Features: Undertaker (Mark Calaway)
Rating: NC17 for language and sexual situations
Usual disclaimer - own nothing but my original characters, all the other people own themselves, WWE owns the trademark names, I'm doing this to exercise my creativity and for the sheer pleasure of writing. Ask my therapist!
Thanks so much for the feedback so far - so glad to know people are enjoying the story! And you are just going to have to keep trusting me! Things will all work out in the end . . . -winks-
Jeff was propped on one elbow as Harley slept face down beside him. For the first time, he had the opportunity to take in all of the details of the tattoo that covered her shoulderblade. He resisted the urge to run his fingers over it as he studied it, smiling. There was a treble clef, and even a base clef, worked around the vines - in fact, the vine made up part of the treble clef, rather cleverly. A moon and stars, her night time life, he guessed. That incredible Celtic knot with the flames - very appropriate. He wasn't sure what the new work, the feather, meant.
There was a lush flower, a waterlily, or a lotus maybe, nestled in among the vines. It was beautiful, in a mix of blues, purples and pinks. Funny, that was the only really girly thing about her tattoos. Here and there on the vines there were tiny leaves, but no other flowers or butterflies, or anything else. The vines were probably the most feminine part of the whole thing - they were so delicate.
He almost missed the first word, small script that flowed along the line of one of the vines - 'Serenity'. He wondered about that, and then his eye caught another one - 'Strength'. And then a third - he cocked his head to one side, frowning a little. The letters seemed strange.
Harley opened her eyes with a little stretch, turning her head to smile at him. "Good morning."
"Good morning." He leaned down to kiss her, his hand moving to rest lightly on her back as he did.
"You had the oddest look on your face when I woke up - something wrong?" she asked.
His hand moved up to trace lightly over her tattoo. "I was admiring your ink - and trying to read this word here." His fingers touched it.
"Ah. It's an ambigram - it's actually two words, depending on how you look at it."
"What are the words?"
"Choice and destiny," she said quietly.
Now that he knew, he could see them more clearly. "You can almost miss the words, unless you look closely."
"The words are for me, mostly." She nestled her head into the pillow.
He lay back down, facing her, his hand still resting on her back. "The whole thing is beautiful."
"Thank you," she smiled.
"So, do we get to have breakfast together this morning?"
She sat up a little to look at the clock, and nodded. "Yep, that sounds like a plan."
He grinned. "Can I feed you tidbits from my plate and kiss you between bites?"
She laughed. "You looking to make people sick?"
"Just impress them with my love and devotion. Or I could do you over the back of a chair - impress them with my . . . manly passion," he grinned.
"I think they'd probably rather you didn't share that, Jeff!" she giggled. "What say we just have a quiet breakfast?"
"Now how am I supposed to start the rumours flying like that?"
"Don't you think there are enough rumours in this place without you starting any more?"
Remembering the events of the night before at the venue, he leaned in to kiss her softly. "Sorry, Harley. Forgot that it got a bit out of hand with the rumours last night."
She stroked her hand over his hair. "It's okay, Jeff. Trust me when I tell you, just showing up for breakfast with me will be enough to get tongues wagging. And I'm sure the jungle drums will report you coming out of my room this morning too."
He laughed, leaning his forehead against hers. "Wouldn't change any of it, to tell you the truth. You want first shower, or can we share?" He winked.
She chuckled. "We aren't in that much of a hurry, are we?"
"Who said anything about being in a hurry?" he grinned.
She hit him with a pillow, laughing. "Just for that, I'm getting first shower. You can wait!"
"Can I come in and watch, at least?"
Chuckling, she shook her head and climbed out of the bed, collecting her discarded pyjamas and tossing them in her case before going into the bathroom. Jeff lay back with his hands behind his head as he heard the shower go on. A moment later, the hotel phone rang.
Harley called out from the bathroom, "Jeff? Would you get that please?"
"No problem," he called back, and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
A male voice, sounding a little puzzled, asked, "Ah, is Harley there?"
"She's in the shower. Can I give her a message?"
Ben Martin resisted the urge to chuckle. For all that the voice was masculine and on the deep side, this one even sounded like a Lost Boy! "Sure. Tell her that Ben called, and that I'll meet her at the venue this afternoon at four pm."
"Sure thing - hey, wait, are you the guy with the DB9?"
Now Ben did chuckle. "I drive an Aston Martin, yes."
"Man, that is a sweet ride! Okay, so I'll let Harley know you called. Oh, I'm Jeff, by the way."
He was beginning to see what she meant now about wrestlers! "Thanks Jeff - maybe I'll get to meet you tonight."
Jeff laughed. "I'll be there, for sure! Have a good one, and I'll go give Harley your message."
Ben shook his head as he hung up the phone. Friendly as a puppy, and if he knew Harley, probably good looking to boot. He was rather looking forward to this evening.
Jeff swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up, wandering over to the door of the bathroom and poking his head in. Harley was just getting out of the shower and reaching for a towel. He gave a low wolf whistle and she just flapped a hand at him.
"Who was on the phone?"
"Ben. Said he'd meet you tonight at the venue at four." Jeff leaned on the door frame.
She nodded, bending forward to towel her hair dry vigorously, and then straightened, wrapping the towel around herself and smiling at him.
"It's all yours."
He scrubbed a hand over his cheek, feeling the rasp of his stubble. He went back into the hotel room, lifting his bag to the bed and getting out his shaver and wet pack before going back into the bathroom. He shared the mirror with Harley as she dried her hair, then stepped into the shower while she dressed. She was pleased that her tattoo was feeling better this morning, but there was more to her good mood than that, she thought, as she tidied her clothes into her case and sat down to put on her workboots.
Listening to Jeff sing in the shower, she chuckled. It wasn't even the previous evening that had her feeling so chipper, although that had to be part of it. Jeff was a considerate lover, and he'd made her feel very good. It took her a while to work out that the real reason was that she'd gotten a decent amount of sleep, for the first time in a long time. And this could end up being a regular occurrence - the getting enough sleep thing. She wouldn't know herself!
Jeff left his bag in Harley's room as they went down to breakfast in the hotel restaurant, both of them stifling grins at the looks they were getting.
He leaned in to her as they got to their table to whisper,"Last chance, Harley - wanna do it doggy style before breakfast? These chairs look pretty sturdy, and about the right height."
She bit down on her lips to stop from braying laughter, but her eyes were dancing as she smacked his arm playfully, finally whispering as he sat down beside her, "You're a pervert. Just see if I give you a blow job under the table now!"
He grabbed for his napkin to smother his own laughter, and she picked up the menu with a little grin, ignoring the strangled sounds he was making. They amused themselves during breakfast with little sidelong looks at one another, trying very hard not to laugh at the silliness of it, even as their colleagues missed nothing of their supposedly loving looks. When Jeff started making little kissy faces at her between bites, she thought she would lose it, hiding her face in his shoulder while he patted her head gently.
When she was sure she wouldn't explode with laughter, she sat back up and refused to look at him again. Until he extended a forkful of eggwhite omelette towards her. She glanced sideways at him, seeing his big smile and raised eyebrows as he tried to tempt her into eating it. She dropped her head into her hand, her shoulders shaking with suppressed laughter. She felt Jeff's arm go around her, and just knew he was playing this for all he was worth. She'd show him. Moving carefully, she extended her hand towards him under the table and dropped it into his lap, giving his crotch a gentle squeeze.
Jeff straightened up like he'd been shot, and she removed her hand quickly. Now she put her arm around him, patting his shoulder gently, giving him her very best concerned expression.
"Is everything okay, Jeff?"
He gave her a quick sideways glance, trying very hard not to grin, his voice low as he spoke. "Just a little overcome with . . . manly passion, Harley."
That did it. She didn't bother hiding her grin as she looked at him. "My bad?"
It broke them both up completely, laughing hard and hanging on one another's shoulders. All she had to do was look at him and it set her off again. His hand was on the back of her neck as he grinned at her, shaking his head.
"You're an evil wench, Harley!"
"Me?" she managed to gasp between laughing. "What about you? That whole kissy face thing was evil on a grand scale!"
Around them, their colleagues were coming to the growing realization that they had been comprehensively had. Jeff and Harley continued to laugh, in much the same way as they had since their friendship began. Jeff even picked up his fork to offer it to Harley again, making her howl with laughter and grab for her napkin to wipe her streaming eyes.
They had almost gotten themselves under control by the time they were drinking their coffee, although Jeff was still amusing himself by occasionally making kissy faces at her, which made her giggle. As they left the table, Jeff looped his arm around her shoulder, which didn't even rate a second glance from anyone.
He leaned down to whisper to her as they walked to the elevators, "You realize we've now got the perfect cover? No one thinks anything's going on between us."
Harley grinned, shaking her head as she whispered back, "Nothing is going on between us, Jeff."
"Give me a few minutes in the elevator, with your hand back where it was earlier, and there could be. Very easily." He winked at her.
She laughed. He wrapped his arms around her as he stood behind her in the elevator, leaning down to rest his chin on her shoulder. She smiled, liking how comfortable they were together now. They went back to her room, and Jeff gave her a kiss before collecting his bag.
"Okay, I gotta go change before Axxess. Might catch you for lunch at the venue, okay?"
She nodded, smiling at him. "I'll be there. Have a good session this morning."
Closing the door after he left, she packed her own bag, wanting something to change into after the show, because she'd promised to take Ben out to a late dinner. She slung it over her shoulder and left the room, going down to the lobby to catch the shuttle over to the venue. Finding a women's locker room, she stashed her bag and headed out for the trucks, greeting her colleagues as she went.
By mid morning, things were well underway with the set build. Given the scale of the event, she'd met with the pyrotechnic team and they'd changed the set out for the shells, and she hoped to incorporate some of those changes into the set up for weekly shows. She was currently crawling around under the stage, checking the connections on the big rig for Mark's fireballs. She'd had the smaller rig in place for the house shows, but the Pay Per View and Raw would use the big rig.
She tightened the wrench she carried around one of the pipes, shifting it through another quarter turn until she was satisfied it was tight. She peered up at the mesh floor of the stage, checking the position of the jets, and then wriggled backwards out from under the stage, dropping the wrench beside her as she reached up to grab one of the struts to pull herself up. Instead of the metal, her fingers closed around a big hand, and she looked up with a startled expression into Mark's green eyes.
He tugged gently at her hand, and she tightened her grip and pulled herself upright, aware as she did so that he was lifting her as well. Once she had her feet under her, she let go of his hand with a quick smile, and brushed the seat of her shorts off.
Mark tried not to chuckle as Harley emerged from under the stage. She was covered in dust from head to foot, and the brushing she was doing at her shorts wasn't doing much more than redistributing it elsewhere. He resisted the urge to call her Pigpen. Just.
"Thanks, chief. What brings you down here?" she asked, looking at him curiously.
"Came to talk to you, actually," he said.
She bent to pick up her wrench, tossing it into her toolbox. "What about?"
He leaned against the stage supports. "The Burchills."
Her head snapped around. "What about them?"
He put up a hand. "Relax. Just wanted to tell you that their behaviour's earned them both a thirty day vacation. Well, in Paul's case, his behaviour and a broken nose."
She sighed. "So either they'll come back chastened and I have nothing to worry about, or they'll spend thirty days working themselves up over things, and I'll need eyes in the back of my head when they start work again."
Mark personally thought the latter of the two scenarios was the most likely, which was why he'd come to tell her himself. She rubbed a dusty hand over her forehead and then nodded.
"Okay. I can deal with that." She flashed him a quick smile. "Thanks for coming to let me know, Mark. I appreciate it."
She wasn't going to play the victim - good. He liked that. "No problem. Jeff heard about it when the rest of us did, but he's stuck at Axxess. I told him I'd come let you know, just in case you'd been worried about them today."
She shrugged. "Hadn't really thought about them, to be honest. I've got more than enough to do today without that."
"Then I'll let you get back to it."
He pushed himself off the stage supports and went to walk away, but he couldn't resist it any longer. He reached out and ruffled her hair, grinning at the dust that drifted out of it. She looked rather comically surprised, although whether it was at the touch or the dust, he couldn't be sure.
"I guess calling you Pigpen might be dangerous, huh?"
She giggled, and for the first time he realized how much younger she looked when she did. "What can I say? I'm a dust magnet!"
Laughing, he gave her a wave as he made his way to the gym. The sound of a loud sneeze from behind him only made him laugh harder.
Once Harley had tested the propane rig and made sure everything was working as it should, and that she wouldn't need to crawl around under the stage any more, she headed for the locker rooms to change her shirt and get a layer of dust off before lunch. For a wonder, so far today she hadn't drawn blood anywhere on herself, although the day was still young.
She was stopped on her way to Catering by one of her junior crew with a question, and she was diverted for a few minutes going over the new schematics. Jeff saw her bent over a table with a couple of other techs, with papers spread out in front of them. He kept going on the way to Catering, but he noticed he wasn't the only one checking out her trim behind in her cargo shorts, which made him laugh to himself.
Finished with her crew's questions, Harley moved on to Catering. Collecting her lunch, she looked around for a spare seat, the room filling up as everyone seemed to be on a break. A waving hand caught her attention, and she smiled as she saw Jeff, coming over to the table where he was sitting with his brother and a couple of other wrestlers. She smiled at them as she sat down with her tray. Jeff shook his head when he saw the salad.
"Don't you ever get tired of salads?"
Harley shrugged. "Nope. I think I may have been a rabbit in a former life." She winked at him. It didn't stop her filching the occasional french fry from his plate though.
"So, how about that new pyro you promised me?" Jeff asked with a grin.
"Whoa, hold on a minute! I promised you nothing of the sort. I said that if I had any success with what I'm working on for Glenn, then we'd talk," she chuckled.
He gave her a pleading look, and she just shook her head. "Jeff Hardy, don't you be turnin' those puppy dog eyes on me, you hear? I'm not going to be manipulated on this!"
Matt laughed. "Oh man, she's got your number alright!"
Harley patted Jeff's cheek with a grin. "He knows I adore him. But he also knows better than to try that with me."
Jeff leaned in to give her a quick kiss on the cheek. "Hey, who knows? One day I might just catch you in a weak moment."
Laughing, she rose from her seat, taking her tray. "Sure you might, Jeff. About the same time I make my fabulous debut as the WWE's newest Diva."
She blew them all a kiss with a grand gesture, and then walked off, with an exaggerated sway of her hips. Hell, she'd seen enough Divas do it to be able to imitate it pretty well. Shannon Moore had the last word though, giving a rather piercing wolf whistle as she did so, which rather destroyed her sexy strut as she was overcome with a fit of the giggles.
Harley was still giggling as she went back to work, strapping her workbelt around her hips and grabbing her headset before heading out to the trucks. The rest of her crew were busy with the pyros for entrances, while she unloaded the shells and tubes for the opening pyros.
Fun as it was to work with the wrestlers to develop their entrances, she loved that Bob had handed free reign to her to create the displays for the Pay Per Views. This was where she got the chance to try out the newest close proximity pyros, some of them made by Ben's company. She hoped he'd appreciate the compliment. Tonight, given the size of the arena, she was launching the opening pyros from the floor, rather than the Titan-tron, although she had some stuff there too. She was looking forward to seeing the reactions to this display.
Wheeling the dolly down the corridor, she heard the boys in the truck start the musical selection for the afternoon, and grinned as they chose swing once again, this time including some standards from the Rat Pack era of Vegas, which was very appropriate. However, apparently not a popular choice among the rest of the crew, as she heard a chorus of disapproval through her headset.
By the time she'd returned with the third load of crates, swing had given way to music that was, in the words of one crew member, "not from the friggin' stone ages". Pity, she'd been enjoying the swing stuff. Of course, there was a lot to be said for today's dance music - it certainly got you moving. She pulled her wheeled toolbox around to the front of the stage and began the work of setting the shells and tubes onto the metal grate she'd laid down earlier that morning as an anchoring point.
Her head nodded in time to the beat of the music as she worked, her hands moving with their usual deftness as she bolted the shells down and wired them into the control board. As she lifted one of the crates over to where she was working, she thought she caught a fragment of the lyrics of the current song - "I'm about to strip and I'm well equipped" - what the hell? She couldn't help her chuckle. Oh well, the music was okay, even if the lyrics were . . . dubious.
It didn't take her long to have the pyro set up on the floor done. She ran the wires backstage, carefully taping them down. The crew would unbolt the grates and shift them, one section at a time, to clear them soon after the show started, to get them out of the way of any wrestling action. The last load of pyros were going to be set on the stage and the Titan-tron, and then she was done.
Before she knew it, the set build was drawing to a close. She screwed the last fuse into the relay, and slipped the screwdriver back into her workbelt, giving a little stretch. From her perch atop the ladder, she had a bird's eye view of the ring, where Mark and Glenn were going over something for their match that night. She climbed carefully down the ladder and then folded it up, carrying it to the edge of the stage, where a crew member on the arena floor took it from her to stow it.
Now she could stretch properly, luxuriating in it. She checked her watch - it appeared she would have time to shower before Ben arrived. She took off her workbelt as she went down the stairs from the Titan-tron, laying it on her toolbox and wheeling it out to one of the trucks before heading for the locker room via Wardrobe for a fresh t-shirt.
This early in the proceedings, the locker room was pretty deserted, although most of the lockers were filled with the belongings of the female roster. She was showered and wrapped in a towel before the first of the women returned from either the gym or Axxess, and she dressed quickly, sitting down on the bench to lace on her workboots again. With a quick smile at Amy, she returned her bag to the corner where she was stowing it and left the locker room.
It wasn't particularly that she didn't like any of the women, but she was conscious of not invading their "space" when they were getting ready for a show. She decided to grab something to eat before the pre-show chaos really ramped up, and was heading in that direction when her headset, which was hanging around her neck, beeped. She slipped it on and answered the page, detouring from Catering back out to the Titan-tron to assist with some last minute tasks.
By the time she was done, and made it back to Catering, it was getting a little crowded as everyone took their meal break. Rather than add to the crush, she picked up a sandwich and a soda and headed out to the loading dock, where it was relatively quiet. She sat down on one of the trunks stacked against the wall and unwrapped her sandwich, and then dug her iPod out of her pocket, slipping in one earbud and cueing up the new Shinedown album to play. There was nothing like your own music, she mused, as she munched on her sandwich.
Mark had ventured into Catering just long enough to grab a bottle of water. After a day spent at Axxess, the last thing he felt like was spending more time in a room crowded with people, even if they were his friends and colleagues. He wandered out to the loading dock, taking a mouthful of the water. He spotted Harley sitting on a trunk and leaning against the wall behind her, one booted foot drawn up, nodding her head as she sipped on a soda. He wondered for a moment who she was nodding to, but then realized she had her iPod on.
Harley tapped her hand on her thigh in time with the music - the new album was pretty damn fine. Perhaps a little darker and heavier than their earlier stuff, but it still had the lyricism she'd enjoyed from the first time she'd heard them. There had been an approach from their touring manager before the album had been released, and she'd refused it regretfully. The band were doing dates with a lot of other bands she'd long admired, and the tour might have been fun. She gave a little sigh.
"Something wrong, Kate?"
Mark had wandered over to where she sat, and heard the sigh. She looked up at him and shook her head, smiling a little.
"Not really. Just . . . " he voice trailed off.
He sat down on a trunk not far from her. "Just what?"
She gestured to the iPod sitting on the trunk next to her. "I've come to an . . . unexpected realization."
"What's that?" He took another swallow of water.
She chuckled. "That I'm out-growing rock musicians. And you have no idea how much it pains me to admit that!"
He laughed. "Really? What's brought this on?"
Turning off the music, she sat cross legged and took another mouthful of her soda before speaking. "I got an offer to tour with this band again. And they're doing dates with a bunch of bands I've either worked with before, or that I've always wanted to work with. I mean, it would have been a blast - non-stop party time, great music, all the stuff that would make a great tour."
His eyebrows raised. He hadn't realized that she was getting other job offers - in fact, he thought she might have decided to stay on. Certainly, Bob was assuming that she was.
"So what happened?"
She looked down at her hands. "I turned them down. They offered me a blank check, told me I could pick my own crew, run my own show, and I said no."
He frowned. "Hey, I'll admit I'm kinda glad you did. Their loss is our gain. But it sounds like a pretty plum deal - why would you turn it down?"
She glanced at him sidelong. "The money isn't everything. I weighed up the chance to work with a bunch of hard partying rockstars against working with you guys, and realized that it wasn't as appealing a prospect as it had once been." She chuckled softly. "Then there's the fact that here, hey, for the first time, I've maybe got a career path. I'm not gonna be out of work once the tour is over. Who knows? Maybe I want to stick around here and become crew chief some day."
The news that she was thinking long term about the company was reassuring, somehow. "Hey, you did a great job while Bob was on vacation. I think you'd make a great crew chief."
That made her giggle, and she shook her head. "See, this is the thing that cracks me up. On the one hand, I'm having all these grown-up feelings about career paths and job security, and there's another part of me that's just rollin' on the floor laughin' at the idea that anyone would ever put me in charge of anything!"
He grinned - when she giggled like that, she certainly didn't look old enough to be running anything more complicated than a fast food franchise. "Hey, maybe it's just an idea that needs some getting used to."
She grinned back at him. "Yeah, might need to ease on into that one. I dunno how this happened - one minute, I'm working nights, busting my ass like usual, and the next I'm getting nights off and thinking about moving into management. You guys spiking the drinking water or somethin'?"
"Yeah, Bob's tossing me out of the load outs. Says I need to stop burning the candle at both ends. Kinda leaves me at a loss as to what to do with myself," she chuckled, sipping her soda.
"Come out for a drink with me, then. After the show." He didn't even know he was going to make that offer until he said it.
She blinked a little. Apparently it had surprised her too. "Well, I'd love to, but I have a guest coming to the show tonight, and then I'm taking him out to dinner afterwards."
He was a lot more disappointed by that than he expected. "Oh. Well, maybe another night then."
Her headset beeped, and she gave him a quick smile, lifting it up to answer the page. Hearing the message, she nodded, unfolding her legs and slipping off the trunk, gathering her trash and stuffing her iPod into her pocket.
"That's my call now, so I gotta get going." She turned to leave, and then looked back at him with a hesitant smile. "About that drink? Another night would be great. You have a good show, Mark."
He smiled at her. "Thanks Kate. You enjoy your evening too."
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