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Fireworks
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 for reading and remember - feedback is love . . . /end obligatory attention whoring!





###

It wasn't long before the game started, and Harley found herself sitting opposite Mark at the table.

He'd taken off his hoodie in the warmth of the hotel. Under it, he wore a long sleeved t-shirt she recognized as one of his favourites. Now, she noticed that the olive colour brought out the green of his eyes, and the t-shirt moulded itself to his powerfully muscled chest and arms. If the hoodie made her want to cuddle him, that t-shirt gave her far more primal urges.

Mark was stacking his chips when someone said something to him, and he looked up to answer. And almost forgot what he was going to say. His eye was caught by Harley. More precisely, by those perky little nipples in her sweater. It wasn't cold in here, not by a long shot. He glanced at her face and saw the rapt expression she wore before she realized he'd caught her looking at him.

Well, that was damn nice, he thought, resisting the urge to grin. She liked looking at him - and what she saw gave her hard nipples. He could certainly live with that.

Unfortunately, his poker game couldn't. He was a little too distracted to play well. Then again, he wasn't alone. That sweater that Harley was wearing was distracting everyone, it seemed.

Not that she was getting much advantage out of it - she seemed a little distracted herself. He caught her looking at him more than once, and then looking away the moment his eyes met hers. Which gave him that much more of a chance to look at her. Which was of course why his poker game had gone to hell.

Still, it was poker and he wasn't going down without a fight. He just had to tear his attention away from that damn sweater long enough to concentrate on the hand being played. So if he could just keep his eyes above her shoulders, that would help. And he could also remember he was the goddamned Phenom, and use some of that in-ring psychology that had kept him on top for so many years.

Across the table from him, Harley's thought processes were running along the same lines. She had a reputation as a 'take no prisoners' player to maintain. But damn it, every time he moved, that t-shirt emphasized his shoulders. And she knew the direction her thoughts were likely to take if she let her attention wander to his hair, or God forbid, his lips. So there was only one thing for it - eye contact. Direct, no-nonsense, eye contact.

Mark kept his eyes on the table as the next hand was dealt, giving his cards a glance. A pair of jacks - now that was something he could work with. So when the betting moved around to him, he called, tossing two hundred in chips to match the big blind. He wanted a chance to see what else was out there. So when Harley raised on that to four hundred, making Matt Striker and Sean Morley fold, he hid a smile and called her bet. Now things were going to get interesting.

Rory McAllister, who had already contributed the big blind, called, as did John and Chuck, and Harley checked. Matt, who was on the button, dealt the flop. Rory, who was relatively new to the game, checked. Which was conservative, as the flop didn't even hold a face card. But that was no way to play a psychological game. Mark raised by a hundred, which John promptly called. Chuck hesitated a moment, and then called too.

Harley resisted the urge to grin. Chuck's tell was that hesitation, and she'd learned to spot it a while ago. So he wasn't really in this race. No matter - she'd take his money same as she would anyone else's. Specially since she had pocket ladies on her side.

"Raise you two hundred," she said offhandedly, tossing three hundred in chips onto the table.

Rory may have been new to the game, but he was a quick study. Any time Harley was that casual, he wasn't about to hand over his chips. He folded, which left Mark next in line. He was methodically re-stacking his chips while he thought, his eyes on the flop, which showed two hearts. He'd just bet that Harley was chasing a flush.

Now he was stifling a grin. The odds of her getting that flush were pretty damn low, especially when stacked against his pocket jacks. But he wasn't about to let on about that. As if making a hard decision, he tossed another two hundred in chips into the pot.

"I call."

John wasn't quite so quick this time, but he was in, as was Chuck. Matt flipped over the turn, and now things really got interesting, from Mark's perspective anyway. Because the fourth community card was a five of spades, and with the five of hearts already showing, that gave him a rather sweet two pair. And he had first bet.

"Three hundred," he drawled, tossing the chips into the pot.

"Too rich for me," John grinned as he folded.

Chuck tossed in his cards as well. "I'm out too."

Mark kept his eyes resolutely above Harley's shoulders as he looked over at her. "Kate?"

Harley looked up into his eyes with a non-commital murmur, as if he'd interrupted her train of thought. "Hmmm?"

Damn it, he'd forgotten about how devastating those blue eyes could be. Still, he knew something that might throw her off balance, dropping his voice to that low tone she seemed to like so much. "Are you in?"

Her hand paused just for a second as she reached for her beer, and he almost grinned. Until she put the beer down and reached for her chips.

"Raise you two hundred." The chips landed on the table as she spoke.

No way was she that confident just chasing a flush . . . or was she? He looked into her eyes and saw the gleam there. But it was kind of hard to tell if that was amusement at knowing she had a hand that couldn't be beat, or just . . . well, more of that flirting. He thought again about his pocket jacks and quirked an eyebrow at her.

"Sure. Why not?" He matched her bet.

Harley took another sip of her beer. Mark had something pretty good in the hole, from the way he'd come out hard on the turn. But she was still confident with her ladies and now a handy pair of fives as well.

Matt turned over the river, and for a moment, Mark thought his heart might just stop. It was a queen, a red queen, and he had an awful moment when he wondered if Harley might not just have lucked into the flush she was always chasing. But to his delight, it was the queen of diamonds instead. No hearts flush - gee, what a shame.

To hide his reaction, he took a mouthful of his beer before picking up his chips. "Three hundred."

Harley stared at the queen on the table. Her queens over fives had just become queens full of fives. Of course, Mark could well have the other two fives. If it were later in the game, she might be tempted to go all in, but for now, well, she'd just have to see about taking a chunk of his money. Not too much though - so far, combining this game with a little flirting was a lot of fun.

She licked her lips slowly, and then tossed three hundred in chips onto the table. "Lemme see what you got there, chief."

Matt, as dealer, looked at him, and he grinned, flipping over his hole cards. "Jacks over fives."

Her eyebrows raised, and then she picked up her own cards and lay them on the table with a sweet smile. "Nice. But I'm afraid all these ladies beat your jacks, chief."

Mark stared. "Three queens?"

"Uh huh." She gave him a grin and reached out to scoop the pot towards her. "They ain't the ladies to mess with, either."

Well, he'd be damned - that pot had over five grand in it, and she'd played it cool as a cucumber. Might be time to bring out the big guns, see if he couldn't get his advantage back. He hadn't forgotten those nipples.

"And neither are you, it seems . . . darlin'," he drawled in a low voice.

Her hands paused as she was stacking her chips, and he thought she maybe bit on her lip. But then she smiled and looked at him from under her lashes. "Who, me?"

"Yeah, you."

He stretched and laced his fingers behind his neck as he leaned back in his chair. Her eyes widened, and she dropped her gaze in a hurry. Just as well, because he'd spotted something that made him grin. Perky little nipples. That was more like it.

###

The advantage lasted for precisely one hand. A hand Harley folded almost at the get-go. The pot he did win, on a measly pair of sevens, was nothing like the stack of chips she'd raked in earlier. Still, the night was young.

He was small blind on the next hand, with nothing much in the hole, but he figured he'd stick around to see what the flop came up with. As did Harley. And as Rory dealt the flop, she leaned forward, her arms on the table. Giving him a bird's eye view right at her cleavage.

He'd been so damned careful keeping his eyes away from that little keyhole thing, but then she'd leaned forward, and of course his eyes had been drawn to the movement. And once he started looking, it was pretty near impossible to drag his gaze away. Even when he did manage to stop looking, his thoughts kept wandering.

Instead of concentrating on the cards, he found himself thinking rather longingly about nuzzling his face between those sweet little breasts. Not surprisingly, he wasn't thinking too clearly about the game as a result. It wasn't until he'd folded that he realized he'd done so on a pair of tens, making him cuss to himself. Still, that did leave him free to enjoy the view.

Except that the moment he folded, Harley sat back, taking that enticing view with her. And then she raised the bet. She lifted her beer to her lips, her eyes sparkling with amusement as she looked at him. Damn her! Although, he had to admit, she had suckered him right in. However, he now had the advantage in the other game that was being played at this table.

He reached for his own beer, taking a long swallow and leaning back in his chair as he very deliberately let his eyes travel over her. Her eyes, which was keeping fairly resolutely locked to his, widened just a fraction at the avaricious gleam there. He ran his thumb and forefinger over the corners of his lips, and then let his hand drop to his chest, smoothing his t-shirt in a seemingly casual gesture. Her eyes followed the movement, as he'd figured they would.

He was considering his next move, but then he saw that flustered look as Harley glanced away from him, and realized he didn't need one. He chuckled to himself - it was good to have something in reserve, after all.

He wasn't even mad that Chuck won the hand with a pair of eights, which he could have beaten had his attention been on the cards. Not while Harley had folded with probably five hundred in the pot. Which was kind of a fun way to keep score. This evening just kept getting more interesting!

Harley was absolutely dumbfounded - Mark had played her! That snake! Still, it also amused her - who knew he could be so devious? It didn't matter that she'd been the first one to make a move, the fact that he'd stepped up when she did meant the game could continue. She hadn't been kidding about her repertoire of dirty tricks, and it was going to be a lot of fun to introduce him to them tonight.

First up, her favourite trick - little Miss Innocent. Mark was on the button for the next hand, and she gave the hand her full and serious attention. Even if she folded right at the start. No looks, no moves - nothing. She was just his poker buddy again. She even kept her eyes from watching every move of his shoulders as he dealt. Well, mostly anyway.

The next hand, she was big blind, which had just jumped to four hundred. That demanded a certain amount of attention too. Not that it did her much good - Chuck came out firing from the start, and she ended up folding on the flop when she had nothing to work with. Mark stuck in there, but Chuck beat him with a pair of aces.

By this time, Sean and Rory were out - Rory had unwisely gone all in against Chuck on that last hand, thinking his pocket cowboys gave him an unbeatable hand, while Sean had just bet disastrously all along. Mark figured that had something to do with how often his gaze had been on Harley's sweater - for all that Sean's in-ring character was a ladies man and adult film star, he'd been way too distracted by that hint of cleavage during the game. Hell, Mark couldn't even be mad about it, since he'd taken a fair chunk of Sean's money along the way as a result.

Matt, John and Chuck were made of sterner stuff, though. Plus, they'd been around the game and Harley longer. Not that she didn't have breasts worth ogling, and all three of them had been doing their fair share, but they'd also seen her do that "gee, I'm only a rookie" act. Not to mention occasionally cutting loose with a belch, usually followed closely by a chuckle and an "excuse me", but not always. She was only a delicate little Southern flower when it suited her, at least when it came to poker.

###

The game progressed. Both of them.

While Mark was stacking his chips, thinking about his next bet, Harley stretched back in her own chair with a little noise that sounded suspiciously like a moan, and his mind went totally blank for a moment. He recovered reasonably well, all things considered, but when the bet moved around to Harley, he gave her a long look, letting his gaze rove deliberately over her, his eyes darkening with desire as he thought about that moan and how he might provoke more of them. When he got her alone, that was.

Harley swallowed hard at the look in his eyes, feeling that fluttering in the pit of her stomach. She had to look away, at least until she got herself back under control. Damn him for knowing how that affected her! Mind you, while she was damning him, she was also getting kind of turned on by knowing how well he knew her. Especially considering they hadn't even made it into bed together yet.

She shifted in her chair, trying to get her attention back on the game while she considered her next moves. He was looking just a bit too smug, she thought - she was going to have to take him down a notch or two. Not to mention trying to win back some chips, she thought, as she looked at the pile in front of her that seemed to have dwindled rather alarmingly.

But her luck wasn't holding, even against Matt, who could usually be relied upon to be suckered into building a decent pot or two before folding. She'd have to see if she could get some points in that other game instead.

Desperate times called for desperate measures. Dropping a chip onto the floor by 'mistake', she bent down to pick it up, and made sure she could see where Mark's legs were before sitting up again. Fortunately, because he was so tall, his legs were stretched out in front of him, which was the only reason she was going to be able to even attempt her next dirty trick.

She toed off one boot and extended her foot, feeling around cautiously until she touched his boot. He hadn't noticed anything yet, so, wearing her most innocent expression, she slowly ran her foot up his leg in a deliberate caress.

Mark straightened in his chair like he'd been shot, although he kept most of the shock out of his expression. Once he got over the surprise, Mark still found it hard to get his mind back in the game. The feel of Harley's foot rubbing up and down his leg was rather surprisingly erotic. Probably just because she was touching him, he realized, given that that was about all they could do to one another at the moment. So yeah, he was up for that. And he certainly didn't want her to stop.

Harley continued to stroke her foot up and down his leg as if nothing had happened. The opposite was true, though - there was something about this that was turning her on, and she fought the urge to wriggle in her chair. The fabric of his jeans was slightly rough under the sole of her foot, and she could feel the warmth of his body through it.

She darted a glance at him from under her lashes, and sucked in a breath at the expression on his face. That faint sound caught his attention, and he looked over at her. She bit her lip at the hunger in that gaze, but she couldn't tear her eyes away from his.

It took John asking, not once but twice, if she was in to bring her attention even marginally back to the game. Even then, it was only long enough to fold.

Mark wasn't much better. Particularly when he realized that if he let this go on much longer, he was going to be sitting through the rest of the game with a hard on. Regretfully, he sat up a bit more in his chair and pulled his legs back, carefully avoiding Harley's gaze as he did. His eyes were caught by her posture, though - she had slid down a little in her chair to reach his leg, and that gave him more of a view through her keyhole neckline. He almost groaned.

When Mark shifted position, Harley wanted to whimper. She had forgotten this was a game, originally planned to distract him from poker. All she knew was that she wanted to keep touching him. She wasn't even aware she was pouting as she toyed with the chips in front of her.

That pout had more of an effect on Mark than her touch had. He wanted to grab her and kiss her silly, though he wasn't sure if it was to wipe away that pout or because the pout made her lips look even more kissable. That train of thought was only derailed when Chuck nudged his shoulder and held out a fresh beer. He clutched at it like a drowning man clutches at a straw. Beer!

Chuck leaned over the table and offered one to Harley, which she took with a little nod and a smile. As she leaned forward to do so, Mark's eyes were drawn once again to the keyhole in her sweater, and he paused in the act of bringing the beer to his lips, transfixed.

Harley raised the beer to her lips, taking a deep draught of it, relishing the cold liquid. Particularly as she seemed to be just a little overheated at the moment. Lowering the bottle, her tongue darted out to lick her lips and she gave a quiet sigh of satisfaction as she sat back.

Mark swallowed hard. His imagination was working overtime, because seeing her lips on the mouth of the bottle caused a sudden rush of blood south of his waist. Watching her lick her lips, his mouth felt suddenly very dry, and he took a long swallow of his own beer. He set the beer down and shifted a little in his chair. It didn't help the pressure on his fly, and he reached down to adjust himself under the table.

Watching him from under her eyelashes, Harley bit down on a whimper. It wasn't like she hadn't seen that before - most of the guys were comfortable around her, and she'd seen worse than the occasional readjustment in her years on the road. But this was Mark. The mere thought of him touching himself made her squeeze her thighs together. Not to mention wishing fervently it was her hands on him.

###

By long-standing agreement, the game was usually suspended for a half hour or so when they got down to the last three or four players, depending on how many people were in the game, to give everyone a chance to take a break and stretch. Room Service usually got a call for some snacks to be delivered, and, if necessary, someone was deputized to make a beer run to the closest convenience store.

Tonight, there was no beer run needed, and Harley took advantage of the break, and Matt's offered key, to go across the hall to his room to freshen up. She washed her hands and bent forward to splash some cold water on her face, reaching for a towel as she straightened. Patting her face dry, she blew out a long breath, looking at her reflection in the mirror.

It was a pretty sad state of affairs when she couldn't even get through a poker game without getting distracted by her damn hormones, she thought. The hell of it was that it was getting in the way of her enjoying Mark's company. Especially when, in a couple of days, she was going to be deprived of that for almost ten days. Which seemed like an eternity, when they were used to spending time together almost every day.

There had to be a way to keep the flirting light and teasing, because it was fun. Certainly added spice to the poker game! Resolving to try, at least, she left Matt's room and headed back across the hall.

Mark was leaning on the back of the couch, long legs stretched out in front of him, as he and Chuck talked about their favourite subject - motorcycles. But he was keeping one eye on the door, waiting for Harley to return. He'd welcomed her absence at first, because it gave him a chance to cool off and clear his mind of the million or so lustful thoughts he had every time he looked at her.

But almost the minute they'd subsided, he was missing her. And not in any lustful way. He just liked being with her, which was why he'd invited her into the poker games in the first place. He'd gotten very used to seeing her face across the table from him. The games weren't the same without her all in, balls out, go for the throat competitiveness, without her weakness for chasing a flush, without her ready laugh at both winning and losing.

When he saw her in the doorway, he smiled, reaching out to take her hand as she came closer, pulling her gently in to his side. She perched beside him, leaning against him as he wrapped his arm around her. They both gave little sighs of contentment at the same moment, making Harley giggle softly, while Mark just grinned and hugged her gently before resuming his conversation with Chuck.

Funny how the mood could change so completely in the space of a few minutes. Now, snugged in to his side, her hand resting on his thigh, Harley wasn't in the least bit . . . hormonal. Just . . . comfortable.

The arrival of Room Service had most of the guys crowded around the trolley, and Harley looked up at Mark. "Hungry, chief?"

His hand moved slowly from her waist to her hip in a gentle caress as he smiled. "Not for anything from Room Service, sweetheart."

She chuckled, shaking her head. "I think that's all that's on offer!"

He leaned in to nuzzle playfully at her shoulder with a chuckle of his own. "You're sitting here in that sweater and you want me to believe nothing else is on offer?"

"This old thing?" her eyes twinkled. "I just threw it on, it's nothing special."

" 'Just threw it on', huh?" he grinned. He leaned in, whispering huskily into her ear,"That must be why I've got this urge to just tear it off."

Uh oh. Hormone alert, Harley thought wildly. She shivered at that whisper, and whispered back, "That would certainly be a first at a poker game."

Mark chuckled, his hand caressing her back, still leaning in close to her ear. "Then maybe we should blow off the poker game and go back to your room?"

She leaned back from him, eyes widening, and then chuckled as she saw the amusement in his eyes. "As if I'm ever going to walk away from a poker game for that!" she winked at him.

He grinned, pulling her in so he could kiss her lightly. "Can't blame me for trying!"

###

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
merry_legs_lovr
Mar. 23rd, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
Thanks for the update Nepi...I've printed it out & going to read it as I snuggle into bed. Hope another update for one of your wonderful stories will follow shortly. LOL (No pressure...MUCH) Keep up the great work & take care.

~Helen xxx
nephthys_abode
Mar. 26th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
Thankies, Helen!

Hope you enjoyed it!

As for other updates . . . working on it, as usual!
(Deleted comment)
nephthys_abode
Mar. 26th, 2009 10:55 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Speaking of birds, and in the context of this particular fic and the earlier "Candyman" situation (which will be resolved eventually), you'll adore this!

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )