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 now, for the "oh my God, what happens next?" part . . . you know you've been waiting for it! ;-)
Mark was on the edge of panicking. As he came more awake, he realized just how compromising his position was.
She was snuggled in so close to him, he could feel her breasts against his side. But that wasn't the worst of it. Somehow, she'd gotten her hand up under his t-shirt, and right now it was resting on the bare skin of his chest. And she'd apparently not just taken off her blouse last night - what he felt under his hand on her side felt a lot like a bare ass under the t-shirt he'd given her to wear.
Almost as if she knew he was thinking about her, she shifted slightly in her sleep and he bit down quickly on a gasp as the leg she had draped over his thigh shifted higher.
Damn it, he could feel her breath against his chest through his shirt again. And the warm weight of her thigh draped over his. In fact, now that she'd wriggled closer, he could feel her whole body glued to his. His jeans were starting to feel very damn snug at this intimate embrace.
Except, of course, it wasn't really intimate in that sense. He'd told her she'd be cold before morning - she was probably just pressed close to him for warmth. Plus, she'd been thoroughly out of it last night. Probably still was technically inebriated. You couldn't really be held accountable for your actions when you were in that state.
That explained why she was now plastered against him. It didn't, however, explain why his arm was wrapped around her the way it was. He hadn't been drunk last night, so that excuse wouldn't work for him. Reflex, maybe? He didn't know. What he did know was that if she woke up now, and found herself this close to someone she had a rocky relationship with at best, particularly since that someone was beginning to sport an erection, he was thoroughly screwed. And he didn't mean that in a good way either.
He needed to extricate himself from her before she woke up. Hopefully, she was still drunk enough to sleep through his attempts. He considered how they were lying - okay, first he needed to get his leg out from under hers. He shifted slowly and carefully away from her, her leg gradually easing down to the bed. Now all that remained was her hand under his shirt, and his arm under her shoulders. Biting his lip, he lifted her hand and began to slide away from her. She stirred again, and he took advantage of that momentary movement to ease away from her completely.
Very gently, he lay her hand down on the bed, resisting the urge to sigh with relief. So far, so good. What next? He glanced at his watch, laying on the bedside table. Checkout was at ten, and then they needed to be in Kansas City by noon. Well, he did, at least. Harley might need to be there even earlier for the set build.
So, he should get a move on. Shower, fresh clothes, pack. Yep, that would be a good idea. Better than sitting here on the edge of the bed watching her sleep. She'd freak out if she woke up and saw him doing that, for sure. His fingers itched to push her hair back from her face so he could see her better. She looked years younger when she was sleeping, he thought. Not that she looked her age when she was awake, in his opinion.
Mark shook himself with a start. What the hell was he doing? Her actions last night notwithstanding, Harley had never showed the slightest bit of interest in him beyond the tentative beginnings of friendship. Waking up with her in his arms did not mark the beginning of something more. No matter how good it felt.
Still, it was a wrench to get up and move away from the bed, not that he would ever admit it. He collected some clothes and headed into the bathroom, closing the door behind him quietly. He pulled his t-shirt over his head and dropped it beside him, his hands then moving towards the fly of his jeans. And there he stopped, staring down at himself.
The top two buttons of his fly were already undone.
He blinked. He was pretty sure he hadn't done that. Almost entirely certain, in fact. He'd been only too aware of having Harley sharing the bed to have even considered it. And he didn't need to - these jeans were relaxed fit, it wasn't like they were too tight for comfort. That only left one other possibility, and just thinking about it started putting even more pressure on the remaining buttons of his fly.
Snuggling close to him, even sliding her hand up under his t-shirt - he could put those actions down to an unconscious attempt to get warm. Unbuttoning his fly? That spoke of some level of consciousness. He was beginning to understand why alcohol might pose a problem for Harley.
His body wasn't at all concerned about the whys of the situation, just the . . . possibilities. He all but tore the remaining buttons open, shaking his head. Great. He guessed it was cold shower time for him.
Harley woke with a low groan at the light in the room, dim as it was. She lifted her head, and winced at the bolt of pain that caused behind her eyes.
She raised one hand to her forehead, as if that would help the pain. After a moment, she opened her eyes again, and got her second unpleasant surprise of the morning. This was not her room.
"Oh god, no."
What the hell had she done last night, besides drinking herself into oblivion? And where the hell was she? She glanced around the room, seeking some signs of its rightful occupant. It was probably too much to hope that this was Jeff's room - although even that would probably be bad news. She didn't want to go back to being Jeff's lover, but if she'd been loaded last night, that might well have happened. She knew her personal demons all too well.
But the room was a bit too tidy for Jeff's usual domicile on the road, and she didn't recognize the luggage. She groaned again - terrific. She was in someone else's room.
Gradually, the sound of the shower penetrated her consciousness. Okay, so whoever it was who owned this room was still here. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a man's watch on the bedside table - that ruled out a third of the roster and crew.
Taking in more of her surroundings, she noted something else that didn't thrill her. There was only one bed in this room. Plus the couch, but it didn't even have a pillow on it. The bed had two of them, both showing signs of use.
She sat up now, ignoring the protest from her headache. She could see her boots and her belt on the floor. What about the rest of her clothes? There would have been jeans, at least. She went to shift across the bed and discovered that either her t-shirt had stretched beyond all measure or the t-shirt she was wearing didn't belong to her. Looking down at herself, she concluded ruefully it was the latter.
"Christ, Katherine, when you screw up, you really screw up," she muttered, moving to the edge of the bed and peering down at the floor.
Jeans and a blouse . . . and a bra. Great. The question remained, had she removed them herself, or had she had help? While the wearing of mystery man's t-shirt pointed to the former, she couldn't discount the possibility of . . . other activities. If she could only remember!
Belatedly, she realized the shower had shut off in the bathroom. Mystery man might be about to make an appearance. She toyed with making a lunge for her clothes, but decided against it. She'd just have to hope that, whoever the hell he was, he was inclined to be a nice guy about the morning after. She dropped her head into her hands with another groan.
Dressed after his shower, Mark opened the bathroom door quietly, not wanting to wake Harley if she was still sleeping. He barely had time to register that she was sitting up on the other side of the bed when she turned towards him.
Harley heard the bathroom door opening, and raised her head from her hands, turning her head towards it. Seeing Mark in the doorway, her eyebrows raised and what little colour she had in her face faded.
"Oh no!" she whispered, dropping her head back into her hands.
Of all the people for her to have made a fool of herself with, Mark would have to be the absolute worst, she thought, stricken. Last night had undoubtedly blown away whatever good relations had been building between them.
Mark, for his part, had seen the look on her face before she'd hidden it with her hands, and he was concerned. He sat down on the edge of the bed, looking at her.
"Kate? You okay?"
Okay, Harley thought wildly. Nope, she was about as far from that state as it was possible to be, she figured. She couldn't even look at him. Instead, she turned, swinging her legs over the edge of the bed and bending down to grab her jeans from the floor. Fortunately, his t-shirt covered her to mid thigh, so when she stood up to pull her jeans on, she was perfectly decent.
"I am so sorry, Mark. I'll have your shirt laundered and sent back to you as soon as I can," she said, hurriedly scooping up her blouse and bra.
She checked her jeans pockets through the t-shirt, still with her back to him, and sighed. Somewhere in whatever the hell had transpired last night, she'd managed to lose her wallet. That stopped her in her tracks. Without her wallet, she couldn't check out of the hotel, because it had her credit card in it. Her shoulders drooped.
"Damn it," she whispered.
Mark had seen enough. He stood up and came around to her side of the bed, standing in front of her.
"Hold your horses, Kate."
"Mark, please. I've made enough of an idiot of myself already, haven't I? Just let me get out of here before I make it worse." Perhaps if she could catch Jeff this morning, he could pay for her room until she could arrange for replacement cards.
His hands came up to her shoulders, exerting gentle downward pressure to make her sit back down on the bed, and then he sat down beside her.
"First off, you didn't make an idiot of yourself. Yeah, you were pretty drunk, but you didn't do anything unforgivable."
She risked a glance at him. "You sure?"
He chuckled. "You wanted to go dancing, but then you decided you were too wasted for that. And you were pretty insistent about having a nightcap from the minibar, but that's about it." He wasn't going to mention her roaming hands. He didn't consider that unforgivable, but he had an idea she might. And she had enough to deal with already.
Harley blew out a relieved sigh. But then she frowned. "So how come we're in your room?"
"I was worried you might decide to go out dancing after all if I left you alone. And that might have been . . . unwise, given how wasted you were. So I brought you here. You objected to that, by the way."
She groaned. "Let me guess - I called you a bully."
Mark laughed. "More than once! But I figure we're even - I think called you a mule a couple of times."
"Jeez, chief, if that's the worst you called me, I'll quit while I'm ahead!" Harley shook her head, and groaned again. "I can't believe I did this."
"What? Get drunk?"
"No, that part I have no trouble believing. I meant the 'end up in someone else's room and not remember any of it' part." She glanced sidelong at him. "Are you sure I didn't doing anything else I might need to apologize for?"
Her face flushed and she looked down at her hands. "I tend to become . . . uninhibited when I drink."
No shit, he thought to himself. He was right, that would make alcohol a problem for her. "Well, you were a little friendlier than usual."
"Oh hell," she whispered.
"Hey, relax. Do I look like I'm complaining?" he smiled at her. "You were just . . . well, cuddly. At least until you fell asleep." There was no way he was going to bring up what may or may not have happened while he was sleeping, or how he'd woken up.
She groaned. "Great. Did I at least save that for when we were alone? Or am I going to see a lot of grins from the people who witnessed this atrocity?"
He couldn't help his chuckle. "I don't think anyone saw anything, Kate."
"So it's only you I have to be embarrassed around. Sweet." She rolled her eyes.
"Don't forget the eagle eyes who are no doubt going to clock you coming out of my room this morning."
"Oh great. Why don't you come and see me off at the door with a little tonsil hockey then? That should just about finish my reputation for good," Harley muttered, getting up off the bed and heading around to the other side of it to collect her boots and belt.
Mark followed her. "Kate, relax. Let 'em say what they like - you know there's no malice in it." He had to admit, though, the idea of seeing her off with a kiss wasn't altogether an unappealing prospect.
She sighed. "Yeah, I know. This is just me being mad at myself and lashing out - sorry."
"You want to talk about it?" he offered.
She shook her head. "Nah. But thanks for offering. You've already done enough for me, I think. And I do appreciate it."
"Hey, I owed you for looking after me that night with the concussion."
"Except that this was a result of my stupidity, rather than an accident." Harley sighed. "So where did you find me last night?"
"You were in a bar on the fourth floor."
"Let's hope that's where I left my wallet, then."
Mark chuckled, going to the jeans he'd taken off earlier and withdrawing her wallet from the pocket. "Well, it was. But I figured you might need it." He held it out to her.
She took it from him, looking up at him with the faintest of smiles. "You're making a habit of picking up after me, chief."
"You do seem to need a keeper, Kate."
Her smile faded, quickly replaced by a look of irritation. "Hey, nobody asked you to volunteer."
He gave her a level look. "Some people might be grateful for the help."
"Some people might prefer falling on their ass to being constantly reminded what kind of a screw up they are," she hissed. Her headache was beginning to pound now, in time with the more rapid beat of her heart. Goddamnit, did he have to be so smug?
And just like that, the ceasefire was once again no longer in effect. Mark's eyebrows drew together in a frown, and his green eyes bored into hers.
"Fine. Next time, I'll just leave you to it. You want to drink yourself into a stupor, go right ahead. I just hope the next guy can be a gentleman when he wakes up with you all over him," he snarled.
Harley's head snapped up, and her blue gray eyes were icy as she looked at him, even as a flush coloured her cheeks. "I thought I didn't do anything I had to apologize for - seems I did." She bent to snatch up her boots and her belt, ignoring how much that made her head hurt, and headed for the door.
He regretted his words the moment he'd uttered them - how the hell was it that she could get under his skin like that? But before he could think of something to say that might atone for losing his temper like that, she was gone.
Harley's cheeks burned as she headed down the corridor, barefoot, clutching her boots and clothes to her chest. Of all the stupid, idiotic things to do. She resisted the urge to bang her aching head against the wall as she waited for the elevator. And as if coming onto him while she was drunk wasn't bad enough, then she had to snap at him for looking after her regardless. Why was it so damned hard for her to accept his help? It wasn't like she couldn't use it on occasion.
A big hand closed over her shoulder, making her gasp in surprise, whirling to see Mark behind her. His eyes were intense and she took a step backwards from that piercing gaze. And came smack up against the wall. He stepped in to her, bending down, and her eyes widened as she looked up at him.
He'd not even stopped to think when she'd left his room, snatching the door open and following her, barefoot himself. And now that he had her in front of him, he still didn't know what he was going to say. She opened her mouth to speak and he shook his head.
"No, Kate, just listen. No more arguments. I'm sorry I lost my temper - I shouldn't have said what I did."
"I'm sorry too - I was wrong to be mad at you for helping me." She ducked her head, unable to meet his eyes. "And I'm sorry for . . . well, getting too close to you last night."
His fingers came up to her chin, tilting her head back up so he could see her face, and his voice was very soft. "I told you I wasn't complaining about that."
Harley couldn't help the shiver that ran through her. He couldn't mean that, could he? He traced one finger very gently along her jaw and she suddenly had a hard time breathing. Their eyes locked together, and Mark was slowly leaning forward when the chime of the elevator sounded. Both of them jumped at the sound, and the moment was lost.
Trevor Murdoch stepped out of the elevator, giving Mark a wide grin. His eyebrows raised when he saw Harley, but then he chuckled and winked at them as he strode off down the corridor. Harley groaned.
Mark looked down at her, taking in her tousled hair, his oversized t-shirt and her bare feet, and chuckled.
"I can almost hear the rumour mill starting up, can't you?"
She sighed, leaning forward, her forehead resting lightly against his chest for a moment.
"Just kill me now."
His hand went to the back of her neck, gently stroking it. He liked having her so close to him. He was a little disappointed when she straightened up, and he let his hand fall away from her.
"Before breakfast? That's hardly civilized, Kate."
She chuckled wryly. "I'll pass on breakfast, thanks. I need to find myself a gallon of coffee - I have to be in Kansas City in," she checked her watch and groaned, "just over an hour." She reached out to stab at the elevator button again.
"I hope you weren't planning on driving."
She shook her head. "Catching a ride with some of the guys on the crew. If they'll wait for me - at least long enough for me to check out."
"If they won't, Glenn and I have a car - we can always give you a ride."
"You'd do that for me? Even after last night?"
She looked up at him, and his breath caught in his throat for a moment. Her expression was weary and utterly unguarded, and for some reason that struck right to his heart. He nodded, smiling at her.
"I told you, Kate - I'm not complaining about anything that happened last night. So yes, I'd do that for you." The elevator chimed, and the doors slid open. "Just holler if you need me."
She actually stepped backwards into the elevator, looking at him with a curious expression, but she didn't say a word, just nodded. As the doors closed, she actually felt her knees buckle, and she leaned against the wall, shaking her head a little. Well, what the hell had that been about? If she didn't know better, she could have sworn Mark was about to kiss her.
Pondering this as she headed for her room, she shook her head, wincing as it aggravated her headache. She had to have been mistaken about that. Even if she had been coming onto him last night, thanks to the whiskey. He was a gentleman to say it hadn't bothered him - probably just trying to keep the peace between them. After all, who wants to think their poker buddy has the hots for them?
She made a few quick calls when she got to her room - there were two cars taking crew to KC, and one of them was getting a late start, fortunately for her. She had just enough time to throw her things into her case and take a quick shower before meeting them downstairs. Sitting in the backseat and trying to ignore her headache, she checked her cellphone, finding a number of missed calls from Jeff from the night before. She wasn't about to call him and tell him what had happened, not with a car full of eavesdroppers.
Once they pulled into the arena, Harley's first order of business was to find Bob and come clean about the previous evening. Without going into details about why, exactly, she apologized for taking the night off, admitting she had gone out and tied one on.
Bob took in her pale face and nodded sympathetically. "Wouldn't be the first time someone took a sick day to sort out some personal issues, Harley. At least you're honest about it. But are you okay to be working today?"
She nodded, grimacing a little at the protest from her headache. "I'm not intoxicated. Just hungover."
Resisting the urge to chuckle, Bob sent her off with a mountain of paperwork in the direction of Catering. Her crew could handle the set build.
By lunchtime, thanks to copious quantities of both water and coffee, Harley was beginning to feel human again. And she was making headway with the paperwork, despite a rocky start.
Checking her watch, she started gathering the papers together to make room for the influx of crew and roster. Mentally, she was girding her loins for the next round of knowing looks that her behaviour last night was sure to have set off.
Jeff and Matt had been at an appearance in Lawrence, and arrived at the venue just before lunch. Jeff had heard nothing from Mark the night before, so he had to assume that he'd managed to convince Harley to go back to her room okay. They headed for Catering with Amy, and joined Harley at the table where she sat, her paperwork in a stack beside her as she picked at her lunch.
As Jeff sat down beside her, Lance Cade walked past, giving her a grin and a wink, and she just groaned.
"What's that all about?" Jeff asked.
Harley glanced at Matt and Amy, and shrugged to herself - they were going to hear the rumours anyway, so it wasn't like the truth had to be a big secret.
"Ah, Trevor came on Mark and I this morning, just after I left his room," she admitted.
Amy stared at her, and then flicked a glance over to where Mark was sitting. "You and 'Taker?"
"Jeez, not like that!" Harley protested. "Mark . . . aw hell, I was out last night drinking, and Mark took me back to his room to make sure I didn't get into any trouble while I was wasted."
Jeff stared at her, wide eyed. "That was his solution?"
Harley winced. "I didn't realize I was a problem, but yes, that was his solution. And this morning, well, we did our usual thing and got into a fight, and I took off out of his room. He followed me - we were talking by the elevator when Trevor came up in it. You know how the rumour mill operates. I'm surprised you haven't already heard all the lurid details."
Matt laughed. "We've been in the wilds of Lawrence all morning. Lurid details, huh?" He waggled his eyebrows at her. "Come on, tell us!"
She laughed in spite of herself. "I don't know what all rumours are flying, so all I have is the truth."
Matt made a 'go on' gesture, and Amy grinned, nodding.
"Okay, well I was wearing one of Mark's t-shirts, and carrying my blouse. And my boots. And my belt."
"Barefoot and carrying your clothes? And wearing one of his shirts? Oh, I have got to hear what the Chinese whispers have turned that into!" Matt grinned.
"It gets better - Mark was fresh out of the shower. He was barefoot too," Harley couldn't help giggling at Matt's reactions.
Amy stared and then burst out laughing. "So, both of you barefoot, you carrying your clothes, and Mark still damp around the edges? Oh my God, the only thing better than that would have been if Trevor had caught you kissing!"
Jeff didn't miss the flush on Harley's cheeks, although neither Matt nor Amy said anything more, both still chuckling about the situation she'd described. After lunch, he took her aside.
"I was worried about you last night."
She sighed. "I know, Jeff - I saw the missed calls on my cell. I've got no excuse, but I am sorry I worried you."
He smiled, his hand stroking over her hair gently. "Want to talk about it?"
She smiled at him, a little sadly. There was no way he could possibly understand what she'd been feeling last night when she'd headed for the bar. The one person who might was Mark, and she'd blown off his offer way too quickly, like an idiot.
"No, but thanks for offering."
He hesitated a moment. "About this morning - just what were you and Mark doing when Trevor saw you?"
The flush was back on her face. "Trying to apologize to one another, I guess." She wasn't about to tell Jeff about that moment when she thought Mark was going to kiss her - that was just too weird.
"I don't get that - what were you fighting about anyway?"
She chuckled wryly. "Please, Jeff - Mark and I don't need a reason to fight, we just need to be together and it happens automatically."
"Come on, Harley. I know there's something you're not telling me."
"Okay, if you must know - apparently, I was coming on to him last night," she said in a very low voice.
Jeff stared at her. "Holy shit!" he whispered.
She darted a quick look around, and leaned in to whisper to him, "Not a word of that to anyone, Jeff! It's not like I meant it - I just get that way when I drink."
He shook his head, keeping his voice low. "And he was mad about it?"
She shrugged. "He says not, but he's probably just being a gentleman about it. Look, can we just not mention this again? It's embarrassing."
Later, as he was working out in the gym, Jeff thought about what she'd said. Mark didn't strike him as the kind of guy who'd put up with a come-on from a woman he wasn't attracted to. Even if he thought the whole thing was just because she'd been drinking, Mark would have wanted it understood that he wasn't interested. Sure, he'd be polite about turning her down, but there would definitely have been a 'no thanks, don't do it again' message.
His next thought stopped him in mid-lift. Could it be that Mark was interested in Harley? Sure, they'd done a lot of fighting, but things had been better lately. And Mark had seemed to take what Burchill had done far more personally than even he did. And despite what Harley said about not meaning it when she'd come on to Mark, he couldn't believe she'd do that with just anyone, drunk or not. So maybe she was interested in him too.
He chuckled. If nothing else, it was going to be interesting watching them to see what happened!
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