Scar Tissue

~Sequel to Scars~



Briar Rose Hardy could only stare at her husband like he had lost his mind. Frowning, she pulled herself out of the pink and black speckled bean bag chair she had been lounging in, her grey eyes narrowing at his uncertain smile. “Please, tell me this is a joke.” She said softly, folding her arms over her chest.

Jeff raked a hand through his blonde hair, shaking his head. “No joke, Bri.” He said, his voice just as soft, though with a hint of defiance. “Honey-“

“Nuh uh, I don’t want to hear it. How in the HELL could you do that, Jeff?” She demanded, anger written all over her face. “You KNOW better!”

Jeff shifted from one foot to the other, clearing his throat. “It was just one time and I wanted to know what it was like.” He said softly. “It was just a little weed, Bri. Just the one time.”

Briar ran a hand down her pale face, inhaling deeply. Just a little weed. Well, she would give him brownie points for telling her, he could have just kept it hidden. But that wasn’t Jeff. He told her everything, she told him everything.

Whether they liked hearing it or not.

“Jeff, I am a recovered drug addict.” She said quietly.

“That was you, this is me.” He blurted out, wincing at the hurt expression that crossed her face. “Bri, I didn’t mean it like that, I meant-“

“You meant you think you can handle it better than I obviously could.” Briar said, trying to keep the accusation out of her tone. “You know, I started out with weed. Just experimenting and then I was a cocaine addict. So don’t tell me it’s ‘just one time.’”

Jeff didn’t know what to say, obviously arguing with her was the wrong track. “I just don’t see what the big deal is.” He said lamely, watching as her grey eyes flashed angrily. “Briar, honey, it was ONE time, okay? It won’t happen again, baby, I promise.”

Briar had to take him for his word, nodding silently.


Jeff and Briar had been married for two years now. They had gotten married on the spur of the moment and never looked back. They had their ups and downs like every other couple, but for the most part; they were the golden pair their friends all said would be together forever.

And they couldn’t agree more.

Of course, at first things hadn’t been so easy. Especially when Briar had come off the road after Vince’s brain child storyline with her and her abusive ex-step-father had run its course. She had had nightmares from that for months afterwards. Always the same thing.

Mark hadn’t stopped. Cut had been called, the cameras had stopped rolling but he hadn’t stopped.

Which by the light of day, those dreams had always seemed silly. She and Mark had reached a shaky sort of understanding. He was sorry, she had accepted the apology he had given her. Then told him she didn’t want anything to do with him.


That was that.

Now however, she very seldom thought of Mark. Sure, she seen him on the television from time to time when she watched the programs to see Jeff, but it was usually brief as she would turn the television off.

They had settled themselves in Tennessee as Matt resided in North Carolina and that was just too damn close for comfort for both Jeff and Briar. So she worked for Cindy again, supplementing the income Jeff brought in with her own; not wanting to rely solely on him for support.

Together, they had purchased what Cindy had called a ‘starter home’, just outside city limits. It was small but comfortable. They had decorated it together, their styles melding together perfectly, in their opinions at least.

Though Cindy did shudder each and every time she walked through the doorstep. Adam and Jay had jokingly called the place an acid trip brought to life.

Such loving friends.


“Order up!” Briar called, adjusting her black elbow length; fingerless gloves as she poked her head out of the kitchen. Her black hair was pulled back into a bun to keep it from falling into the food, a frown creasing her brow when she seen the new waitress –Maggie- was too busy flirting with one of the customers to pay attention.

Sighing, she took the plate and carried it out herself, offering an apologetic smile to the regular as she served him. “Sorry, Joe.”

“Not a problem, sugar. Looks like the new girl needs trained up a bit.”

“Place a plate of grub in front of a person, no training required.” Briar replied with an easy grin, narrowing her eyes at Maggie’s back. “Usually…”

Laughing softly, Joe dug in. “Mmm…” He sighed contentedly. “Honey, make sure you pick up the tip for this.”

“You can count on it.” She winked at him before going to get Maggie’s ass back to work. Cindy came in late in the evenings now, mainly just to count the till. Howard wasn’t doing so well these days so she left the running of the diner to Briar usually. “Hey, you need…” She trailed off, seeing who Maggie was talking too.

Adam and Jay grinned up at her, both looking like their usual dumbass selves.

“You morons!” She snapped them with the dish rag that lay over her shoulder. “You’re keeping her from her job!”

“Can we help it we’re so damn scrumptious?” Adam asked innocently, smiling flirtatiously up at Maggie.

Maggie blushed, took one look at Briar and hurried around to the back.

Snorting, Briar decided she’d take her break, procuring a pack of cigarettes from her apron pocket and dropped down beside Jay. “What brings you two to my neck of the woods?”

Jay wrapped an arm around her shoulder, groaning when he got smoke blown in his face and leaned away to cough. “Jesus, can’t a guy come visit?”

“Usually people give warning.”

“Well, we’re not ‘people’, we’re totally-“ Adam trailed off when Briar jabbed her lit cigarette in his direction, grinning sweetly. “You know you love us.”

“Yes, sadly I do.” She tried hiding her own smile. “So why are you really here?” Normally they didn’t bother her while she was working.

Jay and Adam exchanged looks, like they were silently arguing with each other over whatever it was they had to tell her.

“It’s… about Jeff…” Adam began slowly, swallowing hard. He felt like a freaking tattle tale.

“What about him?” She sighed, tapping ash into a tray. Ever since his confession, they had been somewhat shaky with each other. This was a major hurdle in their relationship and she still wasn’t sure how to handle it. That had been a month ago, and so far, he had seemed clean.

Then again, she only saw him maybe once a week, if she was lucky.

Jay bit his lower lip, closed his eyes for a second then sighed; having braced himself. “He’s not coming to the shows, or he’s mega late.”

“What?” That didn’t make any damn sense. “Then where the hell is he?”

“That’s just it, we don’t know.”

Adam felt bad for this, it was obvious something was wrong with Jeff and Briar didn’t seem to have a clue. But that was one of the downsides to being a wife of a wrestling superstar, you were left out of the loop on a lot of things.

“And when he does come, he’s… weird.” Jay finished quietly.

Briar was silent for a long while, smoking her cigarette without saying a word. When she had finished it, she took a ragged breath. “He told me about a month ago he had tried smoking pot.” She confessed softly, taking in the shocked expressions on her best friend’s faces.

“Do you think he still is?”

“I don’t know, maybe. But I don’t see weed really changing his life that damn much, not if he’s missing shows. That’s not Jeff.” She didn’t want to even acknowledge the fact that Jeff’s natural curiosity was probably going to kill him. “Have you seen him lately?”

“The other night.”


“And he seemed spacey.” Adam reached across the table to take her hand, squeezing gently. “Bri, look, we’re sorry to lay this on you but he’s going to kill his career, or himself if he’s really trying out… drugs.”

“Vince is this,” Jay made a gesture with his thumb and forefinger. “Close to firing him but he’s been building up for a feud with ‘Taker so… he’s letting things go right now and-“ He stopped when he seen the new expression on her face. “Bri?”

“Jeff and Mark are going to feud?”

“Yeah, haven’t you been watching?”

“Not lately.”

Adam and Jay exchanged ‘oh shit’ looks.

“Well, it’s not real, you know that.” Jay tried smoothing over his mistake. “But ‘Taker has been doing this thing with Tommy Dreamer and- You have no idea what the hell I’m talking about. Long story short Bri, Jeff is going to be after ‘Taker’s title and whatnot. That’s not important, we’re here about the OTHER problem. The BIG problem.”

Briar nodded, pushing aside this fact, information Jeff hadn’t bothered filling her in on. She stood up, cracking her neck; making a decision. She could feel her stomach already tying itself in knots, wondering if this was going to be something she regretted but… She would regret not doing it too.

Jeff was her world, her life. For so long he had been her life preserver in an ocean that was out to drown her. Now it was her turn to save him.

Hopefully he didn’t need saved but…

Something told her he did and she had to wonder if she was strong enough to be the one to do it. She had to be. She was his wife. No matter if he had lied, was lying to her, she loved him regardless. She also knew first hand just what drugs could do to a person and that made all the difference.

It hurt that he might be hiding this from her, that he had lied to her. But again, that all came back to the drugs and how they changed people.

Like they had changed her.

Briar squared her shoulders, looking down at her friends. “I’m going on the road with you two.”

Jay and Adam could only stare up at her, hoping this didn’t come back to bite any of them in the ass.


“Briar!” Mark gasped, thrusting his hips up; hand gripping her slender waist as she rode him. Lust filled green eyes met stormy grey orbs, her face contorted in the throes of passion. Her open hands rested on his abdomen, using him to help move herself.

“Mark…” She moaned, her black hair pooling over her shoulders as she leaned down to press a kiss to his jaw. “You feel so good…” She whispered breathlessly. A delighted squeal escaped her when he rolled her off of him.

“Mmm…” Mark positioned Briar on her knees, guiding his cock back to her soaked-


Mark snapped upright, his eyes flying open and groaned at the sudden head rush that assaulted him. About two years had passed now since seeing his step-daughter and the little bitch was STILL haunting his dreams.

“’Taker, come on!”

It took Mark several seconds to realize that someone was actually yelling at him through the damn locker room door. Growling, he pulled himself off the wooden bench he had precariously scrunched himself on, getting to his feet. Next he groaned, his muscles screaming protest at being stretched after their forced lock-up.

“Man, come on, your promo!”

Vowing to murder whoever was outside that fucking door, Mark headed for it.


Briar fidgeted nervously with her gloves; chewing on her lips. She had lost her mind. Officially. Only the thought of Jeff could make her do this, make her leave her relatively peaceful; comfortable life back in Tennessee and come on the circuit.

On either side of her stood Adam and Jay, like overprotective bodyguards or something, she almost giggled. Though she did doubt any self respecting bodyguard would wear atrocious sunglasses like these two were, horrible; goggle like things.

“Breathe honey, breathe.” Jay said, rubbing between her shoulder blades soothingly; almost tempted to tell her to bend over and place her head between her knees or something, she looked ready to faint. “Nobody is going to hurt you, Bri.”

She started laughing softly, feeling marginally better. “No, that’s not my damage.”

“Okay,” Adam sounded confused. “Then what is?”

“I’m nervous about seeing Jeff. What if you’re wrong, if I’m wrong and this blows up in our faces? More specifically, MY face?”

“Do you honestly think you’re wrong?” He asked gently.

It took her less than a minute to decide, shaking her head no resolutely. They hadn’t even made it out of the airport and already she was starting to have panic attacks. She really needed to pull herself together before she did have a breakdown.

Jay and Adam linked their arms through hers, gently providing physical as well as emotional support; knowing this couldn’t be easy. Jeff was Briar’s world, he had virtually saved her from killing herself, been the one thing she had been able to look to for hope.

And now he was the one drowning in troubles and she had to be his guiding light.

“Look, we don’t have to do anything tonight.” Adam said reasonably. “You can’t see Jeff in this condition anyway, Bri. So how bout we go get you settled into a hotel for the night, you can sort yourself out and we’ll figure out what we’re doing in the morning, how’s that sound?”

“That sounds good.”


It was probably a good thing, Briar mused later that afternoon in her hotel room; brushing out her hair after a hot shower, that she and Jeff had decided on holding off on having children for a few years. They had decided they wanted some time just for them, enjoy the early years of their marriage. That and Jeff’s schedule had gotten so crazy time for baby making was scarce.

Given the current circumstances, Briar was fairly glad they hadn’t rushed into having kids. There was no way in HELL she was going to raise a baby under similar circumstances to how she had been raised. No fucking way.

Adam and Jay had checked her in under Adam’s name, though in her own room. Unless the other person was Jeff, she couldn’t sleep with other’s present. Some old habits just refused to die, even if they seemed silly to other people.

What was she going to say to Jeff? How was she going to broach the topic? Obviously he was going to know something was wrong just by her presence. She simply did not go on the road, he knew this, he had invited her a few times only to be turned down; which he always accepted with good grace and understanding.

Groaning, she tossed aside the brush and buried her face in her hands.


“What the hell do you mean she’s here?” Glenn demanded, walking alongside Adam down a hotel corridor. “WHY is she here?”

“Because she um, has stuff to do.” Adam shot Jay a ‘help me’ look. He hadn’t been the one who wanted to mention Briar being on the road to Glenn. But Jay had insisted they tell the other man. Glenn was Briar’s adopted older brother, just like Cindy and Howard had filled the parental void in her life that her birth mother and Mark had never been interested in fulfilling.

Jay smiled stoically. “There’s a problem that needs fixed and if you want to know anymore, you’ll have to take it up with her.” Thanks to Cindy’s encouragement and nurturing, Glenn and Briar had formed a sibling bond that was as intense as the one between him and Adam, even though none of them were blood related.

It never failed to astound him how sometimes, the people closest to you, the people you considered your family, weren’t actually kin.

Glenn was more than tempted to smack these two upside their blond skulls but didn’t act on it. Instead he halted when they did, staring at the door before him. When Briar finally answered the incessant knocking, Glenn arched an eyebrow.

Unless he was mistaken, Briar was gaining weight.

Which was a good thing he supposed, considering she had been a stuck figure for the majority of the time he had known her. From the way her tank top clung to her chest, he was guessing she had gone up a size, clearing his throat.

“Glennie!” Briar tossed herself at him.

He hugged her, now feeling her curvier body and stepped out of the embrace, holding her at arms length. “Are you pregnant?”

“No!” She laughed, stepping inside and held the door open for the three men. “Just getting fat.”

“You’re not fat.” Jay admonished.

Any weight she gained went either to her breasts or ass. On the bright side, she no longer looked like a walking scarecrow.

“I’ve been putting in some extra hours for Cindy so I’ve been eating at the diner.” Briar confessed, squirming under Glenn’s smirk. “It’s not funny.”

“Fried chicken and chocolate cake?” He guessed.

“You betcha.” She knew this wasn’t a social call and sighed, moving to drop down on the bed. “So, which one of you morons told him I was here?”

“He did.” Adam and Jay said at the same time, pointing at each other.

Glenn rolled his eyes, settling down beside her. “What’s going on, Bri?” He asked softly, knowing it had to of been something major to bring her ass back on the road.

Taking a deep breath, she got started.


“I’m trying to sleep.” Briar groaned, raising her face ever so slightly off the pillow; a sleepy smile on her face. She could feel her hair being pulled off the back of her neck, followed by a pair of lips working their way down her nape. “Mmm…”


She arched her upper body from the bed, letting his hands roam underneath her. “What’s gotten into you?”

“I just missed you.” He whispered, pressing himself against her.

“I missed you too, handsome.” Briar murmured, wiggling her backside against him and smiled when he groaned. Giggling, she rolled onto her back, trying to see him through the dark. She reached out to feel his face, run her fingers through his hair and frowned.

Jeff wore his hair between chin length and shoulder length. This was short.


“Well hello again, precious.” His voice changed, deepened; got darker. It came as no surprise when Briar instantly began struggling against him, suddenly feeling the palm of her hand connecting with the side of his face. “I missed you too.” Mark said sarcastically, bending down to kiss her.

“No, no, no…” Briar whimpered against his lips, trying to push him away from her which was like trying to move a boulder. When that didn’t work, she started repeatedly slapping him with one hand, the other digging into his bare shoulder.

Why was it bare?

Panic coursed through her, fighting him, trying to push her legs together even as he parted them. “No, no, no, NO, NO, NO!” It was a mad litany she could not stop repeating.

“Yes… Yes… YES!” Mark shouted right back at her, swiftly pulling her legs up so they were resting over his hips, moving a hand down to grip her waist; the other moving between their bodies.

Her back bowed off the bed when she felt him inching inside of her unwilling body, somewhere in the back of her mind it registering that she had gone to bed in her usual boxer shorts.

Then she woke up, screaming and gasping for breath; her hands automatically moving down to cover between her legs. Briar sat there, shaking; holding herself, wondering where the hell that had come from.


“Look, there he is. I say we just drag his ass up to her room and let them have it out.” Adam whispered, watching from behind his upside down magazine as Jeff chatted with the desk clerk.

“Bri will KILL us for even THINKING it.” Jay shot back in a hiss, wearing his hair pulled back and a hat over his head, for once foregoing his gaudy sunglasses.

“What the hell is he doing?”

They watched as Jeff itched his arms, wondering if he was aware he was doing it, that followed by him tapping a foot on the floor.

“Withdrawal.” Adam said after a moment, nodding his head. “That’s withdrawal.”

“Since when did YOU become a fucking expert on drug usage?”

“I read about it, man. The internet is good for ANYTHING.”

Jay shook his head.


Dumb and dumber were going to get their asses kicked for this. They were supposed to meet her in the lobby to go to breakfast and she couldn’t see them anywhere. Sighing, Briar about turned to go back to her room when she spotted her husband.

His name sprung to her lips but didn’t fall, grey eyes taking him in, recognizing the way his body moved without him seemingly realizing it; trying to fight back tears. She knew those jerky twitches, the impatient tapping the feet and fingers, licking lip gestures all too well.

“Morning, Jeff.” She whispered.

Jeff slowly turned around, his green eyes widening as he took her in. He blinked twice and then rubbed his knuckles in his eyes, as if unsure if he was hallucinating her or not. “Bri?” His customary happy; loving smile appeared on his handsome though slightly edgy face.

A second later, he had picked her up and was twirling around with her right there in the hotel lobby, laughing and ignoring the shocked looks on the other patrons faces.

Even though the situation was complete shit, Briar couldn’t stop herself from returning his smile, her arms circling his neck as he slowly let her down; her body sliding against his. “Miss me?”

“Yes, yes, yes!” He was almost shouting, kissing her over and over again. Then it registered that this wasn’t a hallucination and he frowned. “But what ARE you doing here?”

Now this was the awkward part. Briar cleared her throat hesitantly, almost sighing in relief when Adam and Jay appeared at her side.

Jeff looked back and forth between their friends, the frown deepening. His eyes didn’t miss the way the three exchanged worried, concerned looks. “Bri?”

“Honey, how bout we go up to my room and talk?”

“You’re room? How long have you been here?”

“I got in last night, Jeff.” Briar could see he was becoming angry on top of his confusion, holding out a hand. “Please, let’s go upstairs and I’ll explain it to you.”

“You two knew she was here and didn’t tell me?” Jeff demanded, ignoring his wife for the moment and rounded on Adam, then Jay.

“We’re the ones who brought her on the road.” Jay said softly.

Adam winced when Jay went flying to the floor, sent there by an uncharacteristic punch from the usually mild mannered Jeff. “Dude, don’t be a dick, she’s-“ He ducked when he almost got it.

“You two morons brought MY wife on the road without TELLING me?” Jeff was livid and not bothering to hide it, his focus returning to Briar. “WHAT are you doing here?”

Briar was staring at him like he had lost his mind. It was the drugs, she kept reminding herself. This wasn’t her Jeff. “Why do you think I’m here?” She asked softly, watching as realization dawned on his face, wondering why the hell she was beginning to cry. “Jeff, please, let’s go upstairs and talk, okay?” She reached for his hand again, clasping her fingers around his. “Please?”

He nodded.


“Wait, he punched you?” Glenn demanded, which now that he studied the shiner Jay was sporting, should have been of been obvious but Jeff was usually so calm and laid back. “Why?”

“Because he was pissed we brought Briar on the road.” Jay groaned, putting the ice pack back over his throbbing eye. “He’s got a mean hook on him.”

“Dude, you’re going to have to wear make-up or something, that thing is a real-“ Adam trailed off when Jay growled at him, offering an apologetic smile. “So… uh,” He rubbed the back of his neck. “How do you think it’s going?”

“Well, as she hasn’t called us yet, I would imagine fine.”


Jeff could not believe this. He raked both hands through his hair, staring at Briar out of wide eyes. “I can’t believe I’m hearing this.” He said softly. “Not from you, Bri. I told you about the pot, I promised it was just once and never again!” He couldn’t keep the hurt from his expression or his tone.

“I’m not accusing you of anything, I just asked.” She said, trying not to feel guilty and lit a cigarette, her hands shaking slightly. “Jeff, you’ve been late and missing shows, what’s that about?”

He frowned, dropping down onto the bed and shook his head. “I…” He trailed off, not sure what to say.

Briar stared at him, taking a slow drag off her cigarette, studying him. She could tell him why but that wasn’t her place, he needed to say it himself.

“I’ve been busy… and tired.” Jeff said defensively.

She sighed.

“Look, I’m not doing anything that’s going to hurt anyone.” Jeff got to his feet, beginning to pace back and forth as he rationalized himself. “So I’ve been tryin’ a few things every now and then, Bri. Nobody is getting hurt or nothing.”

“Nobody? I’m nobody? You’re nobody?” She demanded, still keeping a relatively calm manner. She had to keep reminding herself she had been down this road, only she had been much much worse. She hadn’t bothered with denial or bargaining, she’d acknowledged she was a druggie and reveled in it.

So far, Jeff not taking that stance was a good sign as far as she was concerned.

“You told me the once and never again.” She reminded gently. “You’re hurting US with this, you hurt ME by lying.”

“I didn’t want you to worry.” Jeff said, guilt in his green eyes when he looked at her. “Bri, honey, I’m not addicted or anything, I just like trying new things every now and then, you know? Come on, baby, I’m-“

“Missing work, coming in late and trying to reason with your ex-drug addict wife.” Briar’s tone had gone harsh. “Would you like me to go find Mark and have him tell you all about how bad I was? How bad my mother was? I could dig up some pictures for you to look at, what drugs can do to you physically.”


“What have you been taking?”


“Jeff, WHAT have you been TAKING?”

Jeff’s face went through several different emotions, finally landing on anger. Shaking his head, he stood up, glaring at her. “You know what, forget this. I don’t need this shit, Briar! Damn! You can’t come on the fucking road with me any other time but NOW you’re here and all ya’ wanna do is fucking bitch at me!”

Briar still wasn’t surprised by this sudden mood swing, though she did feel a trickle of apprehension running down her spine like someone had poured cold water down her back. “Jeff… I want to HELP you.” She pleaded, walking over to stand in front of him. She reached out for him only to have her hands brushed aside. “Baby, please, I want to help you.” She repeated softly.

“I don’t need help, Briar. I’m FINE. Everything is FINE, okay?” Jeff was breathing heavily, his eyes unreadable as he stared down at her. Though this time he didn’t brush her off when she tried putting her arms around him, allowing the gesture.

Briar just rested her head on his shoulder, knowing she had her work cut out for her.


What the hell was that crazy fool doing now? Did Mark even want to know was the better question.

Sighing, he leaned back against the wall, watching as Jeff Hardy all but hopped, skipped and freaking jumped down the hallway. All he had been doing was retrieving himself some ice for his hip and this was what he got for venturing out.

A rainbow haired moron.



Now Mark’s curiosity was really piqued. Unless he was mistaken, the curvy woman running down the hallway after Jeff was Briar. Only, she didn’t look like the woman he remembered. Well, she did but…

Her hair was still long, still hung down to the middle of her back and it was still black; somehow he had always figured she’d let Jeff do something incredibly stupid to it, like dye it hot pink or some shit.

But she had curves.

Luscious, begging to be touched curves.


Mark could only assume she was now eating healthier.

He watched as Jeff spun around to catch his wife, arching an eyebrow when he didn’t catch her but gently pushed her away.

“Briar, I told you to just stay put.”

“No! I know what you’re going to do, Jeff, come back into the room with me. We’ll lie in bed and…”

“Bri, get your little ass back in the room and I’ll be back in a few hours, okay? Then we’ll…” Jeff trailed off, his head lowering at the sight of the tears on her cheeks. “Fine, okay, let’s go.”

Mark stroked his chin thoughtfully as Briar led Jeff back to their room. He had a puzzle to figure out. He liked puzzles.

Briar was on the road again.

And he was guessing it had something to do with Jeff’s recent shoddy behavior and even worse work ethic as of late.

Then there was Jeff’s attitude towards his wife.

Trouble in paradise.

Oh yes, Mark did enjoy a good puzzle.


Jeff stared down at his sleeping wife, frowning slightly. He had just worn her little ass out but now… he glanced towards the door, tugging on a loose lock of hair almost nervously. Sighing, he moved towards the door, hesitated and looked back at her.

God he loved her so much. He knew he was hurting her, it was so obvious. She had left her safety nest in Tennessee to come be with him, help him.

Did he need help?

More to the point, did he want it?

Groaning softly, Jeff perched on the edge of the bed; reaching out to trace a finger down her bare arm. He could feel the scars beneath his fingertips, frowning somewhat. How many scars did she have? He gently caressed the vertical that cut through the horizontal scars. He knew this was the one she had meant to end her life, she had a matching scar on her other arm.

Jeff’s train of thought was interrupted by a soft knocking on the door. Wondering who the fuck was bothering them at this hour, he carefully got up and hurried as quietly to the door as he could, vowing to kill whoever it was if they woke Briar.

“Man, what are you doing here?” He demanded upon opening the door, glancing over his shoulder before stepping out into the hallway.

Briar did not need to meet his dealer.


“Jeff?” Briar yawned the next morning, tiredly raising herself off the mattress. She frowned when she didn’t get a reply, glancing towards the bathroom. The door was open and the light was off.

Where the hell was he?

She wrapped the sheet around herself and slipped from the bed, looking automatically for his shoes. They were sitting by the dresser where he had left them, his wallet and money clip laying on top. Now she was beginning to panic.

Briar opened the door, moving out into the middle of the hallway, looking up and down the halls frantically. “Jeff?”


She whirled around, blinking rapidly.

Mark stared at her, keeping his distance.

Considering her first night on the road she had had a dream about him, this was pretty much a giant fuck you to her face. She had to fight the impulse to take off running, reminding herself they were in a hallway, in a hotel.

Then her mind threw up this fact at her: He never had a problem publically assaulting or carting you off before, what changed now?

He did, she reminded herself firmly, refusing to be ruled by old; irrational fears.

“Have you seen Jeff?” She asked calmly.

“Nope, not for a few days now. Why?”

“Just curious.” She stepped back into her hotel room, slowly closing the door.

Mark walked right on by, keeping the smirk off his face. Like he had observed last night.

There was trouble in paradise.

Another piece of the puzzle for him to figure out. Jeff wasn’t in there with her and she had no idea where he was.

That was interesting, very very interesting.

“This is a popper.”

“What the hell is a popper?” Jeff demanded, studying the small bottle curiously; holding it up between his thumb and forefinger.

“This here is Liquid Gold and it’s a sex drug.”

“I don’t need no fucking sex drugs, that’s not really-“

“It’s a ‘I’ll let you put that anywhere you want to sex drug’.”

“I’m not gay either-“ Jeff trailed off when he realized what he was being told, shaking his head no. “Briar would fucking KILL me for even THINKING about it, man!”

“Hey, I was just throwing some options out there, some women like that kinda thing.”

“First off, as I said before; she’d kill me for even thinking about… that and secondly: I’m not giving her drugs.” Jeff shook his head firmly. “No.”

Considering Briar had been a horrible drug addict, her mother had been… No. Jeff might be walking down the Devil’s road but he’d be damned if he took his wife with him. Especially after everything she had gone through already.

“Okay, okay. How bout something for you then? To give a little boost?”

“I don’t need any help in that department.”

“You sure about that?”

Jeff frowned.

“So you have absolutely NO doubt that you’re still getting it done for the little woman?”

Jeff’s frown deepened.


“Have either of you seen Jeff?”

Adam and Jay both shook their heads, looking puzzled.

“Bri, you’re not dressed.”

“No shit, Jay!” She was still running around in a goddamn sheet, even though it was now past noon. “Jeff went to bed with me but he left while I was asleep.”

Adam decided to try being the reasonable, rational one. “Well, what time did you wake up?”

“Eight.” Briar started pacing again. “He left his shoes, wallet, money, his bag. But he’s gone!”

“Did he um, take anything? Not like his stuff but, you… well, you know. Drugs.”

“Not while he was with me.” She shook her head, chewing on her thumbnail. “He probably went off to fucking score something and just got lost!”

Jay and Adam exchanged looks as she began ranting and raving. As far as they both had known, Briar didn’t really have much of a temper. Apparently they had been wrong because she was starting to let loose with cuss words and descriptive sentences that were making them blush.

“Cock sucking, son of a-“

“Well…” Jay cleared his throat when she paused for air, catching her off-guard and thankfully interrupting her meltdown, his cheeks flaming. He could let loose F bombs with the best of them but to hear the things out of BRIAR’S mouth… damn. “We really have to get going, we still have to get through security.” As if to prove his point, he looked down at his wristwatch.

“I can’t leave without him.”

Adam shook his head. “No offense Bri, but he’s kinda been doing this for awhile so it’s probably safe to say, he’ll pop up.”

Briar fixed him with a piercing stare that could have froze over Hell. “I am NOT leaving my husband running around this goddamn hotel in his bare feet probably all coked out on- JEFFREY NERO HARDY, WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?”

Jeff had been trying to sneak his ass in, looking surprisingly straight forward and sober; guilt written all over his face. “I uh, uh…” He glanced at Adam and Jay who were staring at him with ‘yeah, where ya been, buster’ looks on THEIR faces. “Can you two give us some fucking privacy? Seriously, dudes, hit the bricks or something.”

Then they completely blew him off and insulted him by looking to Briar for HER opinion.

“Please.” She whispered.

Grunting, the pair vacated.

When Briar didn’t say anything, Jeff was puzzled. Given her not so spectacular reception upon seeing him, he gathered she wasn’t finished ripping him a new asshole. He watched as she calmly, quietly pulled clothes out of her duffel bag, popping his knuckles one by one.

Briar was making him nervous.

“Honey, I-“

She shook her head, letting the sheet drop in order to dress. “I don’t want to hear it.”

“Bri, I-“

“Jeff, don’t.” Briar didn’t want to know where he was or what he was doing. Not just yet anyway. She had worried herself sick and here he was, alright; sober and looking like SHE had shot HIS damn dog! “Get ready, we have to leave.”


This was going to be harder than she thought. All through the flight, Jeff tried to keep up a steady stream of chatter but when it came right down to it, Briar just wasn’t in the mood to talk. She figured this is what other people must have felt like when it came to her and her own personal self-destruction.

Like they were running headfirst into a brick wall and not even making a crack.

Granted this was day one, or was it two? Technically day two she supposed and not much had happened. Jeff had admitted he was using drugs. He hadn’t told her what ones, where he got them. He had been angry with her, gone through rationalization and then denial.

She should have paid a lot more attention to her counselors back at the institution. Maybe some of that shit they were always spewing would have helped her out in this situation. Jeff wasn’t suicidal or clinically insane, but…

She had done the drug rehab, so… that had to count for something, right?


“Any luck?” Adam asked a week after Briar had joined them on the road. He asked her the same thing every day and every day he got the same answer. When she shook her head no, he sighed; watching as she made herself a cup of coffee down in the hotel’s small café.

Every day it was the same thing. Jeff wouldn’t be in bed with her, she’d come downstairs; drink coffee and have a cigarette while waiting on him to reappear.

The sad thing was, Briar had learned that sometimes, Jeff just bounced on ahead without her, calling hours after the fact to let her know what was going on. So she had spent half her time traveling with her friends as opposed to her husband.

“He left this morning with Mikey.” She yawned, settling down at a small table, automatically looking for an ashtray. “I think he wants me to go home, Adam.”

“Of course, then he wouldn’t feel guilty about being a jackass.”

“It’s not like he’s hiding it anymore, he’s just trying to not do it around me.”

Adam snorted. “Considerate of him.” He pushed the ashtray towards her, more than used to the cigarette smoke that got blown his way, waving it out of his face. “Must you do that?”

“Sharing is caring.”

“I don’t care.”

Briar smiled slightly.

“You look like shit, Bri.” He commented, studying her thoughtfully. “Not sleeping, are you?”

It never failed to surprise her just how perceptive Adam was, she had always given that attribute to Jay. “I’m sleeping fine.” She lied. Truth be told, she was back having nightmares again. She’d been having them ever since her first night. Being on the road reminded her of way too much, the hotels, constantly traveling…

Seeing Mark that first morning back hadn’t helped either, even if she hadn’t seen him since.

Thank God for small favors.


“Call me that again Copeland and I’ll burn you.” She threatened, jabbing her cigarette dangerously close to his hand.

“You wouldn’t dare, Hardy.”

“Try me.”

He caught her hand before she could, a look of astonishment on his face. “You’re such a mean ol’ bitch!”

“First off, I’m younger than you, and you dared me!” Briar laughed, for a brief moment feeling relatively normal and not worrying if her husband was going to overdose or something.

“I didn’t mean it literally, you-“

“Copeland, let go of my wife’s hand.”

Adam and Briar both looked up to find Jeff towering over them, Mike standing just off to the side.

Briar went to pull her hand away but Adam held on to it firmly.

“We were just goofing around Jeffro, don’t bust a nut.” He said calmly, refusing to act like some guilty person over nothing at all.

Briar shot him a look, wondering if he was blind. He was tripping on something, if Adam couldn’t see that then he really was living up to the ‘moron moniker’. “Jeff…”

“Come on, Bri.” Jeff held out his hand to her, his green eyes fastened on Adam. “Baby, let’s go, NOW.”

“Okay, now I know you’re tripping because you did NOT just order me too-“ Briar pushed away from the table, ripping her hand from Adam’s. “What the hell did you-“

“Don’t you dare ask me that in public.” Jeff hissed, looking at her like she had done something wrong. Then he smiled, waving a hand lazily in the air. “Come on honey, let’s get out of here. I’m in too good a mood to fight with you. You should-“ He watched wide eyed as her hand came flying at his face.

To him it was probably going in slow motion with little trails of air behind it but to Mike and Adam it was like a storm rapidly approaching and the sound was rather reminiscent of thunder cracking.

Jeff looked stunned, rubbing his cheek. “What was that for, Briar?”

“Because you’re a complete and total jackass!”

Jeff frowned somewhat, remembering how he had been offered Liquid Gold and then some other sexually enhancing drugs because maybe he ‘wasn’t getting it done’ anymore and looked at Adam; eyes narrowing.

Was that true?

And if it was, was Briar getting it elsewhere?


Mark had watched the entire exchange from his own breakfast, which he was enjoying very well. He was rather impressed with Briar’s slap, mentally applauding her. Of course, he knew damn well what she was capable when she was out of control and hopped up on drugs and booze, first degree assault came to mind.

So seeing her slap someone while in full control of her faculties was quite the treat. Not to mention she obviously wasn’t frightened of her husband, though it did look like she was expecting him to do something stupid.

That made him curious. What was going on? That was the fucking golden couple. The ‘I found my pot at the end of the rainbow, all my damn wishes came true, happy go lucky, welcome to fucking Care-A-Lot’ couple.

Something wrong with Jeff had apparently dragged Briar out of Tennessee –as if he didn’t know where she lived?- and back to a world she hated. They were fighting, and publically. She and Adam had been holding hands or something, it was hard to tell from this viewpoint but it seemed to have set Jeff off.

So far he had several theories, all of them amusing. One of them was cheating, which could be and was most likely. He knew first hand how lonely things got on the road, how much temptation there was. Well, for him it hadn’t been temptation so much as a pleasurable vise but Jeff was so in love with Briar that it would be all but a sin for him to even consider looking at another woman.

The pussy.

So was Briar cheating on Jeff with Adam? That was a possibility. Before her rape and sexual abuse –he refused to feel bad for his part in any of that- she had been quite the little whore from what Theresa had told him.

Quite the little whore indeed…


“Hardy, if you want this damn boost then so help me God you will FIX whatever the Hell is wrong with you!”

Jeff listened as Vince berated him, aware Briar was standing behind him; hearing every word. “Look, it’s not-“

“It’s a big problem! Whatever is affecting you is affecting your work which means it’s affecting my business, in turn affecting me and I don’t like it when someone else’s personal bullshit affects me or my business!” Vince was turning red with anger, a vein throbbing dangerously in his forehead, looking about ready to burst. “You have a huge feud with the Undertaker coming up and you’re being a complete and utter jackass!”

Even though Briar had her issues with Vince, she was in complete agreement with him, for once.

At least until he turned his attention on her.

“Are you back on the road for business reasons or…”

“Just to see Jeff.” She said firmly, having absolutely NO intention of getting back in the business for any reason at all.

“I see. Well if you ever decide you’d like too-“

“No chance in hell, if you’ll pardon the pun.”

Vince smiled somewhat. Nice to see she had regained a sense of humor.


“Jeff, you’re going to lose your job if you don’t stop.” Briar said softly, moving to stand between her husband’s parted legs, placing her hands on his shoulders. She stared down at his blond hair, wishing he’d look up at her. “Baby, let me help you. Please.”

“I don’t need help, Bri. I’ve got it under control, alright?”

“Under control?” She had to fight the urge to laugh, cry and slap him all at once. “Jeff, you’re missing house shows. You’re late to televised shows and you’re skipping out on ME. This is not under control. You have a problem. You have a drug addiction.”

There she had come outright and said it.

Now Jeff stared at her like she had lost her mind. Gently, he pushed Briar away and stood up, sidestepping her. “Briar, I don’t know how many times I got to tell you honey, I don’t have no damn addiction.” He was speaking slowly, like he was talking to a child; a mentally challenged child at that. “You understand?”

“Please, Jeff…”

“I think you need to go home.”


Glenn listened to his baby ‘sister’ with an ever darkening stormy expression on his face, wondering if Jeff had a death wish. He had been chomping at the bit to wring Jeff’s throat ever since the itch powder incident and it looked like he might get his chance after all. “So are you going to go?” He asked finally, holding out a box of tissues.

“No.” Briar shook her head as she took one, wiping away the tears. “I called Ma and let her know I’ll be staying on longer, she said to take all the time I needed.” What Briar hadn’t told Cindy was WHY she’d be gone awhile longer yet. Some things her surrogate mother just did not need to know. “And don’t you be telling her why.”

“Hey,” Glenn held up both hands defensively. “As far as I know, you’re just here to spend some time with your husband.”

“Thank you.”

“Honey, how are you going to do this? Do you need money?” He asked gently, knowing damn well Jeff probably wouldn’t be providing for her since the peckerwood wanted her to go home. He also knew Briar wouldn’t take his help, she was too damn stubborn.

As much as he had come to love her, sometimes… the woman infuriated him with her ‘I have to be independent’ streak. Then again, he also understood why she felt that way too.

It was a double edged sword.

“No.” Briar looked indignant. “I have my savings yet, I’ll be alright.”

Glenn was going to murder Jeff. Plain and simple, outright kill the bastard.

After everything Briar had gone through in her relatively short life, for Jeff to put her through this…


From personal experience, Briar knew you couldn’t force someone to quit drugs, or any other addiction. They had to recognize there was a problem for themselves and take the first step. Unless of course, you had had them committed, like her parents had done to her.

Though she hadn’t been institutionalized for drug addiction but her suicide attempt. It all amounted to the same thing since she had also gone through drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs as well as therapy for her depression and numerous other issues.

Any way you looked at it, she came out of the hospital with no desire to drink much less snort a line of coke.

Sighing, she slumped back against the headboard, now staying at a much cheaper motel opposed to the hotels the Superstars usually frequented. Traveling was going to be somewhat of an issue. Jay had provided her with a schedule and had informed her she could travel with him and Adam on the road but she had no idea what the hell she was going to do when it came to the flying part.

Well, if worse came to worse, she could always take a job with the Fed. That would probably make Vince’s day, she could only imagine what kind of torture he was probably already planning for her.

Honestly, her life was the man’s biggest wet dream.

Flicking through the channels aimlessly, her fingers drummed a silent beat on the bedspread; wishing she was with Jeff right now. She still couldn’t believe he had told her to go home, well, yes she could. Drugs changed people. They could turn a person you knew as well as you knew yourself into a total and complete stranger.

Which is what Where had things gone wrong? Why hadn’t she noticed the signs before?

Well, she had and called him on it, that was when he had confessed to just trying pot. And then she hadn’t seen him but once during that month between then and when Adam and Jay showed up at the diner. His phone calls home had always been normal; he’d always been so happy sounding; her usual bright and cheery, loving Jeff.

Her personal ray of sunshine had turned into a fucking thunderstorm and was raining on the parade she called her life.


“Got a minute, darlin’?”

Briar really did not want to deal with Mark first thing in the morning. Sighing, she turned and took a slow sip from her Styrofoam cup of coffee. She was meeting Jay and Adam in their hotel lobby since they also happened to be her ride and this was what she got for accepting help.

A thorn in her side.


Mark noted the fact that she was in all black, a first as far as he knew for several years. Black jeans; black tank top and shoes, her black fingerless gloves. Hmm. “I’m selling the house.” He announced, watching her eyebrow arch. “I thought you might want to go through your mother’s things or something. If not, I’m pitching them.”

She stared at him for a long minute, finally clearing her throat. “I’d… like that, thanks Mark.” It felt so odd to be saying those words too him.

She had to remind herself repeatedly that her dreams of Mark were just that, dreams or else she would have taken off running at this point. He was standing so close, or was. As if noticing her discomfort, he took a step backwards.

He was no longer out to make her life a living hell, she was paranoid and it was all brought on by her currently suffering delusions or something. Or maybe she was getting ready to start her period, that would explain so much too.

“Of course, you got your stuff there too, I don’t know if it’s anything you want or not…”

“I’d have to look.” Briar cleared her throat, discreetly pinching herself. She was having a civil conversation with her ex step-father.

Now she knew for a fact that the world was coming to an end.

“Uh, when?”

Mark stroked his goatee thoughtfully, not looking away from her. “Few weeks or so, then I hand over the deed.”

“Oh, okay. I’ll try to get down that way.”

A few weeks? There was no way she’d make it to Texas considering they were just now looping through the Midwest towards the East coast. Her limited funds weren’t going to allow an excursion like that. Did she even want to go through her mother’s things?

A small, tiny voice that she usually ignored shouted ‘YES’ at her. For some reason, she did. At one time, Theresa had to of loved her, right? Maybe there were photo albums or something, or maybe a picture of her biological father.

With Jeff now treating her like she was either a burden or she didn’t exist, her ‘I need attention and love from someone who cares’ issues were rearing their ugly little heads.

She really hoped Theresa was burning in Hell.

Mark hadn’t missed the play of emotions dancing in her grey eyes. Her face was blank but her eyes had always told the story and still did. She was starting to break down. Well thank you Jeff, talk about going from the sickening ‘I’m a bright ray of sunshine who’ll make your day’ to ‘lemme fuck your world right up’.

He was at a figurative fork in the road. Did he want to continue down his current path and claim Briar or could he let her go? Hmm.

He needed to think about that. Preferably without her standing right in front of him, distracting him to no end.

“You get back to me, darlin’. I really got to be going.” He nodded at her before walking away.


How far did his desire for her go? Did he want her just for one fuck or forever? Was she worth the chase? Would he have to worry about completely snapping once again and putting his renewed, not crazy reputation on the line?


What was it about Briar that had attracted him in the first place? Mark contemplated that on the long drive, enjoying the wind in his face; it kept him alert and his mind from straying too far down the path thinking of Briar usually led.

When he had married Theresa, Briar had just turned fifteen. Or was she fourteen and turning fifteen? Either way, it didn’t really matter. She had at first been mostly a fresh faced; semi innocent; average teenager. He supposed, he hadn’t spent that much time with her, he hadn’t married her mother because he was interested in playing a family man.

He seen her on and off that first year. Even he had noticed how she went from listening to annoying pop music and wearing what appeared to be ‘in trend’ clothing to heavier rock and alternative music and then came the black clothing.

He couldn’t count all the times Theresa had called him for money to get Briar out of trouble. Though he also had no doubt some of that cash had supported Theresa’s heroin habit. But even he couldn’t deny Briar had become one hell of a problem child.

He had bailed her out of jail several times, she had probably done more time than he had.

Which was amusing.

Let’s see… she had slashed herself up. Tried to fry her brain with cocaine and liquor. If what her mother said held true, she had also been a world class slut. Which… he was going to opt to believe simply because he had read her file and she had been arrested on numerous occasions for public acts of lewdness.

This was a woman after his own heart. Or she had been at least.

So… lust that could be settled with one night of passion or something more?

Considering he had done his best to destroy her during their brief time together, he was going to venture out on a branch and say something more. Probably not the healthy kind of ‘something more’ she needed –or anyone needed for that matter- but there it was.

He wanted her. He would have her. And if he had to be the sneaky, devious bastard to get what he wanted then so be it.

The means justified the end.

Adam studied Briar thoughtfully, watching as she filled in the crossword puzzle before her. “So…”


He sighed, knowing she wasn’t about to initiate a conversation. “Have you talked to Jeff at all?” He asked, reaching out to cover the book with his hand.

Briar looked up at him, pain flashing in her grey eyes. “This morning, he hung up on me after telling me to get my ass back home.”

Adam whistled, shaking his head. “What are you going to do?”

“Stick around. There’s got to be something to be done.”

“We could go to Vince.”

“Vince would fire him!” She said, sounding scandalized. “Jeff loves wrestling, it would kill-“

“It would serve his ass right and maybe be the wake-up call he needs.” Adam interrupted firmly. “He’s treating you like shit, missing work and doing who even knows what else, Bri. He needs a reality check and losing his job just might be the best thing for him.”

Briar knew he was right, as much as she hated to admit it but how could she do that to Jeff? When he was on form, on top of his game, wrestling was Jeff’s passion. Well, in the top three anyway. Could she really do that?

“Let me think on it.” She said finally. “He’s got that feud with ‘Taker starting this week, maybe that’ll be the ass kicking he needs.”

“Oh, I’d imagine it being Mark, he’ll be getting an ass kicking one way or the other.”


He missed his wife, he missed Briar. Jeff sighed, contemplating if he really wanted to work out today. He just didn’t have the energy. He was so damn tired. Sighing, he slowly made his way to the treadmill. Walking, he could do that, he could walk.

And it was exercise, right?

He started at a slow, easy pace; not up for anything else, wishing he had thought to bring his walkman or something. Anything to distract him from the woman who was currently invading his thoughts. She hadn’t gone home like he had told her and some part of him was glad she hadn’t, knowing she was this close was somewhat of a comfort.

Another small part was pretty pissed off she had ignored his wishes and was now traveling with Jay and Adam.


Groaning, Jeff increased the treadmill’s speed, picking up his own pace. The idea of Briar sleeping with Adam was ridiculous. She didn’t think of Adam as anything but a friend, a close; brotherly type of friend and Jeff knew that. She loved HIM, nobody else.

He knew that too.

Jeff stopped, turning the machine off and hunched over, his head hanging. What the hell was he doing?



She froze in the process of unlocking her motel room door, slowly turning around. “Hey.”

Jeff stood there, his hands stuffed in the pockets of his faded light blue jeans, a sheepish smile on his face. “Hey.”

She waited him patiently, studying him; wondering if he was high. He didn’t seem to be.

“Bri, I’m sorry baby. I shouldn’t have told you to go home, that wasn’t right of me.” He apologized, closing the space between them, taking her hands in his; ignoring the key digging into his palm. “I shouldn’t have blown up at you about Adam either, Imma fool for even thinking you and him had somethin’ going.”

Her arched eyebrow told him she agreed with that.

“You going to say somethin’, Bri?” He asked softly, his green eyes pleading with her. “Briar?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“That you love me and forgive me? That I haven’t lost you with my stupidity. That you’re not going to divorce my pathetic ass even though I would so totally deserve it.” Next he offered a playful smile. “Please? I’ll get down on my knees and beg forgiveness if that’s what it takes.”

“Jeff…” Briar watched as he dropped down in front of her, clasping his hands together as if saying a prayer. “Jeff, get up…”

“When you say you love me and you forgive me, I’ll get up.” He replied, completely serious; walking on his knees towards her and rested his head against her thigh. “I’m sorry I hurt you, Briar.”

The sincerity in his voice made her crack. Stifling a groan, she got down on her knees with him and wrapped her arms around his neck. “I love you.” She whispered, brushing her lips against his. “I forgive you.”

Jeff let out the breath he had been holding, relief coursing through him.

“And I’m not going to leave you.”

“Oh thank you merciful Jesus.” He muttered, getting to his feet and pulled her with him, drawing her in close so their bodies were touching.

Briar bit her bottom lip, knowing they were currently on the edge of a knife blade; they could go in either direction from this point. “I love you so much, Jeff.” She whispered, brushing a lock of his blond hair back from his face, tucking it behind his ear. She wanted to beg him to let her in, let her help him through whatever it was he was going through, help him with his addiction but felt like if she did; he’d push her away again.

And she couldn’t take that. She needed him. She loved him. He was probably the reason she was still standing, the reason she could be so strong right now. Jeff needed her. When she had needed him, he had been there and fought for her. Now it was her turn to be there for him.

Come what may.


“Okay, tonight is it.” Jeff said, bouncing from foot to foot. “Time to be extreme.”

Briar watched amusedly as he pulled on a green top, knowing he would be going out there tonight and starting his feud with the Undertaker. “Any idea what you’re going to do?” She asked curiously. The whole point of this line was to show that he was still Extreme or something, she hadn’t been following very well.

“Well, I know there’s gonna be puke from Dreamer involved…”

“Oh dear Lord, Mark is going to KILL you if you even THINK about it, you know that right?” She was trying not to giggle, failing in the attempt.

“The way I figure it, he deserves anything I dish out to him and more.” Jeff said with a cocky smirk. “I still ain’t forgotten everything that sonbitch did to you, Bri. So… this is like both a line and some payback, you know?”

“It’s your funeral, my love.”

“Would you make sure you bury me with my pillow?”

“The purple and blue one?”


Briar started laughing, walking over to kiss his nose. “Sure thing, baby.”

“Well, since we got like all this free time until the show actually kicks under way… how bout we do something?”


He smirked.


“We have a problem.” Vince announced gravely, looking back and forth between the young married couple.

“And the problem is?”

“The problem is we originally planned for your brother to um…” Vince started trailing off when Jeff’s face grew dark. “To um, be a part of this line because of the whole…”

“Extreme thing?” Briar suggested icily.

“Yes, but we ran into a slight problem.”

“Besides the fact that I’d quit before working with Matt again?” Jeff snorted.

“That and when he heard that he’d have to be in a line with both you and the Undertaker, he flat out quit himself…”

Briar and Jeff exchanged amused smirks.

“So what’s the problem?” Jeff asked, covering his mouth to hide his laugh.

Vince scowled, not as amused as these two were. “My problem is we need another person for this line. As a background party if you will. Ultimately, it’ll be you and ‘Taker but…”

“But you need a few people to round it out?”


Briar seen Vince eyeing her and shook her head. “Nope, sorry, you’re not involving me in SHIT, Vinnie.”

“Briar,” He began in a cajoling tone. “Look at it this way…”

“Um, no.” She interrupted. “Have you forgotten something? In 2000 I was involved in a storyline between the Undertaker and Kane as Kane’s in-ring girlfriend. I went out there in my freaking wedding dress of all things so I would imagine people assume I fucking married Kane! And I don’t see a ‘Lola/Undertaker’ thing developing anytime soon either so get whatever you got swirling around in your mind out!”

“You could just be yourself, not Lola, just Briar. And you wouldn’t be with ‘Taker, you’d be with Jeff.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, you want to announce Bri as my wife?” Jeff asked, liking the sound of that actually and shrugged apologetically when she shot him a look, knowing how she felt about being on camera but he couldn’t help himself. Publically announcing to the world she was Mrs. Jeff Hardy…

“You got that goofy smile on your face.” She sighed, sounding both amused and exasperated. “Okay, I will LISTEN, no promises on anything. How do you plan on explaining away my previous tenure in the company?”

“You were a paid actress by Kane to jerk ‘Taker around?”

“You really are desperate, aren’t you?”

“You have no idea, Briar.” Vince sounded desperate. He had been counting on Matt to come back to work and when that hadn’t panned out. Who else could he stick with Jeff? Briar was a last resort, of sorts, but he also knew if she was involved in the storyline; Mark would probably find it more entertaining and put more into it.

And when Mark was happy with a line, the line went so much better.

“How are you going to get it out I was an actress? You do remember that ‘Taker and I supposedly had a ‘history’.” She pointed out with a smirk, almost laughing when Jeff turned around to keep from laughing at the expression on Vince’s face.

“You’re busting my balls, Briar.” Vince whined, wishing Shane was here. Shane was the smooth talker, he was the one who could handle affairs with kid gloves. Vince was more of a rush into action, threaten and conquer kind of guy and that tactic wouldn’t work with Briar.

“I have an idea.” Jeff spoke up, grinning from ear to ear.


“Make it known that the Lola, Kane and Undertaker line was just that, a storyline and that she was married to me during that time.”

Briar was laughing outright at this point. Vince looked ready to crumple. She knew why too, this was messing with his precious ‘everything is real’ spiel and it was entertaining as hell.

“Jeff, considering you haven’t been exactly a role model for work ethics as of late, I trust you’ll excuse me for not taking anything you have to say too seriously.” Vince said coldly, not amused anymore.

“I’m taking it seriously.” She said, instantly coming to her husband’s defense.

Vince groaned.

“Okay, well, good luck finding someone else to do it then.” Briar yawned, looping an arm around Jeff’s waist and leaned into him, smiling when he rested his head on top of hers.

“If I… do that, you’ll come back to work for the company?”


“We have a deal.”

Jeff and Briar both felt like they had missed something all of a sudden, especially when Vince walked out of the room with a grin on his face; like everything had played exactly into his hands.

Mark arched an eyebrow, wondering just why in the name of God they were having a storyline meeting in the hallway that wardrobe frequented. Then he seen Briar stepping out from behind a curtain and almost smirked. She was wearing a pair of low riding black cargo pants and a fuchsia midriff baring tank top; several strands of small, colored beads around her neck and fuchsia sneakers on her feet.

“You look like a punk.” He drawled, rolling his eyes when she smirked. He didn’t miss the wedding ring on her finger, shooting Vince a look. “So… going to tell me what the hell this is all about or what?”

Briar settled herself into a chair, tilting her head back so Marie could do her make-up, wondering if she was out of her mind for doing this.

Jeff sat on a metal box, swinging his feet against it so they banged, the sound echoing around them and immediately stopped when both Mark and Vince shot him looks. “My bad.”

“We originally –and by we, I mean the writers and I- had planned for um, Matt, to play a slight part in this upcoming line.”

“I noticed the ‘had’, I’m assuming he ain’t going to be doing it?”

“No, he’s not.”

“Smart boy, it’d be a damn SHAME for him to wind up hurt, again.”

“For once, we agree on something.” Jeff said flatly.

Briar snorted from her chair, keeping her eyes closed. “What the hell are you doing to me?”

“Putting some color on you. Do you ALWAYS wear black eyeliner?”

“Yes, and blue lipstick.”

“Well, we’re switching the black for turquoise and the blue lipstick for a shimmery purple pink. We also need to do something about those gloves-“

“The gloves stay.”

“Mrs. Hardy, we-“

“The gloves, STAY.”


Jeff dropped down and marched over to stand by his wife, a frown on his face. “She said the gloves stay, so they say.” He said firmly, looking at Marie then to Vince.

“Let her keep them on Vince, trust me.” Mark yawned, ignoring the dirty look Jeff shot him. When Jeff took a step towards him however, Mark instantly fixed the younger man with a piercing stare. “Do you got something to say to me, BOY?”

“She wouldn’t have to wear-“ Jeff stopped abruptly, looking back at Briar who was now sitting upright, her wide grey eyes pleading with him to remain silent and shook his head, stepping back to take her hand. He raised it to his lips, planting a kiss on her knuckles. “Sorry, Bri.” He whispered softly.

“Anyways,” Vince said, looking mildly annoyed. “Since Matt is unavailable.”

Now it was the three snorting, eliciting an exasperated sigh from the boss.

“Okay fine, since he’s UNWILLING to do this, Briar has stepped in.”

Now Mark was interested, giving her an appraising once over.

“Sorry, no kissing scenes.” She said coldly, not amused with his half smirk. The perverted bastard.

“Well damn it darlin’.” Mark clutched his chest as if she had just broken his heart, knowing this was a pivotal moment. “Loosen up Briar, remember our conversation?”

She nodded.

“That hasn’t changed, alright?”

She nodded again, looking relieved.

Jeff and Vince exchanged ‘what did we miss’ looks.

“You know,” Marie interrupted. “We ought to put some streaks in her hair.”

“How long would that take?” Vince asked, pinching the bridge of her nose. “The show starts in an hour.”

“Less than. Of course, we’ll have to bleach the strands first THEN dye it but… an hour, give or take a few minutes, if we start now.”


“I suppose…”

“YES!” Jeff started jumping up and down excitedly. “Do pink and blue and purple!”


“Bri, you know how fucking HOT that would look?” He looked like a kid in a candy store, eyes filled with glee and a few other things that were beginning to make her blush. “Baby, how many times have I BEGGED you too-“

“Jeff, back to business?” Vince cleared his throat, wondering if Jeff realized he was now caressing Briar’s thigh, shaking his head and looked to Mark for help.

Mark was staring at Jeff through narrowed eyes. “Hardy, head in the game.”

Jeff snapped too, saluting him mockingly.

Briar settled back to get her hair done, now knowing for a fact she was out of her mind. Maybe somewhere along the line she had started dipping into the drugs right along with Jeff and was now only realizing it.

“So we’re just going to put her in the line and take it from there.”

Mark had already spotted the problem. “And suppose people remember her from the 2000 line with ‘Taker and Kane?”

Jeff folded his arms over his chest, staring at Vince with raised eyebrows. “Which they will.”

“Well, as you said, we’ll just announce that it was a storyline.” Vince shot back, refusing to let his feathers be ruffled. He wanted this feud damn it and he was going to get it! Maybe he should reconsider giving Jeff the push though, who else could he put in that spot?

And on such short term notice.

Nobody, damn it.

“So you want to make it known that whole bit was just a storyline…” Mark echoed, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. That left a lot of shit to hit the fan. Such as completely ruining the ‘credibility’ of the Brothers of Destruction’s history. Vince was a moron.

But then again, as Mark had personal interest in keeping Briar on board this project, he wasn’t about to mention that.

“And announce she was and IS my wife.” Jeff added with a mile wide grin.

Mark made a mental note to puke later. Then added a memo to seriously do Jeff harm the first chance he got. “Alright.” He shrugged nonchalantly. “We can do that.”

Vince looked relieved. Somehow, someway, this would work.


“You got this.” Jay encouraged, handing Briar a bottle of water. He watched as she sucked it down, smiling at her. “Hey, you’ve done this before, right?”

“Well, yeah, but what Vince is implying is some physicality. I don’t WANT to get physical with anyone.” She protested, knowing damn well she’d be on the receiving end of a few chokeslams or something from Mark. “Unless it’s with my husband.”

“Speaking of, where is he?”


“Hmm.” Jay cracked his neck, looking mildly skeptical. “Have you two talked about-“

“No. He’s been with me the past few days and hasn’t seemed to be… odd, or anything.” She said hesitantly, not too keen on her friend spoiling her good vibes.

“Okay, okay, calm down, calm down.” Jay flashed her a smile, holding up his hands. “I’m just saying is all, Bri. You know things like that don’t suddenly go away.”

“I know.” She whispered. “Jay, I have to get through tonight without freaking out or something, can we talk about this later?”

“Yeah, sure.” He knew how camera shy she was. “Hey, on the bright side, it’s just a small piece AND it’ll be with Jeff. Now how cool is that?”

“Very cool.”

“Way cool.”


“Dude… you sound like me now!”

Briar smacked her face, groaning.


Briar walked down the hallway with a bottle of water in hand, twisting the lid back on it when she spotted Jeff, who was sitting in a chair that happened to be perched on top of a table. He was sitting with one leg crossed over the other, his guitar on his lap. She walked over and tapped his thigh with the bottle. “Hey, hon.”

Jeff turned his head to look down at her. “Hey.”

“What are you doing?”

“I was just playing the guitar.” He said, beginning to straighten up.

She nodded, fiddling with her water bottle. “Where you been all day?”

“Just here, hanging out.” Jeff’s frown deepened, looking down at the table, fingers braced on the guitar strings though he wasn’t playing. “Let me ask you, Bri. Did you ever think there would be more than, than this?” He made a slight gesture.

“What do you mean?” She asked softly, confusion etched on her face.

“Me, here. Live for the moment, remember that?”

“Yeah.” She nodded, setting down the water bottle in order to start playing with her wedding ring, the silver band etched with green Celtic love knots catching the light; Jeff wearing an identical one.

“Being extreme.”


“I mean, we go somewhere, I wrestle. Go somewhere else, wrestle. I mean, God, we don’t live for the moment. I’m not extreme.” Jeff sounded mildly agitated. “I’m a hypocrite.” He finished, his sensual lips turned down.

Briar cocked her head to the side, studying him thoughtfully. “Baby, I’m not really following you.” She confessed. “I don’t-, where you going with this?” She asked, watching as he chewed on his guitar pick.

“Bri,” Jeff stopped, her name coming out mumbled and looked up, removing the pick before looking back down at her. He nodded once then passed her the guitar. “Here.”

Briar took it, moving to set it down against the wall then hesitated, staring at him intently.

“You’ll see where I’m going with this.” He said, nodding again before walking right off the table, leaving his wife to stand there looking puzzled as she leaned against the table.

“And cut!”

Jeff bounded back to his wife, wrapping an arm around her waist. “You killed the water bottle.” HE commented, studying the half crushed bottle with a slight grin. “Nervous?”

“I hate being on camera, you know that.” She muttered, fairly certain she was shaking.

“Yeah, but the camera adores you, you’re so damn hot, angel.” Jeff began whispering in her ear, laughing softly when she squirmed against him. “I love you, butterfly.”

She smiled at the old nickname. “I love you too.”

Vince was smiling too, nodding at the pair. “Well, it sort of leaves a lot of openings for questions but…” He shrugged. “It’ll do. Nice job, Briar.”

She glanced at him and nodded. “Make sure you don’t forget to put me back on the payroll, Vince. I don’t work for free.”

Vince started laughing. “Of course.” Shaking his head, he walked off. He remembered Briar from two years ago, she had been somewhat quiet and reserved. Being married to Jeff had definitely pulled her out of her shell.

Maybe, just maybe, this could work.

“You’re going to have to take a few knocks.”

Briar looked up from her place next to Jeff on a bench where they had been talking softly to glare at Vince, wondering what he meant by that. “Huh?”

“After Jeff’s run in, ‘Taker is going to come back here looking for him. He’ll find you instead.” Vince explained. “He’ll ask you where Jeff is, and it’ll go from there. We’ll have him mention something about the line or you being married, start getting that out there too, okay?”

It was so obvious he was trying to appease both Briar and Jeff.

Jeff arched an eyebrow, looking at Briar and shrugged. “Up to you.”

“Like, how bad a knock are we talking here?”

“Like a boot to the chest or something?”

Briar was the one cocking an eyebrow now.

Vince held up his hands, knowing he needed to explain and quickly before she told him to go packing straight to Hell. “Briar, Mark is a professional. It’ll LOOK bad, not feel…”

“Like hell?”

“Well, I’m not going to say it won’t leave a slight ache but…”

“Yeah, whatever. I guess.” She rolled her eyes.

Vince smiled. “Oh, by the way, tomorrow we’ll have a contract ready for you to sign, okay?”

She nodded, her attention back on her husband.

As soon as Vince was gone, Jeff snorted. “You know, sometimes I think that Satan came to earth, had sex with Vince’s momma and…”

“And I follow.” She laughed, leaning into him. “You okay with me doing this?”

“Butterfly, you know I support you in anything you want to do.” He said softly, wrapping an arm around her and gently squeezed. “If you’re comfortable doing this, then that’s all that matters.”

“As long as I get to be with you, I don’t care.” Briar shrugged, not keen at all with working with Mark again but she was just a supporting character, this was about Jeff and him getting into a feud that would do wonders for his career. For Jeff she could do this. “You know something, I think I might have to learn to take… what is it you guys call them? Falls?”

“Bumps.” Jeff corrected, looking somewhat concerned. “You really think so?”

“I think Vince is going to milk this for all it’s worth.”

“True. Well… we could just start training you in wrestling?”

Briar hesitated for a moment. “Can you do that?”

“Well, I can but…” Jeff trailed off, shrugging awkwardly. “But I think we might need some help, I’m not sure if I’m comfortable with putting my hands on you that way.”

It took her a moment to understand what he meant, smiling slightly. “It’s not like you’re going to go stir crazy and beat the shit out of me, right?”

“Of course not!”

“Then what’s the problem?”

Jeff sighed, moving off the bench in order to rest on his knees before her, placing his hands on her thighs. “If I hurt you, accidentally, I’d never forgive myself, Bri. Now if someone ELSE did it…” He trailed off, grinning goofily when she tried stifling her laughter.

“You are such a jackass.” Briar giggled, shaking her head at her husband. “What about Adam and Jay?”

“Yeah, they could help, I suppose.”

“You suppose?”

Jeff frowned slightly, now kneading her inner thighs, chewing on his lower lip. “You and Adam…”

“Are just friends.” She said firmly, leaning forward to cup his face in her hands. “Nothing more, okay?”

Jeff nodded, relief coursing through him.


“We brought chocolate milk and cookies.”

Briar looked up in time to see Adam and Jay walking into the dressing room. Jay was carrying a tray of cookies while Adam held three pints of chocolate milk. “Um, what the hell?”

“To watch Jeff.” Adam explained, dropping down on the floor and leaned back against the bench she was stretched out on; passing back a milk. “So did he tell you what he was going to do?”

“No, he just said something about Dreamer was taking a pail of puke with him?” Her nose wrinkled in disgust, not sure if she even wanted to know. “It won’t be REAL puke, will it?”

Jay snickered, peeling plastic wrap off the tray and snagged one of the cookies; taking a bite. “Mmm coconut. Want one?” He held the tray up. “Damn Adam, how many you gonna eat?”

“I don’t know.” Adam grinned, popping one whole in his mouth.

“No wonder you’re getting fat… Bri, want one?”

“No, and will it be real puke?”

“It’s Tommy so who knows. So he didn’t tell you what he was doing?”

Briar watched as Adam devoured a second cookie, shaking her head again. “Nuh uh, to be honest, I don’t think Jeff even knew what he was doing.” She admitted, glancing at the monitor. It was ‘Taker’s match against Tommy right now and she wasn’t watching too much. She had made the mistake of watching the beginning.

Seeing Tommy dunking his hands into that bucket –whether it was real vomit or not- and then cramming a handful in his mouth had twisted her stomach into knots.

Adam swallowed before he spoke, which was a good thing because he had a feeling Briar would have slapped him silly if he talked with a mouthful. “Well… let’s hope he told ‘Taker cause the Dead Man don’t like surprises.”

All three of them knew that for a fact, the trio sharing looks. Each of them were remembering the Ministry days, how Briar had hit Mark in the back with a chair because Vince had asked her too. Mark had flown off the handle.

“Well… on the bright side…”

“Shut up Jay, there is no bright side.”

Briar agreed with Adam.

“Shit, here we go.”

They all leaned towards the TV, Briar quickly turning up the volume.

‘Taker had just poured the bucket of vomit onto Tommy Dreamer’s face and was leaning back against the ring, staring down at Dreamer. A second later, he went flying on top of Tommy; smearing the vomit inadvertently all over himself.

“Jeff is in so much shit…” Jay whispered in a hushed tone, eyes wide.

Adam had forgotten his cookie, holding it in one hand; his chocolate milk in the other as he stared at the monitor. “Did he…”

“He just pushed Mark into that puke…” Briar said in an odd tone of voice. When her friends looked up at her, she was trying her damndest not to grin. “I can’t help it… it’s funny.”

In a very odd ‘you’re gonna die’ sort of way, it was. Of course, what was not funny was that it would be Jeff dying.

“He’s on his way back, I suppose we should vacate cause you’ll be doing your scene soon.” Adam stood up hesitantly. “We’ll be right outside, okay?”

Jay nodded, pushing himself to his feet and stared down at her. “Just try not to flinch.”

“I’m about to get kicked by a fucking monster and you’re telling me to NOT flinch?” She demanded, gawking up at him like he was insane. “You can go straight to hell, Jay.”

“Yeah, I know.”

Briar watched them file out and a cameraman make his way in, nodding when he gestured to a metal folding chair. “Did you see Jeff?” She asked him.

“Yeah, he was flying to the parking lot.”

Probably a good thing too as that hadn’t been exactly a scripted portion of the show. Granted, everyone knew SOMETHING was going to happen but when there wasn’t an exact line to follow… Liberties were taken and this one was taken at Mark’s expense.

Oh he was going to be so angry.

Briar almost jumped when her cell phone went off.

“It’s me Butterfly, he there yet?” Came Jeff’s voice. He sounded both exhilarated and breathless, like he had just run a marathon when in reality it had been for his life.

“Not yet, honey.”

“I couldn’t stop myself, that was just too damn good an opportunity to pass up.”

“I know, Jeff. It was really kinda funny.” She smiled in spite of herself, nodding when the camera guy began counting down on his fingers.

Jeff made a noise when he heard a loud bellow on the other end of the line, knowing ‘Taker had just arrived.

“Hey, where’s that punk ass husband of yours?” He demanded, staring down at Briar; looking murderous.

Briar lowered the phone, shifting on the chair to stare up at him; though at the same time she was leaning backwards. “He’s gone, man. He’s outta here.” She said, waving her hand vaguely.

‘Taker looked away, towards the door suspiciously as if expecting another sneak attack. “Well you give him a message for me.”

“Sure, I’ll be-“ She was cut off by a massive hand wrapping around her throat, pulling her out of the chair. A second later she had been tossed into a partition, feeling it crumple behind her only to be swatted to the floor.

“Get your ass up.” ‘Taker growled, one hand grabbing a handful of her streaked hair, the other the back of her neck. “I want you to deliver this,” He snarled, tossing her into the corner of the room. “son of a bitch!”

Briar rebounded and fell to the floor, automatically rolling onto her back and cradled her head.

Snorting, ‘Taker walked out.

“And cut.”

Adam was inside first, helping her up. “You alright?” He asked, feeling her over as if expecting her to have a few broken bones. “Did he kick you?”

“No… he actually took it easy on me.” She gasped, sounding surprised; which she was.

“Well what the hell did you think I was going to do?” Came Mark’s amused sounding drawl, smirking when they both spun towards the door. “I’ll beat Jeff’s ass, not hers. Speaking of, Briar, where is he?”

“No idea.” She said promptly.

His green eyes narrowed.

Vince slid his way past, grunting when Mark wouldn’t make room for him. “Would it kill you to move?”

“Would it kill you to ask BEFORE you try getting by?”

Smoothing down his jacket, Vince looked at Briar and smiled. “You did great. By the way, we had Jim and Jerry do some commentary on you, regarding you’re previous association with the company so that is for the most part, taken care of.”

She nodded, not looking away from Mark who was studying her. “What?” She demanded, trying not to squirm but it was so hard, his piercing stare was making her more and more uncomfortable with each passing second.

“I was thinking about the story.” He said slowly. “I was looking over the scripts earlier and it calls for a ring piece.”

“Wait, like, fighting?”

Vince nodded, shooting Mark a dirty look. He hadn’t been planning on informing her of that until AFTER she had signed a contract. “Do you think it’ll be a problem?”

“Well…” Actually, yes, a major problem.

Mark rolled his eyes. “Considering she spent half her time getting in and out of fights when she was a teenager, she should be able to handle herself JUST fine.”

Now it was Briar’s eyes narrowing.

Mark just smiled at her.

“Where the hell are you, Jeff?” Briar demanded an hour later, walking out of the arena alongside Adam, Jay having gone off to do his own thing which Adam had told her meant he had a date. She was cradling her cell phone against her ear, grey eyes narrowing as her husband began hemming and hawing, basically beating around the bush instead of telling her straight up. “Jeff…” Her voice trailed off warningly. “I’m on my way to the hotel, I swear to God if you’re not there…”

“Butterfly…” He began.

She had a hard time stomaching him using that nickname when it was obvious he was up to something he shouldn’t be. “Jeff…”

“I’m going out with Mike and the guys, I’ll be back sometime tonight, okay? Don’t wait up.”

“I won’t.” She hung up, blinking back tears.

Adam sighed, slinging an arm around her shoulder. “What’s up?”

“He’s going out with his friends.” She said, trying to sound light and casual. It wasn’t that big a deal, people went out with their friends all the time; even married couples did that. What made the entire situation a big deal was Jeff was being sneaky about it. His drug use made it a problem. He wasn’t just going out, he was going out to get high.

Sometimes it felt like she was standing perfectly still, unable to move and could only watch as things happened; people flew by her and changed. She couldn’t affect anything, stop it, nothing. She felt helpless and she did not like it.

Over the past two years, Briar had emerged from the protective shell she had built around herself. It had taken awhile to start feeling like she wasn’t being threatened by every man in sight. She knew that had been an irrational fear but it was one she couldn’t help.

Given the fact that she had been on drugs and alcohol from fifteen to eighteen, and then committed for two years immediately followed by her own personal walk through hell; she hadn’t ever really figured out who she was. Her personality was shaped by her experiences and her strengths came from what she had endured and with Jeff’s help, overcome.

Now it was starting to feel like it was all slipping again. The past two years had been sort of a time of discovery, finding out who she was as an adult and free of all vices. And the reason she had been able to do all of that was because Jeff had been right at her side.

Being helpless and somewhat paranoid, slightly afraid, was not something Briar had ever wanted to feel again.

“Bri,” Adam gently stopped her in the parking lot, turning to stare down at her. “Things WILL work out, you just have to have a little faith.”

“My husband is a drug addict and there’s nothing I can do about it short of trying to have him committed or something. Tell me where faith comes into play.” She said bitterly. “Adam, it would be a little bit easier to deal with if not for the fact that Jeff KNOWS I’m a recovered junkie.”

Adam knew that, ‘Taker had cruelly announced it to his entire Ministry of Darkness back in 1999, along with the fact that Briar had been in a mental institution for trying to kill herself. He remembered that era in her life all too damn well. He would NEVER get the sight of her blood staining a locker room bathroom sink out of his mind, a towel held to her wrist.

Never ever.

A full body shiver coursed through Adam as he stared down at her, sighing when the tears finally escaped her eyes. “Briar, honey…” He sighed again and enfolded her in his arms, stroking her back soothingly. “It’ll all work out, Bri.” He soothed, resting his head on top of hers.


Mark watched the pair from a few cars over, arching an eyebrow as Briar buried her face in Adam’s chest. Well, that was interesting. Her husband had taken off, she was hugging onto another man. She had agreed to participate in this storyline which amused him to no end because he had already made it quite clear to Vince he wanted the confrontation in the ring to happen between them.

He had also mentioned to the boss that it would probably be in Briar’s best interest to start training a little bit, get to know her way around a ring. Vince had agreed immediately, not wanting a lawsuit or anything because he had tossed her in without any formal training.

Especially since she wasn’t being tossed in with another woman but a man.

Of course Mark knew Briar could scrap, or she used to be able too. She had a temper when it was roused enough but she had to get over being camera shy. He could probably provoke her into losing her cool…

What was perfect about the entire thing was, Mark was a trainer and as he was the one she’d be working with…

He loved it when things just seemed to fall effortlessly into place.


Jeff was BOUNCING, literally bouncing. He let himself into the hotel room sometime after three A.M., feeling like he could take on the world and win. His euphoria increased when he seen his wife, not noticing the streaks of make-up that marred her pale face from where she had cried.

What he did see was her bare shoulder poking out from underneath the sheet that covered her. He saw the way the sheet clung to her curves, the way her hand curled against the pillow; lightly brushing against her cheek. He seen her black hair –now liberally streaked with magenta, purple and blue- splayed against the sheet, the dim light beside her on the nightstand appearing to make each strand vibrant, as if taking on a life of its own.

He eased himself onto the edge of the bed, running his fingers lightly up her hip; to the top of the sheet and hooked his fingers around the material. Slowly, he pulled the sheet down, revealing her body. A ragged moan escaped his parted lips as he bent down to kiss her hip; feeling Briar beginning to stir.

Briar moaned softly, shifting so she was lying on her back and opened her eyes tiredly; not sure what to do when she seen Jeff. She studied his face intently, taking in his dilated pupils and knew he was probably on something, something good apparently because he was now shedding his clothes. Automatically her eyes raked over his body as he bared it, the beginning of desire filling her but…

She wanted HER Jeff, not this Jeff.

“Where were you?” She asked softly, beginning to feel like a nagging wife. She asked him that all the time now, she was always questioning him; wanting to know where he had been, who he had been with… she was turning into a nag.

“Out.” Jeff replied, not bothered in the slightest with being asked that. He kicked off his tennis shoes and pushed his pants down his hips, stepping out of those as well. “I missed you, Butterfly.” He whispered huskily, crawling up the bed and over her; hovering over her.



“Not while you’re high.” She said firmly.

His green eyes narrowed for a moment, not liking that and pressed himself against him. “I’m not high.” He outright lied, refusing to let her contradict his untruth and kissed her.

As much as she didn’t want to do this with him being high, she couldn’t stop herself from physically responding to him; returning the kiss desperately.

Jeff was smiling when he pulled away, pressing his forehead to hers, missing the tears sparkling in her eyes, threatening to spill down her already tear marked cheeks. “I love you, Briar.” He murmured, his hands running down her sides to her thighs.

“I love you too.” She whispered, knowing she was fighting a losing cause. Her body had already betrayed her.


The contract signing had gone better than Vince had expected. Briar had read through it and seemed satisfied, though he had to admit she also seemed fairly distracted. As soon as her signature was on it, he felt relieved, now she couldn’t just up and leave like she had been able to last time.

“Oh… next Monday, you’re going to be going out to the ring and you WILL be talking.”

“Sure.” She said, drumming her fingertips on his make-shift desk, glancing at the clock.

Vince arched an eyebrow, wondering if she had even heard what he’d just said; then wondered where Jeff was. “You and Mark are going to also have a bit of a physical interaction. He’ll be cutting a promo and you’ll interrupt. Then Jeff is going to join in after a few minutes, what do you think?”

“Sounds fine.”

Now he KNEW she was distracted and cleared his throat, watching as she lit a cigarette right then and there. Usually, this would have gotten on his nerves and he would have ripped the offender a new backside but as it was, he let her get away with it, just this once. Mainly because he knew he’d have her attention in a moment. “Have you given any consideration to learning how to wrestle?”

Briar nodded, taking a long drag off of her cigarette and looked at him. “Jeff said something about it actually. We were thinking maybe Jay and Adam could-“

“They’re not trainers.” Vince interrupted gently, shaking his head apologetically. “Since you’re now officially on the payroll we need to make sure nothing happens to you and you’ll have to follow the same rules and regulations as everyone else.”

“Okay… so, who CAN train me then?” She asked hesitantly, not sure if she really wanted to know.

Vince took a deep, bracing breath and flashed her what he hoped was a charming smile. “Mark.”

She stood up so fast the chair she was sitting in fell backwards. “What?”

“Briar, calm down and listen. Mark is a licensed trainer, he can show you what you’ll need to know out there. He can teach you how to use the ring ropes without giving yourself a bruised kidney, how to take a bump, all of it. That AND since you’ll have at least two interactions with him for this storyline, you two can also choreograph what you’ll do this way you’re not working freestyle out there.” Vince said, having laid it out all very reasonably.

Even Briar couldn’t argue with him on that when he put it that way. Her and Mark’s history notwithstanding, it was actually the perfect arrangement. But there WAS a history between them, a bad history and she wasn’t too keen on working with him anymore than she had too.

Granted, he had apparently changed but she had wanted to move on and forget about him; about everything that had transpired during that time with him.

But it seemed like that was not meant to be.


“A few hours every day and you’ll be fine for Monday.” Mark said a few hours later, standing in the just constructed ring. They would do the circuit, perform house shows and he knew Jeff was scheduled to appear at them so there was no reason why Briar didn’t start learning what she needed to know now. He was in a pair of black track pants and a grey beater, stretching as he watched her. “Strech.”

Briar almost told him to go to hell, especially with the tone he had used, a tone laced with authority that automatically sent her back to being a teenager and damn near acting like one too. Groaning, she sat down and stretched her legs out before her; bending at the waist to touch her toes.

He had to turn his back on her, especially when the tank top she wore gapped at the neckline, sighing. She would wear shorts and a damn tank top, though the glove factor made it seem a little odd. Speaking of… “Briar, them gloves aren’t going to work for this.”

“What do you mean?” She demanded, arching an eyebrow.

“I mean, one good yank and they’ll come right off. You’re going to have to use arm warmers like Jeff.” He hated saying that, really he did. “Or long sleeved tops.”

She nodded, surprised that he had actually been considerate enough to tell her that instead of letting her find out for herself. “So today…?”

“Today we’ll…” He frowned, studying her thoughtfully. “If they come off, they come off. I’ve seen your arms before, darlin’.”

She bit her lower lip, almost informing him he was the cause of a few of her scars. The only person she was comfortable enough with to go without gloves or long sleeves was Jeff. She cracked her neck, returning to stretching; unable to stop herself from remembering the time he had actually ran his tongue up a cut she had inflicted on herself.

“Sweet as cherries…” It was a whisper that snaked through her mind.

Briar didn’t think she could do this.

“Do it again.” Mark ordered, watching as Briar pulled herself off the canvas, green eyes narrowed. “Come on girl, grow a damn spine.”

“I’m a fucking reptile, I don’t have one.” She snarled, moving to a kneeling position. They had been doing this for five days now and her initial nervousness had worn off only to be replaced with apprehension. Briar wasn’t afraid of hard work, but this was insane. “I’m going to kill myself.”

He had taken her through some basic holds, nothing she would probably ever use, at least not with him. That was a laughable notion. Then he had walked her through on how to do other moves that he wasn’t doing himself because of his size.

Such as a drop kick, which she had a lot of trouble with though thanks to Mark making her do it over and over again until her knees were bruised; she had almost sprained her wrist but she could get a decent height and pull it off without hurting anyone but herself. Then it had been the clothesline, which she was sure was going to dislocate her shoulder, especially when he suggested she try it on him.

Then Briar had discovered the ropes were actually her friend and gave her a sort of leverage, making up for her lack of strength. So she had learned to throw herself off the ropes and launch her body, which worked a little better. She hadn’t knocked Mark down but she did make him stumble.

Usually, someone else was out there with them. Adam or Jay, Glenn had come out a couple times to glower at Mark and basically make silent threats if Mark so much as looked at her wrong. Jeff had come ONCE only for Vince to show up and tell him he was nothing more than a distraction for his already easily distracted wife.

What Briar didn’t know was that Mark had informed Vince that Jeff was a distraction for HIM. As in every time Mark seen Jeff, he was tempted to drop whatever he was currently doing just to go kill the little moron. As he would be working with Briar, he wasn’t too keen on leaving her hanging to go kill her husband.

Not in front of her at least.

Mark had forgotten about perving on her in favor of making sure she didn’t embarrass him out in the ring, wanting to make sure she was properly trained for the ring. They had instantly gone over how to toss yourself off a rope properly, how to take falls –which she could do for the most part without cringing- now it was time for her to learn some moves.

Given her size and frame, he figured she’d probably do best with an aerial assault. He had been right, except for one thing. Briar had a height issue, and to her, being on that top rope was scary as hell. Then to JUMP from it, she had damn near passed out.

“Mark, I don’t WANT to do this anymore.”

“Briar, I swear to God, I’m going to beat the shit out of you if you don’t get your ass up there.” He growled, pinching the bridge of his nose. He was actually glad today it was just them, this way when he did finally kick her cowardly ass, there wouldn’t be any witnesses. “I’m not fucking around anymore, you’re going to have to learn SOMETHING so get up there!”

Briar scrambled back to the turnbuckle, hesitating for a moment and glanced back at him. The expression on his face made her feel like a child who was about to be taken to the woodshed. Heaving a sigh, she climbed up and then swallowed hard; looking down at the mats. That was a long fall.

To her anyway.

“Now, this time, try not to focus on the floor and focus on-“ Mark’s eyes widened when she flipped him off, wondering if she had a death wish, it would be so damn easy to push her right now and just claimed she had slipped. He watched as she positioned herself, pacing behind her. As long as she was aiming for him, he was safe. She couldn’t hit a- “OOMPH!”

Briar had landed on him.

Now usually with a moonsault, you landed sideways on a person who was generally already down. Occasionally, you could take someone down with one but… As it was, Briar had managed to land herself laying on top of him full length.


“Thanks for breaking my fall, jackass.” She snarled, not amused with him treating her like a child and started pushing herself up. “Let go.” Briar ordered when she found her wrists trapped in his hands, instantly freezing. “Now, Mark.”

“Stop squirming damn it.” He ordered, his grip tightening while his hips involuntarily bucked up; groaning softly. Mark looked up into her face, not missing the panic that was creeping into her eyes and smirked. “Scared?”

“Let go.” She whispered harshly. Scared was not the word. It didn’t help that he was obviously beginning to enjoy this. No, scared definitely wasn’t the word Briar would use; especially when she suddenly found herself pinned to the canvas with him on top of her. “Mark…”

He wasn’t paying her any attention at this point, at least not what was coming out of her mouth though his gaze was locked on her pink lips.

“Mark, I mean it.”

Mark had a problem, a figurative one as well as the obvious literal that was digging into her. If he kept down the course his body was currently screaming at him too, he’d never ever regain some semblance of trust from her. On the other hand, given this current predicament, he was never likely too either.

“Fuck it.” He snarled, pressing his lips to hers in what at first was a brutal kiss, though he did soften it. Not for her comfort but to coax her to open her mouth, his tongue begging entrance that thus far she was refusing him.

He hadn’t changed a damn bit. Briar supposed she had always known that but for her own precious illusions, had kept insisting to herself he had. Her comfort had been more important that the reality. Mark never had and never would he, ever, change. He was always going to be the monster she had come to know, and fear.

Briar’s scream was lost in his mouth, feeling his tongue sliding against hers and instantly bit down; tasting metallic blood a brief second later. She gagged at the taste but that only seemed to egg Mark on. He groaned in her mouth; deepening the kiss as his hands moved down her body, trying to rouse passion from her.

Which wasn’t happening. As far as Briar was concerned, Mark was the anti-christ and this was only happening because she had been stupid enough to lull herself into a false sense of security. Her mind shouted for Jeff, for someone to come out and witness this, to break it up but when had fate ever been kind to her?

There was no time for this self pity bullshit. she hadn’t come all this way in the past two years only for Mark to screw it all up.

She bit on his tongue again, this time hard enough to make him pull away with a soft growl of pain. “Get OFF OF ME!”

Mark felt his tongue, staring down at her angrily; not surprised at all to find his tongue bleeding. Her first pathetic bite he had almost been expecting, this sudden growth in balls he had not. “Do you forget who you’re talking too?” He demanded, his voice ragged with both passion and anger, a dangerous combination.

“No, I remembered EXACTLY who the fuck you are!” She spat back at him. “I’m not that shell of a girl you can scare anymore, Callaway, so get the fuck up off of me!”

Some fire, he liked that. Almost. Snorting, he bent down to kiss her again, this time foregoing the sure bite of the tongue by keeping it in his mouth. He used one hand to grip her jaw, the other keeping hold of her wrists; prying her clenched teeth apart. “You like blood, don’t you, precious?” He sneered, green eyes flashing cruelly. “I always forget how much it turns you on. Though normally it’s YOUR blood that gets you going, isn’t it my little slashing princess?”

Briar’s cheeks flushed a brilliant shade of red.

Mark’s lips curved into a smirk, a wicked; mean smirk. “So now it’s MY blood that gets you revving, hmm? What else of mine gets you going?”

She couldn’t shoot off the reply she already formed, her jaw was firmly being held captive by him.

Letting out a low chuckle, he bent down to once more kiss her, this time making sure to run his bloodied tongue along her teeth; her tongue, the roof of her mouth. Underneath him, Briar had begun thrashing wildly, uselessly trying to free herself. All it was doing was lighting his blood on fire even more.

If she had access to a knife right now, it wouldn’t be herself she tried killing, it would be him. When he let go of her wrists completely, she began pulling at his hair; punching him, whatever she could to get him off of and away from her.

Mark bore the assault, in truth it was a turn on, pain had never bothered him too much, unless it took him by surprise; like her sudden bite from earlier. Having his other hand free was worth it anyway, he was intent on taking this as far as he could, very likely she would go running back to her precious husband and then all hell would break loose.

He was actually looking forward to it in a sick sort of way.

It was almost like her dream. Briar’s jaw was stiff and locking up from being held this way so long, hot; angry tears pooling in her eyes as Mark reached between their bodies, touching her between her legs. The cotton fabric of her shorts didn’t offer any protection at all, nothing more than a slight cloth barrier that wouldn’t stop the inevitable.

He next let go of her jaw, though he covered her mouth with his hand; staring down at her lewdly as he licked his lips. “Delicious.” He purred evilly, running his tongue over his upper lip; feeling her lips moving beneath his palm, knowing she was either calling for help or cursing him out; probably a mixture of both.

Foolish girl.

It was like being burnt, that was all Briar could liken the feel of Mark’s fingers delving beneath the waistband of her shorts and panties. She kept reminding herself he had done something similar to this before and then stopped himself, he would do the same this time.

She was yet again deluding herself.

Mark watched impassively as her head began shaking back and forth, her black hair coming loose from the braid she had done it in. He could see the fear in her eyes, along with the rage and that didn’t phase him a bit, he enjoyed it actually. The anger was a refreshing change. Honestly, how long could she stay the damsel in distress?

And it was obvious there wasn’t anyone who could protect her so she was going to have to either learn to save herself or just give in to what would be.

And this would be. If not today, then sometime else, but it was coming and they both knew it.

He knew she knew it as well, he could almost see resignation in her eyes. At this point, his hand was resting just over her pubic mound; not doing anything else, more intent on seeing her facial expression. “You know it’s only a matter of time.” He whispered softly, almost lovingly, though there was no love involved.

Just his desire to have her, possess her and eventually break her.

Briar shook her head no, still defiant even though his fingers were now caressing her intimately, the blush staining her cheeks darkening. Beneath his hand, she was biting her lips; gnawing them until they bled. She clenched her legs together when one of his massive thighs settled on top of them, wondering if he had lost his last reserves of sanity.

He wasn’t about to do this out in the middle of an arena, in the center of a ring where anyone could see him. Even HE wasn’t that damn bold.

“What’s going on out here?” Came Vince’s booming voice.

A second later, Mark had snaked his arm around her neck, locking his leg around her and pulled back. “Now this is how you do it, darlin’.” He said, his voice for the most part normal, though she could hear the rugged tone he was trying to hide no doubt. “Just make sure you don’t actually apply TOO much pressure or you’ll-“


Vince watched with wide eyes as Mark instantly broke the hold, arching an eyebrow as Briar slid as fast as she could from the ring. He stepped out of her way, not wanting to get bowled over in her haste to run backstage. “What the hell was that about?” He demanded, rounding on the confused looking Mark.

Mark was on his feet, leaning over the ropes, looking concerned. “I don’t know, she was fine just a minute ago.” He said flatly. “You best have that girl’s head examined.”

Vince studied Mark for a long moment, remembering everything that had happened before. What Shane had witnessed with his own eyes and ears and the rumors. “You didn’t do ANYTHING to her?”

Mark shook his head no.

“Alright. I’ll take your word for it, don’t prove me wrong, Mark.” Vince warned, then glanced back towards where Briar had disappeared, walking off. “If it isn’t her damn husband being a fool… it’s her being skittish…” He muttered as he walked backstage as well.

If Vince had turned around, he would have seen the most evil grin he would have ever witnessed on Mark’s face.

Mark had a new plan, a more amusing plan. Being good wasn’t any fun and he wasn’t doing so well at pretending he had changed anyways. At least not with her, the object of his attentions. Therefore, he had just changed the agenda.

He was going to go out of his way to either drive Briar insane or make people THINK she was insane, whichever happened first.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, where’s the damn fire?” Adam demanded, catching Briar when she tried to run past him. Frowning, he pulled her back in front of him; staring down at her tear streaked face. His eyes narrowed, looking towards the ring entrance, knowing she had been out there training with Mark. “What’d he do?” He demanded instantly.

She shook her head, raising a trembling hand to her mouth to gingerly feel her raw, bitten lips.

Adam looked down, the frown deepening when he seen what she was doing, what her lips looked like. “Bri, we-“

“Briar, what was that about out there?” Vince snapped, approaching the pair; his beady eyes for her only. His gaze softened somewhat when he seen the state she was in, remembering he needed to be somewhat gentle with her. “I’m sure Mark didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.” He said kindly. “It was just a hold.”

Briar stared at him like he was out of his mind, the same look he was trying to not give her. “H-hold?” She echoed hoarsely, clearing her throat. “He-“ Her eyes narrowed when she spotted Mark strolling towards them, not buying for one second the look of concern on his face. If she hadn’t known better, she would have believed it was genuine.

But she did know better.

“Darlin’, I’m sorry,” He apologized gently. “I didn’t mean to scare you out there.”

“See?” Vince sounded relieved, looking back and forth between them. He really couldn’t afford another round with these two, not like the last time. The amount of money he had paid to keep his staff and superstars from running their mouths… He shuddered to think about it. “It was all just a misunderstanding. Briar, why don’t you go relax? A nice, hot bath would probably be just the thing after that work out.”

“You should probably use some ice packs afterwards.” Mark added thoughtfully. Inside he was laughing his ass off, the disgusted expression on her face only adding to his glee.

“What happened to her lips?” Adam asked, making himself known since everyone but Briar saw fit to ignore him. He kept an arm firmly wrapped around her waist, not entirely sure if he was believing Vince and Mark. Granted, Briar probably would overreact to something in that regard but at the same time… it WAS Mark.

“She bit them, what does it look like?” Mark snorted, shaking his head. “Boy, just because you’re blond doesn’t mean you should live up to it.”


“Hey Butterfly…” Jeff trailed off, watching as Briar stormed into the locker room. He pushed himself off the floor where he had been laying and walked over to her. “Training didn’t go so well?” He asked softly, wrapping his arms around her.

He wished he could have been there but Vince had banned him from ringside when Briar was training, saying he would be nothing more than a ‘distraction’, bullshit.

His green eyes narrowed in on her lips, a scowl forming on his own. “What the hell happened?” He demanded, gently tracing a finger along her bottom lip; feeling how puffy it was. “Briar, what did he do to you?”

Briar crumpled in his arms. This was her Jeff. This was the guy she had fallen for and she felt safe. She felt whole and complete, not answering for a long moment just so she could enjoy this moment. After a

As if understanding, Jeff just stroked her back with his hands, running one after the other down her spine. “I’ve got you.” He whispered in her hair, feeling her arms creeping around his neck and sighed softly, pulling her down onto his lap as he sank onto the bench. “I got you, Briar. You’re safe.” He began rocking her back and forth when she started crying, knowing whatever this was about it had to do with Mark.


Briar told him exactly what had happened and then had to stop her husband from going out to kick Mark’s ass. Or at least make the attempt. She knew Jeff wasn’t a push-over but at the same time, she had a healthy dose of fear and respect for what Mark could do.

So they spent the rest of their weekend plotting. They’d considered going to talk to Vince about what had happened but given their past history with their boss… not such a good idea. Vince had no problem in using people’s personal misery for his own purposes, or using them against each other if need be.

Like when he had threatened Jeff’s job to get Briar to do a scene with Mark.

In the end they decided to just make the best out of this storyline, send a message right back to him since he wanted to play a game.


“Shit, I’m nervous as hell, Jeff.” Briar whispered Monday night, trying to hold still as he braided her hair, frowning. “Um, one braid?”

“Actually, honey, there’s like, eight of them now.” He admitted. “You were distracted…”


“So,” He cleared his throat, finishing up and spun his wife around to stare down at her. “You guys have it scripted?”

“No. Callaway said to do whatever came natural.” Briar said quietly, feeling the butterflies exploding in her stomach all over again. “Vince said as long as Mark okays it, we can freestyle it.”

“So we need to go get his okay?” Jeff smacked his forehead with the palm of his hand. “Yeah, I can so see him agreeing to let us do whatever we want. Especially after what he did too you.”

“Well, actually, I think he would agree.”

Jeff did NOT like hearing that. “Why?” He demanded suspiciously.

“If I asked him… actually, if I double checked because he DID say he didn’t care what we did.” Briar scowled, remembering asking if they were going to work out how Monday would go down and he had laughed while saying he didn’t care, like he didn’t think any real damage could be done. “But it’d still be a good idea to double check, this way he can’t piss and moan to Vinnie.”

“You, my darling, can be a devious little monkey.” Jeff grinned though it disappeared as quickly as it had come. “What did you mean if YOU asked him?”

“If I ask him, he probably would-“

“No, HELL no! I can’t believe you even would THINK that! He could snatch you up and run again, or take you to a room and, and- and- And I’m going to throw up just from thinking it. Oh God… I need to calm down now, oh man. Dude…” Jeff held his stomach, actually looking sick. Every time he thought about Mark, he inevitably recalled that night Mark had walked in on him and Briar in bed together. Not that they had been doing anything, well, they had been on their WAY to doing something but…

He also remembered seeing Mark, hearing Mark, and shivered.

“Oh man…” He whispered weakly. “Bri… I’m going to seriously be ill.”

Briar wrapped an arm around him, rubbing his back as he doubled over, waiting for the contents of his stomach to come up. “I won’t, I won’t. I wasn’t meaning that I’d go see him alone, I mean that if I ask…” She sighed, bending down to kiss the back of his head. “Come on Jeff, it’s alright. I’m not going anywhere without you, okay?”

He nodded.


Mark told them again, he did not give a flying rat’s ass what they wanted to do, though he worded it much more politely. He wasn’t to make himself look like the jackass here, he was giving Briar that honor. Though the fact that she and Jeff had approached him made him wonder a little bit, what were those two up too?

Green eyes narrowed as he finished tugging on his boots. It seemed as long as she had Jeff at her side –and they weren’t fighting- she wasn’t too frightened of him. Well that wouldn’t do. Jeff needed to be out of the picture.

Now how to do it?


“I got this, I got this, I- What’s that?” Briar asked, looking at the odd looking object in Adam’s hand.

“An equalizer.” He said with a toothy grin, smirking when Jeff started laughing. “Look, you can either slip it on your hand or carry it in your fist. Either way, you take one swing at ‘Taker and get him, it’s going to hurt HIM like a son of a bitch.”


Jeff was grinning like a Cheshire cat. He grabbed Adam by the head and planted kisses on his cheeks. “You are awesome!”

“Dude, don’t ever do that to me again!”

Jay snickered, watching his best friend wipe his face off. “Glenn sends his love but he had to head home, he hurt himself, the big moron.”

“Hey!” Briar slapped him. “Don’t be talking about my bro that way.”

“May I say you are much hotter than your ‘brother’?” Jay asked, rubbing his arm.

“Yes, you may.” Jeff drawled, draping an arm around his wife’s shoulders. “But you may not ogle her any longer.”

“Aw hell.”

Rolling his eyes, Adam slapped Jay’s other arm. “Yeah, she’s married. Jeff, you’re so lucky. You’re wife is like, totally hot.”

“Uber hot.”

“Freaking hot as…”




Exchanging looks, Briar and Jeff tackled the pair.


“He kicked me in the back and I landed in a pile of human vomit!”

Briar listened from right behind the black curtain as Mark ranted out in the ring, wondering if his voice was supposed to sound that way or if he was losing it. It almost sounded like his voice was breaking, making her giggle.

The Undertaker was going through puberty, how cute.

She listened to him talk about Jeff, sighing deeply and cracked her neck. She knew Jeff was already on his way to where he needed to be for this and glanced over at Adam and Jay, smiling nervously when they both flashed her thumbs up.

When she heard her cue, she braced herself, took another deep breath and murmured a quick prayer. Gripping the microphone she had been given in one hand, she grabbed the top of the folded ladder that rested on a metal crate beside her.


As he already knew, it wasn’t Jeff who came onto stage even if it was his music. Instead, there stood Mrs. Hardy, looking much like her punk husband in a pair of black cargo pants that hugged her hips and a form fitting purple and green Hardy jersey showcasing her curvy upper body. Even her hair was rather attractive, in a punkish sort of way.

But what made his eyes narrow was the fact that she was dragging a ladder with her, what the hell was she thinking? He shook his head, watching as she held it upright and raised the mic to her lips. This was going to be good, he simply knew it.

“Hey ‘Taker,” She began; her voice clear and carrying. “This isn’t about my husband, Jeff. Last week, you disrespected me.”

He almost smirked. “Why don’t you come down here, and I’ll disrespect you again?” He taunted, watching as she took a few steps forward, the ladder going with her then frowned when her eyes moved past him.

Those little bastards.


Mark turned in time to see Jeff mounting the far turnbuckle, dropping his microphone just as the younger man took to the air. Growling softly, he caught Jeff by his throat; more than a little tempted to just squeeze the life right out of him. Instead, he chokeslammed him, not caring if Jeff landed properly or if it was executed exactly perfect.

No wonder the two had wanted to know if he had had any specific ideas for this!

When he turned around for a second time, Briar was in the ring. He sincerely hoped she remembered how to take a fall because he was going to knock her head off.

Briar ducked the clothesline however, her ‘equalizer’ firmly on her knuckles. When Mark spun around, she punched him as hard as she could in his face.

Mark was startled by how much it actually hurt, a second blow coming; making him jump. She punched him a third time before shoving him back into the ropes. Coming out of his daze, Mark reversed and threw her into the ropes across the ring, ready to not miss the clothesline this time.

She ducked under his arm again much to his chagrin. Remembering the paces he had put her through, Briar launched herself off the ropes at him; catching him with a flying clothesline, struggling to catch her breath. She made a mental note to start working out because she was really out of shape.

Adrenaline was her friend now and that’s what she was running off of. Over the weekend, she and Jeff had tried to figure out all possible scenarios, including her botch by looking at him from the stage. Which she had known was coming, she hadn’t been able to help herself, Jeff had hopefully been expecting that chokeslam.

Jeff had also showed her how to do the Twist of Fate, and even been kind enough to let her practice it on him, over a mattress of course. The perk for him was he got a neck massage when she was finished. How she would do this on Mark was beyond her but she went for it.

And wound up being forced back into a corner, her back connecting with the steel post and driving the air from her. Briar looked up in time to see Mark coming at her with his third attempt at a clothesline and forced herself to move forward, ducking it once more. She immediately spun around and started punching him again. She would have to thank Adam later for the knucks.

If she lived.

Another reversed Irish whip and she found herself being hoisted up onto Mark’s shoulder belly first, grey eyes widening.

So she thought she could hang with the big boys now did she? If Briar wanted to get in the ring and act like a tough bitch, she was going to learn how to take it as well.

Mark’s temper was up. This was something he had never expected, not from Jeff and certainly not from his step-daughter. The level of defiance was enough to set his pulse pounding, blood to boiling in a furious rage. Without an ounce of remorse, he dropped her head first into the turnbuckle, not watching her bounce as he turned around.

Reeling, Briar stumbled around; turning only to find a boot coming at her. This time, she dropped just as it touched her, refusing to let that hit her full force. It was enough her back was aching in places she didn’t realize it could and her head was now pounding, she wasn’t adding a concussion to the list, hell no.

She managed to get on all fours, feeling dizzy and reached out; grabbing Mark’s pants and pulled herself halfway up.

At which point, Mark grabbed two fistfuls of her hair and jerked her head between his legs. After slapping her ass –which got a shriek out of her-, he lifted her up, smirking into her terrified face; feeling her gripping his head tightly.

Briar watched as his gaze narrowed in right on her crotch which was level with his mouth, feeling like she was going to faint for an entirely different reason besides the migraine threatening to explode behind her right temple. All she could was stare down at him, watching as he lewdly licked his lips before nipping at her.

Jeff from his view point had caught the sudden, odd movement of ‘Taker’s head; and the mere thought of Mark taking advantage of her like this in front of all these people; on live television where she couldn’t do a damn thing about it enflamed him. Before ‘Taker could deliver the Last Ride, Jeff dived forward; knocking out ‘Taker’s bad knee from behind.

Briar landed sitting on Mark’s chest, her crotch still right in his face but began punching his head, anger taking over the momentary fear she had felt. She rolled off of him and got up, immediately dropping an elbow on his chest. While she repeatedly did this, Jeff was retrieving the ladder she had brought out; sliding it under the bottom rope and into the ring.

Leaving Mark to wonder what it was she was still hitting him with, Briar joined her husband, sharing a look with him as they each took an end of the ladder. They watched as Mark stumbled to his feet, waiting patiently.

Mark tried shaking the cobwebs out of his head, turned and blinked. Coming at him were the couple, with a ladder. He hit the canvas, lights exploding before him. Cursing mentally, he got back up; turned and got it again.

“Keep him down.” Jeff instructed his wife, carrying the ladder to the ring corner while Briar returned to punching Mark. He watched her for a moment, thinking this was probably the best therapy for her even though it would have serious repercussions and scaled the ladder.

Briar looked up at him and smiled, moving out of the way. When Jeff vaulted the ladder and landed right on Mark, she cheered loudly. Then Jeff attracted her attention, he looked like he was in pain. Sliding out of the ring, she waited on him and then wrapped an arm around his waist.

“My ass…. My ass…” Jeff repeated, trying his best not to rub his bruised backside. “Oh my god, my ass…”

Fighting back giggles, she turned to walk backwards, watching Mark. Beside her, Jeff turned too, limping visibly and took her hand, raising it into the air before kissing her.

In the ring, Mark was rousing himself, cursing Jeff and Briar. Whoever had given her the knucks was going to die. She was going to die. Jeff was going to die. He was going to murder them both with his bare hands.

He stared towards the stage where they were retreating. “Someone’s going to die.” He said gravely.


“That was GREAT!” Vince said the minute the couple was backstage, ignoring Jeff’s obvious pain as he wrapped an arm around the each of them. “You two were perfect out there! You work great together, really well done. Jeff, this is going to be the best thing to ever happen for your career, wait and see, wait and see!”

Jeff and Briar exchanged amused looks, wondering if Vince was truly out of his mind. Then they both got real serious, real quick when Mark stormed through the curtains. Even though he was hurt, Jeff valiantly stood in front of his wife, ready to defend her if need be.

Mark was fuming. He was pissed beyond belief, more angry right now then he could ever recall being. But, with remarkable restraint, he kept it leashed, barely. Now wasn’t the time to murder either of these kids. He’d get his chance. He would be patient and strike at the perfect time.

“Nice work out there.” He said, his voice coming out natural, almost even somewhat warm. “Good idea to wing it, it probably wouldn’t have panned out so well if we had choreographed that.”

Briar and Jeff’s jaws both dropped, staring at him like he was the out of his mind while Vince looked pleased.

“That wasn’t scripted at all?” He asked, nodding thoughtfully when Mark shook his head no. “Hmm… So not one piece of that was preplanned?”

Again another no, this was a verbal response.

Vince rubbed his chin, looking between the three, the wheels in his mind obviously turning which made the Hardy’s cringe while Mark looked mildly bored. At this stage in his career, Vince’s insane ideas were pretty much everyday normalcy.

How sad was that?

Vince had been aware that they hadn’t done too much thinking ahead on this, only earlier in the night Briar and Jeff had informed him that Mark said it was okay to go ahead and freestyle it. He had assumed Mark had however given them a basic rundown of how the night’s events would go.

He was never so happy to be so wrong.

“Let’s keep it that way.” He announced, beaming at the trio. “Let’s not mess with a successful formula. From now on, all you’ll know is the match and if a promo or something is needed, other than that: everything is to be done off the cuff.”

“Everything?” Jeff stared at Vince with the usual expression almost the entire roster regarded Vince with: like the man was insane. Granted, Vince was also a genius, obviously. But he was insane as well.

“Everything.” Vince nodded, looking pleased with himself and clasped his hands together, bouncing on the heels of his feet. “It’ll be great, just you wait and see.”

Briar and Jeff just couldn’t summon the same enthusiasm Vince was showing, both managing weak smiles for him.


“Jeff?” Briar yawned, raising her head off her pillow sleepily. She groaned softly when she didn’t get an answer, reaching over to feel his side of the bed, somehow not surprised to find the bed was cold. “Great.” She muttered, rolling onto her back and folded her arms under her head, staring up through the darkness at the ceiling. “Just great.”

While they had been doing great at work, getting along; basically acting like their home life wasn’t in shambles, once they were behind closed doors, it was a different story. Jeff was STILL disappearing at all hours to go out and get high.

The only positive thing Briar had noticed was that he was no longer late for work or high at work. Apparently the worry of working with Mark was enough to keep him sober for brief periods at a time. If not for the fact that she both hated and had no trust at all in Mark, she would have hired him to constantly shadow Jeff.

Knowing she wasn’t getting any more sleep this night, Briar pulled herself from the bed; wincing as her muscles screamed their protest. Jay and Adam had kept her busy with training when they had the time, showing her things she could do that would compensate for her size, lack of strength as well as lack of knowledge in the ring.

Basically, she was learning how to cheat and do it well.

Which was alright with her, she wanted to live through this.

Not that she couldn’t fight, she had scrapped a lot in her teens but that was usually with a weapon or without regard for her own body.

Factor in she was usually high and couldn’t feel pain to begin with…

Yeah, she needed to learn how to defend herself properly.

Frowning, she wrapped the sheet around her nude body and fumbled around for her cigarettes. A second later she was standing at the window, staring out as she inhaled her nicotine fix; blowing smoke against the glass pane and watched it recoil back at her.

Where was Jeff?

Rubbing her free hand against her forehead, her face scrunched as if in pain. Something had to give.


So THAT’S why Briar was on the road. Mark listened curiously as Jeff and his friend chatted in low tones about some kind of ‘powder’, wondering if he was really hearing this. Didn’t these morons realize they were in a public place? Not exactly the best moment to be having a conversation about what kind of drugs you were planning on ingesting.

He shook his head when the waitress asked if he’d like another beer, leaning back in his seat and closed his eyes. In the booth right behind him, he could hear Jeff’s friend and apparently supplier running his mouth.

“You sure you don’t want to try this?”

“No man,” Jeff sounded hesitant. “I don’t think so. Bri used to do that stuff…”


“So… it’s just not…” He shrugged. “I’m not interested, okay?”

“I’m telling you man, this stuff is off the hook. You won’t have to worry about the energy running low ever again.”

“Why’d you call it freebasing?”


Mark had heard enough. Smirking, he got up and quietly walked out of the hotel bar, making sure Jeff’s dumb ass didn’t spot him. So was Briar back on the drugs? Or was she on the road trying to save her husband much in the same way he had appeared to save her at one time?

Either way. He now had some interesting dirt on Jeff Hardy.


Briar had just stepped out of the shower when she heard a knock on the door. Sighing, she wrapped a towel around herself and padded out to the main room. Most likely it was Jeff, it wouldn’t be the first time he had forgotten his key card somewhere and couldn’t get back in.

If he was stoned out of his mind, she was going to murder him.

“Jeff, this is getting…” The words died on her lips as she stared up, wishing she had checked the spyhole.

“Briar, precious, I think we have a heart to heart.”

She swallowed hard as she was pushed back into the room.


This was almost too easy, almost like taking candy from a baby really. Mark stared intently down at Briar, his acid green eyes raking in her form, noting the towel. Her hair was wet, still dripping water, so she had just got done in the shower or bath.

Good. He didn’t want to smell Jeff’s stench on her anyway.

Then his gaze moved onto her arms, taking in the faded scars. Finally, he met her eyes, closing the door behind him.

To Briar, the sound of that door shutting was the most ominous noise she had ever heard and was immediately taken back to the time when he had been her legal guardian, staring up at him helplessly. “Get out.” She whispered, wetting her lips nervously, already knowing he wouldn’t. “There’s nothing for us to talk about.”

This wasn’t a social call and she knew it. Briar kept backing up as he advanced on her, seeing the wicked intentions in his eyes and knew exactly why he was there. Why her? Out of all the women in the world, all the WILLING women no less, why her?

It wasn’t like he couldn’t get sex elsewhere, he had proven that time and time again and always with a partner who wanted him probably more than he had wanted them. So what was his deal? She had never and would never understand. And truth be told, she probably didn’t want too.

She didn’t want any part of Mark’s sick and twisted world, not even if it meant understanding him and his insane desires, especially when it came to herself.

“I think we should talk about your husband.” Mark said casually, as if he wasn’t there to destroy her life. Remaining nonchalant, he began unbuttoning the denim vest her wore; revealing the broad expanse of his chest with each button he undid. “You know where he is?”

Briar swallowed hard, moving so the bed was between them, edging towards her cell phone. “He’s with Adam.” She lied.

Mark shook his head, tsking her. “You sure about that?”


“Well, you know where I think he is? I think he’s downstairs getting fucked up on cocaine.” Mark said the words with obvious relish, watching as her face crumpled; her hand pausing in reach for her phone. “That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? To keep your precious little husband’s ass walking the line but so far, you’re not doing a real good job, are you precious?” He knew damn well each word was driving a dagger right through her heart, slowly; inch by inch, but surely.

“You’re lying, now get the fuck out.” Briar hissed, her fingers clamping around the cell phone and picked it up, making sure to always keep him in her line of vision. “You actually had me believing you’d changed.” She accused, more angry with herself for believing him then him for telling the lie. “But zebras don’t change their stripes, now do they?”

“No, they don’t.” Mark agreed pleasantly. Moving with a speed that would make a track runner envious, he had cleared the bed and knocked the phone from her hand with a simple swat. “Don’t be stupid, Briar. Who are you planning on calling? Your husband?” He sneered the word. “Please, you think he cares for you? Like I said, he’s downstairs with his dealer, busy snorting up a line. Would you like to go watch? Maybe even get in on it?”

“Fuck you!”

“We’ll get to that.” He promised, a cruel smirk gracing his lips. “Now, back to the zebra and stripes. It’s just like you said, Briar, zebras don’t change their stripes. I am what I always have been and deep down, so are you.”

She frowned, not understanding.

Mark rolled his eyes, snorting. “You are and will always be nothing more than that little psycho bitch who thought it was funny to slice herself up. The little whore who would fuck anything that had the right equipment,” Here he took Briar by the wrist and jerked her hand forward, bringing her palm to cup him between his legs. “A little junkie, that’s all you are Briar. A good for nothing druggie who cuts herself and will fuck anything that walks. Just because some moron put a ring on your finger doesn’t make you an honest woman.”

Briar shook her head, refusing to believe him. People changed, she was living proof. Well, some people did. Inhaling deeply, she let out the breath shakily; her grey eyes narrowing as her hand clenched around him. When he groaned in pain, she allowed herself a small, grim smile. “Get out.”

Mark growled, gripping her wrist tighter and tighter until she stopped her own retaliation. Cracking his neck, he straightened to his full height; cruelly twisting her wrist until she let out a low scream of pain. “Did you forget something, Briar?” He hissed. “Did you forget that I can and WILL make your life a living hell?”

“What do you want?” She demanded, tears in her eyes but refused to let them fall. “It’s obvious you came here for a reason, Callaway, so what is it? You want to fuck me? Then what the hell are you waiting for?”

He laughed outright at her now, shaking his head. “Now really, Briar, as if I would make it that easy on you. You think I’ll rape you? That’d be giving you the easy way out. Not fucking likely, precious. Besides, we both know it wouldn’t be rape.”

“The hell if it wouldn’t.”

“Oh… but Briar, it wouldn’t be.” He breathed softly, his arm snaking around her waist. Gently, he tugged at her towel until it slid from her body to the floor. Greedily, Mark drank in the sight before him, letting out a ragged breath. She was more beautiful than he had remembered, though the one time he had glimpsed her entirely, had been brief. Now he could view her at his leisure, memorizing this picture, burning it to memory forever. “Damn…”

Briar watched in a sort of sick fascination as his face changed from wicked amusement to pure, unbridled lust. His nostrils were flared; eyes narrowed and darkened, his jaw clenching tightly. “Mark, please…” She whispered pleadingly, knowing this was a deciding moment in whatever it was he wanted.

Whether his original intention had been to come here and actually follow through on all his old threats of fucking her senseless she wasn’t sure, but if something didn’t change right now, he was going to do it.

Mark just shook his head, refusing to meet her eyes. That would be his downfall and he knew it. Those damn grey eyes of hers. Gritting his teeth, he quickly spun her around and pinned her face first to the wall. Ignoring her shocked gasp, he pressed his body to Briar’s; one hand reaching around to skim her belly; moving downward.

“No!” Briar pressed the flats of her hands against the wall, pushing with all her strength, trying to get out of her compromising position. She wasn’t going to be a victim, she kept telling herself, she refused to… her train of thought was lost the minute he stroked her clit. The tears fell bitterly from her eyes, though she didn’t stop trying to fight him off, to make him stop.

He was going to do worse than rape her, she knew that instinctively.

He was going to make her want him.

If there was one thing Mark prided himself on it was his ability to make a woman want him. Forcing himself on Briar didn’t appeal to him, well it did, but not as much as making her succumb to his advances. That would be even better.

Ignoring her attempts at trying to both hurt him and get free of him, he continued pleasuring her. “You can’t tell me you don’t like this…” He murmured, his breath hot against the nape of her neck. “Especially when the proof,” He slid his finger between her folds, groaning darkly when he felt how wet and ready she was for him. “Is right here.”

“Stop.” She whimpered, her own hands flying down to clutch his wrist. Against her will, a ragged moan was torn from her when he added a second finger, feeling him pumping them in and out of her traitorous body. “Please, stop!”

“Why?” His mustache and goatee tickled her skin as he began kissing her shoulder blades, the sides of her neck, everywhere he could. “Afraid your husband could walk in?” His tone was taunting now, chuckling when she let out a broken sob. “What would Jeff think if he could see you now, hmm, precious? I bet he wouldn’t think you’re the sweet; innocent little victim you pass yourself off as.”

Briar just shook her head, biting on her lips. If not for him and the wall, she would have collapsed by now, her legs shaking violently as she fought against the pleasure coursing through her burning body.

“Or does he know what a slut you are?” He continued, working his fingers faster, knowing she was nearing her orgasm. “Tell me, Briar, what does Jeff do to make you scream?”

“Fuck you!” She shouted hoarsely, her knees buckling as she came; her inner muscles tightening around his soaked digits, contracting violently. “Oh God… God, oh, God…”

“Mmm…” He rumbled, pressing his thumb to her clit, eliciting another low cry of anguished pleasure from her. “That’s it, just let go, precious…”

“I hate you!”

“Like I care?”

Briar blushed with shame when he pulled his hand from between her legs, seeing her own juices glistening on his fingers for a moment before the limb disappeared from her line of vision. She heard Mark moan huskily behind her and knew what he had done, trembling against him.

She had just betrayed her husband with her step-father. It didn’t matter that they weren’t technically related, not even by marriage anymore, the guilt; the shame was the same. She had enjoyed what Mark had just done to her, she had acted just like he said she would, like a whore.

Mark wondered just what it was that had Briar’s mind off of him, arching an eyebrow. He was willing to bet everything he owned that she was feeling like a slut right about now, telling herself how worthless she was, that she didn’t deserve Jeff and inwardly snorted.

If only she knew that one of her backward kicks with the heel of her foot had probably bruised his shin. He would give her credit –all in his mind of course, he wasn’t encouraging her to sprout a true set-, she had fought him to the best she could given he had taken all leverage from her. But in the end, he had won.

He always did.

Not that he was finished.

Briar’s attention was shifted back to the man looming behind her when she heard the distinct sound of a zipper being slowly slid down, quickly turning so her back was to the wall. She regretted that as she couldn’t look at his face, knowing she would shatter and had two options.

Either look down or stare at his chest. She had glanced down only to find he was in the process of pushing his blue jeans down his hips; her eyes widening when his erection proudly sprung free of it’s denim prison.

“No.” She said firmly, pushing his chest with both hands. Apparently she had caught him off guard because he fell backwards onto the bed. Not wasting time, Briar darted around the bed, heading for the door. She had made it to the foot of the bed when she was jerked back, feeling his hand over her mouth before she could work up the air to scream. She could smell her own sex on his hand, the shame ripping through her again.

“I pleased you, Briar, now it’s your turn to please me.” He said through gritted teeth, ready to explode if he didn’t have her soon. There was no turning back, not for him and she didn’t have a choice. He wasn’t giving her own. He wasn’t going to reason himself out of this either, he would take the consequences of his actions, but come hell or high water, he would have her.

Undoubtedly, her husband wouldn’t be back for awhile, in fact, Jeff was probably still down in the bar right now still debating on whether or not he wanted to try snorting that cocaine.

He kept his hand over her mouth, hearing her muffled screams and snorted, knowing the first chance she got, she was going to bring the entire hotel through that doorway. She was really working herself up, now fighting him again with everything she had in her.

It didn’t matter. He was the stronger of the two and he had never had any problem in asserting that strength. Growling at her defiance, he flipped her onto her back, staring down into her wide; terrified eyes and shook his head. “This doesn’t have to be painful.” He said simply, giving her the choice.

Her only choice.

Briar’s response was to bite his palm.

Hissing at the pain, Mark closed his eyes, letting it course through him. His already heightened sensitivity made it pleasurable, feeling his cock twitch in response. “I like it rough.” He informed her, his voice now a deep rumble, more than noticing it when a shiver wracked through her.

Briar closed her eyes, unable to look at him though that did nothing for the fact that her other senses kicked into overdrive. She felt him guiding her legs around his waist. She felt the coarse material of his jeans brushing against her inner thighs.

Her eyes flew open however when he buried himself to the hilt in her, letting out a scream that no one could hear.

It was a scream of pleasure, pain and heartbreak.

Whether she wanted this or not, her body did and nothing stopped him from taking her. From rousing her to responding to him though Mark didn’t remove his hand from her mouth except to swallow her moans and pants, and the cries for help she would have undoubtedly shouted if given the opportunity.


One thing Briar would have to suffer with after all was said and done, she had –she WAS- meeting him thrust for thrust, her hips rolling against his, enjoying what he was doing to her.

Physically at least.


Mark glanced over his shoulder and out through the open bathroom door at Briar, snorting when he seen she hadn’t moved from the fetal position on the bed she had curled herself up in. he turned his attention back to the sink, splashing cool water on his still damp with sweat face and let out a breath.

It was approaching dawn and her husband had yet to turn up. Mark had pushed his luck by staying, refusing to settle for just one time with her. Somewhere along the line she had stopped fighting him, resigning herself to the inevitable and let it happen, though she hadn’t actively participated. That much he knew for a fact. Her body had responded but Briar herself put nothing into it.

That was alright, he could live with that.

Could she?

He took the hand towel off the rack on the wall and patted his face dry, finally turning and walked back out to the bedroom. He had taken her twice, though in between he hadn’t let her rest, oh no. Mark had taken liberties with her body he was fairly certain Jeff had never even thought of. There wasn’t an inch of Briar he hadn’t explored with some part of his body.

Slowly, he sat down on the edge of the bed; reaching out to place his hand on her bare hip, feeling her tensing beneath his palm. “Cheer up, precious, you go take a shower right now; change the bedding and your husband will never know.” He said bracingly, an underlying hint of darkness in his tone. “Unless of course he happens to find the love bites I left…”

Briar snorted at that, love? There had been no love whatsoever in what had just happened between them. As for his ‘love bites’, she knew he had left one on the underside of her right breast, a few on the inside of her thighs and she was fairly certain there was a bite wound on her ass.

“Don’t.” She snarled, catching his hand before it could slip between her thighs. It was bad enough she could feel wetness between them, she didn’t need him touching her anymore to add to it. “Haven’t you done enough?”

“I don’t know, have I?” Mark shot back, forcibly rolling her over so she was staring up at him. “I know I’ve made you cum harder than you ever thought possible, was that enough or would you like to go another round?”

“No.” She hissed, meeting his amused stare with an angry gaze of her own. “You’ve got what you wanted, what you came for, so get out and leave me alone.”

“I’m going to leave you alone, for now.” Mark agreed, standing up and smirked when her still swollen lips turned down into a frown. “Are you going to tell Jeffy? Or are you going to just pretend this never happened?”

“Why do you care?”

“Because I do.”

“Because you’re out to ruin my life.”

“That too.”

Briar pulled herself up into a sitting position, scooting on the bed until her back connected with the headboard and drew her knees up to her chin; hugging her legs tightly. “Please, just leave.” She whispered pleadingly, not looking at him.

Nodding, Mark left.


“What the hell did you do now, moron?” Adam demanded, watching as Jeff paced the hotel hallway. He rolled his eyes exasperatedly, glancing at the door. “She kick you out?”

Jeff shook his head, looking abnormally pale, his hands clenching and unclenching.

Frustrated already, Adam grabbed Jeff by the shoulders and forced him to halt; staring into Jeff’s wide green eyes. “Are you high?” He asked suspiciously.

“No…” Jeff whispered hoarsely. “I wish I was though…”

Now he was beginning to feel panic creeping in. “Where’s Briar?” Her asked, slowly releasing Jeff. He watched as Jeff listlessly gestured to the door and frowned. “If she’s in there, why are you… What’d she do?”

“I wasn’t here.” Jeff murmured, no longer even paying Adam any attention. He raked a hand through his short, tousled hair. “I wasn’t here…”

Now he was really panicking and looked at the door, not sure if he wanted to go inside. Hesitantly, Adam reached for the knob and twisted, gently pushing the door open.

“Get the fuck out!” Came Jay’s irritated voice. “Damn it… Bri, come on, let me-“


Frowning, Adam followed their voices into the bathroom, instantly closing his eyes at the sight. “What the hell happened?”

“Jay’s patching me up, what the fuck does it look like?” Briar said a sarcastic, hard tone of voice. She ignored Jay’s baleful look, puffing on a cigarette with her unharmed arm; her eyes never leaving her left wrist.

“She cut herself.” Jay said flatly, unsure of what to say or do besides finish up with the bandaging. “Jeff found her out on the balcony. She was smoking and…”

“And slicing.” Briar supplied.

Adam frowned, keeping his eyes closed. Even though he had seen this before, even then he hadn’t been able to stomach it. And now he didn’t understand it. Why? Was things with Jeff getting that bad? He knew that Jeff hadn’t given up the drugs but it seemed like Briar had been making some headway with him, he had stopped coming to work stoned and was no longer late or missing shows.

“What happened?” He asked after a long moment.

Briar didn’t say a word, glancing at Jay.

Jay hesitated.

“What happened? And why is Jeff out in the hallway looking ready to…”

“He’s out there?” Briar interrupted, frowning and stubbed her cigarette out in the ashtray that rested on the sink beside her.

“Yes, looking like shit, I might add. So what the hell happened?”

“You can look.” Jay said, finishing taping the gauze and let go of Briar’s arm. He stepped back, glancing at Adam then to Briar and sighed. “You going to tell him?”

She shook her head no.

All three jumped when the main door slammed against a wall, followed by Jeff storming into the bathroom. His green eyes were on fire, his face no longer pasty but ruddy with anger.

“Jeff…” Briar whispered, looking down at the floor.

His eyes fell on his wife’s bandaged arm and dropped to his knees before her, gently taking her arm and brought it to his face, kissing the bandage. “I’m sorry, Bri.” He murmured, resting his forehead on her knee. “I am so, so sorry.”

Adam was completely lost. “Did she try to kill herself out not?” He blurted out, cringing when Jay slapped him upside the head.

“No.” Briar shook her head firmly. “I wasn’t trying to kill myself. I was… I was…”

“Acting stupid.”

Jeff looked like he was going to slap Jay now, shooting the man a look from his kneeling position on the bathroom floor. “Mark was here.” He said finally, his entire body shaking violently and looked back up into Briar’s face. “From…”

“From about three until daybreak.” She murmured.

“Mark was here?” Adam echoed, looking down at the top of Briar’s lowered head, seeing she was beginning to tremble and knew tears weren’t far off. Not too much more needed to be said, his stomach was officially rolling now, threatening to spill the remains of his breakfast.

She nodded, inhaling deeply, the sound ragged.

“I found her out on the balcony wrapped in a sheet.” Jeff said in a monotone, his eyes dropping to her bandaged wrist. “Smoking and… cutting lines across her wrist.”

Adam looked at Briar, seeing the remorse on her face, though he had a feeling it wasn’t for the fact that she had been harming herself so much as Jeff seeing her do it.

Jeff wasn’t finished though as he closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. “He… forcibly… seduced-“ He shook his head, reaching up to grab Briar’s crumpled pack of Marlboro Red’s from the sink counter; his hand fumbling as he lit one. His eyes shut again as he took a long drag off of it, drawing the nicotine as deep as he could before exhaling it through his nostrils. “He forcibly seduced her.”

Adam’s jaw hit the floor.

Briar didn’t say a word, she wasn’t apologizing for what she had done or explaining why she had done it.


“You’ve got a match tonight against ‘Taker, Briar.”

Briar and Jeff froze in place, both staring at Vince with wide eyes and identical shocked expressions.

“No.” Jeff shook his head, glancing down at his wife. “You can’t put her in a match against him, Vince.”

“Well, I can and I did.” Vince contradicted, his own expression darkening. “Don’t worry Jeff, Mark’s already promised to kayfabe it out there so she doesn’t get hurt. You can take a few bumps and bruises, right Briar?”

“Vince, I-“

“Good.” He interrupted, patting her shoulder before looking at Jeff. “You can run interference if you want. Actually, I’d prefer you too since it’s not her feud with ‘Taker but yours.”

“Then why stick her in a match with him?” Jeff snarled, green eyes on fire.

“Because there has to be some kind of retribution after last RAW, come on. Don’t be ignorant, you know how these lines play out.” Vince rolled his eyes. “Briar, find Mark and have him walk this out with you if you don’t want to freestyle it.”

“Vince, I-“

“Good luck.”

She watched him walk away, lighting a cigarette and passed it to Jeff before lighting one of her own. “He doesn’t listen, does he?”

“He has selective hearing.” Jeff said bitterly, watching their boss walk away with narrowed eyes. “Come on, Butterfly.” Sighing, he took her free hand and guided her down the hallway.

They had reached an agreement. Jeff would give up drugs on the condition that she never cut herself again. Briar had readily agreed to it, pointing out that her end of the bargain would be much easier to keep as it wasn’t an actual addiction.

Jeff had sadly agreed.

What happened to her, he blamed himself for. If he hadn’t been out trying to score, he would have been in that room with his wife, and Mark would never have had the chance to do what he had done. Briar had told him straight up what had happened and as far as he knew, she hadn’t left out anything, nor glossed the details.

One thing he had come to respect her for was she was very blunt and honest, even if it did hurt like a bitch to hear.

If he hadn’t been down in the bar, discussing cocaine, Mark would never have overheard and…



Mark turned in time to see an enraged Jeff Hardy come flying at him, grunting when he got an actual spear to his gut, feeling himself being forced backwards into the concrete wall. “What the-“


Now that got Mark to laughing. Snorting, he braced his hands on either side of Jeff’s head and pushed the smaller man back, watching him stumble. “She LIKED it, boy.” He taunted, his gaze moving past Jeff to Briar who was just standing there watching with a calm expression on her face; a cigarette between her pale blue lips. “Didn’t you, precious?”

She raised a black glove covered arm up, flipping him off.

Mark caught Jeff when the youngster foolishly tried attacking him again, wrapping an arm around his neck in a chokehold. “Besides, you were too busy with your drugs to take care of your wifey so I did it for you.” He whispered coldly, his voice low enough so only Jeff could hear. “I made her scream, boy, in pure pleasure. I fucked her good, in ways you’d never be capable of even on your best day. How’s that sit with you?”

“Fuck you!” Jeff rasped, trying to pry Mark’s arm from his throat. “I’ll kill you for touching her!”

“Ah, ah, ah. Temper, temper. Tell me Jeffrey, is that the drugs talking?”

Briar seen the danger in Mark’s eyes, even if Jeff couldn’t and stepped forward. “Mark-“

“You do realize it would be SO damn easy to have this little bitch fired.” Mark sneered at her, burying a hand in Jeff’s hair and ripped back so Jeff was looking at his wife. “He’d be long fucking gone, Briar, while you’d still be here, serving out the rest of your contract.”

Jeff instantly stopped fighting, he was listening now.

So was Briar.


“Bri, you can’t do this blind.” Jay said softly, watching as she paced the parking lot later in the evening, apparently chain smoking because he hadn’t seen her without a cigarette either between her lips or her fingers all night. “You’re going to have to-“

“I’m not going to go talk to him, not after what he did. And sure as hell not after he threatened Jeff.” She said flatly, not looking at him; scuffing the toe of her black sneaker on the pavement. She was dressed for the ring, having refused to allow anyone to touch her tonight. Her black and multi-colored hair was pulled up into a ponytail, a few braids framing either side of her face and she had returned to her black, heavy eyeliner and blue lipstick.

Jay had heard about the Jeff incident from earlier, sighing and studied her. She was beginning to resemble the woman he had met back in 1999 and that wasn’t a good sign at all. She was wearing all black. Black cargo pants, a black tank top and her black fingerless gloves.

No, not good at all.

“Look, he can’t have Jeff fired.” Jay tried reassuring her, wondering if what he was saying was true. Granted, Mark had a lot of pull in the company but at the same time, people still remembered how he used to be. Especially when it came to Briar and Jeff. “All he can do is hint he might think Jeff is on something,” Which everyone who knew Jeff, knew isn’t was a thought but a reality. Or had been. “And they’ll test him. He’ll face a suspension and then probably be told he needs to go to rehab.”

“That’s it?” Briar looked at him, her grey eyes beginning to glimmer with a spark of hope.

“That’s it.”

He hoped.


“Shit, shit, shit, shit…” Jeff bounced up and down, trying not to scratch his arms and sighed when Briar walked in. “Butterfly, what’s withdrawal feel like?” He asked, desperation in his tone.

“You’re experiencing it now actually.” She sighed, studying him thoughtfully. “Jeff, you can do this.”

“I know, I know…” He had too unless he wanted to find her dead or something. They had to be strong for each other, get through this. Mark would no doubt be on the hunt for chinks in their marital armor and Jeff would be damned if he gave Mark any help. “CHRIST!”

Briar bit the inside of her lip, wondering if leaving him by himself would be a good idea. Probably not. “I’m going to have Jay and Adam with you until you come out to break up the match.”

“What for- Ooohhhh…” Jeff looked somewhat ashamed, nodding his head and kept on bouncing. He was going to die, he needed a fix. The rational part of his mind told him he had to get clean and stay clean or else he was going to lose his wife. The not so rational part was telling him to fuck off and go get some relief from the physical discomfort he was now going through.

“Yeah…” She nodded too, hanging her own head.


Mark waited in the ring with narrowed eyes. He kept glancing towards the stage, warming up as he waited for Briar to drag her worthless ass out from the back. His head snapped up when he heard Jeff’s theme music, knowing that was what she had been using.

He wasn’t disappointed. Briar walked out onto the stage, her fathomless eyes staring directly at him. He recognized the expression on her face very well, she was at a point where she felt like she didn’t have anything left to lose. How sad for her, she did and he had every intention of taking it from her.

Though he was a bit taken aback when Briar ran down the ramp and slid into the ring, the surprise quickly diminishing. When she got to her feet, he was waiting and clamped a hand around her throat.

Briar pulled a ‘chick’ move and kicked him in the balls.

Mark let go and cupped himself, turning and fell to his knees, groaning. That little bitch! He growled through his pain, almost tempted to let tears sting his eyes that hurt so damn bad. No doubt a little retribution on her part for what he had done to her.

Even if she HAD enjoyed it.

Grabbing the rope, he pulled himself up and turned to face her; leaning back into the turnbuckle as she started punching him. Inadvertently, he kept his head down which only made it a target for her fists, quickly taking note she had left her ‘equalizer’ behind but was wearing her wedding ring.

Briar alternated with punches and kicks, holding onto the top rope for added leverage. Somewhere she lost control and was the victim of a reverse Irish Whip; her back slamming into the opposite turnbuckle and bounced off of it, moaning in pain.

She had been expecting him to overpower her, that was a battle she simply could not win. She watched as Mark charged at her, resting her elbows on the top rope and at the last minute used them to help pull herself up, thrusting her feet up and out, catching Mark in the face.

He would give her credit, she was beginning to get some of her spunk back. Though in the end, he was going to have to beat it out of her because she was sloppy with her moves. On the other hand, he supposed she wasn’t actually trying to sell a show so much as survive a beating.

That was a whole new ballgame.

Shaking his head clear, Mark turned in time to catch Briar coming and clotheslined her. He snorted, hearing her go down and rolled his eyes. If the bitch wanted to play with the boys, she had best take her licks like one of the boys.

Briar’s own head was spinning, the back of her skull felt like mush but she knew it wasn’t, yet. Another couple of those clotheslines though and it might be. “Fuck…” She hissed, her eyes opening to find Mark towering over her. As much as she didn’t want too, she cradled her head, knowing she was showing weakness but it hurt so damn bad.

“You’re going to pay for that low blow, darlin’.” Mark sneered down at her, bending over to grab her by her ponytail. He dragged Briar to her feet, gripping her shoulders and set her up for the Last Ride.

Desperately, Briar began punching his forehead. When Mark stumbled and dropped her, she landed on her feet; instinctively ducking his forearm and threw herself behind him into the ring ropes. She watched as Mark bent down, apparently prepared to toss her over his shoulder.

Well, she had other plans. Smirking, she grabbed his neck and swung her body, taking him with her. Adam and Jeff had done their jobs quite well and taught her how to do a DDT quite well. Having a feeling this would be rather pointless, she covered him, grunting at how heavy his damn leg was but hooked it; pinning him.

Incensed, Mark immediately kicked out. Who the hell did she think she was? She had some balls, even DARING to go for a pin. Like she would ever get it?

Briar seen the flames in his venomous eyes and what had started out as basically a handicap match turned into a fight for survival, her being the one trying to survive. Her head met the turnbuckle, she was chokeslammed and soon being pinned in turn.

Before the referee could administer the three count however, he was being dragged out of the ring by his feet.

Jeff had arrived.

Jeff would have been out sooner if not for Vince having security barring the way, insisting on letting the ‘match’ go on a bit longer as it would draw more people’s attention for the upcoming ladder match after the King of the Ring. With Adam and Jay’s help, he had battled through the guards and hauled ass to the ring.

He wasn’t happy.

While Briar rolled her aching body out of the way, Mark and Jeff began throwing punches at each other, each fighting the get the upper hand. Jeff was relentless, refusing to back off even though Mark started kneeing him in the stomach as hard as he could.

He was fighting for more than this stupid storyline, it wasn’t even about that anymore. This was so much more personal.

Briar was back on her feet, reluctantly but she wasn’t letting Mark get the upper hand in this, not this time. She caught him by surprise with a swinging neckbreaker, got to her feet and moved back as Jeff scaled the turnbuckle, ready to fly.

Just as he was getting into position, a man in a black, shiny looking kilt –or was it simply a skirt- appeared. She had no idea who this guy was but apparently Mark did because she could hear him beginning to laugh. “Jeff!” She shouted, watching with wide eyes as the man she didn’t know pushed Jeff.

Mark’s night had just been made thanks to Raven, or Scott, whichever, the guy answered to both. He smirked, green eyes following Jeff’s flight off the turnbuckle to the guardrail outside the ring. That had to hurt. He waited until Briar had turned around before catching her. This time, she wasn’t getting up so damn quickly from the Last Ride.

Briar gripped his head, staring down at him wide eyed.

“Mmm…” He rumbled, inhaling deeply before winking.

Her shocked look only left her face after she was laying on the canvas, squirming in pain.

Shaking his head, Mark dropped down and hovered over her, pinning her. He didn’t really want this win as it technically shouldn’t count. She was a woman and he did not need a victory over a woman on his record.


Pulling back, he rested on his knees for a moment, staring at her. “It doesn’t have to be this way, Briar.” He said in a low, gravelly voice.

“Go to hell.” She whispered, tears of pain in her eyes.

“I’m taking you with me, precious.” He replied, his gaze moving onto Raven who was rolling Jeff into the ring. Grunting, he pushed himself to his feet, stepping around her when she rolled out of harm’s way. His attention was now focused on Jeff, for the moment. While Raven slid through the ropes, Mark grabbed a handful of Jeff’s blond hair. “I just fucked your wife up good, boy. She’s probably going to need to go to the hospital.” He grunted, hearing Jeff’s moan of despair. “Hell, you might need to too, before the night is over.”

“Fuck you!”

Snorting, he let go and looked at Raven, the barest hint of a wicked smirk on his lips before looking down. Raven had just procured a pair of handcuffs from the waistband of his… kilt. Mark wasn’t going to think skirt because then he would also have to rethink his associates.

Stepping back, he let Raven cuff Jeff to the top rope, circling the ring in eager anticipation. Oh this was going to be so much fun.

Jeff realized what was going on, his already withdrawal suffering body still in agony from his landing outside the ring. His eyes widened as he stared at the cold, cruel metal on his wrist.

Then Mark started taking his liberties.

Briar was pulling herself up, her body protesting with various quirks of pain in places she hadn’t realized could hurt. When she seen what was going on, her mouth when slack. “Mark, stop!” She shouted, forgetting all about the whole ‘in character’ thing.

Vince was going to pay for this. Even he wasn’t that far gone to think this was all for one of his ‘creative ideas’. No chance, no way.

“Mark!” She screamed, pushing herself to her feet.

She was tripped from behind, hitting the canvas face first and felt someone scrambling over her; panic overtaking every other sense. It was the other guy, Raven was what she thought she heard J.R. shout. He was straddling her back, her left arm being held wrenched back while his free hand was ripping at her hair, forcing her watch as Jeff was beaten down.


“Jeff!” Raven squealed, laughing like a maniac as he held her struggling form in place. “Scream all you want, babydoll! Jeffy can’t save you and you can’t save him either!”


Mark rolled his eyes, glancing back at her before plowing his fist in Jeff’s face.

Briar could only watch helplessly as her husband was assaulted, trying to ignore Raven’s taunts. She watched as Mark finally stopped, her eyes never leaving him as he circled the ring.

“Nice meeting ya, kid.” Raven chirped, kissing the top of her head before letting her go and vacating the ring, glancing at Mark and nodded.

Briar was violently shaking as she crawled over to Jeff, cradling his head in her lap, refusing to look anywhere but at him.


Vince was fairly happy with how that all had gone down, though he also knew he was going to have two very angry young people to deal with. Maybe he was being a little harsh, after all Briar hadn’t had an easy time in his company the last round…

Then again, she had also known what she was getting herself into when she had resigned.

He looked up when the door opened, frowning then sighed. “I’m guessing you’re here to make sure I behave, right?” He asked sardonically, knowing this had to be his wife’s doing.

Shane McMahon nodded, pinching the bridge of his nose.

Why was it always him who had to clean up after Vince?


“How’re you feeling?” Briar asked the following morning, hearing Jeff rousing in the bed and stopped packing their bags in order to turn and look at him; concern in her eyes. The left side of Jeff’s face was bruised from Mark’s not so gentle punches.

“Like shit.” He said gruffly, clearing his throat; his eyes half closed still. “What’re you doing?”

“Shane gave you the week off until your match next Monday.” She bit her lower lip, knowing Jeff wasn’t going to like hearing what she had to tell him. considering he was going to be fighting withdrawal without her around to remind him just why he was doing it… his week was about to go straight to Hell. “When he found out that you WEREN’T selling and it WAS real, he immediately got you cleared for a week off, paid.”

Jeff was mildly astonished, wondering when Shane had come back on the road and then wondered why he was getting PTO. Pushing that aside, he rolled out of bed, groaning as aches and pains coursed through his body. “So when are we leaving?”

“You’re leaving today. Your flight is in four hours.” She murmured, turning back to the shirts she was folding.

That woke him up right quick. Frowning, Jeff skirted the bed until he was standing right behind her; wrapping his arms around her waist. “What do you mean, I’M leaving today? WE’RE leaving, right?”

She didn’t answer.

“Bri? Butterfly?” He slowly turned her to face him, staring down at her. “You’re not coming home with me?”

She slowly shook her head no, heaving a sigh. “I can’t. Vince flat out refused to let me go. He said I could use this time to train some more as well as adjust to life on the road.”

“That’s BULLSHIT!” Jeff exploded, stepping away from her and raked his hands through his hair, looking wild. “That’s fucking BULLSHIT, Briar!”

“What do you want me to do, Jeff?” She demanded, reaching out to place her hands on his shoulders. “I told him it’d be best for me to go home but he thinks being on the road would be-“

“Would be the perfect time for ‘Taker to fuck with you is what it is! I’m not going, fuck it. I’ll-“ He couldn’t even finish his sentence. Anger coursing through him, Jeff spun around and plowed his fist into one of the generic flower pictures that adorned the walls, smashing the glass. “GODDAMN IT!”

She clamped both hands over her mouth to stifle her scream of surprise.

Ignoring her, Jeff continued on his rampage, destroying the hotel room and cursing at the top of his lungs.

Briar could only watch, knowing withdrawal wasn’t going to be easy for him. she HAD to be with him. if she wasn’t, who the hell knew what Jeff would do in this state?


“I’m sorry, Briar but there’s nothing I can do.” Shane said softly, listening as she made an odd noise on her end of the line, probably trying not to cry or something. He genuinely felt bad for her, wondering just what was it that made his dad such a jackass. A brilliant jackass, but a jackass nonetheless. Clearing his throat, he looked around to make sure he was completely alone. “Look, its best if Jeff DOES go home for the week, trust me on this.”

“I don’t understand.”

Shane sighed, pinched the bridge of his nose and wondered just how he was going to explain this without sounding like a complete ass. “Briar… they’re going to be doing ‘random’ drug testing this week.”

She didn’t say a word.

“And Jeff’s name is on the list of people who MUST be tested. Do you follow me here?” He really hoped she did because he wasn’t going to spell it out for her.

“Yes.” She whispered.

“So… send him home.”

Briar inhaled deeply. “Alright.”


“Damn nice of Glenn to babysit for you.”

Briar scowled, wondering what would happen if she reached across the console of the rental car and slapped Adam. Knowing her luck, they’d get in a car accident and die. Muttering under her breath, she lit a cigarette and rolled down the window, the breeze a welcome relief to the stifling heat.

But babysit was probably the best word for it. After telling Jeff what Shane had said, he had agreed –albeit very reluctantly- that home was the best place for him. Then he had gone on a worrying spree that had almost made her start panicking for HIM.

After making arrangements to travel with Adam, Jeff seemed to calm down somewhat, though when Adam had informed them that Jay was now driving by himself (or so he claimed, Adam was damn sure Jay had a girlfriend he wasn’t telling anyone about), Jeff had to fight down the suspicion.

Things were so confusing. It was like every turn him and Briar made, there was something or someone waiting to throw them off the path they had chosen to walk together. When Briar had informed him Glenn would be staying with him, he had almost told her hell no but when she calmly explained her reasons, he couldn’t argue with them or her.

He had to fix things between them. Even if it meant being stuck with the guy he had tortured, who would undoubtedly be looking for some sort of payback. Maybe.

Briar snapped out of her thoughts, realizing Adam had been talking to her and she had no damn idea what about. “I’m sorry, I zoned out.” She confessed, flicking her now dead cigarette out the window and shifted in her seat to look at him. “Repeat what you said.”

Adam let out a long suffering sigh, shaking his head. “Woman, besides the obvious, what’s your damage?”

“Just the obvious, blondie.”

“I so hate it when you call me that.”

In spite of her mood, she had to smile. Reaching over, she tousled his hair. “Adam, honey, you have BLOND hair, you’re going to be called a lot of negative things.”

“Shut up.” He said, smiling in spite of himself. “ANYWAYS, what I said was: how are you going to do the hotel arrangements?” Adam quickly got serious again, glancing over at her, worry in his eyes. He knew damn well she was uncomfortable sleeping in a room with anyone but Jeff, she had made that clear from her first day on the road.

But at the same time, with what Mark had done the week before… if he knew Briar was in a room by herself, who knew what he’d do?

“I’m going to have to bunk with you.” Briar said finally, staring out the window now.

He nodded, catching her playing with her gloves nervously and reached out to take her hand, squeezing gently. “Hey, it’s just me. You know, the goofball. We’ll get like a suite or something, how sweet will that be?”

She just looked at him.

“I can’t stare you down while I drive, Bri, don’t give me that look.” Adam groaned, looking between her and the road. “We’ll get like, a two room suite, with a huge ass TV and one of those swirly tubs with the jets and shit. You can relax and pretend I’m not even around!”

“How come I don’t believe you’ll LET me pretend you’re not around?” She demanded, sounding both amused and exasperated.

“It’ll be like… like a slumber party and shit. We’ll rent some vids or something. How’s that?”

“You’re getting into this WAY too much!”

“Oh come ON, Bri Bri!”

“Adam, do NOT call me that EVER again.” She cautioned, then smiled sweetly. “You know, it does sound like fun.”


“We can even do each other’s hair and paint our fingernails and stuff! It’ll be GREAT!”

And suddenly, it didn’t sound like such a good idea anymore.


Adam was officially in Hell. He wished he had a mirror to see whatever it was Briar was doing to his hair, wincing when she tugged. “Um, what’re you doing?” He asked nervously, reaching up to feel only for her to slap his hand with the hairbrush she was using.

“It’s a surprise, now be patient.” Briar said, smirking as she stared down at his head. Granted, she wasn’t too keen on sharing a room with him, even if it was a suite and they had separate bedrooms but at the same time, it was the smart move and she wasn’t giving Mark another shot at her.

No way.

After checking in, they had decided to just order out for a pizza, watch some movies on TV and relax until the house show the next day. What exactly Briar was supposed to be doing at said house show was beyond her. If Vince thought for one minute she was going to have another match –if it could be called that- with Mark, he was out of his mind.

There was no way in HELL she’d do that ever again. She couldn’t believe she had come out of it as well off as she had. Unlike her poor husband.

“Can we watch something else?”

“No, I like Dirty Dancing.” She tugged on his hair, giggling when he groaned. “Who’s idea was it to have a ‘slumber party’?”

Adam grumbled under his breath.

“It was YOURS!” She trilled, smiling broadly. One thing she would always be the first to admit, Adam made her laugh and smile, though it usually happened at his expense. Jay was the serious one, the one she went too when she needed help with something. And Adam was her ‘pick me up’ pal.

Her first best friends.

Man, she loved them.

But not enough to NOT torture Adam. After contemplating which ribbon, she finally selected a lurid pink color and wound it around the first pigtail in a gaudy bow. Then she went with a bright purple for the other pigtail. “You look GORGEOUS!”

Hesitantly, Adam raised his head to look into the hand mirror she was holding in front of his face, his eyes widening. “BRIAR ROSE HARDY!” He shot to his feet and darted into the bathroom they shared, shrieking when he seen she had given him pigtails, high on either side of his head, hair fluffed; totally girly pigtails.


He made the colossal mistake of turning only to find a camera going off, blinking from the flash. “Gimme the camera!”

“Nope.” Briar laughed, backing out of arm’s reach. “Consider this blackmail.”

“Bri…” He groaned, moving to take down his hair then stopped, turning to look at her with an evil grin. “Your turn.”

She paled.


An hour later Briar was ready to murder Adam. “You are an ass.” She said flatly, standing beside him in the bathroom, both of them examining their hair.

“I think it looks cute.” He said, sniffing defensively, though a wicked smirk was playing the corners of his mouth.

“Dude… no, this is just, wrong… I look…”

“Freaking awesome.”

“No… I look like, like…” Briar couldn’t even think of what she looked like but it was horrible, that was for damn sure. He had taken sections of her long hair and made them into buns. So her head was covered in buns, it looked like… mushrooms, or snails. She wasn’t sure. “Man, this isn’t right.”

“And this is?” He gestured to the pigtails.

Briar smiled slightly. “Fair enough.” Wrapping her arm around him, she leaned in so their faces were touching, holding out her camera. “Smile.”

Adam was laughing his ass off when she snapped the picture.



Adam froze, his eyes wide as he stared at Briar. “You haven’t called me ‘Edge’ in years.” He said, blinking.

“You were going to spear me you jackass!” Briar accused, gripping the top rope to keep herself steady. “A spear! You were going to spear me!”

“Um, hello? It’s one of my finishers, we’re practicing wrestling now aren’t we?” He shot at her, shaking his head when she flipped him off. “You’re supposed to be learning how to do moves AND how to take them, right?”


“Then what’s the-“ He groaned when she speared him out of nowhere, dropping to the mat with her on top of him. “Problem…”

“No problem at all.” Briar smirked, placing her hands on either side of his head and pushed herself back up to her vertical base.

“That was just low… What the hell are you packing?” He demanded, sitting up and rubbing his aching midsection gingerly. “You have some pointy shoulders or something, Bri, because that actually hurt...” His lower lip jutted out.

Briar looked down at herself, frowning. “I do not!”

“Apparently you do cause that kinda hurt.”

They stopped their light bickering when someone cleared their throat from ringside, both heads swiveling to see who was interrupting the training session.

“You two about done?”

“Go jack off somewhere else, ‘Taker.” Adam snarled, getting up and moved in front of Briar. “We’re practicing.”

“For what? The special Olympics?” Mark snorted, rolling his eyes. “Trips and I got to start working through our match. Since Briar won’t be competing tonight… she can hit the bricks. Matter of fact, so can you, moron.”

Briar moved around Adam, grey eyes flashing angrily as she stared at Mark. “I got your bricks right here old man.”

Adam almost laughed when she accompanied that with grabbing the crotch of her semi baggy jeans and tugged, twice, like she had a set of balls or something. “Tell me you did not just do that…” He couldn’t help but chuckle, shaking his head when she repeated the lewd gesture. “You’re such a dyke, Bri. You know that?”

“You love it though, you know it.” She replied easily; eyes still locked with Mark’s. “You got something to say?”

He was smiling.

Now this was the Briar he knew. Right now, in her white beater, the jeans; her hair pulled back… it was like taking a trip down memory lane. Hell, even her defiant attitude, it was like looking at a sixteen year old Briar again.

“Day after tomorrow, the house is being sold.”

She blinked next, that had been out of the blue. “So?”

“You want your mother’s shit or not?”

Biting her lower lip, Briar nodded. But she wasn’t about to go there and get them with Mark tagging along, no. Especially not after what had happened and looked at Adam, who wore a ‘what the hell’ expression on his face.

“You can bring your boytoy.” Mark rolled his eyes exasperatedly, gesturing to Adam. “Where’s the husband, by the way?”

“None of your fucking business.”

“Ahh…” He nodded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully as he studied her. “He went home. Smart boy, means he doesn’t have to worry about being ‘randomly’ tested, now does he?” He smirked wickedly when her face turned a decidedly ugly color.

Adam wrapped an arm around Briar’s waist, firmly keeping hold of her just in case. He could see color infusing her cheeks and knew she was getting ready to blow up, on Mark. Probably not the best of ideas all in all. “Look, we’re leaving now, so you can do whatever the hell you want. Just leave her alone, man.”

Mockingly, Mark stepped aside, gesturing towards the ramp.

Cautiously, the pair vacated the ring, giving him a wide berth. Neither trusted him and they weren’t bothering to hide it either.

Mark just kept smiling.


“Are you going?” Jeff asked after Briar had filled him in on what had happened with Mark, on the phone with her.

“I don’t know. I guess not, it’s not that important really.” She replied, walking around her hotel room in just a pair of panties and a tee shirt, cradling the phone between her ear and shoulder as she lit a cigarette. “I don’t trust him and I know Adam doesn’t.”

Jeff sighed, knowing she was right but at the same time, he knew better than anyone Briar had deep seated issues when it came to her deceased mother. Maybe she could find something in her mother’s stuff to help alleviate that or something. The woman had to of cared for her daughter at one time or another, right?

“Are you sure? I bet Adam could scrounge up some people to go with you, you know.”

“No, it’s cool. Thanks, honey.” She smiled sadly, wishing she was at home with him instead of here. “So… how’s it going?”

Jeff knew she didn’t mean life in general so much as the withdrawal issue. “Okay, I guess. I’ve been in the bedroom for most of the past few days.” He confessed, both wanting and not wanting to tell her how he couldn’t sleep or eat.

How his body was physically aching from wanting a fix. How his head was constantly throbbing. How he sucked down water, craving things he knew he couldn’t have.

Not if he wanted to keep his wife.

He heard Briar’s soft sigh and hastened to say: “But I’ve been outside for a few hours tonight, I’m working on a statue.”

Briar laughed now, she could just imagine what he was doing to their yard. He had literally turned it into his playground, his own personal art studio as it were. “What of this time?” She asked amusedly, sitting down on the bed and propped her foot on the nightstand, studying her nail polish. “Hopefully nothing TOO dramatic.”


“What’re you making it out of?”

“Those aluminum pipes to start with. Glennie and I are probably going to have to go to town tomorrow for some supplies.”


“Tell my bro I said hi!”

“Briar, says HI GLENNIE!” Jeff shouted.

Briar could hear Glenn growling in the background, beginning to giggle even though she knew if Jeff kept it up, he was likely to get his own head shoved up his ass, not a good look for him.

When she heard a knock on the door leading to the hallway followed by ‘room service’, she got up. “My food’s here!”

“What are we having?” Jeff asked, clearing his throat to keep from laughing. Laughing at a near seven foot giant who had at one time wanted to kill you, not good.

“Um, chicken and a salad…”


“And chocolate cake!”

“Nice, Butterfly, nice.”

The waiter helped Briar wheel the tray into the room and took the tip she gave him with a hesitant smile. Once she had closed the door, he shut his eyes and wiped his forehead, glad she hadn’t noticed he was sweating something fierce. Mumbling under his breath, he walked down the hallway, as far from that room as possible.

He damn near jumped out of his skin when another man stepped out in front of him. Swallowing hard, he looked up.

“Did you do it?”

He nodded meekly.


Clearing his throat, he accepted the wad of cash held out to him and hauled ass out of there. If anyone ever asked, he had every intention of lying and saying he hadn’t been on this floor tonight.

At all.

And he sure as hell did not just drug some woman’s food.

And he most definitely did not do it at the request of a man who looked like he had come out of Hell.


Briar was running around her hotel room.


She was doing laps around and over her bed. Adam had checked on her once, laughed when he seen how hyper she was and retired for the night. She halted mid jump on the bed, bounding down and across the room to snatch up her cigarettes.

She lit one and took a long pull from it, groaning and reached around to wipe sweat from her lower back. “Fuck me running…” Setting the cigarette down, she peeled off the tee shirt and used it as a towel. “Hot, hot, hot.”

An abrupt knock on her door made her frown, then giggle. It was probably Jay or something. Running her free hand absentmindedly over her collarbone she padded over to the door, opening it. Grey eyes widened instantly, her full lips turning down into a frown. “What the hell are YOU doing here?”

Mark surveyed his handiwork, glad he had done his research. Apparently it was paying off because Briar was coated in a thin sheen of sweat and had apparently gotten hot and/or bothered because she was just in a pair of panties. He idly wondered if she realized she was going around topless, or that her fingers were caressing across her chest.

This was almost too easy.

But then again… what better way to break her down then to get her off the beaten path, so to speak. The first time –well, actually it was a couple times in one night but he was digressing- was non-consensual even if her body had responded. This time… well, she would be under the influence but she’d want him.

Now he had totally tossed out his ‘gain her trust’ plan because quite simply, he wasn’t up to pretending to be someone he wasn’t. That and it was more fun to watch her be paranoid, knowing he was waiting for a chance at her.

So, what he was going for was her eventually breaking down under her actions. She could rationalize the first time, how would she pass this off? Unless of course she got herself drug tested but then, he had a contingency plan for that one too.

One that would actually make this a lot more interesting though no doubt, Briar would probably skip the country before she allowed it to happen.

He’d cross that road when they got there.

“Darlin’, are you alright?” He asked softly, reaching out to gently cup her chin; tilting her head back so he could study her eyes. Yeah, he had timed this perfectly.

“Yeah, I’m peachy keen, get the hell…” Briar trailed off, her eyes drifting shut as his hand moved down her throat. That felt oddly good, in a very bad –and bad as in naughty- way.

Before she could regain her senses and curse him out, he bent down to kiss her; slowly backing her into the room. When he felt her arms go around his neck, slowly to be sure, but she was doing it; he kicked the door shut behind him.


Mark’s green eyes widened when Briar suddenly pushed him backwards, actually losing his footing and stumbled. The back of his knees hit the bed and he allowed himself to fall backwards, never looking away from her. If the predatory way she was studying him was any indication of what that little pill was doing to her, he was going to have to beat himself later for not thinking of this sooner.

He watched as her hands slid across her stomach, then upwards until she was cupping her breasts; his breathing become somewhat ragged. “Briar…”

Briar’s own eyes were a stormy grey, almost black in color as she stared at him; her pink tongue slowly licking her lips. A small portion of rationality was shouting at her from the back of her mind but everything else was shoving it aside so the voice got smaller and smaller.

Everything else being the feelings that were coursing through her, what she seen, heard. Everything was just so… sensual. For a moment she was lost in just studying him. His arms were bared thanks to the black leather vest he wore, his tattoos all fighting for her immediate attention.

Mark wondered if she even knew what she was doing, slowly sitting up as she approached him; reaching out to place his hands on her curvy hips. A satisfied smile spread across his lips when she inhaled sharply at the physical contact. He was almost curious just how that drug made a person feel, though not tempted to try it himself.

No, the fact that it was guaranteed to be addicting made that impossible. He liked being in control of his actions. Briar on the other hand, well, he liked her a lot better when she was under the influence.

Hooking his fingers in the waistband of her panties, he slowly slid them down; moving off the bed to kneel in front of her as he drew them down her long legs. One look upward showed her eyes were firmly fastened on him, her mouth parted slightly, her hands still caressing herself.

One leg at a time, she stepped out of the silky garment, a soft moan escaping her when he ran his own strong; somewhat calloused hands up her calves.

“Mmm…” Briar moaned, placing her hands on his shoulders; gently kneading his muscles. She watched as Mark bent his head forward, her breath catching in her throat when she seen what he was about to do. Almost jumping out of her skin, she dug her fingernails into his flesh when his lips came in contact with her inner thigh.

If only she could read his mind, she’d probably murder him, or at least make the attempt. This was going to be so good, in each and every way possible. After tonight, whether she was high or sober, she would always remember tonight.

And she would most definitely remember it was NOT her husband who gave her this pleasure.

Mark had a distracting thought, pulling away from her reluctantly to look towards the bathroom door. Getting to his feet, he gently nudged her towards the bed before walking towards the bathroom. A quick glance in told him what he needed to know. She was sharing a suite with someone, most likely Adam. Scowling, he shut and locked the door, not too pleased with that for several reasons.

The first and foremost being if Adam got nosy, he could very well overhear them and try ending the festivities early. What to do, what to do. Taking a cursory glance around her room, his gaze landed on the television. Not exactly a mood setter but…

Briar impatiently followed his stare, arching an eyebrow. “I have CD’s.” She said slowly, obviously not pleased with whatever was distracting him but getting an idea he wanted some kind of background noise. Rolling over the bed, she leaned off of it to grab a case from the floor, tossing it to him. “CD player on the floor at your feet.”

Not caring what the hell he played, he popped in the first disc and turned the volume up. He should have remembered she’d of been carrying some kind of music, that had at one time been her biggest obsession in life.

I cannot tell you you’re falling apart
Open your eyes if you wanna survive
I want to tell you your love is a lie
But I won’t tell you, I won’t tell you

“Lacuna Coil…” Briar smiled dreamily, opening her arms to him when he returned to the bed; letting out a content sigh when his weight settled over her. “You need to get out of those clothes.” She added as an afterthought, shifting underneath him.

The texture of his jeans and vest against her skin was enough to get her revving again after that unfortunate delay. It just felt so good. Everything felt so good, especially his mustache and neatly trimmed goatee when he began kissing her neck.

“When I’m ready, darlin’.” He murmured, wondering just how long this high would last. From what he had been told and found out, anywhere from six to nine hours, hopefully. That was plenty of time. Though he did worry just a little bit about how addicting this shit was, having been cautioned that a lot of people became addicted after just taking it once.

Well, if that happened, Plan B could officially get put into motion.

So, it was a win-win situation either way he supposed.

Briar snapped him out of his thoughts with her hands running down his chest, dragging her nails against his skin and leaving raised; red scratches in her wake. “Now.” She ordered firmly.

Arching an eyebrow, he pulled himself up so he was sitting, straddling her. “Considering the position you’re in, bossing me around might not be the smartest thing to do.”

“Want me to beg?” She asked sweetly, moving her hands to his jean covered thighs. “Want me on my knees, begging, hmmm?”

He could very easily visualize that. “Yes.”

The second he was off of her, Briar slithered to the floor, getting on her knees and stared at him.

Mark settled himself on the edge of the bed, watching as she scooted forward until she was resting between his legs. But she wasn’t speaking, instead a look of intense concentration took over her features; her hands darting out to quickly unfasten his jeans. Almost against his will, he leaned back and arched his hips, allowing her to pull the pants down.

I cannot get so deep into this now
I can’t admit that I know what I know and
I want to tell you your love is a lie
I won’t tell you, I won’t tell you

“Damn, Briar!” He grunted when her hot, eager mouth all but attacked him; gripping the sheets in his fists. He never tore his eyes from her head, finally reaching out to let her hair down from the ponytail it was being confined in.

She let out a muffled moan when he buried his hands in her now loose hair, letting him tug as much as he wanted too. Instead of hurting like she would have supposed, it was a turn on. Everything was a turn on right about now though.

What she could do with her mouth… It took every ounce of self control he possessed to not start fucking that sweet mouth of hers, knowing she’d probably love it anyway. “Darlin’, if you don’t want me to cum, I’d stop that…” He cautioned harshly when she began swallowing him.

Her answer was a sort of muted laugh, which only made him groan as the vibrations assaulted him.

Wantonly moaning, Briar reluctantly pulled away and lavasciously licked her lips; tilting her head back to stare up at him.

The lust in her eyes was plain as day, her lips slightly puffy. She looked ready to be ravaged. Growling, he brutally pulled her up to him by her hair, their mouths crashing together furiously. This was what he wanted. He wanted her to desire him as much as he desired him.

Maybe he wouldn’t have to drug her to get it next time.

Don’t ever tell me I’m falling apart
Don’t ever tell me I will not survive
Sometimes naked truth is what I can’t believe in
Don’t ever tell me I’m falling apart
Don’t ever tell me I will not survive

When he unceremoniously threw her done onto the bed, Briar propped her upper body weight on her elbows, watching through slanted eyes as he shed his clothes. She had seen him nude before but only a brief glimpse before running off. Now she took the time to study him.

As much time as he gave her anyway.

“Do you want me?” He demanded as he slid his body along hers, gently pushing her down.

“Yes.” She whispered, her arms snaking around him; arching against him. “I want you.”

That’s what he had wanted to hear.


Mark watched as Briar slept, tucked against him; her head resting in the crook of his arm; her back to his chest. Careful not to wake her, he reached down to brush a sweat soaked strand of hair away from her pale face. He had assumed it would have been a fuck, but…

It wasn’t.

And that bothered him.

The way she had responded to his touch; to his kisses. The way she had held nothing back, giving herself to him completely.

He had made love to her.

And it was mentally coming back to kick him in the ass.

Mark wasn’t ignorant enough to confuse obsession with love, he knew better. He just hadn’t been expecting the way she had acted. What he had been expecting was her wanting to sleep with whatever happened to pass by, a fast and quick session.

Instead, she had thrown him for a loop. She hadn’t wanted things rushed, she had wanted to take her time, enjoy the moment.

So he had taken his time and together they had enjoyed several moments. It was so strange because it wasn’t really slow at all but it wasn’t rushed. Her energy had astonished him, her confidence, the way she had… He shook his head, he was going to give himself a hard on just by thinking about everything they had done.

Of course, it wasn’t because she LOVED him. No, he knew that. She didn’t even LIKE him. In fact, when she woke up, if she was sober; she was probably going to call the cops or something else that was relatively ineffectual.

It was because he had drugged her.

In the two years since he had seen her, Mark had forgotten something about Briar. She tended to bring out the moral side of him. The side that stopped to contemplate the consequences of his actions. He didn’t like that.

At all.

“Mmm…” Briar yawned, rolling over to snuggle her face in his chest; tossing her arm around him.

He almost felt bad, staring down at her face. She looked so peaceful, so content. He probably just started her back on the road of destruction, knowing she’d probably be back on drugs after this. Thanks to him having her food tainted with meth.

Don’t ever tell me this love is a lie
Cause I’m the lie, I’m the liar


“Bri, get your lazy ass up, we’re running late!”

“Fuck off, Adam…” Briar groaned, not even opening her eyes. She was so damn tired. Yawning, she snuggled against- her eyes flew open, locking on a still sleeping Mark. Her mouth dropped in a perfect O of horror, the night’s events flooding her unwilling mind.

“Briar, come on!”

“In- in a minute!” She shouted, her voice sounding squeaky to her.

“Or you could just stay in bed with me.” Mark rumbled, drawing her closer, not opening his eyes. “Tell him to go, precious.”

“I-“ Briar was at a loss for words, confused beyond all belief. She remembered what had happened but she couldn’t understand WHY it happened. She felt absolutely NO desire for this man, not unless he was forcing her too of course. But he hadn’t forced her, at all.

Smirking, Mark rolled on his back, dragging her with him so she was laying sprawled out on top of him; finally looking at her. “You were delicious.” He said simply, running his hands down her back to squeeze her bottom. “Don’t cry, Briar. There’s nothing to cry about.”

She shook her head, ignoring his ‘don’t cry’ and cried. “No… no…”

“Bri, I’m-“ Adam let himself in with his keycard, freezing in the doorway at what he saw.

Briar’s head shot up, staring at him. “Adam…”

“Briar?” He mewled weakly. “Bri… what…” He trailed off, shaking his head and scowled. “I’m calling the police, ‘Taker.”

“Go for it. She can tell them how she wanted it this time around.” Mark said, sounding bored, not looking away from her. “Isn’t that right, precious?”

Briar slowly turned her confused stare back onto him, not saying a word.


Briar rode silently behind Mark, her arms clasped around his waist loosely; cheek pressed to his broad back with her eyes closed. To anyone they passed, they might have looked like a couple, she was holding on so she wasn’t tempted to jump and become just another smear on the highway.

But how great was the temptation!

Her mind wouldn’t let her relax, if it were possible. She was tired as hell and she knew why. When she had first woken up that morning to Adam’s voice, she couldn’t understand why she had been ready to go back to sleep for another ten hours or so.

Now she knew.

Mark had drugged her.

And she knew what he had drugged her with. He had whispered it in her ear, taunting her with the information that he could give her more if she wanted it.

Ice. Crystal. Meth.

Pick a term and it was all the same. It was a highly addicting drug and she used to take it before getting into cocaine. She knew the coming down effects. Depression, being tired for no reason… Yeah, she was having both those issues.

Though she wasn’t sure if she could attribute the depression to the drug or to the fact that Mark had just officially fucked her life to hell and back.

Biting back a sob that would have been lost on the wind anyway, she replayed the morning’s events over in her mind.


“Briar, what the hell is going on?” Adam demanded, stepping into the room and closed the door behind him. He ran both his hands through his loose hair, staring at her with an almost frantic expression on his face. He seen the confused look in her eyes, knowing she didn’t have a very good answer for him.

Then again, there could never be a good answer to this situation. Never ever.

Mark answered instead. Grunting, he pushed himself up into a sitting position; one arm going around Briar to keep her in place on him and leaned back against the headboard. Not looking away from her bemused face, he said: “Last night Briar got a little…”

“Mark, please.” She whispered, closing her eyes when he gripped her chin; feeling his fingers digging into her jaw.


Adam’s eyes narrowed. “Bullshit.”

“Want to have her drug tested since you don’t believe me?” Mark sounded amused, sparing Adam a quick; condescending glance. “Of course that would mean that when she fails it, she’ll either go back to the hospital or to prison.”


Briar was shaking her head rapidly.

“Boy, don’t be thick in the head” Mark said, though the insult wasn’t laced with scorn but still amusement It was all too obvious he was having a good time with this situation.” She’s a repeat offender who’s been in and out of jail since she turned sixteen and a mental institution to top it all off. Her pert ass will be sitting in a six by six prison cell the minute it comes out she decided to get herself all drugged up.”

“I don’t believe a word that just came out of your mouth, Briar wouldn’t-“

“Just like she wouldn’t slice herself up anymore either, hmm?” Mark countered, holding up her arm; showcasing the healing cuts she had inflicted on herself, cuts Adam was already aware she had. “You need a reality check boy. Tell me she didn’t cut herself.” He waved her arm, throwing the evidence in Adam’s face. “Go on, tell me.”

Adam couldn’t answer that, staring at Briar He knew damn well what Mark was getting at. If she could slice herself up after being ‘clean’ for so long, why not go back to taking drugs? It wasn’t something he liked to consider. “Bri?”

“I didn’t take anything!” She protested, pushing at Mark’s chest with one hand, trying to free the other; her cheeks burning with shame. “Let me go!”

“Why don’t we have that drug test done, hmm? Maybe I can even pull a few strings for you again.” Mark taunted in a soft whisper, watching as her face went paler than usual. “Have them release you back into my care, how would that be, precious?”

She froze instantly, grey eyes widening.

Adam knew then what was going on and paled as well. “You can’t do this to her, man.” He said, trying to keep the tremble from his voice. “She’s fucking married for chrissakes, just leave her alone and get over it. In fact, why don’t you get some help while you’re at it?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Copeland.” Mark said calmly, his face serene. Though he did have to wonder about Briar’s choice in friends. Obviously, Adam wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box, was it wise to provoke an person who apparently wasn’t mentally stable? No, it wasn’t. “I don’t know what it is you think I’m doing but I can assure you you’d be wrong. I’m simply trying to make sure my dead wife’s kid doesn’t destroy her life.”


Briar shook her head, feeling Mark’s body moving under her palms and figured he was laughing or something. She was caught between a rock and a hard place. If she went to a hospital, had herself tested for drugs –and she would definitely come up positive- and then made a statement that Mark had slipped…

No, that wouldn’t work. She had no proof that Mark had slipped them to her. Her brow furrowed thoughtfully. How HAD he managed it? She hadn’t seen him all night until he showed up at her door and by then, she was under the influence, no doubt about it.

That led to another blush, remembering how she acted when she had seen him. Her first initial reaction had been to tell him to go fuck himself but then… Then she had all but jumped him.

She backtracked through her night. She had gotten in, hung out with Adam for a little while then said goodnight. She’d been talking to Jeff about everything that had gone on since he’d gone on his impromptu vacation, and then her food.

It sounded so far fetched, a lot like something from a movie, or a bad novel.


It was entirely possible.

Maybe Mark had paid the waiter, or distracted him, anyhow; that was the only thing she could think of. Mark had somehow managed to drug her food, in turn drugging her.


Behind the motorcycle was Adam along with Jay, following in Adam’s rental car. Adam point blank refused to let her out of his sight. He had filled Jay in on what he knew, how it seemed Mark was implying a threat –well, actually, he had made a threat without actually making it if that made any sense- and that somehow, someway, Briar had wound up higher than a kite the night before.

And somehow, someway, had also wound up taking Mark into her bed; as disgusting as that thought was.

“On what though? And how would she get it?” Jay demanded, shaking his head as he stared through the windshield.

“I don’t know, and I don’t know. I think Mark did it to her, drugged her somehow. Briar… she’s been clean for how long now? And why would she start up again with all this shit going on? Especially with Jeff?”

“Maybe because she couldn’t handle it?” Jay suggested quietly.

Adam scowled, not tearing his eyes from the road. “No. You’re wrong.”


Mark did not want to stop. He knew the minute he did, Briar was off and running back to her guard dog friends who were tailing him. Where was the trust? They were suspicious of him and naturally, but at the same time, they had to tread carefully.

It wouldn’t take too much to bury Briar and everyone knew it. Whether he was lying or not.

Sadly, his gas tank wasn’t cooperating with him and he simply had to pull off on the nearest exit. As he had predicted, the moment he parked, Briar was up and running into Adam’s open arms. He calmly stood there at the pumps, watching as the two blonds converged on her; wrapping her in a protective cocoon.

“Come on honey, get in the car.” Adam soothed, gently passing over to Jay who instantly guided her away from Mark. Once Briar was safely in the car, he glanced at the Phenom, a frown on his face. “Jeff’s on his way back.” He announced.

“He know his wife spent the entire night with me?” Mark drawled, sounding amused as he regarded the smaller, younger man.


That was the kink in the whole ordeal. Briar’s unflinching honesty. Of course, he couldn’t depend on Jeff to act like any normal, rational man and boot her ass to the curb either. No, even when he was on drugs, Jeff was definitely a one of a kind and that was just a pain in the ass. Anything Briar told him, he would believe and probably with good reason since the woman didn’t lie.

What a crock of shit.

Of course it had occurred to him that the pair were genuinely in love but… that wasn’t really his problem, now was it? If anything, he figured separating them was doing them a favor. Passion and love eventually faded into barely there tolerance and then even that was gone.

So, in the long run, he was probably helping Briar and Jeff out.


“Bri, this… this is a lot to take in.” Jeff said softly, raising his gaze from the grass to her face. He had met them halfway at a rest stop. Adam and Jay were currently raiding the vending machines with Glenn while he and his wife walked, and talked. “You… you, wanted him?”

“Yes, no, I mean…” Briar shook her head, unsure how to explain it and stuffed her hands in her back pockets. “Jeff, I was high.” She said pleadingly. “Under normal circumstances, you know I would NEVER want anything to do with him.”

“I know.” He whispered, looking away from her. “I know Bri, it’s just… this is so fucked up. You think he… he had someone drug your food?”


Jeff nodded, kicking off his sandals to skim his bare feet in the grass. “Butterfly, this… I feel like this is my fault.”

Briar had to ask him to repeat himself, not entirely sure if she had heard that correctly. How on earth was this his fault? He hadn’t asked Mark to drug her, or for her to jump Mark’s bones. “I don’t follow you, honey.”

“If I wouldn’t have lied to you, if I would’ve stayed clean… You wouldn’t have felt the need to come on the road and watch me.” Jeff explained, tilting his head back to catch the sun, closing his eyes with a sigh. “You’d be at home safe and sound and we wouldn’t have to worry about what Mark’s going to do.”

Shaking her head, Briar walked over to wrap her arms around him, breathing a sigh of relief when didn’t push her away but enfolded her in a warm and tender embrace. “This isn’t your fault, Jeff.” She said softly, resting her head against his chest, feeling his chin lightly pressing on the top of her head. “It’s his, for being a-“


They looked up in time to see Mark pulling in, Glenn automatically going to run interference. Or maybe attempt murdering the man who wouldn’t leave his adopted little sister alone.

“Come on, time to go!” Jay shouted, waving the pair towards the car, where he and Adam were already going.

“Ah ah ah, Glenn, I wouldn’t if I were you.” Mark said, cutting the engine but not moving from his seat; bracing the motorcycle by planting his feet firmly on the pavement. “I’m just here to take a leak, nothing else.”

“Awfully far outta your way for a piss, now isn’t it?”

Mark shrugged, a smile on his face though it didn’t reach his eyes. “What can I say? I was worried about Briar and followed. Nice to see her and the husband are doing so well.” His gaze strayed to the young couple, eyes narrowing.

“Let them be.”

“Hey Hardy!”


Jeff did not want to hear whatever it was Mark was about to say.

“The next time you go down on your peach of a wife,”

Neither did Briar.

“Let me know how my dick tastes!”


She’s so ashamed of herself
That she’s come full circle
Oh, nobody understands
What it’s like to be this girl

Needless to say, Jeff had attempted to kill Mark right then and there for that and probably would have got in a few good licks if not for Glenn tackling him to the ground and holding him in place. Much to Jeff’s intense displeasure.

Mark had stood there and roared with laughter, at least until Briar –who had been flanked by Jay and Adam- had approached him. Then he had just watched as she kneeled down by her husband and calmed him down.

So much for a fight.

Even though Jeff knew technically Briar wasn’t at fault for her indiscretion with Mark, he still had a hard time dealing with it. Mark’s comment about ‘how my dick tastes’ hadn’t helped any at all. Factor in the stress of worrying about what Mark was going to do…

Their marriage was rocky to put it mildly.

Rocky was probably being kind.

The big question on everyone’s mind was: what WAS Mark going to do? Was there any truth to his threats about somehow managing to get Briar under his guardianship again? Was that possible? She was now twenty-three, married… surely they couldn’t just ignore all that and put her back under someone’s care like a child.

Could they?

Well, Mark seemed to think they could.

Then again, Mark also had money.

They had returned to Tennessee after his Monday night RAW match against Mark, where he had challenged him to a match for Mark’s undisputed title, a ladder match. The challenge came after Mark had beaten his ass from pillar to post and left him leaning on the ring ropes just to keep himself from collapsing.

Not Jeff’s finest hour.

Vince had nearly pissed himself from being so damn happy when Jeff had asked if he could make that challenge. Not so much on the title part but the ladder match part. He believed Jeff deserved the career boost a feud with Mark would give him but he wasn’t so sure if Jeff was ready to hold that title belt just yet.

Jeff hadn’t agreed with that. He wanted to take everything important from Mark and he knew damn well Mark loved holding gold, even if he rarely held it at all.

Mark had ranted and raved for awhile. A ladder match, something he had never been in and something he wasn’t too keen on trying. He was a fucking giant, he’d kill himself on a damn ladder.

Which was what Jeff was actually hoping for truth be told.

Vince was just hoping for good ratings and had instructed the announcers to keep mentioning the fact that this would be the Undertaker’s first ladder match.

He figured he might as well squeeze all he could out of this drama before it blew it up and took his company with it.

So now Jeff and Briar had until the following Monday off, which wasn’t working out in their favor at all. Jeff was still suffering through withdrawal while Briar was craving meth. All in all, not one of their more pleasurable leisure times.

Somewhere, Mark had to be laughing his ass off.


She had the man of her dreams
And some success
And she was so happy and lookin’ well
It was this one dark night, that she slipped
And then the next mornin’ that she
Felt like a piece of shit


“Bit busy, Bri!”

She recoiled at the angry tone to her husband’s voice, hesitating at the foot of the ladder. She raised a hand to shield her eyes from the bright sun, squinting up at him. Jeff was attempting to repair a leak in their roof, something that Glenn had offered to do while he had been staying there but Jeff hadn’t let him.

Briar secretly was betting Jeff was wishing he had let Glenn do it.

Jeff glanced down, frowning when he seen she was still there and tossed aside his hammer; a snarl curving his lips. “What?”

“I have to go to town, did you want to ride with me?”

“What the fuck for?”

Now her eyes narrowed, not appreciating the way he was talking to her. “For a fucking while Jeff, do you want to come or not?”

He snorted, climbing down the ladder; dropping the last few rungs and turned to face her. “What the hell do you need from town, Briar?”

“I don’t know Jeff, I was thinking about picking up your stash, ya know?” She said sarcastically. “Since it’s so obvious you’re wanting a good buzz.”

His green eyes narrowed, gripping the ladder tightly. “While you’re there, why don’t you go get yourself checked out at the health clinic for STD’s since you decided you wanted to fuck Mark all over the goddamn place!”

Both their tempers were riled. Coupled with the strain from everything happening, their drug issues and how sucky life overall in general was…

This promised to be interesting.

“Yes, I fucked him!” Briar screamed, throwing her ungloved arms up in the air exasperatedly, her eyes also rolling heavenward. “I fucked him until it hurt and then fucked him some more! Is that what you want to hear, Jeff?”


“Then how bout you tell me just what you want me to say!”

Jeff gripped her arms tightly, shaking her so hard her teeth rattled. “I want you to look me in the eyes and tell me you didn’t LIKE it!” He shouted right in her face. “Tell me you hated every minute of it, Briar! CAN you tell me that? Hmm? Can you tell me he didn’t have you fucking screaming his goddamn name?!”

Briar smiled coldly, feeling his fingers digging into her flesh. “You got it all wrong, Jeff. I had him screaming MY name.”

He pushed her away from him, looking thoroughly disgusted. “You FUCKED your step-FATHER and you LIKED it!” He hunched over for a moment, as if the mere thought was going to make him physically ill; his chipped black painted fingernails reflecting the sun light as he held his sides tightly. “You threaten to leave me, to keep cutting yourself if I don’t quit with the drugs and what do you do?” He murmured, finally looking at her.

Briar could see he was about to either explode or implode, either way she had no desire to see it happen.

“WHAT DO YOU DO?” He shrieked when she didn’t answer.

Mutely, she shook her head, refusing to say a word.


Briar took a step back, just as he took one forward.

“You fucked him.” He whispered, staring at her haggardly.

Briar wasn’t defending herself anymore. There were only so many times she could tell him she hadn’t taken the meth of her own free will, she had no idea how Mark had gotten it to her –though she did have a theory, but it was just a theory- and she certainly wouldn’t have taken him into her bed if she hadn’t been stoned.

But she was sick and tired of repeating herself.

Either people were going to believe her or they wouldn’t.

The sad part, was Mark was one smart son of a bitch –how many times had she acknowledged this fact over the past few years?-, he knew she could say ‘hey, I didn’t do it’ till she was blue in the face but the simple fact was: everyone knew about her former drug usage.

Actually, she was fairly certain everyone who knew her or Mark knew about her fucking life story.


One day, she was going to pen an autobiography, just so the rest of the world could know as well. Then she could be a lunatic for everyone instead of just a select few.

Jeff stared at her, obviously waiting for some sort of reply. When it became abundantly clear he wasn’t getting one, he shook his head and stepped back. Grunting, he reached around to pull a crumpled pack of Salem’s from his back pocket; placed a cigarette on his lower lip then rifled in his pockets for a lighter. After a moment, he took a long pull from the cigarette, studying her broodingly.

Briar felt the anger draining from her as she stared at him. She loved Jeff with all her heart, she had since the moment she had first laid eyes on him her first night on the road with Mark when she had gotten lost in the hallways. And now…

Now after everything they had gone through just to be with each other and then separately in their respective lives, they were going to fall apart.

She wanted to reach out for him; say or do something to make things right. But there was nothing she could do, or say. He was right. She had slept with Mark, and honestly, she had enjoyed it. Her cheeks burned with shame. She had enjoyed it. She was a slut. She had fucked her step-father.

And he’s a real good guy and he
He wants to save her ‘cause he’s
He’s more than been there all before, oh
And she’s, she’s so confused
And his, his heart is breakin’ and he
Dreams she’s knockin’ on his door, oh, yeah

Of course it hadn’t been anything like it was with Jeff. When she and Jeff made love, the world trembled; stars exploded, it was like the entire universe revolved around them each and every time; without fail.

But her experience with Mark wasn’t anything shabby either.


The anger seemed to drain from Jeff, leaving him standing there looking deflated. He felt worn down, scraped raw on the inside and it was showing on the outside. He stared at his wife, seeing the pain in her telling grey eyes, knowing it was reflected in his own. Was he right in attacking her like this? If he wasn’t going through withdrawal, would he have even gone down this path?

No, he wasn’t and he knew it.

All she had done was say his name and he had felt irate. Then all she had done was ask if he wanted to go to town with her. Such an innocent question, there wasn’t any reason for him to get angry. But he had.

He was just so ANGRY. The majority of his anger was for Mark, not her. But he couldn’t stop himself from taking it out on her. Mark had taken advantage of Briar, he had to keep reminding himself of that. So she had liked it –and boy did admitting that to himself hurt like a son of a bitch-, but he knew what drugs could do to a person.

He knew all too well.

You became less inhibited. You did things you normally wouldn’t do. With people you wouldn’t usually have anything to do with, let alone have sex. Not that he had ever slept with anyone besides her since they had gotten together. No.

Usually, the drugs Jeff had been on didn’t make him want to go jump someone’s bones. They just made him either mellow out or go on a crazy wild energy burst.

They just studied each other, for the first time in their three and some odd months of knowing each other, not knowing what to say.

Something had to happen, something had to be said before either walked away or else their marriage was going to fail and this was a fact both Jeff and Briar recognized. The question was: which one of them would make the first move to repair the damage?

Or was it already too late?


Remember those walls I built
Well, baby they’re tumbling down
And they didn’t even put up a fight
They didn’t even make a sound

It was almost like living with a roommate.

Jeff and Briar skirted around each other for a few days, speaking only when they had no choice. A heavy tension hung over them, like a dark storm cloud that just wouldn’t go away. Everyday chores became something they both dreaded; knowing they had to pass each other by but still not saying a word.

So many chances and yet they couldn’t even look at each other.

They were a married couple in name only, they were acting like awkward strangers.

At best.

They shared a bed still, neither making a move to sleep elsewhere but neither making a move to hold the other either. They just clung to their respective sides, pretending to sleep; desperately wanting nothing more than to roll over and say something.


Hell, at this point, screaming would have been a welcome relief. Anything but this unbearable silence. Ranting and raving, threats; tears, anything but this.

I found a way to let you in
But I never had a doubt
Standing in the light of your halo
I got my angel now

Finally, Jeff couldn’t stand it anymore. He had made this happen, he had to fix it. He was the one who had started screaming at her, who had picked the fight. Over nothing at all. He had put this estrangement on them because he had exploded when she had asked him a simple question.

Jeff had let his anger and rage get the better of him. In a fit of that rage, he had damn near destroyed his marriage. He had to see if he could salvage it now.

He turned his head to study his wife; seeing her back was turned to him, which wasn’t a surprise in the slightest. They always slept with the shades open, letting in the light from the moon which made it easy to see her outline in the darkness.

He frowned when he realized her shoulders were shaking lightly. Like she was trying not to cry. Sighing, he rolled over and hesitantly placed a hand on her side. “Bri?”

She inhaled sharply.

“Butterfly, I’m sorry.” He whispered.

Briar turned so she could bury her face in his chest.

Letting out a small breath of thanks, Jeff wrapped his arms around her, holding her tightly.

It’s like I’ve been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin’
It’s the risk that I’m takin’
I ain’t never gonna shut you out

“I love you, Briar. I’m so sorry, Butterfly.” He apologized, whispering the words over and over again. He wore no shirt and could feel her tears against his skin. It was almost like they were burning into his flesh, each one driving home the point that he had hurt her with his cruel words.

He would make things right.

He had too.

If not for him, she would never have come on the road and none of this would have happened in the first place.

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace

“I’m sorry, Bri, I’m sorry.” He guided her onto her back, gently cupping her chin in his hand, staring down at her through the darkness. “Forgive me, Briar, please. Tell me you still love you.” He begged, bending down to kiss all over her face; tasting her bitter tears. “God… baby, I’m so sorry, I’m-“

Briar shut him up by kissing him, telling him all he needed to know in that one action.

Lightly, Briar ran her hands over his shoulders and then down his back; feeling his muscles rolling under her palms. “I love you.” She whispered huskily, smiling when he murmured a prayer of thanks under his breath.

You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

No more words were needed as they made love. It was slow; explorative. Just getting to know each other as if this was their first time together when in reality they had been down this road together many times before.

There was no rush, no hurry. There was nothing pressing that needed to be tended to, besides themselves; each other.

Hit me like a ray of sun
Burning me through my darkest night
You’re the only one I want
Think I’m addicted to your light


“Hmmm…” He murmured, laying flat on his back with her tucked against his side; her head resting on his chest. One arm was draped around his wife’s nude; damp from perspiration body, the other folded under his pillow.

“I love you.”

He smiled. He would never get tired of hearing those words. She could say them over and over; a million times a day and it still wouldn’t be enough. “I love you too.”

Briar sighed contently, closing her eyes as she snuggled into him.

I swore I’d never fall again
But this don’t even feel like falling
Gravity can’t forget
To pull me back to the ground again

“Are you sure this is what you want?” Jeff asked, gently tugging her so she was lying stretched out on top of him, not minding the weight at all. “Briar… if… if you don’t want to be with,” He had such a hard time getting these words out; his heart beating a furious tattoo in his chest just at the mere thought, threatening to leap out and explode any given second. “Bri, if you don’t want to be with me…”

Briar clamped a hand over his mouth, leaning down to press her forehead to his.

Jeff smiled against her hand when she just kissed his forehead, knowing her answer. That had probably been a bad thing to say on his part but he couldn’t help it. Of course, she had told him all he really needed to know during their love making.

When she removed her hand only to replace it with her lips, her kiss confirmed it.

Feels like I’ve been awakened
Every rule I had you breakin’
The risk that I’m takin’
I’m never gonna shut you out

“I think we oughta build a balcony.”

Briar arched an eyebrow, tilting her head back to kiss Jeff’s unshaven jaw line. They were currently snuggling together in a large round chair in front of the bedroom window, watching the sunrise over the horizon. “Why?” She asked, having a feeling she already knew.

“So we could get our asses out of bed and go sit on our balcony to do this.” He yawned, wrapping his arms around her even tighter, resting his head on top of hers.

This was one of their many ‘things’, one they had established while they were still dating. They’d just sit and watch the sunrise together, enjoy the morning’s quiet in each other’s arms. It was something they hadn’t done in awhile.


“That’d be nice…” She murmured, smiling when he mumbled his agreement.

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace

“Okay, so your momma had this thing with Sleeping Beauty… so what would she have called you if you’d been a boy?”


Jeff snorted, shaking his head and spooned more Frosted Flakes in his mouth; laughing when she refilled her own bowl. “Hungry?”

“Yes, very hungry.” Briar stuck her tongue out at him; reaching across the bed for the carton of milk that rested on the nightstand. “So very kind of you to bring up the food.”

“I know… Philip.”

You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

“Alright, now… lemme see…” Briar tapped her spoon against her nose thoughtfully, giggling when Jeff crossed his eyes at her. “If you weren’t in wrestling, what do you think you’d be doing?”

“I’d be a poor artist, or singer, or both.” He said instantly, laughing when she shook her head. “That wasn’t a fair question to ask, you already knew the answer!”

“I just like hearing you say it!”

Growling, he set aside his now empty cereal bowl and crawled towards her. Ignoring her squeals, he grabbed her by the ankles and drug her down the bed until he was hovering over her. “You’re a little smartass, Butterfly.”

“You love me though!”

“I do, very; very much.”

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
Halo, halo

Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace

“Lets’ get married.”

Briar stopped in drying the dishes, turning to watch as he calmly finished washing them, staring at Jeff curiously. “We’re already married.”

“I meant, let’s renew our vows.” He corrected, passing her the last bowl. He waited until she had gotten over her shock and dried it off, put it away before pulling Briar into his arms, staring down at her intently. “I love you, Briar. I don’t want to lose you.”He said softly. “I know we didn’t have a real wedding and at the time, I never thought to ask if you’d like to-“

Briar placed her finger over his lips, smiling gently. “It was perfect, Jeff. I don’t need a ‘real’ wedding, I didn’t need it then and I don’t need it now. I just need you.”

He beamed down at her.

You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo

I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo
I can feel your halo halo halo
I can see your halo halo halo


“Tonight is the big night, man, you geared for this?” Adam greeted when Jeff and Briar appeared for RAW. He was relieved to see them walking hand in hand, afraid their marriage was officially over after what had happened between Briar and Mark.

He had never been so happy to be wrong.

Especially considering he had gotten a phone call from a crying Briar saying that they had gotten into a fight. He remembered what she had told him, the things she had said to Jeff. The things Jeff had said to her in return.

Yeah, he was glad to see they had apparently worked things out.

“I don’t care one way or the other what happens.” Jeff shrugged, though his green eyes held a hint of fire. Truth be told, the only thing he cared about was breaking Mark’s lumbering ass in half over a ladder. He already knew he wasn’t going to win the championship, not THE championship. There was no way in Hell Vince would allow HIM to wear that belt.

But that didn’t mean he wasn’t going to give this match his all.

“Tonight, is dedicated to you.” He announced, kissing his wife’s temple; laughing when she let out a small giggle. “Whether or not I win that title, who cares. All I care about it beating the shit outta that mother-“

“You’re going to dedicate your impending ass whooping to your wife… ain’t that just the sweetest thing.”

And look who had shown up to rain on their parade.

Jeff sighed, rolling his eyes towards Mark and then flashed a grin that wasn’t friendly in the slightest; baring all his teeth. “Don’t you think it’s time you crawled back under whatever fucking rock you came from?”

Jay, Adam and Briar all stared at Jeff like he had lost his mind; though all three of them also wore hesitant grins.

Briar squeezed Jeff’s hand, backing away when he let go to step towards Mark. She was proud of him for not taking Mark’s shit but at the same time… she just hoped he didn’t let his mouth write a check his ass couldn’t cash.

Mark was studying Jeff thoughtfully, stroking his goatee with his thumb and forefinger as he stared down at the younger man. “You got balls, kid.” He announced finally. “Too bad you’re going to be eating them later.”

“Keep telling yourself that, Callaway. If anything, you’re going to be eating metal when I cram a fucking ladder down that piehole of yours.”

Now Mark was getting irritated. “Boy… who the hell do you think you’re talking too?” He demanded, snorting when Adam and Jay instantly flanked Jeff. As if that would really stop him if he truly wanted to do some damage?

No, hell no, it wouldn’t.

“I think-“ Jeff’s eyes crossed to stare down at the finger that was suddenly pressed against his lips. Disgusted, he recoiled.

“I see what this is.” Mark declared in a low tone of voice, sounding both cruel and scornful; his gaze moving past Jeff and onto the now flushing Briar. “You got to fuck your wife over the week and it gave you a false set.”

Jeff was just as red as his wife.

“Shut up.” Briar hissed, clenching and unclenching her fists tightly at her sides. “Just shut the fuck up, Mark!”

“Why? Truth hurt?”

“No, because nobody cares what you have to say. Poison, remember?”

He did indeed. Her words took him back a few years to where she had said he poisoned everyone he touched, which had been fair turnabout as he had said the same thing about her. Scowling, his eyes darkened. “Maybe so. But the other night, I was just the brand of poison you were wanting, now wasn’t I?”

Jay groaned, shaking his head.

Briar was shaking at this point.

“Face it, Briar.” Mark continued as if he wasn’t standing in the middle of a busy hallway, talking loud enough for people to overhear –and if they eavesdropped, like he really gave a damn anyway. “What happened between us, you WANTED it. You’ve ALWAYS wanted it. Since you like taking trips down memory lane, why don’t you tell your husband and your little friends about the time you came onto me, hmm, Precious?”

She stared at him blankly. “Huh?”

His eyes pierced her, a smirk curving his lips. “Oh, I’m sure you remember. You were all set to take a dive out your bedroom window.”

Realization dawned on her face, frowning.

Jeff knew this story and wasn’t about to let Mark recount it for everyone else’s amusement, at least not the full version. “So she tried to jump and you stopped her, thank you for doing SOMETHING right in your life, Callaway. Now get lost!”

“There’s more to the tale, Jeffy.”

Briar snorted.

“She came onto me afterwards, what was it you said, Briar? ‘Come on, daddy?’ Yeah, that was it, you were begging me to-“ His jaw dropped when she shoved through the men before her in order to slap him.

It had hurt.


“You SON OF A BITCH!” Briar all but screamed at him. “You twisted, rotten son of a bitch! Can’t you ever be decent for once in your pathetic little life? I WANTED YOU? I HAVE NEVER EVER WANTED YOU! HOW DARE YOU EVEN IMPLY THAT I WOULD!”

The entire hallway was now nothing but silence at this point, everyone watching the explosion that was happening between the evil Undertaker and his psychotic step-daughter. Almost everyone was having a tiny trip down memory lane or recalling the gossip that had flown about the locker room those short years ago.

Was history repeating itself?

Mark was staring down at her intently, his face deathly pale except for the livid red mark her hand had left.

“’Come on daddy’? Yeah, I don’t think so, Callaway, you sick fuck. I know what I said and so do you, and while I might’ve made one comment, that was IMMEDIATELY followed with a let down and we BOTH know it! As for what happened last week, we BOTH also know that would have NEVER happened if you hadn’t-“

That was as far as Briar got because Mark had had enough. Snarling, he had reached out and grabbed her by the throat; raising her into the air. When the trio moved to stop him, he tightened his grip threateningly around her neck.

Adam and Jay instantly started pulling Jeff backwards as quick as they could, knowing that was their one and only warning.

Briar was clawing at his hands with her fingernails, her grey eyes spitting venom. After everything this man had put her through, all that he had done to her, he had the audacity… the sheer, fucking nerve to…

She was going to choke on her own thoughts, that was how angry she was.

He had assaulted her. Physically, mentally and emotionally ripped her apart so many times it was a wonder she had been able to be pieced back together. He had let other men do things to her that had led to her being sexually assaulted repeatedly.

Not to mention she had been RAPED and KNOCKED UP by one of his co-workers… and then smacked around right after, BY HIM!

And he STILL had the fucking BALLS to pull this shit on her?

“You-“ She choked on the word when he slammed her back into a wall, groaning as pain coursed through her.

“What? Hmmm? What? You fucking little bitch. I SHOULD have let you jump, you know that? Actually, I take that back. Your mother should have LEFT your ass to bleed to death.” Mark sneered under his breath, watching in sick amusement as tears pricked her eyes. “Aww… is poor Briar going to cry now? Did I just hurt her feelings by mentioning her poor; dead mommy?”

“Put her down!” Jeff shouted, struggling against Adam and Jay, his eyes fastened on his slowly choking wife. “PUT HER DOWN, SHE CAN’T BREATHE!”

Mark ignored him, his attention fastened firmly on Briar, though his grip relaxed enough to let her take shallow breaths. “Admit that you wanted it and I’ll put you down.” He ordered, his words soft enough just so she could hear.


“What the hell is going on here?” Shane demanded, trying to push through the crowd; his dark eyes narrowed angrily. When he seen what had captivated everyone’s attention, as well as Jeff being forcibly restrained, his eyes were nothing more than slits. “Put her down, Callaway before you find yourself out of a job.”

Mark’s shoulders were shaking with barely suppressed laughter at that one. “Yeah, sure Shane. You going to be the one to tell your daddy why his main event star isn’t here to make history?”

“I’m sure he’ll live.” Shane said through gritted teeth, though he also knew Mark had just made a point. Vince wouldn’t allow Mark to be fired at this point in his career, not with him about to turn ‘face’ which would likely draw in the crowds again.

“Say it, Briar.” Mark ordered.


Adam let go of Jeff when Mark actually kissed Briar, right there in front of everyone, groaning when Jay didn’t. “Man, let him loose, that’s his wife!”

Sighing, Jay let go.

Jeff went full speed; grunting when Mark turned in time to punch him with his free fist, dropping to the floor with a groan of pain.

The impressive thing was, Mark hadn’t stopped kissing the struggling Briar.

Briar clenched her teeth, using her hands to inflict whatever damage she could on him. He had officially lost his mind and if she had her way, at the very least he’d be suspended. Vince had done that before, suspended him, he’d do it again.


A second later she was sliding down the wall, realizing tears were trickling from her eyes and looked up; seeing Glenn through her blurry vision.

Glenn was irate. He came back to this? What the HELL had he missed? When he’d seen what was going on, he had done what apparently nobody else had thought of. He had punched Mark directly in the back of his thick skull, effectively dropping the big man.

“You alright, honey?” He asked softly, stepping over Mark’s cursing form to help her up, watching from the corner of his eye as Jeff was also helped up by blond and blonder.

“Yeah.” She sniffled, hugging her adopted brother for a moment before turning to look at her husband. She sighed when she seen the bruise on his cheek, knowing he had to still be seeing stars. The only silver lining she could see was the fact that he didn’t have to perform for awhile yet.

Jeff managed a crooked smile.

Shakily, Briar returned it.

“Shows over folks, get back to work.” Shane ordered, glaring down at Mark. “You and me, Callaway, we need to have a little talk, don’t you think?”

Mark just flipped him off, one hand cradling the back of his throbbing head.

“Fuck if I am.”

Shane pinched the bridge of his nose, sighing exasperatedly and finally returned his gaze to Mark. He took in the other man’s angry posture and groaned. Mark was sitting in a metal folding chair, his legs stretched out in front of him with his arms folded over his chest; chin jutting out defiantly. “Yes, you will.”

Mark shook his head, scoffing. “No.”

Ever since the incident in the hallway with Briar, they had been going back and forth over this. Shane had had Mark escorted into his temporary office –after Mark had recovered his equilibrium from being punched in the back of the head courtesy of Glenn.

And so far, Shane wasn’t gaining any ground and he was beginning to get seriously frustrated with this already.

“It’s either that or I’ll haul your ass before the board of directors AND Linda.” He threatened, a biting edge to his tone.

Mark slowly raised one auburn eyebrow, his upper lip curling into a sneer. “Is THAT right now?” He drawled amusedly, pulling one leg back until the heel of his boot touched the chair leg. “Tell you what Shane. I’ll go see this shrink,” Here he shook his head again, sounding disgusted now. “On ONE condition though.”

It was Shane’s turn to arch an eyebrow. “I don’t think you’re in any position to be asking for conditions, Callaway.”

“Oh… but you’ll do it, or else I’ll go over your head, just like you’ll go over mine.” Mark said amicably, examining his fingernails idly. He glanced up, flashing a friendly grin though there was nothing friendly about it.

There was nothing like being backed into a corner to make a person rethink themselves, especially when it was this jackass before him doing the backing. Not liking this one bit, Shane just gestured for Mark to continue.

Smirking, Mark rested his elbows on his knees and leaned forward; green eyes sparkling with ill humor. “You want me to see a shrink, that’s fine. But I want you to have Mr. and Mrs. Hardy drug tested. Tonight.”

Paling, Shane cleared his throat. There was a reason he had sent Jeff home that week, drug testing. “Mark, look-“

“Let me put it to you this way, Shane. If you don’t have them both tested TONIGHT, then you can go ahead and run to mommy and tell her all about me, I don’t give a flying fuck. I’ll make sure to let her and the board know that you’ve been letting your employees wrestle while they’re stoned outta their minds.”

Mark’s grin grew even broader when Shane finally nodded.


“Glenn, I’m fine, okay?” Briar sighed, shaking away his arm irritably. She loved him, honestly she did but he was so damn overprotective it sometimes drove her up a wall, like right now for instance. He was going to literally, drive her up a wall, without using brakes and going at full speed. All he had done was fawn over her since they got in the damn room.

They were currently in Glenn’s dressing room, they being her and Glenn, Adam and Jay.

Shane had shown up about ten minutes ago to commandeer Jeff and he had yet to return. Most likely Shane was busy running down how the night’s ladder match was going to go.

Whereas Vince liked things to just kind of flow and go where it would go, Shane preferred to know what was going to happen and how.

Glenn shook his head, pulling her back down onto the couch when she tried getting up. Firmly, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, forcing her to sit still this time. “What was that all about out there?”

“Mark was being his usual asshole self.” Briar muttered.

Jay instantly launched into a lengthy explanation.

Briar was murdering him with her eyes the entire time.

Glenn’s forehead furrowed with each passing second, with each word that came from Jay’s –and occasionally Adam’s mouths-, his mouth nothing more than a grim line. “So he drugged her, then took advantage…” He exhaled heavily, slowly turning his head to stare at the crimson Briar. “Did you report it?”

“Are you insane?” She hissed at him, eyes wide. “I have a record against me. I’d go back to the institution for sure.”

“Yeah, especially since she cut herself a few weeks ago too.” Adam added helpfully, groaning when Jay smacked him upside the back of his head. “What? It’s true and-“ He moved when he got slapped again, grumbling under his breath.

This wasn’t good, not at all. Glenn ran a hand over his bald skull, staring at Briar intently. “So… you didn’t report it. You ever think that maybe people could back your story up?” He demanded edgily, wondering what the hell had been going through her mind.

Though a second later he felt kind of bad for thinking that since obviously, her mind hadn’t been her own at the time.

“How?” She shot back, sounding just as edgy. “Glenn, who else was there? I couldn’t have gone in for a rape kit either, I was so fucking out of it, I wouldn’t have even THOUGHT about it and-“

“And then the next morning, I walked in on her and Mark.” Adam said bluntly, folding his arms over his chest.

Glenn arched an eyebrow, shifting in his seat to stare at Adam. “Yeah?”

“And he made her ride with him, there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.” Sighing, he launched into the story, filling Glenn in on the pit stop, then Jeff’s physical confrontation after Mark’s less than charitable words. “Man, if I thought going in and doing a rape kit would have done any good, I’d of made her go.” He said sincerely, shooting Briar an apologetic look. “But the fact is, she didn’t look hurt. She looked… comfortable.”

“Thanks, Adam.” She muttered sourly.


Jeff stared at Shane incredulously, beginning to shake his head back and forth slowly but soon gaining momentum. “No, no, NO!” He all but screamed. “You can’t let her be tested, man! There ain’t no damn way!”

Shane stared at Jeff with wide eyes. He knew as soon as Mark had said Mrs. Hardy needed tested too that something bad was in the works but now he knew for certain.

Sadly, he could also guess just what it was. Jeff being on drugs wasn’t surprising, especially given his shoddy work ethic as of late.

But Briar…?

Well, given her past, maybe he shouldn’t have been surprised.

“She’ll test positive?” He asked quietly, knowing it was all too easy to be overheard if someone took a hankering to listen outside the door.

“Yes.” Jeff whispered, his hands covering his mouth now, talking through black painted fingernails. “Meth, she’d test positive for meth.”

Shane let out a low whistle and raked a hand through his hair, deciding he would be attributing the new greys he was bound to be growing to Jeff, Briar and of course; his favorite psychopath, Callaway. “So… she’s um, doing… meth, is it?” He asked calmly, mildly surprised at how casual he sounded.

Jeff shook his head, closing his eyes briefly. “No, no…. She’s not doing meth.” He inhaled deeply, still speaking through his fingers. “Mark somehow slipped it to her, we think by her food or something. But… She doesn’t do drugs, okay? Briar is CLEAN, except for this. And it wasn’t her doing, she wouldn’t… She’s not…” He couldn’t form the words, didn’t know how to explain it. Finally he dropped his arms down by his sides and stared at Shane. “My wife doesn’t do drugs.” He said firmly. “She’s the reason I’ve been cleaning myself up, okay?”

“Jeff, if she tests positive, it’ll go-“

“I know exactly what’ll happen but Briar’s a special case. She’ll be back in that fucking mental institution.” Jeff was on the verge of tears now, knowing he had to pull it together. He spun around, presenting his back to Shane in order to gather himself. After a few moments, he slowly turned back to his boss, a little bit calmer. “Look, there was an incident a few weeks ago and if that got out on top of this drug thing, she’d wind up in the hospital again.”

Shane didn’t want to know so he didn’t ask.

“Test me, I’ll come up positive, I don’t care. But NOT Briar, please, Shane?”

“The order’s already been put in, Jeff.” Shane said softly, wishing he could rescind it but there wasn’t any way he could without it looking suspicious. “I’m sorry…”

“Is Vince here?”

“Yes, he wants to see-“ Shane stopped when Jeff stormed from the room, blinking. “The match…”


“Mrs. Hardy?”

Briar looked up from her hands when a brown haired woman she didn’t recognize at all poked her head into the room. “Yes?” She murmured, glancing at the men, noting they all were frowning; apparently they knew her.

“Could you come with-“

“What’s going on?” Glenn demanded, pushing himself off the couch to tower over the woman as she stepped in. He knew her all right, she was with Alex’s medical staff and her job was to administer drug tests.

“Well, Mrs. Hardy needs to be drug tested.” The woman said unapologetically, this was her job and she had no reason to be sorry for it. “It states in every contract that random tests will be performed and here we are, ready and random.”

Briar made an odd, rasping noise.

Adam moved to stand in front of her. “Wait a second, who ordered it?”

“It’s random, does it-“

“Fuck if it’s random.” Jay snorted, shaking his head. “You just haul your ass on-“


The woman was rudely shoved aside as Jeff came flying through the doorway, pushing her away. She let out a shriek, catching herself on the wall and stared at the pair. “Mr. Hardy, you’re going to have to come with me as well.”

“Get lost.” Jeff snapped, wrapping his arms around his wife. “This is Callaway’s doing.” He whispered in her ear. “Don’t let them test you, Briar. Refuse it.”

She stared up at him, frowning. “I’ll be in breach of contract then, won’t I?”

“Fuck Vince. We know what’ll happen if you do this.” Jeff ran his fingers down the side of her face. “I’m not losing you Briar, not because he can’t let things go.”

“Mrs. Hardy-“

“I’m not doing it.” Briar said firmly, looking past Jeff.

“You realize I have to inform Mr. McMahon that you’re refusing-“ She hesitated when Glenn stepped towards her, deciding to beat it before she got hurt.

Adam and Jay exchanged looks, knowing this wasn’t going to go over very well.


“Dad, maybe-“

Vince held up a hand, not in the mood for Shane’s weakness. “I don’t care WHY Callaway wants this done or what he got you with but the fact that that little… urchin, refused… What does she have to hide, Shane?”

“Dad, if you’d listen to me.”

“She has to have it done, or else there’ll be an inquiry.” Vince said flatly, not amused with the night’s events. He had arrived on the scene only to be greeted with officials and security telling him everything that had happened. “Jeff too, make them do it.”

“And if they don’t?” Shane asked tiredly, already knowing they wouldn’t.

“Fire them.”

Nodding curtly, Shane headed for the door.

“Oh , Shane?”

Sighing, he halted, not bothering to turn around.

“Do it, AFTER the ladder match.”

“That’s my pops.” Shane muttered sarcastically, slamming the door shut behind him.


“Hey Jeff.”

Jeff looked up from his bouncing when Briar stepped into the room. “Hey.”

“I just wanted to wish you good luck.” She said softly, reaching out to hug him, smiling when he returned it before stepping back. “This is the biggest night of your career.”

He nodded, bending down then coming back up, too excited to stay still.

She stared at him intently.

Jeff finally let out a sigh, nodded and kissed her forehead. “See you afterwards, Briar.” He said, heading for the door.

She watched as he hesitated for a moment before all but attacking the door, letting out a roar before disappearing down the hallway. “Wow…”

“And cut…”

Jeff poked his head back in, flashing her a nervous smile. “I’ll see you in a bit, Butterfly.”


Briar paced anxiously for the rest of the night, more so when it came crunch time. She joined Adam out in the hallway near the gorilla position to watch the match on one of the monitors; smoking inside against rules.

She didn’t care at the moment. The rules were being tossed out the window so why not?

“Think Mark will…”

“Beat the shit out of him.” Adam said apologetically, not tearing his eyes from the screen, watching as Callaway made his entrance. “Damn… this isn’t going to be pretty. Bri, why don’t we just go wait in the locker room?”

“I’m watching this, Adam.” She said flatly. Mark was the reason she was supposed to be drug tested, Mark was out to destroy her life.

Why not? He’d gotten what he wanted, a few fucks. Why not try sending her back to the hospital where she’d be permanently out of his hair and not a distraction? Since that’s apparently what she was. A giant distraction that he couldn’t ignore.

She nodded when Glenn joined them, allowing him to place a comforting hand on her shoulder and leaned back into her adopted brother.

“It’ll be alright, kid.” He grunted.



As Adam had said, the match was brutal. Jeff looked like he was ready to drop and die on more than one occasion but he never stopped fighting; he never stopped getting up. Of course he had pretty much sealed his fate the minute he decided to hop onto ‘Taker’s bike, pissing the Dead Man off beyond belief but…

“No… no, what’s he doing?” Briar hissed, watching with wide eyes as her husband gestured for a microphone.

“Hey! Hey!” Jeff didn’t even sound like Jeff. His voice was raspy, he sounded tired, which he was.

‘Taker braked on top of the stage, turning his head back to look at the broken boy he had left in the ring, feeling like he was almost broken as well. Never again, no more ladder matches.

“You haven’t broke me, ‘Taker!”

“Jeff, please, shut up.” Briar whispered.

‘Taker put down the kickstand, beginning to dismount.

“You haven’t broke me!” Jeff panted, watching out of wild eyes as ‘Taker set aside his title. “I’m still standing!”

“No you’re not kid, just lie down.” Glenn murmured, holding Briar tight, glancing at Adam when he moved in to pat her arm sympathetically.

It looked like she was about to become a widow.

Mark listened to Jeff, his own eyes wide. This kid had balls, that was for damn sure. Mouth open, he slid into the ring; impatiently knocking aside a ladder that was in his way. He wasted no time in jerking Jeff upright, placing a hand on top of the kid’s head and rearing back his fist.

“No, no, no…” Briar whispered harshly.

Mark stopped, staring down at Jeff. Damn, this boy looked downright pathetic, it was sad, really. He noted the only reason Jeff was vertical was because his arm was locked around the top ring rope, looking like he’d been through hell and back.

Which, he had.

Everyone’s mouths dropped when Mark actually raised Jeff’s arm in up.

Especially Jeff’s.

When Mark let go, Jeff dropped face first to the canvas, groaning. There wasn’t a single part of his body that wasn’t aching.

“You got balls kid.” Mark said, shaking a finger. “I’ll give you that.”

Jeff somehow managed to turn his head to the side, watching as Mark headed for the ropes.


“Give him some damn room…” Alex ordered, his arm firmly wrapped around Jeff’s waist, letting the young wrestler lean into him as he guided him backstage. “Come on, get outta the way…”

“Lemme through!” Briar ordered, shoving her way to Jeff with Adam right behind her, quickly moving to his other side. “Honey…”

“I feel like shit.” Jeff whispered, managing a pained smile.

“You look like shit.”

“Thanks, love you too.” He groaned, trying not to laugh when she flashed him a grin. “Don’t, Bri, my ribs hurt.”

“No shit, Hardy.” Alex snorted, grateful Glenn had taken over clearing the halls.

Soon they were in the medic’s room, Briar instantly noting that the woman –who she had learned was Dr. Maron, and the doctor part was iffy- was lurking in the corner. Ignoring her for the time being, she hovered around until Alex finally threatened to have her thrown out.

Glenn had flexed his muscles to cement that.

Briar resigned herself to a chair.

“How’s he looking?”

All eyes moved onto Vince who was closely followed by Shane.

“Well, he needs some rest, a few days off and some time OUT of the ring. ‘Taker coming in?” Alex asked, not looking up from wrapping Jeff.

“No, he’s fine.”

Alex snorted, making it clear what he thought of Mark’s diagnostic abilities.

Vince clapped his hands together, looking both determined and polite –which was never a good combination- and glanced back and forth between Jeff and Briar. “Since we have you both in here… Dr. Maron?”

She stepped forward.

Alex shot her a look. “You’re kidding me, right? You’re going to draw blood and make him piss in a cup?”

“Dude, I don’t think I can piss…” Jeff moaned. “Are my balls even attached?”

Despite the severity of the situation, Briar giggled. “I’ll check for you tonight, baby.” She promised.

“Gee, thanks.” He mumbled, looking blearily at Maron, then to Vince.

“You’re both being tested tonight.” Vince said in a voice that left no room for argument.

“Callaway, wait out in the hallway.” Alex ordered tersely, glancing behind Shane. “We’re busy.”

“So I’m supposed to wait in the hallway with a possible concussion?”

“I think you’ll live.”

Briar was staring at Mark intently, not too happy right now.

“Briar, you can go first.” Vince said, bringing attention back to himself.

“I don’t think so.”

“You want to wait for Jeff?”

“No, I’m not going to be tested.”

Shane was waiting for it, watching curiously as Vince’s face went white for a moment before turning a brilliant shade of red. He never reacted very well when someone told him something like this. At all. Sighing, he leaned back against the wall, knowing at the very least, this would be interesting to observe.

“You’re not… You don’t have a choice, I’m afraid, Briar.” Vince tried keeping his tone calm, and polite, though when she shot him a ‘oh really’ look, it was hard. “Part of your contract is that you agree to subject yourself to random drug testing.”

Briar had been told that all night but didn’t remember reading that during the contract signing. However, she had been so spaced out over Jeff that day that she was surprised she had managed to sign her signature without screwing that one up too.

Mark’s green eyes were taking all of this in, his face blank.

“So, you’ll either do the testing or face the consequences.”

Briar looked at Jeff who just nodded at her. “I’ll take the consequences.”

“Briar, you realize, if you have nothing to hide this isn’t really that big a deal.” Vince said genially. “Just a little blood, a cupful of-“

“Piss. No, thanks.”

“What’re you hiding?” Mark spoke up.

Jeff moved to hop off the table only to wind up with Alex and Glenn holding him steady. “Let me go.” He snarled.

“Hardy, I’ll sedate you.” Alex threatened.

Adam finally moved from his place right behind Briar, ready to help hold Jeff down if he needed too.

“Why do you care?” Briar shot back angrily at Mark, her grey eyes narrowing.

“I’m wondering what you’re hiding.”

Vince snorted. “I think we all know what she’s hiding.”

“I think almost everyone knows what she’s hiding.” Adam sneered. “She’s hiding the fact that that asshole,” He stabbed a finger in Mark’s direction. “Drugged her just so he could fuck her!”

“Prove it.” Mark drawled, tilting his head to the side as he surveyed the smaller man. “Come on, Copeland, where’s the proof?”

It wasn’t Jeff who went after Mark, it was Briar.

Surprised, he actually stumbled backwards, trying to grab her wrists as she punched him as hard as she could, over and over again. “Someone get this druggie bitch off of me!” He ordered.

For the most part, everyone was watching, too shocked to really do anything besides stare.

“You lying son of a bitch!”

Mark growled when she actually caught the corner of his mouth, his tongue darting out to feel the spot, not surprised to find it bleeding. Snarling, he backhanded her, sending her sprawling to the floor.

“Now Mark, that was uncalled for.” Vince scolded, watching wide eyed as Glenn helped Briar off the floor; wincing when he seen the bruise already forming on her cheek.

“Come here, Briar, let’s check that.” Alex sighed, shooting Mark a nasty look. “I hope he gets written up for that.”

“She did attack him first.” Vince pointed out.

Dr. Moran sighed heavily. “Are we doing the testing or not?” She demanded impatiently. “My time is being-“

“You’re salary and always on the clock so shut it.” Shane snapped, brushing past his father to stand in front of Briar. “You won’t submit to the drug testing?” He asked softly.

She shook her head no.

“I won’t either.” Jeff announced, sliding off the table and going to relieve Glenn of his wife.

Vince inhaled deeply, looking angry. “Then I have no choice but to fire you both.”

They shrugged, apparently having expected that.

Shane rounded on Mark, for the first time all night smiling. “Well Callaway, your condition was met –though I’m sure not to your ends- now, it’s time for you to meet mine.”

Mark’s mouth turned down into an angry scowl/frown.

That had backfired badly.


Two Years Later…

“Glenn, Glenn, Glenn!”

Glenn was sitting in a chair in the hallway, lacing his boots when he heard Adam’s incessant mouth running, inwardly rolling his eyes. “What,” He sighed as Adam finally skidded to a halt beside him. “Do you want?”

Adam doubled over, placing his hands on his knees, apparently trying to catch his breath. “It’s Briar…” He gasped, letting out a yelp when he was suddenly pulled vertical by his blond hair. “HEY MAN, THAT HURTS!”

Glenn let go, but didn’t back up, now towering over the other man. “What about her?” He demanded.

“She’s having a baby!”

Glenn blinked, recoiled and slumped back against the wall. “What?”

Adam nodded excitedly. “Yeah, she just called to tell us!” He started bouncing around happily. “She says she’s two months along and they just found out yesterday.”

Glenn still was in shock, his mouth opening and closing like a fish’s.

“Uh, big man, you okay?”

“Jeff and Briar, are… having a… She did QUIT wrestling, right?”

“Yeah, yeah, of course.” Adam said, waving a hand as if that should have been obvious. “Don’t you watch TNA?”


“Well anyways, she’s just been valeting for awhile so it’s not like she’s been doing too much wrestling anyways lately. But Carter gave her time off and everything since it’s too dangerous for her to even be ringside.”

“Who the hell is Carter?”

“Dixie Carter, moron. She, nevermind.”

Glenn had to sit back down in order to digest this. Last he knew, Jeff and Briar had been planning a second honeymoon, wanting to go mountain climbing or something. This hadn’t been in their plans and it was throwing him for one hell of a loop. “Does Cindy know?” He asked finally.

“Yeah, I guess. You could hear Jeff in the background arguing with her.” Adam smirked. “Something about if a woman brushes her hair upside the baby’s cord thingy could wrap around its neck.”

“The um, baby, isn’t uh… far enough along for that… even if it WAS true…” Glenn said, beginning to come out of his daze.

“I think that’s what Jeff was trying to tell her but… it’s Cindy.” Adam shrugged as if that explained it all, and it did.


Briar was having a baby. Mark shook his head and slunk back into his dressing room, quietly closing the door behind him. He was STILL in therapy, once a month thank God, but it was a nuisance he didn’t like having to deal with.

She and her husband had been gone for two years or so, from his understanding Jeff had done the independent circuit for awhile before signing with TNA, now that had been a no brainer.

What had shocked him was the fact that TNA was still up and running, in fact, they had gone from a once a week pay per view to actually having a show.

Would miracles ever cease?

Apparently not.

Grudgingly, he had kept tabs on the pair, mainly to know what was going on with Briar. He no longer felt the need to possess her, break her, whatever. He would attribute that to the therapy Shane was forcing him to endure.

No, he had kept tabs because he was curious to know just what she would do with her life. He was also curious about Jeff, truth be told.

They had thrived.

Had Jeff cleaned up? Had Briar stayed clean?

And when the fuck was his therapy going to end?


“Jeff, get off of me.”

Jeff smirked, listening as his wife began grumbling profanities under her breath. He was sitting on top of her thighs, gently feeling her stomach. She was shirtless, which really worked out for him since she couldn’t hide her flesh. “Two months… and you’re THIN again.” He growled. “I MISS the curves.”

“Oh honey, I’ll have so many curves, you’ll be sick of me.” Briar assured him, her grey eyes sparkling with amusement even if she pretended to be annoyed. She had started training when Jeff had signed with TNA but never actually bulked up or lost any of the weight she had gained. She had LIKED not being a stick figure.

At least until morning sickness has struck. Briar hadn’t been able to keep anything down besides Ginger Ale and that sometimes was pushing it, thus dropping some weight. They’d both thought she had caught a bug that had been going around, yeah… no.

“Mmm… you’ll be like this,” Jeff made a rounding gesture in front of his own stomach. “All… curvaceous and luscious and totally freaking knocked up.”

“I’m knocked up now!”

“But it doesn’t LOOK it!”

She rolled her eyes, huffing.

Bending down to plant tiny kisses over her abdomen, Jeff flashed her a smile. “I love you, Butterfly. And I don’t care how big you get, you’re still beautiful.”

“You best be getting big with me.” She threatened, though she too was smiling.

Jeff appeared to consider it. “How big we talking here?” He asked finally. “Cause I gotta tell you, Bri, I don’t see myself as you know… like, say… King Kong Bundy size.”


He slapped his face. “Never mind…”


“I have a deliver for Mrs. Briar Hardy.”

Jeff stared at the UPS driver in front of him, peering behind the burly man’s shoulder and arched an eyebrow. “Uh… from where?”

“No name, just a shipment from…” The guy glanced down at the clipboard in his hand. “Texas.”

The frown deepened. “Texas?” The only person they knew it Texas was… “Is it um, something bad?”

“No idea. Is-“

“I’m her husband, I’ll sign for it.” Jeff said, taking the board. “Just… put whatever it is on the porch.”

“Whatever you say.”

A half hour later their front porch looked like a nursery. Jeff stood there slack jawed, wondering what the hell. None of it was new, that was obvious. It actually looked… old, and worn. In good condition, just old. He wandered through the things, hesitant about touching any of it, though he couldn’t resist reaching out and popping a few of the air bubbles in the bubble wrap that had been wrapped around every article of furniture.

There were trunks and boxes and all he could wonder was: what the fuck?


“Uh honey, did you go to an auction?” Briar asked curiously, closing the car door shut behind her. She lowered her sunglasses, surveying the porch. “What is all this?”

Jeff was sitting on the wooden steps, his elbows resting on his knees. “I have no idea, Butterfly. It came for you an hour ago.”

“Oh, okay. Who from?” She was already moving past him only to freeze. “WHO FROM?”

The tone of her voice told Jeff there was a problem and he shot to his feet, turning to see Briar was staring down at an old, water stained trunk. “Uh, from Texas, there wasn’t a-“

“This was Theresa’s.” She whispered, bending down to gingerly touch the lid; pulling back as if she had been burnt.

He knew Theresa was her dead mother; dead from an overdose on heroin, suicide as she had purposefully overdosed. So that meant, Mark had sent Briar her mother’s things. He knew that Mark had offered Briar the opportunity to come take what she wanted of her mother’s stuff before he sold that house but that had been a few years ago.

Briar hadn’t gone.

Kneeling down, she cautiously opened the trunk, frowning when an unsealed, unaddressed envelope caught her eye. It looked… new. Hesitantly, she took it from the trunk and opened it.

Jeff waited patiently as she read through it, watching the play of emotions across her face. When she held it out to him without saying a word, he wasn’t sure if he wanted to know.


Your mother kept this stuff from when you were in a baby. I doubt you will recognize much of the furniture, she kept it in storage for a long time. The trunks and boxes are her personal things as well as some things of yours she kept from your childhood. I’ve included all the photo albums, including some pictures of your biological father I found.

Congratulations on the new baby to both you and Jeff.


Clearing his throat, Jeff folded the letter and passed it back to her; watching as she pocketed it. “Are you alright, Briar?” He asked softly, reaching out to pull her into his arms. He half smiled when she instantly melted into him, hugging her close and rested his head on top of hers. “Butterfly?”

“I just need a minute.” She whispered.


Briar leaned in the doorway of what would be the nursery, watching curiously as Jeff stripped the crib. They weren’t taking any chances on lead based paint so he was refinishing all of the furniture. Shaking her head, she quietly walked down the hallway, slipping into their bedroom.

Ever since the arrival of the furniture, trunks and boxes a week ago; she had slowly been going through them. Some things she found made laugh and smile, a lot of them made her cry. Especially when she found the pictures of her birth father, a man she had never seen.

Theresa had had these and never cared enough to show her.

She found pictures of herself when she was younger, when apparently things had been going smoothly in Theresa’s life and was surprised to see that…

Theresa had seemed happy.

And so did Briar.


How in the hell Briar had gotten his new address was beyond him, unless of course, she had gone through Shane. And if she had, Shane was a dick for giving it out. Then again, he had cheated and found out hers as well. Not that he intended on bothering her.


She was pregnant. She was going to have Jeff fucking Hardy’s baby and one thing he would not do was mess with a pregnant woman.

Even he had limits.

That and honestly, chasing after Briar’s ass wasn’t really on his top ten list of things to do anymore. So maybe therapy was paying off.

Though, if she ever wanted to come to him; he wasn’t going to say no either.

Sighing, Mark walked inside, glancing at the post date and seen that the letter had probably been sitting in that mailbox for a week or two now. He settled himself in his favorite comfortable arm chair and just stared at it; wondering if he should open it or tear the damn thing up.

Knowing her, it was a restraining order or something.

After ten minutes of deliberating, he finally ripped it open. All that was in the envelope was a folded picture. Arching an eyebrow, he unfolded and smoothed it out. It was the furniture, he was assuming anyways. It didn’t look like what he had sent, well, it did but newer.

He studied it, realizing that they must have refinished the crib and changing table, shaking his head with a slight smile. Fingering the picture, Mark flipped it over.

On the back were only two words.

Thank you.

The End