slide down her cheeks.


What a hell of a way to welcome her husband home! 


“Don’t be,” He ordered, a slight tinge of pain lacing his tone as he moved back to sit down in one of the kitchen table chairs, letting go of her. “I deserved it.”


Mark cracked a grin at the thought; it was good to know she could defend herself if need be.  Of course, Anciana prior to the accident could have held off an attacker with relative ease, at least long enough to get to a phone or something, but she didn’t know that.  Keeping his eyes closed, he held that ice pack to the spot she had whacked, feeling her hovering over him and gingerly cracked open one eye, looking up into her concerned face.


“Stop it, Ciana, I’ll be fine.”


“No, you’re not fine.  I just hit you with an iron skillet, Mark!  Now stop being stubborn and let me help you.” Anciana ordered, more forceful than she meant, but he was making her peeved by not letting her help.  She pulled the ice pack away from his head to survey the damage, seeing she had clipped him and walked over to one of the drawers to pull some aspirin out. “You are going to take these, go in the living room and lay your ass down while I make us some breakfast.” She pushed the pills in his hand along with a glass of water and gestured to the living room, but not before kissing him softly. “Please listen to me.” Then, she went back to cooking and trying not to feel guilty for clocking her husband with an iron skillet.


Blatantly ignoring her, he kept his ass in that chair, watching her cook, though he had popped the aspirin.  Aspirin… he snorted mentally at that, it would not touch a thing for him; he was too big for one and metabolized stuff way too fast, and second, injuries over the years meant lots of OTC pain relief, which he had built up a resistance to.  He liked pain, enjoyed it, but not in the head, that was not fun pain.  Mark wasn’t laying down either; he wouldn’t risk this being a concussion.  His wife giving him a concussion.  Paul would find that hilarious given his brother-in-law had done the same not so long ago.


Breakfast consisted of omelets, Mark’s a lot bigger and thicker than hers along with a side of bacon and hash browns.  She set the plate of food in front of him, kissed his temple along with a glass of orange juice.  Maybe after a hearty meal, he’d listen to reason and lay down to rest his head.  She sincerely hoped he didn’t have a concussion and wondered if he should’ve gone to the hospital to be checked out.  Sitting down with her own glass of orange juice and food, they ate in somewhat tense silence.  He was angry with her, he had to be and Anciana didn’t blame him.  Who the hell wouldn’t be after being clocked in the head with a skillet, even if it was a graze?


Chapter 12


Mark wasn’t angry at her, he was a bit miffed at himself however, walking right into that one.  Not one of his finer moments.  He was now focused on the meal, wondering if she had been a natural cook or if when he wasn’t around, she was reading Betty Crocker cookbooks.  He had one of those… an old orange thing that had been his Mom’s way back when.  It was floating around somewhere; it had been a great paperweight for a while, until he wanted to learn how to make his own soup.


“Woman…” He grumbled, after devouring that omelet, seeing the way she was staring down at her plate. “I’m fine, I’ve had worse, okay?  And this is delicious.” He would keep her just for the cooking.


“Thank you.” Anciana quietly replied, feeling him take her hand and looked up at him with sorrow and regret in her eyes. “I’m glad you like it.  I don’t know how or why, but…cooking has come very easily to me.” She admitted somewhat sheepishly, her great mood destroyed after hurting her husband.  Was she even supposed to refer to him as her husband?  Or if they were roleplaying, wouldn’t he be considered her boyfriend? “Was I like this when we first met?  Did I…cook for you or did we just go out to eat a lot?” It was Vegas, after all, and there was an endless supply of diners, restaurants and fast food places to eat at.


“Both.” He answered, after taking a forkful of hash browns. “You cooked, but not like this.  You were living with Cameria.” He reminded her. “And the apartment wasn’t… as equipped as this kitchen is, darlin’.  Not to mention, you were disgusted when I first told you I was living on fast food.  So… you cooked and, if we ate out, we did a lot of restaurants.  Places that wouldn’t give you a heart attack.” Anciana seemed pleased with that answer and he smiled at her, next reaching for his glass of juice. “How’d your appointment go?”


The moment of truth had arrived. 


It was now or never. 


Anciana didn’t think the day could get any worse and slowly slipped her wedding ring off, setting it on the table. “Before you freak out, I’m not leaving you and I don’t want a divorce.  Dr. Mathis told me we need to take a step back because I’ve been putting a great deal of pressure on myself lately.  I figured out why I haven’t…had sex with you yet.  It’s because, somewhere in my lost memories, is still the woman I used to be and…” She took a deep breath, knowing this next part wouldn’t be easy for him to hear. “I don’t love you, Mark.  I like you a lot and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, but…I don’t love you.  And until I do love you again, I won’t sleep with you.  So, Dr. Mathis recommended us to…roleplay, to take the edge and pressure off.  Instead of thinking of ourselves as married, we’re dating and since we’re just dating, not married…I can’t wear this ring until we’re back to the married phase of our relationship.  Does that make sense to you?”


He had been more than ready for this since Mathis was on the payroll, but at the same time… Mark hadn’t been entirely sure Anciana would actually do it.  She was not the firecracker he had thought she would be; she was hesitant a lot when it came to certain things and, other times, a hint of that stubborn streak peaked, so… it was weird.  He eyed that ring, then looked at her, then back at the ring, slowly reaching out to pull it towards him.  Mark deftly removed the simply gold chain necklace he always wore except when working and slid it on the chain before re-clasping it about his neck.


“You think this is going to help, darlin’?” He asked quietly, no judgement in his tone.  When she nodded, he did too. “All right, whatever it takes.” Then he smirked, letting her see the arrogance. “So, I need to make you fall in love with me again, huh?  Cakewalk.”


“Yes.  I know…it’s a little unconventional and weird, since we’re already married, but…I really think it will help.  I…I want to get back to how we used to be.” Now she was smirking, standing from the table to grab their plates. “Besides, since I married you after only knowing you a month, it shouldn’t be that difficult to get me to fall for you again, right?”


Her feelings for him had to be hardwired into her mind, just like how she knew how to cook and do things on her own.  Winking, she made her way to the sink to rinse the dishes off since they were both cleared and looked down at her left hand, feeling like a weight had been lifted.  This was the right decision, she thought, nodding as if to reassure herself.


Sure wouldn’t be, he thought, watching her intently and then grinned, pushing away from the table.  Mark headed upstairs to wash off the dust of the road so to speak and then began moving his belongings out of their bedroom across the hall to the guest room, which had its own private bath, thankfully.  When he heard her coming, he waited patiently, laughing when Anciana took a double take.


“Darlin’, it took me a few days to get into your bedroom.” He informed her. “Figure if we’re going to do this again… you’re going to need your space.  Hell, maybe you needed it all along.” Mark sounded contrite, knowing he had pushed her too fast given her situation.


His thoughtfulness and consideration…how could she not love this man?  Anciana’s heart melted and she stepped up to him, crooking her finger to where he leaned down until her mouth touched his, kissing him softly yet passionately at the same time. “Thank you.  This means…this means a lot to me…that you’re doing this for me.” Hugging him around the neck, Anciana breathed in his scent and felt her feet leave the floor as he lifted her, holding her tightly against him. “Please don’t hurt me, Mark.  Don’t break my heart.  I’m trusting you and I promise to open myself up completely to you.” She murmured in his ear, feeling his arms tighten around her and shut her eyes, burying her face in the crook of his neck.


If Mark had been any other man, any normal person, a decent human hearing her soft, murmured plea would have instantly stopped all plans right there and then.  As it was, he felt what might have been a twinge and had shoved it out as soon as it presented, refusing to dwell on things like that.  As it was, he buried his face in her hair and inhaled what was now a familiar scent.


“I won’t darlin’,” He whispered, reassuring her. “I promise, Ciana, I’m going to take care of you.”




“How’s your head?  Feel up to playing a game or something?” Anciana asked a few hours later, joining him in the living room after readjusting her things in the bedroom. 


Mark was insistent on taking the guest room, refusing to put her out of their bedroom.  She felt bad, but at the same time, this was her house and Mark was being a gentleman.  So, she didn’t push him on the subject and let him do what he wanted.


“I found some board games in the closet and figured maybe we could break one of them out.  I think I’m a fan of Monopoly, but I’m not sure…”


Board games?  Mark blinked at her, trying to remember when the hell he had bought board games, fairly certain he hadn’t.  Or if he had, it had been years ago, and he had forgotten all about them.  Maybe back when he was more sociable, or… hell if he knew.




That was one he knew.  Mark liked cards games, the last time he remembered playing a board game had been when he was a teenager.  It had been RISK and he had enjoyed that one.  It required concentration, foresight and patience.


“So, the object of the game is to gather as many properties as possible, put houses and hotels on them to bankrupt the other player?” Anciana asked, an hour later, looking down at her properties and the wad of money in her hand while Mark had his own, watching him nod. “Oh damn, I went to jail again!” That was the third time. “I must be a very naughty girl to go that many times.” She let out a soft giggle, winking at him and watched him roll the dice, which gave him snake eyes…and the final orange property, New York, to grant him the first colored set. “Looks like you might win this game…”


“Mmm, we’ll see darlin’, plenty of other properties.” Mark chuckled, surveying the board. “It’s when negotiating for sets you need that shit gets interesting.” He smirked across the table at her. “You do go to jail a lot… what bad things have you been up to, Ciana?”


Besides landing and rolling wrong, Mark shook his head when she wiggled her eyebrows at him and reached for his beer.  As far as he was concerned, it was never too soon to start drinking, beer anyway.  Hard liquor on the other hand was a no go.




Anciana grinned triumphantly when she got her hands on the last railroad, owning all 4 of them.  Each time Mark landed on a railroad now, which was quite often, he would have to pay her $200.  This was a fun game, she enjoyed it and it was somewhat strategic as well.


“Alright so…you have one of the greens and pinks I need, and I have one of the red and yellow you need…but if I trade you those, you’ll own that whole block, so that’s no good…”


She was drinking as well, a beer beside her while tapping her chin thoughtfully.  The blue areas, Boardwalk and Park Place, they each owned a property of those.  She had Boardwalk and he had Park Place.  Currently, she had houses on the greys while Mark had houses on the oranges and he was nearly wiping the floor with her.


“I’ll trade you the yellow for the green.  What’d ya say, handsome?”


They had been playing this game for hours with breaks.  Breaks for snacks, breaks for the bathroom, it was now late afternoon after they had taken a long break to stretch their limbs and Mark was rather enjoying himself.  They had moved to the floor, the game resting between them with all their cards and money organized how each saw fit.  As it was later in the day, he had poured himself a Jack and Coke, with ice, and they had a fan going in a window to help circulate the light breeze from outside.  He had changed into a pair of old denim shorts, his hair hanging loose down his shoulders and back.


“I don’t know, darlin’,” He drawled, taking a slow drink, his emerald gaze wicked as he studied her. “That’d be a lot of rent to pay you… what’re you offerin’?”


“Hey!  You already have the oranges and they’re more than my greys.  The yellows are ALMOST as good as the greens.  We still have the reds and pinks we can negotiate as well.” Anciana remarked cheekily, extending her bare foot over the game, being careful not to knock anything over, to rub it up and down his bare chest.  She did have to admit, he had an amazing chest and Anciana found herself wanting to lick those perky pectorals. “What do you want then for the green?” She asked, trying to inject a hint of playfulness in her voice and hadn’t realized her crystalline eyes had darkened slightly.


Any other woman… touching him with her feet, Mark would have backhanded the bitch into oblivion.  Feet, in general, were gross.  He didn’t like his feet being touched and didn’t touch other people’s feet.  However, he shifted his head, so he could look down at said foot.  Clean.  Cared for.  Soft.  Painted toenails.  He brought a hand up, catching Anciana’s foot and ran a finger down along her arch.


“Depends on what you’re willing to offer, darlin.”


Her eyes had darkened further, smoldering over and Anciana found herself moving across the board now, after pulling her foot away, to straddle him.  They weren’t discussing the board game anymore.  She was fine with that and softly kissed him, taking his can of beer away to set it aside.  They could taste the beer on each other’s tongues and for some reason, it was intoxicating.  This man was intoxicating in general.  They were in a relationship, boyfriend and girlfriend, and there was no pressure.  Just do whatever came naturally.  Boyfriend and girlfriends fooled around, right?  Of course, they did, they just never went past the point of having actual sex…at least until a few dates passed.  They’d already explored each other orally, so that wasn’t a huge deal to her.


“I missed you.”


It was the truth, she hated being here by herself while he was on the road working, but knew that was how the bills were paid and a roof was kept over their heads.  Technically, if she wanted to really look at it, his job was also the reason she was here, in this position, period.  Or at least, a person related to his job, his own personal pain in the ass.  That pain in the ass was the last thing on Mark’s mind as his arms wrapped around her, pulling her firmly against his chest and he growled in her mouth, feeling her breasts through the thin material of her top, pressing against him.  This was hell.


“I missed you too.” He rumbled, rolling his forehead against hers, his eyes closing as he mentally coached down his erection.


For hours, Mark and Anciana made out like two horny teenagers, kissing and touching, exploring each other’s bodies.  They had moved from the floor to the couch in the living room, first sitting up with her straddled on his lap and then wound up laying down side-by-side.  Mark stroked her through the jean shorts she had on while she did the same through his jeans, until she was the one to delve beneath the material.  She reminded him they’d already gone down the road of foreplay and there was no reason to backtrack on it.  So, from the waist down, they were both naked and brushing against each other, her slick pussy gliding up and down his cock.  Anciana also made sure since she came, Mark did as well by jacking him off, refusing to make him suffer more than he already was with the no sex clause.


For someone who didn’t want to fuck him just yet, in the actual sense of the word because she had issues, such as not loving him, Mark was inclined to believe, underneath, was a slut dying to break free.  Of course, she was HIS slut.  No woman, who said NO to actual penetration and meant it, would be in a position where she was merely one slip away from being impaled.  No, Anciana wanted to have sex with him, she was just being weird as hell about it, but he would play this out her way.  Mark could feel how slick she was, how ready to go; she had drenched him with this foreplay and he could only imagine how it would be when they got to the real thing.


Love…that’s what it boiled down to.  She had to love him and could feel the love emanating from him for her.  For some reason, it was hardwired inside of her mind to only have sex with someone she loved.  Mark was her husband – boyfriend in roleplay world – and there was a reason she had married him prior to the accident.  She made it abundantly clear to Dr. Mathis she did not resent or hate Mark for running her down, not when he took such great care of her and treated her like gold.  He paid all of her hospital bills and everything from the accident as well, which was another reason he had to keep working on the road.  Anciana could feel something stirring inside of her for him and it would only be a matter of time before the like turned to love.  He just had to be patient a little longer and, hopefully, the wait would be worth it.  The wait would indeed be worth it because by the time they did eventually have proper sex, Mark was going to torment her.  The way she was now tormenting him.


“Wait, stop…”


He was hard again, because he was one of those blessed men who could cum, take a quick recovery or continue with foreplay, and be up and ready to go again within minutes.  Mark needed a minute because… temptation was rearing its ugly head.  Being pressed against her the way he was, able to feel her slick folds caressing him, and not succumbing to the desire to fill her, claim her completely…he was going to do something she’d be very upset over.


Anciana chuckled, softly brushing her lips against his and extracted herself out of his arms, feeling extremely parched.  She had a feeling Mark was too. “I’m gonna get us some water…and chapstick.  Be right back.”


She pulled her shorts on, not bothering with the panties and took off into the kitchen.  A few minutes later, after giving him time to recover and breathe, Anciana returned with a glass of ice water and sat down on the couch, still pretty flushed from their intense make out session.  Mark had pulled his jeans back on, but didn’t bother buttoning them and downed the entire glass of ice water.  She handed over the chapstick silently with a smile and grabbed the remote to turn the television on for background noise.


Mark leaned back against the couch, applying the chapstick with a slight smirk.  That had been a lot of kissing and both their lips were swollen, running the risk of severe chapping.  Smart woman.  Closing his eyes, he tipped his head back and let out a slow exhale, his entire body humming with energy that he wanted to vent, all on her deliciously tight little body.  When he opened his eyes again, he surveyed their game, smirking.


“I accept your trade.”


Chapter 13


“You are such an ass!” Anciana laughed, smacking his arm and shook her head, not even caring about the game anymore.  That was long past them. “It’s dinner time.  I am starving, and I know you have to be too.” Standing, she stretched her arms in the air and leaned down to very lightly peck his lips. “I thawed some steaks in the fridge, why don’t you go fire up the grill and I’ll take care of the sides?” She stroked his chest, not able to keep her hands off him and smirked when he pushed her away gently but firmly. “I don’t know the first thing about grilling, but you do.” He’d made a few great meals on that grill while she was recovering. “Get busy, they’re already marinated and ready to go.”


“Mmmhmm…” He rolled his eyes at her, blatantly adjusting himself and smirked when Anciana’s eyes narrowed in on the crotch of his jeans.  Mark zipped himself up before heading outside, not bothering with shoes. “Maybe we can swim after supper.” He called over his shoulder in a suggestion, knowing cooling down in the pool would be a great way of either giving him another painful erection or calm him.


“Sounds like a fine idea to me, handsome.”


Anciana would need a cold swim after that heavy, hot make out session.  If she wasn’t careful, she would end up having sex with this man before long.  Wait…wasn’t that the whole point of going to therapy… to GET her to that point?  Now Anciana was confusing herself and groaned inwardly, shaking her head, while cutting up some vegetables.  There were baked potatoes already made, they just had to be warmed up.  She turned on the radio while she worked, feeling better about life than she had in a long time.


The woman had a thing for classic rock n roll, not that he minded.  He listened to it as well, as well as some of the newer stuff.  Mark stayed outside, eyeballing those steaks because he liked his done a certain way.  He sure as hell didn’t trust a restaurant because they overdid it, or it was underdone; had to hit that perfect medium for him.  When Anciana brought him a cold longneck, Mark grinned down at her, reaching out to bring her lightly against him so he could brush his lips against hers, just a gentle caress, nothing demanding and then stepped away.  It was going to be a beautiful night, no rain in the forecast, and Texas skies at night were something even he would stop to appreciate.  Dinner outside, swimming… after the day they’d had, he definitely needed a cool down.


“Thank you, darlin’.  You want me to set up the patio set, and we can eat out here?”


“Sounds perfect.  Now don’t get distracted or you’ll burn our food.”


Winking, Anciana headed back inside to check how the sides were doing.  She could hear him chuckling behind her and smirked, moving to the beat of another great song by a band called AC/DC.  Her taste in music hadn’t changed, even though she didn’t realize it, and it was nice to see Mark liked the same genre she did.  While the sides finished up, Anciana walked outside with two plates, silverware and napkins to set the patio table.  Mark announced the steaks were done and she rushed back inside to put the sides in serving dishes, carrying them out to set them on the table.


“I made a salad too, just so we have something healthy to eat.” She joked, gesturing to a Caesar salad full of vegetables along with the different dressings that were in the fridge.


“Healthy?” Mark echoed, staring down at the table. “Darlin’, we got our protein, veggies… and more veggies; it don’t get much healthier than this.”


He laughed, walking around to pull her chair out for her and caught the flush of pleasure on her face, gathering it was from the action and stored that away for later.  Pretending to date him was apparently easier on Anciana than the marriage bit.  If that was what it took, then he would play this roleplay thing out with her.  He could practically hear Paul in his head, yelling at him that he was pushing his luck and shoved that away.  Paul had the patience of a crackhead.


“If you say so, it’s not very healthy being dripped in butter though.” That was exactly what the potatoes and vegetables were in too. “Then again, dressing isn’t that healthy either so…whatever, you only live once.”


Shrugging, she began digging in after Mark took his seat and prepping her plate.  Dinner was consumed in amicable silence, each too hungry to acknowledge the other at the moment.  After she finished eating, Anciana looked out at the beautiful sunset and knew dark would follow soon enough.


“Still up for that swim?”


Mark nodded, gesturing behind her at the house. When Anciana turned in her seat to look, he cleared his throat. “Up near the eaves, I got spotlights.  They’ll light it up out here and there are lights on the bottom of the pool.”


Given his job and his preference for night time anyway… it had seemed like a good idea, if a bit pricey.  He leaned back in his chair, using the napkin to blot at his mouth and let out a sigh of contentment.  She was going to spoil him with these homecooked meals of hers.


“I’ll clean up, you go on and get into your swimsuit.” He could very easily remember that suit too because she had worn it when they had gone camping.  That had been a memorable, if not frustrating and blue ball inducing, trip. “Go on, Ciana, I got it.” She had cooked, most of it, he could clean up.


“Thanks, handsome.”


Anciana headed inside to do as she was told, going upstairs to change into her bathing suit.  She had two to choose from and decided on the red bikini, remembering how Mark couldn’t take his eyes off her while she wore it during camping.  Red was apparently his favorite color because he told her he enjoyed seeing her in the red nightgown she owned.  It wasn’t crocheted like her black one, just simple and tied around the neck, back and hips.  She pulled the tie out of her hair, fluffing it out a bit in the mirror and neglected to apply any kind of makeup.  Swimming, it would come off in an instant.  Grabbing a towel, she wrapped it around her waist and headed back downstairs to join her husband – no boyfriend – for a night swim.


Mark had preferences in clothing, such as texture, cut, and color, especially on a woman.  He was a domineering sort of guy that way.  With Anciana and that beautiful hair of hers, along with those crystalline blue eyes, that red shade set everything off, accented it.  Red was currently his favorite color, as long as it was on his wife.  While she was upstairs, he cleaned up supper, put things away and got the lights on, figuring she didn’t need to slip, fall and hit her head again.  It’d be his luck that jogged all her memories.  Then he slipped up to ‘his’ room, digging out an old pair of black swim trunks and then glanced down at his pale complexion.


When she didn’t see Mark anywhere, Anciana figured he was changing and slipped her towel off to dip her toes into the water.  It was the perfect temperature, not too hot and not too cold.  Bath water.  The sun had baked it nice and warm, so they wouldn’t freeze.  Without waiting, Anciana dove into the clear liquid and surfaced just as Mark arrived on the patio.


“This water is glorious.  Get your handsome butt in here and join me.” She ordered cheekily, leaning back to begin doggy paddling.  Another thing she hadn’t forgotten to do, apparently.  It just came naturally, and she wondered if she swam a lot before the accident.


Mark instead took a few minutes to finish off his beer while watching her swim, taking in her even movements.  The way she glided through the water and then… then she had started doing that swim where people looked like dogs and he began snickering.  A second later, he felt water right on the front of his shorts and down his leg, his mouth falling open.  Anciana had splashed him!  Draining the rest of his beer, Mark set the bottle down and dived in headfirst, easily cutting through the water until he was able to swim by her, tugging at her bottoms though not enough to pull them down.


Anciana laughed, pushing his hands away from her bottoms and shook her finger at him. “Naughty man, we’re supposed to be cooling off, remember?” She reminded him, sliding her hand up his chest teasingly and splashed him again before taking off through the water. 


Mark caught up to her in no time, pulled her against him and dunked her.  She surfaced sputtering water and glared playfully at him, her blue eyes gleaming evilly.  Two could play that game.  When Mark turned his back on her, after thinking he’d won, she hopped up and managed to dunk him in return.  Turnabout was fair play.


This was how he knew she was related to that bald bastard, she was a sneaky little shit.  Unlike her relative, however, she wasn’t annoying or malicious about it.  Mark felt like growling but not wanting to take a bunch of water up the nose as he went under and instantly turned, feeling her legs on his shoulders.  He brushed his nose against her, right up the slight inward trail of her lips and could feel her legs shudder.  Just as quickly as he had done it, he had surfaced and was untangling her from him.  It had felt like a long time, but that had all occurred in a matter of seconds.


His nose against her nethers heated Anciana up all over again.  It made her heady…and Mark had tasted her plenty earlier in the day during their foreplay.  Anciana followed him, tapping his back and waited for him to turn around before bringing his mouth down on hers.  She nipped his bottom lip with her teeth, draping her arms around his neck and reached down between them to stroke him a few times through his trunks.  Then, she swam away with a triumphant grin on her face, hearing him growl out and decided if she was to be set on fire in water, so was he.


Blue balls were a very real, very alarming condition that most men unfortunately experienced at least once in their life.  Their balls did not actually turn blue.  What happened was basically a build-up of sperm fluids in the testicles, and it tended to happen when a man was aroused for extended periods without being able to cum.  Mark had those issues…because of her.  Luckily for him, he had gotten off today, or else that very painful condition that made him feel like he had cramps going on in bad places, along with balls the size of watermelons, would’ve been on the menu tonight.  His eyes were narrowed as he watched Anciana swim away, waiting until she had glanced back before reaching beneath the water to adjust himself, maybe giving himself a stroke or two, and smirked at the flush in her cheeks.  Maybe she was voyeuristic.


“Like to watch, darlin’?”


“I’m not sure…”


Anciana was flaming and had to dunk her own head under water, swimming all the way down to touch the floor of the pool before surfacing 30 seconds later.  The water was cooler the farther down one swam, and she needed the cold right now.  When she surfaced, Mark was right in front of her as their chests brushed together, her nipples poking through the thin material of her top.  Her body was on fire all over again.  Why did he insist on torturing her?


“I’ll watch you…if you watch me.” For him, she was willing to experiment and maybe she did have a voyeuristic side.


His response was the grab Anciana’s hand and guide it underwater, to her own front, a wicked grin spreading across his lips. “I will definitely watch you, Ciana.”


Looping an arm around her waist, Mark guided her to the far corner of the pool, where it got shallow.  Built into the pool walls were wide steps, places to get in and out as well as just sit and lounge.  Right now, he wanted her lounging, so he could see her, if she actually went through with this.  When she settled herself, but stared at him expectantly, Mark eased himself down, his erection straining the material of his shorts.


It wasn’t the first time she had touched herself, but it WAS the first time she let someone watch her.  The challenge in his hypnotic eyes was clear as day.  For some reason, Anciana took exception to being challenged and welcomed it, embraced it.  When Mark eased his shorts down enough to free his erected cock, Anciana reciprocated by doing the same thing.  With her eyes locked on his, her fingers slid down her taunt stomach until they found their mark.  Anciana caressed herself, leaning back more to where her nethers were out of the water and just her feet were covered.


“Mmm…” She let out a breathy moan, stroking her bundle of nerves and moved her eyes to his hand stroking his cock, never stopping her own ministrations.


“Spread your legs, darlin’.” He ordered in a husky drawl, watching as she did, which meant she was now completely and properly exposed to him.


Mark could see her fingers manipulating her clit and he was also aware she was doing the same thing he was.  Watching.  He slowly stroked his cock, flicking his thumb over the head and let out a low hiss.  Mark didn’t just keep it slow, but would go faster, letting his hips move in time, and then slower… not about to end the show ahead of her.


“Finger yourself, Ciana.”


Slowly, almost hesitantly, she did.  He had to wonder if she was imagining what it would be like, if that finger was his cock instead.  Indeed she was, though she knew her finger was NOTHING compared to Mark’s cock and added a second finger, gasping softly.  Her head lulled back, eyes closing, no longer watching him because she was too involved in the sensations she created with her fingers.  No, they were supposed to be watching each other and she couldn’t get wrapped up in herself.  Her eyes opened, looking at him and pumped her fingers faster and deeper, driving herself closer to that fine razor edge.


“I-I’m close…oh Mark, I’m so close…” She informed him breathlessly, snaking her tongue out to wet her lips and could see he was as well. 


It was written all over his face.


In what was probably a bad move, Mark was across the shallow water and half pulling her into his lap. “Keep going.” He growled, his hand dropping back down to his throbbing erection.


He caught her lips with his, biting down on Anciana’s bottom lip.  They were both becoming too wrapped in themselves, in reaching that point of no return.  Mark wanted to, at the very least, feel her body when she brought herself to her own climax.  Turning, she sat straddled on his lap and leaned her head back against his shoulder, her fingers still thrusting in and out of her.


“You too…” She remarked, chest rising and falling rapidly, the hot coil within her threatening to spring free.  Her bottoms were currently floating in the water behind them and neither had no fucks to give. “Mark!” She cried out, feeling him capture her lips again after she turned her head enough to where he could.  Her body tensed, trembling and the rush finally came, her fluids rushing out of her body coating her fingers. “Maaark!!”


Screaming his name to the night, with no one around them, made it more exotic, especially when she was half straddling him.  Her entire body quivered, strung tight and practically vibrated him as he positioned the head of his cock right near where her fingers had been, next to her clit.  Mark finished right there against her, liquid fire coursing through his veins.


“Fuck, Ciana…” He growled, trailing his mouth down the side of her throat, biting into the flesh between neck and shoulder.


There hadn’t been penetration and yet that was one of the most intense orgasms, and perhaps one of his most quiet, which just seemed to make it all the more intense.  Letting go, he began kissing the bite marks he had left behind, feeling his own heart pounding furiously in his chest.  He could’ve done it.  He could’ve taken her right there on the pool steps and Anciana would’ve let him.  The fact he didn’t, and climaxed right against her instead, made her heart explode with newfound feeling for him.  He respected her choice and wasn’t pushy, letting her make the decisions on what happened between them.  Though, Mark had initiated this, she wasn’t complaining and smiled, sinking back against him as he continued kissing her neck.


“You’re amazing…” She murmured, once her breathing had gone back to normal and felt his arm tighten around her. “You’re not sleeping in the guest room tonight.  I want you to hold me like you are now while we sleep.” They would no doubt fool around more and Anciana would do it happily.


For the life of him, Mark was having a hard time keeping up with this woman’s mental thought process.  One minute she ran cold, the next she was on fire.  First, it was no sex.  Then there was enough of sex minus actual penetration to last him several lifetimes.  Then she wanted to pretend they weren’t married, instead dating, because it was less pressure, so he had sort of moved out to give her space and now… he was going to get whiplash.


Chapter 14


For the past few days, Anciana had noticed tension from Mark and she quickly figured it out what it was.  She’d walked in on him in the shower jacking off and…immediately left him to do his thing.  Just because she was on her period and couldn’t fool around or refused to -that was a gross thought-, didn’t mean they couldn’t be intimate in other ways.  Mark didn’t always have to reciprocate whatever she did for him, but the man was adamant about doing it.  It bothered her, and she had no idea why.  She had masturbated plenty of times while he was gone, but they were both home and she would’ve gladly gotten rid of his problem for him. 


“We need to talk, darlin’.” He informed her flatly, running his fingers through his hair two days later.  Taking off week from week to spend with her might’ve been a bad idea. “Sit down.” Mark patted the couch and then moved away to the other side when she dropped her pert backside down. “We need to, uh…” How to word this without pissing her off or hurting her feelings was the ultimate question because Mark didn’t want to do either.  However, at the same time, he was a drowning man here. “Talk about this… this roleplaying thing of yours.”


It was obvious he was frustrated with her and, even now, he had to distance himself from her.  Anciana stayed right where she was, clasping her hands in the lap and knew whatever was about to come out of his mouth she would not like hearing. “Okay, what about it?” She asked, keeping her voice carefully neutral and leaned back against the couch.


Taking a breath and sorting out the words, Mark began to carefully explain his issues and confusion.  She was a confusing woman, period.  And on her period, which meant she had been skittish about him going near that area, when he really didn’t care.  It was just a natural thing, but… some people were squeamish and found it gross, he got that.  Mark explained, gently and with more patience than he felt, he was starting to have issues with the way she was confusing him.  Her actions tended to go against her words, and it was a mind trip to say the least.  Here he had thought he was the master at mind games; Anciana wasn’t even trying and she was doing a good job.


“I don’t know what you want from me.”


Anciana had heard every word he said, digested it and felt…lost.  She thought they were doing well – very well, in fact.  Was it this difficult between them the first time?  No, it couldn’t be.  She married him after only knowing him a month for crying out loud!


“This…doesn’t add up.  How could I fall for you so easily and marry you, after only a month of knowing you before, but now it’s so much harder?  You’re not the only one who is frustrated and confused, Mark.  I am too.  It should be easy…it should be simple…not like this.  M-Maybe we’re…just not meant to be together anymore.  Maybe I should go back to Vegas and live with Cameria and leave you alone, let you get on with your life.  I’m healed from the accident and I can resume my life the way it was before…I met you.  Because…as much fooling around as we’ve done, I won’t have sex with someone I don’t love.  And I don’t love you, not right now anyway.”


“I don’t get that, why not?  What’s so different now?” Mark mused, staring at her intently, just a flash of venom flickering in his gaze before it turned back to normal. “Maybe your mind isn’t letting you get past the fact I hurt you…” He ran a hand down his face.  There was no way in Hell he was letting her leave him, not now, not after all the time and resources and money invested in her, in this scheme.  And he wasn’t keen on letting Anciana see his true self, not just yet, so he steeled himself. “Maybe we need a change of scenery or something…” They had tried that too. “I just know I can’t keep doing this, Ciana.  I have memories of us, and those feelings just don’t go away because yours did.” Which was all on him. “I can’t keep holding you, touching you, and not getting all of it, darlin’, it’s fucking killing me.”


Frowning, Anciana understood where he was coming from and figured, if the roles were reversed, she would feel the same way he did.  It must’ve hurt him to know she did not love him anymore.  The only way to break this compulsion she was under was getting her memories back.  Cameria had done some research for her and found a hypnotist in the area she planned on visiting once Mark was back on the road.  She wasn’t telling him about it because she didn’t know if it would work or not.  Still, she had to try.  They could not keep doing this and she couldn’t torture him, which sounded like she was doing.


“That’s why I think it would be best if I leave and go back to Vegas with Cameria.  I thought we were progressing, but you don’t think so and…I don’t know what else to do.” Bringing her knees up, Anciana buried her face in them and began crying, curling up in the corner of the couch.


Cameria had officially made his hit list and she had even surpassed Austin by claiming the number one spot.  Obviously, Anciana was talking with that man-hating, harpy bitch again and, whatever Cameria had been whispering in her ear -poison, no doubt- was the driving factor behind Anciana’s new determination to go back to Vegas.  Not happening.  Mark would arrange for an accident tonight.  Sighing, he moved to pull Anciana into his arms, ignoring her physical protests and buried his face in her neck.


“I don’t want you to leave, darlin’.” He informed her in a whisper, his lips brushing against her pulse point. “I love you, Anciana, don’t leave me.”


“I-I’m hurting you though…I’m hurting you and I don’t mean to…” Anciana’s voice completely broke while she spoke, not bothering to hold back her emotions. “I-I want to love you and I want to move forward, but I can’t, and I don’t know why.  Please Mark…” She struggled harder against him, trying to break free and began crying harder, tears pouring down her cheeks in two rapid streams. “Goddamn it, stop it!!  You’re making it worse!!  Just let me go!  LET ME GO!” Not realizing her own strength, Anciana vaulted herself off his lap and landed on the floor with a small thud, breathing heavily.  Power…there was power in her arms and legs she didn’t know she had. “We’ve only been roleplaying for a couple days, Mark.” She reminded him, sniffling and wiping tears away from her cheeks, slowly rising to her shaking feet. “Either be patient or I’m gone.  I won’t hurt you more than I already have.  I’m pressuring myself too much about this and I just need to let it flow naturally.  I’m trying too many things too soon and it’s confusing me and my body because, my body does want you and so does my mind, but not my heart.  Not yet.  When I ask you to hold me at night while we sleep, it’s because I feel safe and secure in your arms.  I didn’t realize sleeping in your arms at night was such an ordeal for you.  So, from now on, just sleep in the guest room and…I won’t try to tempt you anymore or whatever it is I’ve been doing.”


Mark was going to strangle her.  He was going to wrap his overly large hands around Anciana’s slender throat and begin squeezing.  He was going to watch her face turn a bunch of awesome colors, her eyes bulge, and then just twist and snap her bones.  She was threatening to leave him for not being patient… what a cunt!  None of that left his mind and his eyes were blank, guarding his thoughts.  Mark had shown her more patience than any normal person would, in these circumstances, and he was seriously considering if she was worth this great game of his.  Anciana dead would be just as effective as Anciana alive and amnesiac.  He was moving back to her, pulling her struggling form into his arms and stood up.


“You are not leaving me, Anciana.” He informed her, his mouth descending on hers hungrily, passionately.


Instead of returning the kiss, Anciana shoved him away again and this time ran out of the living room, needing time alone.  She didn’t want to be near Mark right now, needing to gather her thoughts.  His kisses made her mind fuzzy and unable to think properly.  Try as he might, she saw the anger in his eyes at her ultimatum to be patient, but there was nothing more she could do.  She didn’t care what he said – she would leave him and go back to Vegas with Cameria if that’s what it took to gain a sense of normalcy in her life.  That, and she refused to hurt him anymore.  Walking along the properly line, barefoot, Anciana cried and finally settled down near a tree, enjoying the shade it provided since she’d been walking in the sun.  She never felt so alone and out of place in her life, even though she had a loving, understanding and somewhat patient husband.


“Maybe I should just…do it.  Just bite the bullet and have sex with him.  Maybe that’ll sort my feelings out better…” She muttered to herself, leaning back against the tree and shut her eyes, enjoying the tranquility.


When Paul received a very random message on his pager, just a series of numbers, he sighed.  In another day or so, Cameria would have an accident and he didn’t want to know what the woman had done to piss Taker off.  From his understanding, Mark and Anciana had been getting along rather well, so something had changed.


He let her run away, snorting derisively as he crushed his pager in his fist, shattering it before dropping the pieces into the trash can.  She definitely had amnesia; no self-respecting Austin ran away.  Mark made his way to his garage, which was a standalone, off from the ranch and opened both large bay doors, letting in the light.  He peeled off his tank top and grabbed a hair tie from the top of his open tool chest, quickly pulling his hair back into a bun at the base of his neck before surveying the project he had been putting off for a while. 


His prized Harley Davidson, which he was in the process of restoring after an accident.  She needed her alone time, fine.  Mark would vent his frustrations and anger out here on a task that required his entire focus and blast the hell out of whatever was in the tape deck of his stereo.  Guns N Roses, that’d work.  He had a fridge out here freshly stocked with beer, he was set for the night.  Mark had never lost his head the way he felt precariously close to doing before, and certainly not over a woman.  The very idea of her threatening to leave HIM… that hadn’t set well at all and he wasn’t about to explore all the reasons why.


That was how it went for the next few days.  Mark was set to go back on the road the following day and Anciana had left him alone to work in his garage.  She didn’t make dinner, just got herself something to eat and drink whenever she needed.  Other than that, she stayed locked up in the master bedroom and watched television or read a book.  Mark had quite a collection of books and she wondered if he read all of them.  Her body quivered and ached, needing him to put the raging fire inside of her out.  It was a physical response after what they’d done and now nothing was happening…because of her.  Because of her insistence on only having sex with him if she loved him.  They hadn’t spoken more than 3 words to each other for the rest of the week and now he was leaving in the morning.  Anciana sat in the window, staring out with it open and wore the red nightgown Mark loved seeing her in.  She hadn’t even noticed the color when putting it on, just plucked one out of the dresser after a shower.  With her knees drawn up, her arms wrapped around them while staring out at the sea of stars and moon.


Mark felt marginally better.  His Harley was looking beautiful again, subsequently spending a lot of time buffing out, sanding and repainting the pieces he had disassembled, after being a moron and taking a slick curve a bit too fast.  Cameria would be having her accident soon, while he was on the road with a very good alibi, and that was pretty much it.  He knew things between him and Anciana couldn’t be left like this, or else when he got home next week, he wouldn’t have a wife waiting to greet him.  She would leave; he knew because of her forced system reboot or who she had been in the past, prior to him screwing up her life.


Sighing, he walked upstairs quietly, in just a pair of black pajama bottoms, fresh out of his own shower and locking up the house, his damp hair falling down his back.  He stopped before her open door, frowning as he took her in.  She looked so… broken, actually.  Quietly, Mark walked up until he was within reach and knelt, catching the flash of her eye as she observed him moving without actually looking at her and reached out to wrap his arms around her.  She was tense, and he moved so his cheek was brushing hers.


“I’m sorry, darlin’.” He whispered, taking in the nighttime view as well as breathing in her scent.


“I’m sorry too.” She murmured in the softest voice, slowly turning to where her eyes locked with his – sorrow-filled crystalline blue on remorseful green. “I don’t want to leave, Mark.  I don’t want to leave you.  I know my feelings for you are growing and it saddens me at the thought of leaving, of not seeing you anymore.” She caressed his face with her hand, tears shimmering in her eyes and felt his forehead rest against hers. “I’ve done a lot of thinking and…I…” Chewing her bottom lip, Anciana stood up from the windowsill and took his hand, guiding him over to the bed by the hand. “I’ve been fighting a losing battle here, trying to convince myself to wait when my actions have told you something completely different.” Reaching down, Anciana pulled the nightgown up over her head and let it drop to the floor beside them, revealing just a pair of white cotton panties. “I’m done fighting.  I want you…and I hope you still want me…” Mark had been more than patient and waited long enough; Anciana decided to go with her instincts and every one of them told her to let this man have his way with her completely. “You’re my husband.  You’re not my boyfriend and I’m done with the pretending and roleplaying.  We’re husband and wife and it’s about damn time we start acting like it.  Now make love to your wife, Mr. Calaway.  She’s ready.”


Chapter 15


For the first time in a very, very long while, Mark had lost usage of his tongue.  She had just thrown him for the biggest loop ever.  But he wasn’t a complete idiot; he knew if he didn’t do this now, she would take it as a personal rejection and things would never recover from that.  That nightgown, the one he adored, was in a puddle on the floor and his eyes had taken on a darker color, desire flooding them.  This wasn’t what he had come in here for, but he wasn’t passing it up either.  Dropping down to his knees before her, he tipped his head back, feeling her fingers moving to delve into his hair and ran his hands up her ankles, her calves, until his palms were cupping her white cotton panty clad cheeks, squeezing gently.


“You sure?” He rumbled, unable to keep the huskiness from his tone.  At her nod, he inhaled deeply and leaned forward, letting his lips brush against her inner thigh.  His blonde haired, blue eyed goddess… and he planned on worshipping her all night long.


At first, Anciana had to force herself to relax and submit to him, but that quickly passed.  Mark was that good in the bedroom and made her feel beautiful, wanted, sexy and alive.  As if they hadn’t gotten enough foreplay with each other, Mark was hell bent on tasting her all over again before getting down to business.  He kept her standing there, draping one leg over his broad shoulder, after removing her panties with his teeth, and burrowed his head between her thighs.


“Mark…oh god…”


He was right, she had called him god and tightened her fingers in his hair, gently grinding her pussy against his hungry mouth.  Right before he brought her over that edge, Mark had pulled back and smirked devilishly up at her before standing to his full height and pushed her down on the bed.  Anciana went willingly, enjoying the feeling of his body against hers and moaned at the taste of herself on his tongue when he captured her lips.  Her eyes widened when he demanded to know who she belonged to, his mouth now hovered over her ear and Anciana shivered.


“You…only you, Mark…”


“Yes.” He hissed in pure satisfaction, one hand between their bodies,


Guiding the head of his cock up and down her wet slit, her hips began to rise, her body likely subconsciously trying to get him inside of her.  He had felt her tightness around his fingers and knew, without a shadow of a doubt, around other parts… well, he was about to test just how much restraint he had.  Sliding home in one slow, steady thrust, Mark buried himself to the hilt inside of her and felt his eyes roll into the back of his head, gritting his teeth.


“All mine.”


His imagination hadn’t been anywhere near the mark.


“Yes…yes yourrrrssss…” That last word dragged on seemingly forever as Mark slid home inside of her, stretching her to her absolute limits. 


His fingers were NOTHING compared to the size and girth in his pants and Anciana was now discovering that.  Her thighs trembled, hands and nails clutching his shoulders as he stayed put, allowing her to adjust to his size.  Smart move on his part because the pain outweighed the pleasure at the moment.  Why did it hurt?  Hadn’t she had sex with him before?  It was an intense burning sensation, followed by a zap of pain that was enough to bring tears to her eyes.


“O-Oh god…” She breathed out, digging her nails harder into his shoulders and a few tears leaked from the corners of her eyes.


Mark knew right then and there she had been a virgin, until just now and he hid it from his face, but inside it was screwing with him.  Not emotionally, he didn’t feel bad, not at all.  But a virgin?  Her?  The woman was walking sex and had teased and tormented him like a seasoned whore!  He meant that in the nicest way possible because he knew Anciana was not, now or in the past, the type to sell herself.  She just had known what the hell she was doing.  A virgin.  Steve Austin’s twin sister was a virgin.  And now – now he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, he was never letting her go.  She was HIS.


“It’ll pass, Ciana,” He whispered, brushing his lips against hers soothingly. “It’s been so damn long, darlin’.” Mark wasn’t an average sized man by any stretch of the imagination.


Indeed, it had.  5 months, to be precise, give or take a few days.  That was quite a long time to wait to have sex, nearly half a year, so no wonder it hurt a little bit more than usual.  At least, she was assuming.  Anciana had no idea she’d been a virgin when Mark struck her down in Vegas and brought her here to heal…and keep her under his thumb.  She didn’t think anything of the pain and soon, it did subside and was replaced with exquisite pleasure.  Anciana experimentally rolled her hips up, moving with him inside of her and moaned out uncontrollably.


“You feel so good inside of me, Mark…there’s no way I didn’t miss this…” She smiled, accepting another kiss from him and felt his cock leave her before thrusting back inside. “Make me yours…completely…”


All Mark could do was nod, beads of sweat already forming on his forehead as he held himself in check.  A virgin.  She had been a virgin.  He couldn’t process that properly on some level and, on another, it had brought something very dark and very possessive to the surface.  To help with any lingering discomfort, he reached between them, finding her clit and began pleasuring Anciana with his fingers as well, leading her in a steady rhythm.


“I missed it.” Mark informed her, lying through his teeth, not that she would know it.


“Good, now show me how much.” Anciana challenged breathlessly, wrapping her legs around his waist to drive him even deeper inside of her. 


His lips caught hers again as their bodies rocked together in unison, his finger stimulating her further causing her body to flood with newfound heat.  Why the hell was she waiting so long to do this with him?  It was incredible, just like him, and Anciana suddenly wanted to ride him, to prolong this as long as possible.  As if reading her mind, Mark rolled them to where she was straddling him, his cock still deep inside of her and her hips began rolling of their own accord.  The new position caused burning, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as the first time and Anciana focused on the pleasure, raining kisses on his chest.  He had no problem in letting Anciana take the reigns, so to speak, and moved his hands back to her firm backside, lazily helping her along as he stared up into her face.  Watching the spasms that indicated some pain and a lot of pleasure.


“Slow down, darlin’.” He ordered when she began riding him a bit haphazardly, not about to have her come down and break his dick. “We got all the time in the world.” Mark would call in and claim injury, if he had to.  He wanted to do nothing except stay in this bed with her. “You feel so good, Ciana, tight and so wet for me...” All for him and only for him, if he had his way.


Why was she so inexperienced?  Amnesia, she kept having to remind herself, chewing her bottom lip and released it once they found a steady yet amazing pace. “Mmm so do you…so hard and thick…”


He was pulsing, throbbing against her walls and Anciana knew she was coming to the end.  Mark didn’t let that happen as he sat upright, capturing her mouth and took the reigns back, thrusting harder, faster and deeper inside of her.  Still, it wasn’t enough to bring them both of the edge and she knew he was prolonging it, not having a problem with it.


“Mark…” She mumbled against his jaw, kissing along it and nibbled on his Adam’s apple before being pushed back enough to let his mouth capture a nipple in his mouth, his thrusts never ceasing.


Mark was determined to make this last, to give her some new memories to either really despise down the road or cherish forever.  Either way, she’d never forget, he’d see to that.  He lathed attention on her nipples, her collarbone, face and throat, everywhere his lips and tongue could get, he was there.  Then eventually he changed their positions again, dragging her off the bed in order to plant her bent over it, resting her upper body on her elbows, her feet on the floor and her perfect backside and dripping sex exposed to his view.


“Mmm, delicious.” In this position, Anciana would feel absolutely everything and then some.


Feel absolutely everything was an understatement. “Mark!” She cried out, curling her toes against the carpeted floor and had to keep her posture because he was pounding in and out of her. 


Her nails dug into the comforter as his tongue slid up her spine to her neck, his body curled around her as their fingers laced together on the bed.  Mark pulled her up to where her back was pressed against his chest, his hand wrapped around her throat to prevent her from dropping back down on the bed.  It was erotic…she enjoyed every second of it and could feel the hot coil inside of her threatening to spring free, to end both of their torment.


“I-I’m close…oh god I’m so close…”


He used his free hand to lift her up, so she was sort of sitting in the air, relying on his strength to do this.  One arm curled beneath those thighs, her back to his chest, and he did have to let go of her throat, raising her carefully up and down his length.  Pressing her thighs together, Mark nearly castrated himself in the process, the breath leaving him at the new pressure.


“Fuck!” He cursed, knowing he would be filling his now legal wife full of his semen. 


Anciana wasn’t on anything, he knew that, and brought his mouth down on the side of her throat, smirking as he sucked and nipped at her delectable flesh.  His new goal: get her pregnant.  This new position was…mind-blowing, to put it mildly.  She wasn’t scared for a second, knowing Mark wouldn’t drop her.  It did not take long at all before she spasmed around his cock, coming to her end and shattered completely, screaming his name in the process.  With a few sharper thrusts, Mark came as well, filling her with his warm seed and Anciana shuddered from the intensity of his explosion.  He kept thrusting, growling out his release and finally they both collapsed on the bed in sweaty, satisfied heaps.  Anciana was spooned up against him, trying to catch her breath and slow her racing heart, coughing a few times.


“W-Wow…what the hell was I thinking waiting so long to do THAT?” She wondered aloud, hearing Mark chuckle and turned her head to accept a soft kiss from him. “That was incredible…”


“It always is between us, darlin’.” He informed her, feeling her nestling back against him and draped his massive thigh possessively over her, pinning her in place. “Mine.” Mark growled, his face now in her damp hair and heard her soft chuckle, his arm tightening just a fraction.  He closed his eyes, focusing on calming his thrumming body and smiled.  That had definitely been worth the wait, and he couldn’t even remember being impatient now.  He only hoped that the physicality between them soothed her mind.


“I wish I could remember all the other times, but…at least I have this time…and the rest of our lives to build new memories with you.” Anciana enjoyed being snuggled with her husband, but there was one last piece of business they had to take care of tonight. “Let me roll over, so I can look into your eyes.” Mark reluctantly let her roll to where she faced him, his arm snaking around her body again and softly kissed him, fingering the silver necklace around his neck that held both of their rings. “I was a fool to take my ring off and try to pretend we weren’t married.  I want my ring back…I want to be your wife again and really try this time to get back to where we used to be.”


“No complaints from me, darlin’.” He agreed with a pleased grin, reaching back to undo the clasp.  In seconds, that ring was back on her finger and he could not keep the smirk off his face. “We’ll get there again, Ciana.” Mark reassured her, caressing the back of her face with his hand. “I promise you we will.” At her smile, he leaned forward to tenderly kiss her. “How’re you feeling?” And his knuckles brushed lower, letting her know which area he was talking about due to her being a virgin.


“Sore.” It was the first and honest answer that popped in her mind, the smile not leaving her face. “It’s a good sore though.  I guess not having sex for a while does that to a person.” Anciana joked, slowly sitting up and laughed at the trembling her thighs gave off. 


They were convulsing on their own and it was a weird feeling.  Mark was out of that bed instantly and lifted her in his arms, carrying her into the master bathroom where the garden tub was located.  He set her on the sink, kissed her soundly and ordered her to stay put while he prepared a bath for both of them with some sweet-smelling oils and Epsom salt.  Within minutes, her body was submerged in the hot soothing liquid with him behind her and Anciana snuggled against him.


“Mmm thank you, handsome…” The soreness had already diminished.


“I’ll admit, my reasons are somewhat selfish, darlin’.” He chuckled, wrapping his arms around her before leaning back into the tub.  Letting his head lull as he inhaled, Mark just enjoyed the steaming water along with her body pressed into his.  He was totally relaxed now. “I don’t plan on letting you get much sleep tonight, Mrs. Calaway.” There was something very interesting about calling her that now, about her being his wife, because now it was quite legal and valid. 


Paul could rest easy with that fact.


“But don’t you have a flight to catch in the morning to go back to work?”


Anciana turned enough to look up at him, her chest now pressed against his and caressed his shoulders, smiling at how relaxed he was.  That was a much better look on him than the constant tension his face carried.  When he informed her he was taking more time off, she shook her head and sat up a little.


“There’s no need for you to do that.  Take me with you.  Show me the world you live in and what you do for a living.” She kissed him passionately, already feeling him rise to the occasion beneath the water and moaned in his mouth. “I’m getting cabin fever being left behind here all the time.  I’d like to come with you…and besides, we have A LOT of lost time to make up for.”


“Seems like an eternity.” He muttered, which was sort of true, he supposed.  Mark considered it, bringing her on the road and nodded.  That had been the eventual game plan anyway and now he found he really wanted her there, knowing that was probably chemicals screwing with his brain from the tumultuous sex they just had. “You sure, darlin’?  You may get burnt out with all the traveling.”


For some reason, Anciana felt an excitement blossom inside of her she never knew existed. “I won’t, I promise.  And if I do, I will come back home, but…I’m excited about this.” The excitement shimmered in her crystalline eyes as Anciana nuzzled his throat, caressing his chest, shoulders and arms. “Besides, with me there, we can have all the sex we want when you’re not working.” She grinned seductively, nipping his bottom lip and rubbed her nose against his.


Oh, NOW she was a nympho who wanted to jump on his dick… Mark didn’t even bother with being indignant, he just growled and pulled her up onto his lap.  He shifted forward in the tub, giving her room to wrap her legs around his waist and smirked when she looked down.  Mark was up and ready to go again, not bothering with reaching down to see if Anciana was ready.  He could feel it and, with just a little maneuvering, he had slid home again in her receptive body.


After their third round, Anciana took a small break to pack her belongings for the road.  Mark ordered her to take at least 2 weeks’ worth since he had a lot coming up in the month of June.  Tomorrow would mark the first of the month.  After she was packed and ready to go, Anciana slid into bed and wasn’t surprised to find Mark fast asleep.  She smiled, kissed him softly and slid in beside him, feeling him drape his arm over her waist to pull her closer to him in his sleep.  He murmured something about her and her heart melted, knowing he was dreaming of her.  Closing her eyes, Anciana fell asleep instantly and it was the best night’s rest she’d had since her accident.


Apparently, getting laid had improved Taker’s mood greatly because he had called off his hit on Cameria, for now.  Paul was ready to alert their contact in the event the woman needed to have an accident, but… for now, she was safe.  He was also given the orders to change up the traveling arrangements to accommodate Taker’s wife joining him and grinned at that, Taker’s legal wife in all ways now.  Taker wasn’t keen on specifics, but… at least the man had cemented that, one thread loose in this web his Phenom was weaving and had finally tied it up.  He had a feeling with Anciana joining them, things were going to get a lot more interesting.


Chapter 16


Anciana and Mark slept on the plane, snuggled against each other with a blanket and pillows, after talking about a few things.  He warned her about a few men on the roster he didn’t see eye-to-eye with.  One of them was Stone Cold Steve Austin…she was ordered to stay away from him for her own safety and wellbeing.  Austin was…dangerous, it sounded like, and Anciana trusted her husband wholeheartedly.  She promised to do her best to steer clear of the man, appeasing Mark greatly.  Another man she was to stay away from was named Kane.  Mark didn’t really go into detail about him, but assured her he was also dangerous and not to be trusted.  Anciana hadn’t gotten past the Mankind feud in Mark’s career with the videotapes, so she had no idea who Kane was.  Steve Austin had a couple matches with Mark during that time period, but not a full-fledged feud, so at least she knew what he looked like.  Apparently, Kane had a red and black mask on and never took it off.  Mark didn’t bother elaborating and Anciana didn’t question it.


Balancing who his wife thought he was, with who he actually was, while on the road, was going to be interesting.  When she had been at home, it had been easy because it was just them and there was no one around to question it or drive him up a wall and bring out the darkness he had been hiding her from.  Not to mention, by psychiatrist’s standards, he was insane.  Austin, her staying away from him, was self-explanatory.  Kane… well, Anciana didn’t need to know about her burnt brother-in-law.  Kane was the wild card and Mark would, if necessary, set him on fire, on purpose this time.  When the plane landed, they were greeted by Paul, who was acting as his personal assistant, so to speak and he was very well paid for it… not to mention, for as sweet as he came across, Mr. Moody had a vicious streak a mile wide and got his own kicks out of situations.


That was why they worked so well together. “Mrs. Calaway, you’re looking radiant as ever, my dear.”


After a night full of reconciling as husband and wife, how could she not be?  From the top of her sun kissed blonde hair to the tips of her red painted toes, Anciana glowed and had a smile on her face a mile wide.  She was so happy to be on the road with her husband instead of stuck in Texas at the house.


“Why thank you, Bill.  You’re looking spritely yourself.”


Instead of shaking his hand, she hugged him around the neck and kissed his cheek while Mark retrieved their luggage.  Summer was upon them, so she had on a pair of jean shorts and a red tank top with a jean jacket, just in case she got cold in the arena.  Brown sandals adorned her feet and her hair was pulled up in a messy bun on top of her head, a few tendrils hanging down framing her face.  A few minutes later, they were on their way out of the airport and to the hotel to check-in.  They didn’t have to be at the arena for a few more hours.


“I’ve reorganized your travel and lodging for the next two weeks, as well as taken the liberty of providing lists of local amusements and areas of interest for Mrs. Calaway.” Paul informed his Phenom from the front seat of the rental he was driving.  Taker was in the front passenger side with the seat all the way back to accommodate his legs and she was in the back on his side.  When Anciana gave him a confused look in the rearview mirror, he flashed her a smile. “Mark will need workout time, as well as any business obligations or appearances he’ll need to meet.  Usually, these events are work related, so you won’t be able to attend.  I figured you may want to have something to do other than sit in a hotel room.”


“He must really like you, darlin’, he doesn’t even go that far for me.” Mark chuckled, the sound reverberating around the car.


“Bill, please call me Anciana.  You don’t have to be formal with me.” She patted his shoulder and gave it a squeeze before staring out the window, her eyes taking in the scenery. “And thank you for thinking of me.”


Of course, she wouldn’t be able to attend media appearances and whatnot with Mark because of the character he portrayed on television.  The fans would be confused to see a woman with him at the signings and everything he had to do, even interviews.  Tonight, they were in Chicago, Illinois and the city were crazy and alive.  The traffic was also insane and Anciana rubbed Mark’s shoulders when he began grumbling about it, soothing him.


“We’ll be there soon, handsome.”


The Undertaker, legitimately married and to Stone Cold Steve Austin’s twin sister, no less… Paul was amused as hell and his eyes sparkled maliciously.  That bald bastard’s own twin was massaging the UNDERTAKER’S shoulders, soothing him, and now whispering in his ear.  He could just imagine the kicks Taker was getting out of this.


Quite a few, actually.  Mark reached back to pat her knee. “I fuckin’ hate this city, darlin’.  It’s a cesspool.” He also felt the same way about Tampa, L.A., and New York.


“Oh, come now, I’m sure there’s something about this city you like.” Anciana softly chastised, chuckling when he merely snorted and kissed her hand. “Fine, be a grump, you’re not gonna ruin my time on the road with you.”


She winked at Bill through the rearview mirror and sat back to stare out the window again, wondering what kind of itinerary Bill came up with for her.  Something told her Mark would be busy and she wouldn’t see much of him until they got to the arena.  It was a good thing she brought some things with her to help pass the time.


Something good about Chicago… he could think of one thing off the top of his head, but he wasn’t about to tell HER what it was.  Given Chicago’s high crime rate, it was insanely easy to beat someone down, leave them in a dumpster, and call it a day.  Authorities here didn’t even bat an eyelash anymore when it came to crimes like that.


“Shedd Aquarium.” He answered quietly, staring out the window. “I like going there sometimes.” For some reason, he found the place to be soothing, providing he was able to go in during quiet hours and not be bothered by a million people.


“That sounds…interesting.”


Anciana was not a fan of zoos or aquariums, at least that’s what she assumed because hearing those two places made her shudder.  It was obvious she wasn’t an animal lover.  Dogs and cats were the only exception to that rule.  Mark didn’t have any animals, which didn’t surprise her because he was constantly on the road.  Her eyes nearly bugged out of her head when he informed her one of their dates in Vegas had been to an aquarium.


“We…did?  How did I…react to it?” She was almost afraid to ask the question, hating how there were so many blanks from the amnesia.


Given the tone of her voice and the way her face had scrunched when he had glanced in the mirror, Mark assumed there was an issue and really had to wonder.  It was fish.  Dolphins.  Belugas.  Seahorses, anything like that.  What was there to be afraid of?


“You didn’t care for the sharks.” He figured sharks might be at the top of anyone’s list that didn’t care for sea creatures.


Surprising, given she was married to one. “Not far now.” Paul informed them both, glancing at the clock.  They were going to beat rush hour, barely.


“Sharks or any of the fish, I’m thinking.” Anciana muttered more to herself than him, wrapping her arms around herself and vowed not to go to any kind of aquarium. 


Not even with her husband, not happening.  Unless the fish was dead and cooked, she wanted nothing to do with it.  Perhaps that stemmed from her forgotten memories.  It still confused her how certain things that popped up she didn’t remember, but the FEELING and emotion was a different story.  Once they arrived at the hotel, Anciana followed Mark and Bill into the hotel to check-in, heading up to their room.


“This is nice.” She commented, smiling at the room and walked over to the window to stare out at the city.


It was very nice, and Mark shot Paul a curious look, one black brow cocking.  If he were honest, he usually took something off the beaten path, fairly cheap, and usually within walking distance of a bar.  Not that he would take his wife to a dive like that, not for the night anyway, maybe as an excursion.  Hell, she had lived in Las Vegas, she had probably been to a hundred shitholes, her apartment notwithstanding.


“A jacuzzi?”


Paul spread his arms out in a wide shrug. “All they had left.”


Shaking his head, Mark dropped their belongings on the bed. “I see.  Thanks.”


Paul was going to have a heart attack.  The Undertaker had said ‘thanks’.  Hell had frozen over. “I’ll leave you two to it.”


He had to go pop a blood pressure pill or something, wondering if he was hallucinating.  Paul planned on marking off the date and time on his calendar.  The Undertaker had THANKED him.  The end was indeed upon them.


Anciana didn’t notice the look of sheer shock on Bill’s face, too engrossed in checking out the suite they were in.  It was somewhat luxurious, actually, and she wondered if Mark had done this because of her.  The last thing she wanted was him changing things just because she was on the road. “Mark, can we talk?” She asked hesitantly, walking over to him while he went through his gear and sat on the bed in front of his bag, his eyes locking on her.


“Look, I appreciate what you’re doing for me, but…I don’t want you to change your routine just because I’m here.  Something tells me you don’t stay in rooms like this.  I can tell by the look on your face, you were surprised Bill booked us this room.  I just…want to let you know that, anywhere you want to stay, I’m okay with.  It doesn’t always have to be this fancy, though I do admit the jacuzzi is nice.” Touching his hand, Anciana rose up on her knees enough to softly kiss him.


“To be honest, darlin,” Mark pulled her flush against him, bending down to brush his lips against hers again. “I usually stay wherever has a bed big enough for me and call it that.  Usually not much sense in going all out on a room you’re in only for sleeping.” Though, he had every intention of using that hot tub tonight.


“Well, we can continue to do that.  As long as the bed is big enough for both of us and sex, I’m good with wherever you want to stay.” Anciana caressed his chest through the thin material of the t-shirt he had on, draping her arms around his neck. “Thank you for bringing me with you.  Hopefully, I can make the road a little less strenuous for you.  Rub you down after your work and the sex is a huge plus too.” It would stop temptation from rearing its ugly head.  If a woman so much as TRIED to touch her husband, she would break their hand.


“Got sex on the mind, darlin’?”


Damn right she did, Mark smirked when she shrugged as if to say ‘meh’, rolling and pinning her down onto the mattress.  He straddled her, his massive thighs on either side of her body and reached down to grab the hem of his shirt, pulling it off and tossing it behind his shoulder.  Anciana’s hands were instantly all over his chest and he let his own hands move to her top, taking in the red.  He adored this woman in red.  This man had an insatiable appetite and, truth be told, so did she.  Anciana just didn’t realize it…and the fact she was a virgin up until last night, not knowing that crucial information either.


“What can I say?  I enjoy being fucked by my husband.” She murmured, reaching down between them to unsnap his jeans and moaned as he captured her mouth, freeing his throbbing shaft from the confines. “Lean back a minute.” She mumbled in command, surprised when he did and Anciana slid off the bed to remove her shorts and panties before positioning herself on all fours in front of him. 


They had to be quick before Bill returned, which wouldn’t be for another hour.  That was more than enough time to get in a quickie along with a shower before the show.  If his old friend was smart, he would call up first before coming to this room and Mark knew, without a shadow of a doubt, Paul had his own keycard to the room because he was that kind of bastard.  An hour… more than enough time and, yet, not enough time at all.  He smirked, running a finger up along her inner thigh, seeing her juices already glistening at him.  Bending down, with a hand on either beautiful cheek, he ran the tip of his tongue up her already slick slit, smirking when Anciana let out a low moan.


“Delicious.” He rumbled, bringing a palm down on her ass and then rubbing the now rosy area.


Anciana found she really enjoyed having her backside smacked in this position and gripped the bedding, moving up to the headboard once Mark actually slid inside of her.  She lost count how many times ‘oh god’ came out of her mouth along with her husband’s name, loving every second of it.  The way he growled and dominated her, yet, showed her affection by kissing and caressing her body, showed Anciana how much he did love her.  She could feel herself starting to fall for him, now understanding why she’d married him so quickly.  Only when both finished did they move to the shower, another round proceeding, only this time it was face to face.  By the time Bill came back, they were freshly dressed and Anciana was reading a book on the bed, leaning against the headboard while Mark went over some paperwork for his upcoming appearances.  Nothing was out of place besides the bedding looking a tad ruffled.


The fact that the air reeked of two types of body washes and hair products did not hide it from Paul that those two were screwing like rabbits.  He didn’t want to envision it and mentally bleached himself.  Standing behind Taker at the small desk, he eyed the paperwork.


“I could’ve done it.”


“You’ve done enough, and your handwriting is like chicken scratch.” Mark drawled, amusement lacing his tone.  Given that Paul had gone above and beyond for the wife, so to speak, he could handle his own paperwork.  For a man, Mark had very delicate, tidy penmanship, his cursive was something his mother had instilled in him. “I’m just filling out the paperwork and waivers for having Anciana on the road is all, old man.”


Ah yes that, he thought, nodding in understanding.  Included was a waiver dismissing the company from liability should the spouse wind up injured at an event.


Chapter 17


If Anciana knew what kind of paperwork her husband was filling out, on her behalf, she would’ve knocked his head off his shoulders.  No liability meant, whatever happened to her, the company wasn’t responsible for.  Not unless she actually WORKED for the company, which currently, Anciana didn’t.  Her pager went off as Anciana unclipped it from her jean shorts and saw it was Cameria, smiling.  She immediately reached over on the nightstand and picked the phone up to dial her number while Mark continued with his paperwork and Bill.


“Anciana, thank god I got a hold of you.  Is it true you went on the road with…your husband?” Cameria still had a hard time calling Mark that since they weren’t technically married.  It was all a lie, a ruse, because of her stupid amnesia.


“Yeah I did…why?  What’s wrong?” Anciana sat up on the bed, frowning.


This was a nightmare!  How could Mark do this, KNOWING who ELSE was on the road and worked with him?!  The worst part was she couldn’t say a damn thing about it!  It made her feel nauseous lying to her best friend like this, especially since wrestling was all Anciana wanted to do from day one.


“Please be careful.  I don’t know what the road is like, but…his job sounds hectic.  Watch yourself, Anciana.” It was the only warning she could really give.


That sounded ominous. “Cami, is there something you’re not telling me?  What are you hiding from me?”


Closing her eyes, Cameria could feel tears swell in them and chewed her bottom lip. “Just…be careful.  That’s all I can say.  I have to go – work calls.”


The phone went dead before she could say goodbye to her friend as Anciana stared at the phone, her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.  Cameria knew something…and it bothered Anciana the woman hadn’t been honest with her.  Watch yourself…be careful…what did that mean?  Was her husband’s line of work really THAT dangerous?


Paul had noticed the change in demeanor before Taker, who was still filling out paperwork and tilted his head. “Anciana, is everything alright?” He spoke loud enough to catch Taker’s attention.


“I-I’m not sure…” She hung up the phone slowly, feeling a chill in the room for some reason and tried to make sense of Cameria’s phone call. “Is it dangerous going to the arena?”


Paul’s eyes nearly shot out of his head at that question and looked down at Taker, who now had his eyes locked on his wife.


“Am I in danger being on the road with you, Mark?” Anciana had her eyes on her husband now and slowly slid out of bed, looking troubled. “Because if I am, maybe I should just stay at the hotels or go back home…”


Paul didn’t even have to look at Taker to know that Cameria had just put herself back on the hit list and inwardly sighed.  Poor woman, all she had to do was mind her own business and she couldn’t.

“Well… it can be.” Mark admitted, finishing dotting his John Hancock on the line before handing the paperwork to Paul, who began stuffing everything into a manila envelope.  Standing up, Mark walked over to look down at his wife, frowning. “Ciana, darlin’, this is wrestling and, regardless of what media likes to call us, we’re a sport and accidents happen.” What the hell did Cameria say?!  He was going to strangle that bitch with his bare hands, providing she survived the accident she was now going to have. “Since you’re not employed by the WWF, you can’t be insured through their athlete’s program and, if something happens where you get hurt, even tripping on a chair and hurting your ankle, they don’t want to be held responsible. It’s a pretty standard clause in this industry.” From the expression on her face, he knew that hadn’t been a satisfactory answer and sighed, bending down to brush his lips against her forehead. “It’s a show, darlin’ and sometimes things happen that shouldn’t, so yes…. it can be dangerous.  But I’m going to protect you, Anciana.”


“I know you will.  I don’t doubt that.” Anciana cracked a small smile up at him, though it was full of hesitance. “Cameria told me to be careful and watch myself.  I’m just wondering why she would do that.  She knows something.  She’s keeping something from me and I wish she’d tell me what it is.”


Sighing, Anciana pulled away from him to walk over and stare out the window, trying to make sense of that phone call.  The amount of trepidation and…was it fear she detected in Cameria’s voice?  Maybe staying at the hotels would be a better option, so she wasn’t in the way of her husband doing his job.


“Do you have any idea what she might be hiding from me, Mark?”


Paul busied himself with the paperwork and knew better than to react to that question because it was loaded.  Of course, he did – Taker knew everything regarding who Anciana actually was, her background and was using it in a master mind fuck on his nemesis.

“Ciana, you know Cam and I don’t always see eye to eye.” He reminded her gently. “I don’t know what she’s hiding from you.” Blatant lie, but he was a master at lying, obviously. “It could just be she’s worried for you, just because of the accident and everything you’ve been through already.” Mark walked up behind her, gently wrapping his arms around her and rested his chin on her head. “What do you want to do, darlin’?” He asked softly. “You want to stay at hotels or come with me?”


He could feel the tension in her body and knew it wasn’t at him, but the doubts and concerns Cameria had, yet again, planted in her mind.  He hated that woman.  A very small part of her wanted to tell him she was staying at the hotels, but a bigger part, along with her curiosity, wanted to go to the arena.


“Maybe she’s not.  Maybe I’m just…overthinking things like I always do.”


That was an understatement – look what happened with the whole sex issue between her and Mark.  She’d finally bit the bullet, had sex with him and now they were getting along famously.  The tension was gone out of their lives and she was…happy.  Truly happy for the first time since her accident.


“She’s probably just worried about me.” Snuggling back against him, Anciana caressed his arms around her affectionately and felt a kiss plant on the side of her neck. “I want to go to the arena with you.  You’ll protect me, so I have nothing to be afraid of, no matter what happens.”


Paul sincerely doubted that since the whole point of striking her down was to use her against her twin brother in the first place.  Keeping her at the hotels wouldn’t bode well for their plan, but luckily, she had made the right decision to go to the arenas with them.


Well, if he were honest, she had nothing to fear, so long as her memories remained locked up.  And if he were doubly honest, Mark didn’t want her to regain her memories because, as far as he was concerned, Anciana, the twin sister of Steve Austin, now belonged to him and he didn’t like giving up his possessions.  All the more reason to knock her up; he wanted her tied to him in every way, though… Mark had to shove all those thoughts back, not entirely sure where his train of thought was starting to go and simply held her.


Paul had not missed the series of weird looks that spread across the Phenom’s face and sincerely hoped the man wasn’t losing himself to his own game.  Taker may have been the master of mind games, but when a game brought in matters of the heart, everything tended to go south.


The Allstate Arena was huge, so why the hell was it so crowded backstage?  That was Anciana’s first thought as she stepped through the door, a pass draped around her neck along with her hand in Mark’s.  He did not let go of her for a second, guiding her down the hallway and Anciana didn’t miss the looks they received.  Bill informed her this was the first time Mark brought someone from his family on the road, so it was a little out of character.  She supposed they did look a little…out of the ordinary – an odd couple – and smiled at the thought, their fingers laced together tightly.  Once they were in a dressing room, Mark informed her he had to go down to the ring and practice.


“Can I go with you?