A Different Kind of Knight




Jake Hager –better known to fans as Jack Swagger, and truthfully; as of late he preferred his ring name- slowly turned around; his eyes widening as he took in the person before him. Truthfully, he had recognized her just by her voice alone. The West Yorkshire accent wasn’t harsh, but softened, tempered with something else that he attributed to her other heritage.

“Who’s this, Jake?” His friend, Mike Mizanin or simply Miz, asked curiously, taking in the woman standing before them.

“What are you doing here?” Jake demanded in a low voice; ignoring Mike.

“We need to talk.”


Oh, I’m sorry!”

Jake shook his head, waving a hand airily. “No, it was my fault.” He stooped to help the raven haired woman pick up the contents of her purse. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

She laughed quietly, reaching for a tube of lipstick and tossed it into the leather bag. “Me either.”

He grinned, finally looking into her face and blinked. It was obvious just from the caramel color of her skin and ink black hair she was Indian. Not Indian as in Native American but from India, or at least her parents were. Her accent made him think she was a local. But her eyes, they were a pale green color; standing out quite lividly from her face; surprising because he had expected brown or near black iris’ staring back at him.

I’m Sitara.” She said after a moment, her pearly white smile faltering when he just continued to stare at her. “Are you alright?”

Yeah, yeah, I’m fine.” He stood up from his crouching position as she did; extending his hand. “Jack, Jack Swagger.” Jake didn’t know why he lied to her, but he was a bit surprised she hadn’t recognized him. He was on RAW now, that was live TV and millions worldwide watched it. Maybe he was secretly, arrogantly hoping she’d recognize the name.

That’s… different.” Sitara said slowly, still smiling. “Well, Mr. Swagger…”


Jack, thank you for your help.”

When she moved to go past him, he sidestepped and blocked her path. “Wait…”

Sitara hesitated; her black eyebrows coming together in a frown.

This is going to sound awfully forward but, would you have dinner with me?” He smiled sheepishly down at her. “I’m in town for business and don’t really know anybody…”

She smiled again.


“Here, we can talk in here.” Jake grunted, opening a door to one of the rooms not in use and ushered her inside; quickly looking up and down the hallway before following her. “What are you doing here?”

She arched an eyebrow, staring at him; not understanding the almost angry tone of voice he was using. “I beg your pardon?”

“You heard me.”

Sitara frowned, biting her lower lip. This wasn’t exactly the reception she had been looking for.


And now we’re here on tour.”

Sitara took a slow sip of her wine, to give herself time to digest. Jack was a professional wrestler for the World Wrestling Federation, which she had heard of. A lot of her mates were wrestling fans and had made the trip to the show. She had never paid attention, though she could now imagine the looks on said friends faces when she informed she had actually dined with a wrestler.

That would be entertaining to say the least.

So what do you do for a living?” Jack asked her, surveying her with interest that she was certain extended past what she did for money.

I um, I’m a dancer.” She said after a moment.


She nodded slowly.

Wow… like ballet and sh-stuff?”

I’m classically trained, yes.”

Impressive.” He smiled at her, reaching out to rest his hand on top of hers. “I bet you’re a beautiful dancer.”


“Well?” Jake folded his arms over his broad chest; staring down at her coldly.

Sitara didn’t know what to say. Finally, she took a deep breath and began.


You’re… what?” Terrence stared at Sitara, the expression on his face disbelieving; like she had just told him she had sprouted an extra set of breasts.

Pregnant.” Sitara repeated calmly, maintaining the cool and aloof posture though inside she was quivering.

You can’t be pregnant, you twit! How the ruddy hell do you plan on dancing for the lads?” He snarled, standing up and placing the palms of his hands on his desk. “I am NOT employing a pregnant stripper!”

I’m not going to show for several months…”

I don’t care! Either get rid of it or hit the bricks.”


You need an advance for an… abortion?” Terrence asked, seemingly relieved she was taking this so well.

No, I meant fine, I quit.”


“You quit?” Jack said sharply, staring at her. “You quit your job and decided to come hunt me up because you think you’re pregnant with my kid? I don’t think so, Sitara.”

Sitara could only stare at him like he had lost his mind. “What do you mean, I think, I know.”

“It’s not mine.”

“I’m not pregnant, you arrogant berk!”

“You just said…”

“I miscarried.” She said flatly, tears shimmering in her pale green eyes for a moment before blinking them away.

“Let me guess, too much stress.” Jack sneered, shaking his head. “I know what this is, this is a shake-down. You’re after money, right?”


“We had a one night stand and you figured, since I’m famous you’d try getting some cash off me. Well, it’s not happening, you understand me? Even if you were pregnant, it wouldn’t be mine. You’re a whore, you dance for money and who even knows what else.”

Her mouth opened and closed; struggling not to scream in rage or cry.

“Now get your ass out of here before I call security.” He pointed towards the door.

Nodding automatically, she turned towards the door.

Smugly, he shook his head; tsking.

Sitara whirled around and slapped him as hard as she could.


Stephanie McMahon-Levesque shook her head as she walked down the hallway; fighting back the beginning of what promised to be a spectacular migraine as she surveyed tonight’s line-up. “This is garbage…” She muttered; passing the clipboard back to her personal assistant. “Throw it out.”


“Please, throw it out.” Even though she had been polite, her tone had become frosty; blue eyes narrowing. She was getting just a bit sick and tired of everyone questioning her, she was head of the creative writing team; if they didn’t like her decisions, they could quit.

It was her ass that was usually reamed out, not theirs.

On the bright side, at least they’d be going back to the United States in less than a week. Their second European tour in two months, she knew she wasn’t the only one exhausted; the superstars and backstage people were too; all of them wanting to get back to their families and homes.

She didn’t blame them one bit.

Stephanie’s attention was pulled from her thoughts of home to a woman walking ahead of her; crying softly from the sounds of it. She frowned as she took in the neatly pulled back black hair. She was fairly certain this wasn’t one of her Divas, she was taller than the twins and her skin was too dark to be Gail. “Excuse me.”

The woman froze.

When Stephanie had moved so she was standing in front of her, she inhaled sharply; motherly instincts kicking in at the pain on the other woman’s face. “Are you looking for someone?” She asked kindly, hoping this wasn’t a ring rat who had just been tossed out.

“No, I already seen him.” The other woman said, sounding fairly bitter; snorting and angrily wiped at her eyes with the sleeve of her white blouse.

“Is there… here, why don’t we go to my office…?”

“Your… office?”

“You don’t know who I am?” Stephanie blinked in surprise.

“Should I?”

“Stephanie McMahon-Levesque.”

Sitara Adjah.”

They shook hands; Stephanie smiling warmly while Sitara seemed uncertain.

“This way.” Stephanie wrapped a friendly, supportive arm around this person she had only just met; already having a feeling this woman –Sitara- was about to make an impact in her life in some way; shape or form.

Sitara just went with it, after all, her life couldn’t get any worse, now could it.


By the time Stephanie Levesque was finished, Sitara was feeling… confused to be honest. She had ventured a trip to the Manchester arena after finding out the WWE was in England again only to talk to Jack.

Which was a sign of how desperate she truly was. In the month since quitting her job she had lost her baby, her flat and her car. She was staying with a sympathetic friend but as her friend had a house full of her own; that was temporary living arrangement.

“Now, we’ll just go gather your things that you’ll be needing and I’ll have my assistant handle all the necessary paperwork.” Stephanie said as they walked out of her office; her arm wrapped around Sitara’s shoulders; smiling warmly. “I think once this all sinks in, you’ll be very glad you accepted this job.”

SItara didn’t say what she was thinking, which was ‘why had she accepted this job?’ Of course, the part of her mind that wasn’t grasping for a means of survival informed her automatically. She had no job, no home, no car, no money. She had been looking and nothing was turning up; until now. The irony of the situation –she had originally come here to ask Jack for help and he had refused her- did not escape her.

Stephanie, for some ungodly reason, had offered her a position as a ‘diva’. She had detailed what the job meant, as well as explaining Sitara would have to go to their training camp; unless one of the Superstars who were also licensed trainers could be talked into doing it.

“This way.” Stephanie said, watching with a slight frown as Sitara stared down a hallway; following her gaze. “Oh, that’s just some of the boys, don’t worry. I’ll introduce you sometime later.”

Sitara just nodded, ignoring the dark look Jack had given her.


“The old man is going to kill her.”

Shawn arched an eyebrow, glancing over at Paul with an almost amused look on his face. It didn’t take a genius to know the old man was Vince and her being Stephanie. “What for this time?” He asked, trying to keep the humor from his tone.

Stephanie was head of the creative team but on occasion, she also handled talent; hiring and firing. Stephanie also tended to butt heads with Vince on her ideas, but as she was in a position of power; sometimes she had to make decisions that others might not agree with.

He was so glad he didn’t have her job.

Sighing, Paul shook his head and finished taping his wrists.

“Well?” Shawn prompted, a bit curious now.

“She hired some woman while we were in England.”

“Okay, so?”

“A woman who didn’t even know what the WWE is, has no background in athletics…”

Shawn was beginning to see the problem; rubbing he back of his neck awkwardly. “Yeah, he’ll kill her.” He agreed.

“That’s not the worse of it.”

“There’s more?”

“She wants ME to train this woman.” Paul chanced looking up; his eyebrows drawing together in a frown when he seen Shawn was biting the back of his hand. “Are you… laughing at me?” He demanded, irritated.

“No,” Shawn shook his head, keeping his hand over his mouth. “With you, man, with you.”


“You be NICE to her.” Stephanie ordered two days later; staring intently at her husband. “I’ve explained what you’re going to be teaching her and she’s terrified.”

“She ought to be. What the hell are you thinking, Steph?” Paul wasn’t pleased with this, at all. He stood in the center of the ring, which had been assembled as soon as the trucks had backed into the docking bays on Stephanie’s orders. “Since when do you pull people in off the street? Scout, discuss, interview, isn’t that how it usually works?”

“Usually.” She agreed, clasping her hands before her, smiling a deceptively sweet smile. “This was a split decision, if you don’t like it, that’s fine. But you will tolerate it.”

He recognized that tone. It was her ‘you might be my husband but I am your boss’ tone.

Gritting his teeth, he nodded.

Her smile turned warmed. “Good. She’s coming right now.”

Turning automatically, Paul’s brown eyes narrowed in on a woman hesitantly walking towards the ring from where the ramp would go. He took her in with a professional eye; noting that her arms were muscular and what he could see of her legs seemed to be as well. But she looked terrified as well, eyeing the ring apprehensively.

Sitara,” Stephanie called, beaming as her newest acquisition cautiously climbed the steel stairs. “This is my husband, Paul, he’s going to train you.”

Paul did manage to smile –not too stiffly either- when she turned pale green, positively terrified eyes on him. “Do you have…” He trailed off when she shook her head no. “Any… strengthening activities, physical?”

“I used to dance.” She said after a moment.

Well, that was a start.


Sitara figured she was in Hell, or something akin to it. Physically at least. She was grateful to Stephanie for the job, even though she secretly had her misgivings and reservations about this. Wrestle, on national television, someday?


It felt like every single muscle in her body was on fire; telling her this wasn’t supposed to be physically possible and she knew damn well she was bruised in places she had never been bruises before; places she hadn’t actually been aware she had.

Wrestling hurt.

Of course, Paul told her she would eventually learn how to take the ‘falls and bumps’, and then they wouldn’t hurt as bad. She personally thought he was a bit of a sadist who enjoyed pain to some degree because he had said it with this grin on his face that made her question his sanity.

She was now officially on the payroll, even though she wasn’t doing anything. Stephanie informed her that just like any other job, she got paid for training. Which she found a bit odd as this wasn’t exactly the usual sort of job.

But being trained by Paul meant instead of settling down in one place, life Florida –which she had learned was where people were usually trained-, she traveled. She realized eventually she was going to have to find a place of residence for when she wasn’t on the road; the paperwork for temporary residence waiting on her to figure out where said place was going to be.

Stephanie had casually mentioned that she and Paul resided in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Sitara had gotten the impression that was a hint.

Stephanie had become sort of a mother bear figure, which was definitely odd as she was only three years old than Sitara was, but… there you had it. Sitara had found a friend in Stephanie, and apparently Stephanie had found a person who needed looking after; which put Stephanie in her element.

Stephanie and Paul also had the most adorable children, which was a perk as Sitara loved children and a bit of a grief giver, simply because she had lost a baby. It was a double edged sword but… life moved on.

Then there was Jack –though now she knew his name was actually Jake-, who seemed to occasionally watch her; almost as if he was expecting her to blurt out their one time tryst. Which she hadn’t, she hadn’t even confided it to Stephanie; she didn’t want anyone knowing about that.



“Shit. Shit. Shit. Ouch. Shit.” Shawn grumbled as he limped out of the elevator; trying his damndest not to crouch over and walk with his hands on his knee. He was going to have to murder that rookie for botching a move. It wouldn’t have been too big a deal, it happened to everyone (Himself included), if not for the fact that instead of just botching and missing completely; said rookie who would forever remain Shithead now, had botched AND gotten Shawn in the kneecap.

He leaned against his hotel room door long enough to swipe his keycard through it; then placed his rolling luggage bag in the doorway, propping it open.

“Ice…” He hissed, letting out another soft curse under his breath as he scanned the hallway; his gaze finally landing at the very end of the corridor; where the ice machine sat. “Ah hell!”

Eyes narrowed, he began the long; tedious process of limping down the hallway.

“Bloody hell!”

“What the-“ Shawn turned in time to see a woman hopping on one foot, backwards; right at him, apparently doing something with the foot she wasn’t using. “Lady!” He held out both arms; grunting when she toppled backwards.

For a moment, he just lay there in the hotel hallway; with a strange woman on top of him; her back to his chest and wondered why tonight of all night’s this had to happen. Usually, he would have found the situation amusing. Right now, he was annoyed.

Apparently she was shocked as well because she just lay there, stiff as a board.

“You mind gettin’ up?”

She was up and on her feet in an instant; whirling to stare down at him.

“Ah…” Shawn grunted when he seen her face; gingerly pulling himself into a sitting position; not caring that he looked like a sprawling fool with his long legs half bent; draping his arms over his knees as he stared up at her. “So you’re the…”

She arched an eyebrow when he actually got as far as ‘hin’.

“Brit.” Shawn coughed.

“I have a name.” She said stiffly, trying to place who this was.

Sitara, and don’t ask me to pronounce your last name cause I can’t.” He held out a hand to her.

Sitara stared at it.

“You knocked me down woman, now help me up!”

An infusion of red appeared on her cheeks, contrasting rather lovely against her caramel colored skin but she took his hand; grunting as she helped him up. She got the idea he was making her do more work than necessary but as she had… knocked him down…

“Thank you, sweetheart.” He said when he was upright, bracing a hand against the wall; trying not to grimace.

“Your Shawn, aren’t you.”

“How’d you guess?”

“Stephanie said you were….”

He couldn’t stop himself from smirking. “Cocky? Arrogant?” He recited, words Stephanie used for him quite frequently.

“…a tool.”


“You told her I was a tool?”

Stephanie couldn’t keep a small smile from flitting across her face; clearing her throat. “I don’t remember, Shawn.” She said in a calm tone of voice; not looking up from the paperwork scattered across the makeshift desk she was using. “Really, even if I did refer to you as a um, tool, what does it matter?”

“Because you told the rookie I was a tool!”

“Well, you are a bit.” After signing her signature to a form, Stephanie looked up at Shawn; staring at him shrewdly over her silver wire rimmed glasses. “Why do you even care?”

“I don’t.” He grumbled; folding his arms over his chest.

“So you’re annoying me because?”


“A tool, now get lost, the adults have work to do.”


“We’re going to have to get one of the women out here to start helping.” Paul said thoughtfully; watching from his perch on the turnbuckle as Sitara threw herself off the ropes, back and forth, sweat beading on her forehead from how many times she had done this. “Because there’s no way in hell you’re ever going to be able to do any power moves on me.”

“Power moves?” She managed to say through gritted teeth.

“You know, like slams and suplexes.” Paul chuckled, snorting loudly. “Of course, there usually isn’t a lot of that in the Diva’s matches anyway but… never hurts to learn.”

Sitara stopped, hunching over with her hands on her knees. She hadn’t missed the derisive tone to his voice; grinding her teeth even more. It was more than obvious that the only reason he was taking time to teach her was because he had too.

Yo, Tool, what’s up?”

Her head slowly raised at Paul’s less than nice greeting, somehow not surprised to find Shawn strolling towards them; trying not to grin at the rather annoyed expression on his face.

“Tool? Is that what I’m going to be stuck with?” Shawn groaned; rolling under the bottom rope with a groan. “Thanks, sweetheart.”

She shrugged.

Paul stroked his chin thoughtfully; humor still glittering in his eyes. “Stephanie found it amusing.”

“I bet she did.” Shawn sighed resignedly, glancing between the pair. “So… what are we doin’?”

“Training.” Paul frowned. “Sitara, back to work.”

“Bloody hell, you’ve had me at it for twenty minutes!” She exploded, not sure how much more of this torture she could take. Stephanie while well intentioned, had to be out of her mind.

Exasperatedly, Paul threw his hands up into the air. “Shawn… would you mind…”

“Nah, I’ll take over.” Shawn said with a sly grin.

She groaned.

Slapping his friend on the back, Paul vacated the ring.

“What has he taught you?”

Inhaling deeply, Sitara began recounting all of her ‘lessons’, her eyes narrowing as the smile on Shawn’s face grew broader and broader. “Just what is so amusing, might I ask?” She finally demanded, planting her fisted hands on her hips.

“Your accent, it’s cute.”

“You are a tool.” She was pleased to see the grin firmly wiped off of his face; smart enough to not let her own pleased smile actually show.

Shawn was very tempted to tell her just what type of tool he was and how she could best use him but decided against it as it could possibly constitute sexual harassment and he had no idea just how prudish this woman was. Much less if she could take a joke.

Though when she realized he was contemplating speaking his mind and had arched a black eyebrow almost challengingly, all bets were off.

Shawn opened his mouth to say it only to be interrupted, rolling his eyes heavenward at the familiar lisp of Jake. “Help you, son?” He asked, trying to keep the aggravation from his tone. It wasn’t the kid’s fault he had interrupted what seemed to promise being an interesting insult exchange.

“Just wondering when you were going to finish up.” Jake said, glancing at Sitara who was staring anywhere but at him. “But if you need more time with the rookie…”

She tilted her head from side to side, cracking her neck.

Something that didn’t go unnoticed by Shawn. “We’re not done yet, kid. Come back in twenty.”

Nodding, Jake retreated a few steps but didn’t go anywhere; just folded his arms over his chest, watching.

Realizing they were going to have a spectator and trying not to offend anyone today as Stephanie had already made it known to the locker room he was a ‘tool’, Shawn just took it in stride. “Lock up.”

“I beg your-“

He held up his hands; palms facing her.

The last thing Sitara wanted to do was be embarrassed and beaten down in front of Jack, Jake, whoever the hell he was today. But on the other hand, she didn’t really have a choice. Wiping her sweaty hands off on her grey workout shorts; she hesitantly approached him.

The minute they locked up, Shawn realized her upper body strength wasn’t as obvious as he had realized. From the look of her, all her muscle seemed to be in her very well developed legs. After a moment though, he had her lying face down on the mat; his arm locked around her head.

Shaking his head, Jake headed up the ramp way; he had seen enough.

When Jake’s laughter reached her, Sitara had to bite back the urge to scream every curse in the book at him. Who in the bloody hell did he think he was? Denying her and then- “I give!” She shrieked when she realized Shawn was steadily applying pressure, pulling her mind back into the game.

“What the hell was that?” Shawn demanded.

“What was what?” She asked crossly, moving to a kneeling position and reached back to rub her nape.

“You zoned out, not good. You need to constantly pay attention when you’re wrestling or someone is going to get hurt; yourself included.” He wasn’t joking or playing around anymore; his tone absolutely serious.

This was his life, his job; and he didn’t have time for people who wanted to play games and not pay attention.



After being reamed out by Shawn ‘The Tool’ Michaels and then put through some horribly painful paces, Sitara was free to leave for the night. Of course she knew he would go tell Stephanie how her training had gone; or at least tell Paul so Paul could relay it.

In the likelihood that Paul hadn’t bothered informing his wife that he had regulated the training to someone else for the night.

All things considered, she was very happy to head back to her home for the night; knowing damn well Stephanie wanted her to compete in a dark match within the next week or so. She pitied herself. Not for the first time, Sitara wondered how she had gotten into this.

It wasn’t exactly a mess, but it was so… confusing and complicated. She knew what was waiting for her in England, absolutely nothing. But on the other hand, she sometimes feared she was going to go mad. The constant traveling, jet lag; being stuck on buses for long hours and then sometimes not even getting more than two hours sleep before having to go on.

She could only imagine how much worse it would be once she did start actively performing.

She could also only imagine how tired the actual wrestlers must be, that or they were all on drugs.

Stephanie had been pleased as punch when Sitara had –over the internet no less- applied for a flat (or apartment as Stephanie had corrected time and time again) in Greenwich. She hadn’t done it so much to please her somewhat matronly and a hint overbearing new friend so much as she needed a place to go to on her days off AND preferably know at least one person in her new, adopted town.

Luckily for her, tomorrow she would catch a flight to Greenwich; with Stephanie. Which was a blessing as she had never been to Connecticut let alone Greenwich before.

It was time to stop thinking about tomorrow, she mused as she pushed open the stairwell door and looked up; groaning at the sight of three flights of steps waiting for her. It would have been so easy to just take the elevator, and indeed, her aching body was telling her to go for it but her mind screamed BLOODY HELL, DON’T DO IT.

Sitara was just a wee bit claustrophobic.

Though she figured she was probably going to have to get over that really soon, especially when she got a vicious cramp in her left calf; hobbling the rest of the way to her room. Fumbling for the keycard; she finally looked up, letting out an indignant growl of surprise at who she seen leaning against her door.

Jack Swagger, Jake Hager, whoever the fuck he was, had some nerve.

“Get out of my way.” She ordered coolly.

“I want to talk to you.”

“You’re supposed to be at the show.”

“Hurt my back, they pulled me and put Chavo in my place. Can we talk?”


“No.” She nudged him aside, more than aware that he had let her do it, and unlocked the door; intending on slamming it in his face.

She wasn’t surprised when he stopped her.

Sitara, just- just, let me…” Jake groaned when she brought her balled fist up and got him square in the nose; reeling backwards with both hands over the wounded appendage.

“Piss off.” She grunted, this time slamming the door unhindered.

Boy but that had felt good!


“So, this is your new apartment.” Stephanie stepped aside after unlocking the door; smiling encouragingly as Sitara hesitantly stepped through and into the living room.

It was… not what she had been expecting. Actually, Sitara didn’t know WHAT she had been expecting but she was fairly certain this was not it.

Beige colored walls, a darker shade for the carpet… and it was furnished.

“I didn’t really know what you’d like so I hope you don’t mind…”

Ah, of course, Mommy Stephanie.

Sitara studied the tan colored couch and matching chairs; a dark oak coffee table; standing lamps. She smiled. “It’s lovely, Steph, really.”

Stephanie returned the smile.


“So do you like it?”

“I don’t know, it’s alright.”

Sitara’s best friend since primary school –Emma- laughed; her voice a tad bit crackly over the phone. “It’s got to be loads better than where you were; at least situation wise.”

“Well you’ll never catch me complaining about that.” Sitara agreed, smiling in spite of herself. “I just I’m just a wee bit homesick.”

“Aw…” Emma was silent for a moment. “I’ll email you some pictures. You do have a computer don’t you?”

“Uh…” She did a slow turn in her living room. “I don’t know actually… I just moved in an hour ago.”

“You just moved in?”

The disbelief in Emma’s voice made her cringe. “Yes.”

Why are you just now moving in? You’ve been there over a fucking month!”

“Well, the job clearly stated that it was mostly life on the road and this is the first time I’ve had several days off to…”

“You’re serious?!”


Well, Sitara reflected a few hours later; soaking in the overly large tub, it could have gone worse. Emma had eventually gotten over her apparent indignation long enough for Sitara to explain just how life on the ‘road’ worked.

They both had shared repulsion over the canister of tea she had found in the kitchen.

Then she had described in great detail her new bed; which left her longing to feel tired just so she could try it out and Emma insanely jealous.

I’m being petty and picky.” Sitara thought as she dried herself off; knowing she needed to drop to her knees and thank the Lord above for such a blessing to come into her life; especially when she had needed it the most.

Stephanie had done a really great job of picking stuff out for her; stuff Sitara herself would have never looked twice at simply because she never would have been able to afford it.


“Tara, wake up!”

Sitara shot upright, her pale green eyes unfocused though she heard ‘Tara’ being hollered again. “Who the bloody hell is Tara?” She yawned, recognizing the voice; vaguely.

“Sweetheart, wake up!”

The voice was closer. Growling under her breath, she all but dived out of bed; lunging forward to slam her bedroom door shut and locked it; sneering when she heard chuckling from the other side. “What the hell are you doing here?! It’s my day off!”

“I was in town.”


“Just put on some clothes, come out and have a coffee with me and I’ll explain.”

He was going to explain alright, explain just how in the hell he had gotten into her apartment. Of course, she instinctively knew the answer to that one. Stephanie. Though Stephanie had given her the impression that while she liked Shawn, she didn’t thoroughly approve of him.

So maybe it was Paul.

Who in his insanity, might find it amusing.

Invoking all sorts of curses under her breath; Sitara reluctantly dressed. Whatever happened to having a bit of a lie in?

Shawn looked sickeningly awake and cheerful; disgusting her even more. Though he did have a redeeming quality at the moment; he was holding out a cup of coffee. “Good morning, Tara.” He smiled sweetly as she all but snatched it from his hand.

Sitara considered him as she sipped the hot beverage, contemplating him. There were several questions that came to mind, she just needed to decide which one she wanted to ask first.

Shawn waited patiently, an amused smirk on his face as he watched the play of negative emotions across her face.

“Why are you here?” She finally asked; trying to manage a scowl but her face just didn’t want to cooperate; it was simply too early.

“Greenwich? Business, had to come to the office and sign some paperwork.” Shawn shrugged, knowing damn well that wasn’t what she meant. When Sitara looked like she might actually pour that hot coffee on him, he took a step backwards. “And because Stephanie asked me to look in on you and make sure you were gettin’ along alright.”

She arched an eyebrow.

“Alright.” Shawn exasperatedly threw his hands into the air; shaking his head. “She was planning on comin’ and takin’ you out with the girls but Paul asked me to step in so she’d keep her ass to home for once.”

Sitara digested that one, finally nodding at him. “Thank you.”

“So don’t be bitin’ my, wait… what was that sweetheart?” He looked like he was about to start jamming a finger in his ear as if he might be deaf.

“I said thank you.” She honestly didn’t know if she was up to going out just yet, especially with Stephanie.


Shawn was fairly impressed with himself, watching as Sitara examined a dress through a window. He had actually managed to convince to come out and explore her new hometown. Of course, it was a bit pricey for his tastes, not to mention there was a lot of… stuff, he could definitely do without, but as she actually had to live here…

“Do you want to go in and ask the price?” He offered.

“I don’t think so.”

“Why not?”

“Where would I wear it?” She asked practically.

“Well, there company does have parties… There’s one comin’ up.” That he was being forced to attend or Stephanie had threatened to make him job to Big Dick.

No way in Hell.

“So you could wear it there.”

Sitara chewed on her lower, studying the dress. “No, I don’t think so. I have a party dress already. No point in adding another when the first hardly gets ever worn.”

She was practical. He admired that.

“Do you think I’ll have to go to this party?” She asked as they began walking again; rifling through her purse for a pack of chewing gum.

“You’re Stephy’s pet project, the answer is yes. She’ll probably even set you up.” He took a stick when offered.

“Set me up? You mean with a date?” Sitara looked and sounded horrified.

“Hey, it won’t be so bad. Probably just someone from the company, besides, it’s not like you have to agree.” Shawn shook his head; placing a hand on her shoulder. “You can say no.”

“That’s just it, I can’t.”

Confused, he followed her across the street towards what suspiciously looked like the Starbucks; then followed her inside. Once she had gotten herself a latte, he led the way back outside away from all the people who seemed to be either trying to figure out who he was or working up the nerve to ask for an autograph.

He hated Greenwich.

“So why can’t you, Tara?”

“Must you call me that?”

“That or sweetheart.”

“I actually prefer sweetheart.” Her tone was clipped.

“You’re avoidin’ answering the question, sweetheart.” He pointed out sweetly.

“She helped me when… when no one else would.” Sitara could not for the life of her keep the bitter and hurt tone from her voice; grateful when Shawn didn’t comment on it because she knew he had noticed. “I was in a bad place and she gave me a leg up. Simple as that.”

Now he was curious. But he also knew better than to ask her to expound on that.

So he’d ask Paul.

If Paul didn’t know, he could wheedle it from Stephanie and then tell him.


“You think you’re really slick, don’t you?”

Sitara didn’t have to turn around from the catering table she was making a coffee at to know who’s familiar lisp that was. She just heaved a great sigh and rolled her eyes heavenward.

Jake wasn’t phased, just moved until he was standing directly behind her; breathing heavily on her neck. “You do know once everyone finds out about your little past, you’re done here?”

After stirring her sugar in, Sitara slowly turned around; measuring him coldly. “What do you want, Jake?”

He registered the emphasis on his real name, his eyebrows coming together in a scowl. “You ought to be a bit more polite with me, Sitara.” He cautioned. “I could bury you in a heartbeat, even Stephanie wouldn’t have a thing to do with you if she knew the truth about WHY you were here in the first place.”

“You’re a damn liar.”

“No, I’m not.” He smiled, obviously pleased with finally getting a reaction from her and reached out to take a lock of her straight, jet black hair between his fingers, rubbing it between thumb and forefinger. “Sitara, why are we fighting?”

Her face went from annoyed to bemused at the sudden change in his tone. His voice was now gentle and soft, much like when she had first met him. “Because you’re an arrogant prat who treated me like scum when I came to you for help.”

To his credit, he didn’t flinch. In fact, Jake didn’t even look remotely abashed. “Look at it from my point of view, Sitara,” He said pleadingly. “We had a one night stand and then four months later, you’ve hunted me down to tell me you lost your job and a baby.”

She didn’t miss the ‘and a baby’.

“What would you have thought if you were in my place? I’m famous, I have money… Do the math.”

“How many women come to you for help after losing a job and YOUR baby?” She asked, conversationally but the fire was burning in her pale green eyes again.

Jake shook his head. “You’re missing the point.” He took one step forward, which was all that was needed to fill in the gap between them; his body pressing against hers in an all too familiar way. “We don’t have to be a one night stand, Sitara…” He whispered in what he thought was clearly a seductive voice.

“I don’t even think so.” She used her free hand to push him away, snorting when he let her push then purposefully took a tiny step backwards. “Not interested, Jake.”

“Don’t be stupid, I can-“

“Not interested, Jake.”

Sitara,” He now sounded both exasperated and annoyed; his eyes flashing. “You’re not listening to me. Shut up and- YOU STUPID LITTLE BITCH!”

Sitara had poured her coffee over his shirt; which incidentally, meant his massive chest –which he was so fond of jutting out- was soaked and burnt as well. “I said NO.”

Jake was peeling off the shirt; backing away from her though he had pretty much forgotten her at the moment. “Hot, damn…” He groaned, biting back the pain as he stared down at his now beet red chest; finally looking at her. “You’re going to pay for that you little-“

She had already turned around and turned back to him, now holding the coffee pot. “If you don’t want it to be your bits next, leave me the hell alone.” She snarled.

Knowing now she would actually do it, he grunted; making a dismissing gesture. “Whatever. Just remember, I know shit about you that you probably don’t want anyone else knowing, slut.”

She held her ground, staring at him coolly until he was out of the room. Then with a visibly trembling hand, Sitara set the coffee urn back in its place; gripping the edge of the table and hung her head; focusing on just breathing.


“What’s wrong?”

However Stephanie managed to do that was beyond Sitara, she wondered if she was a sense that came with having children. “Nothing.” She lied, fairly certain she had calmed down enough (not to mention washed her face in cool water) and regained her composure so the fact that something WAS wrong wasn’t noticeable.

Stephanie looked up from the paperwork she was sorting through, arching an eyebrow. “You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. You wanted to see me?”

After giving her friend and employee a searching, skeptical look; Stephanie finally nodded. “Paul tells me you’re ready for the ring. How he would know when he’s been delegating the job of training you to Shawn…”

Sitara cleared her throat.

“But Shawn thinks you’re ready, Paul thinks you’re ready, I think you’re ready. The question is, do you think you’re ready?” Stephanie stared at her intently. “If you’re not, just say so. But if you think you are, then I’d like you to perform in a dark match tonight before the show actually starts.”

She hesitated.

“Look, a dark match, if something goes wrong or-“

“I mess up.”

Stephanie nodded. “It just means you’re not ready, but if it goes well… Then we find a place for you on the show and go from there.”

“Alright, I can do a dark match.” Sitara said, trying to inject a note of confidence into her voice; pleased to see she might have succeeded by the sudden smile that appeared on Stephanie’s face.

“We’re going to have you face Alicia.”

It took Sitara a moment to place the name with a face, knowing that Alicia had been with the company a relatively short time but had developed quite well in the ring in a short period of time. “Alright.”


“You ready for this, Tara?”

“Shawn! I’m in the damn shower!”

“I can’t see anything.”

“And stop calling me Tara!”

Shawn snorted, wondering if she realized that was a useless order and passed her a towel when she held out a hand. “Need some help toweling off?” He teased.

“Shawn, turn around right now or I’ll rip your bits off.” She threatened.


“Your tool, you tool.”

He winced and turned around, folding both hands over the front of his jeans.

Sitara eyed him suspiciously, snatching her wrestling gear off the chair she had set it in and slipped back into the tiny closet; closing the door behind her.

Shawn heard the soft ‘click’ as the door slid in place, turning and arched an eyebrow. “Oh now that’s mature. Don’t trust me, Tara?” He called through the door, leaning against it with an amused grin on his face; arms folded over his chest.

“Should I?”

“Why shouldn’t you?”

“Let’s see… you’ve walked into my apartment unannounced and uninvited, you just walked in on me showering…”


“You have no shame, do you, Shawn?”

“No, not really.”

“You really are a tool.”

He scowled but didn’t reply. Instead he listened to the sounds of her struggling to dress in the glorified broom closet; trying not to laugh aloud. When she banged against the door with a grunt, he twisted the knob and pulled it open; catching Sitara before she hit the ground. When he seen her shorts were on backgrounds, he dropped her and slumped back against the wall; holding his sides because he was now laughing hard enough to possibly crack a rib.

“Oh shut the hell up!” She growled, reaching down to grab the waistband and drawing her knees up; beginning to shimmy out of them, still lying flat on her back. “As if I’m not nervous enough, performing tonight, and you’re coming in here making sport of me!”

“Talk English, Tara!” He gasped.

“I AM, you twit! I AM English!”

“Honey, you gotta put them-“ He stopped laughing, wiped the tears from his eyes in order to see better, openly staring down at her. “See through?”

It took her a moment to realize what he was talking about, glancing down and then went a brilliant shade of red. “SHAWN!”

He didn’t look remotely abashed or away even where there was a knock on the door, followed by Paul poking his head in.

“Hey kid, you’re on in twenty and Stephanie is- Oh sorry, didn’t mean to interrupt.” He cleared his throat and withdrew his head.

Shawn grinned.




A/N: There's a reference/possible slur, a racial one at that, at the end of the chapter. I'm NOT a racist, it's just a sentence in a story. Fair warning.


It could have been worse, Sitara figured as she made her way backstage; keeping her hands away from her lower back, which was aching a bit. Okay, a lot. Alicia had been very pleasant and helpful. Then she had promptly kicked Sitara’s ass in the ring.

“You were great.” Stephanie said proudly, looking satisfied that her newest acquisition/pet project wasn’t too banged up. “Once we get a place to put you, you’ll work RAW, how’s that?”

Sitara just nodded. Arguing with Stephanie was a bit like arguing with her own mum, tiresome and pointless. “Alright, that’s fine.”

“We’ll need a stage name for you as well…”

“I beg your pardon?”

Sitara is lovely, but it’s not… catchy.”

Sitara bit her tongue, trying not to point out that Kelly Kelly sounded like a children’s dolly. “You can get back to me on that, alright?”

“Well, what does your name mean?”

“Morning star.”

Stephanie grinned broadly. “You’re a genius.”

Sitara was genuinely confused now. “Huh?”

“Star, your ring name is going to be Star.”

She slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand.


Jake watched as Sitara pulled herself up; her hands firmly clasped behind her head. He was trying to keep his eyes on her face and not the fine sheen of perspiration that was beading on the visible parts of her caramel toned body. “Are you going to go to the party?”

“Yes.” She replied curtly, saving her wind for the exercise, wondering if she’d ever get used to this. Though on the bright side, without Paul there driving her on like some sort of rabid dog, it was much more enjoyable.

“Got a date?”

She sat up promptly, arching a black eyebrow at him, figuring he was out to drive her insane. As they were surrounded by coworkers though, he couldn’t be cruel to her just like she couldn’t smash his face in with a dumbbell. “That’s none of your business.”

Sitara, I was just thinking we should go together.” He smiled sweetly at her, bold enough to press his advantage; fairly certain she wouldn’t explode on him here. Not like she had with the coffee; his smile turning into a frown at the thought of it. “All things considered, you should feel lucky I’m even willing to give you a second chance.” He informed her haughtily.

Her eyebrow was in serious jeopardy of disappearing into her hairline. “Are you serious?”

“Of course I am. Look, I’m wearing blue, so make sure your dress matches and-“

“Green seems to be her color.”

Sitara had never been so happy to see Shawn, even if he was a bit annoying.

Jake glared at Shawn, more than aware the man was beginning to move in on ‘his’ woman. “You mind, we’re coordinating for the boss’ get together. “ He snorted when he took in Shawn’s workout clothes; which were a pair of black sweatpants and a navy blue tank top. “Not that YOU’D know anything about that.” He smirked, gesturing to himself, silver track pants with a red stripe down the side of his legs with a matching shirt.

“You look like a disco ball, kid, not good.” Shawn slapped his back playfully, wanting nothing more than to teach this rookie a lesson in manners but refrained. He was *supposed* to set an example. Which he did, on occasion. Right now, he was about to show Jake how to get a woman and it wasn’t by being an arrogant ass.

Sitara was mopping herself off, listening to the exchange.


She glanced at Shawn, noting the use of her full name opposed to the usual ‘Tara’. “Yes?”

“You still have that sexy black party dress?” He grinned slightly, watching her pale green eyes begin to sparkle with humor.

“Still collecting dust in my closet, I’m afraid.” She sighed melodramatically.

“Well… I don’t have a fancy suit, darlin’, but I do have nice dress jeans and a nice shirt… if you think you could stand to be seen with someone as homely as me?”

Jake was FUMING.

“You know Shawn, I’d love to go with you.” The surprising part was that Sitara actually meant it, and it came out in her tone.

Shawn looked mildly surprised but then genuinely smiled. “It’s a date then.” He said softly.

“A date.”



“It’s… five A.M., Steph…”

“You know who Carlito is, right?”

“Stephy, it’s only five…”

“Hey, I brought you coffee, so you know him or not?”

Sitara realized when the coffee was pressed dangerously close to her face that Stephanie was not indeed a nightmare but actually there, at the ungodly hour of five A.M., on a day she didn’t have to be awake until eight. “I know OF him.” She yawned, resigning herself to the fact she would not be getting anymore sleep and slowly sat up; rubbing sleep from her eyes with her knuckles. “Is he dying?”

“Dying?” Stephanie sounded confused, sipping from her own coffee mug; looking way too awake to be allowed. “No, of course not, why?”

“Then WHY are you in here at… FIVE in the morning?”

“Oh!” Stephanie beamed, dropping down on the edge of the bed. “We found a place for you on RAW! Or at least, how to introduce you to the WWE Universe.”

“Brilliant, I’m going back to bed and-“

“Oh no you are most certainly not, we have a lot of work to do. You debut officially tonight. You need to be redone.”

That was most ominous thing Sitara had ever heard.


Actually, it wasn’t as bad as Stephanie had made it sound, Sitara mused as she worked her way through a Red Bull; watching the current match idly on the monitor in the woman’s locker room. Her hair had been trimmed, they had *tried* perming it but that came out badly. So badly in fact that the hairdresser had actually cried when after the third attempt; nothing but straight locks greeted her.

Sitara had felt so bad about that.

Stephanie had contemplated colored lenses to cover her eyes, but the make-up people had talked her out of it, thankfully. She was given a new outfit that was actually hers to keep opposed to the ‘loaner’ she had borrowed for her dark match against Alicia.

And as she had been an ‘exotic’ dancer, she felt her wrestling gear was fairly modest. Which was probably a good thing as the WWE was PG apparently. What was amusing was it’s obvious play on her ‘home’ country.

“Wow… are you belly dancing or wrestling?” Alicia teased when Sitara began getting pulling on her costume.

“I don’t know.” She laughed; pulling the odd feeling material over her legs before reaching for the gold link, chain belt that would hold it up. It was a bit like silk, only sturdier. She looked down at her legs; her entire legs were covered, the ankles tight. Truth be told, she was dressed a lot like Princess Jasmine from Aladdin. “I think I’ve been stereotyped!”

“Hold on, let me see if I can find your Genie shoes…” Alicia teased, playfully looking around in Sitara’s duffel bag, beginning to laugh as she pulled out a see through, gold silk scarf. “Well looky here…”

Sitara had to duck her head for Alicia to wrap it over her hair and then over the lower half of her face; smiling in spite of herself. “If I get booed out there…”

“Oh no, you won’t, Carly will. He is ALWAYS booed.” Alicia assured her. “Just let him do his thing, you’ll see. He’s a great heel.”


“Bad guy.”

“Oh.” She mulled that over. “So I’m going to be a heel too?”

“Hell no. Look, Carly ALWAYS turns on people, it’s his *thing*, his character’s thing I should say. So… they’ll put you out there with him, you’ll do a few matches together; some promos and crap, and then something will happen where he ‘turns’ on you too.”


“Probably hock an apple in your face.”

“Now that is disgusting.”

“Tell me about it.”

“How do you ladies think I feel?” Speak of the Devil. Carlito popped his head into the room; his fro all over the place as usual and gave Sitara an encouraging smile. “Hey Star, I’m Carly.” He waved what looked like a red Delicious at her. “And if I do hock apple at you, I’m sorry. I’m STD and disease free, I promise.”

“He’s also insane and thinks he’s charming.” Alicia snorted, rolling her eyes in his direction.

“I AM charming. I also HATE apples. Why couldn’t they give me lemons or oranges?”

“Apples are cheap, and… And… AND…”

“And I’m from Puerto Rico AND I’m CANADIAN!”

“Tell creative that.”

Sitara was completely lost by this exchange and it showed.

Carly sighed at her puzzled expression. “Apples, and it’s a backstage joke. Apple picker, Mexican…. And you’re not following this, are you?”

“Not a whit.”

Alicia began laughing. “I’m sure you’ll hear ALL about it from Carly, it’s one of his favorite things to bitch about.” She began backing up when he took a bite out of the hated apple, hands up. “Hold on now boy, don’t be-“

“Carlito, Star, show time!”

He swallowed. “You got lucky.”


Carlito was fun to work with and very outspoken, which Sitara found amusing. Especially when he started in on how she was being stereotyped just like she was and how it wasn’t fair, encouraging ignorance among people.

As for being a ‘heel’, a villain, Sitara found it rather fun and surprised herself by taking a few liberties while out with him. It was a solo match and she was in his corner, having been introduced as Star from a place she knew she did not hale from but… Such was the life.

Towards the end while Carlito was ‘distracting’ the referee, she slid under the bottom rope and into the ring; her pale green eyes fixed on his opponent.

He stared right back at her, an eyebrow arched as he took in the veil that covered half her face.

Crooking her fingers, she backed towards the corner, enticing him.

Which was when Carlito hit the Backstabber. Sitara exited the ring. Match was over.

“You are brilliant, I love you!” Stephanie said gleefully as soon as she was backstage, and probably would have hugged Sitara providing Sitara hadn’t moved behind Carly who seemed amused at being used as a human body shield. “You two look cute together, you should go to the ball together.”

“Whoa, what?” Carly blinked. “I have a date, Steph.”

“Well cancel it.”

“I CAN’T, she’s my FIANCEE.”

Stephanie frowned. “It’s just for-“

“I’m going with Shawn.” Sitara added quickly.

Now Stephanie’s jaw dropped and Sitara felt all this harassment and change was worth it just for this one moment; unable to keep herself from grinning.


“Is this really necessary?”

“Yes.” Stephanie had recovered from her shock that Shawn was taking Sitara to the ball and come back with a vengeance; now insisting that they pamper themselves the day of.

Currently both women were reclining in massaging chairs while they each received pedicures.

“So when did this little… development happen?”

Sitara sighed inwardly, having been wondering when that was coming. She knew Stephanie had been chomping at the bit to start nosing around about her and Shawn –and there WAS nothing going on- but had restrained herself.

At least until now, when there was no way of Sitara escaping the question.

“He… asked me and I said yes.”

Stephanie arched an eyebrow.

“Honestly, Steph, he’s about the only person I know in the company besides you.” Sitara began to smile, already deflecting the impending million questions she could literally see building behind those brilliant blue eyes. “And as you have a date…”

Stephanie began laughing. “Fair enough.”


“I’m out of my mind.” Sitara breathed later in the privacy of her hotel room as she dressed. She felt soft and feminine all over thanks to Stephanie’s generous day of indulgence; her hair falling in its usual straightness that had frustrated more than its fair share of hair dressers today.

Usually, she left it hanging loose but tonight she pulled her hair back into a low ponytail, grimacing at the sight of her bare ears. Already dressed in her simple black ‘party’ dress and treacherous high heels, she had carefully applied make-up and all that was left was a few accessories.

Such as a curved line of paste on faux green jewels across her forehead to bring out the color of her eyes and an emerald pendant that had been her mother’s.

Before she could start seriously worrying if she was overdressed or underdressed, there was a knock on the door.

“Bugger… One minute!” She called, grabbing studs out of the dish of alcohol she had set them in and began filling the holes on each lobe, four at the bottom; three at the top on both ears. Satisfied, she grabbed her purse off the counter and hurried out of the bathroom.

As soon as she opened the door; she felt like she was having an out of body experience. Shawn looked… good.

Shawn almost blushed at the appreciation in her eyes, waving his hand in her face. “My eyes are up here, honey.”

Sitara did blush but met his amused gaze. He hadn’t been lying about the jeans and nice shirt. A pair of nice black jeans, a pressed; long sleeved black button up shirt with what looked like a white muscle shirt beneath it. Of course, his ever present boots and ‘cowboy’ hat had been added to the outfit, and surprisingly; it still looked good.

Clearing his throat, Shawn held out a hand.

It took her a minute to realize he was carrying a rose, a pale pink rose and automatically reached out to take it. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”


Jake was already at the ball when Sitara arrived on Shawn’s on no less, having had his doubts about them coming together. He frowned when he seen she was leaning into the other man, listening to something he was murmuring in her ear.

That little bitch had a lot of nerve he thought, glancing around before taking a discreet swig from the silver flask he had brought with him. Just as quickly, he had it stuffed back into his slack’s front pocket. He hadn’t brought a date, figuring he would probably just pick someone up here but… he wasn’t in the mood for just anyone.

He was in the mood for the slut he was eyeballing, hardly believing Sitara actually DARED to show herself her. As if she hadn’t been a stripper… and a ‘working’ girl of sorts.

Jake’s frown deepened, not tearing his eyes away from the odd couple, wondering if Shawn knew about her spotty past. She was a user. She had used him and then tried to pull a coup over him with that false pregnancy and miscarriage shit.

For Shawn’s own sake, he NEEDED to know. It was only right Jake told him everything he knew about Sitara’s shady past lest Shawn got caught up in one of her schemes.

It was for Shawn’s own good.


Surprisingly, Sitara was having a good time. Shawn didn’t mind dancing but he had been upfront and honest in telling her that he COULDN’T dance. So they stuck to the slow songs where all they really had to do was sway in slow circles and such.

He was even using her full name opposed to ‘Tara’, which was nice. The night was nice altogether.

“Let’s step outside, I’m roastin’.” Shawn said after their third dance, pulling his hat off with one hand and using the sleeve of his shirt to mop his brow with the other.

Nodding, she followed him through the other people; returning nods and smiles she received even though she had no idea who the majority of people were, knowing it was mostly due to her being with Shawn.

Out on the balcony was a welcome change, the crisp night air felt so good against her damp skin and caused her to sign contentedly. “Best idea you’ve ever had.”

“Second.” Shawn corrected, leaning against the railing; smiling at her.

“What was the first?”

“Asking you here.”

She blushed.


What the hell could they have to talk about for two hours? Jake wondered as he watched Sitara and Shawn. They hadn’t come in from the balcony since going out there and so far, they had done nothing but talk. They had moved from their standing positions to sit on those uncomfortable iron chairs; just talking.

Gritting his teeth; he finished his flask and glanced around; his eyes brooding.

Enough was enough. This trick was finished.


“Excuse me, I need to use the loo.” Sitara stood up; smiling when Shawn rose with her. The smile remained with her as she walked back into the ballroom, seeing the party had gotten to full swing and caught Stephanie’s eye, shrugging when Stephanie arched an eyebrow.

She had long ago given up on the dream of a small house with the white picket fence, of a knight in shining armor who would love her until the end of time. Life simply did not work that way and she had discovered that the hard way.

She had pretty much given up on love in general after Jake, not that she had been in love with him but she could have loved him, providing he had never shown what a snake he truly was.


As for Shawn, first impressions usually were final for her and his first impression hadn’t gone over smoothly but… Things seemed to be changing.

Of course, caution screamed at her not to make the same mistakes she had with Jake, not wanting to be yet another notch on ANOTHER wrestler’s belt but something deep in her gut told her Shawn wasn’t like that.

Contrary to what Stephanie had said about his past.

She stood at the bathroom sink washing her hands and going over her appearance when she heard the door open, frowning. “Occupied.” She called, wondering if she hadn’t locked it. When the person came in regardless, she was annoyed. “Occupied!”

Pale green eyes widened in the mirror when she seen Jake walking up behind her.

He moved forward so her back was pressed against his chest; moving his arms around her to grip her hands with were gripping the sink.

“Get out.”

“We need to talk, Sitara.” He said, his lisp not helped any by the alcohol he had imbibed.

Her nose wrinkled as the stench of whiskey assaulted her. “Get out.” She repeated.

His eyes, which were glazed over just a little, narrowed. “We need to talk.” He said again, gripping her wrists cruelly and turned her around so she was facing him. “Pulling tricks on Michaels?”

“What? No! I’m-“ She gasped as his grip on her wrists tightened, feeling like he was grinding her bones in his hands.

“Bullshit. You’re going to do to him just what you did to me!”

“I didn’t do anything to you! I came to you for help and you-“ She was cut off by his lips pressing against hers, keeping her own firmly sealed.

“Bitch!” Jake spit harshly in her face, beginning to pull her from the bathroom. “Let’s see if Stephy and Shawn will still want anything to do with you when they find out you’re nothing but a WHORE!”

Sitara struggled against him but wound up only hurting herself even more in the process.


Stephanie was dancing with her husband when the music suddenly screeched to a stop; everyone looking first towards the DJ and then at what had gotten his attention; her mouth dropping. “What the HELL is going on, Hager?” She demanded, her shrill voice easily overheard as she pushed her way through the crowd.

Shawn was working his way back inside, listening to the silence that had fallen over the ballroom. As soon as he pushed through, Jake sent Sitara to the floor with a push. “Hey!”

Jake sneered at him, his cheeks a ruddy red. “Yeah, run to help your whore!”

“JAKE!” Stephanie’s voice was reaching new levels of shrillness.

Jake ignored her, his beady eyes resting on Shawn, a cruel smile crossing his face. “Betcha didn’t know, did you?”

“Jake, please…” Sitara whispered, her usual beautiful dark skinned complexion going ashen. “Jake…”

Sitara and I have a little history, don’t we baby?” He glanced down at her, snorting in derision when he seen the tears beginning to roll down her cheeks. “Pathetic.”

“Jake, please.”

Sitara and I met in England,” His voice was carrying and he didn’t give a fuck, he wanted people to know what a dirty little whore she was. “She was an… exotic dancer. A little stripper, and if the money was right… she’d give a guy a go round in a back room.”

Shawn looked to Sitara, but she was hanging her head.

“So of course, she’s more than eager to dive right into my bed. Why not? I’m famous and rich, right?”

Sitara didn’t even counter the lies Jake was spewing, too afraid, too ashamed to look up. She let out a soft squeal of surprise however when he pulled her onto her trembling legs once more; forcing her head up so he could stare down at her, hatred festering in his eyes.

“Then out of the blue she shows up with a sob story. She was pregnant, she lost her job because she refused to get an abortion and then had a miscarriage from stress.” Jake rolled his eyes. “She didn’t say what she wanted but come on, we can all guess, money.”

Shawn was being held back by Paul; every muscle in his body taut.

Jake let go of Sitara, shaking his head as he looked at Shawn. “If you want to give her a go, be my guest. She’s not TOO bad.”

Sitara stood there for a moment, unable to move; feeling like her entire body was blushing with shame. When she finally regained her mobility, she fled the ballroom.

Sitara!” Stephanie shouted, but didn’t chase; instead fixed Jake with a look. “You are FIRED, jackass.” She snarled.

His drunken smile faded. “What?”

“You heard me.” She couldn’t repair the damage he had done, everyone had heard it and as much as she would have liked too, she couldn’t just simply order people to forget they had heard that. Life didn’t work that way. “Get him out of here!”

When security had dragged Jake from the room, Stephanie finally turned her eyes to Shawn, who was looking both murderous and stunned. “Shawn…”

He shook free of Paul and stalked right on past her.


Where the Hell would she go, Shawn wondered as he came to a halt outside the hotel and surveyed the streets. The hotel they were actually staying at was on the other side of town, not like she couldn’t get there by herself but he had a feeling Sitara wasn’t in any proper condition to go far much less think on how she would be getting there.

His gaze finally landed on a seedy, somewhat country looking bar across the street and figured why not. If he had been in her place, he probably would have hit the booze as quickly as possible. After checking the traffic, he hurried across the road and ducked inside; coughing as a wave of smoke and the stench of sour beer hit him.

After his eyes had adjusted to the slightly burning sensation from the smoke, he peered around; finally spotting her in the back. Murmuring ‘excuse me’s’, he made his way to her; dropping down across from her in the booth.

He frowned when he seen the bottle of Jose Cuervo sitting before her, a salt shaker and a bowl of sliced lime sitting along a filled shot glass. “Tara, honey…”

She peered at him through blearily eyes, not from being drunk but from crying. “What do you want?” She asked hoarsely, her voice sounding clogged from her crying.

Shawn reached across the table to take her hands in his; sighing when she jerked them away in order to down her shot. “Sitara, look, what Hager said… nobody cares about, it’s in your past.”

Snorting, she focused on her tequila, refilling the glass. “Sure, Shawn, sure.”

“I’m serious, Tara, a lot of the… divas, well… they did… porn.” Not that anyone openly talked about it as it was a no-no topic, he had a feeling this was going to be as well. “But nobody cares.”

“Uh huh… how many of those women got pregnant by one of the superstars and then apparently tried conning him for shit?”


“Point made.” She grumbled, slamming the next shot.

“I don’t believe you tried conning him out of anythin’ though, sweetheart. I think Hager is a lyin’ son of a bitch with a mean streak a mile wide.”

“You can say that again.” She met his stare; blinking which caused the unshed tears to roll down her cheeks; following the trails left behind by others. “We didn’t meet AT… where I worked, we met on the street; we bumped into each other.” She whispered.

His eyes were sympathetic.

“He asked me to dinner and… we just clicked, instant chemistry. I didn’t know what a sodding cuntrag he was.” Now her tone went bitter. “Being the git that I am and all.”

“And then…?”

“He left. I went by to... stripping and ‘being a whore’,” She used her fingers to accent that; scowling. “Found out I was pregnant. My boss told me to abort it or lose my job so I quit.”

Shawn knew what came next, letting her know silently she didn’t have to tell him the rest.

But Sitara was buzzing thanks to the few shots she had drowned and just shook her head. “Lost my flat, couldn’t pay my tuition, then I lost the baby.”

He thought he seen a spasm of pain flicker across her face, seriously considering looking up the now unemployed Hager and beating him to a bloody pulp; no doubt he’d be able to recruit Paul into helping him.

“Go away, Shawn.” She sighed. “I want to be alone.”

He grunted, pushing away from the table.

Sitara was mildly surprised he actually listened to her; glancing down at her limes and blinked; her eyes feeling dry and irritated, out of tears.

Can I cut in on a dance?
You ain’t gonna find what you’re lookin’ for
In that little Mexican
You can’t mix your tears
With those from an agave plant
You see I’ve danced with him myself
And he’s never been a friend

“Come on.”

She felt his strong hands beneath her arms; lifting her from her seat and gripped his wrists to keep from toppling; her arms going around Shawn’s neck for balance when he gently turned her around. “What’re you doing?” She demanded softly.

Dancin’ with you.”

“Are you serious?”

“For once, yes.” Shawn bent down to press his forehead to hers. “I know you had it rough, but things are different now, they CAN be, if you let them. The past is only going to hurt you if you let it, darlin’.”

You go believin’ in your Lancelot
Well it’s all in vain
And you’re chasin’ picket fences,
There’s always hell to pay
I met many a girl in here
With the same story line
All them boys on those white horses
Don’t know how to ride

Sitara glanced towards the jukebox then back at Shawn, her eyes narrowing and tried to hide a smile when he just grinned slightly. “Who sings it?”

“Christian Kane.”

“Never heard of him.”

“Somehow, sweetheart, that don’t surprise me.”

But I got a paint outside with enough giddyup
To be free
I got a faint smell of cheap perfume
And a hint of gasoline
See I’m a different kind of knight
You’re gonna find your fairytales are lies
I don’t have a white horse
But you can come along for the ride

She rested her head against his shoulder; her eyes straying back to the bottle of tequila at her table but she wasn’t tempted to finish what she had started: a grand drunk.

Shawn tightened his arms around her, smelling a mixture of Tabu and liquor; a hint of lime. No wonder she was a hint distrustful of him, it all made sense now. Jake had turned her life upside down once before already without thinking twice.

And then done it again tonight.

She said “I’m tired of living life in a romance book
I think chivalry’s dead
And I ain’t gonna look
For them roundtable boys on the white horse
That can’t get the story right.”

I said “as luck would have it
I was tossed by the throne
I let my merry hair down
Some years ago
And I traded my coat of arms
For a guitar and some broken yellow lines.”

Stephanie had called him a tool, Sitara remembered with a slight smile; hiding her lips against the collar of his shirt just in case. Stephanie had been right, Shawn was a tool, at times. Other times… he was… something else.

Like now, he wasn’t be annoying or cocky; he was being thoughtful and… sweet.

It was a bit bitter, part of her screaming ‘he’s trying to get in your pants’ and the other part knowing better but also afraid of what happened after this dance.

Life existed outside this tiny bar and repercussions for tonight’s drama would come.

But I got a paint outside with enough giddyup
To be free
I got a faint smell of cheap perfume
And a hint of gasoline
See I’m a different kind of knight
You’re gonna find your fairytales are lies
I don’t have a white horse
But you can come along for the ride

“You don’t have to go back to work straightaway.” Shawn murmured, his chin resting against her head as they swayed; feeling her body beginning to finally relax into his; the soft weight of her against him something he had a feeling that would never come around again.

“Yes, I do.” She whispered back.


“I’m not a coward.”

He smiled.

She kinda shifted in her seat a little bit
The thought of every eye on her bee-stung lips
And she raised that glass and the lime
And she kissed them goodbye

She said “promise me you’ll take it slow
And swear no talk of tomorrow
And when you feel me tighten around you
Well you can let the hammer down.”

Sitara pulled away to stare up at him; the buzz fading. “I think I’m ready to go call it a night, tomorrow is going to be… interesting.”

“Wait and see, nobody will say a word. I told you, some of the divas dabbled in porn.”

She grimaced. “We’ll see.”

Shawn just smiled at her. He had a feeling Stephanie would fine someone to hell and back for mentioning tonight’s outburst. He was tempted to tell her Steph had fired Jake but figured she probably didn’t want to hear that troll’s name at the moment. “I’ll take you home then.”

And I got a paint outside with giddyup
To be free
I got a faint smell of cheap perfume
And a hint of gasoline
See I’m a different kind of knight
You’re gonna find your fairy tales are all lies
I don’t have a white horse
But you can come along for the ride

Shawn kept a hand on the small of her back as he guided her from the bar, waiting until they were on the less crowded street to join her at her side and wrap his arm around her. “For what it’s worth, you look really beautiful tonight.”

“You mean I did.”

“No,” The palms of his hands skimmed up her bare arms; feeling goosebumps breaking out on her skin. “You do.” Even with her mascara and eyeliner a little… streaked and the tip of her nose was still reddish, but she was still beautiful.

As he was leaning down, she was moving closer; they met in the middle.

But you can come along for the ride…