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!
Okay, so it's taken almost two months for me to get this chapter finished . . . I blame my vacation, which hasn't given me nearly as much time to write as I had thought. But it's given me tons of cool memories and pics and experiences, so I ain't complaining too much!
However, those of you who have hung in there waiting - consider this a late Christmas gift! And hopefully, since my vacation's almost over, the next chapter won't take as long to be written!
EDIT: Actually, since LJ says my chapters are now too long, you'll get two chapters tonight! Aren't you lucky? ;-)
Mark didn't miss the looks that came their way as they walked in together, with his arm around Harley's shoulders, when they went down to breakfast a little later. He could just imagine what everyone was assuming about their relationship - if he ever decided to come clean and confess that nothing had happened yet, no one would believe him. Serves them all right for having dirty minds, he chuckled to himself as he held Harley's chair for her at the table.
Harley smiled up at Mark as she sat down - there was another advantage to a man, as opposed to many of those Lost Boys, those lovely manners. He treated her with such courtesy. She was all for equality, but something in her deeply Southern soul was always going to be delighted when a man was also a gentleman.
Breakfast was over all too quickly for her liking - she was very conscious of having to fly home that morning and be away from Mark. And she didn't want to be away from him. Which was confusing, because she had told him just a few nights before that she needed some space to breath. She did, definitely. This new relationship needed some getting used to.
What she was going to miss was this easy companionship they were developing as part of their relationship. She liked having breakfast with him every morning, and getting together for dinner and after the show. He was good company, when they weren't getting on one another's last nerve. The sad thing was, she had no idea how she could stop that part from happening. They were both so damned stubborn.
Still, he seemed to accept that as a given. And for all that they were both quick to anger, at least they both were just as quick to get over it. So long as they could keep from saying anything truly unforgivable in the heat of the moment, they could probably smooth over any arguments they had. Eventually.
They went back upstairs together so that Harley could collect her case. As she stowed her travel pack away, Mark sat on the end of the bed and watched her.
"You sure I can't drive you to the airport, Kate?"
She closed up her case and turned to smile at him. "There's no need, Mark - Glenn and I are on the same flight, and he's already offered me a ride."
He reached out to take her hand, drawing her closer to him. "I know. Guess I'm just trying to postpone the inevitable."
Harley stroked one hand over his hair, smiling, and he gently pulled her down to perch on his knee. She leaned against him, and he wrapped one arm around her waist, hugging her to him.
She sighed softly. "You aren't the only one. I never thought I'd be saying this to you, but . . . "
Chuckling, she sat up a little so she could look at him. "I'm gonna miss you!"
That took him by surprise, but a moment later he was laughing too. "I can only hope that continues to be the case, Kate!"
She placed one hand on his face, smiling. "Yeah, I think it will. 'Less you plan on not kissing me anymore."
Leaning in to kiss her softly, he smiled, "Not much chance of that happening, sweetheart."
"Maybe I should get a few more - sustain me til I see you again?" she murmured.
"Happy to oblige. You just say when," he pressed his lips lightly to hers.
She wound her arms around his neck. "When to start, or when to stop?"
Her eyes sparkled. "In that case, when. Please."
It was one way to pass the time, and a rather delightful one at that. But it was a knock at the door that ended it, rather than Harley saying 'when'. Mark ran his hand gently over her hair as they stood up together, and brushed his lips to hers one final time.
"That gonna tide you over, you think?" he murmured.
"It should. But I'm going to probably need more the minute I land next week," she chuckled softly.
"You know Glenn's gonna complain about that, right?" he chuckled.
She shrugged and winked. "I'm sure he'll get over it."
Mark was laughing when he went to open the door, where Glenn was waiting to give Harley her ride to the airport. But the room felt surprisingly empty when they left.
Des Moines was cold, and Harley was glad to get into the hotel with Glenn. Who had apparently received some fairly explicit instructions about her. When they'd arrived in Knoxville a few days earlier, Glenn had insisted on carrying her case to her truck for her. And he'd taken charge of it at the airport when they'd landed this morning. Now he was accompanying her to her room with it, despite her protests that she could get a porter to carry it for her.
She gave him a sidelong glance as they got into the elevator. "Okay, 'fess up Glenn - Mark put you up to this, didn't he?"
"He just mentioned that you aren't supposed to be lifting anything. Which does beg the question of how you were able to get this thing into your truck in the first place?" he indicated the large suitcase he was wheeling, along with his own smaller case.
She shrugged. "I cheated a bit and put it into the truck empty and packed into it there."
Harley opened the door to her room, and Glenn took her case in and lifted it up to the luggage stand. She smiled at him.
"Okay, you all set? Anything else you need?" Glenn asked.
"I'm good, thanks Glenn."
Once Glenn had left, Harley took off her coat and climbed up on the bed to lie down for a while. She woke twenty minutes later, glad of the chance to nap as she felt far more ready to face the set build. She changed into her crew t-shirt and added a hoodie before collecting her coat and heading downstairs to meet Bob in the lobby.
Mark had just checked in when he spotted Harley exiting the elevators. Glancing at his watch, he grinned and headed across the lobby towards her. She smiled when she saw him coming, and he abandoned his case to take the final few steps to her, sweeping her into his arms and bending to kiss her deeply. Her arms went up around his neck, and it wasn't until they broke the kiss that they were aware of the applause that was coming from those of their colleagues who were around.
Harley chuckled, and hid her face in Mark's chest for a moment, while he just grinned, still holding her close.
She looked up at him with a smile a moment later. "You just love making those statements, don't you?"
"That wasn't about making a statement, Kate," he smiled, running his hand over her hair. "I just missed you."
She hugged him around the waist. "I missed you too, but I didn't see the need for such an extravagant public display of affection."
"I'm not afraid of public displays of affection," he grinned.
"So I'm seeing!"
"So, you on your way to work?" Mark asked, still stroking his fingers through her hair.
She nodded. "I guess you'll be at the arena later?"
"Yeah. Got an appearance in a little bit, be there after lunch."
She reached up, pulling him down with one hand on the back of his neck so she could kiss him. "Have a good one, Mark. I'll see you this afternoon."
He watched her as she crossed the lobby, heading out to the shuttle that was taking people over to the venue. Funny how his mood had taken such an upward swing just seeing her. He retrieved his case and went upstairs to his room, smiling.
Harley checked in with Bob and her crew, finding the set build well underway. She and Bob retreated to his office for a quick discussion on the upcoming performance reviews and the usual weekly load of paperwork. During the next three days, Harley would be collecting the files for the second crew to take with her to Orlando, so she could stay on top of the paperwork for that crew at least. Bob went back to work with the crews while Harley started on the never ending round of reports and forms.
A few hours later, she was heading for Catering to grab some lunch, when Jeff ran up to her with a grin.
"Hey stranger!" was his enthusiastic greeting as he hugged her.
She couldn't help her grin as she hugged him in return. "Hi Jeff."
He slung an arm around her shoulder. "Have lunch with me? Or has Mark already booked you?"
"Mark's at an appearance, so I'm all yours," Harley smiled at him.
"Sweet! So, how's it all going with the Deadman?"
They were sitting down together at one of the tables and Harley chuckled. "Well, it's . . . interesting."
Jeff took a bite of his sandwich, his eyebrows going up. " 'Interesting'? That's all you got? Come on, Harley - give!"
She grinned. "What do you want me to say?"
"Well, how about some juicy details?" Jeff waggled his eyebrows suggestively, and Harley burst out laughing.
"Ah, hate to disappoint you, but there aren't any!" Her cheeks coloured a little. "I'm kinda on the bench til the middle of December after my surgery."
Jeff blinked in surprise. "Seriously?"
She nodded. "Seriously. Hell, I'm still a little sore there from Mark . . . " She hesitated.
"What?" Jeff regarded her intently.
This was her best friend, Harley thought. And she needed to talk. "In St Louis, we ended up sharing his room cos they'd lost my booking at the hotel. And the next morning, we were lying together, and we started kissing. Which was great until Mark's hip kinda pressed against my tummy."
"Ouch," Jeff winced.
"Yeah, ouch is right. That cooled things down in a big hurry."
"So if you're not . . . well, what are you doing?"
"You're gonna find this funny, but . . . we're talking. Spending time together. I guess we're kinda getting used to one another in a way that doesn't involve fighting."
"So you aren't fighting any more?"
She laughed. "Where the hell did you get that idea?"
"How can you still be fighting? When you're . . . you know, interested in one another?"
"Because it's who we are, Jeff. We're both stubborn as hell, and that means we butt heads. We're maybe getting a little better at not going off the handle at the least thing, but let me think - last weekend, we had three fights."
Jeff just goggled at her. "Really?"
She shrugged, picking at her salad. "Really. One we kinda resolved straight away, the second we stopped because we realized that we were just tired and not getting anywhere."
"What about the third one?"
Harley sighed. "Oh, back to our old patterns with that one - snarling at one another, he stalked off, I threw something and called him a son of a bitch. Once we cooled down, we apologized, but yeah, it was tense for a bit."
Jeff shook his head. "Man, you really weren't kidding when you said you guys don't need a reason to fight!"
"I wish I could work out how not to get on Mark's last nerve, or let him get on mine, but it just seems to happen."
"But when you're not fighting? It's good then, right?"
She could hear the concern in Jeff's voice and smiled at him. "It's very good then, yes. If you'd told me a few months ago that I'd be saying this, I would have thought you were crazy, but Mark's actually a very nice man." She laughed softly. "And I really like him."
That much, Jeff had no trouble believing. She had this vibe about her - she was happy, and it showed. He hadn't forgotten what he'd told Mark - if he hurt Harley, there would be hell to pay. He wasn't thrilled to hear she and Mark were still fighting, but that sounded like teething problems to him - every relationship had its stormy beginnings, after all.
He had ample opportunity to judge for himself later that day, when he saw Mark and Harley together out by the ring. Mark was leaning against the crowd barrier, with Harley standing between his legs. His arms were around her waist, and her hands rested against his chest. They were looking at one another as they talked, and laughed. He had to smile - they looked very comfortable together, and he knew Harley well enough to know that didn't happen with everyone.
When Dave Batista came down to the ring, Mark lifted Harley up to sit on the crowd barrier, in the absence of an announce table at that night's house show, leaning in to kiss her before climbing into the ring. Jeff wandered down at that point, giving Dave and Mark a wave, and going over to lean against the barrier next to Harley.
She grinned at him. "Oh no, don't tell me - another pop quiz?"
Mark leaned on the top rope, winking at Harley. "You fail this one, Kate, and I may have to resort to drastic measures."
"How drastic?" she giggled, and he was struck again at how young she looked when she did.
"All night . . . cram sessions. Long, hard, intensive . . . study dates. And if that fails . . ."
"I'm almost afraid to ask," she grinned, trying not to giggle at his double entrendres.
"Corporal punishment, Kate," he winked at her.
Luckily, Jeff was standing beside her, because she almost fell off the crowd barrier at that one. Laughing, she hung onto Jeff's shoulder as she looked up at Mark. "You're going to spank me?"
"Only if you're lucky . . . I mean, only if you fail the next pop quiz," Mark grinned.
Jeff made a 'time out' gesture with his hands. "Man, if you're gonna do the foreplay thing, please, at least wait til I'm not standing right here!"
Dave leaned against the rope next to Mark. "I second that!" He gave Harley a little wave.
Mark glared at them both, then winked at Harley again before moving into the centre of the ring to discuss the match with Dave. She just grinned - it certainly didn't feel like work when she was having this much fun.
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