Thursday, May 3, 2012

Just Me ~ Short Stories from a Political Wannabe....

Book Contents: (and copyright info)

o   Foreword
o   A Dream of You
o   Her Goodbye
o   Love is in the Air
o   Moonlight Lovers
o   A Love Like This
o   The Legacy of St. John
o   So Good They Named it Twice
o   CSI: Miami Fan Fiction ~ Letter to H
o   Announcing Love ~ Wrestling Fan Fiction

ISBN: 978-1-4716-6459-5:

Copyright April 2012 to Nicky D Sarti, all rights reserved.
All stories are fictional and purely done for fun and enjoyment, no offence or harm meant.


This short little book of fictional stories comes loving made to showcase; if you will my growing abilities as a writer. I am still learning, and as most good wannabe politicians will tell you; this is the only way ~ you have to keep learning!

Some will shock you, some will surprise you; I hope all will please you. No matter what you are looking for, I think I have provided here for you to enjoy. Be it love, hurt; anger; desire or more ~ it is here. There are fan fictions and more here, if you fancy a little CSI: Miami; then we have a little sneak preview to my growing collection. If you fancy a little wrestling, than that’s here too!
I hope that you enjoy my stories, feedback is always welcomed; contact me anytime on: ~ I will do my very best to reply to all mail received.

Finally in closing, I wanted to say a few words of “thanks” to those who have helped me along the way…

Of course there are my fantastic parents who have put up with a lot, without you guys; I would be nothing.

Lucinda from gets a warm mention for coming up with the idea I used with part of my last story here; “Announcing Love…”

John & Marie Dickie are wonderful people who; despite my craziness; STILL choose to be seen out with me and befriend me ~ thanks a million guys!

Truth is there are a million and one people I’d like to thanks for making this book happen… the bullies who made me believe for years I would never amount to much ~ guess again dumbasses! The friends who came into my life and then left, you taught me what true friendship is. The men, who never dated me, only saw me as something to use and play with; you taught me so much ~ none of which I can mention here! (And that wasn’t a compliment either!)

The council colleagues (which will always feel weird to say) that have shown me loyalty and friendship, even when you may have thought I was not loyal to you; thank you! I can assure you, I will always be loyal… and to the council friends I have made along the way, politics is to be done in that chamber and should be kept there; what happens outside should always come first. And Binners, you get a special mention; just because!

For the past fifteen odd years, I have been more than lucky to do voluntary work with St. John Ambulance. In those years, I have met some amazing people and seen some incredible things. Thanks to all that have come and go throughout the years, and all who have had an influence upon my life; regardless of if you knew it or not. During these years I have seen many changes, not all of them have been good; but we have always survived ~ here’s hoping we can all survive these recent “changes!”

And lastly, to one of my best friends; Phil... You have been like my best friend and big brother all rolled into one. Many times I know I could not have survived without you, many times you have been my reason for aching laughter; it has always been needed. Thank you, for everything.
In closing, I’d like to welcome you to some of my fictional stories; hope you enjoy!
Nicky (aka: Alexandra Stone xXx)

A Dream of You.

I have this dream about you, well to be honest it is more about “us” rather than anything else; but I guess you already knew that right. I am not going to lie and tell you that you are the only man I have thought about in this way, nor am I going to tell you that you are the one; we both know that most of that would be false. I have too much respect for you to lie to you; I would never forgive myself if I were not one hundred per cent honest with you.

However, the one thing that seems to be different about my dreams is you! You seem to haunt them constantly, always present like an old faithful memory or guardian angel. But it is not just that though is it, I mean never before in my life have my dreams ever seemed so; well real. When I close my eyes, it is as if I can feel you standing there right in front of me. And maybe that is where all these problems are coming from, maybe this is why I cannot be around you too long anymore; maybe this is the reason we cannot do the friend thing.

Maybe I am afraid, yeah that is it; I am afraid. Afraid that you will see though me, through my act; afraid that you will read my feelings. You were always good at that; always able to see through the façade that is my life. All the times I spent trying to hide and you easily saw through it, and I would always wonder how you managed it. I guess I am afraid of the answers if I asked that question you always made me feel like I could ask, maybe I am better off not knowing.

You told me that I did not need to run or act, you taught me to look out for the simple things in life and that those trials in life would only make me stronger. But I am not as strong or as positive as you, I have been through too much to start believing that it will all be okay in the end. Not that I do not want things to be okay, I am tired of things not being okay. You gave me some belief that things would be okay, you must have known that your kind words would make me fall.

I spend many a match thinking about you, if I was being honest it is not just match days I think about you. You seem to be in my dreams and thoughts every single day, but whatever the case; your kindness makes me fall even more. So in honesty it is not that hard to see why this dream happened, I guess the only thing that is hard to understand; well for me anyway, is why it was not real. The thoughts and memories were so clear and so strong that I have no idea where reality starts and make believe ends, maybe this is the problem in the end; maybe this is why I must leave.

Blankly I stare at the letter in my hands, I must have done this for the past thirty minutes; but in all honesty it only seems like a few seconds. Everything in my mind is screaming at me to rip the letter up and walk away, most of my friends had already warned me of this; begging me to just let it drop. But as was always my way, I just needed to get closure on things; I could not just walk away. There would always be that little part of me that wondered; what if... and that part would always be the ruling factor in anything I did, I just knew it.

In my dreams I am sat at the same bar with the same letter in my hands, but as I close my eyes I know my dream is going to be different; it always is. In my mind you have always had feelings for me, but due to the being married bit and never knowing I felt the same; could never (or rather would never) say anything to me. In my dreams, somehow you become separated etc. Yes, I know that sucks and I know I am probably being hypocritical there; but I am not perfect... even in my dreams!

For some reason, either you have confronted me or I have decided to finally say something to you. I do not even remember how I tell you, let alone when I tell you; but all I know is that one minute I am struggling to tell you and the next you have kissed me! Okay I know it is daft, but I know that I am sat here blushing slightly as the thoughts of kissing you passes though my mind. I feel like a lovesick teenager with a schoolgirl crush as I think of your first tender touches, my mind enjoying the fact I know you will be a gentleman.

Despite the beard your lips are soft and tender, you kiss me slowly and gently; not wanting to force me but not wishing to stop either. From my point of view I feel like my hands are not doing the right thing, just there on the end of my arms; not really sure where to go. In your case I suspect that it is more the case of not wanting to be anything but a gentleman towards me, see even in my dreams you are the ever-thoughtful gentleman! Eventually though both our hands settle upon the other’s body, one of my hands in the back of your hair and the other would be softly stroking your cheek.

You would have your hands on my waist, slowly pulling me closer to you; not caring that we are in a packed bar on a Saturday night or that our colleagues have been struck into silence. Your hands would softly caress my sides, alerting me to the fact you did not want to stop; of course I would not stop you... I was; am in love with you, why would I want to stop you? Finally after what seems like forever we break away, instantly I know you are feeling the passion and arousal; much the same as I myself am feeling. To this day I will never understand how I can actually taste your kisses, maybe it is because I have been close to kissing your lips... whatever the reason I do not know if I will ever experience anything so emotional in my life.

Within seconds of our lips parting I am feeling like a lovesick teenager once more, but this time I know you are feeling the same. Neither of us really talking just grinning like the cat that got the cream, standing there in silence and not realising that our colleagues and most the bar are now watching us intently. Suddenly we can feel their eyes upon us and much like me you begin to feel a little embarrassed by it all, there is a look in your eyes that I quickly understand. And taking my hand in yours and we quickly head out of the bar and to your car, in the clubs car park.

The second we leave the bar we are laughing, this becomes even louder as we soon realise that the rain; which was only spitting before is now falling heavily. Even though your car is nearby we get soaked and are soon almost in fits of laughter as we reach the comfort of your dry car, sliding into the back seat almost without thinking. Even though we are attracted to each other, I know that I do not have to worry about you being a gentleman in the back seat. Besides we are too busy laughing to actually notice where we are, by the time we have we are already in a more than slightly intimate position; with our arms around each other and our lips so close I can still taste you.

As I toy with my drink I am almost unaware of everything else in the bar, enjoying where my dreams take me too much. I do not notice the “scuffle” that is taking place across the bar from me and I do not see you walking into the bar either, the only thing I am acutely aware of is the letter in my hands still. As my dream takes me where it will I continue to blankly stare at the letter in my hands, almost unaware that you have smiled at me; but strangely though I have seemingly smiled back. As you head for my side the kerfuffle seems to sweep you along with it, which is the moment I become aware of you fully; leaving my dreams behind for a moment or two. As I begin to watch you I notice things I would not have normally seen.

As you play peacemaker I cannot help smile at your calming nature, you are such a gentleman that it would be only a matter of time before I fall for you. There are a couple and the guy was seemingly getting rather abusive towards his female companion, I can see that you are intent on defending her honour and will not allow her to be bullied or pushed around. I watch as you do the “calm down” gesture to the guy and smile towards the woman, there are other staff around and they take your lead and help to calm things down. As you all talk, my mind takes me back to my dreams; thankful that I have a few moments to still enjoy them.

There is a moment between us in the back of your car that neither of us could mistake; there is a softness in your eyes and smile that says all we need to say. Softly you caress my cheek, pulling me close softly as we kiss once more. The passion is hard to deny as the moment takes us where it will, neither of us seem sure about where we will end up; just that it will never be wrong. Even though the passion between us is on a high, I know that there is no pressure upon me to spend the night with you. I guess that is one of the things I love about you, I never feel like I HAVE TO do anything with you.

“Hey sweetheart, you okay?” Your words bring me from my dream, although I may want to continue with it I am glad you are there. Smiling back, I nod and tell you I am fine. I somehow manage to hold a fairly decent conversation with you, talking as if we have known each other for years instead of the six or so months we have done. While we are talking I never think about you in that way, not sure why; maybe I do actually want to talk with you! However, as soon as there is a decent amount (just what IS a decent amount anyway) of silence between us; my mind wanders very quickly back to my dream.

Very quickly I find myself in the backseat of your car once more and again we are passionately kissing, the image of it is so strong and powerful I am certainly you can read my mind; and as I blush deeply I know that it will not be long before you find me out. I can feel your tender touch on my thighs and then on my waist, I can feel the softness of your beard as your lips send my emotions spiralling almost out of control. The strength of these feelings are almost as if you were actually doing them to me, it was so clear that I had to secretly pinch myself to make sure it was a dream. I knew I should speak and try to clear my mind, but truth was that it felt just too good to stop thinking about you.

I must have been blushing so much that as soon as you had noticed I could sense the change in you and your smile, you are now studying me so intently I can feel your eyes upon me; if I did not know you better I would have said undressing me with those sexy blue eyes. But of course I do know better, I know that in reality my dreams can never come to light; and I guess that is what ultimately made my mind up to go. In my dreams you have pulled back for a moment and are softly caressing my cheek, your eyes intently looking deep into my own. In reality you have been watching me intently, you had already noticed the letter in my hands and how I cannot stop toying with it.

“My pretty Angel…” You softly whisper, it sounds so real to me; almost as if you have spoken to me in reality. And this is where my reality and dreams seem to blur together, for a split second I can only stare blankly at you; saying nothing that will give me away. But the one thing I am aware of is that you have taken the letter from me and begin to read its contents, within seconds the thoughts that have haunted me so long come flooding back to me.
“Please…” Is all I can say, though truth be told I have no idea what I am actually asking you to do. With one soft smile I know that it is alright, I suddenly feel a calmness washing over me; nodding I turn my attention back to my thoughts.

Although I am in the back seat of your car and staring into your eyes my mind places me somewhere altogether different, we are stood in the Guildhall; in front of our family and friends about to pledge our eternal love for one another. Thoughts of our first night flash though my mind, it was warm loving and passionate to say the least. Pictures of the first time we met each others families are joined by the first time I went to the football with you as your partner, I can still see the look upon the ex’s face as I walked into the room on your arm; it was as if he was jealous and regretful that he let me go.

I can see the many nights we had laughed in my mind, how you called me every day and never once let me go without a loving hug and kiss every time we had to go anywhere. I can see our first Christmas together and how you made it the best time ever, even your first gift to me has me almost in tears; you always said it was nothing but it meant everything to me. But as my mind has me stood waiting to marry the man of my dreams my mind is still focusing upon the moment you asked me to marry you, as I would have expected it; you made it perfect.

We had been seeing each other for six months and in your mind it was six months too long, you would always say you knew you wanted to marry me the first moment you laid eyes upon me; in truth I would have married you then if you had asked. You had invited me to the clubs Christmas do, held at Fawsley Hall in Daventry. It was not our first night away together but it was certainly one of the most important, it was our first time away with the club as a couple. I knew right from the moment we stepped out of the car that you had something in mind, it was as if you were mentally taking note of everything; making sure it was what you wanted.

For a split second I hear you sigh out loud deeply, making me all too well aware that you had understood my letter. As my mind is brought abruptly from my dream back to reality I can tell by the look in your eye that you are torn, I know you want to be the nice kind gentleman that I respect you for; but I also know you have no choice but to tell me to leave you alone.
“Baby…” Is all you can say as you sigh deeply, looking away for a moment as I lower my head; not wanting to see my already sealed fate coming true. I know that if I stay much longer my tears will start to fall, I also know I will not be able to stop them from falling. I want to think about my dream, I want to pretend like everything is alright and you are with me; of course I know this is far from the actual truth.

My heart is already breaking as I hear you sigh deeply again, I know that it will not hold out for much longer. So I take the best course of action I can and run, mumbling some sort of apology I rush for the exit; no looking back as my tears begin to fall. I never thought I would be going though this pain again, I always thought I would have learnt with the ex thing; but of course the moment I began to think about you in that way I knew this was on the cards. I had only just got outside and round the corner before my tears began to flow thick and fast, sinking to my knees I never saw you stood there watching me; the only time I was aware was when your arms pulled me close into that solid frame of yours. Instantly you felt my body tighten with fear, and almost as instantly you soothed my fears away; softly stroking my hair and shushing my tears.

“It’s okay sweetheart, its okay…” You softly say, seemingly not wanting to let go of me. There is a comfortable silence between us that I was not prepared for, I was not planning on you being so; well nice! But in truth that was all you wasn’t it? That is the one thing more than anything else that I loved about you, you were ~ are such a nice guy. Trust you to be so bloody nice about me falling for you! I thought to myself, trying not to snort out loud as I tried to keep my laughing inside. I was torn inside, part of me wanting to talk about things but part of me just wanting to stay like this and get back to my dreams.

When the silence continued, I assumed you had given me the choice to talk or not; so taking the opportunity handed to me I settled down further into your arms and went back into my dreams for as long as I could. Your eyes say so much as we continue to just look into each other’s eyes, but I can tell that your mind is somewhere lost in a dream; just like my own. My mind takes me back to the first night of the party, we had dance and laughed all night; neither wanting that night to ever end. I could tell that you had something on your mind as each time I made a move to head back to our room you found an excuse to wait a little while, at first I assumed it was nerves on your part; until the moment you asked I had no idea you were about to ask me to marry you.

After what seemed like the fiftieth time of trying to go back to our room, I had to say something to you. It was expected and I should have known by the look in your eyes what you were planning, as you watched me launch into this speech I was not prepared to give you would be trying not to burst out laughing.
“... so come on, out with it; what’s the matter?” I say as I watch you give up all hope and begin to laugh uncontrollably, holding you sides as you see my face change.
“What is it, what’s so funny?” I ask, almost pleading with you to let me in on your secret. I see you take a deep breath, as if you were planning what to say; then looking into my eyes you sigh and speak.
“Marry me please? I love you.” Although I am shocked, I can tell by the look in your eye that you are serious.

Within moments I too have joined in your laughter, holding my sides to ease the stitch I know is about to form. I want to tease you back but the look in your eyes  makes that impossible, smiling softly I turn and head back to our room; you must know my answer is certain to be yes as you follow without question. Within seconds of the door closing to our room your lips were upon mine in the most passionate of kisses, the kisses seemed to not only blend into one another but also astound me. I am not sure if your kisses were to convince me or because you thought I may say no, (can’t say no if your mouth is full can you) but whatever the reason I am so taken away by them that I can literality feel my legs giving way underneath me.

In my mind I can see the night progressing, your soft tender touch slowly creating a whirlwind of emotions that I would never be able to deny. Your kisses delighting me and awakening something in me I thought had long since died; it was something that would stay with me forever and in reality too! I would always be totally overwhelmed by the very real dream like emotions of that night, they would be that much stronger than any other I had or will ever experience in my life.
“Yes by the way, the answer is yes; I’ll marry you!” I finally manage to say as you are poised to enter me and make my possession complete, smiling there is no need for any further words as you slowly fill me to the hilt; loving where these moments are taking us.

“Are you okay sweetheart?” Your voice is soft warm and tender, I can tell instantly that your words are genuine. I pull back slightly allowing my head to leave the safe confines of your chest, all I can do is shrug my shoulders. I want to say something; anything but I know the words will not come out, I try but they get stuck in the back of my throat. In a moment of sheer clarity, my dreams become my reality; as you gently take my face into your big strong hands.
“It is okay sweetheart, I know... I have always known.” Was all I needed to hear from you, your ever-soothing voice quelling a fear I never saw until it had gone.

One moment I am trying not to cry, the next my soul is being soothed by your soft touch on my cheeks. Without another word you quickly but gently move forward and close the gap between our lips, after a seconds hesitation your lips claim my own in the most tender of kisses. It does not take me long to get lost in the moment and kiss you back, there is a longing desire in your kiss that even I am aware of. Our passionate moment seems to last forever, your hands softly caressing my waist as you pull me gently closer to you. I am almost clinging to you as one of my hands is gripping onto the lapel of your jacket, while my other hand is softly stroking your cheek.

In my mind I am torn between thinking about your kisses and my dream, reality now completely blurred with fantasy. In my dream we are tenderly making love, wrapt in each other’s love and passion. Our bodies are entwined, the passion we are experiencing is taking my breath away. In reality your kisses are setting my soul on fire, making me more than a little aware that you do not want to stop. In my dream we have both reached the point of no return, as you move quicker inside of me now; I wrap my quivering body to yours tighter. As we come together in an explosion of emotions I call out your name, hearing you do the same as you tell me you love me.

As the realness of your words hit me I begin to cry, not because you have hurt me but because I never thought anyone could love me as much. In reality I had no idea that my tears had begun to fall again, the first real clue I have is when you pull away suddenly; looking at me with concern. For a moment I am unaware, as well as confused by the blurred lines of reality and fantasy.
“Sweetheart?” Is all you need to say as I softly smile and go to wipe my tears, stopping me you dry my tears as you softly caress my cheeks.
“I.. I… I love you!” I finally manage to say, still not one hundred per cent sure if I am doing let alone saying the right thing. But as you softly smile and pull me closer into your tender embrace, any fears I have all disappear.

“I know, I have always known sweetheart.” You begin to say as I bury my head into your chest, allowing my tears to soak through your shirt.
“Baby girl, the feelings are more than mutual...” You continue to say, feeling my body stiffen in your arms; you know your next words need to be clear.
“I love you honey, I have done for a long time...” You say softly, tenderly kissing the top of my head; praying that I will relax into your arms.
“What?” Is all I can say as I lift my head slightly, trying to understand what you have just told me.

Softly caressing my cheek you sigh deeply, looking into my eyes as you smile. There is a look in them that tells me you mean what you say, there is something in them that says I need not be scared anymore. I can tell you want to say something, but when it doesn’t come I begin to wonder if telling you how I felt was a good idea. Within seconds any fear that may have been coming back is quickly put to rest as you kiss me once more, this time there is a hunger and desire even I am aware of; I know that you want me as much as I want you.

“What do you think Alexandra?” Staring at Pete and Trisha blankly for a few moments I realise I have just missed pretty much the first half of the football, forty five minutes of a match that was; if the score line was anything to go by, exciting... and I missed it.
“Huh?” I manage to say, as I try to clear my head and find something; anything to take my mind off you.
“I said what do you think about helping me with this web article, what’s wrong with you?” Pete said he smiled, seemingly aware that my mind had been elsewhere.
“Erm, yeah sure thing...” I say, trying not to blush; thankful that you are not there to make things worse.

“I am sure that your Director friends could help you out too, what do you think Richard?” Pete said, looking past me and not seeing how my jaw dropped; oh how I wish the ground would open up wide and swallow me whole! I am afraid to turn round and face you, I know that the moment I do you will see my desire through my eyes; I was not sure if I was ready for that yet.
“I would be only too happy to help; Alexandra knows I would do anything for her...” Your honest words warm my soul as I slowly turn to face you, trying to smile. All my mind can think about is how not to break the seemingly collected exterior I have, while my heart is seemingly doing cartwheels and somersaults inside of me.

What happens, in reality takes only a few moments; but seems to take a lifetime for me. The second I catch your smiling eyes, I know that you can see through my act. As your eyes study me I can tell by the change in your own eyes that you have understood, and in that split second I know my fate is already sealed; I know that I have no other choice left open to me now but to run. And just as I am about to turn away and accept that my life is over, you do something that is not only strange but also very out of character.

You wink at me as you begin to explain just why you would do anything for me, not only shocking anyone that would listen but also myself.
“Alexandra knows how much I think of her, don’t you sweetheart?” As I sort of try and answer, you can tell by my struggling that you should continue.
“You must know by now that I love you Alexandra?” You said matter-of-factly, as if it was no big deal. Had I had a drink in my hands, it would now be all over the floor. Pretty much like my, and those around us jaws were.

I had to pinch myself to check to see if I was dreaming again, when I realised I was not all I could do was stand there and stare blankly at you; it was all so surreal and like something out of a film. My heart wanted this all to be true, but of course I knew inside this was not going to happen; after all I never got that fairytale happy ending did I... In honesty all I could really do for the next forty plus minutes of the match was stare blankly at you, you were talking away about how you felt about me. But in all honesty I never heard a word of it, I was not even thinking about being with you. I was just speechless I guess, seemingly too shocked to think straight.

Before too long there is a loud buzzing noise ringing very close to my ear, part of me is thankful for some normality. But by far the bigger part of me is pissed off good and proper, and; as if I needed reminding, very frustrated... sighing deeply, I yawn and stretch as I try to wake myself up; not that I really wish too of course. I would much rather be back in my dream fantasyland, where my life is how I want it to be; not how it really actually is! With the constant ringing in my ears I throw the alarm clock over to the other side of the room with force, more than a little aware that I am probably about to have the day from hell. And as soon as I have read my text, I know it will be the day from hell.

My two best friends almost demanding I meet them after I had been to college, it was not that I did not want to see my friends; but the fact that for the past three months they have not been around had kinda pissed me off. My day is pretty normal considering all that my overactive imagination had been through, which is why when you called me toady I was not prepared and my defences down. Before I even realised it I was already walking into the bar looking for you, and there you were; larger than life holding a conversation with me. And try as I might I am torn between telling you I love you and just leaving it, of course I cannot tell you this can I? This has to stay in my mind, as part of my dream; after all a dream of you is a good thing to keep hold of.

Her Goodbye.

As they sombrely walked into the church none of them in their wildest dreams ever thought this day would ever come, as the all sat in the front row they all seemed to cling onto each other for moral support and friendship. As the guys did their best to comfort the ladies they all tried to combat their own emotions. Felix, Eve and Frankie did their best to comfort each other, while Stella, Lucy and Grace clung on to each other for dear life.

Moments later the team and friends watched as the casket was carried in by Gabby’s colleagues and member’s of the order and St. John and Joe, while Alex and Jessica followed up behind trying not to break down and cry. Trying to smile to the team he knew it was never going to reach his lips as he passed by Grace caught his hand and squeezed it tightly, nodding they seemed to understand this unspoken show of support. Sitting upon Grace’s lap Jessica just sat silently as she watched her beloved Mother lay in an oak casket. As Alex stood with Joe at the parapet his mind went numb, trying to find the words was going to be agony.

“I think of you often and make no outward show, but what it means to lose you, no one will ever know. You wished no one farewell, not even said good-bye; you were gone before I knew it, and only God knows why. You are not forgotten nor will you ever be, as long as life and memories last, I will remember thee. To some you may be forgotten, to others a part of the past, but to me who loved you dearly, your memories will always last. Nothing can be more beautiful than the memories I have of you. To me, you were someone special; God must have thought so too! If tears could build a staircase and memories a lane, I would walk all the way to heaven, and bring you back again.” Pausing for a moment Alex swallowed hard not only to collect his thoughts but also try stopping his tears from falling, before he went on.

"My dear sweet beautiful wife, I promised you my heart and soul forever. For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul. Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage." Looking to the piece of paper in his hands, Alex spoke once more knowing it was all he had left.

"Nunc scio quit sit amor."
(Translated from Latin, means; "Now I know what love is.”)

Walking over to oak casket stood on stilts Alex did all he could to hold it together, not just for himself but also those other faithful friends and family that were equally devastated by the loss of their colleague, friend and Mother. Holding on to Joe as tightly as he could he stood next to the casket that contained his loyal and loving beautiful wife inside, as pall bearers stood on either side of the casket taking the small box containing the highest medal from the order; the one Gabby had longed for they handed it over to Alex who did all he could not to break down. Feeling Joe squeeze his hand he felt safe for a moment, before laying a soft kiss upon the casket.

“I love you my darling, always and forever.” Whispering to the casket as he finally found he could no longer hold it all in, Alex broke down and cried unashamedly. Taking his father in his arms Joe did all he could to be strong for his father, but knowing deep inside he too was feeling just the same as Alex and the rest of the team.

Watching as they led the casket away Jessica was silently crying into Grace’s arms as her Mother’s casket was carried past her, asking the pall bearers to stop a moment she got off of Grace’s lap and walked over to the casket. Wanting to stop his daughters tears Alex went to his daughter’s side, closely followed by Joe and they watched Jessica speak.

Kissing the casket as she had seen her Father do, Jessica took off the locket she had given her the day after Alex and Gabby had got married. She placed it on the side of the casket as Alex took her into his arms, Jessica spoke once more.
“Ti amo per sempre la mia cara madre.” Turing instinctively to Grace, who held her tightly close.
(Translated from Italian means; I love you forever my dear Mother.)

Holding his daughter tightly Alex watched as the love of his life was carried out from the church and off to the graveyard, numbly following on he felt how Sean and Grace supported him either side while Joe supported his step sister, Jessica. Trying to smile he knew it would never reach his lips, wiping their tears away as best they could the team followed Alex out to the graveyard and where Gabby was to be buried. As the service continued Alex numbly stood letting his tears fall freely as Grace stood one side and Joe the other, all he really knew was that he was holding Jessica tightly and that his stunningly beautiful wife wasn’t coming home.

It was all a blur to him if he was honest, but as the crowds departed he was left standing at Gabby’s graveside with Grace and the rest of the team by his side. Looking over to Joe who had finished thanking people and was now stood trying to comfort Jessica the best he could.

“Joe is a credit to you both.” Grace said as she tried her best to comfort her long standing friend, nodding slightly Alex wanted to speak but found that he couldn’t. As the hours passed by, the rest of the team had long since left the graveside and where now waiting by the cars but still Grace and Sean stood by Alex’s side.

Feeling the cold wind biting into his numb tear stained face Alex knew he should be going but the honest truth was that he didn’t WANT to go, he had told her he would never leave her side but now he felt totally lost.

“I feel so lost Grace, what am I meant to do now? I’m lost without her, she was… IS my life!” Feeling his grief wash over him like a great wave he broke down and fell into Grace’s arms, and as his tears fell those that Grace had been trying to hold back fell too. Feeling a little useless Sean walked over to where Joe was trying to comfort Jessica; nodding to Joe he held his arms out as Jessica instinctively ran into Sean’s arms. Holding on so tightly to her Sean no longer felt able to hold back his own tears from falling, feeling Jessica hug him tightly back made Sean feel slightly better and as Joe put his hand on his shoulder he looked up and tried to smile.

“I know Sean, I know!” Was all Joe could or even needed to say, feeling his friends pain being joined by his own pain and grief. Standing by the cars Spencer took hold of Felix and held her in his arms, feeling how she was trying like the rest of the team to be strong. Knowing it was no use she turned to face Spencer and looked into his eyes, knowing what each felt without a single word Felix buried her head in his chest and finally broke down; followed by the rest of the team.

Back at the graveside Grace dried her tears slightly as she indicated to Alex that it was time for them to be going, feel the pain he felt as he look up at Grace with tears still falling and his red eyes.
“I don’t want to go Grace; I belong by her side!” Alex managed to say through the tears and pain, nodding Grace knew what he was feeling and going through.
“I know Alex, I know it hurts. But we have to go, come on let’s go.” Grace replied as she gently led her friend away from the graveside, never letting go of her friend.

Back at the car Alex was hugged tightly by his friends and colleagues as he tried his best to regain his strength, as they all got in the cars Alex held Jessica in his arms and cried softly with his beautiful daughter. Moments later the cars pulled away leaving behind their friend and Mother, while Alex left behind his wife lover best friend and soul mate. Taking his hand in hers Grace felt his pain and tried her best to comfort him, knowing Gabby would be looking down upon them all and protecting them as best she could. As Joe sat in the front thoughts filled his mind of just how his Father could or even would be able to bounce back from this latest heartbreak his Father had suffered, looking to Grace both nodded an understanding of respect and friendship both knowing this would be a hard road for Alex and indeed all the team.

Love is in the Air.

Lying in his arms there was a million and one thoughts running through Sarah’s mind, while he caressed her softly his mind was full of fear worry and regret. What if she doesn’t want me? What if I’m not enough? What if she regrets it?
Was all he could think as he tried to slow his heartbeat and sooth his fears, hoping she didn’t regret it and that she’d want to stay. The silence began to get unbearable but neither seemed willing to break it, so as they lay there both let their minds drift back to when they were just friends still.

Turning slightly so her back was leant against his chest Alex boldly pulled her into his embrace, thankful that she didn’t pull away from him Alex closed his eyes and began to think of how the two had first met. Hearing him sigh deeply she too laid thinking about how the two had gotten to this point in their lives, closing her eyes Sarah lay listening to the rain fall outside for a few moments before drifting off into her dream filled sleep.

The lowest moment of her life and Sarah felt as though the whole world had walked out on her, I’ve lost everything she thought to herself as she sat staring at the knife in her hands. The rape, the bullying, the attacks, the lovers all flooded Sarah’s mind with hurt and pain she couldn’t bare anymore. Wanting the pain to stop and the hurting to be over Sarah ran the cold blade softly across her wrist, shivering as steel met flesh.

It’s easy, just do it. Sarah thought to herself as she ran the cold steel across her wrist a little firmer this time, wincing slightly as she felt it almost tear the skin. Sitting in the cold dark alleyway the last attack Sarah had suffered had been the final straw, as her attacker had pulled the knife on her to do goodness knows only what she had lost it completely. Grabbing the knife from his hands Sarah’s pretty brown eyes were filled with pain and hurt, and as the tears started to fall all the pent up emotions and anger she had been feeling since she was a child came flooding out.

Come on then you bastard, come and attack me! Hurt me you asshole, come on!” She yelled as the torrent of abuse came flowing out of her, holding the knife in her hands Sarah had the cold sharp blade pointed to her neck as she watched the fear in her attackers eyes right before he ran for the hills.

Today was much the same as any other day for Alex, he got up the same went to work the same and did all the normal things he would do. But for the past eighteen months he had done all this on autopilot, since losing his wife Penny he had be so devastated by it all it was all he could do to survive what life threw at him. Today Alex was due to teach a group of consultants how to get the best out of their employees, sighing deeply it was just another thing he didn’t want to do but knew he had no choice but to go. Having just about managed to get himself up the rest seemed to be a blur because the next thing Alex knew he was climbing out of his car and getting ready to head off, taking his briefcase from the boot and locking his car Alex headed off to make the short journey from the car park to the companies offices a few streets away.

On any other day this journey would take Alex all of three minutes but like he had become accustomed too, today took him the long way round. He couldn’t help himself; he needed to be close to Penny again. Although his mind was full of the incident and then her accident, Alex could see her as clear as day; it was as if she was standing next to him as he stood at the entrance to the alleyway. But as his mind cleared he was alerted to someone’s distress with the faint sobbing he could hear close by.

As he approached Sarah looked up to see this stranger coming at her, gripping the knife tighter she never realised until it was too late she had already tore the skin on her wrist. At first it didn’t hurt and she never noticed until she saw his eyes travel from her face to her wrist, following the strangers eyes she saw the blood and then felt the shock and pain overwhelm her.

“My names Alex, I’m a first aider what’s happened?” Sarah just about heard him say as she could feel herself drifting into unconsciousness, as he approached his soft voice seemed to reassure her that she would be safe with him and within moments the stranger had begun to tend to the wound. Silence surrounded them for a long time as Sarah lay there drifting in and out of unconsciousness and trying to sort the mess of her life out; as he spoke she looked up into his eyes for the first time and quickly became captivated by them.

“Tell me what happened my love, who made you do this?” His voce was so soft and reassuring Sarah just knew instantly that this man wouldn’t hurt her, looking up into his bright blue piercing eyes she took a deep breath and began to tell this kind stranger what happened.

“I was attacked again; some man took my bag and then pulled the knife on me.” Sarah felt strangely at ease in this man’s company and wanted to say more but found the words got stuck in her throat.

“But why do this to yourself sweetheart?” Alex said as he finished dressing her wound the best he could, wanting to take her in his arms and take her pain away Alex felt useless but couldn’t stop himself from reaching out to her instinctively pulling away at the last moment. Holding out his hand to her she cautiously took it and was helped to her feet lingering for as long as he could Alex held her hand and asked again why she’d hurt herself, it was her answer that scared him the most and made it almost impossible for him to let go of her hand.

“Because I wish I was dead, I wanted to kill myself.” As her words left her mouth it was like all the emotions pain and hurt had been lifted slightly, not being able to hold it in any longer she began to weep uncontrollably. Not being able to stop himself Alex had taken her into his arms and silently begun to weep for her pain, for Penny and for his own pain. They two strangers stayed like this for a long time, weeping into each others arms not able to stop their grief from showing. As their tears began to slowly dry Alex instinctively brought her face to his and cupped it in his soft hands, smiling the smile of an angel he softly spoke.

“Do you need to talk my dear?” Nodding she was touched at how he tenderly spoke and wiped away her tears softly, pulling away and holding his hand out she hesitantly looked for a moment before taking it and allowing him to lead her away and back to his warm dry car.

Sitting in the safety of his warm car Sarah was sat in silence, cold and frightened but she felt strangely calm in this stranger’s presence. Shaking through the cold Sarah watched as he took the jacket he had on off and wrapped it around her shoulders, smiling slightly at him and his kindness she felt like she could tell him anything and he would listen to her.

“Do you want to talk my love?” His soft voice was full of kind compassion; looking round to him Sarah was met by his bright blue eyes and felt ready to share everything with someone. Taking a deep breath Sarah began to tell this perfect stranger how she came to this point in her life, watching how he took her hand in his as she spoke.
“My life’s a mess, I just wish it was over and then the pain would stop…” As Sarah began to talk she felt like a weight was being lifted from her shoulders, and strangely she could feel a change inside of her that she couldn’t explain.

“… and this attack just became too much for me to take. I just want it to all be over; I want the pain and tears to stop!” As Sarah finished tell her story, the silence was deafening, but although she felt sad her tears wouldn’t fall. Moving his free hand to her face he turned her head to face his and gently stroked her cheek, sighing he went to speak but found he couldn’t. He just pulled her gently into his arms and held her closely as she felt the waves of emotions hit her, whispering soft reassurances into her hair over and over again. From that moment on the two became best friends and would never leave each other, silently promising to always be there for each other.

Not really being able to sleep Sarah sighed deeply and opened her eyes, realising she was still lying in Alex’s arms and still in his bed. Feeling his breath upon her neck she could tell he was wide awake too, feeling him sigh deeply Sarah shifted her weight slightly causing him to wrap his arms around her and speak.

“Are you ok Sarah?” Was all he could say, feeling the guilt deep down inside he prayed she was alright. Trying to pretend she was still asleep Sarah silently held her breath for as long as she could, before she felt Alex’s lips softly graze her neck. Shivering Sarah felt things inside of her that she never thought she could ever feel, sighing deeply she took a deep breath and spoke.

“I just…” Sarah started, having no real idea of what she was about to say.
“I don’t know where this leaves us Alex.” Sarah continued after a few moments to gather her thoughts, leaning into his arms as she tried to make sense of it all. Yesterday had all been so different, for them both it was true but now she found herself lying in the arms of her best friend. Not being able to understand why she didn’t feel guilty or what was going through here mind, all Sarah was sure of was that she may have just lost her best friend; and that scared her more than anything.

“I know Sarah I know, this wasn’t exactly planned you know! I wasn’t expecting to end up in bed with you…” Before he had the chance to go on Sarah moved and went to get up, grabbing his shirt that lay by her side of the bed and putting it on. Getting up and heading for the bathroom, Sarah spoke trying to understand what she was feeling.
“And you think I did? Come on Alex I know I’m the last person you’d want to end up in bed with, and I can assure you this wasn’t something I planned either!” As she stood in the bathroom, looking into the mirror Sarah couldn’t explain where those words had come from.

All she knew was that deep down somewhere inside of her she not only felt she’d lost her best friend but that what had happened was; if only in his mind was a huge mistake. Splashing water upon her face Sarah stared blankly into the mirror again and begun to think about her past, in particular how Alex had always been there for her during the good times and bad. Whatever she went through Sarah always seemed to know that after that day when she met Alex she’d never go through it alone again, she had believed that it was the same way for him. But now as she thought about last night Sarah realised that it may all be over for their friendship, as she may very well be looking at fighting alone once more.

The day had started off like pretty much all the rest over the past seven years, it had become somewhat of a traditional ritual between the pair. Having both been left more than a little broken hearted by lovers in their pasts it was always the same for both Sarah and Alex on Valentine’s Day, loads of people all loved up and rubbing salt into their wounds. As the two friends sat that first Valentine’s night in their local bar seven years ago, surrounded by lovers wooing each other they both made a pact that neither would spend another Valentine’s Day alone and nor would they feel hurt by those surrounding them. Laughing like children and acting like they were already lovers both Sarah and Alex would spend that Valentine’s Day together enjoying each others company, and would continue to do so until that day when it all seemed to change.

As the two friends met for coffee before they went for lunch everything was like normal, the mood was light and the laugher deep; neither could have known that things would end the way they did. As they sat in the restaurant having lunch the atmosphere was geared more towards their long standing friendship than anything else, both laughed and joked like they never had a care in the world. Even as the two took the short journey home neither could have ever known that things would end the way they did.

Sitting there in silent shock Alex realised that she most probably regretted last night and wished it hadn’t happened, sighing deeply he tired to piece together the shattered bits of his life and heart as he started to dress realising in all honesty he couldn’t and didn’t want to. All that really went through Alex’s mind was that the women he loved and cared for more than life itself would never speak to him again, thoughts of losing Sarah and her friendship ran through his mind and if he was honest it scared the hell out of him.

All the times she had been there for him when he had needed her, all the happiness and laughter that he felt and filled his life flooded his already overwhelmed thoughts. Thoughts of how wrong and far off the mark she was began to enter his mind, she thinks I don’t want her made him realise the pain he thought he’d taken away was still there. Alex sat on the edge of his bed and trying to find the right words to explain how he felt, when Mark came in.

“Dad, I’m off into town is there anything you want?” He’d managed to say before he saw the state of undress his father was in and the items of clothing scattered around the bedroom floor, blushing as soon as he realised and quickly made his excuses and left leaving Alex with just his thoughts of last night for company.

As they got back to his Alex fixed them both a drink and the pair sat down to watch all the old slushy movies they could, laughing and mocking them as they watched. Curling up together Sarah couldn’t stop feeling a little emotional as they watched the end of that great classic love story Casablanca, and as she tried to hide her tears she felt truly touched as Alex pulled her close and gently caressed her back. She was touched too at how Alex had to hide his own tears as they watched City of Angels, as the two friends watched more romantic films both felt relaxed and comfortable together. Snuggling into his arms the pair watched Ghost Sarah sensed a changed but couldn’t place it, Alex felt the same changed too but couldn’t explain it ether.

Watching Sam and Molly on the pottery wheel causes a desire deep within both Sarah and Alex that neither could deny, burying her head in his chest Sarah does all she can to fight these feelings. As they watched Sam dance with Molly through Oda Mae Alex almost instinctively kissed Sarah’s forehead, not realising until he’d done it or just what it or would unleash in the pair. Feeling a shiver go up her spine Sarah lifted her head so her face was level with Alex’s, smiling the pair were about to talk but both went back to watching the film after chickening out. As the film ended and their tears fell both Sarah and Alex were inches away from each other, turning to face him she was about to speak but as he hushed her lips Alex wiped away her tears before going to speak.

“Sarah…” Alex started to say before he was stopped by Sarah’s soft fingers upon his lips, his piercing blue eyes searching deep into her soul through Sarah’s deep brown eyes.
“Hush Alex, don’t speak.” Sarah boldly said as she searched his eyes, looking for the answers she had longed to find.
“I never got my Valentine’s Kiss.” Sarah continued as she playfully giggled and kissed Alex’s cheek, feeling the change she then softly laid a light kiss upon his lips while lingering slightly. Within seconds the mood had changed and both could not only sense it but also feel it, wanting to pull away neither found they could. Finally pulling back the two friends sat there in silence, their heartbeats racing and emotions reeling.

Feeling a passionate desire rise within them both that neither could deny it was Alex that made the first move this time, softly kissing Sarah upon the lips with a passion he never knew he had within him still. With a desire she didn’t think she still had Sarah kissed Alex back for all she was worth, and as the passion and desire grew in both something just felt right for them both and as they crossed the line of no return both knew it was what they wanted. Softly caressing her Alex felt that this could never be wrong slowly kissing his way down Sarah’s body, feeling how she reacted to his touch. Pulling back Alex went to ask if Sarah was sure, nodding before he had the chance he picked her up in his arms and carried off to his bedroom.

“One Kiss…” Alex half thought and half said, as he heard the bathroom door open.
“It was just one kiss!” Alex said a little louder as Sarah came and sat on the edge of the bed, her back to his trying to make sense of it all.
“I know Alex… This wasn’t something I planned.” Sarah said after a while of silence between the pair, both wanting to say so much more but finding the words got stuck in their throats.

“I should go Alex…” Sarah started, knowing deep in her heart it was the last thing she wanted. After all she had been through the only one to love her and be there for her was Alex, losing him was the last thing she wanted. Losing her was the last thing Alex wanted, she was his life and one of the only good things he had left to live for.

“I don’t want you to go Sarah; we need to talk about this still.” Alex said as he put a hand on her arm to stop her from getting up, still trying to work it all out in his own mind.
“I know we do Alex, I just can’t handle losing my best friend because of a kiss that was just for fun…” Sarah started to say but before she could continue Alex had cut her off, almost raising his voice at her.
“Is that was it was to you Sarah, just a bit of fun? That kiss meant nothing to you then, is that what you’re telling me?” The hurt was clearly evident in his voice and as Sarah turned to look in his eyes, for the first time Alex’s eyes were dark and cold.

“Alex…” Sarah begun to say, seeing how he just looked through her. As he rose from the bed Sarah’s heart sank, still unsure where this would end up. Trying not to let her pain, hurt or tears show Sarah turned away and sighed deeply.
“Oh Alex, is that what you really think of me? You know that isn’t me!” Watching him disappear into the bathroom Sarah could no longer hold her tears back, crying into his pillow she felt like she had just lost everything again. As Alex splashed water upon his face and looked into the mirror he could see his own heartbreaking, walking back into the bedroom his eyes focused on Sarah crying upon his bed. Instinctively Alex went to her side and reached out to caress her, pulling back for a moment she looked into his eyes and watched how quickly they changed.

“I’m sorry baby; I didn’t mean to make you cry. You mean the world to me, you know that! The last thing I want to do is hurt you, I just don’t want to lose you.” Alex said as he softly wiped away the tears Sarah had let fall, going to speak Sarah shushed his lips and spoke.

“I don’t regret last night Alex; it wasn’t just a bit of fun to me! I just don’t to lose my best friend either; I’d be lost without you.” Pulling herself up upon her elbows and looking deep in his eyes there seemed to be an unasked question hanging in the air, one that both needed to answer but one that neither could.

“So where do we go from here Sarah?” Alex was finally able to say, searching Sarah’s eyes for some sign that she too wanted the same as he did.
“One day at a time?” Was all Sarah could say, as she too searched his eyes.
“Baby steps my darling baby steps, I will never hurt you.” Alex said as he gently pulled Sarah into his arms, holding her there hoping this would never be wrong. Pulling back slightly Alex softly kissed Sarah, feeling the passion rise deep within them once more she moaned softly against his lips.

Falling back upon the pillow Alex began to caress Sarah slowly again softly kissing his way all over her highly sensitive body, a soft moan escaping from her lips as her desire grew.
“Oh Alex…” Her lips and body grew hungry for his touch and soft caresses, their passion could no longer be fought.
“I love you Sarah, you’re my life. Stay with me?” Alex finally felt able to say, as he kissed her softly once more.

“Oh Alex, I love you too. I will never leave your side, forever Alex forever.” Sarah managed to breathlessly whisper as his every touch and kiss took her breath away, holding him close as their desire and passion became stronger; giving herself to him once more they both knew this was going to be forever.

Moonlight Lovers.

Standing looking at myself in the full length mirror in my bedroom I try my hardest to find something positive to say about my dress and looks, but find it almost impossible. I look ok, I guess; I say to myself as I smooth my hand over the soft silk fabric of the deep blue evening dress I had only just purchased that morning. As I slipped the high heels I had also newly purchased on, taking one last long look in the mirror I had a million and one thoughts flood my mind at the same time.

Would he be there? Was I making a complete fool of myself? What if I’m not enough for him? Did he really want me there?

Every time I thought I was getting better my lack of self confidence and self esteem would rear its ugly head and bite me on the ass again! Now, as the night I had long since dreamed of looked to be coming true I was again struck with a bad case of nerves and self doubt what the hell would he see in me? I thought as I tried to calm myself with a small snack. Looking through the bare fridge I realised it was hopeless; I had two options open to me. I could turn up as I was and pray he was there or I could stay in and hide like I normally did. As I stood staring blankly into the fridge the matter was took out of my hands as I heard a knock at the door, walking to my front door I was shocked to find my best friend stood there sobbing her eyes out on my doorstep.

“I didn’t know where else to go Gabby, he’s left me!” She managed to sob through the tears that had clearly been flowing all day, sighing deeply I invited her in and hugged her closely as he tears continued to fall. It has been three hours and still Sarah was crying, although the sobs had become silent and less heavy there they were still flowing. Although I wanted to be there for my friend, somewhere in the back of my mind I was still thinking about the wonderful man who had asked me to join him that evening at the party.

“I’d be honoured if you would be my guest tonight Gabby, it’s going to be a great party." He had said to me with a soft smile and kind eyes, the ones I had seen many times before but never this closely before. With thoughts raging through my mind I tried to think of my friend but when she noticed my attire after she had stopped crying, she asked me what was happening.

“I’ve been invited to a party with…” Pausing, having no real idea what to call him, I tried to choose my words carefully.
“An old friend from the club. But its ok honey, you let it all out.” Hoping it would be enough I went and got us some more coffee, leaving her to composer herself and following me into the kitchen.

“When do you have to be there Gabby?” Sarah asked, as she handed me the milk.
“In an hour, if I go.” I reply honestly, still trying to find a reason to go to the party.
“If it’s him you are going with, you should go.” Was all she needed to say, both of us knowing what the other was thinking right at that moment. Standing there I begun to think about all that I had gone through over the past few months and how he had been there for me through all of it, how when I had been attacked he was the one who became my hero and saved my life.

Throughout it all, he had been the one constant thing in my life and although I had feelings for him deep down which I couldn’t explain the ones I could explain were just as strong. When I had needed a friend he was there for me and no matter what, I knew that as long as I kept my feelings closely guarded we could have a great night. Finally making my mind up to go, Sarah dropped me off at the bar and wished me good luck. Smiling and thanking her I said I hoped I wouldn’t need it and left for the party.

Walking into my local bar on any other night would have been easy, but this wasn’t like any other night I had ever experienced and it wasn’t easy. Standing in the doorway, my mind churning I felt a million and one different emotions running through my body all at once and while I tried my best to get them all straight in my mind I had no idea he would be feeling the same way. Sitting at the bar he would be going through hell in his mind, worrying that I wouldn’t turn up and that I wouldn’t want him among everything else that had seemingly become too much for him.

“She’ll be here mate, stop worrying!” John said as he put his hand on Harry’s shoulder and tried to comfort his friend, trying to smile but knowing it would never reach his lips Harry sat there with thoughts running through his already overloaded mind. Stood by the door I watch as John tries to comfort his friend, I am captivated by how uncertain Harry seems. He’s always so confident, I think to myself as I can feel my own nerves begin to calm and steady themselves. Walking over to his side he turns before I reach him, smiling at each other my own sense of relief is relayed in his deep brown eyes.

“You look stunning Gabby…” Harry said after a moment of silence, and kissing me on the cheek he inhaled deeply revelling in my scent.
“I wasn’t sure if you were going to make it or not.” He said, blushing at his own lack of confidence.
“Of course I would Harry; I wouldn’t miss this party for the world.” I replied shyly, touched by his lack of confidence; glad that my own nerves were felt by him too.

As the drinks were ordered and we had passed the time of day with each other the silence descended upon us both, leaving us feeling less confident than when we walked in. it was John that became out saviour, as he talked to us both and helped us both to feel at ease.

“It should be a good party tonight; I’ve heard Becks will be there.” John said as he noted the tension in the air, smiling at him I was about to reply when a mutual friend who worked in the bar’s kitchens came running out towards us.

“Gabby, we need you in the back. Jess had cut her hand badly; can you come have a look at it?” Smiling at the fact I seemingly was never off duty; I nodded and followed him back to the kitchen.

“What’s up Harry? This isn’t like you; you’re normally all confident and bold.” John asked the moment I had walked away, causing a small smile to pass over Harry’s lips.
“You know why John, normally I’m the one in control.” Sighing deeply, Harry replied as John nodded; knowing only too well what he was feeling.

“I’ve never felt like this, I don’t know how to deal with it.” He continued, for a few moments both were silent, before John spoke.
“Be honest, tell her the truth and just relax!” Before either had the chance to continue I appeared back at Harry’s side. Running my hand softly up his back slightly caused him to jump slightly; turning to face me slightly there was a moment of silence between us. Nodding to Harry that he should talk to me, John made his excuses and left us alone to talk.

“I’m so glad you have been there for me Gabby, when I lost Tina and the kids I couldn’t have got through it without you.” Pausing to compose himself Harry moved a little closer to me and took my hand in his, before taking a deep breath and continuing unsure where this would all end.

“You know, when my business went through it’s rough patch you were there for me again. I really don’t know what I’d do without you Gabby.” Wanting to say so much more, but unable to as the words got stuck in his throat Harry silently held my hand as he looked anywhere but into my eyes.

“I feel the same way about you Harry…” I started to say as I felt him squeeze my hand lightly, knowing I too wanted to say more I took a deep breath and tried to continue.
“When I got attacked, it was you that I ran to and you that saved me. And when my Nan passed away it was you who I cried on, your shoulder I leaned on.” Pausing again I felt Harry place his hand upon my back as he pulled me slightly into his warm embrace.

“I feel the same way about you Harry, I don’t think I could have made it without you either.” I say as I deeply inhale his scent, feeling how he reacted to my arm going around his waist. I can feel him react and pull me closer as we both relax in each others company, kissing my forehead lightly but lingering for as long as he could Harry spoke.
“It was nothing; I know you would always do the same for me Gabby.” Feeling his genuine warmth and friendship, I felt like I could relax more and let tonight just take its course.

As we travelled to the party and sat down to the meal the conversation was flowing, as always we got on like a house on fire and found ourselves becoming even closer friends than we already were.
“Did you see Stuart having a go at their manager last match?” Harry asked as the first course came up, nodding as I say thank you to our waiter.
“Yeah I did, we were standing close by wondering what he was going to do next. Kay said she’d like to tan his behind and take his football away!” Smiling and laughing we sit and eat while the conversation continues to flow freely.

“How did you get on with that meeting the other day Harry? I remember you said it was bothering you about their uncertainty.” I ask as the main course comes up and we thank the waiter again, smiling at the waiter Harry waits a moment before replying.
“Things were ok eventually, I thought they were going to mess me about but it was ok in the end. It’s such a relief though; we have been after the contract for years.” Talking about anything and everything we both felt incredible relaxed with each other, but there was still an underlying feeling that we were avoiding the one thing we needed to talk about most.

As the desserts came and went, neither of us had broached the subject of why we had both turned up to the party. When Harry had asked me to go with him my first thought was it would be as friends, but when he had the chance to take a girl I assumed was his girlfriend and he didn’t I was kind of shocked. It is true that when I first met Harry I fell instantly in love with him, but in all honesty there were very few women that couldn’t fall for him.

Six foot two inches with a very athletic and toned build, Harry had handsome boyish good looks that most women would fall for anyway. But when you added his good looks and charm to his sensitive nature and sense of humour, there were very few women who could resist. Harry’s personality would be something else women loved, he was an honest loyal loving old fashioned gentleman and it wouldn’t be long after he lost Tina and the kids that women came calling so to speak. Sitting watching the others dance and get into the swing of the party, I sat with Harry talking about our lives.

“What happened to Lucy? She seemed nice Harry; you could have brought her here with you.” It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be here or that I didn’t want to be with him, but my lack of confidence and self esteem would never allow me to believe that he was here with me because he wanted or liked me.
“Would you rather that?” Harry replied, it wasn’t meant but the coldness and shortness in his tone was easy to spot.
“Don’t you want to be here with me?” He added with sadness and almost disappointment, trying to search his eyes for what he was feeling Harry kept them fixed firmly to the table.

“It’s not that Harry, I just thought you two were an item. She’s nice, she likes you.” I said trying to smooth things over but knowing the damage had already been done, sighing deeply I could tell something was on his mind.
“Yes she’s very nice and I know she likes me, we’re not an item as she’s not who I want.” Was all Harry said, and that’s all it took for my heart to miss a beat.
“I’m sorry Harry, I didn’t mean to…” Letting my voice trail off I knew that anything I said now would not help; I’d already got it wrong.

Smiling and looking at me, for a moment the silence fell between while Harry tried to find the right words.
“It’s ok Gabby, I know what you meant. Lucy was a lovely young lady, just not what I want.” He replied, taking my hand in his and trying to make me feel at ease. I wanted to press further but the moment was lost when John came back over, slumping down next to me I could tell he’d had a little more to drink than he should.

“Hey sexy, wanna dance?” Grinning at me I knew he’d had a lot to drink, but even though I said no I still got dragged to the dance floor. As we danced our way round the floor, laughing with each other and giggling like children I could feel Harry’s eyes on me. All the time I danced his eyes were on me, watching me studying me intently. Both I and John were aware of this and as a slow song came on and we moved into a close embrace as we dance, he spoke.

 “You know Harry was really glad you could make it, he wouldn’t have wanted to be here with anyone else.” John said as he moved closer to my ear, inhaling the scent wafting up the nape of my neck. As I hear him sighing slightly I can sense this conversation could take a dangerous turn if I didn’t watch things, pulling back slightly I smile and answer him.

“I’m glad I could make it too, and that Harry invited me. I was a little shy and nervous I admit, but Harry is great at making me relaxed.” I say trying to smile and stop my overactive imagination working overtime, knowing that both I and John couldn’t go down this road especially after the last time. Although when I first met both Harry and John it was Harry I fell for it was John that I dated, not that I didn’t like John too it was just that I wanted Harry right from the start. While Harry was a good friend and happily married it was John that I was getting closer to, and it was John that broke my heart. Not that I would ever let him know that of course!

John was known for having a ‘roving eye’ and when I had taken about as much as I could I would confront John, we would fight and he would walk away from me. While it did hurt me and I did feel betrayed I soon realised that I was being a little over protective, especially since he had never strayed. Over the years we would talk and make up, but never again would either I or John ever be able to get back to a relationship with each other. As the song finished I thanked John and walked back to the table, noting how Harry who had been watching me intently seemed to smile more as I walked back to his side.

Before I got the chance to sit down Harry was up off his feet and holding his hand out to me, smiling as he spoke.
“Would you care to dance with me now Gabby?” Nodding I take his hand and follow as Harry leads me to the dance floor, pulling me into his arms as the music starts to play. We dance close and talk, I note how well Harry dances.

“I never knew you could dance so well Harry.” I say as we twirl around and slowly gyrate to the seductive sounds of the amazing live singer called Cat, feeling him pulling me closer as the lights dim even more and the songs begin to slow more. Smiling into my hair as he pulls me close, Harry replied.
“I love dancing, just don’t get the chance to do it as much as I would like to.” Holding me in his arms Harry knows he needs to be honest and tell me what he really feels but actually finding the right words could be easier said than done, sighing I can sense Harry has something on his mind.

“What’s wrong Harry?” I ask as I pull back slightly, noticing the vacant look in his eyes. I began to worry that maybe something was wrong, or that he didn’t want to be here with me anymore. The other thing that went through my mind was the way John had gotten a little too close to me again, I had always had a good relationship with both John and Harry but after I split up with John things always had an ‘atmosphere’ between us all.

“Nothing’s wrong Gabby, I just…” Harry started, having no real idea what he wanted to say. He knew he wanted to tell Gabby he loved her but getting that into the right words could be easier said than done, looking at her he knew in his heart he couldn’t let her walk away tonight without telling her how he felt. Taking a deep breath Harry felt like it was now or never, pulling me close slightly he spoke.

“Take a walk outside with me Gabby? I want to talk, but can’t with the music so loud.” Ok it may have been a little bit of a fib, but Harry knew he could never say what he wanted here and now. Nodding I follow Harry outside of the hall and over to the park across the road, walking in comfortable silence both well aware of the heightened atmosphere surrounding them. Walking through the park I notice the bright moonlight that is shining down upon us, sighing at its beauty I slip my arm through his instinctively.
“It’s a beautiful night isn’t it Harry?” I say, trying to get comfortable with the silence that is surrounding us both.

“Yes it is, very romantic don’t you think Gabby?” Harry replied, trying to find the right words. Not really answering but taking in the beauty of it all we walk over and sit on a nearby bench, sitting closely together.

“Gabby?” Harry started to say; hoping he would be right and that she would reject him and would feel the same way. Turning slightly to face him I noticed how Harry couldn’t look me in the eyes, hoping I was wrong and that he felt the same way I did.
“I meant what I said about not being able to do this without you Gabby; you have been there so much for me.” Pausing to gather his thoughts, Harry took a deep breath and prayed he was right.

“I’m glad you could make it tonight also, I was worried that you wouldn’t want to be with me. It’s been a long time Gabby; I am a little out of practise here!” Seeing his smile I can sense that he’s trying to stop his nerves and make him feel more at ease, wanting to say something and put him at ease I take his hand in my own and go to speak.

“Please Gabby let me finish, I need to say this. When I said it wasn’t Lucy I wanted to be here with I meant it, it’s you.” Taking a deep breath he goes to speak again but finds the words get stuck in his throat, staring back out over the moonlit park trying to calm himself.
“What are you telling me Harry?” I ask, hoping that he feels the same way I do.

Sighing and taking a deep breath while still trying to find the right words Harry lets go of my hand and gets up from the bench, walking over to the side of the lake. Watching the moonlight dance across the water Harry got lost in the moment trying to find the words to say I love you he never noticed I had walked over to his side and was now stood slightly behind him, looking out over the same moonlit lake taking in its silent beauty. I can hear his deep sighs as I realised he was trying to find the correct words to say how he felt, and although I had hardly any confidence or self esteem I felt that maybe; just maybe he felt the same way about me. Should I risk it and say something?

I thought to myself, it would be the first time I had ever been bold and said how I felt. Even when I was seeing John, I never once told him how I felt first because I never could. Taking a deep breath I spoke, hoping to find the courage from somewhere deep inside.
“Dance with me Harry?” Looking at me questioningly Harry turned to face me, holding my arms out so he could take me in his own. Nodding Harry pulled me into his arms and we started to sway gently to the music in our minds, letting the mood and the romance of the evening wash over us. Feeling the emotions of the evening washing over him, Harry took a deep breath and went to say the words he’d been longing to say even since the two had first met.

“Gabby, I’ve been longing to tell you how I feel. Every since we first met I have wanted to tell you I like you a lot and want to be with you.” Wanting to say those three words Harry sighed at only being able to say that he liked her, loosening his arms and grip from around her waist he prayed she wouldn’t back away.

“I feel the same way about you Harry, it was you I wanted and you I wished I could have been with. You must know by now that I have fallen for you?” There I had said it, I had told the truth. Staying in his arms we both stood still, facing each other our hearts beating as one. Silence surrounding us, neither needing to speak our eyes conveyed all they needed to say.

“Oh God Gabby, I feel the same way! I have been in love with you since we first met.” Harry now felt able to say as he pulled me closer into his warm embrace, cupping my face in his hands gently he lays a soft tender assault of light kisses upon my lips. Slowly the kisses became more passionate and longer until we softly kissed a true lovers kiss, feeling and hearing him moan slightly against my lips made my own desire rise. Feeling his passions and desire growing caused me to shiver, pulling away he spoke.
“Are you cold my love? Here take my jacket.” Taking the jacket from around his body Harry wrapt it around my cold body, feeling loved as he gently kissed my forehead.

Taking me by the hand Harry led me off back toward the hall and hotel that would be our accommodation for the evening, smiling to the doorman as we walked inside. Assuming we would be going for a quiet drink I was almost disappointed when we headed to the elevator, then moments later I was shocked as me headed straight for the top floor knowing that neither of our rooms were here.

“Where are we going Harry?” I ask as he just smiles at me and tells me to wait, chuckling to himself when I pull a face that says I can’t wait. Walking out of the lift Harry takes me by the hand and we head off in the direction of the penthouse suite, stopping at the door he takes a silk blindfold from his pocket and questioningly moves towards me. Nodding I turn slightly so Harry can blindfold me, after doing do he leads me forward as I assume we are heading inside the penthouse suite.

“Just a little further my darling, and then we can take the blindfold off.” Harry’s words sooth me and make me feel strangely calm and serene and as I came to a stand still I didn’t feel as scared as I thought I would, even when Harry let go of me for a few moments I was still amazingly calm and relaxed.

Taking the blindfold from my eyes, Harry stood holding me in his arms from behind as I adjusted to my surroundings. The room was decked out with scented candles and soft music playing in the background, although the room was very minimalist in it furnishings what it did have made it feel very cosy. There was a balcony where the double doors had been opened and the moonlight shone inside, a table sat with two chairs and my favourite wine sat chilling in the cooler sat upon the table joined with two lead crystal cut glass glasses. Feeling the romance of the night overwhelming my already overloaded thoughts I shivered again, causing Harry to pull me closer and kiss my neck gently.

“You should see our bedroom my dear sweet Gabrielle” Harry soft accent seemed to be smoother as his softly continued to caress my body and kiss my neck, leaning into him I close my eyes and just get washed away with the emotions of the evening. Taking me by the hand a leading me to the balcony Harry pours us a glass of wine each and as we stand watching the moon shining bright in the sky I can feel myself fall further in love with the man stood there searching my eyes.

“Here’s to a long and most passionate romance.” Harry says as he raises his glass in a toast to our relationship, knowing it could never feel wrong I join in the toast as I stare out over the beautiful view from our balcony. Taking my hand in his after we had finished our drink, Harry leads me off to our bedroom. Inside I find there’s more scented candles in here, a king size four poster bed with silk sheets that are covered with red and pink rose petals. Feeling Harry’s kiss upon my neck I again shiver at his touch, safe in his arms I give myself to him as I had wanted to do so many times in the past, finally feeling whole once again.

A Love Like This.

My darling,

When I think back to how we began our friendship it is simply impossible for me to think that it could be all over, that within moments I could possible lose the love of my life and the best thing to have ever happened to me. And I know that I cannot compare to New York, or how it makes you feel safe, wanted and at home there. But after all we have been through and after all we have shared I feel that I need to say these things to you, I meant everything I said to you that night; when I told you how I felt about you.

I have been in love with you for over ten years, I knew I wanted to be with you the first moment I met you and when we became friends I knew I would never stop loving or forget you. You are my friend, my companion and my life; and you always will be. When I lost my wife and family; you were there for me, giving me the support and friendship I needed so badly. When you were caught in that conflict out in the Sudan I was totally lost; watching the TV every day for some, any news that you were ok. When your heart broke so did mine and I know the feeling was mutual.

So this is my promise to you;

When you are sad, I will do my best to cheer you up.
When you are mad, I will help you calm down.
When you are lonely, I will stop you being alone.
When you cry, I will lend you my shoulder, chest and arms.
I will dry your tears and sooth your fears.
When you are happy, I will be there to share you joy.
When you are relaxed, I will be there to “do nothing with you.”
When you laugh, I will be there to laugh with you; to watch your eyes dance and the sparkle in your eyes twinkle. You eyes would always captivate me, they say so much.
When you are broken and cannot stand, I will be with you; holding you up.
When you have success, I will be there to share in it.
When you are strong, I will be strong with you.
When you are weak, I will be your support and your strength.
When you need me there, I will be there; always.
I will never hurt you, I will never make you sad, and I will never make you cry or hurt you.

This my beautiful friend, is my whole hearted promise to you; the love of my life. Thank you for all that you are and all that you have been and will always be to me. I wish I could hold you forever and that life would just end up right, but I know you need to find you. Remember this; my heart, my love and my soul are always and have always been yours.

I love you, forever.

The Legacy of St. John.

Claire had only joined because she had to. The school Judo club had wanted someone first aid trained, and she'd volunteered because, well, volunteering for things - showing willing - was about all she did well. From first aid training she'd been suckered into joining the organisation proper. St. John Ambulance.

And now she spent her weekends sitting around in a draughty tent on the outskirts of Parkinson's Field, kept company by an assorted group of middle aged, knitwear-loving bores, while the rest of her class enjoyed the amusements of the fairground parked on the grass. It would be doing the group that she spent these dull days with an enormous kindness to call them 'has-beens', which would at least imply that they, at some indefinable point in time, actually were.

It seemed to her, drinking heavily stewed tea out of a chipped teddy-bear mug, that the other first aiders sprang into being fully formed and greying. It was even quite possible that they were created already wearing those home-knitted jumpers with the dropped stitching and the lopsided snowmen.

So it came as a surprise to her when one day Judy, the divisions leader declared Holy War against the Mussulman.


Claire wasn't sure about this. She had turned up, bright and early on Saturday morning, her fluorescent jacket on, and her first aid kit bag. And there, standing in the Parish Hall were the other members of the Service, getting changed.

Off came the lumpy knitted jumpers and on went finely woven chain mail. Judy had somehow managed to procure a set of full plate armour, and was standing in a padded surcoat and greaves, staring warily at an over-sized codpiece.

“What...?” was all Claire managed as she walked through the door.

“Oh, hello dear,” said Mrs. Aintree, struggling into a leather jerkin. There was a small, handbag-sized spiky mace hanging from her belt. Clare stared.

“Well don't just stand there, come on in,” Mrs Aintree continued, finally managing to get one arm into a sleeve. “Oh, you don't have armour? That's all right, I'm sure Gordon said he had a few spare pieces somewhere, something child-sized.”

“Armour, why would I want arm--,” her brain registered the rest of the sentence, “what do you mean 'child sized'?”

“Well dear, you're lucky,” said Mrs Aintree kindly, “it's not like you're going to have bind anything down to fit.” She stared pointedly at Claire's chest.

“I...” she felt herself redden.

“Oh, don't take it like that dear. You have lovely hair. Men like nice hair.”

“What the hell is going on?” She shouted.

There was a general clearing of throats and adjusting of hair in the room.

Judy was the first to speak, “We're getting changed, Claire.”

“Like, for what? Are we doing a re-enactment or something?”

The other members of the service shared a look between them.

“Something like that dear.” Judy fastidiously dropped the codpiece on the table next to her, clanged her way over the Claire and put a motherly arm around the girl's shoulders.

“Perhaps you and I should have a talk.”


“So,” she paused for a moment, her mind racing, “so you're going to...?”

“Retake the castle.”

“Retake the castle. Right.”

“Sideton Castle has never fallen to enemy hands. Not since it was first built in 1103. It withstood the Anarchy, it didn't surrender to that frightful little oik Cromwell, and it has never flown an enemy flag.”

“But...” Claire prompted.

“But now, the Mussulman has taken it.”

“The Mussulman?”

“The Mohammedans.”

“Moha--” her brain raced. “The Muslims?”

“Exactly, girl.”

“You aren't talking about Mr. Sayeed, are you?”

“Yes, I am,” Judy said sternly. She peered over the top of her half moon glasses in disapproval.

“But he just runs the gift shop! He works for English Heritage!”

“Oh, you may say that, girl, but you can't trust them. They'll be nice as you like, and next thing you know, he's a Saracen in disguise and he's chopped off the head of the Grand Master of the Order.”

“What Order?”

“Ah...” said Judy, a smile twitching at her lips.


Ten minutes later and Claire was running full speed towards the castle. A few arrows thudded half-heartedly into the cobbles beside her and shattered. She rounded the corner of Market Street, and charged up the approach to the castle, panting as she climbed the mote. She leapt the turnstiles without breaking stride and felt a hand grab her shoulder.

“Hey! You can't do that.”

She grabbed the wrist, jigged sideways slightly and bent forward, carrying the arm and whatever it was attached to over her hip and depositing it on the floor in front.

“Sorry, Les. Emergency.”

She tore through the courtyard and entered the gift shop. Hassan Sayeed was standing behind the counter, carefully talking an American tourist through the different types of coats of arms displayed in the castle, and helpfully pointing them out on an embroidered dishcloth, very reasonably priced, only £5.99.

As always, the shop smelled strangely herbal. If she hadn't have known better, she'd have said it smelled like that time when Cindy stole an eighth of hash off her brother and burnt it over a Bunsen burner in science class and they'd all had to lie down.

“Mr. Sayeed!” she panted.

He waved a hand at her to be quiet, and went back to trying to explain blazonry to the tourist.

“And this is a bend sinister. People often think it means illegitimacy, or” he leaned in closer, “that the holder was a bastard. This isn't actually true...”

“Mr. Sayeed!”

Again the hand waving and the renewed concentration on the tea-cloth. She was about to get rude, to push the American out of the way, when the tourist himself decided that enough was enough and life was perfectly acceptable with an embroidered dishcloth. Mr. Sayeed looked on forlornly as the man left.

“Mr. Sayeed”

“What is it,” he screwed up his eyes in concentration, “Claire? You're Claire, right, you go to school with Asad, don't you?”

“Yes,” she said, and steadied herself for what was coming next. Ridicule. Disbelief. “Mr Sayeed, there's an army, an army that think they're the Knights Hospitaller’s reborn coming to kill you.” She braced herself for laughter. None came.

Mr Sayeed stood staring. Not at her, she realised, but over her shoulder. She turned round and saw the St. Johns Ambulance Service arrayed across the courtyard of the Castle, swords drawn, and hammers at the ready.

Mr Sayeed nodded absently, and came out around the counter, pausing conscientiously to shut down the cash register. He waddled over to one wall where a display case of medieval swords stood, carefully unlocked it and drew out two long curved swords. He stepped through the doorway with them held at his side.

“There is no place for you in this castle, heathen,” came a call from the ranks of armoured soldiers.

“Leave this place.”

“Not on your life. We withstood your lot during the Siege of Rhodes. Now it's payback.”

“So be it.”

Mr Sayeed cycled the two swords, which, now she came to think of it looked a lot like scimitars. They twinkled and spun through arcane and blurred arcs around his body like liquid death they left after images in the air like ice patterns on a window.

Then the fight commenced. Claire stood aghast as Mr Sayeed and the Hospitaller’s closed on one another, hacking and punching, slicing and dodging. She covered her eyes and stood to one side.

A minute or two later the clangs died away.

“A truce. For the wounded.”

She opened her eyes on to a scene of carnage. Several of the older Ambulance Service were down, groaning on the floor.

“You girl, see to the wounded!” Judy's imperious voice commanded.

She ran to the nearest one, a dull old chap named Harry and stared in horror.

“I can't deal with this, I know first aid. This man needs...he needs a miracle worker.”

“Do what you're trained for, girl.”

“I know how to calm someone down who's hyperventilating. You put their head between their knees and tell them to breathe deeply. I can't do that here. I mean,” she said, her voice getting hysterical, “his head's here, yes, but his legs are...” she gestured vaguely to the other side of the courtyard. “I mean, if someone wants to fetch his legs for me, maybe I could...” she began to babble.

No one was paying attention to her. The Knights were regrouping, and Mr Sayeed was squatting down, wheezing over his somewhat portly stomach. He was prodding reluctantly at a gash in his arm.

“Now, heathen, now we have you.”

“No, Crusader. You don't.”

Shouts came from behind, near to the main gate. A group were running up the mote towards the castle. From this distance, Claire could just about make out Mr. Abbas and Mr. Mahmood, who were the local solicitor and the greengrocer respectively. They were armed.

“Quick, bar the gates. Shut the portcullis. Something!”

“Can't ma'am, there aren't any gates. They took them out after the fire in '76, and the portcullis is just for show.”

The other group had reached the courtyard by now, and sidled up next to a wheezing Mr. Sayeed.

“Leave,” Sayeed suggested.

“Never. If this has to be the Siege of Rhodes again, then so be it.”

“Oh, for the love of...” Claire shouted, and stopped, when she realised all eyes were on her. No choice now. She ploughed on. “What the hell are you fighting about? I know for a fact you, Mrs. Aintree aren't even Christian. You're a Buddhist since you converted for your latest husband.” Mrs. Aintree bridled. “You, Judy haven't been to church in six years, and haven't set foot in the castle in ten. I know, my dad's the bloody vicar.”

“Now, just wait a minute.”

“You, Mr Sayeed, I know for a fact, were born in Sideton General Hospital. I don't think they breed Saracens there. And you, Mr Abbas, were given the keys to the city last year, and an ornamental cabbage, to show appreciation for your pro bono work for the community. What the hell are you fighting over?”

There was a mumbled response from her left, muffled slightly further by a steel visor.


Mumble... mumble... Knights of St. John.

From her right came a similar mumble.

Mumble... mumble... Hashshashin.” Mr Sayeed reluctantly took a hand out of his pocket and proffered a pipe that had a sticky brown resin in the bowl.

“...give me strength,” she muttered. “Look, you're not Knights Hospitaller’s, and you're not Hashshashin.” She paused, seeing mouths open all around the courtyard, aching to disagree. “All right, even if you are, there are more important things to worry about than each other. Look, twenty miles west of here, Ashton Castle is staging a renaissance fair. They're recreating the battle of siege of Sideton? You remember, the civil war, where we were on opposite sides? They're doing that now.”

There was an angry murmur from the assembled crowd. Crusaders or Saracens, no one liked Ashtoners.

“To Ashton Castle!” Someone shouted. There was a ragged cheer and a general raising of weapons.

“No,” said Claire. “I don't mean... No! I just mean that there are a lot of battles in history, and you can't go recreating them, or continuing them down the generations, because if you do...”

“To Ashton!” Shouted Mr Arif, the hairdresser, waving a bread knife over his head.

“To Ashton! Those bastards will pay!”

As the assembled group scurried out of the courtyard in search of a minibus, Claire wondered if there wasn't something about the town that sent people a little mad.

So Good They Names it Twice.

Disclaimer: Songs are © to Nicky D Sarti unless stated otherwise. Songs not © to Nicky D Sarti belong to the writers/artists/singers. Wrestlers are owned by Vince McMahon and WWE™. The Rat Pack owned by Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin.
Start spreading the news,
I'm leaving today
I want to be a part of it - New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it - New York, New York…

Right from the strains of the first few opening bars everyone knew the song, and everyone knew who sung it… or rather who made it famous. It was hard not to know the man they often called The Voice and it was hard not to succumb to the sound of his dulcet tones and soft voice; especially when you were such a fan of music as I am. Of course I knew who he was; he was Ol’ Blue Eyes, but of course he died in mid 1998 and sad to say I never got the chance to see him perform… that was of course until that fateful night when my life and indeed world was turned upside down.

I am by most people’s standards a normal kid with a normal life and a very normal upbringing; I guess that is why when what happened actually happened it made things even more amazing. Firstly let me tell you a little about myself; my name’s Gabby and I was born in England on the 22nd May 1977; when Ol’ Blue Eyes was coming to the latter part of his legendry career. I had a normal, if a little boring at times childhood and wonderful parents who loved me and would have given me the world had I asked them to. Both mine and his lives were always going to be so different, not only were we almost a generation apart but we also lived in very different worlds.

On the one hand he lived in the lap of luxury with everything he ever wanted right there on tap for him 24/7, while I had parents who strived for everything they had; and believe me when I say that was not much! He had such an amazing talent and friends the likes of which read like a who’s who of famous folk, while I had some good friends none of them were famous and I certainly had no talent. He was used to having the company of many a fine woman, many of whom had looks one could only dream about; while I had a rather plain look about me. Not that I could not or did not scrub up well, it was more that I would never be able to walk in the same shadow as a man such as Frank Sinatra… However much to my surprise that day was one I would never forget for as long as I lived.

Although I can still see everything that happened clearly that day, how it happened is a little hazier to me. I can remember that I; along with my parents had taken a well-earned holiday to the Big Apple, my parents second time and my first. I can remember it being exactly like I imagined and nothing like I imagined all at the same time, and I can clearly remember saying “Wow…” and “I’m in New York!” a heck of a lot. It was two or three days into our holiday when we headed to Tiffany’s, it was somewhere Mum had always dreamt about going and somewhere she desperately wanted to buy something from.

I must admit that when it came to jewellery and that sort of thing I never really saw the attraction, but then I had never been to anywhere like Tiffany’s before! I can remember being struck by not only the sheer beauty of the items for sale but also by the sheer class and elegance of the actual building, I remember travelling to the top floor and being blown away by the brilliance of the diamonds that were in ever cabinet I came to.

And that’s when things get a little hazy for me, I think it was a combinations of me not looking where I was going; not having anything to eat since the previous night and the fact I was rushing to try get round and view it all. But one minute I was fine and standing up straight the next I was feeling faint and falling to the ground, I can almost remember falling at the feet of one of the shop assistants there, and I think I could hear them asking if I was alright. But as I blacked out the one thing that stuck in my mind most was the song playing in the background, New York New York by Frank Sinatra…

I want to wake up in the city that never sleeps
To find I'm king of the hill, top of the heap
These little town blues
Are melting away
I'll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there
I'll make it anywhere
It's up to you, New York, New York.

I must have been out cold and for some time because when I came round I found myself in a dark place and seemingly alone, but strangely enough there was still soft music playing in the background; and if I wasn’t mistaken it was the last straining bars of New York New York. As I tried to adjust to my surroundings I heard a soft sound coming from what sounded like the other side of the room, it sounded much like the sound of a man clearing his throat. As I tried to focus on the sound and my surroundings I heard the man coughed once more only slightly louder this time, in my head I knew I should feel fear but in my heart none of that came through.

“Are you ok my dear?” I heard a voice say softly, in my mind I was trying to understand what was happening so much so that I never recognised his voice first time. I had already answered him saying that I felt ok just a little weak before his voice came into my mind, it sounds just like… I thought to myself as I listened hard in the silence for any clues. But then as he lit his cigarette and I saw his face in the soft orange glow of the lighter the shock finally set in, it can’t be? He died ten years ago! Without thinking I blurted out what was on my mind, quickly realising that I would probably sound like a nut job.

“You’re Frank Sinatra! You’re meant to be dead…” He could tell by my silence that I wish I hadn’t said what I had, and I could tell by his sly smile that he thought I was a nut. I wanted and felt like I should explain, but before I had the chance into the room walked Sammy Davis Jr and Dean Martin; leaving me even more confused by what was happening to me. Before I had the chance to speak or even think about speaking, Frank spoke chuckling slightly as he did so.

“Hey guys, you’ll never guess what this broad thinks…” My blushes being saved only by Dean telling Frank that they had to go, with the worst confusion I had ever felt in my whole life I tried to get my head around everything that was happening.

“Where do you guys have to go?” I asked, trying to and wanting to explain what I was feeling.

“I wanted to explain to you that I’m not a nut job, I’m just a little… confused.” I continued, still trying if I was honest to understand let alone explain or find the right words.

“We are off to do our show, why don’t you come with us?” Frank said, I’m not sure if it was out of pity; interest or some kind of twisted pleasure that he invited me but I accepted nevertheless and headed off with the “Rat Pack” to the stage area where they were playing. Sitting in the front row watching them sing their songs that were still legendry in 2008 being sung as if they were being sung for the first time, I remember feeling it was all very surreal and that this was going to take some explaining; especially when I had no real idea what was happening!

As I sat studying my surroundings I noticed how unlike the New York I had just been in it was, and then it happened I became acutely aware that I was not in New York anymore and that indeed I was no longer in 2008!!! I can also remember feeling like I had been hit by a ten-ton truck when it finally sunk in, so much so that I missed pretty much of the whole show thinking about what in the heck was happening.

“Are you sure you’re ok my dear?” I heard Frank ask once more, placing a hand gently upon my shoulder as the three guys sat down at the table. Looking up from my seemingly distant thoughts I looked around to see that we were the only ones left in the room, as I tried to smile the words I had been searching for all night seemed to get stuck in the back of my throat as I desperately tried to explain.

“Ok, I have to be honest with you guys; I have no idea what in the blue hell is happening here…” I began, taking a deep breath.

“All I know is that about three hours ago I was stood in Tiffany’s looking at the diamonds in 2008 and then less than 30 minutes later I find I am in the middle of God only knows where, with a man that died in 1998…” Looking up to Frank I couldn’t tell what he was thinking, and maybe that was a good thing but I knew I needed to not only find out what was happening but also why it was happening! We had all been sat in silence for a few moments before Sammy said what I guess they all were thinking, causing my mind to continue to race.

“So, let me get this straight… what year is this and where are you?” I could tell by the look on both Frank and Dean’s faces that it was meant as some kind of joke, and if I was honest I could totally understand where they were coming from. Sighing deeply I had no idea what to say or even if they would believe me, so taking out my mobile I look at the screen and show Sammy it slowly. Slowly he takes the phone, with all three men looking in awe at this contraption now in Sammy’s hands.

“Look at the screen, it will tell you the date…” I say as Sammy looks at the screen, as the shock hits him he shows it to both Frank and Dean who also take a look and become filled with the same shock.

“What year is this and where am I? If it isn’t New York and 2008…” I say as I look from one to the other, still trying to understand what has just happened to me. I could tell that the guys were still in shock so I had to repeat myself a few times before I got an answer, and to be honest it wasn’t really one I was expecting.

“You, well we are in Las Vegas and the year is 1962…” Frank said, as he looked curiously at my mobile phone. I could tell that he was fascinated by what had become almost part of our way of life; it is true that along with computers, mobile phones had become a way of life for most people in the 21st century. I wanted to tell them all that had happened over the years since they had passed away, but I also wanted to learn about why I was where I was and what was happening. I could also tell that both Sammy and Dean were finding this really hard to take in, not that I can’t say I blame them for wanting out.

But as they left me sat alone in the room with Frank I knew they probably had a point, it isn’t every day you come face to face with someone telling you that your friend had died. But Frank seemed to be fascinated by it all; he seemed to have so many questions for me and as we sat in silence both of our minds was obviously filled with thoughts and questions.

“So, this…” Frank began as he pointed to my mobile phone, trying to obviously find the right words for his questions.

“Mobile phone…” I replied, as I waited for his question. In my heart of heart’s I knew there would be a million and one questions I would not only be asked but would also ask, and many of which I would not be able to answer or get the answers I wanted.

“It’s kinda like a diary then?” Frank asked as he played with the buttons, pressing one causing the phone to light up and make Frank drop it onto the table. I smiled slightly at his blue eyes with a shock in them I have to admit I found kinda cute, as he picked it up again I answered his questions.

“It’s a little more than that, but it has a calendar on it as one of its functions…” As I continued to explain and tell him what a mobile phone was I could tell he was almost hooked on my every word, as we sat alone in the room we talked about so much and would have stayed there if it wasn’t for my stomach telling me it was hungry.

“Would you like to grab a bite to eat?” Frank asked, as he motioned to the door. Nodding I follow Frank to the door and we head to the front of the hotel and the world famous Strip, all the while we talk constantly about how things have changed and the new world that has seemingly fascinated Frank.

“So what happens to Sammy and Dean, do I go before them?” Frank asked silently, as we sat in this small out of the way diner making small talk over the food as we talked. I could tell it was a question that had been on his mind since I first blurted out that he had passed away in 1998, I wanted to tell him the truth but I also felt a pang of guilt too; I had the answers that could either make or back this great man in my hands. I felt not only guilt but also a huge weight upon my shoulders, it was such a strain and responsibility that I wasn’t sure I wanted; let alone what to say to him.

“They both leave you first; I can’t tell you how hard this is for me…” I begin, realising that he too can’t be finding it easy. Pausing for a moment, I look up from my coffee and can see by the look in his eyes that he needs answers I was trying to avoid. Taking a deep breath I continue, hoping and praying that I was doing the right thing.

“Sammy died in 1990 due to complications from throat cancer…” I began softly, trying to find the correct words to say.

“Dean died of respiratory failure in 1995 as a result of lung cancer…” I could see Frank’s face; he looked as though he wanted to cry as the shock set in. I knew that if he changed his lifestyle and the other’s changed theirs; then this would all change so I tried to explain.

“I know it is hard and a lot to take in, I have the same feelings…” I began, pausing to try find the right words.

“I am still trying to get my head around the fact that I have seemingly travelled back in time; I just hope I can get back… My folks will kill me if I don’t make it; I’ve got work next week!” Trying a little humour, I was thankful it worked as Frank smiled and let out a slight laugh. Looking to me I became captivated for a moment by the blueness of his eyes, feeling like we were the only people in the world.

“So why do you think you are here?” Frank asked, as I tried to focus on something other than those blue eyes of his.

“I have no idea, I guess it has to have something with me learning something… what else could it be?” I replied as I thought about what had lead me from Tiffany’s one morning to Las Vegas one evening, about 40 years previous. As we sat and continued to talk I noticed how we were holding hands, I wasn’t sure if I had taken his hand or the other way round; but either way we were holding hands. And even though we had both obviously noticed this, neither of us felt as if we needed to let go; neither I nor Frank felt the need to say anything either, we just continued to hold each other’s hand and talk. Hours must have gone by because I can remember beginning to feel rather sleepy, so we headed back to Frank’s hotel room.

“Where are you staying?” He asked me, as we arrived back to the Sands hotel. Shrugging my shoulders I replied that I had no idea, and looking around said I guessed I would try for one of the hotels.

“Well, why not stay here? You are more than welcome…” Frank said as he gestured to his hotel room, nodding I agreed and followed him inside. It wasn’t so much that I was desperately seeking for somewhere to stay, and I did trust him; but in some way I still wanted the night to continue. As we settled inside I propped myself up against the headboard as he lay next to me on the seemingly huge double bed, we continued to talk about what the future was like.

“What happens in the future?” Frank said, as he passed over a glass of cola to me and took hold of his own glass of scotch. Taking a sip from the glass, enjoying the cool liquid as it coated my throat and the fact that by doing this it gave me time to think.

“Well, bear in mind that I was born 15 years after this concert I can’t really remember too much about the era I was born, and what I do remember may not be of interest…” I must admit that I was, at this moment in time stalling. Part of me didn’t want to tell him what was to happen; mainly due to the fact I had no idea what would happen if I did. And if I was honest I was struggling to find things to tell Frank now, but I realised he would not want to give in that easily; so I faced the situation and began to tell him about the future.

“Both JFK and his brother Robert will died way before their time…” I began, thinking it was better to get the shocking stuff out the way first.

“In the future both England and the US will be overrun by foreign nationals seeking asylum, personal computers will become very popular; as will these things…” I show him the mobile phone that he had been toying with earlier, and ask I begin to show him what it does and how it works I become aware that he is hanging on my every word. Which I must admit did feel kinda good, but also very powerful; I mean if I was evil I could make this great entertainer believe anything I wanted to!

“So, changing the subject here a little; what’s your story?” Frank asked, drawing me from my thoughts. I smiled slightly and let out a muffled snigger, sighing deeply I began to tell him about ‘my story.’

“Not really that much to tell if I am honest…” I began, realising how much I still hated talking about myself. Draining the glass I had in my hands I set the empty glass down and began to get myself comfortable next to Frank who was now laying, on his side facing me and propped up on one arm.

“I was born and raised in a small town in England, my folks are still together and even though I am in my early 30’s I still live with them…” I continued as I tried to find something interesting to tell him, truth is that my life was pretty boring in some respects. Nothing really ever happened to me, my life was always the same; boring. Which I guess is why I had such a hard time figuring out why this had happened to me, it wasn’t like all the action and good stuff happened to me.

As I continued to struggle with things to tell Frank about myself I could feel a certain emotion I had not felt before, as Frank smiled I began to realise I was beginning to get feelings for him. It was not something I planned or ever imagined would or could happen, but sure enough the more we talked the stronger these feelings became.

“So what exactly were you doing before you passed out?” Frank said as he placed his empty glass down on the sideboard, his blue eyes almost burning into my soul.

“I was looking at the diamonds!” I began, smiling a little at how he smiled. As I told him what happened we both thought about why I had seemingly been transported back to this time and place, I had no links to that era or indeed Frank and his friends. There was no real reason for this to have happened; maybe it was just one of those bizarre things that just happened because.

“So, it can’t have anything to do with that; the reason you find yourself here I mean.” Frank continued, shaking my head I was still trying to think why I was here when it happened. Unexpectedly and for seemingly no real reason, Frank kissed me. Softly and slowly upon the lips, it took me by surprise to say the least but also took me through a wide range of emotions. Firstly of course there was shock, and then came passion and desire.

As we slowly parted lips we felt a stirring that both of us felt had been missing for a long time, for what seemed like an age we both stayed silent until we were interrupted by the door being knocked. As Frank pulled himself together slightly, I too did the same as he answered the door; it was Dean and Sammy hoping I had not left and wanting to know more about the future.

“So what happens in your lifetime that we don’t see?” Sammy asks, as they both join us on the bed; eager to learn more about my life and the future. If I was honest I still had my doubts about telling them what would happen; but having said that if something was going to happen surely it would have happened by now…

“Well one major change is the Internet and how pc’s have grown and become hugely popular…” I began, wishing I had my laptop with me so I could show them what I meant.

“When I was born pc’s were just starting out and were mainly for business and basic tasks like mathematics on a speedy basis…” I went on, surprised by the fact they all seemed to be hanging on my every word.

“In 2008 they have become so popular and truth be told most people would be lost without one now… There is also the fact that pretty much everything is run with machines and computers now!” As I sat and continued to tell them about life my mind seemed to be filled with the thoughts of what just happened between myself and Frank, and I knew his mind was on it just as much as mine was. I told them about how popular technology had become and how people seemingly could not live without it, I was trying to not only think but also keep clear of the big major events; but knew it would never be able to last.

As Sammy asked me what big events would happen I knew I would have to face the situation and tell them the truth, so I started with small stuff like Hurricane Katrina and some of the natural disasters that had happened. I told them with pride how England had finally won an Ashes cricket series and also a rugby world cup too, and some of the important people that passed away; including Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II.

They of course knew I was holding back, and that it was something big; my skirting around the issue and failure to give them their answers was enough to confirm their suspicions.

“It’s can’t be that bad can it?” Dean asked as I made myself another soft drink, with Frank stood inches away I could feel the tension between us and was sure the others could too. But even when Frank touched my hand and made me jump about ten feet in the air neither Sammy or Dean noticed, all they wanted to know was what I was keep back from them. Clearing my throat slightly and trying to get the shock, and indeed passion out of my mind I finally answered them.

“On 11th September 2001 New York City; well all of America really suffers a terrorist attack… the like of which will be spoken about forever…” I began, already I knew that they were in shock; but knowing I could not stop now I continued.

“A terrorist group called al-Qaeda hi-jacked four planes and tried to attack the heart of America, firstly the White House was made a target but the passengers crashed it before it reached the target…” I had to pause, to not only gather my thoughts but also make sure they were keeping up with me.

“Another headed for the Pentagon and made a slight impact… however the biggest impact was made by two airplanes heading to California, both planes crashed into the two Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre…” Their shock was obvious, as I did my best to explain I could tell their hearts felt the same as mine.

“What happened?” Frank said softly as he cleared his throat, sitting down close next to me; causing me to feel a flutter in my heart that I had not felt in a long time. Taking a deep breath I clear my throat and begin to explain what happened that fateful day, acutely aware of Frank’s hand that was almost holding mine.

“Well, all told there were around three thousand poor souls that lost their lives that day. Not to mention the thousands of lives that are still being taken because of the war the American’s and British felt compelled to fight, like I said it is a day that will never be forgotten.” As the silence fell I became aware that Frank had now taken hold of my hand and was softly stroking the back of it. It began the butterflies to stir inside of me again; I began to become almost overwhelmed by not only my emotions but also my thoughts when Frank gently squeezed my hand.

I also became aware that Dean, Sammy and Frank were talking; only thing was that my mind just could not focus. My mind was filled with emotions and feelings I had not felt in a long time, if truth be told many of these feelings were new to me. As my mind wandered I managed to catch Frank telling Sammy and Dean what happened when I came to find myself transported back to their time, noting how he still had not released my hand from his gentle grip.

“It’s as if she needs to find her purpose for being here I guess…” Sammy half said and half thought, as Frank nodded looking to me. All I could do was smile and nod, to be honest my heart was still in my mouth from that kiss and the fact Frank still had hold of my hand.

“Well, it seems only fair that we look after the young lady; right Frank?” Dean said, smiling warmly towards me. Smiling back I silently nod my thanks, while Frank tells me where they were headed next.

“We are heading back to New York for a small concert at Carnegie Hall, I am sure the guys would be as honoured as I would be if you would join us?” Frank said, as he gently caressed the back of my hand. Knowing that I could no longer deny my feelings and longing, I gladly excepted as Frank continued to tell us what would happen. Although if I am honest he lost me half way through, as once more his fingers softly manipulated their way into my heart.

 I had so many things going through my mind that I almost felt like my head would explode if I went through anything else, but of course I knew my luck and I know that this could very well only be the beginning of a very hectic time for me. As the night drew on and dawn began to break both Sammy and Dean had fallen asleep, leaving myself and Frank alone once more. And once more in silence and both wondering what to say, we had both been sat in silence for a while before Frank made the first move; pulling me into his warm embrace and gently holding me there.

Neither of us spoke or even felt the need to speak, just feeling the emotions that were seemingly flowing from us. As we continued to hold each other I remember feeling a wash with tiredness all of a sudden, and as Frank softly caressed my back I closed my eyes. Within moments I felt myself drift off into dreamless sleep, but moments later I was being rudely woken by someone shaking me. To my surprise and slight disappointment when I came to there was no Frank, Sammy or Dean; only the sales assistant that I had fallen to the feet of when I first passed out.

As I came to I adjusted to the fact I was back in Tiffany’s and being tended to by some very concerned looking sales assistants, as I tried to think and get my mind straight I was handed a cup of coffee and a bag; inside which was my favourite bagel. Sitting eating the smoked salmon bagel and drinking the hot cup of coffee I tried my best to understand what had just happened to me; admittedly I wasn’t doing too well with it. As I finished my “breakfast at Tiffany’s” and had thanked the staff I headed out onto Fifth Avenue, with my mind still very much with Frank and the others I never saw him heading in the other direction.

The first either of us knew about anything was as I went crashing into his solid chest, almost causing him to fall. As I apologised I had yet to look up fully and never saw his face, but he sure had seen mine; cutting me off before I had the chance to continue he spoke.

“Either you are in a major rush or your mind is on other things?” His deep southern accent well known to me, and as I looked up to him I saw that his face was too. His piercing blue eyes reminded a lot of Frank’s, even down to the fact that at that moment they seemed to be burning a whole into her soul. Realising I had been struck dumb again, I smiled; cleared my throat and said the first thing that came into my mind.

“Oh my God; you’re HBK!” Rolling my eyes into the back of my head the moment I said it and feeling the idiot I must have been didn’t stop him from smiling and trying to make me feel better, checking over his shoulder with a deadpan look then grinning he spoke.

“I know, just don’t tell anyone ok?” Chuckling to himself, he held his hand out and spoke again.

“My real name’s Michael, it’s a pleasure?” As I took his hand I smiled and took a deep breath before introducing myself, and apologising for stating the obvious.

“Hello Michael, my name’s Gabby; it’s a pleasure to meet you… I’m sorry about stating the obvious; I have just had a really bizarre day already!” Tilting his head to one side slightly, Michael gave his legendry cheeky smile and invited me to walk with him. Smiling and accepting, as we walked I tried to explain the best I could that it was a long story, in all honesty I wasn’t sure anyone would believe me if I started to tell them what I had just experience; least of all Shawn Michaels.

“I like long stories, kinda reminds me of my own life!” Michael said as we continued to walk, not really anywhere in particular just walking. Smiling slightly I took a deep breath and went to speak, but then Michael bumped into his best friend Paul; better known as Triple H. Smiling politely and greeting Paul I stayed tight lipped while the two friends talked, hoping I could find a way to not explain why I’d had such a strange day. As the three of us headed into a bar we were just about to pass I felt as though I had gotten away without talking about my day when Michael brought it up again, hardly allowing me to sit down let alone think.

“I dunno if you’d both believe me if I told you?” I said as I sighed deeply, realising that I could no longer avoid the subject.

“Of course we would…” Paul said, as his wife Stephanie came into the bar and introduced herself. After greeting her, Paul filled her in and now I found myself sat in the company of three people just dying to hear about my day. So taking a deep breath I sigh and begin to tell the three of them just what I had been though, realising that the worst that could happen is I’d be laughed at.

“… and then I found myself back here and bumping into Michael. See I told you, crazy and you’ll never believe me!” I finished saying, as the three sat there in silence. I sighed once more, waiting for them to all burst out laughing and wishing I was back in Frank’s warm; safe embrace. When Michael spoke, I was kinda shocked; but pleased he had spoken.

“Wow, you are having a strange day!” I must admit I wasn’t prepared for them to understand so much, so it kinda caught me off guard. As the three friends sat silently for a little while in contemplation as I did my best to keep my mind off the fact that my ears detected the smooth soulful sounds of a sad song sung by Frank in the background.

Where are you
Where have you gone without me
I thought you cared about me
Where are you
Where's my heart
Where is the dream we started
I can't believe we're parted…

As I listened harder I heard the words on the radio and felt a pang of pain deep inside of my chest, unsure what these feelings I was having meant.

Where are you
When we said good-bye love
What had we to gain
When I gave you my love
Was it all in vain
All life through          
Must I go on pretending
Where is my happy ending…

Before I knew what was happening I was more interested in the sentimental words flowing from the radio, I never noticed Michael, Paul and Stephanie watching me intently.

Where are you
When we said good-bye love
What had we to gain
When I gave you my love
Was it all in vain

All life through
Must I go on pretending
Where is that happy ending
Where are you
Where are you…

As I became so deeply engrossed in Frank’s song I never noticed I had begun to cry, and as the song came to an end my tears just flood from my weary eyes. But the first I knew about it was Michael asking if I was ok and offering me a tissue, trying to bluff my way out of it I said yes and tried to make like I had something in my eyes. Of course it never worked, I don’t think I ever really believed or thought that it would.

“It’s ok to cry Gabby, man I would too if I was having your crazy day!” Steph said, as she passed me another tissue. Taking the tissues and thanking her I nod, with my mind still in two places I try my best to look like I am still with it. Somehow I managed to get through a good hour in their company before I felt the need to be alone and try to gather my thoughts, so smiling and thanking them for their company I made my excuses and went to leave.

“Hey Gabby…” Michael called after me as he quickly caught up with me outside the bar; smiling to a few fans, he stopped to speak to me.

“I know it may be hard to understand but sometimes we just have to go where our hearts take us…” Michael began; smiling towards me warmly as he gently touched my arm in support.

“God knows what he’s doing, and just keep believing you will find the answers you are looking for.” He continued, as we said our goodbyes. As I head off in the general direction of Central Park, I had no real idea where I was going only that I needed some time alone; with all that had happened today I needed to relax and find some space.

Not even five minutes ago she was laying there in his arms, five minutes ago he had felt contented for the first time in a very long time. But now here he sat alone and feeling very lonely, one of the world’s greatest talents; feeling almost suicidal. In all honesty his heart was breaking and he felt so dejected, he longed to feel her in his arms again; to see her smiling face and beautiful eyes again. He now fully understood how she must have been feeling, as he sat trying to not only understand why she had left but also get his head around his own feelings.

Dean and Sammy had yet to wake, and if he was honest Frank was not looking forward to all their questions. Dressing and packing his things quickly Frank left a note telling the guys he would meet them at Carnegie Hall and headed off for The Strip, and to try find the answers he longed for. Frank had seemingly been walking for miles when he came to this little road side diner, walking in the only one who turned to face him was the girl behind the counter; certainly a refreshing change thought Frank as he sat himself down at a table out of the way.

“What can I get you honey?” The waitress asked, bring Frank from his thoughts. Without thinking Frank replied, saying what was on his mind.

“The woman of my dreams to come back to me…” Realising quickly what he had said, Frank tried to smooth the moment over and asked for some coffee and a breakfast. Without giving the waitress a chance to answer let alone think, Frank put his head down and continued to try and understand what he had just been through. Reaching into his pocket for his cigarettes Frank pulled them out but also brought with them Gabby’s pendant, she had been playing with it absentmindedly as they talked and held each other.

Frank smiled as he remembered how he had be transfixed almost by it and how it caught the light, for something that wasn’t diamonds and to him was so unique Frank couldn’t stop touching it. He remembered how Gabby had taken it off and handed it to Frank, telling him how she had obtained it and the story behind it. As he lightly caressed the pendant he felt a sharp pang in his heart, wishing that he had been allowed more time with her; more time to talk about life and their feelings. As the waitress brought the coffee and food, Frank thanked her and continued to think about the stories Gabby had told him last night.

Playing with the pendant Gabby had just handed to him, Frank studied how it sparkled and shone.

“So what’s the story behind it?” Frank said as he sat holding Gabby, who shifted slightly in his arms before speaking.

“It’s said to hold mystical powers for the owner…” Gabby began, inhaling the scent wafting up from Frank’s chest.

“It is said that a Knight from the Order of St. John of Jerusalem gave it to his sweetheart, but as he journeyed to her he stopped to help some people who kinda ‘blessed’ the pendant as a thank you.” Frank’s silence told Gabby he wanted to hear more, so she continued.

“It is said that this Knight belong to the Knights Hospitaller’s, and that the pendant was specially made for him and his sweetheart.” Gabby began to absentmindedly stroke Frank’s side gently, causing him to feel a passion that he had been missing for a long time.

“It is said that the holder of this pendant will have, compassion, kindness, true love and friendship, good fortune and good luck…” As the silence fell between them, both of their minds were filled with thoughts of the Knight and his sweetheart.

He couldn’t explain it, but Frank suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to cry. Although he loved Nancy, Frank knew that he could never stay completely faithful; especially when he was on the road so much. If he had been thinking straight Frank would have seen that Gabby was just like the other women he’d known, at least that was what his brain was trying to tell him. His heart, however was telling him different.

Somehow Frank just seemed to know that Gabby was the kind of woman you only heard about in dreams and fairytales, but then again maybe she was part of a dream; after all she had gone as quickly as she had come and all out of the blue! How could it all have felt so real Frank thought to himself, not really sure of anything anymore. As Frank finished his breakfast and left he walked back to the hotel, walking along The Strip his mind was still firmly on Gabby. So much so that he never saw her walking towards him, both with their heads firmly down and in their own little worlds. The first either knew about the other was when the pair had collided into each other, both speechless as they looked up to one another; both wishing the other was someone else.

I was not really too sure, where I was headed, all I knew is that I was heading towards Central Park and that I needed to get my head straight. Although with the life I had been having of late, that could be easier said than done, and of course, I was all too well aware of how THAT story ended up! As I wandered through Central Park, my mind was jumping between Frank, the three wrestlers I had just met and thinking of what Michael had said about following my heart.

It actually made some sense to me, only trouble was that my heart was telling me to go for it with Frank; of course that would be a little hard with the fact that in my lifetime he was dead and in his I was not even born yet! In addition, of course there was the small matter of just why I had ended up in the 1960’s, and why I had come back so quickly. Finding an out of the way shady area I sat down on the cool grass and closed my eyes while taking a deep breath, I inhaled the beautiful spring scent that surrounded me. As my mind wandered, I began to think about my past and all I had been through, but not matter how hard I tried my mind still kept going back to Frank and that night’s kiss.

“I’m so sorry my dear…” Frank was finally able to say, once he had gotten over the disappointment that she was not Gabby. Blushing slightly, she smiled and silently sighed before replying.

“It’s fine, really. I wasn’t looking where I was going, had my mind on other things.” Holding her hand out timidly, she blushed shyly as she continued.

“My name’s Dana, pleased to meet you…” Frank could tell she was shy and almost afraid of him, for a few seconds he half wished that she had made the same impression that Gabby had when they first met. His mind wasn’t focusing on her if he was honest and although he could see she was clearly talking to him, Frank couldn’t hear a word she was saying. His heart wasn’t really into it and he wasn’t in the mood for company, trying to smile in the right places Frank’s mind was firmly back with Gabby wishing she was still in his arms.

“So what’s your story?” Dana asked, bringing Frank from his daydream. Smiling slightly Frank took a deep breath and thought about what he was about to say, exhaling loudly as he did so.

“It’s a long story… a very long and complicated story.” Frank replied, hoping it would be enough to deflect her questions. Smiling to herself, Dana knew that he wasn’t telling the whole truth and decided to probe further.

“They are the best kinda stories, why not sit down and tell me all about it?” He had to admit that he was dying to get it all off his chest, but realised he may sound like a nut job to most people. Taking another deep breath, he decided to test the water first.

“Do you believe in love at first sight?” He tentatively asked, trying to think of his next questions and how he could tell her of that previous nights activity. All Dana did was to nod silently, wondering where this conversation was headed.

“And do you believe that if two people can fall in love that love can also stand the test of time?” If Frank was honest with himself his heart and mind were still else where, his heart was breaking and he wished with all he had that he could be back in Gabby's loving arms.

“I do, but what are you trying to tell me Frank?” It was the first time she had called him by his first name, truth be told it was the first time in a long while that a stranger had called him by his first name; most people were scared of him when they first met him.

“Something happened to me last night, something I don’t really understand; but it has left me feeling… empty inside.” Frank said softly, still unsure if she would believe him. Even though the pair had only just met something inside of Frank told him he could tell Dana his fears, and that same something made Dana feel safe and comfortable in Frank’s company. The pair sat down outside by the Sands hotel where Frank had just come from earlier, taking a deep audible breath he spoke.

“Last night a woman’s fearful cry brought me to this young lady and when she fell into my arms I felt like I had to help her…” Frank began, never taking his eyes from the floor in front of him as he continued to tell his story.

“She woke soon after I had taken her up to my room, her first words were; ‘oh my God you’re Frank Sinatra’ and then she told me I was meant to be dead…” Frank went on trying to not sound like a total nut job, hoping he wasn’t failing. Dana silence told him that she was either listening because she believed him, or silent because she couldn’t believe him.

“… and that’s when I kissed her for the first time, I don’t know what came over me or why I felt the urge to kiss her; I just did.” Frank had nearly come to the end of her story and still Dana was silent, Frank wasn’t sure if he should continue.

“Anyway, we had hardly drifted off to sleep when I woke up again; only this time it was to find that she was no longer by my side. Ever since then I have been trying to get my head around it all, told you it was a long story!” Frank finished and tried to let out a little laugh, but truth was he was convinced that Dana thought he was some kinda nut.

Dana had been sitting there, quietly listening to Frank talk with passion about this mysterious woman he had so obviously fallen for almost for an hour and if she was honest with herself she knew exactly how he was feeling. Hearing Frank sighing deeply caused Dana to look over to him, here was one of the worlds most famous singers sat looking totally lost and dejected.

“It’s ok Frank, I know how you are feeling and I totally understand; and no I don’t think you are a nut…” Dana began, smiling and letting out a small laugh before continuing.

“Sometimes love doesn’t make sense, it’s a lot like life… Just smile because it happened, don’t cry because it’s over.” Touching the back of his hand caused Frank to sharply inhale, not because he felt any passion but because he remembered how Gabby had done much the same that previous night. Nodding slightly, Frank didn’t totally understand but had to agree it did make sense to him. The time had gone really fast and pretty soon Frank was well aware that he needed to be back in New York City and fairly soon, and after saying his goodbyes to Dana; was heading off back to NYC.

Back in Central Park, I was still sat in quiet contemplations, when I sensed the change in the air temperature. As I shivered with the chill in the air, I sighed aloud wishing that I could make sense of it all but realising in all honesty that I may never find the truth. Getting to my feet, I began to take a slow walk back to the hotel we were staying at. We were staying at the Holiday Inn on West 57th, which was central to all the places I wanted to visit. One of which was Carnegie Hall, but my mind had yet to register that fact. With my mind still firmly with Frank and back in 1962 still I was walking back into the hotel room before I knew it, with my folks asking where I had been all day. It was the second time that day I had been backed up into a corner for answers that I was struggling to give myself, so I did my best to bluff my way through the questions and headed off to shower.

As the water rained down upon my body I could feel the strain of my day washing away, but still the thoughts came; and then my mind began to focus on something that I had seemingly forgotten about until now. I had just come out of an abusive relationship and I kept having these reoccurring dreams for a while afterwards, they would start and end in the same way and I would always be left wondering what had happened as well as if I would ever be free from them.
It would start with an attack of some kind; after I had witnessed this, the attacker would turn his attentions to me and begin to chase me. But before the attacker could catch up with me, I would always wake up with a Frank Sinatra song running through my mind and no real idea why, maybe the dreams were all part of what had happened last night.

As I turned off the shower and began to dry myself those dreams were still in the forefront of my mind, so much so that I did not hear my folks speaking to me at first. I just agreed and began to get ready, not realising that my dreams would soon be settled. As I dressed time passed by quickly and pretty soon the time for us to leave for our night out had arrived, sighing deeply I bemoaned at the fact that I did not really want to go.

“Come on now Gabby…” My father said, gesturing to Mum to wait up for us.

“You know we had arranged this for your birthday, you always said you wanted to go Carnegie Hall… and Aunt Dana will be there.” Dad always knew how to make me feel guilty, so smiling I follow them to Carnegie Hall not really thinking but with my mind elsewhere. The walk took us a little over 20 minutes, mainly because I was dragging my feet; still thinking of other things. Finally we arrived at Carnegie Hall and greeted my Aunt Dana before taking our seats, Dana was not my Aunt by blood; more of a ‘virtual’ Aunt.

Made into one of my Godparents, Dana had always been there for me and had never forgotten about me. No matter how bad I was feeling she always knew how to make it better, and would always have the right answers for any questions I had. However, I knew that this might be all too much for even her to believe; so quietly I sat pretending to listen to all my parents and Aunt said. Out the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw Michael and Paul so made my excuses and left to seek them out. Wandering outside I had no idea what dangers I was heading into, in fact if I had been thinking straight I would have never gone down that darken alleyway beside the Hall; but I was not thinking straight.

I had already reached half way and the alley was almost pitch black, still I never saw the dangers until too late. It all happened so quickly; one moment I watched how this figure dressed in black attacked this helpless woman, the next calling for him to stop. If I had been thinking straight I would not have called out, had I been thinking straight I would have run away the second after he had looked up; but I was not thinking straight. He was already within feet of reaching me when I had realised I needed to run away, turning to run I was almost out of the alleyway when I felt him catch up with me. I never felt him grab hold of me, but as I felt the sharp blow to the back of my skull and the intense pain that followed; I knew he had caught up with me.

 I can remember I just had time to yell out with fear and pray I would be ok before I fell unconscious, I don’t remember much other than being dragged back deeper into the darken alleyway. With fear in my heart I as I awoke I could just make out his figure becoming blurry as he got ready to do goodness-knows-only-what to me, as I shut my eyes tightly I braced myself for the inevitable end that I felt would be coming.

As Frank walked into the dressing room without Gabby by his side, he knew by the look Sammy and Dean gave each other that the question would come soon. And he was right, after nearly 30 seconds of him putting his bag down the questions had started.

“So, where’s Gabby?” Dean asked, as he looked around just to add affect to his question. Shaking his head, Frank answered sadly.

“I don’t know Dean, one minute she was there and the next she wasn’t.” Hoping that would be the end of it but knowing otherwise Frank tried to get ready for the show but if he was honest with himself, he knew he did not real want to go out on stage.

“What do you mean she’s gone?” Sammy asked, as Frank sighed audibly.

“Did you fall out?” Sammy added, looking to Dean who was always up on his feet.

“Did you make a pass at her?” Dean said, meaning it as a joke but realising something else had happened when Frank shot him one of his legendry looks.

“Look guys, all I know is that we were all talking and then after you had fallen asleep so did we and when I woke; Gabby wasn’t there.” Frank said, almost pleading with his friends to drop it. But when they would not Frank took drastic measures and walked out of the dressing room, no real idea where he was going just that he had to go somewhere. As Frank walked to God-only-knows-where he felt the same emptiness he had felt all day, he had to admit he could not understand it; could not see how he could have fallen so hard and so quickly for a stranger.

 As he continued to walk all Frank thought about was Gabby and how he wish he had more time with her, his mind was so focused on her that he nearly didn’t hear her fearful cry. Stopping dead in his tracks for a moment Frank silently listened for the sound that had caused him to stop in the first place, as he heard it again he quickly searched for where it had come from. Finding it and without thinking Frank rushed off to this woman’s aid, without thinking he had no idea what he would find; only that he needed to help.
As Frank called for the figure to leave the woman alone he had yet to reach her side or even see who she was, even when he was at her side it took him a few moments to realise it was Gabby. The moment he realised a sick feeling entered his stomach, the blood had drained from his face for a few moments before he gently picked her up in his arms and carried her back to the dressing room. Unlike before when Frank had entered the room, now Sammy and Dean rushed around like clucking Mother hens trying to help.

While I was drifting in and out of unconsciousness I could just about see Frank and almost hear him, but it was his soft touch that made me acutely aware that he was by my side. As he gently lay me down on what I could only guess was a sofa I could hear both Sammy and Dean rushing around trying to help Frank, who was clearly having some trouble trying to stay calm. During a moment when I was almost coming to I could feel Frank silently shed a small tear upon my cheek, it all seemed to help me come from my catatonic state.
(The above part is written from my POV… and is in italic)

“Oh God Gabby, I thought I had lost you for a moment there… Are you ok?” Frank said the relief obvious in his eyes and face as I slowly began to open my eyes. I felt to weak to speak or even move so I tried my best to smile, this alone took a lot of energy. But was all worth it to see Franks relieved smile, while Dean and Sammy left us to talk Frank continued to look after me. Neither of us spoke, neither of us needed to; we both sat in comfortable silence for a few moments.

“What happened Gabby?” Frank said sadly, looking away for a moment; trying to quell his tears.

“I don’t know…” I answered quietly and honestly, wanting to say so much more I could not find the words. Without warning, Frank pulled me into his arms and held me there tightly and although I was shocked, I never complained I just held him back; I needed to be held at that moment in time. After a long time I began to stir and spoke, causing Frank to loosen his arms from around my waist.

“I think I know why I was here with you the first time, but I can’t say it will make any sense!” I was about to tell Frank all when Dean walked back into the room, inform us that Frank was due on stage.

“Why don’t you come sit at the front and watch?” Frank said, nodding I slowly got to my feet and tried to follow; but being a little unsteady on my feet still, Frank helped me to the front of the stage. Joining Sammy and Dean Frank smiled over to me as I got comfy, smiling back, I sat and watched Frank, Sammy and Dean put on their world famous show. It was Sammy that sang first, a slow number called; What Kind of Fool Am I? I had heard his, along with Frank and Dean voices many times before on the radio and TV; but never had it sounded quiet like the way I was hearing it tonight. Pretty soon, the song had ended and Dean was being introduced; walking onto the stage with his trademark glass of scotch in his hand.

“And here he is Ladies and Gentleman, straight from the bar; Dean Martin…” The crowd all cheered loudly as he was introduced, smiling and taking the mic from Sammy he began to sing the opening bars from a song made famous by Tony Bennet called; I Left My Heart In San Francisco. With Dean singing it the only way he could, I could not help buy laugh along with the audience as Dean sang the wrong words. But if the truth was told it was Frank I wanted to hear sing, he always had what I classed as the voice of an angel but now more so than ever I felt like his voice was truly a Godsend.

As Sammy stood on the stage trying to make Dean laugh Frank came onto the stage, I could feel my heart skip a beat; I felt like a lovesick teenager… I never knew anyone could ever have this affect on me, let alone someone who was meant to have died 10 years previous! Dean had finished singing by the time my mind had stopped thinking about Frank, as he took the mic and thanked Dean he smiled directly at me; causing the butterflies to start again. Frank began to sing a song I had not heard before, looking around and then to Frank’s two colleagues on stage I realised nobody else had either. As he continued to look directly at me as he sung, I realised that Frank was singing this song not at me; rather for me.

Hey there pretty angel where have you gone.
You with your good heart and soft tender touch.
You with your sad blue eyes.
Where have you gone?

Here I am just sittin’ here thinking.
Thinking about your love and how I miss you so.
How you showed me true love and how to love again.
I miss you so; miss your smile; your face; your heart.
Oh, my love come back to me.
Oh, my dear sweet angel know I miss you so;
Know that my heart is yours.

For now and always, my heart belongs to you.
With me in my world and you in yours;
Know that I will always love you;
And that my heart belongs to you.
My heart and soul will always be yours.
Know this much my dear sweet angel;

Whatever may part us,
Whatever may come between us;
Wherever you may go, I belong to you.
Hey pretty angel, where have you gone?

As the song came to an end I realised Frank had not taken his eyes from mine as he sang, it was as if they were glued to mine. The rest of the night went quickly with the three friends doing their normal routine and singing the songs that had made them famous over the years, although I had enjoyed the show I must admit my heart wanted it to be over; but of course that was just because I wanted to spend more time with Frank. Soon I was heading back to the dressing room with Frank and the boys, acutely aware that Frank was following the others and trying to make the walk back last for as long as he could.

Or maybe he was trying to make the whole night last, the last time we had spent time together we both fell asleep and both of us missed the chance to say how we truly felt. As Sammy and Dean headed off for the dressing room, Frank held back a little and soon we both had come to a standstill. Gently he took my hand and enquired if I was feeling any better, nodding slowly I showed him the bump that was now forming and told him I would live.

“I loved that song you sang Frank…” I began, smiling up into his bright blue piercing eyes; I had forgotten how much I had missed them when I had first met him.

“It was a new song right?” I asked, as I lent up against the nearby wall. Frank nodded and replied, as he moved slightly towards me; still holding my hand in his.

“Yeah, I have a confession to make… I found the lyrics early this morning.” Frank replied as he moved closer still, a soft smile and tenderness in his eyes.

“I just thought I would sing it when I saw you smile at me out there tonight… it just felt right.” Frank continued, softly he touched my cheek with the back of his finger; causing tiny electrical chargers to run through the skin. My silence told him that I was still in shock, so as Frank moved a little closer still he spoke softly.

“I hope you didn’t mind me making it ‘your song’? It just seemed right.” Frank went on to say, but I could hardly hear him for all the beating my heart was doing in my chest and ears I had trouble hearing him speak. By now his lips were almost brushing my cheek and I have to admit this alone was killing me inside, I needed and wanted him to kiss me again; I could not explain it I just felt it. Then as he pulled back slightly and as if he knew what I was thinking, Frank gave a little smile and softly kissed my lips. In that moment time stood still for me and I can clearly remember feeling things I had never felt before, I was acutely aware of the rising emotions in both of us that moment.

 As our lips parted, I knew that no matter what happened or when I returned to my own time, I knew I would never forget that moment; or indeed that kiss. Neither of us needed to speak, we both just seemed to know what the other was feeling, as we both smiled at each other we headed back to the dressing room. Sat back in the dressing room Sammy and Dean were all but ready so the three of us sat talking while Frank showered and changed, there was no real subject we spoke about; just more chitchat I guess but the conversations always seemed to flow. They of course asked about what happened and why I seemed to disappear for a while, as I explained I tried to avoid answering the questions I knew would obviously be on their minds.

Truth be told I wanted Frank to hear my thoughts first, I was still unsure why it had all happened now and not when I started to have the dreams. The moment they asked me I quickly changed the subject and spoke about the future and what it held for not just them, but also humanity in general; I knew that this was the best way I had of defecting their questions. Just as I felt their questions about to turn back to why I felt I was there, Frank came back into the room and the four of us headed back to the Waldorf Astoria where they were all staying that night. None of us felt like retiring so we sat in the hotel bar talking for most of the night, both Frank and myself were aware that time may not be on our side and made our excuses to head off to the room.
Although I knew he wanted to ask Frank stayed silent as soon as we got into his room, talking but also giving me time and space. If I was being honest with myself though I was also giving Frank time to find the words he needed to say whatever her felt he needed to say, truth be told we both needed to talk.

“What is the song you sang for me called Frank?” I asked as we relaxed upon the plush king size bed that seemed to be the focus of a whole room that was lavishly laid out, the interior was in keeping with the whole theme of the hotel; luxurious and elegant. The room Frank was staying in was more like an apartment back home, it was one of their Luxury Suites all decked out with deluxe luxurious accommodation and overlooking Park Avenue. The whole room seemed like something out of an old-fashioned film where the movie star is hugely rich and has a room at the local hotel that looks like the penthouse suite, I have to admit had I stayed much longer I would have felt like a movie star myself.

“It doesn’t have a name yet…” Frank began, looking up at me with his blue eyes. Looking at him questioningly, Frank continued to explain.

“When I said it was a song I came across, I meant that it was a new song… as I sat thinking about you and how I felt I just began to write the feelings down, and this is what I came up with.” He was silent for a while, not able to face me.

“What are you trying to tell me Frank?” I asked, as my mind raced. In truth though I guess I knew what he was saying, but my past had taught me never to take anything for granted and to expect the unexpected. Without another word Frank moved towards me slowly, taking my hand in his he spoke softly.

“That it’s your song…” Pausing both of us knew he wanted to say more, after a few moments he continued.

“I can’t say that I understand it all, but you know that I have a lot of feelings for you; don’t you?” I could tell Frank was almost stalling and almost skirting around the words he wanted to say, wanting to make things easier on him I wanted to tell him I felt the same; as I went to explain there was a knock at the door. As Frank answered I could tell by how he stood and answered that something was wrong, it would not take me long to find out either. Thanking the person at the door, Frank shut the door and headed back to the bed with a look on his face I could not place.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as he sat beside me, he was silent before answering.

“Why do you think you came to be here?” Frank asked, it was as if he asked this but meant something else; so I answered him the best I could. Explaining about my past and how my then boyfriend had turned to abuse and beat me after losing his job and hitting the bottle, I told Frank of how I began to have these reoccurring dreams.

“The dreams start when I find myself in a dark place, I’m not sure where it is or what I am doing there, only that the place seems to be completely pitch black…” I begin as Frank comes and lays on the plush bed next to me, taking my hand softly in his I continue.

“As my mind beings to focus I can sense things changing all the time, I could sense the chill in the air which told me I could be outside; and although there was silence around me to start with this began to change too.” Frank never once took his eyes from my own, although sometimes I felt that I had to look away to gather my thoughts.

“After a few moments I figured that I was in a very dark part of an alleyway, with no idea why I began to search around trying to find some answers…” I continued, closing my eyes for a moment I am taking right back to the dreams. Usually when I would have them I would be afraid, but with Frank holding me my fears never surfaced.

“Suddenly the silence is broken by a woman’s fearful cry for help, seconds later I see the woman being attacked by a guy dressed in black…” Frank can tell that I am finding it hard and beings to gently caress my back, softly reassuring me all the time.

“Without thinking I call out for him to stop and as he stops and looks over to me I immediately being to regret it, he slowly heads towards me causing my mind to panic…” I continue, sighing deeply with each gentle caress Frank delivers to my body.

“By the time my mind has woken up to the fact that I am in danger the masked man was already almost within reach, as I turned to flee I ran as fast as I could to get to the main street…” I pause for a moment, trying not to be overwhelmed by the moment.

“I could see the safety of the street ahead of me and I was within a few hundred feet of getting there when I felt a pair of hands grab me roughly, seconds later and before I could cry out I felt a sharp blow to the back of my skull; followed moments later by an intense pain…” I went on before I paused, my silence went on for a while and I’m sure Frank was concerned. Clearing his throat slightly, Frank spoke softly.

“What happened then?” Smiling softly at Frank, I touched his cheek gently as I continued to explain about my dream.

“I don’t know Frank, every time I get to that bit I would wake up with one of your songs; normally My Way or New York New York playing on the radio. It’s always the same and each time I had no idea why it happens…”

“Until now, right?” Frank said, nodding I agree.

“So who was that at the door? Something tells me it was about my dreams?” I asked, as Frank nodded in agreement.

“Apparently some woman was attacked in the alleyway where I found you, the guy who attacked her was disturbed and ran off… The police wanted to know if either myself; Dean or Sammy had seen anything.” Frank said, pausing before looking up at me and continuing.

“You saved her life Gabby.” He said softly, gently touching my cheek with the back of his hand. Sitting there my mind was still on what Frank had said and that I had indeed saved someone’s life, I became aware of why I was there. It had never occurred to me that I could actually save someone’s life, my mind was still thinking about it when I felt Frank softly touch my cheek. Smiling up at him there were no words needed for that moment, just a sense that we both knew how we felt. As we got comfortable next to each other on the huge plush king size bed Frank took me gently into his arms, holding each other for ages and hardly moving our positions. Tenderly he caressed my body, softly we kissed and slowly I could feel myself falling deeper in love with him.

“You know I am never going to forget you, don’t you?” Frank finally said, after a long silence. Nodding was all it took from me for him to understand, kissing my forehead softly and taking a deep breath he continued.

“I love you Gabby, always will…” Closing his eyes, Frank settled down and gently pulled me close.

“I love you too Frank and will never forget you either…” I replied, closing my eyes and settling down also. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would fall asleep again, pausing for a moment I continued.

“Goodbye Frank… Thank you.” Was all I could manage, seconds later my eyes began to shut completely I heard Frank reply.

“Goodnight my Darling Gabby…” Both of us knew we would more than likely never see each other again, but somehow neither of us felt sad.

(Back in 2008)
As I slowly come to my mind began to focus I knew instantly that Frank was no longer by my side, which made me well aware that I was back in 2008; what I didn’t know was where or how I was.

“Gabby?” I almost heard a faint voice say, I was trying to picture the voice when I heard it again; only this time a little louder.

“Gabby… are you ok?” Slowly I began to open my eyes and focus slightly more, I mumbled some sort of an answer as I continue to try get my head awake.

“I dunno… where am I?” They could just about make out what I said, their relief on their faces was obvious; if I could have seen them anyway!

“Man, we thought we’d lost you back there! Paul saw you leave and tried to call after you, so we followed…” At last it clicked where I was, finally I knew where that voice was from… Michael and Paul had thankfully been there when I needed them, and I was more than grateful. Thanking them silently my eyes were now open and I was trying to get up from the bed and asking what had happened.

“When we got to you, you were near the top of the alleyway and some masked dude was standing over you…” Michael began, as he tried to help me stand up.

“We called out for him to leave you alone, which he did; and then we brought you back here.” Paul added, as he come to Michael’s aid as I begun to get unsteady on my feet.

“Where’s my parents and Aunt? Are they ok?” I ask, holding onto Michael and Paul before I slowly sit down on the edge of the bed.

“Steph has gone to get them, don’t worry they’ll be here any moment now.” Paul said, as he helped Michael get me sat on the bed. Nodding my thanks, I sat on the bed and tried to come too.

“Did you ever get that thing sorted Gabby?” Michael asked me, looking slightly confused he explained a little more.

“That thing you told us about, ending up in 1962 with Frank Sinatra?” Smiling slightly at the sound of his name told both Michael and Paul all they needed to know, but before I could answer Steph was entering the room with my parents and Aunt in tow; who were more than a little thankful I was alright. Assuring them I was ok, they spent a few moments fussing around me as I told them what had happened; of course leaving out the part about travelling back to 1962 and falling in love with Frank Sinatra! After we had all talked and had thanked Paul, Steph and Michael we said our goodbyes and headed back to our hotel.

“Oh by the way Michael, yes it was all sorted out in the end…” I said as I walked out of the door and headed off, as I walked out into the cool night air of Manhattan it was as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Looking to the sky with its star filled canvas I somehow knew that things would be ok from now on, something just seemed to be different. Back at the hotel my parents and Aunt sat in the bar, unwinding from the day’s events. Being a little tired I headed to the room, settling down I turned the TV on and found a music channel before curling myself into the bed sheets and shutting my eyes.

Hey there pretty angel where have you gone.
You with your good heart and soft tender touch.
You with your sad blue eyes.
Where have you gone?
Here I am just sittin’ here thinking.
Thinking about your love and how I miss you so.
How you showed me true love and how to love again.
I miss you so; miss your smile; your face; your heart.

Within seconds of hearing the first few words, I knew instantly that it was Frank singing what he called “My Song.” Wide-awake now I listened intently with my mind firmly fixed upon Frank and the day I had been having, I could still see him singing it to me that night.

Oh, my love come back to me.
Oh, my dear sweet angel know I miss you so;
Know that my heart is yours.
For now and always, my heart belongs to you.

With me in my world and you in yours;
Know that I will always love you;
And that my heart belongs to you.
My heart and soul will always be yours.
Know this much my dear sweet angel;

Whatever may part us,
Whatever may come between us;
Wherever you may go, I belong to you.
Hey pretty angel, where have you gone?

As the song came to an end, I lay back down; closing my eyes I smiled as I drifted off to sleep thinking about Frank, falling into a deep well earned sleep.

CSI: Miami Fan Fiction.

Disclaimer: All characters © to the CSI franchise, story idea and the character of Alexandra is © to Nicky D Sarti, 2012. As with all fanfiction; this story is meant for people’s enjoyment.

Letter to H:

My Dearest H,

I never thought this moment would come, never thought I would be able to say the words I longed to say. That day seems so long ago, but yet; it still feels so raw… I am sure it does for you also.

When you came to my rescue that terrible day, you must have just felt like it was your job; yet how quickly things changed. To have lost one member of your team is bad enough, but two must have hurt you deeply; now I see why or rather how you could understand so well how I was feeling… you were feeling it too weren’t you?

I never did get to thank you for saving my life twice that day; you really were my hero on more than one occasion. I do not know if I would have given up had you not been there, I know you always said I was far stronger than I knew; but I still do not know what would have happened had you not been there.

As the months went by all I could think of was you and those beautiful blue eyes, I could not explain it; I tried to rationalise it… but you were all I kept coming back to. Your kindness and warmth meant so much to me, and right at a time when I needed it most.

It took me forever to call you, and even longer to get the confidence to ask you out. I can still see the look on your usually emotionless face; it was like you had never been asked out before. I must admit the silence was not what I expected, nor was the coolness of your reply. But I do understand now, I know why you would not let me jump right in.

It must have taken so much for you to let me in, to tell me your past. I hope that I conveyed all that I truly meant that night, I knew it would not be an easy ride; but with your arms around me I knew I would never regret falling.

And I don’t, nor will I ever regret falling. You make the days seem easier, and the nights oh so longer when we are together. I know that I shall always have your heart, and am sure that you know you shall always have mine too.

I will always feel safe, and be protected when I am with you; my dear sweet beautiful H.

In closing, thank you for the past 12 months; and here’s to the next years. I cannot wait to spend them with you my darling husband to be, I know they will be the best years of our lives.

Always Yours
Alexandra xxx

Announcing Love.

Disclaimer: All wrestling characters © to WWE and Vince McMahon, all other names and characters are © to themselves. Any likeness to certain people or situations are purely coincidence, story idea © to Nicky D Sarti 2008, other than the idea of The Undertaker becoming the Lord of Darkness © to Lucinda from As with most fictional stories, this is purely for fun and is not meant to cause offence or harm to anyone; living or dead. Thank you for reading, hope you enjoy my story!

“Here is your winner and still world heavy weight champion... The Undertaker!” As ‘The Fink’ proclaimed Taker the winner Alex rushed back into the ring to celebrate as JBL was helped out of the ring and limped off back to the lockers, they were soon joined by their friends; Jillian, Gabby and Steph all rush to the ring also wishing to celebrate and thank Mark. The only one not in the ring was Michael, who sat leaning against the security barriers quietly taking it all in. When they had first met he had instantly fallen in love with her, he had not been widowed long and maybe this was part of what had gone wrong. Whatever it was, something had gone wrong between the pair. Maybe the fight was too great a risk, maybe his jealousy would always get the better of him. Whatever it maybe, they needed to talk; he needed to know.

Michael Cole was always the guy the others loved to bully, softly spoken and a gentle way about him made him an easy target for others rage and unlike Jim Ross, Michael now had no one there to protect him or help him out. When Tazz went back to ECW Michael became totally lost his buddy, partner and more importantly friend had gone; leaving his place to God only knows who. The only thing Michael was sure of is that things would never be the same again, and from here on in he was firmly on his own. And sure enough over the next five years Michael became something of the rosters whipping boy, with many a superstar taking their rage and frustrations out on Michael. And unlike before his new partner wasn't exactly much help, John Bradshaw Layfield; aka JBL was as stuck up as his character was in the ring and would make no secret of the fact he hated everyone especially his supposed partner Michael Cole, but Michael being Michael he did his best and got on with the job.

Standing outside the huge Titan Towers made her even more nervous than she had been in her entire life, it had been a long time coming and now as she stood there Alexandra finally felt like she'd made it; or at the very least taken the first step towards making it. It had been a long hard road for Angel De Vil as she was known in the ring, she had spent the past ten years training and working the independent circuits, of course this was all part and parcel of being a professional wrestler and she was glad that she had gone through it all. But let us be honest it was not as if she had had much choice in the matter!

With a family of wrestling fans and friends that would forever talk about the wrestling, it was always written in the stars as to what Alex would do after college. And being very athletic anyway, Alex chose a college that had a reputation for producing many a wrestling star. After a huge amount of hard work, bumps and bruises and even near broken bones later Alex now stood outside the Huge Titan Towers of the WWE and was now on the brink of making a major breakthrough in her career.

As she head into the lobby her mind was more on finding some courage rather than where she was going because seconds later she was walking into the arms and chest of someone coming the other way, sending a mass of paperwork and the contents of her bag sprawling all over the cool marble floors.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry." He began before he looked up from a sprawling mess of papers, as their eyes met Michael knew he had fallen for her. Helping her gather her things Michael was silent for a long time, her blushes alerting him to his silence.
"Forgive me, my name's Michael pleased to meet you." Michael said as he held out his hand for her to take, taking his hand she spoke.

"Nice to meet you Michael, I'm Alex." As soon as their hands touched Alex knew she had fallen in love with him, that and the fact neither seemed to want to let go of the other. For a few moments they stood in silence, neither wanting to be the first to break the spell they had seemingly fallen under.

"Ahh, there you are!" A booming voice said, it seemed to come out of nowhere but seconds later Vince McMahon was striding over to her and almost knocking Michael flying. Looking almost dejected Michael stood for a few moments as Vince spoke to Alex, with Vince standing in between Michael and Alex all the time. After a few minutes both Michael and Alex realise neither would be able to chat anymore, so reluctantly Michael silently mouth goodbye and left Alex leaving just a sad as he.

From that moment on neither Michael nor Alex could stop thinking about the other, for each that day would hold both of their hearts for a very long time to come. Even though for the first five years of her time at World Wrestling Entertainment neither would see much of each other, both would never be far from the other's thoughts. As Michael called matches and dodge various problems he always seemed to get, Alex continued to train and cultivate her character. Michael watched Alex's career sore from having dark matches to becoming manager of RAW's Kendrick and London, meanwhile Alex watched Michael get beat up and bullied by even his own broadcast colleague; JBL.

And then, three years into Alex's reign as manager Kendrick and London decided to part company leaving Alex without a team to manage or seemingly a position at RAW. With no other teams wanting a manager and Vince unsure if she could cut it as a singles competitor, she was drafted over to Smackdown; provisionally as an escort for Batista. Alex's hopes were high as she turned up for taping that night, not just for the chances and opportunities she may get; but also for the chance that she could see Michael again.

As soon as Michael heard about her drafting, he could feel the excitement deep within him; that the thought that he may finally be able to get to know the woman of his dreams seemed to fill his day and night. Although the two seemed to see each other over the following six months, they had not really had the chance to speak properly with each other. With Alex trying to make it work with Batista, and with Michael still reeling over his divorce and then the death of his ex wife and their child the pair never really seemed to be able to catch a moment to themselves.

Although Batista was a nice guy both on and off camera, Alex was not sure if their personalities would work together. It was during one match with Edge; for the World Heavyweight Championship when things came to head. Batista had been sent crashing through the ropes and Alex went to his aid, with both back to their feet now Edge tried to deliver his finishing move. Batista sensing this moved out of the way quickly leaving Alex to take the full brunt of this devastating move, as both men clambered back into the ring neither seemed to give Alex another thought.

With Michael's heart in his mouth he desperately wanted to help her, but before he had the chance the lights went out and those infamous bells sounded. With the lights now back on Undertaker stood in the middle of the ring with both Edge and Batista in his hands, giving them both huge chokeslams before leaving the ring. He was about to walk away when he spotted Alex rolling in agony on floor, as the silence descended the arena Undertaker walked over to Alex's side and after picking her up in his arms carried her to the back.

This not only left Michael more than a little grateful, it also threw question on to Alex's future with Batista. In the back Undertaker had laid Alex in her dressing room, all the while there was silence between them. Alex was unsure if this was through fear or gratefulness, whatever it was there seemed to be an unspoken bond between the two. One thing was certain in Alex's mind there was no way she could continue as escort to Batista, the next day Alex told Vince that she wanted to work with somebody else.

"... So I was wondering if you would be able to help me with my training?" Alex said as she nervously shifted from one foot to the other, now as she stood in front of the Undertaker all the confidence she had previously had all but deserted her. As she stood dwarfed by the sheer size of a man all the other divas warned her of, telling her that she would be a fool to approach him; she was aware that they could be right. Silently Taker stood listening to Alex nervously babble on as Michael rounded the corner and instantly spotted them both talking.

As soon as Michael had seen Alex his eyes lit up, but just as quickly that smile faded as he watched Taker stood there towering over Alex. Spotting Michael's reaction instantly, Undertaker knew what he was feeling, and without another word nodded silently to her and silently walked off. As Alex tried to understand what had just happened, Michael came bounding over.

“Hey Alex… I'm not sure if you remember me?” Michael began as he got closer to her; unsure of what she would say; knowing he needed to say something to her.
 “Of course I remember you! It's great to see you again.” Alex replied with a huge smile on her face that could have been obvious to anyone that she had feelings for Michael. The two stood talking for ages as time seems to stand still for each other but that was until JBL; Michael's broadcast colleague came along. As was his way, he not only began to bully but also put Michael down; making both Alex and Michael feel uncomfortable.

“Now try the Dragon Sleeper hold; just like I showed you…” Taker said as he watched Alex apply the triangle chokehold on her sparring partner; as she began to apply the hold undertaker stopped her for a moment, checking the hold and grip.
“Is this too tight or too loose?” Alex said, looking to Taker for direction. All she got in return was Taker's trademark silence in return; all he ever needed to do was nod silently for her to know she was doing well.

Standing back and watching Alex, Taker could tell she had potential; he had already made his mind up as she finished her training session. As the two headed for their dressing rooms silence surrounded them both, Alex seemingly knew Taker was thinking. They had been training together for a little over three months now and although it had taken her some time to understand, Alex knew that Taker's silence was a good thing… if he was silent he was happy, she would soon be told if he was not.

“You did good in the ring today honey…” Taker began, as the two reached their dressing rooms. Smiling and saying thanks was all Alex could really managed; it was not often Taker gave his verbal approval. She wanted to speak but could not find the words, and then she spotted Michael in the distance. The smile on her face was obvious, she loved seeing him; even if she could not speak to him all the time. Being the sharp and observant man that he was, Undertaker knew what was happening before anyone else; he could tell instantly that both Michael and Alex had fallen for each other.

“So, how would you feel about working with me?” Taker asked, bringing Alex from her daydream. Her shock told him that he should go on, continuing Taker spoke honestly.
“It would be good to work with someone other than Glenn or Paul, and you have a lot of potential…” Finally Alex found her voice and managed to reply, smiling genuinely.
“Thank you, it would mean the world to me to work with you Mark.” As the two showered and changed both were excited for their new roles, both believing that this would be Alex's chance to make and find her mark.

Sitting in Alex's locker room, they talked about how the pair would play it and their characters. The idea was for Alex to be something of a slave to Mark’s Undertaker character; she would follow him to the ring and act as though Taker was her Lord and Master. The pair talked for ages before either felt like leaving the arena, as the pair finally left and headed for the hotel Alex bumped straight into the solid chest of Michael.

Although he never spoke, Undertaker watched silently as the two talked, studying how both Alex and Michael reacted and acted around each other.
“I'm sorry about John's actions last time we talked; I guess it's just his way…” Michael began to explain, as Taker looked on; listening intently to all that was said.
“I hate the way he; and others treat you Michael…” Alex began, as she touched his arm softly.

“He's a nasty piece of work; Tazz was so much nicer!” Smiling slightly Michael agreed with Alex, but his way was always to just let them all walk all over him. Alex loved the nice kind sweet guy Michael was; but hated the way he was treated, how he let others treat him.

Michael was always the nice softly spoke guy who others just loved to bully around, it was part of the reason Alex liked him so much; but she also secretly wished that he would fight back and stick up for himself more. After chatting for a little while Alex and Michael said their goodbyes and went their separate ways, both unaware that JBL was watching in the wings; plotting another way to make Michael's life a living nightmare.

Mark was all too well aware of JBL's nature and watched on as best he could, seeing how everything would pan out. Mark was never one for rushing in before he had seen how things were going first, it may have been just part of his character but he had always been quick to think but slow to act. He was happier to walk on the cautious side rather than act out of irrational fear or emotion, and Mark would only act when he was 100% sure it would work in his favour; or indeed it was needed.

Friday night Smackdown was moments away but Michael's mind was elsewhere, he was of course thinking about Alex and their chance meeting either in the week. As he wandered off to get ready his mind was on everything but his work, it was Tazz that noticed and as Michael seemingly passed Tazz without speaking; Tazz decided to say something.

“So who is she then girl pants?” Tazz said as he playfully slapped Michael on the back, although on screen he and Tazz just about got on; it was a different matter off screen. Of all the people and superstars Michael knew, it was Tazz he was closest to; and one of the few people that he never minded being teased by, he was also one of the few people Michael could be totally honest with. Tazz was about to add 'just kidding' but seeing how Michael blushed and mumbled 'no one' before changing the subject quickly, he decided not to comment. Instead the two friends spoke for a little while before both parting company, Tazz to go shower and change while Michael headed to ringside with JBL. God how he hated that damn man, all Michael wanted was to do his job and call the matches; not go through this hell.

Before the cameras had even begun to roll JBL had started with his snide comments and remarks, rolling his eyes and looking to the heavens for an answer; Michael prayed for peace. As they stood getting ready for their queue to go on, JBL started to bring Alex's name into it.

“What the hell would that fine ass woman see in you anyway boy? She's just too damn good for you…” He began, as Michael sighed deeply.
“Mind you she's been from London and Kendrick; to Batista and now Taker, she's gotta be easy!” JBL added, going one too far but not knowing when to shut up. By this time Michael was ready to kill JBL, it was his next words that sealed his fate for him.

“Maybe even I'll be able to have her, I could show her what a real man is like!” It was too much for Michael too take as he snapped, almost sending JBL through the curtains as he just launched himself at John.
“Get this son of a bitch off of me…” JBL screamed as Michael just kept hitting and punching him, while all Michael could do was hit out quietly before Tazz came rushing to his aid.

Holding on to Michael, Tazz watched as JBL limped off vowing to get his revenge. Although Michael looked like he knew what he was doing the honest truth was that he had no idea what he had just done, just that he had seemingly lost control.
“What in the hell was all that about Mike? Dang, you sure you weren't a wrestler in another life?” Tazz said, as he tried to lighten the mood. Both sat in silence for a long time as Michael tried to find the right words, he knew he could trust Tazz; it was just that he was not sure himself yet.

Meanwhile, backstage Alex was waiting for Taker; feeling the butterflies deep down inside her. She had only had stage fright once before and that was when she had her first match, but now she was filled with all kinds of doubt.
“Are you ready Alex?” Mark said as he smiles quickly and held his hand out; nodding Alex took his hand and headed to the entrance curtain. Before they could say anymore they watched JBL storm off the other way, giving Alex a dirty look and bemoaning his fortunes to the officials.

Alex and Mark were just about to exchange confused looks and move on when Alex heard JBL mention Michael's name, leaving her straining to find out more. Mark knew she was in love with Michael at that moment, making sure she was okay he spoke.
“You sure you're okay honey? If you get stuck just touch my arm and I'll give you a queue.” Nodding Alex knew she needed to focus but her mind kept returning to Michael, moments before they headed out to the arena Alex took a deep breath and closed her eyes praying that she could hold it together for tonight's match.

“So let me get this straight…” Tazz began as he tried to understand what Michael had just told him, it was also done to try lighten the atmosphere they both clearly felt.
“You are in love with a woman you have only really just met, and you haven't told her yet I'm guessing?” Smiling Tazz just sat there, trying to find the right words of advice for his friend.
“I adore her Pete; I just wish I could find the right words to tell her that's how I feel…” Michael said, trying to explain wishing he did not feel like such a fool.

He felt foolish for feeling this way about an almost complete stranger and for not being able to say something to her, it was not as if he had not had the chance to say something; just he did not have the guts.
“So what are you gonna do about it Mike?” Tazz said as he brought Michael from his daydream, shrugging his shoulders Michael replied.

“I don't know Pete… I just don't know.” He wanted to say more, but became distracted by The Undertaker's music fired up.
“It's not that hard Mike…” Tazz began, noting how his mind seemed to be firmly elsewhere.
“Just tell her the truth, tell her how you feel.” Heading off to the parking lot and his hotel, Tazz shook his head and smiled; trying not to find it amusing that Michael had a crush.

With Alex and Taker involved in a dark match to get some experience, Michael was not due to head out to ringside until after the match; but knew he could never stay away, so headed out there anyway. Taker and Alex were scheduled to get the pin; with Alex helping Taker after Victoria got involved and tried to help Kenny win the match.

It was going to be a simple move in which as Kenny was getting beaten up and Mark was about to get the pin, Victoria would get up on the ring apron and try to distract the ref. Alex would stop her by getting up on the ring apron also and knocking Victoria to the ground before Kenny would try to knock her off too, before he would have the chance though Mark would hit him from behind with the dragon sleeper hold and get the win. But no one planned on JBL getting involved, least of all Michael.

All was going to plan and Mark had Kenny beat, while Victoria climbed onto the ring apron and Alex followed. But before she had the chance to tackle Victoria she felt someone grab her from behind and pull her from the ring apron, Michael was half way to the ring before JBL run off like the coward he was. With Mark by his friends side and Michael stood there watching, Taker lost the match via count out. Alex was not sure what hurt most, the fall or causing her friend to lose. But as he picked her up in his arms and carried to the back Gabby knew she never need worry, as Michael looked on Mark looked to him and gestured that he should follow.

"Alex are you okay?" Michael asked as he tried hard to not only take her in to his arms but also not to blurt out that he loved her, nodding Alex spoke wishing he would hold her in his arms.
"I'm okay I think Michael... “ Then turning to Mark, she continued.
"I'm so sorry Mark, I'm sorry I let you down." Putting his hand on her shoulder, Mark smiled and spoke.
"Its fine honey, I just wanna make sure you're okay." Nodding, Alex assured them both that she was fine.

Slowly getting herself up and thanking both Michael and Mark, Alex headed off to the showers; leaving Mark and Michael alone with their thoughts. Both sat in silence for a long time, Mark's mind always constantly taking information in. While Michael sat wondering why he never had the guts to tell Alex how he truly felt, why did I not say something? Why could I not just tell her how I felt? Michael thought to himself. It was only his cell ringing that brought him from his daydream, looking at the display he could see it was Tazz calling him.

Outside Michael answered the call, trying to hide his feelings as best he could.
"So what happened then Mike?" Tazz said, already knowing the answer.
"It all kicked off, JBL manhandled Alex... Taker lost." Was all Michael could say, as he tried to focus his thoughts.
“So why didn’t you tell her how you felt?” Tazz knew that Michael was afraid to tell her, he just could not understand why; especially when it was clearly obvious to all that Alex felt the same way.

With Alex now showered and sitting in her locker room Mark had still not spoken other than earlier to ask if she was okay, after a long period of silence Mark took a deep breath and spoke.
“So when are you going to tell Michael you’re in love with him?” Alex stopped in her tracks, she could hardly focus with the sound of her heartbeat pounding in her ears.

For a split second she wanted to deny her feelings but knew that if Mark had been able to tell so easily, then others would too. Alex knew that she could no longer ignore her feelings or deny the truth, she had to be honest.
“Is it really that obvious?” Alex asked as she sat down next to Mark, looking to him who silently nodded.

“What if he doesn’t feel the same way Mark? I really like him…” Alex said, as she sighed deeply finally allowing herself to admit what Mark already seemingly knew. Smiling, Mark put his arm around her and replied; leaving her with little doubt in her mind that she should talk to Michael.

“Trust me honey, tell him how you feel… you won’t regret it.” Smiling back at Mark, Alex knew she could trust what he said and made a decision to talk to Michael the first chance she got. The next chance she would have to speak to Michael would be the following week, when Mark and Alex had their rematch with Victoria and Kenny. Again the plan was that Victoria would get involved and Gabby would stop her doing so, allowing Mark to get the win.

However, due to JBL getting involved, both he and Michael would be banned from ringside; again making this a dark match. This slightly annoyed Alex, who wanted to speak to him straight after her match. As Mark and Alex got ready for their match Tazz stopped by and after asking after Alex, began to talk with Mark.

Leaving the two to talk, Alex made her way to the canteen area and grabbed herself a coffee; soon being joined by Maria and Michelle McCool. She spent some time talking about her training and life with the two girls, passing the time away with the two friendly Divas.

“So what about you Alex… is there anyone special in your life right now?” Maria asked, causing Alex to blush; alerting both to the fact there was someone. She was just about to answer when JBL rounded the corner, silently standing only a few feet away from Alex. As she answered the divas question, Alex had no idea he was standing there listening in.

“No one yet, but I do have my eye on someone here…” Alex began, but before she had the chance to continue; JBL got involved.
“But you being a slut will have anyone right? Even Michael Cole…” His sadistic laugh and smile, sending shivers down Alex’s spine. Turning to stand up for herself, Alex was met by not only JBL but also Kenny and Victoria.
“At least Michael knows he’s not got a hope in hell… shame this bitch hasn’t.” Victoria said, as Alex just stood there trying not to cry.

Before Kenny had the chance to join in the jibes, Tazz rounded the corner and was quickly stood in between them and Alex.
“Don’t forget honey, I’ll be there at ringside if you need me…” Tazz said looking straight at JBL as he did; smiling slightly Alex touched his arm in thanks. There was a moment where JBL had a ‘stare down’ with Tazz, before JBL backed down and walked away.

As Tazz told Alex Michael wanted to talk to her after the match both Maria and Michelle looked at each other knowingly, it was at that moment that Alex realised everyone seemed to know. As the two divas spoke of how nice and sweet Michael was, Alex knew that she had made the right choice in wanted to tell him how she felt. Saying their goodbyes Alex and Tazz headed back to Mark’s locker room, both talking about nothing in particular but neither feeling uncomfortable in doing so.

What Alex never knew was that both Tazz and Mark had been trying to work together on getting her and Michael together for the past three months, since finding out how their respective friends felt about the other; neither Tazz nor Mark were willing to drop things. However, neither had banked on JBL’s vicious streak, or the fact he hated Michael so much.

“Ready Alex?” Mark said as they both got ready to head out to the ring, nodding Alex smiled to Tazz who stood there watching the pair get ready for their upcoming match. Moments later Mark and Alex hit the ring to his entrance theme. The match itself seemed to fly by, with Alex enjoying the chance to watch her friend wrestle. After about twenty minutes the ref was calling for the finishing moves, and before Alex had the chance to be nervous she was rushing to stop Victoria as was planned.

However, with the events of earlier on still in the forefront of her mind, Alex was aware of both Victoria and Kenny. And she was right to do so, because no sooner had she joined Victoria on the ring apron than Victoria was trying to turn things around; holding Alex and shouting for Kenny to take advantage.

With the ref checking on Mark, who was still reeling slightly from Kenny’s fists; it seemingly gave Kenny the chance to beat up on Alex. Before he had the chance though, Tazz’s theme music hit; giving Mark all the chance he needed to turn things around. Sliding out the ring quickly and knocking Victoria down, Alex was left with Kenny looking shocked.

Within seconds Kenny was trying to back away, but he backed into the solid frame of the Undertaker; who had his trademark black demeanour working to full affect. Backing away again, Kenny turned to face an angry Alex; who seconds later delivered a thunderous slap to his face, which sent him reeling into Mark’s open and waiting hand.

Moments later Taker delivered a huge chokeslam and got the win, as the two celebrated in the ring they were joined by Tazz. As the three friends celebrated in the ring, all were happy; but this soon changed as Mark heard his voice being called.
“Taker… Taker…” JBL came up on the titron screen, it was Alex that saw him first; but they all knew it was bad as they listened to him speak.

“You have something I want Taker…” He began, as they all tried to focus on where he was. It was fairly dark, but they could all tell it was somewhere out back. As Taker listened he looked instinctively to Alex, JBL saw this and continued.
“Don’t worry, I ain’t talking about your slut of a friend there…” Mark and Tazz both wanted to kill JBL at that moment and would have gone running off to find him; it was only Alex’s dumbstruck silence that stopped them. She was focusing on something, but it took both a few moments to see what it was.

“I want your title shot, and I ain’t gonna stop ‘til I get what I want…” He continued, pausing to look at the blood soaked shirt that was half hanging off his bloodstained body. It was what had caught Alex’s attention, and now had both Mark and Tazz staring at the sight in front of them. Neither was sure whose blood it was, but in Alex’s heart she knew; she knew before he said anything.

“I see you noticed the blood…” JBL said as he looked down at his blood stained chest, giving that sick smile he was famous for before he continued.
“I couldn’t help myself, you see I wanted you to get my point…” With his last cold words the camera pans away and all they saw was a bloodied, lifeless and limp body. It took Mark and Tazz a few moments before they realized who it was, but Alex knew instantly that it was Michael’s body.

Seeing that his body was out back by the rear entrance, it was Tazz that was the first one heading off at break neck speed to reach his friend; Mark followed behind, taking Alex by the hand as they rushed to their friend’s side. Tazz was joined by Michael’s side with some of the officials and trainers by the time Mark and Alex had got there the EMT’s were already there, Alex could see that he was unconscious as they worked on his wounds and loading him on the trolley.

She knew instantly that it was bad, the fear and panic that she was feeling was obvious; all that went through her mind was that she hadn’t got the chance to tell him how she felt. Mark could tell she was afraid and took hold of her hand, softly giving it a gentle squeeze for comfort.

“Michael’s asking for you Alex…” Tazz said, leaving Michael’s side for the first time since arriving. Nodding slowly she approached, afraid of what she would find. Reaching his side Alex knelt down by his side and took hold of his hand in her own, instantly he reacted; softly stroking it with his thumb, alerting both to the fact they needed to talk.
“Hey honey…” Michael began, trying hard to catch his breath and not allow her to see his pain.

“Oh Michael, I am so very sorry...” She began, trying to swallow hard the lump in her throat. Before she had the chance to continue, Michael had cut her off; softly shushing her lips with his finger.
“I’m okay…” He lied, knowing full well he was in a bad way; but knowing the last thing he wanted was to worry her more than necessary.

“I’m more worried about you and Mark, is he okay? He can’t give in…” Michael began to say; inhaling sharply as the pain in his chest as the EMT’s tightened the straps on the trolley. Shrugging her shoulders Alex watched on as they took Michael too the ambulance and loading him inside, Alex’s words stuck in the back of her throat; unable to say anything.

“Are you riding with us honey?” The lead EMT asked, looking to Alex who looked to Tazz and Mark who were already ushering her into the back of the ambulance.
“Me and Mark will meet you both their honey…” Tazz said as the ambulance doors closed, leaving Alex watching on as one of the EMT’s still worked on Michael.

Reaching out for her hand instinctively Alex took hold of Michael’s hand, squeezing it gently; letting him know that she was there for him. So much went through her mind, there was so much she wanted to; needed to say. But for the moment the words were lost to her, all she could do was watch as one of the EMT’s treated him; praying that he would be okay and that she would have the chance to tell him how she felt. Still holding on to Michael’s hand, Alex tried to find the words she needed.
“We are here love…” The head EMT said as the begun to unload Michael, lightly squeezing his hand she spoke.

“I’ll be right here by your side Michael, you know how much I care about you...” She wanted to say so much more but the words were still stuck in her throat, so for now it was all she could say. As Michael was taken to the treatment room Alex felt very alone, standing looking totally lost. Thankfully, it was not too long before Alex was joined by Mark and Tazz; both trying their best to take her mind off things.

Alex had been sat silently trying to look as though she was part of Tazz and Mark’s conversation for the past three hours, truth is though her heart just was not with it. However, moments later the Doctor was talking to the three friends, along with some cuts and bruises Michael had a few broken ribs and concussion. After one night in for observation, he would be allowed home to rest.

“Mr. Cole has been asking for you, do you want to go through…” The Doctor said, as he pointed to Michael’s room across the hall. Alex nodded slightly before looking back to Tazz and Mark gestured for her to go on, walking slowly Alex listened to the Doctor warn that Michael may still be groggy from the anaesthetics and looked worse than he actually was. But no amount of pre warning prepared Alex for her own reactions as she walked into the room, he looked like he had been in the fight of his life; Alex had seen many wrestling injuries in her life but these were more than a little real, so much so that it actually scared her.

“Michael…” Alex softly said, as she approached his side; instinctively taking his hand in her own.
“Hey beautiful…” Michael whispered, as he slowly woke up and smiled wishing he could do more.
“God I’ve been so worried about you, I can’t believe JBL would do this to you! I am so sorry, are you okay?” Alex said softly as she gently stroked his hand, leaning on the side of the bed.

“I’ve been better, I’m just glad you are here…” Michael replied, trying to smile and make light of the strained atmosphere. With silence surrounding them, both knew that something would need to be said; neither could deny their feelings any longer.

“You know I meant what I said back there Michael, I really do like you…” Alex began, not really sure where this conversation was going.
“The feelings mutual beautiful; more than mutual…” Michael began, knowing deep inside that it was now or never.
“In actual fact I never got the chance to tell you that I think I have fallen in love with you…” There was silence between them for a long time, making Michael feel as though he had got it wrong. Then as Alex’s smile became a huge grin, he knew he was right to say something.

“The feelings are very mutual Michael; I fell in love with you the first day we met…” Alex whispered as she softly cuddled up next to Michael, tenderly kissing him on the cheek. Outside Mark and Tazz silently looked on as their friends finally found their voices, looking to each other both knew what the other was thinking.
“We need to work together on this Mark, they need our help…” Tazz began, knowing full well that Mark already knew what he was thinking.

“Guess I best come back to Smackdown then…” He added, as Mark nodded; looking on through the window as Michael rested and Alex watched him.
“Could call for you getting back into wrestling Pete…” Mark replied, aware that JBL would need dealing with in more than one way. It was not that Mark was scared, but he knew that for him to hurt JBL in the way he wanted it was not going to be an easy ride.

As the three friends sat in the hospital room, Mark and Tazz talked while Alex sat watching Michael sleeping.
“So what’s the plan Mark?” Tazz asked, trying not to wake his friend.
“I’m gonna face him at ‘Mania.” Mark said quietly, looking to Alex who looked confused and afraid.
“I know honey, but I need to protect my friend… you are more important than a title!” His voice was soft and gentle; it always managed to sooth her fears.

“He’s not going to get away with hurting you that easily, it is gonna be a fight he is not going to win!” Mark added, as Alex felt Michael stir. Over the following few months while Michael got back on his feet, Mark and Tazz trained together; watching over Alex all the while. For weeks, JBL spouted off about how he had ‘taken Michael Cole out’ and how Alex was easy pickings now, and each time it poured more fuel to Mark’s fire. On the day Michael was due back at work, Alex had taken the day off and spent some much-needed time with him.

“Don’t listen to him beautiful; he’s not worth it…” Michael said as he kissed Alex on the neck softly, the two continued to listened to JBL’s latest rant about how much of a coward Taker was and that he had destroyed Alex. Tenderly Michael kissed and caressed Alex’s highly responsive body, no mater how hard she tried to concentrate on making him dinner she could not stop her ever growing desire.

Taking Alex by the hand Michael begun to lead her upstairs, their passion nearing breaking point.
“What about dinner?” Alex managed to breathlessly say, pausing for a moment as Michael took her into his strong arms.
“What about dinner? Forget about it and come to bed…” Michael said softly, looking deep into her eyes; making her all too well aware that this was what they both wanted. Leading Alex into his bedroom, Michael continued to take her breath away as the pair finally gave way to their desires and passions.

With Tazz back wrestling on Smackdown and keeping JBL quiet, Mark was left with trying to win the title from Edge. This would be no mean feat especially when Edge had Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, AND Vickie Guerrero was in his corner. Mark knew he had his back against the wall; the only good thing about him facing Edge at the Royal Rumble was that Alex would be with him; no matter what she always had his back and it always instantly made him feel calm.

On the day of the Rumble both Mark and Tazz spent the day training in the gym, while Michael and Alex spent some much needed quality time together. The Rumble was being held in St. Louis, MO; only a few miles from where Alex’s family still lived. So taking the opportunity Alex took Michael to meet her family and friends.

“Are you sure your family will like me?” Michael said nervously, as he played with his tie and tried in vain to quell his ever-growing fear in his heart. Catching sight of Alex’s look Michael felt daft as he looked, fiddling nervously with his shirt buttons.
“They’ll love you as much as I do Michael; to them I am just Alex who made something of herself…” Alex said as she pulled Michael into her arms gently, softly stroking his back.

“I love you Alex, you make me feel so much better…” Michael said as, he softly kissed Alex. Knocking on the door Michael stood trying not to fidget too much as Alex introduce him to her family; who of course all stood waiting by the front door.
“Mom, Dad; guys… this is my partner Michael. Michael this is everyone.” Alex said comfortably, it had not been long after the two became lovers that both had felt comfortable calling each other by their real names, and today was no different. Once inside both Alex and Michael relaxed somewhat and both began to enjoy the day, so much so that neither wanted the day to end.

“Didn’t you work with Batista before Taker?” Gabby said, as they sat catching up on old times out on the porch. Alex and Gabby had known each other since birth; both had been born and raised on the same street and had been best friends since both could remember.

“Yeah that’s right; he’s a really nice guy… he just likes to work alone.” Alex said as she nodded and took Michael’s hand, giving it a squeeze gently.
“Gabby should come with us to the show, she’d have a blast…” Michael said, as he headed for the house. Nodding Alex gave Gabby the details of what to do and where to go as she too headed inside and began to get ready for leaving, slipping her arm around Michael; the two say their goodbyes and head off to the arena.

As they got ready in their dressing rooms both Alex and Michael had butterflies the size of Texas, both excited and nervous for the same reasons. This was going to be a huge night for all involved, not just for what was at stake either! Tazz had a match against JBL, which thankfully he won. As Tazz showered, Alex and Mark got ready for their match. With both stood waiting by the entrance curtain Alex could feel her nerves playing havoc with her innards, there was no doubt this was the biggest match of her career so far.

“Are you okay honey?” Mark said softly, gently squeezing her hands. All Alex could really do was nod, moments later they were heading out to the ring and the match was underway. The match was pretty much even going in the first few minutes, with neither man seemingly able to get the upper hand. Half way through the match, Taker was knocked from the ring, right in front of Hawkins and Ryder; who were dangerously stalking Mark from either side.

As Alex tried to rush to his aid, Vickie held her back; waiting for her lover Edge to make his move. In Alex’s mind she knew what was going to happen, looking over to Michael she could tell by the look in his eyes that he did too. But then from out of nowhere Tazz came running down to ringside, helping Taker get the upper hand with Ryder and Hawkins. Meanwhile, as Edge came looking for a spear Alex managed to move out of the way at the last minute allowing Taker to haul Edge back into the ring and deliver a huge chokeslam and pick up the win.

With Tazz, Mark and Alex all celebrating in the ring Michael sat looking on with a sense of relief; thinking that the friends had now earned themselves a rest. With Tazz already showered, he hung around as Mark and Alex got showered, with the end of the Rumble producing the interesting result of joint winners in Dave Batista and John Cena. As the show finished Gabby managed to find Alex and her friends, as all headed off Michael called Alex over.

“I asked Dave and John to join us for drinks; I hope you are okay with that?” Smiling Alex knew exactly what Michael had in mind, nodding she slipped her arm through his and headed off to a nearby bar; both unaware that JBL would not let either of them rest.

As Alex and Michael sat in the bar they watched on as Gabby spent the night talking with Dave Batista while John Cena sat talking with Tazz and Mark, although they were having fun Michael’s mind was firmly set upon him and Alex spending some more quality time together. There was a look in Michael’s eyes that Alex knew all too well, truth was that she felt it too; so heading over to Dave she pulled him to one side and spoke.

“Listen I am shattered so Michael is going to take me home, will you look after Gabby; you know make sure she gets back home safe and stuff?” Nodding, Dave hugged Alex and promised her Gabby would be safe with him. Pulling Gabby to one side, Alex told her that she was off home with Michael.
“Michael is gonna take me home, Dave said he’d look after you. You be alright sis?” Gabby nodded and looked over to Dave, smiling and licking her lips.
“Don’t worry sis, I’ll be gentle! Have fun tonight, I will…” Giving Alex her trademark wicked smile, Gabby went back to Dave’s side as Michael and Alex headed home.
“She’ll be fine Alex, you know Dave’s a decent guy!” Michael said, pulling Alex into his arms as they walked to his car.

“I know Michael, I just sometimes…” Before Alex could finish her sentence, Michael had pulled her close and laid a soft tender kiss upon her lips. As they pulled apart both smiled, as they head off back to Alex’s unaware that the Rumble was the beginning of the end.

Friday night and as was normal Mark and Alex sat in their dressing room getting ready for their match; they were up against Domino and his new squeeze Maryse. As the two friends sat going over their moves neither had any idea that a backstabbing chairman was on his way to destroy their day, as the two left to grab coffee they bumped into Tazz and Michael heading the same way. As the four friends stood talking they never really noticed the chairman rounding the corner and making a beeline for them, slapping Michael on the back a little harder than he would have liked Vince spoke.

“Glad that I caught you all, I hear you and Cole here are an item?” His question directed towards Alex, but not really allowing her to answer. Mark seemingly knew where this was heading and spoke, raising his voice for the first time in front of Alex.
“What the hell is all this about Vince man, get to the point…” There was an anger and darkness in Mark’s eyes that Alex had not seen before, sure he had his character’s ways sometimes but she had never seen him angry like this before. Alex had no idea what was about to happen, in truth nor did Tazz or Michael. Mark, however knew Vince and his ways all too well.

“Sorry Mark, Alex…” Vince began, trying to sound like he not only cared but also meant it.
“But as of tonight this is your last match together, Alex you’re being drafted back to RAW…” As both Mark and Tazz tried to argue with Vince, Michael and Alex just stood there in shocked silence; unsure not only what to say but also what to do.

With all the arguing that Mark and Tazz were doing neither noticed that Alex had slipped off back to the locker room, bumping into JBL and Victoria as she did so. Blocking her path so she was unable to continue, both Victoria and JBL begun to start on Alex.
“Now that you are going back to where you came from maybe one of the B team will comfort you…” JBL sneeringly said, smirking at how he had just won.

“But don’t worry, a slut like you will always find someone to keep you warm at night…” He continued, getting a little too close for comfort.
“I’m sure Victoria here will keep Michael company, in fact maybe she’ll keep him company tonight…” JBL added, as he looked to Victoria who also gave an evil laugh and smirk. Just as Alex looked like she was about to burst into tears Michelle McCool came round the corner and began to square off against Victoria, backing off JBL headed off as Victoria made a parting comment.

“Don’t work, I’ll look after Cole… More than you ever could.” For a moment Alex managed to hold it together, but then as Tazz’s music hit Alex broke down and cried. Michelle took her friend in her arms and tried to comfort her, praying that Mark would come round the corner soon.
“Hey come on Alex, she’s just a slut that knows nothing… Cole loves you and would never cheat on you!” Michelle tried to say, breathing a sigh of relief as Mark rounded the corner.

Nodding his thanks to Michelle, Mark gently pulled Alex into his warm embrace as the two friends headed back to their locker room. Both were sat in silence for ages until they were being called out to the ring for their match, with Mark at the door Alex stood for a moment; almost as if she was not sure about anything anymore.
“We’ll find a way sweetheart.” Mark said, as he tried to smile and held out his hand for Alex to take. Although they were due to get the win neither Mark nor Alex knew what was happening to them, all either really knew was that they were in the ring getting pummelled to death.

It was Tazz that saw what was happening first, realizing that Vince’s words were affecting both Alex and Mark’s mindsets. With Domino in the ring beating up on Mark, Alex tried to get involved but Maryse had other ideas; knocking her from the ring apron. As Alex landed hard Mark was almost out the ring when Tazz beat him to it, firstly putting Maryse in his trade mark sleeper hold for a few moments. Then as he tended to Alex, a distracted Domino was caught by Mark in firstly a chokeslam.

However, not done there, Mark took his anger and frustrations out on Domino by tombstone pile driving him and then giving him the Last Ride before getting the pin. Although he got the win, Mark did not care about celebrating but had something on his mind and took the mic.
JBL… Vince…” Mark began, looking to Tazz who was still holding a hurt Alex in his arms.
“You hurt my friends… You will pay… and Rest. In. Peace…” He continued as he left the ring and took Alex from Tazz’s arms, looking to Michael he nodded almost as an “I promise” to him.

With Alex nursing her aches in silence Mark sat, silently plotting his revenge. Neither had spoken for a long time, even when Tazz walked in they were both still silent.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay Alex…” Tazz began, looking to Mark who was still staring silently into space. Silently Alex shrugged her shoulders, offering a seat to Tazz.

“I also wanted to tell you that Mike headed back to the hotel, he said he was sorry and that he feels all this is his making…” With his words Alex just broke down and cried, bringing Mark from his silence. Glaring at Tazz he sat next to Alex and pulled her gently into his arms, trying to sooth her fears away.
“I’m so sorry Alex, I wish…” Tazz began to say, unable to finish his words as Mark’s dark demeanour made him all too aware that he should leave. Of course in his heart Tazz knew it wasn’t Mark’s fault, he just wanted to protect his best friend.

Another person Tazz knew was not to blame was Michael, with an anger he hadn’t felt since his ECW days Tazz began to plot his own revenge. JBL had taken this one too far and now Tazz, and indeed Mark was ready to make him pay. As Michael wrote the note he felt sick, and not just physically either. He loved Alex with all his heart, but this seemed the only way she could find the happiness she deserved.

Thanks to him, Alex had lost her momentum; Mark had lost his partner and friend and Tazz had left what he himself had often called home; right now though it was himself that Michael was thinking about. After all he had lost the one thing that made his life complete, he had lost the love of his life. He needed to find a way to make it right; this seemed to be the only way.

Mark had silently walked Alex back to her hotel room, both knew why; and both prayed that neither one was right. Alex needed to be with Michael, she needed to be in his arms and to feel safe. Mark needed to be with Alex, her friendship made him calm; made him not want to go wreak havoc on everyone in the WWE. In his mind, Mark wanted to go beat the holy hell out of JBL, Vince and anyone else he came across. However, in his heart he knew this was the last thing he could actually do, his best friend needed him; and be there he would be.

As they reached the door to the hotel room Mark knew something was wrong, when it came to situations Mark always had this amazing sixth sense; he could always tell when something was wrong. It took Alex a while to see the note as she first looked around for Michael, but Mark had seen it the second he had walked in; seemingly knowing it would be there. As Alex searched, Mark just sat there looking at this letter. He already knew it was from Michael, he suspected that it was Michael blaming himself for their predicament and calling their relationship off.

“I can’t find Michael…” Alex began, as she came out of the bathroom and went to pick her cell phone up. Mark sat there and held the letter out for Alex to take, not saying a word; not ready to do so yet.
“What is it?” Alex said, as she took the letter and sat next to Mark.

My darling Alex,

Firstly I am yours forever with an undying love that will stand the ravages of time, no matter what is thrown at it. My love, heart and soul will always be yours; you are my better half and you certainly complete me.

The last thing I want is to walk away from the love of my life, but I cannot help feeling this has all been my fault. I should have known Bradshaw would do this, I guess I should have not fought back. I feel like I have ruined three people’s lives and you know that is not me, or something I want. Mark has lost his friend and partner, you have been taken from something that really worked for you and Tazz has lost what he often calls his ‘home.’

I cannot live with the knowledge that my actions have seemingly caused so much heartache and misery; this is why I write this goodbye to you. Believe me when I tell you this is not how I want things to be, nor is it how I want to end our relationship. Alex my darling after all we have been through, this breaks my heart but I feel it will be for the best. I hope that in time you can find your place again and that all will come good for you, you deserve that and so much more!

Now, as I close this letter to you my love I feel I can rest. I know I will be unable to sleep but at least I can dream of us, of a better time; one where we can be together forever. In another time and place, I know that we shall be together once more; of this, my heart is sure… as sure as the love I hold for you my dear sweet Alexandra. Thank you for all that you are and all that you have been, not just to me but also to the world.

Forever yours with undying love

As Alex finished reading, her heart and soul felt as if it had been ripped from her, for a few moments there was a serene silence between her and Mark; and then her tears fell. Taking her softly in his large arms Mark held Alex as she continued to cry, feeling her warm tears fall onto his solid chest. Trying his best to be all he could for her, Mark silently cursed both Vince and JBL under his breath; promising himself that he would make them pay for the hurt they had caused. He wanted to hate Michael for leaving his best friend like this, but could not; knowing he was not the one to blame for her tears.

“Hush pretty one, I promise I will make things better…” Mark said softly, closing his eyes as the two friends leaned back against the headboard of the bed. Both rested and tried to sleep, both knowing neither would be able to that night. The weekend seemed to consist of Alex crying and trying to sleep, while Mark kept a watchful eye over his friend and tried to plan his next course of action. Monday night came and Alex headed to the arena, trying to be strong and do her job; knowing deep inside it was the last thing she wanted.

Sitting alone for the first time in three years, Alex looked around her dressing room wishing she could be anywhere but there. It was not that she hated her job or that she hated the people on RAW, she just wished she was still in the safe comfort and company of Smackdown and Mark. That was her home and where she felt comfortable, this was going to be hell.

“We knew that you’d be back…” Triple H said, looking to HBK who had seemingly appeared from out of nowhere. Although Alex looked up she made no show to acknowledge them, choosing instead to just sigh deeply.
“Yeah, I said to Hunter you couldn’t keep away…” Shawn said, nudging Triple H in the ribs and winking. Sighing deeply once more, Alex was not in the mood for the two former DX members; or their games.

“Look guys, I don’t mean to be rude but I’m not really in the mood…” Alex replied curtly, more coldly than she meant. Getting up she was about to head into the shower when Hunter and Shawn walked in further and sat down on the couch that Alex had just been sat upon, sighing deeply she prayed this would not take long.
“Sorry Alex but me and Hunter can’t do that…” Shawn began, gently pulling Alex back to the couch so she was sat between them.

“Nope, no can do… we are gonna be tagging together in a huge inter~gender tag match.” Hunter continued, putting his arm around Alex protectively. Sighing deeply once more Alex realized she had little choice in the matter, it was not what she wanted but nor was hanging around with people and faking her happiness.
“Look, I really just want to be on my own… come and get me when we are on, I’ll be ready.” Getting up Alex turned her back on Shawn and Triple H, leaving them in no doubt that she was not in the mood.

As the two friends took the hint they left Alex alone once more, alone with her thoughts and pain. Alex tried her hardest to shower them away, but truth was she knew deep in her heart that it would be a long time before she could feel again.

Out in the back Shawn and Hunter stood talking with John Cena, their other tag team partner for the evening. Typically the conversation was based around Alex and why she had come back to RAW, even though neither Alex nor Michael had gone public on their relationship everyone seemed to know about them; but it was why they had seemingly split that everyone was puzzled about.

“Well I heard it was JBL that got her drafted back here…” John began, as he took a swig from his can of energy drink.
“Dang it I swear that man has a death wish!” He continued, as the others nodded their agreement.
“Yeah, messing with Tazz is one thing; but the Undertaker!!!” Hunter said, knowing all too well that screwing with the Undertaker was a mistake.

“I have to admit its Cole I feel sorry for the most, he has a lotta crap to deal with really…” Shawn said, causing the others to look at him questioningly. Before they could continue, Vince rounded the corner with JBL and Jillian Hall in tow. The three men gave JBL a look of disgust, but before they had the chance to start anything Vince spoke.

“Gentlemen, save it for the main event…” The three men all looked from Vince to JBL as Vince continued, telling them of how this would also be an inter~show match.
“Tonight will not only be an inter~gender eight person tag match but also inter~promotional…” Just as Hunter was about to ask whom else they would be facing Randy Orton and Edge came walking round the corner, in that second Hunter knew he need not ask.

JBL and Jillian will team up with Edge and Randy, I’m sure you all know each other well?” Vince added as he shook JBL’s, and leaving moments later. All six men had more than a little history and now that Cena had taken the title from Orton and the tag team titles were with Shawn and Hunter, all six men had a lot to fight over. The only two who seemingly had no history was Jillian and Alex, but as all were about to find out this would not be the case for much longer.

“I’m sure that you boys won’t mind Jillian and I saying hello to Alex, I’m sure she’d like to know how well Cole has been looked after!” JBL’s smirk was sending a sick feeling through Cena; Shawn and Hunter, all three wanting to kick JBL’s ass. But it was the dark silent figure of Mark stood in the blackness that felt the most, no one knew he was there; nor would they. Mark had revenge on his mind and nothing would stop him from completing his plans, silently he headed off to Alex’s locker room. Meanwhile all six men looked as though they were about to break into a fight when Vince came back round the corner, almost pulling JBL and the others away; again telling them to save it for tonight’s match.

“I hope Alex is ready for tonight…” Shawn said after their opponents had gone, thinking about how much she would want to kick JBL’s ass.
I hope she can stay calm…” Hunter said, as the three men left to head back to Alex’s locker room.
“I just wish Undertaker was here to get his hands on that asshole…” John said, unaware that his wishes would be coming true sooner than he thought. Mark was already stood silently in the doorway to Alex’s locker room, as she finally emerged from the shower.

Coughing slightly caused Alex to jump but spin round quickly, half expecting it to be Shawn or Hunter again. As she saw Mark her mood changed instantly, she run to his open arms and hugged him deeply.

“Mark!” She exclaimed, as Mark swung her around in his arms; holding her there for as long as he could.
“Baby girl…” Mark said, trying not to let his emotions get the better of him.
“What are you doing here?” Alex asked, thankful that he was here but knowing it never needed to be said.
“I had to come and look out for my Alex…” Mark replied, as the two sat on the couch and relaxed. As Shawn, Hunter and Cena walked into Alex’s locker room their shock at seeing Mark was evident. Not that it was a bad thing for him to be there though, Cena wasn’t the only one who would be more than a little grateful for Mark’s presence that night.

“Hey Mark, good to see you man.” John said, as he held his hand out boldly. Taking it Mark nodded silently, waiting for the others to sit before he spoke.
“I wanted to come make sure my friend was being looked after.” The four men talked, as Alex sat; just happy to have her friend there. Michael’s name was yet to be mentioned, and Alex suspected this was due to all treading carefully around her.

“How’s Cole doing?” Shawn said, making a ‘what’ gesture to Hunter as Mark glared at him. He was about to apologise when Mark spoke, hoping he was about to do the right thing.
“No one has seen or heard from him since Friday, I don’t think he’s doing too good… there’s talk of him leaving and not being there this coming Friday.”

Mark’s eyes were fixed to Alex’s as the silence descended upon the room, they had all been in a shocked silence for a while until Shawn spoke; not realizing he was seemingly making things worse with each word he said.
“That’s not like him, he’s only ever missed two Smackdown’s; and they weren’t his choosing!” The moment he has said it Shawn realized his mistake, stuttering to find some sort of apology; Mark stopped him.

“It’s cool Shawn, I know what you meant.” Mark tried to smile but knew it would not reach his lips, truth was his best friend was distraught and he wanted; no needed to put things right. As the four men talked Alex sat there in silence, feeling a range of emotions going through her body. She was hurting of course, and that was understandable but now she was worried too; worried that Michael would do something he could regret. Picking up her cell phone Alex made her excuses and headed out of the arena, she knew this could get her shot if Vince found out but somehow that did not matter; all that mattered was Michael.

As she headed for the exit, her worst nightmare happened as she got cornered by JBL and Jillian who were coming towards her. As soon as they had her cornered, Alex knew JBL had something in mind to further hurt her.
“How’s Michael?” Jillian said coldly, looking to JBL who had a glint in his eye; one that Alex knew from her past.

“I’m sure Victoria’s keeping him company, I know he likes being comforted by her…” JBL said just as coldly, getting just a little too close for Alex’s comfort. Trying to look around for someone to save her Alex knew she was in trouble when the only people around were the three of them, seeing her look for help JBL stuck the knife in further.

“No one is around; Mark or Tazz can’t save you now… just like your precious boyfriend Michael.” JBL’s words were cold and harsh, but it was Jillian’s next words that almost tore Alex apart.
“He’s too busy with Victoria to care about you bitch…” With a cackling laugh that would live with Alex for the rest of her life, Jillian headed off. JBL was about to follow after giving an evil cold laugh when Alex spoke; causing him to stop.
“Why are you being like this, what did I ever do to you?” Alex’s voice was quiet and timid, just like how she felt.

“Because I can… Michael was and is a nightmare to work with, wanted me to be his friend.” JBL said, as he sneered down his nose at Alex.
“But why take it out on me! Surely if you have beef with him, it is him you need to talk to?” Alex thought she was being logical, JBL had other ideas.

“Now where would the fun in that be? This way I get to hurt Michael even more and break another person’s heart at the same time… I must say you were easier than I thought…” Turning on his heels, JBL’s words were already killing Alex inside and then as he headed off he rubbed salt in the wounds.
“But then, you are an easy slut aren’t you!”

For a moment she just stood there, but as the tears began to fall Alex ran. Ran out of the arena and kept going, not really sure where she was going; just that she needed to go. As soon as Alex got outside the arena it began raining, to her it seemed typical of her life and luck right now. Her heart had been torn out of her chest and was destroyed, of course deep in her heart Alex knew Michael was not with Victoria; but then it was little comfort to a woman who had lost almost everything.

With all that she had been through in her life, Alex always relied on two things to keep her going; wrestling and the hope that one day she would find the love of her life. But now her life was seemingly in tatters, she would surely be sacked for leaving like this and as for the love of her life; well she did not even wish to think of that. Alex must have been walking for the past thirty minutes before she stopped, her clothes were soaked right through to her skin but in truth she never really noticed it.

The tears she thought would not fall had been falling the moment JBL had left, but with all the rain no one seemed to know that she was in truth crying her eyes out. When Alex finally came to rest she found herself outside the arena once more, sitting down on the edge of a wall Alex wanted to call Michael. She had no idea why or even what she would say, just that she needed to talk; needed to hear his voice. Maybe she just needed to know he was alright, whatever the reason she has to call him; trouble was she was not one hundred percent sure he would want to speak to her.

After about ten times of dialling and the redialling his cell, Alex was about to give up when her cell rang causing her to jump; it was Gabby. At first she began to babble on about how wonderful Dave was and how much she liked him, then she shut up; noticing how unusually silent her best friend was being. This can only mean one thing; Dave was right. Gabby thought to herself as she took a deep breath and tried to broach the subject, looking over to Dave she nodded that he was indeed right.

“Are you okay honey?” They had known each other for so long now that both knew not to beat around the bush when something was wrong, seeing as both would always seek the other out what use would stalling be anyway.
“Not really…” Alex said with a deep sigh, wishing she could stop her tears from falling.
“Want to talk about it?” Gabby continued, wondering if her friend was actually at the arena for RAW that night.
“I want Michael, I miss him…” Alex began, watching as a young couple walked past; feeling the pain in her heart grow even more.

“I don’t want to be here Gabby; I hate this, this… pain!” She continued, trying to find not only her voice but also the right words.
“Mark said Michael’s not been heard from since Friday, and that nobody can find him…” Alex began to broach the subject, she needed to know and find out the truth.
“It’s true Alex, we have all been trying to contact him… me and Dave have spent ages trying to find him.” Gabby said, talking hold of Dave’s hand.

Sighing deeply Alex knew she would have to make that call she had been trying to put off, saying her goodbyes and asking to be kept informed she hung up and dialled Michael’s number. His cell must have gone to answer phone ten times before Alex finally found the words she wanted, and needed to say.

“Michael this is killing me, I love and miss you like crazy. I don’t want this to be the end of us, please call me back so we can talk about this…” Alex finally managed to say, hanging up she headed back to the arena; hoping and praying that she had got away with her moment of absence. Heading to her locker room, she thought of all that JBL had said and vowed to herself that he was not going to win this time.
“I want to get the win over that screeching cat of a bitch Jillian; I want to scratch her God damn eyes out…” Alex said, as she sat down on the couch between Shawn and Hunter; causing all to look suitably shocked. Sensing their questioning looks, Alex pre-empted them and spoke.

“She’s a bitch; I had her and JBL trying to intimidate me earlier. I am tired of being pushed around; I refuse to let them win!” As the four men smiled and Shawn hugged Alex to him there was a deep relief in all of them, looking to Mark; Alex knew what he was thinking and nodded slightly to him. It was all he needed to be sure that she knew what she wanted, as the five friends chatted

As the four friends got ready to head out to the ring, Mark pulled Alex to one side for a moment.
“Are you sure you are going to be okay out there?” It never ceased to amazing Alex how caring and gentle Mark, this supposed ‘deadman’ was. She always felt safe with Mark, even though she was warned of him when she first went to Smackdown; Alex always felt like she would never need to fear Mark. Nodding, Alex told Mark she would be fine and had the best type of back up a girl could want.

“I’ll be fine Mark; hey I have John; Shawn AND Hunter to look after me!” Alex smiled as she hugged Mark close, of course she knew in her heart that Mark was going to hang around; it was how their friendship worked.
“If you need me, call for me honey and I’ll come running.” Mark said, hugging Alex as if it was for the last time. Nodding Alex need not say anymore, both understood. Alex and John headed to the ring first; the pop that Cena got as he hit the stage was amazing and almost blew Alex’s hearing.

 Followed by Shawn and Hunter, who did their famous “suck it” routine; which of course Alex and Cena joined in with and totally enjoyed. There was something rather satisfying about hearing 75 and a half thousand people shouting ‘SUCK IT’ as loud as they can, especially when it was Alex that was shouting the loudest. As the match got underway it was Cena squaring off against JBL, in the first few minutes of the match neither man seemed to be getting the upper hand. It was only when JBL was stuck in Cena’s corner that he realized Alex was not going to roll over and die, backing away as she went to slap the taste out of him.

John even managed to get the upper hand a few time on JBL but as he went to finish the match, JBL managed to rake his eyes and get a quick tag to Orton; who of course had a point to prove and quickly began to beat down on Cena. From that moment things looked to be going the other team’s way, with JBL; Edge and Orton singling out Cena for all the punishment. Both Shawn and Hunter had to make the save a few times, but as was Cena’s way he just would not give up and stay down.

After tripping JBL up, Cena managed to tag in Hunter who went about beating the holy hell out of JBL. It became pretty much even with all three man on the opposing team being evenly matched with Triple H, it was only when Hunter went for the facebuster on Orton that things changed; with Orton hitting the RKO from out of nowhere and almost getting the win. As Hunter kicked out of the RKO, Orton tagged in Edge who was able to get the upper hand and beat him up even more.

If Alex was being honest with herself she would have jumped in the ring and took the loss, it was killing her to see three people who had effectively been dragged into this fight get beaten to a pulp in this way. As Hunter finally managed to get some space between him and Edge, he went to tag in Shawn but JBL and Orton saw this coming and took their own action. Rushing to the other side of the ring, Orton and JBL has taken Cena and Shawn out before they had any clue; and before Hunter could stop them!

To be fair even though he was hurting like hell, Hunter still was not going to let Alex tag in; he may go down but he would go down fighting. And in his mind that was exactly what Hunter was about to do, Alex of course had other plans and tagged herself in. Alex could hear Edge’s sick evil and twisted laugh as she did so, she also heard Hunter begging and pleading with her to get out again. With JR and The King yelling at the top of their voices that this was not a match where woman faced the men, Alex knew that Edge was not about to care.

She would have to accept that she was about to get beaten to a pulp, but she just could not allow her team mates get hurt anymore. Thankfully she did not need to face Edge as Hunter began to recover enough to beat him up, and as he was joined on the outside of the ring by the others who were still fighting it was left to Jillian and Alex to continue. As they stood face-to-face Alex could swear she could have heard a pin drop it was that silent, and seemed to be the match everyone wanted to see; not just the fans but the WWE talent too.

Neither seemed to want to be the first to make the first move with both women circling each other a few times, looking over to The King and JR Alex could tell by the look in their eyes that she needed to make that sign; she needed to call her best friend. As Alex held her clenched fist aloft the whole arena erupted with cheers and chants for the Undertaker, with Jillian talking trash to Alex all Alex could do was smile; then moments later the lights went out.

The ominous bells sounds as the blackness continued for a few more moments, the silence was only broken by the odd fan cheering for the Undertaker. And then the lights came back on revealing Alex about to covering an unconscious Jillian and the Ref about to make the three count, with Jillian’s team mates trying to get back in the ring and Alex’s partners stopping them; Alex got the win easily. With Jillian being helped out of the ring by JBL and Rated RKO slinking off to lick their wounds, Alex and her team celebrated in the ring; with all four giving their thanks to Taker as they all continued to celebrate as much as they could; enjoying the fact that this had been a good result for all involved.

Alex and Cena joined in with the DX crouch chops as they all headed to the back, not realizing that this was only the beginning of Taker’s plans. In the back Mark left his trademark calling card for Alex to find before he disappeared back into the night once more, heading not for his hotel but instead to see Tazz; the two friends had much to talk about still. Meanwhile back in his apartment Michael sat among the mounting empty bottles of Jack Daniels and take away cartons, his heart still broken but thankful he had watched RAW.

And more than a little thankful Mark had gone to help Alex, not that he had any doubts Mark would have not been there.  As he tried to get up and soon realized he could not, Michael sat back down quickly and picked his cell up. More messages from Pete and Mark, some from JR and even The King; there was a couple of messages from Vince. As he went to throw his cell down, Michael saw that he had voice mail and listened to it.

Michael must have been sat in shocked silence for a while as he never heard his home phone ring the first time, shaking himself too Michael tired once more to get himself up. Only to find that once more he was unable to, now when he really wanted to take action he realized he was far too wasted to actually do anything. In his heart he knew what he wanted to do and indeed say, doing it however was another matter. His hands had been shaking for the past hour and his eyes had not been able to focus properly since his tenth bottle of JD, of course he knew he only had himself to blame; but it still made him feel like crap.

“Damn it, just pull yourself together and call her!” Michael half said and half thought, trying to think himself sober enough to call. He soon realized that he was in no fit state to call her, there was no way she would want to be with a drunk fool like him if he called her now; taking his cell phone Michael called the one person he knew he could rely upon.

“Pete? It is me, please. I need your help, come round.” Hanging up, Michael knew if anyone would be able to help him; it would always be Pete... he had never let him down before. But Michael had no idea that Tazz was going to bring Mark, or that he could actually be saved and helped. Neither Tazz nor Mark had any idea that Michael was in such a bad way, neither had seen him like this before; it was obviously a shock for them both.

“Jeez Mike, you look rough!” Tazz said the moment they saw him, rolling his eyes Michael knew Tazz would not pull any punches he did not deserve.
“Pete, help me please?” Was all Michael could say before he broke down and cried again, nodding to Tazz; Mark began to clean the place up. That day would teach both Alex and Michael that they both had true friends, who would do anything for the pair of them.

As Alex’s partners that evening celebrated back in the hotel Alex did her best to look happy and join in, but truth is this was the last thing she wanted. All she really wanted was Michael, but she felt it was all dead in the water; I mean why else had he not got back to her. The more she thought about it the more it broke her heart and the more she wanted to cry, trying to smile she made her excuses and headed back to the hotel room. Lying in her cold empty faceless bed Alex finally allowed her tears to fall once more, tears she felt would never stop falling.

For the past two nights she had not slept and truth be told, Alex doubted if she would be doing so for the next little while. It must have been five in the morning when Alex finally felt tired, but of course she had to be up in an hour so what good would sleep be now anyway! But as she closed her eyes for a moment, Alex’s mind was intent on sleeping. It was only the sound of her cell ringing that saved her from missing the plane, as she answered her cell Alex knew she was about to miss her flight.

“Alex baby?” She knew instantly his voice, she could also tell he was not doing too good.
“Michael?” Was all Alex could manage to say, trying not only to focus but also wake up fully.
“I need to see you.” Was all Michael could say, it was not all he wanted to say; but right at that moment in time it was all he could say. Although all Alex could do for a moment was nod, but quickly realized he could not actually see her.
“Please, Mark knows which hotel.” Was all Alex could really say, as she tried to still her increasing heartbeat.

“Open the door…” Was all that Michael could say, praying he was sober enough for this. Within seconds Alex had the door open and proceeded to stand there silently looking at Michael for a few minutes, seemingly both seemed content to stay like this but Mark and Tazz had other ideas.

“Can we come in Alex?” Tazz said, knowing she probably would not hear him. Regardless of if she had or not, Alex moved aside and allowed the three men to walk in. Hugging Mark and then Tazz, Alex stood silently for a few moments; unsure if she should be holding Michael again. She had no idea that while she was uncertain he was feeling the same way, worried that she would see he had been on a huge bender all weekend.

“How have you been Alex? I saw the match…” Michael finally said, lying slightly; hoping she would understand and not notice.
“Been better, how about you?” Was all Alex could say, knowing full well that he had been drinking all weekend. To both Tazz and Mark this display of restrained affection was agony to watch and be part of, both understood why Alex and Michael felt this way; and both hated it.

As Michael and Alex tried to talk and skirt around things, Tazz did all he could to get them both some much-needed time off; calling Linda knowing she was the one they needed. Meanwhile Mark sat, awkwardly wishing the two would make up.
“Damn it Cole…” Mark said finally, as he got up and headed towards the bar; leaving Tazz alone with the two awkward friends.

“I guess he has a point…” Michael began to say, as the door slammed behind Mark.
“Yes he has Mike, I have got you both a week off; make the most of it hey!” Tazz said curtly as he too headed for the bar, leaving Michael and Alex alone.
“You know that I love you Alex…” Michael began, gently taking Alex by the hand.
“I know Michael, I know. And you know I feel the same way about you.” Alex replied, as she enjoyed Michael’s touch again.

“I know honey, I just can’t see how we can win against someone like JBL.” Michael answered, as they walked over to the bed.
“We cannot let him win Michael; we have to find a way to win.” Alex noticed how neither wanted to let the other go; taking a bold step Alex pulled Michael into a close embrace, thankful he made no show to pull away.
“God, I’ve missed you Alex; it’s been agony!” Michael whispered into Alex’s soft brown hair, sighing deeply as he began to relax.

“Oh Michael, the feeling is more than a little mutual.” Sighed Alex, not willing to let Michael go now she had him in her arms once more. As the two lay close together on the bed, that weekends events quickly catching up with them; the two fallings asleep within seconds of each other. A few minutes later Tazz and Mark had arrived back to check on the two friends, smiling and letting themselves out moments later.

For the next week, Alex and Michael became closer finally being able to spend the time together that had seemingly escaped them. Being able to be with the man she loved gave Alex something of a new lease of life, for Michael the week was what he needed not only to get sober but also to find himself again. During their much needed time away from the ring both Michael and Alex found out they had so much in common, they also began to realize that their love and emotions could not be broken by someone like JBL.

Meanwhile as Michael and Alex were spending time together, Mark and Tazz were putting into practice the next part of their plan. Truth was that after what Vince and JBL had put both Alex and Michael though, Mark was more than a little eager to make them pay. But of course he needed to be smart about things, and needed help if he was going to get his wishes.
“So that’s my plan Pete.” Mark said cautiously, as the two friends sat in Mark’s locker room on Friday night; the two friends getting ready for the show.

“And you think we can make it work?” Tazz asked, it was not Mark he doubted, he just knew what both Vince and JBL could be like. All Mark did was nod for a moment, taking a piece of paper out of his bag and handing it over to Tazz.
“I sent this to Linda; she agreed that what happened was beyond a joke.” Mark continued as Tazz read the letter and its contents, looking up once he had finished.
“I’m in…” Was all Tazz needed to say, he knew that if Linda was on their side it could not fail.

“We just need to get DX, Cena and Batista in too...” Mark said, looking to Tazz for a moment. Tazz smiled and took his cell out, speaking as he dialled the number.
“Don’t worry about that, I know they’ll be up for it.” Looking to Tazz who smiled as he spoke to the person he had called, Mark began to write down what he wanted to say in the ring. He never normally wrote down his speeches, normally because he never really made them; but tonight was different than normal. He was nervous as heck and knew that the night he delivered it was his one shot at getting justice for Michael and his friend, looking over his written notes Mark was happy with it all.

“They are all in Mark.” Tazz said, sitting down next to his friend.
“This is gonna take a lot of hard work, Pete you sure we can pull this off?” Mark said after a long time of silence, finally admitting to himself that he had doubts and fears.
“You care about Alex as much as I do Mike?” Tazz replied, watching as Mark nodded silently.

“Then it’ll work.” Tazz replied, smiling slightly as he headed off to get read for the evening’s matches. As Mark was about to head to the canteen Linda McMahon rounded the corner and pulled him to one side, at nearly 7ft tall Mark easily towered over Linda. Had this been any other women, she would have been too scared to speak as the two stood intimately close; and had it been any other man Linda would have been scared beyond belief. But somehow after all he had been to not only the company but also Linda, there was no way she needed to fear this man in front of her.

“Thank you for your letter Mark, I meant what I said when I agreed with you; it is a joke this should be happening.” Linda began, wondering what Mark had in mind. Taking a deep breath, she knew from previous experience that Mark could be hard to talk to so not waiting for an answer she continued.
“How can I help you Mark?” Although Mark and Vince had not always seen eye to eye on things he always went to him for matches etc, so now for him to be asking her made Linda aware that it was something major.

“Vince in a match, and for Alex back on Smackdown.” His answer was short and to the point, he had known Linda a long time; long enough to be totally honest with her. Swallowing hard Linda understood totally why, but it was not to say that she liked it. The ideal of her husband being in a match with the Undertaker, was something of a worry to her.
“Mark, you know this puts me in an almost impossible situation…” Linda said rather than asked, watching how all Mark did was to nod. Sighing deeply Linda knew his mind had been set, but she also knew this was not all on his mind.

“What else Mark?” Both knowing that neither needed to be shy around the other, truth was that despite what people saw on screen Mark was one of the few people Linda ever saw out of character. Mark was notorious for playing his character all the time; on and off camera, but away from the ring only a handful of people ever saw the real Mark. Linda was one, Mark’s family the other. But now seemingly Alex had become one of those few people who saw Mark for who he really was, now he needed to make things right for her.

“I want JBL’s head for what he has been putting Alex and Michael through, and I want Alex back on Smackdown with me and Michael; whatever it takes.” Linda knew Mark’s heart was set on getting what he wanted, there was little point in trying to talk him out of it. Although if she was being honest with herself she did not feel like changing his mind, she had watched week in and week out how JBL had bullied and destroyed both Cole and Alex. Although Linda had not had many dealings with Alex she knew that what she saw was who Alex really was, and Michael; well Linda had known Michael for years.

It was Michael who bravely and valiantly came to her rescue one night when she had been cornered by some over excited fans, after Vince had his ankle broken Linda was looking after the show while he was in hospital. With the show over and the keys to their car in Vince’s pocket Linda tried to get through the fans and to the waiting car nearby, but a few fans became a little hyperactive and began to harass her. As if he was some kind of hero, Michael sorted the fans out and also helped Linda get to the hospital; ever since that day Michael had always held a special place in her heart. She cared not only for Michael but also ALL her talent, if Mark wanted her back and some payback; then that’s what he’d get.

“Whatever you want, it is yours; you have it.” Was all Linda could say, sighing deeply as she looked into the questioning eyes of Mark’s.
“You know what that means right?” Mark said softly, wanting to make sure Linda knew what he wanted. As Linda nodded Mark nodded back and turned silently to leave, waiting for a moment before Linda spoke once more.

“Inter~promotional, inter~gender tag match…” Of course in her heart Linda knew what was coming, but she needed to make sure; for everyone’s sake.
JBL, Rated RKO, Jillian, Kenny and Vince. Against DX, Cena, Batista, myself and Alex.” Mark replied, before walking off silently. As Linda let the shock set in Mark was already in the canteen having a coffee when Tazz came and asked him how it went, the two men sitting out of the way as they talked.

“Well Pete, its all been given a green light.” Mark said, already aware that JBL and Jillian had walked into the room. Mark could feel his blood boil and anger rise, he knew deep inside what it was; but hated himself for it nevertheless.
“When Mark?” Tazz asked, seeing the look in his eyes and knowing instantly what Mark saw.
“I never told Linda…” Mark began, silently keeping an eye on JBL who to be fair had been doing the same since they walked in.
“I was thinking of Wrestlemania?” Mark softly whispered to Tazz, not wanting JBL to know before later that night. His plan was to surprise JBL later that night but throughout the night he would, of course play his mind games. Mark liked being who he was, he got to mess with people’s mind.

In real life people believed that Mark was much like his character, so why prove them wrong was Mark’s philosophy. Just like many believed Tazz to be an angry thug, people believed what they wanted and so both Tazz and Mark let them. Of course in reality Tazz was a loving husband and father who had always had a soft side, Mark was always going to be a mystery to everyone around him.

But from that first day he had met Alex, Mark knew she would be the one he could be himself around. As Tazz talked and Mark tried to listen Jillian knew from the look Mark was giving her and JBL that they would all have to pay for what had happened, no matter what she had stuck by JBL; even when she thought he was wrong. She stayed because she loved him, she thought; in time he would love her. In her heart of hearts though, she knew he could never love her. So now as Jillian sat feeling the Undertaker’s eyes upon her, she began to wonder if it was all a big mistake.

“John, I know you said you know what you are doing; but are you sure?” Jillian said timidly, her skin crawling from the look Taker was giving her. Within seconds Jillian found it was JBL and not Taker she should be afraid of, almost jumping out of his seat he spoke angrily at her.
“What’s the matter Jillian, don’t you think I can beat the Undertaker?” JBL’s anger was more than evident, his nostrils flaring like a horse on Viagra.

“Just remember your goddamn place bitch, I made you and I can break you just as easily!” He continued before stomping off and leaving Jillian alone, and almost in floods of tears. Mark being the smart man he was had taken all this in, looking to Tazz who had just turned back spoke.
“Go after her and make sure she is okay Pete.” Tazz was about to question him as to why, but realized by Mark’s look that he knew what he was doing. Jillian had almost got back to her locker room before Tazz had the chance to catch up with her, she sure runs fast Tazz thought as he finally caught hold of her.

“I saw what happened back there in the canteen…” Tazz began, trying not to seem obvious; after all Jillian was already looking at him with doubt and questioning.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay, he’s an ass to take his anger out on a pretty lady…” Tazz tried the subtle flirting approach, hoping it would work.
“I just think he took it one too far with Cole and Alex, are they okay?” Jillian replied, smiling slightly seemingly genuinely concerned about them.

“Cole’s in a bad way, Alex too; we’ve all been knocked sideways.” Tazz replied honestly, trying to gauge Jillian’s reaction.
“Jillian, are you sure you are okay, he was way outta line talking to you like that.” Tazz asked softly, gently putting a hand on her shoulder. Smiling at him, Jillian nodded and assured him she was okay.
“I’m sorry about Alex and Cole, they seem really suited to each other.” Jillian said, as they said their goodbyes and parted company. Tazz headed off to find Mark, while Jillian’s nightmare was just about to get worse. As she got ready for the shows taping, Jillian heard JBL’s voice outside her door.

“Awww come on baby, you know I never meant what I said…” His voice soft and tender, not like earlier.
“You know how I feel about you beautiful…” She could hear the smile in his voice, there was something about his voice that drove Jillian wild with passion. Inside she knew he was a loving man, it was just the fans could not see what she saw.
As she opened the door Jillian came face to face with JBL talking to Layla, as JBL looked around he caught sight of Jillian’s love sick smile and smirked.

“What, you thought I’d want a slut like you?” Turning around JBL continued with his conversation leaving Jillian heartbroken and wanting revenge, the same revenge that Mark and Tazz seemingly wanted. She must have sat crying in her locker room for ages when the door silently swung open and Mark walked in, as was his way he managed to enter silently and had been there for a few moments before she looked up still sobbing. Strangely Jillian wasn’t afraid of him, she just blinked a few times and continued to silently sob into her hands.

Feeling compelled by something that he could not control, Mark needed to comfort her; placing an arm around her softly as he sat down next to her. Why do I not feel scared? How can this be? Was all that Jillian could think as she began to stop her tears falling, looking up into Taker’s eyes she saw something she never thought she would find; compassion.
“I want revenge, I’ll do whatever it takes.” Was all Jillian said, breaking the silence that she had been in since he arrived. Nodding Mark understood and got up to leave, pausing for a moment at the door to speak.

“I’m sorry he hurt you, thank you.” Mark was always a man of little words, but everyone knew that what he said he meant. Trying to smile Jillian continued to get ready, unsure how Taker would make JBL pay; but knowing she would help no matter what. As the taping got underway the night was filled with many of Taker’s games but also many shocks and surprises, especially when towards the end of the night JBL came out with Jillian and Rated RKO by his side. Standing in the ring JBL spouted off about how he had single handily had rid Smackdown of both Alex and Michael, he the continued to say how he had also got rid of the legend they called Undertaker.

Before he had the chance to go any further the lights had gone out and the fans were on their feet screaming for the Undertaker, seconds later as the ominous bells toll the fans know they are getting what they want. However, as Taker’s music played and he never showed everyone in the arena, and those in the ring looked around to try understand. Then up on the titron a video began to play, many had seen this type before. It began as some dark images flashed on the screen and began to flicker with images of the Undertaker, then one image came on the screen.

It was of those in the ring; JBL, Rated RKO and Jillian. With Taker ready to give his speech, the picture of the four in the ring was almost doused in some form of red oozing liquid. By now the arena had a good idea what it meant, but JBL was being his defiant self and began to spout off again.
“You think I’m scared of this little parlour game, do you know who I am?” JBL had no idea that Taker could hear him, nor did the others.
“A Dead man walking…” Taker said the menace in his voice obvious; the fans all screaming for Taker.

JBL… Orton… Edge… You all will Rest. In. Peace.” Taker’s words chilled the air, as the photograph appeared to set light to itself. The only ones Taker had not mentioned was Vince and Jillian, all in the ring thought that was a good thing; everyone else knew better.

On the screen came a picture of Vince alone, it was a picture that no one had seemingly seen before. As the fans; and many superstars assumed, Taker would be saving something special for Vince. But in truth it was only Vince that need to worry, as his picture suffered the same fate as the one previous; Taker spoke once more.
“Vince, for your sins; you need to be punished… everyone will suffer for what you have done…” As Mark’s voice became colder and darker the fans went wild, but no one knew what Taker was about to do; or say for that matter.

“You cannot run and can no longer hide, your life belongs to me now; do not fight it, give in to the dark side.” With Mark’s last words there was a chill in the air that could not be mistaken. The arena went pitch black again for a few moments, then as the lights came back on Jillian was out of the ring and nowhere to be seen. But more disturbingly as the arena was filled with Taker’s trade mark purple blue light and then those in the ring was covered in this blood type liquid, as the dark images of death and the Undertaker flashed up on the screen and began to flicker the image of those in the ring; and Vince came onto the screen.

In blood like liquid written across the picture was the words; WRESTLEMANIA. It was followed by their names; JBL, RATED RKO, VINCE. All followed with the words that filled fear into ever one in the whole arena, and every superstar who dared to stay tuned; HELL IN A CELL!
“Oh shit, we are in trouble.” Randy said as he turned to see his partner Edge’s face drained of its entire colour, neither man wanted this match; but thanks to JBL and his big mouth they had to fight.

As they all split up, JBL was left trying to find Jillian; not that he really cared about her. As he stood covered in this sticky bloody liquid JBL began to think of Layla and soon forgot all about Jillian, watching how easily she was tossed aside by JBL Rated RKO knew this was not their fight. With JBL looking for Layla and Rated RKO talking about how they get out of this mess, Mark stood smiling; knowing it would only be a matter of time. With Jillian sat in Tazz’s dressing room she began to ponder what would happen next, she had seen the images and heard Taker’s words; she would be lying if she had said she was not scared.

“Taker’s going to destroy JBL isn’t he?” Jillian said, after a long time of silence. Tazz looked at her for a moment, thinking how to reassure her and also keep her onside.
“Mark wants to protect his friends, that’s all. Why do you care about a man that doesn’t care for you Jillian, he’s not looking for you is he?” Tazz started to say, taking a deep breath and telling her the truth.

“If it was me, I would have been protecting you not cowering in the corner… and I would have been to find you by now!” Turning away, Tazz hoped she would understand and help them out. Smiling Jillian headed over to where Tazz stood unaware, within seconds she had laid a soft gentle kiss upon his cheek; blushing as he looked around with shock.

“Thank you.” Was all she said, and all she could say as Mark walked in. There was something about his demeanour that was different to the man who both had seen earlier, neither spoke allowing Mark to do what he needed to do.
“Pete, make sure Jillian get’s back alright.” Was all he said as he grabbed his bags and left, not stopping to add anything else. Shrugging their shoulders Tazz nodded to Jillian, who seemed happy he was with her; thankful he was a soft tough guy.

In truth it wasn’t that far to Jillian’s hotel, but nevertheless Tazz made sure she was in her room safely. He could not explain why, but he did not want to leave her alone. He had never looked twice at Jillian before, and he knew she would be okay alone; so why did he feel like he had to stay.

“Look, do you mind if I stay for a while; I just would feel better knowing you were safe.” Tazz said, looking into the eyes of a woman who seemed to need him.
“Please stay Ta… Pete.” Jillian said, she could not explain it; but she felt like a child who needed to be looked after and protected. Taking off his jacket, Jillian fixed them both a drink as both tried to relax. Handing him the drink, Jillian was not prepared for her emotions to play tricks on her as their hands touched; somehow that night their drinks went untouched.

“Mark, please… promise me you won’t hurt him that much?” Linda said, almost as if she was begging him; Mark smiled. Linda had seen, like all the other superstars and fans how Taker acted that night. In her heart she knew Mark was not going to really hurt anyone, but in her mind she also saw the look in his eyes; she knew something was up.

“Mark, what are you hiding? I know you… something is wrong.” Linda said softly, knowing to tread softly around Mark at times like this. His eyes were dark and filled with something she had never seen before, it was like a controlled rage.
“Please Linda, just sign the match.” Was all Mark said, his mind focused and filled with what was best. Nodding Linda made the match and sighed deeply, she knew she could have just signed her husbands own death warrant. As she looked away for a moment, Linda looked back only to find Mark’s calling card; a single black rose.
“Oh please God, no.” Linda said softly, putting her face in her hands and sobbing silently.

Alex and Michael had no idea when they got back to their respective brands just all that had been happening, Tazz had spent the night with Jillian and Mark had seemingly turned into a heel. With no real idea what to do or what was happening to Mark, Alex would seek out Cena to find friendship with.

“So have you heard from Mark?” John said as the two began to get ready for their tag team match, since coming to RAW both Cena and Alex had become really close. Not that Cena would ever admit that to Mark, everyone on all brands knew that Alex was Mark’s girl. As strange as that sounded, every time Alex heard it said; it felt right and almost second nature.
“I have no idea what is happening John, I just hope he is okay.” Alex said as she shook her head, sighing deeply.

“What about No Way Out?” John said, knowing that there was no way Taker would let Vince and JBL have any peace. Shrugging her shoulders, Alex knew what Mark was like and assumed he had something planned for No Way Out too; not that she knew what it would be until the day of the show.
“Maybe he’ll bring the Hell In A Cell match forward?” John half said and half-thought, as he headed off to get coffee; leaving Alex alone with her thoughts and concerns.

“Ohh Mark, please be okay…” Alex whispered out loud, unaware that he could not only hear her but also see her. Reaching out as if to touch her, Mark cursed himself silently as he quickly snapped his hand back. His heart was breaking and the one person that could stop it, she was also the one person he could not tell.

As Alex headed off to the canteen her mind was still on Mark, so much so that she did not notice Vince power striding towards her; closely followed by Linda.
“How dare you try bully your way into getting back onto Smackdown?” Vince boomed towards her, Alex not realizing it was actually her he was talking to.
“I am the boss and the chairman, I tell YOU what to do; not the other way round…” Vince continued, seemingly as mad as hell. To be fair as Alex tried her best to figure out what she had done, Linda did all she could to pull Vince away.

“Vince, leave her alone; she doesn’t know!” Linda looked at Alex and sort of apologized as she tried to lead Vince away, leaving Alex very confused. In truth she understood, but had no real idea why Vince seemingly had it in for her.
“I’m sorry he’s just in a blind panic about the match he talked himself into…” Linda began as Vince had power walked off too harass someone else, in truth Linda felt this was all Vince’s doing as usual; but he would never listen.

“It’s just Mark has seemingly gone into a controlled rage and Vince is worried…” Linda continued, hoping this would get Alex to understand.
“I didn’t know Linda, I have not been able to speak to Mark…” Alex said realizing something was indeed very wrong, hoping Mark would not do anything either would regret.

“I care so much about Mark Linda, I don’t want anything to happen to him!” She added, as Linda headed off to try control Vince. Both Cena and Alex had a good night, everything had gone well and both headed off to their hotel.
“Can I ask you something Alex?” Cena tenderly asked, hoping he was not about to step over the line. Nodding, Alex said yes as Cena spoke again.
“Why Cole? I mean, why did you choose him.” Shyly smiling, Alex tried to let out a laugh; easing the tension she was feeling.

“Well John, I like the person he is. He’s a nice guy, and sensitive too!” Alex paused as she smiled, the sound of Michael’s name coming from her lips bringing warmth to her heart she had been missing for a long time.
“I love the way he makes me feel, and the feeling I get when I think of him… Does that make sense?” Alex continued, looking to John who was silent for a while before nodding.

“I understand, I just thought you would have found that with Mark… he seems to have found that in you.” The moment he had said it, John regretted it.
“I’m sorry, I should not have said anything.” He apologized, before leaving. Alex must have sat in a shocked silence for a good hour before she realized her cell phone was ringing, shaking herself too as she answered it.

“Hey beautiful, just wondered if all is okay? I tried calling a while ago and you never answered.” His voice was soft, warm and full of concern; smiling at the sound of his voice Alex spoke.
“Everything is just fine Michael, just missing you. Have you heard from Mark or Tazz?” She had to ask, she needed to know.

“I was just about to ask you the same, it is as if they have just disappeared off the face of the earth!” Michael answered, as they talked; well in truth he talked she listened, Alex’s mind went back to what John had just said. For the first time since they had met, Alex actually doubted herself. Was her friend and a man; up until moments ago she would have called her hero, actually more than that. But now as she sat there, her mind on another man as she tried to talk to her boyfriend; Alex was not sure of anything.

Before she knew what was happening Michael had hung up and she was trying to sleep, not really sure if she would actually be getting any. Realizing that sleeping would be nigh on impossible, Alex called Mark’s number; not sure what to say only that she needed to say something.
“Please Mark; pick up so I know you are alright, I am worried about you…” Alex left the self same message on Mark’s answering machine that she had been leaving for the past three weeks, still she had not heard from him. In truth Alex was now more worried about Mark than what Cena had said, she knew he could be notoriously devoid of human emotions; but Alex always felt as though this was just his stage character.

He had never been like this with her, they had known each other three years; and in those three years she always felt like he had been able to be himself around her. But now, this was different; he was being too much like the “Lord of Darkness” character he had portrayed years before. That man was certainly a heel and, by all accounts a nasty piece of work; surely this was not happening again? Guess we’ll find out at No Way Out, Alex thought to herself as she got ready to head for Smackdown.

Even though she was no longer part of Smackdown, truth was that Alex never missed a broadcast. Partly due to Michael but also because she genuinely loved the shows, but this week she would wish she had not tuned in. As soon as the show kicked off Vince was in the ring with JBL, demanding that Cole join them in the ring… With Tazz knowing this could be trouble he tried to go with Michael, but was stopped by Edge and Orton; in truth they didn’t want to be here but had their orders.

“Where’s your girlfriend Cole?” JBL began, sneering down his nose at Michael who was scared to death by this point.
“Oh that’s right, I helped get rid of her sorry ass didn’t I?” He went on, backing Michael into the ring corner. All Michael could do was timidly stand there as he continued to get bullied by JBL, praying that he would not have to fight back again.
“Think your friend Tazz can help you?” JBL asked, as Michael looked over to his friend only to see him being beaten by Orton and Edge. Tazz tried to fight back, and to be fair neither Orton nor Edge really wanted to mess with Tazz.

“Tazz, if you fight back I’ll fire both of you. Now kick his ass you two!” Vince demanded, enjoying how Edge and Orton almost destroyed a defenceless Tazz.
“What about your new friend Undertaker huh, you think he is gonna save your sorry ass?” JBL continued, grabbing Michael so he was forced to watch Tazz being beaten.
“Taker, you wanna play games with me?” JBL began, kicking Michael to the ground for a moment while he continued.

“I’m gonna take everything you care about, and kill it. You will regret calling me out boy!” His words harsh and meant, as he watched Michael get up slowly JBL told Vince and Taker to watch. Seconds later JBL was hitting Michael with his clothesline from hell move, very fast and very hard.

Alex knew he was unconscious the second he had hit the ground, and with it came her tears; watching as JBL spat on him for good measure and left the ring with Vince. With Orton and Edge not sure what to do, they watched on as Tazz rushed to the ring; trying to bring his friend round. As Michael came round he already knew Alex had seen what happened, begging Tazz to make sure she was okay. With Linda and others rushing to his side, Michael tried his best to be strong. In the back all that Michael wanted to know was if Tazz and Alex were okay, while all Alex wanted to know was why Mark had not come out to help him.

“Is Pete okay Linda? What about Alex, I know she saw tonight.” Michael managed to breathlessly say as he coughed and spluttered, holding onto Michael’s hand all Linda could do was look on helplessly; cursing her husband’s choices. With Tazz being patched up in another trainer’s room, Jillian silently slipped inside. Before he had the chance to say anything Jillian had softly kissed him upon the lips, letting him know firmly that the night they had spent together was not a one off.

“I’m so, so sorry Pete…” Jillian said as she began to softly kiss his wounds better, outside Orton and Edge made sure Tazz and Jillian had sometime together.
“We have to get out of this Randy…” Edge began, looking to his friend. Both men had, at one time or another made a name for themselves as being outrageous; but even they both had to admit that this was taking things one too far.
“And how the hell are we meant to go against Vince? He’s got that damn bee in his bonnet now!” Orton replied, not wanting to loose his job now he had a family to take care of.

In some dark secluded part of the building Mark watched all that had unfolded, hating himself for letting Michael and his friends go through this. Inside his heart was in turmoil, he wanted to say so much but knew he could not. He knew how much pain Alex would be in having to watch Michael and Tazz get destroyed, he knew that she was hurting from not having spoke to him for such a long time. In truth it had been the worst four weeks of Mark’s life, but he knew deep inside it was for the best. To win the match he had asked for and to get what he wanted, Mark had to be the man he feared deep down inside. He had been sat there with the silver jagged edged dagger in his hands for the past four hours, knowing what needed to be done; but still not wanting to do it.

“I have no other choice, to get my revenge I have to be that beast once more.” Mark thought to himself, he was all too aware of what this would mean; but he had to take the risk. Make hated playing the Lord of Darkness character, he hated the way that Undertaker cared for nothing and no one. But his heart was going through more than that, his heart longed for what he could not possess. Angrily he wiped at his eyes, not willing to allow a tear to form let alone fall. As Mark began chanting words in an ancient language long dead and forgotten, he knew what he needed to do next. Taking the cold hard silver dagger, he ran the blade across his wrist; letting the blood drain slowly into the silver chalice beneath his hand. Once the chalice was full to the brim, Mark took off his black wrestling shirt and laid it upon the cold hard floor.

“Rise my minions, my Druids; rise!” Mark said as he poured the deep red bloody liquid from the chalice over his shirt, watching how it began to smoke and become surrounded with a dense white fog.

“Come forth from the depths of Hell and do my bidding…” He continued, the fog growing thicker as one after another cloaked demonic figures came from the darkness and began to surround The Undertaker. Each were clothed in the usual black hooded robes, Undertaker peered into the hoods and saw nothing.
“You are the first of my Ministry, now go and collect me more unfortunate souls…” He commanded, as they seemingly just vanished into thin air.

“I… I am the Lord of Darkness…” He said aloud, his voice steady even though his hands were not. In the back of his mind he could see Alex, he could see her sad smile and beautiful eyes; he knew she would be the one to save him… IF she could survive him! With the dagger now in his big hands once more, Undertaker knew what he had to do now. He placed the tip against his bare chest and dragged it slowly down and then quickly across, making a T shape in his chest.

The cuts were deep and his breathing became irregular as the pain passed over him in waves, blood began dripping from the wounds as he watched it pool in the floor at his feet; it became hard for him to focus but he had to finish. Holding his breath, he cut and X shape across the lower part of the T; finishing the symbol and falling to the cold hard floor. He found the coldness of the hard floor soothing against the burning pain that coursed throughout his aching body, something in his mind; or maybe his heart stopped him for a moment. It told him to think before giving his soul for revenge, to think about the one he loved more than life itself. Maybe it was something in his heart that told him he might not be able to come back from this, what if the blackness took the one who could save him.

All Alex wanted to do was go to Michael’s side; all she could do was sit there and watch everything unfold. Even after Smackdown had gone off the air Alex was still sat looking helplessly at the blank fuzzy screen in front of her, a million and one questions going through her mind all at once; none of them making even the slightest bit of sense. But as Mark entered her thoughts she knew that something was wrong, something had changed that night. Now her mind was filled with why he had not run out to save Tazz or Michael, they were all meant to be friends. She trusted Mark with her life, and felt that he would always protect her.

Why then, would he not save her now? That night Michael had left her, Mark was the one there to sooth her fear and dried her tears; this man who never came to help was not Mark seemingly. And then her thoughts began to turn to what John had said, surely if Mark loved her he would have stopped her friends from getting hurt. He would have wanted to stop her tears, which Alex knew were very closer to falling; her heart was being torn apart and she had no idea why let alone if she could stop them. Moments later all she could hear was her cell phone ringing, picking it up the voice on the other end told her all she needed to know.

“What happened sis?” Gabby had, much like most of RAW been watching events unfold; she knew her friend was hurting.
“I don’t know Gabby, I really don’t know.” Was all Alex could managed to say, as she tried to understand.

“Where are you staying? Dave said he’d come pick you up; neither of us want you to be alone…” Gabby said, who looked to Dave; already stood with his cars keys in his hand and ready to go.
“I don’t need to fear JBL or Vince; neither of them know where I am…” Alex began to say, before Gabby cut her off.

“It’s not them we are worried about, it’s Mark…” The fear in Gabby’s tone was unmistakable, for the first time Alex actually felt fear; albeit for a split second.
“Oh come on, why would I need to fear Mark? He’s always been the one man I could rely upon!” In truth though, Alex was scared. Although Mark had never shown her any cause to be afraid, there was no denying that something was not the same. Mark was no longer the person Alex thought he was, had he been there was no way he would have let Michael or Tazz get hurt. Sighing deeply, Alex agreed to staying with Gabby and Dave until No Way Out.

“You don’t really believe Mark would hurt me do you Sis?” Alex asked as the two best friends spent the night talking, with Dave protectively watching over them from in the kitchen.
“Truth is I no long know what to believe, this is so not like the man I met…” Gabby replied, looking over to Dave who smiled a genuine smile.

“For three years I worked with Mark, he never once gave me cause or reason to fear him!” Alex replied sadly, trying to understand what was going on.
“I know sis, I know… but you have to remember this isn’t Mark, this is not your friend.” Was all Gabby could say, as Alex broke down and cried; tears for Mark, Tazz and Michael, but also tears for herself.

All had gone well in the run up to No Way Out, Alex had been well looked after by Cena, Batista and DX; all promising to be there if she needed a friend. For the actual show Cena and Batista teamed up with DX, to take on Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase; and two opponents of their choosing. But with Alex in their corner it would be Cena and his teammates who thought they had the upper hand, little did they know it would take one calling card from Mark to change that. Alex was already settled into her locker room when Cena came by, asking if all was alright and if she wanted company.

“I know you can look after yourself, but what kind of friend would I be if I did not worry?” John said, as he smiled and sat next to Alex.
“I know John, and thank you. I appreciate it.” Alex said softly as they talk in general and began to get ready for their match, soon however they were being joined by Batista and Gabby. The three friends spent a lot of time together chatting away and enjoying each other’s company, in truth it was all to help Alex forget about all that had been happening.

As the show began JBL came out to loud boos and jeers, standing in the ring glaring down at Michael who almost cowered behind Tazz; and began to call the Taker out.
“I thought tonight would be the perfect night for me to get rid of you Undertaker once and for all…” JBL began, seemingly ultra confident.

 “I’m ready to end this once and for all Taker, are you?” He went on, taking hold of a shovel from his big stretch limo; he told Mark of his plans.
“So this is how it goes, you and me. Buried Alive match. I know you like these matches, but I think you’ll find I always get what I want.” With his evil smile everyone knew he had something up his sleeve, had they been talking Alex would have begged Mark not to take the match.

“Oh and Taker, it’s for the title. If I win I get your title and you leave, if you win… well that won’t happen, so I won’t bother telling you.” JBL headed to the back, feeling like he had just already won the title. The moment Alex and the others heard, they all knew this could be the end for Taker.

“I have to find Mark, he has to call the match off.” Alex said, as she headed off in search of her friend. With Gabby and the others begging her not to try, she had hardly stepped out the door of her locker room when she saw it; Mark’s calling card. But this card was not like the one Alex would normally get, this time it was the same one that he gave to indicate death to the receiver; a single black rose. Looking to Cena and Batista, then Gabby; Alex almost managed to get inside before she began to cry.

“I just don’t understand it…” Shawn said, as he and Hunter headed for Alex’s locker room.
“Mark was so protective of her only a few months back, what could have changed so quickly?” Shawn continued, as they rounded the corner and saw Jillian being laid into again by JBL.

“Dunno Shawn, but you can betcha bottom dollar that he’s got something to do with it…” Hunter answered, as they both wished JBL had stay where he was as an announcer. With both Shawn and Hunter sat in Alex’s locker room, along with Cena and Batista; Alex knew she was safe. Trouble was that rose from Mark had really shaken her, she just could not understand that the man whom she had cried upon was this same person. In her heart she wanted to find him and see for herself just what had happened, but now she had her ‘bodyguards’ there was little chance for this.

“Come on John, I don’t think you need my help; especially if you have the help of the Boss…” Jillian pleaded, trying to find any excuse to not get involved. Truth was that since she and Tazz had become close, Jillian would do everything she could to avoid helping JBL out.
“All I want you to do is get Alex on her own, is that too much to ask for me sweet lips?” God how Jillian hated the way JBL spoke to her now, she used to dream of the days he would call her that; now she hated it. The only man she wanted to hear say it was Tazz, for someone who was; to all intents and purposes a thug, Tazz was deceptively tender and an incredible lover.

Every time he touched her, Jillian could feel her whole body tingle; she longed for his safe arms and tender touch.
“I’ll do what I can…” Was all she could say, as JBL headed off to the chairman’s office. Within seconds of JBL leaving, Jillian was in Tazz’s safe warm arms.
“Oh God how I hate that man Pete…” She began, wanting to get more out; but as they shared a true lover’s kiss somehow Jillian forgot all about what she wanted to say.

Silently he sat in the darken boiler room, somewhere deep in the bowels of the arena; the perfect place to bury them, Mark thought to himself. He had spent the past four to five weeks trying to become the Lord of Darkness again, and while he had most of it perfect; there was just one little thing that was being a problem to him… Alex. Deep inside him, Mark was still Mark and still had the same deep feelings for her as before. And no matter how hard he tried, he just could not stop them.

Damn it, how can I be the Dark Lord if I am falling for her, he thought to himself. In his heart, it was the last thing he wanted. However, in his mind, Taker knew what he had to do; he had to bury her as he had Paul Bearer. In his mind he knew why and what he had to do, his reasoning; maybe to convince himself was simple… she was the chink in his armour, while she was still part of his life there was no way he could win at Wrestlemania. If Mark had been thinking straight he would have realized that without her in his life, there would be no reason for the match. His heart and how he felt was clouding his judgment, so much so that the one person he was trying to fight for became the one person he tried to destroy.

“Now…” He gasped, kneeling in front of the cold dark “grave” that would be their and Mark’s final resting place.
“I offer myself to the darkness… Take me where you will. Be my Lord and Master…” As he began to finish what he had started, his heart broke into a million pieces; closing his eyes tightly as he lifted the dagger for a final time.
“I give my heart and soul to you Master…” He finally said, plunging the dagger deep into his chest; driving it through his broken heart and soul.

Dark red blood gushed from the wound in his chest, as he slumped to the ground, unable to breathe or focus. As his mouth was filled with his own blood he knew it would not be much longer and that he could no longer go back, his beautiful green eyes struggled to open as he watched all the blood drain from his body. With almost all the blood drained from his limp and lifeless body Undertaker was just able to see the moment when the blackness took over him, as he lay still he watched as the red blood now became black and seemingly began re-entering him; but the pain was almost too much for him to bear. Closing his eyes, any loose traces of Mark that may have been within him; were all but gone now.

As he sat up, he knew that by the end of the night the blackness would have him and he would have to kill the one he had loved more than life itself. The blackness was in his eyes and his body; though scarred was whole again. His heart no longer existed, his soul replaced by blackness and darkness he had vowed to never give in to again. As he continued to plot and plan Mark headed to Alex’s locker room, laying his calling card at her door. Walking away Mark’s heart broke completely; he had just delivered her death warrant, the woman he had loved since he first laid eyes upon her and he had served her notice.

Silently he sat huddled into a ball and softly cried, hiding himself away in the dark depths of the arena; hating the man he never wanted to become. Had he still had a heart, it would have certainly broke the moment he had left his calling card at her door. However, he was the beast he feared, knowing full well that there was a good chance Alex may not live to find out his true feelings for her.

The Undertaker stood, feeling the power flowing through him; it had worked, he had done what he swore he would never do. Now he truly was the Lord of Darkness, he had everything he needed to make his plan a success. But there was one thing he needed to do before he could set about his task, he needed to call for his protector.
“Come to me, for I have need of you now. I will ignore all your past sins, come to me at once…” He chanted as he closed his eyes and used his new power, and moments later the man was stood there looking stunned. He had been in bed moments ago and now he was here, wherever here was.

“Welcome old friend.” Undertaker said his voice cold and emotionless. Paul Bearer could only stare at him, wide-eyed and almost unable to believe what he was seeing. The change in both men seemingly shocked the other, it was obvious to Paul what Taker had done.
“You… you did it to yourself…” Paul began to say, unable to understand.
“You sacrificed yourself… why?” Paul had to ask, he needed to know. The Undertaker stared into Paul’s eyes and thought for a moment, he had know Paul for so long to lie to him would be wrong; but to tell him the truth was a risk he was unsure of taking.

“Because I wanted to…” He began, taking the remains of his old wrestling attire and discarding it.
“Because I am hurting and angry, I want revenge…” He continued to say, leaving Paul with no doubt what he was feeling.
“You do realise that…” Paul began, quickly be cut off by the Undertaker.
“I know Paul, that’s why you are here…” Raising his arms, the Undertaker… no, the Lord of Darkness spoke once more as the thunder roared.

“What do you want from me Lord?” Paul said, knowing in his heart that there was no denying him his wishes.
“I need you to help me Paul…” He began, handing over Alex’s picture to Paul.
“Only you can aid me, only you have the potential to survive the great darkness within me…” Stopping for a moment, Paul knew the girl in the picture was special; secretly he prayed she was not the one the Dark Lord wanted revenge on. As if he saw Paul’s questioning looks, the Lord of Darkness spoke.

“Protect her, at all costs; you must keep her safe…” As he answered Paul’s unasked question, a circle of black flames suddenly surrounded both men. In truth Paul wanted to ask why, but knew he could not; he had to do as he was asked.
“She is the only one who can save me Paul, no harm must ever come to her…” The Lord said, once again seemingly sensing Paul’s questions. Holding out his hand, Paul knew what was needed of him next.

“Together again eh?” Paul asked, trying to make humour of the moment.
“Seems we’ll always be together… I guess I will never get away.” Paul said, shuddering as he looked into the black eyes of the man he had once call his best friend.
“Very true Paul, very true.” The Lord of Darkness laughed as he took Paul’s hand and coated it with thick black blood, turning on his heels and heading through the black flames before speaking once more.

“I shall be back to this mortal world very soon, I expect you to be waiting.”  And with that Paul was left; alone and wondering what the hell was about to happen next. Mark was no more, the Lord of Darkness had replaced him and all hell was about to be unleashed. All Paul really knew was that this girl in the picture was more than likely the cause for Undertaker’s presence state, but something in Paul knew she was also his reason for living too. 

The Lord of Darkness had accomplished much thus far, standing there silently he allowed his mind to wonder if he would regret his decision. He knew the price he had to pay was normally worth the power, but this time he stood to loose much more. The only way he could ever go back to his normal state was through the very human emotion of love, and this he knew could be his undoing. The only one who could love him was the one he may have to destroy; God how he hoped and prayed this would not be the case.

He had not felt human in a long time anyway, it was only Alex that made he feel like a man; but right now he needed to be the Demon, he needed to be in the darkness of hell; in short he needed the blackness within him. And yet, the wings that had so often appeared on him were still there, clear and shimmering; glowing with a pure white bright light. However, as the night began to close in for him they began to fade away; their pureness threatening to be extinguished forever.

In his mind the man Mark and indeed the Undertaker had to die for him to be able to get the revenge he wanted and needed so much, but had he been thinking straight he would have seen this would do nothing but cause the one he loved more pain. By the end of the night no one could have predicted that Undertaker would turn into the Lord of Darkness once again or that he would end up on the brink of killing the one he loved, and no one would have seen Alex falling for the man she thought still existed; she would never realise until too late that Mark was almost lost to her.

Before Alex had the chance to seek out Mark both Michael and Tazz came to see her, asking her to promise that she was okay.
“Guys, I’m fine… I promise everything will be fine.” Alex said, giving both Tazz and Michael a loving smile; none of them aware of what was due to happen that night. But none of them had much chance to think about what would happen later as Alex and the guys had their match next, heading to the ring with Cena and Batista either side of her Alex never saw him watching them from in the shadows. As Alex stood watching Cena and Batista joined by DX, she had no idea that in just 60 minutes she would be on the brink of life and death; longing for her hero to save her.

As the all did their routine Alex looked to be happy and smiling, making Mark’s anger rise; here he was going through hell and there she was, enjoying herself. In truth Alex was far from happy, she wanted her heart and mind to be with Michael; but she knew after what John said it would never be his anymore. Her heart was beginning to fall for Mark, the man that was her hero and the man she could always trust; couldn’t she? As Rhodes and DiBiase headed to the ring they waited on their partners for the evening, Paul Burchill and the returning Chuck Palumbo; who after missing months with injury had much to prove.

The match got underway and was full of fast paced action, with Alex looking on and cheering her friends on from the side lines no one had any clue what was about to happen. About half way through the match Cody Rhodes looked to be getting the better of HBK, who not only had started out the match but was also taking all the punishment from the other team.  Then the lights went out, the whole arena went wild. Those in the ring however did not, more worried about Alex than anything else. Cena was first to Alex’s side, in his mind it was just that he was closer; to Mark it was like a red rag to a bull.

When the lights came back on everything seemed to be normal, but it was Cena who noticed it first. Alex was stuck frozen to the spot, focused upon one thing in her hand. The confusion ringside was almost too much for HBK to bare, who wanted to make sure Alex was okay, but also needed the tag. Finally able to make the tag with Batista, Shawn tried to be of help to Alex; who is still stuck fast to the spot. In the distance Alex hears her friend’s pleas and concern, but all she really sees is the rose in her hand. Even when the lights had gone out, even though her friends were afraid; Alex was not.

After all it was Mark, he always promised she would never need fear him. But now, she didn’t know what to believe; her heart racing with fear pacing through her mind. After hitting a huge spear and spine buster, Batista picks up the win for his team. As they celebrate in the ring Cena is the one who hugs and celebrates with Alex; who warmly accepts the hug. Seconds later there is a huge thunderbolt of lightning which strikes the entrance ramp twice, then the lights go out once more; leaving Cena clinging to Alex with all he has and both Tazz and Michael fearful for what is about to happen. In the blackness Alex knew John has hold of her but felt the wind brush past her, causing her to softly call out his name.

“Mark, please?” Alex wanted to run into his arms, wanted him to make her safe; but the coldness in the air told her this man would not allow that to happen. As the lights came back on Cena was, at first pleased and thankful Alex was still with him. And the he saw the third black rose, taking her in his arms quickly; Cena carried Alex back to their dressing room and hopefully to safety.

“Sweetheart stay here, I’ll go get Michael…” John said softly, trying to be the good friend. Nodding but not really taking it all in, Alex stood alone in her locker room; allowing the silence and fear to overtake her. Everything she thought, everything she felt and knew had been turned upside down and now Alex had no idea what was up and what was down. Her heart needed to be with Mark, inside her heart he was still the same person that had become her hero. But her mind and senses were screaming at her to walk away, this Mark had seemingly threw aside their friendship and was hell bent on destroying her.

None of it made any sense, the only thing Alex was certain of was that she would not wait to find out her fate; she had to have some control. Against her better judgment Alex headed off to seek out Mark, bumping into Jillian on her way.
“Are you okay Alex? Me and Pete have been so worried about you…” She asked, hugging Alex close in a warm and genuine embrace; seemingly genuinely concerned. Nodding the two women passed the time of day before Alex said she needed to go, Jillian was not a fool she knew what was happening. Mark turning into a heel was one thing, but how JBL sounded it would become quickly clear to Jillian that John Bradshaw Layfield had more than one trick up his sleeve.

 “Please be careful Alex, JBL wants me to get you out into the open; I think he is planning something!” Jillian hugged Alex to her warmly once more and then left, leaving Alex afraid. For the first time since her college days Alex was scared, if she had been thinking straight she would have gone running to Michael and stayed with him.

But something about what Cena had said about Mark began to get her mind thinking, why won’t my heart tell me what to do Alex thought as she searched for Mark. As she walked further away from the safe confines of her locker room and deeper into the bowels of the arena, Alex’s mind was already too busy working overtime to see the dangers that lay ahead. Meanwhile, Taker and JBL began to fight in the ring and had been doing so for a good 20 minutes as Alex walked further and further into the trap.

Soon Taker and JBL were out of the ring and the fight was heading all over the arena, and heading towards the direction of Alex who was unaware to all that was going on. Alex’s friends had finally found Cole; but now seemingly had lost Alex, but moments later they would find out where she was. Alex was not sure what she saw first, the dangers or Vince’s cold rough hands grabbing her from behind.
“You think you are gonna embarrass me huh?” He angrily seethed into Alex’s ear, leaving her with no doubt she was in trouble.
“Well, you’re gonna pay!” He added as Alex watched Mark being beaten to a pulp by JBL, who was headed for them.

“Look who we found Taker… it’s your little friend.” JBL sneered at Mark as he gave him a hard Irish whip into a steel doorway, causing Mark to cry out; as Alex saw Mark’s pain, she had to call out to him.
“Mark…” As he heard her cry for him, Mark knew he needed to end this. In the moment that JBL had stopped for two seconds to taunt Mark, Mark had almost kicked his head off and laid JBL out on the floor. With Mark’s focus on Vince’s direction, no one knew it was actually Alex he would go for.

But before he had a chance, Alex was calling for him; alerting him to the fact he needed to put JBL away. As Mark took hold of the lead pipe nearby he knew what was needed, and without missing a beat he did his job. Burying Alive JBL and winning the match, everyone in the arena knew things were not finished. As Mark coldly headed towards Alex, it suddenly dawned on her that this was indeed not Mark. Now she had fear in her eyes, now she was afraid of this man stood in front of her. If Mark had looked into her eyes, he would have seen the fear; but of course he knew that. His heart was breaking, but Mark could not allow himself to feel the pain yet. Mark was within easy reach of Alex who was trying not to cry, when she called out to him; alerting him of trouble.

“Mark look out…” Alex may have been scared but, at least she still had some trust left for Mark; Vince was a different matter. Within seconds Mark had stopped Vince from using the same lead pipe he had taken JBL out with, and with a rage he had not felt often Mark took all his anger; pain; hurt and frustrations out on Vince. With Alex cowering in the corner she watched how Mark turned into this violent angry machine, beating Vince to within an inch of his life. Looking at his handy work Mark realized Alex was still cowering in the corner and had seen all that he had done, turning his attentions to her she had no idea what was about to happen. Never looking at her Mark could feel her fear, with each step his heart broke even more. Even though she was scared to death of this bloody figure stood towering over her, Alex allowed her heart to act.

“Oh God Mark, I am so glad you are okay…” She began, the way he looked at her told her things were different.
“Mark?” Alex said questioningly, as she got up and dusted herself off. There was nothing in his eyes but darkness; it was something Alex had never seen before. Without another word Mark had thrown Alex over his shoulder and carried her away, disappearing into the blackness of the arena. Alex’s heart was too scared to beat, the fear she felt was being felt by all Alex’s friends too.

“Oh Dave, tell me she’ll be okay?” Gabby tearfully sobbed into Batista’s chest, hugging her close was the only answer Dave could give her. Cena had spent most the time looking for Michael, but then when Alex needed him most John found out just where Michael was.
“I’ll look after you Linda, you know I have always cared for you…” Michael said softly as he touched Linda’s arm tenderly, as Cena began to walk away he caught sight of a television monitor; watching as Taker almost dragging Alex away
“Mark, what is it? This is me, Alex… Mark?” Alex tried to get through to him, as he tossed her onto the mattress on the cold hard floor. He knew what he had to do; doing it though was another matter.

“Shut up… I am not your friend.” Mark said coldly, his mind telling him to do it; his heart still begging him not to.
“For me to win at Wrestlemania I need to be flawless…” Mark began, staring at the floor and never looking to Alex.
“You are the chink in my armour and I need to get rid of it.” Mark continued, not wanting to look up; knowing the moment that he did he would loose the blackness completely.

“How can you say I am your chink, Mark I thought we gave each other strength?” Alex said, speaking from the heart rather than allowing the fear she felt inside to show through.
“You are my weakness, I must destroy all my weaknesses…” Mark began to say, trying to fight with his inner demons. Coming towards her, Alex knew he had evil intentions on his mind. Still she could not, or would not believe that Mark was lost to her.

“Look at me Mark, please look me in the eyes…” Boldly Alex touched his face softly, his eyes shot open and fixed upon her own.
“You want me gone Mark? Fine, but look me in the eyes as you do; don’t be a coward towards me!” Alex seethed angrily, seemingly from out of nowhere. Her anger seemed to be from the fact that he felt she was worthless, in truth of course it was far from the truth.

“If I don’t do this, I cannot win at Wrestlemania!” Mark said softly, looking away.
“And if you do this what are you fighting for then Mark?” Alex said, her anger dying down. Her words rang true for Mark, but still he had to stop his weakness.
“How can you do this Mark? What happened to the man I was falling in love with…” Alex began, not realizing until too late that her heart; did indeed belong to Mark.
“That’s why I have to…” Mark began, his voice trailing off as he looked into Alex’s eyes. He saw fear, compassion, hurt and love; she cannot fall in love with me! Mark thought, his heart finally seeing that she too; felt the same way.

“Then do it, Mark for you I will do anything. Because I love you, but I cannot be afraid of you!” Alex said honestly, looking up into Mark’s eyes.
“Mark understand that there is no way you can go win the Wrestlemania match, if I am no longer here; there is no reason for you to fight.” Alex finished saying, turning her head away to cry. Not ready for Mark’s next move. Once again he threw Alex over his shoulder, this time taking her back to his house on the beach.

For the past two hours since Taker had took Alex; Cena led the constant calls and texts to her cell phone, trying with all he had to find her. With Dave giving as much comfort as he could to Gabby, it was down to Cena to make the calls as Hunter and Shawn trawled everywhere they could think of to find Alex. With Tazz and Jillian trying to lend any support that they could, the only one not there was Michael. Michael was doing what his heart was telling him to do, he was being the hero he had promised Linda he always would be.

“Thank you for staying with me Michael, I’m glad you are here.” Linda said softly, as she laid her head upon his shoulder. She knew it was wrong to feel this way, but there was something about Michael that appealed to her. As happy as she was with the off screen Vince she was married too, there was something she got from Michael that she could never find in Vince no matter how hard she tried.

“Hey you know I meant what I said Linda, I will always be your hero…” Michael said softly as he held her hand, closing his eyes for a moment he enjoyed the feeling of her leaning on him. In his mind, Michael still loved and cared for Alex; his heart however was telling him different. However, seeing how John Cena and Mark seemed so close to her, who was Michael kidding to say that it was going to work out between him and Alex. In truth things between them had not been brilliant since she had been drafted back to RAW, even that week they spent together had not helped them.

“Oh Michael, I don’t want to stay here… will you take me back to the hotel?” Linda said, her tears threatening to fall. Nodding, Michael led Linda off to his car; unaware that they would both find themselves standing on that brink.

“Alex honey, we are all so worried about you; call us if you can please.” Cena said for what seemed like the fiftieth time, looking to Dave who was holding a sobbing Gabby in his arms.
“Look, Taker could have finished the job earlier…” John tried to say, quickly shutting up again. With Dave and both Hunter and Shawn glaring at him, in his mind John knew what he meant but obviously was not making himself clear.

“I’m sorry guys, I just…” John began, trying to find the right words he needed. Thankfully he was saved by Jillian and Tazz turning up, they all knew what had happened; all had seen how Taker took a scared Alex away.
“Any luck?” Tazz said, as he sat on the couch; close to Jillian.
“Nothing… we have all tried everything and everywhere.” John said, thankful Tazz had taken some of the heat from him.

“Has anyone seen Cole?” Tazz said, making all aware that the one person who needed to be there was not. Before anyone had the chance to answer the door had swung open and in walked an unlikely friend, he was met with not only contempt but also suspicion.
“Look, I know I am the last person you guys want to or expected to see; but I had to come.” Orton said, checking behind him; aware that his job and life could be on the line.

“Truth is I can’t just stay silent anymore, I know my livelihood is on the line; but I want to help.” Orton said honestly, deep down and despite everything; Randy knew that what happened to Alex was way out of line.
“Cole is with Linda, I think they are still at the hospital; I don’t know where Alex is.” Randy said, realizing that there was more to this than met the eye. None of the friends quite knew what to make of Orton or his statements, but all could tell he was being honest.

“What the hell is Cole playing at?” Tazz said, his anger rising. He had known Michael for years, the two were essentially best friends; so they knew each other inside out. Which is why Tazz could not understand why Cole was so intent on playing with fire and hurting Alex in this way, truth be told he never really needed to ask what Cole was doing; he already knew.

“Surely he couldn’t be, you know… could he?” Cena said, not wanting to think about it; but then his mind went back to their conversation before Taker took Alex.
“Tell me how I can help?” Randy said, realizing that he had come this far and could no longer go back.
“We have to find Alex, she cannot find out about this!” Dave said, looking to a nodding Randy; seemingly promising all the help they needed.
“What about Cole?” Tazz said, looking to Dave who was silently trying to say what he really felt.

“I don’t know, but I think you two should find them and keep an eye on them.” Tazz knew what Dave meant, in truth so did the whole room. With Shawn and Hunter heading off, followed by Cena and Orton; it left the two couples together for a moment.
“I think John knows more than he is letting on.” Gabby said, looking to first Dave and then Tazz.

“Something about his words, I think something bad is going to happen.” She continued, clinging onto Dave with all she had; the last thing she wanted was to loose her best friend.
“Come on sweetheart, Alex will be okay.” Dave said, wishing he actually believed himself.

No matter how hard she tried Linda could not shift the longing she had deep within her, lord knows it had been years since her husband had took such care over her. Michael was always the type of gentleman that would make sure the lady was safe first, above all else the lady came first. They had taken a long drive back to the hotel, stopping off once to get refreshments. This gave Tazz, Jillian and Orton the chance to get to the hotel just before Michael and Linda. In his mind all he was doing was showing Linda to her room, but as Orton watched he knew it was something more than that.

“Cole’s just taken Linda to her room, Alex doesn’t deserve this…” Orton said as Tazz and Jillian came over, having just come from checking Alex’s hotel room. Tazz was in favour of storming up into her room and beating the crap out of Cole, but it was Jillian’s cooler head that made him listen to Randy and wait; all three heading up to Linda’s room.

“Oh Michael I can’t thank you enough for all you have been to me…” Linda began, cautious and careful not to overstep the mark. Handing her a glass of bourbon Michael knew in his mind what he wanted, but as he downed the glass of bourbon he had in his hand Michael began to think with something other than his brain.

“You know Michael; ever since that day you came to my rescue I have always had feelings for you…” Linda began, sitting close to him on the bed. Linda was sure Michael felt the same for her as she did for him, so taking a chance she made her move; softly kissing his cheek, not moving as he turned to face her.

“Oh God Linda, I love you…” Was all Michael could breathlessly say as he moved closer and the two began to kiss passionately, both being driven by something neither felt they could control. Although when his night started Michael’s mind was on Alex, now he found that she was the last thing on his mind; as their relationship seemed to be over, his and Linda’s was just beginning.

In the three years she had known him, Alex had often heard Mark talk about how much he loved the sea and the beach; he would always talk of how calm and chilled he felt there. Now as she sat in the darken room of his beach house all Alex could do was fear his intentions, the man she was with still was not the Mark she knew. He had not spoken since they had left the boiler room in the arena; any attempt at conversation Alex had made was just blanked. Mark would not talk nor answer her questions, but if she tried to leave he would stop her.

“Mark, please talk to me or let me go!” Alex pleaded for like the hundredth time, still there was silence. Nothing in Mark’s eyes showed he cared still, but the fact he had not hurt her did. After a long moment of silence, Mark finally spoke.
“I’m not Mark…” He began, being cut off before he could finish.
“Yeah I know, you are the Lord of Darkness; what you want me to fear you or beg you?” Alex said defiantly, there was nothing in his eyes; he was seemingly no longer Mark.

“You will fear me and you will beg me to let you go…” Mark seethed into Alex’s face with as much menace as he could muster, still Alex was adamant she would not fear this man.
“Inside of you, I know you are still Mark. I will not fear that man, and I will not beg!” Alex said, trying not to be afraid as she looked Mark deep in the eye. Within seconds Mark’s huge hand was around Alex’s neck, he tighten his grip slightly as he pushed her up against a wall.

“Beg me to stop!” He commanded, now the blackness had him; he had to go where it led him.
“Never…” Alex began, as tears fell from her eyes.
“I cannot fear the man that loves me, the man who promised me he would protect me forever.” As his grip tightened, Alex felt him lift her off the ground. After all she had been through this should have scared her enough to beg, but it did not.

Before she had the chance to say anything more Alex watched as the room changed into something that resembled a gothic church and altar, her heart was beating in her chest so loud now that she thought he would see it. Alex could feel the life being squeezed out of her body and if she was honest, she was scared to death. She knew that Mark was no longer than man she had just fallen for, she knew he was not about to stop.

“Mark…” Alex began her breath ragged and raspy.
“I love you Mark, kill me if you must; but know I will never fear you…” Alex felt so lightheaded, as he continued to squeeze and lift her from the ground. With all the strength left in her body she reached out, touching his cheek softly. Wiping the tear he never knew had fallen, she looked into his eyes; whispering that she loved him before shutting her eyes. As her eyes closed the Lord won, Mark dropped Alex to the ground.

“Paul, come to me now old friend…” The Lord said, closing his eyes and summoning his old friend to his side. Within seconds Paul was by his Lord’s side, as soon as he saw Alex’s limp almost lifeless body lying there; he knew the Lord was out of control.
“Mark, she is the one…” Paul said softly, not sure how he could fix this mess that confronted him. For a moment his heart did not beat, as it began to dawn on him she would rather die than be afraid of him; Mark began to regain his senses.

“Paul… save me!” Was all he could manage to say, before he fell to his knees. Trying to not allow his tears to fall, Taker tried to focus on her words before he had let her go; he tired to hear her saying that she loved him, he knew it was the only way he could be saved.

With Paul trying to bring Taker back from the blackness, he was worried that the girl who could save his friend would not survive. Paul had seen her willing to die rather than fear a man that, by rights everyone feared; Paul knew she was the one who had Mark’s heart, now all he needed to do was get her to come back to him. Placing the black bloodied hand upon her chest, Paul was shocked how the blackness disappeared and was replaced by pure red blood. He had never seen anything like this before; surely she was not like them.

“Look… my hand.” Paul said, showing it to Taker who just managed to blink a few times as he tried to take it all in.
“What is her name?” Paul asked, more than a little aware this was technically impossible.
“Alexandra, but her stage name is Angel De Vil.” Mark said softly, looking to the woman who had his heart and world in her limp hands.

“Mark, you know what this means don’t you?” Paul replied, as he walked over to Mark’s side.
“She is the one who will save you Mark, but you need to save her!” Paul said, before he seemingly disappeared into the night; leaving Mark very alone and scared.

“Oh God, baby girl… please!” Taker said, picking her up into his arms; begging that she would not leave him. Laying her on his bed, softly and tenderly he nursed her as best he could. Coming round for a moment she saw the concern in his eyes and knew it was Mark with her; softly he touched her cheek as he spoke.
“Forgive me my beautiful angel?” it was not something she had planned but it felt right, leaning forward she softly kissed his lips; caressing his strong jaw line as she did so.

“Do you really love me Alex?” Mark began, gently pulling her into his big strong embrace.
“I always have, I just never saw it…” With those words, Alex knew she would never need to fear Mark again; his heart truly belonged to her.
“I am so, so sorry my dear sweet beautiful friend…” Mark began, lying on his bed next to her.
“I could never, will never stay mad at you Mark…” Alex said softly, curling up into his big strong arms. The two fell asleep for a while, neither realizing what lay ahead for them. As Mark watched Alex sleep his heart began to mend, hating the man he was becoming and all that he nearly did.

“I will love you always my beautiful friend, forgive me.” Mark softly whispered as he tenderly kissed her cheek, slowly and silently he slipped off the bed and headed outside. Sitting outside, Mark looked out to sea; thinking about all that had led him to this moment. In his mind he had so very nearly destroyed the one woman he needed the most, but more than that he had broken the heart of the one he loved. He knew the moment she had told him she was falling that she loved him, it was in her eyes; Alex always had the most revealing eyes.

Mark had no idea that Alex’s friends would be on their way to find her, he also had no idea Cole was with Linda.
“Mark?” Alex said softly, sitting next to him and cuddling up into his arms.
“I woke and you were not there, I worried…” Alex began; softly Mark pulled her closer and spoke.
“It’s okay Alex; I just wanted to think…” It felt so right for both of them that their guards were already down when the doorbell rang, Alex had no idea what was about to happen; Mark however was aware something was wrong.

“Come on Taker, we know you’re in there!” Orton shouted, taking the lead from Cena who was ready to do some fighting. With Tazz and Jillian monitoring Michael and Linda, Dave looking after Gabby; it was left to the Cena and Orton to almost team with DX to find Alex and Taker. Mark was about to just let them in when Alex stopped him, taking him back into the bedroom.

“They think you are still the Dark Lord; Mark, they think you have hurt me!” Alex said, softly caressing his cheek. With her words his heart sank, thinking of what he could have done; had she not had faith in him.

“We’ll head round the back, come on Shawn.” Hunter said, leading his friend to the back; leaving Orton and Cena at the front.
“Come on Taker, we are not leaving without Alex…” John said, the fear in his voice evident.
 “When are you going to tell Alex what you heard about Cole and Linda?” Randy said, looking around to see what he could find.

“I dunno, I just hope I get the chance to tell her I…” Cena stopped himself, admitting that he had feelings for her was the last thing he could do; secretly he hoped he would at least get the chance to make that choice. Randy thought for a long time before he spoke, just thankful that Alex would be safe with John.
“And when are you going to tell her you are in love with her?” There was an instant silence between the two men; John had been banging on the door when he stopped in shock at someone knowing what he felt inside.

“Is it that obvious?” John said softly, aware that the path he was on could lead to trouble. Nodding, Randy spoke once more.
“You are a good guy John, but not even you would have gone to all this trouble for just some girl.” Both men knew Randy was correct, now John just hoped he had the chance to tell her how he felt.
“Alex deserves better than Cole, especially if he is going to end up screwing the Bosses wife!” John added, as the two men continued trying to get an answer from Taker’s door.

“Look Hunter, in there… I think there are people moving about.” Shawn whispered, alerting Hunter to inside the house. Neither figure was clear, both seemingly just shadowy figures. As the four men tried to gain access, inside Mark and Alex tried to think fast.

“Let me go and face them Alex, it is me they want.” Mark pleaded, as he held Alex close.
“No Mark, I cannot stand the thought of losing you!” Alex said, softly caressing his cheek; trying her hardest not to cry.
“So what do we do beautiful?” Mark asked as he tenderly caressed her soft body, causing her body to shiver.

“Let me go Mark, at least then they can see I am safe…” Alex replied, softly kissing Mark’s fears away as he nodded against her lips. Heading to the front door, Alex could not help but worry about what was going to happen. She had seemingly found her soul mate and now faced loosing him again, admittedly when she first met Michael she truly believed he was the one; but with all that had happened she was now no longer sure.

“Come on Taker, open up… we are here for Alex.” John called as he banged on the door once more, opening the door slightly Alex went and opened the back door for Hunter and Shawn; heading for the sofa and sitting down. As she sat there they all cautiously walked in, all expecting and fearing the worse.
“Alex, are you okay?” John began to say, looking for any hint that Taker had hurt her. The place was in darkness and none of them knew where Taker was, Orton searched for the lights as the others kept watch.

“I’m fine John, Mark never hurt me.” Alex began, as the lights came on she hid her face; afraid they would see her tears falling.
“The guy that took you was not Mark; it was not the guy that was your; our friend…” Shawn said, looking around; aware that Taker was more than likely still in the house.

“But the guy I was here with WAS Shawn, he is still Mark…” Alex said, looking up for the first time since they had come in.
“Where’s Michael?” Alex asked, looking to them all in turn.

It was the one thing they all had been dreading, none of them wanted to be the one who told her the man she thought loved her was with the bosses wife; but someone had to say something. Taking a deep breath, Randy spoke.
“He’s with Linda… I am so, so sorry Alex; you deserve better than that.” As she looked to Orton he could tell what was going through her mind, almost as if to make allowances for it he spoke again.

“I know I am the last person who you thought you would see, but what JBL and Vince have been doing to you is out of order.” He wanted to say more but found himself unable to, watching how Alex’s shock set in.
“I need to be alone for a while guys, I’ll be safe; I promise!” Alex said as she tried to smile a smile that would never reach her lips, without giving them a chance to reply she headed out to the beach.

“So what now?” Shawn said, looking to the three other men who like him were left just stood there.
“Tell me more about Cole and Linda?” His dark voice seemingly coming from out of the shadows, Mark moved into the light.

“Why the hell should we tell you, a man that took Alex…” Hunter said, trying to be the brave and strong one. Staring him in the eye Mark’s expression never changed for a moment, then his eyes softened and he spoke.
“Because I love her, and I want her happiness.” It was the first time in a long while that Mark had even been so ‘out of character’ in front of other superstars, he was out of his depth and needed his beautiful friend by his side.

“He took Linda home from the hospital, none of us are certain; but I think they have slept together.” Orton said, trying not to fear the man that was still such a towering presence. Mark wanted to beat the holy hell out of Michael for betraying Alex, but in truth all he could do was sit down with his head in his hands. The four other guys had no idea how to handle what they were seeing, a man who rarely broke character was sat almost in tears in front of them. Outside, Alex sat looking out to sea trying to piece things together.

Her heart and mind were telling her so many different things she had no idea what she should do, Mark had been with her through so much. But Michael was the reason her friends had begun this fight, a fight she now began to feel she could not win. John came out and sat by Alex’s side, both were silent for a while.
“So what happens now?” Alex said softly, trying not to let her tears fall; failing miserably.
“I guess you come back and we try sort things out…” John began, before Alex cut him off.

“I am safe here with Mark, he will not hurt me John.” Trying to smile, Alex knew it would never reach her lips. As the two head back inside Alex was confronted by Shawn, Hunter and Randy all looking at Mark; who was seemingly crying his eyes out on the sofa.
“Come on Mark, its okay.” Alex said as she went to his side, placing an arm round him for comfort.

“Look we all need to concentrate on Wrestlemania, Randy you being here has changed everything.” Alex began, knowing that right at this moment she needed to be the strong one, whatever relationship she may still have with Michael needed to wait.
“Does Edge know you are here with us Randy?” John asked the question seemingly on everyone’s lips, shaking his head Randy answered.

“Not really, but he too knows what Vince and JBL were doing was wrong.” As Randy and the three men talk, Alex walks with Mark outside.
“So where do we go from here?” Mark asks softly, not wanting to push the matter further than it needed to go. His heart had always belonged to Alex, all he wanted was her happiness; but at what cost.

“I don’t know Mark, everything is all messed up! All I wanted was to be happy and come back home to Smackdown, now I just seem to be losing everything.” Alex said, as she tried not to cry.
“We’ll be okay honey, we’ll be okay.” Mark said softly, as he gently pulled Alex into his arms; the two friends enjoying the moment.
Alex, we’ve been thinking…” Shawn began, as Mark and Alex came back inside.

“If the Hell in a Cell continues as normal, maybe Randy can find a way out of it. Jillian has, she’s helping us out.” He continued, still unsure if he; and the others could trust Mark again. Looking to Alex, Mark nodded and spoke.
“Worth a shot, we just have to find a way of getting them out of the match.” Mark joined the others on the couch, as they began to plot their next moves. The only one who was not part of the conversations was Alex, she needed sometime alone. As her heart broke all Alex could do was think about Michael, and where he was; wondering if he was indeed with Linda.

“Michael baby, when you get this message; please call me. I am okay, Mark is back with us; but I think we need to talk.” Alex left her message on Michael’s cell phone, as she hung up her heart could no longer deny that they may not be able to make it.

As Linda lay sleeping, Michael sat staring at his cell phone. As an exhausted Linda slept, Michael had been racked with a guilt he had never felt before; how could I do this to her? She is my life! Was all that went through his mind, and as he had checked his cell and found her message; his heart broke. He admitted that he cared for Linda, but to say he loved her was wrong; his heart still belonged to Alex.

He must have been sat here for a good while when he felt Linda stir beside him, feeling dirty and hating himself all he could do was dress quickly and leave; longing to be in the warm sanctuary of Alex’s arms again. Walking back to his hotel room Michael could not get the thoughts from his mind that he and Alex were over, and it broke his heart. He had spent five years being in love with her, had only been able to tell her less than ten months ago; they had not even been able to get past a year together!

Michael was back in his room and trying to shower away the guilt he felt; as he began to sob he never heard the door go. He was out of the shower and about to walk into the bedroom when he heard something outside, looking in he saw Tazz and knew he had some talking to do. Before he had the chance to speak, Tazz had punched him squarely in the jaw. For a moment they sat in silence, Tazz rubbing his fist and Michael rubbing his jaw.

“I’m sorry Pete, I deserved that.” Michael said quietly, getting up and sitting next to Tazz.
“You’re damn right…” Was all Tazz could say for a moment, trying not to let his emotions get the better of him.
“What the hell is wrong with you Mike? I mean of all the people you go jump into bed with Linda for fuck sake!” Tazz did his best to control his rage, knowing the last thing Alex needed was this.

“I’m sorry Pete, I know I screwed up. Ever since Alex was drafted back to RAW, we just can’t seem to make it right…” Michael began, trying to explain knowing that in truth he was only making it worse.

“That’s no excuse damn it…” Tazz said, getting up and trying to walk off the rage he felt inside. Alex had been through hell to be with Michael, all their friends had been through hell for them both.
“Mike after all that we have been through was for you and Alex, what the hell is wrong with you.” Tazz said as he turned to look at Michael, who just sat there looking as if he was about to burst into tears.

“How do I fix this Pete?” Michael said quietly, praying all was not lost.
“I don’t know Mike. You know Mark is in love with her don’t you?” Tazz hated the thought of his friend getting hurt, but he could not stay silent on the matter any longer. Michael just sat there, his heart now understanding what his mind had been saying for the past few months. Mark had always been close to Alex, but with things the way they had been between her and Michael; his mind always felt something like this would happen.

“Did you hear what I said Mike? I don’t think he is the only one who has feelings for Alex either…” Maybe Tazz said it because he wanted to get Michael to act, maybe to try to make him see sense; but Tazz spoke the words others could or would not.
“I heard you Pete, I just…” Michael began to say, not sure what to say let alone what he felt.

“Maybe… maybe she is better off with Mark.” Michael said softly, trying not to cry. He sat there trying to piece together the broken pieces of his life and cried, cried for his wife and child that died; for Alex and for the mess he now found himself in.
“She knew Mike, when she sent you that message; she knew!” Tazz said, sighing deeply; not sure himself how his friend could make things right.

“She knew, but has seemingly chosen to try save your relationship Mike.” With Tazz’s last words Michael looked up, a glimmer of something in his eyes.

Sighing deeply Michael knew he had much work ahead of him, first of though he needed to make things right with their friends. It would be Wrestlemania in five weeks and with everyone busy trying to plan their next moves, neither Alex nor Michael had much time to mend their relationship.

“You need to take a break Alex, why not go see Michael?” John said, figuring he was trying to be helpful; unaware that Alex was doing this to get out of facing her troubles.
“I know we need it John, but I am nowhere near prepared for Wrestlemania. This is a really big thing for me, and Mark!” Alex replied, hoping John would understand; thankfully he did.

“Okay honey; just remember to holler if you need me okay?” John hugged Alex warmly, feeling a mix of sadness and gladness; he was happy she and Michael were trying to sort things out, sad because he too had lost his heart to her. The original plan was for Mark to face JBL, Vince, Rated RKO and Kenny in a Hell in a Cell match. But with Randy being on their side and Vince seemingly ‘Buried Alive’ it left Mark with somewhat of a problem, all he wanted was Alex back on Smackdown with him; but even that was causing problems.

“I guess we could just haul JBL back to the ring and kick his butt once more?” Alex began, as the two were joined in their locker room by their friends; something that had been happening a lot of late.
“What about Vince? And Edge for that matter.” Mark said softly, his green eyes growing darker.

Truth be told Mark still wanted to punish Vince for what he did to Alex, but he had an ulterior motive for his actions too.
“I guess you would need a tag team partner then? Especially if you are going down that route…” Dave began, as he softly caressed his girlfriend; Gabby.

Ever since they had met Dave knew Gabby was the one for him, he had not felt this way about a woman for a long time; in fact the only other woman was his late wife. Dave was so taken by Gabby he had, on many occasions asked her to marry him. Each time of course Gabby said no, unsure if she was ready to be married; or for that matter the wife of a wrestler. Gabby had, like Alex been through a lot. Her experiences as a young girl growing up in a violent and abusive household had all but destroyed her, a terrifying gang rape when she was at college left her finding it hard to trust people; especially men.

But then again Dave had not had a brilliant up bringing either, in that respect they had so much in common. Dave had been in and out of care homes since he could remember, his heart broken too many time and trust betrayed too many times. People saw this big tough guy and called him an animal, not many saw past that; but Gabby could. And that is why he loved her with everything he had, and knew that she was the one he wanted to spend forever with.
“I never realized you wanted to kick the Bosses ass so much Dave!” John joked with his friend, smiling back Dave answered.

“I just want to make someone pay for hurting Alex…” Alex blushed, smiling at Gabby she knew in her heart it would not be long before the two married.
“Someone needs to send a message to Vince and JBL, maybe he needs to be softened up a little?” Dave continued, looking to Mark who was already nodding that he liked the idea. The silence in the room was making everyone feel awkward, especially Alex; who longed for things to get back to normal. It was only Stephanie McMahon knocking on the door that broke the tension, walking in she looked around the room; the only one not here is Cole, she thought to herself.

“Alex it is good to have you back, you too Mark…” She began to say, Mark all too aware that this was not about to be a nice conversation for him or Alex.
“What is it you want Steph?” Hunter asked his off screen wife, the two had long since been divorced on screen; but the fans knew the truth.
“Well, since my Dad is in no fit state to continue and nor is JBL; I and my family feel that the Hell in a Cell should be pulled from the card.” Steph knew she was taking her life into her hands, especially with Mark so close by; everyone knew he wanted revenge and would not stop until he had it.

“So you are going to draft Alex back to Smackdown?” Mark said strongly, trying not to allow his temper to rise.
“No Mark, she still has to stay on RAW. People like her there; they enjoy seeing her each week.” Steph tried to defuse the ever-growing problem that could break out, she was well aware Mark wanted her back on Smackdown; truth was she was better used on Smackdown. But the ruling stood, her mother had made that abundantly clear.

“No deal, your Daddy’s gonna pay until Alex comes back home to Smackdown.” Mark’s dark words would stay with Steph for a long time to come, she also knew Mark was 100 per cent serious and would not back down on this.
“Mark, don’t do this. This is my father we are talking about, can we not talk about it?” Steph pleaded, knowing it would all be in vain.

“No can do Steph, I want Alex back here on Smackdown with me. It’s your choice as to how that happens!” Mark stood, slowly walking towards Steph as she backed out of the locker room.
“Guys, could you all give me and Alex a moment? Pete will you stay…” Mark said, as he held the door open for the others, Alex had to admit that she was a little worried; the two had not been alone since that night at No Way Out.

“Pete, does Alex know about Michael and Linda yet?” Mark spoke quietly to Tazz, leaving Alex unaware of their conversation. Shaking his head was all Mark needed to know, he looked at his beautiful friend; hoping he was about to do the right thing.
“Tell her the truth Pete, I think she needs to know.” Mark said, Tazz took a deep breath and knew he was about to break his friends heart.
“The night Mark took you…” He began, looking to Mark who just nodded.
“Michael wasn’t with us because he took Linda to the hospital and then back to the hotel room…” Tazz went on, not wanting to be the one telling her this.

“He spent the night with Linda. I’m so sorry sweetheart, but you need to know.” Tazz tried to hug Alex but she just pushed him away, not saying anything she went and sat on the couch.
“Leave us for a while please Pete, I think we need to talk.” Mark said softly, as he went and sat with Alex. Neither made a move or spoke for a good half and hour, so many questions went unanswered in her mind; so many things left unsaid.
“I’m sorry Alex; I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Mark said softly, putting his hand tenderly over her own.

As Alex looked up into the eyes of the man she had put so much faith in, she saw a love she had not seen since she first met Michael.
“Why are you sorry Mark, you never cheated on me did you?” Alex said, her heart clearly torn between what she wanted and what she should do. In her mind she wanted to try make things work with Michael, the two had gone through and put their friends through hell. But then her heart was screaming at her to walk away and run into Mark’s arms, after he could protect her and give her a life Michael could not.

She always felt safe in Mark’s arms and genuinely loved his company, she thought Michael was the one for her and would always make her feel alive. But with all that she had gone through Alex had no real idea where she was going to go, with her heart and mind torn all she could do was sit there and think.
“I didn’t want to be the one to tell you, I don’t want things to be hard for you. Baby I want to keep working with you, I just…” Mark began to say, stopping before he added more than he should.
“Oh Mark, I just don’t know what I am going to do.” Alex said, the tears still threatening to fall.

“Whatever you choose beautiful, you will always have my full support and friendship.” Mark said as he softly kissed Alex’s forehead, from that one little touch she felt the shiver rush all through her body; his big gentle hands tenderly caressing her back softly.
“Oh Mark, please…” Was all she could say, the words not reaching her lips as Mark softly stroked her lips; his eyes deep emerald green with passion and fire. As they both stood on the edge of their desires and passion both knew they could not go down the road they were, but neither wanted it to stop either.

“Are you going to fight for Michael?” Mark softly said, trying to quell his ever-growing yearning desire.
“I don’t know Mark, I just don’t know…” Alex begun to say, feeling breathless from Mark’s tender touch. In her heart of hearts Alex knew that she and Michael could not make it together, if she had of wanted it she would have gone all out to make it work. But now she sat faced with a man she knew she would fight for, trying to find reasons to not sort her problems.

“Baby girl, you have to do something. You cannot just leave things as they are, something needs to be said…” Mark continued, wanting to do the best for his friend, but also not wanting to do too much to get them back together. Truth was that Mark’s rage still burned towards Michael for cheating on Alex, it was one of the things he hated. Mark was a smart man and not only saw but also knew more than he often let on, things Alex felt unable to share with people; was things Mark knew. Mark knew how she, like Gabby had gone through hell with abusive partners and being gang raped as a teen. Mark saw the distant look in her eyes and knew of her pain, little was known of her life before she came to the WWE; but Mark knew in his heart it was not all good.

“I know Mark, I just wish I could run and hide that’s all…” Alex said honestly, unaware that Mark already knew what she was feeling. Nodding Mark silently left, allowing her the time she needed to think. No one knew what would happen next, least of all Alex. No sooner had Mark left, than had he arrived; an evil look in his eyes.

“I told him I always get what I wanted…” His voice cold and hard, filling Alex with a fear that she would remember forever; unable to scream or call out.
“Mark…” Alex called out silently, unable to find her voice through the fear she felt.

If Michael was actually trying to fix his relationship problems he would have been there to save her, but instead he was being cornered by Linda who wanted to know why she had not seen him since that night.
“I thought that we had something together Mike?” Linda said, it was almost as if she was begging him. With John looking on, he could not help but hate Michael for all he was doing to Alex. With anger he was unused to feeling John was heading back to Alex when he bumped into Mark, swallowing hard John spoke.

“I’ve just seen Michael with Linda again…” He wanted to say more, but knew by the look in Mark’s eyes not to.
“Thank you.” Was all Mark said, as he turned around to head back to Alex.
“Tell your precious boyfriend if you like, but then Linda is keeping him so close I doubt he would care! Not even Mark can save you bitch, you belong to me now!” His cold voice just being heard over Alex’s silent sobs, as he took his shirt and left Alex to cry JBL sneered once more before quietly walking away.

Within seconds of turning the corner and JBL having left Mark knew something was wrong, it was as if he could feel Alex’s tears fall. John had been walking with Mark and instantly saw the change, within seconds both men were almost sprinting towards Alex’s locker room. Mark knew it was bad the moment he touched the door handle, calling for John to get the EMT’s. Partly for Alex but also himself, he did not want John to see him break. The room was cold, dark and worryingly silent. Mark quietly listened for Alex’s tears, soon hearing them fall.

“Baby girl…” Mark said softly as he saw Alex cowering in the corner of the shower, pulling her into his strong embrace Mark seemed to neither care nor notice the almost freezing cold shower of water cascading over his and Alex’s bruised and battered body.

The ripped clothes and Alex’s silent tears told Mark all he needed to know, what he didn’t know was who. Of course in all honesty Mark knew who, but for a split second he believed even JBL could not be this evil.
“Mark…” Alex’s shivering scared voice softly brought Mark from his thoughts, pulling her close gently Mark tried his best to reassure her.

“Alexandra, my beautiful friend… I promise…” Was all Mark could actually get out before he openly cried, allowing his hurt and pain wash over him. Silently and tenderly Mark held Alex closely; softly kissing her now soaking wet hair, gently he picked her up into his arms and carried her off to his hotel room.
“Mark… Alex?” Dave called after them, as John came back with the EMT’s and help. Turning silently, Mark did not need to speak for them all to understand.

“We’re on it; call if you need anything.” Dave said, wondering how Gabby would be feeling right now; knowing their pasts were so closely linked. Nodding Mark turned and headed off, still trying to hold his tears in.
“John I’m gonna go get Tazz and Randy; find Shawn and Hunter…” Dave said, as John nodded and headed off. In the chairman’s hospital room a worried Steph pleaded with her father.

“Dad please tell me the truth, did you arrange this?” Having just watched as JBL raped one of her talents for real, sent shockwaves up her spine.
“Dad if it is, I am going to throw you into the lions den…” She continued, as Vince watched the screen blankly. Sighing deeply Steph shook her head and left the room, looking to Shane and then their mother.
“Do it Steph… Make the match. Give Mark what he wants…” Linda said softly, cursing herself for putting Michael and Alex through hell.

With Linda silently sobbing by Vince’s side, Steph and Shane headed back to their Greenwich home.
“Do you really think Dad had something to do with what happened to Alex?” Shane asked Steph as the two relaxed in the back of their stretch limo, shrugging her shoulders Steph’s mind was firmly with Alex. Steph’s mind was still raw with her own painful reminder of the past she wished she could forget, Hunter could and would never know the truth; but everyday it haunted her.

“I hope for his sake he didn’t Shane, Mark won’t rest you know…” She finally replied, wondering how their mother would cope. Back in the hospital car park Michael sat for ages trying to find his way, he finally knew he was no longer able to lie to himself; or Alex for that matter. He knew he needed to talk with her but this was the easier bit, talking to Linda would be a breeze compared to Alex.

I must see you again.
I am in the car park.
Please meet me.
Love you MC.

While the group of friends sat talking in the lobby of the hotel after the show, Mark silently watched on as Alex tried to sleep. Cursing himself deep inside Mark was going through hell inside as he tried to control his rage and anger; it did not take a mind reader to tell Mark that Alex and Michael were over. This fact alone gave him mixed emotions, he wanted Alex’s happiness; but deep inside he wanted her for himself. Mark’s rage was still bubbling as he watched Alex toss and turn, his heart breaking for the love of his life. He needed the comfort of his dark place, wanting to punish those that hurt the one he loved more than life itself.

“Her name means helper of mankind…” Paul’s voice seemed to come from out of the shadows enough to scare most people, but Mark just sat silently watching Alex.
“She is like her names…” He continued, confusing Mark slightly.
“What do you mean names?” Mark softly asked, walking to Alex’s side; softly stroking a stray strand of hair out of her eyes.

“The only way she could heal the blackness was either by taking the blackness herself, or being one of the chosen few…” Paul said, still trying to understand what he himself had witnessed earlier. Still Mark did not really understand what Paul was saying, but the wings that had almost died along with Mark; understood. So did Paul, who continued to explain.

“Those angel wings Mark, look at her; can you not see them anymore?” Paul knew that Mark saw his own wings as a sign he was not like others, Alex’s were that of a true heaven sent angel; Mark just needed to see it.

As Mark looked to Alex he saw the wings he long thought had left him, he saw them being reflected brightly and clearly with Alex’s own. As Mark watched their wings connect he understood, she was sent to save him; his true master was calling him home.

“I thought I had lost them Paul…” Mark said softly, finally understanding; finally seeing what Paul had meant.
“He never forgot you my son, they were with you always…” Paul continued, touching Mark’s shoulder softly in a sign of support and friendship. Mark never needed to say anymore, both men knew what it meant; it was time for the deadman to be brought back to life.

“Where’s Alex and Mark, Paul?” Steph asked Hunter, both knew they needed to be honest with each other.
“After the ra… what JBL did, Mark has her in his hotel room…” Hunter looked to Steph who nodded and went to head for the elevator, stopping for a moment as he continued.

“I don’t think he wants to be bothered Steph honey, he’s pretty fired up still…” Hunter knew full well that Steph would not listen, he also knew she felt Alex’s pain. Kissing his beautiful wife, Hunter nodded that he understood. Letting Steph go and head to Taker’s room, praying this was going to be a good visit.

“Will Alex be okay?” Dave said to Gabby as the two sat quietly looking on, Dave could see the pain in Gabby’s eyes and held her close.
“I don’t know baby, she is tough; but this will have knocked her for six…” Gabby sighed deeply, as Dave pulled her close.

“I know I have done some things in my time, but man this was low…” Randy said as he sat silently staring out at the sea of fans hanging around outside the hotel, it was normal for fans to hang around; but tonight was no normal night. With his own beautiful daughter at home with his new stunning wife, Randy could feel the same type of rage Taker must be feeling.

“I would kill the man that did that to my wife…” Shawn said, thinking back to the storyline he had with Jericho. In truth, Shawn had been feeling more than a little anger towards JBL for hurting Alex so much. Okay so it was down to Michael and Linda too, but if Shawn were honest with himself; JBL would need to pay most for his actions. Shawn’s life over the past 10 years or so had been lived like an open book; he was a good, honest and decent man. He was a God loving man who adored his wife and children, hence why his heart was breaking for what Alex and Mark seemed to be going through.

“Shawn, what’s on your mind?” Hunter asked as he rejoined the friends, looking back to the closing lift.
“Fighting a fight for justice…” Was all Shawn needed to say for Hunter to know what was on Shawn’s mind, sighing deeply it wasn’t that he didn’t like working with his best friend; more that if Vince actually had been involved he could live to regret this move.

“Be sure Shawn, you know what this could mean…” Hunter said, after a while of silence. Nodding, Shawn thought for a moment before replying.
“I know Hunter, but JBL needs to pay for this!” Shawn’s mind already made up, he wanted to make John Bradshaw Layfield pay for what he had put Alex through; and by God he would.

“I never thought JBL would go this far, this is beyond what I thought he would do…” Jillian said as she hugged Tazz closer to her, still shocked about her former bosses actions that day.

“Mark, its Steph. Can I come in and talk with you?” Steph said cautiously as she knocked on the hotel room door, even doing this scared her a little. Letting her in Mark’s trademark blank face was expressionless as Steph tried to find her voice, clearing her throat she spoke.
“Mark, how’s Alex?” Were Steph’s first words, causing a look of confusion to come from Mark’s eyes and face, silently he stood back and let Steph see for herself. As Steph looked, she could tell Alex was not in a good way trying to rest but tossing and turning all the time.

The pain and fear was etched upon her face clearly, her pain clearly evident in Steph’s own saddened eyes. Mark knew something was wrong, after all these years playing mind games and the like; he knew better than anyone the look in a person’s eyes gave more away than simple words ever could. That look that many people thought they would be able to hide, the same look he had seen in Alex’s eyes were in Steph’s own pretty brown ones.

“Stephanie…” Was all Mark managed to say before she spoke, giving him all that he needed.
“Whatever you want Mark, whatever match; it is yours.” Steph said softly, as she looked to Alex; who again almost cried out.
JBL… Hell In A Cell… Unsanctioned match…” Mark said softly as he went to Alex’s side, tenderly he tried to sooth her fears away.

“It’s yours Mark, please make sure…” Steph began to say, stopping short. Hoping Mark would not see through her, knowing there was a good chance he could.
“Take care of her Mark, she’ll need you so much over the next few months…” Steph finished, silently heading for the door.

“When did he… hurt you?” Mark began to say, still softly caressing Alex.
“Before I had my daughter…” Was all Steph could say, both knew what it meant; neither would mention it again though.
“He will pay… I promise.” Was all Mark said, nodding his head to Steph as she left. As Mark softly comforted Alex, Steph silently cried. Tears for Alex, Mark and her own beautiful daughter. There was of course no way of knowing if she was Paul’s or not, nor did she wish to find out.

Paul was sure and that was all that mattered, in her heart; Paul was the father and always would be.
“Are you okay baby?” Hunter said softly, as Steph finally came down to the lobby.
“I am fine honey; Mark has the match he wants.” She replied, with the best smile she could muster.
“So that means we just need to soften JBL up in the weeks prior to Wrestlemania?” Cena said, with a glint in his eye that Randy could not misplace.

John had been silent for the longest time, not speaking since he saw Alex being carried away in Taker’s arms. It had obviously gotten to him, and it was only the friendship of Randy that would pull him through.
“Mark needs all our help John.” Dave said, softly caressing Gabby’s tender skin. They wanted to say more and would have done had it not been for Mark breezing into the lobby, looking to all the friends he and Alex had; he could not help but smile.
“Cena…” Mark called, not waiting for him to answer.

“Take care of Alex, I need to take care of some business…” Mark’s strong booming voice was seemingly filled with fear and uncertainty, all John could do was nod before Taker had left the hotel.
“Oh God, please not again!” John sighed, heading for the room Alex was in; taking Dave and Gabby with him as he went.

It was three days until Wrestlemania and still Alex had not seen or spoken to Mark, she desperately needed to talk to him; to find out where there were going as a couple. During the build up Gabby and Dave talked more about getting married, ending with Gabby finally agreeing to marry Dave.
“Me and Dave want you both to be there for our big day…” Gabby informed Alex that she and Mark were thought of already as a couple, smiling sadly Alex spoke.

“When I see Mark I will tell him, I’m sure he’ll be flattered.” Hugging Gabby to her Alex felt a warm sense of relief; she thought the two would never marry!
“I know you may say no Alex…” Cena began, looking to Dave and Gabby; hoping he was going to be making the right choice.
“But if you like, I would love to escort you to the Hall of Fame ceremony.” John said softly, shyly blushing as he did so. Smiling a genuine smile, Alex was about to thank John when Randy came into the locker room.

“Any news of Mark?” He asked Alex, hugging her warmly and greeting the others. For the past month Randy had become something of a godsend to the friends, able to act like he never cared but in truth he cared as much as the other friends. He and John had also become something close to best friends, with the pair almost always being seen out together. In truth the only things that seemed wrong was Michael’s constant avoiding of his unresolved relationship with Alex and Mark’s absence, but in truth Mark would never be far away from Alex. Shaking her head sadly, Alex spoke softly.

“Nothing Randy, I just hope he can make Wrestlemania!” Trying to smile a smile that would never reach her lips, in truth Alex knew Mark would be back; but she still wanted to talk to him before hand.
“He’ll be there honey, he would never let you down.” Gabby said, knowing that Mark was the one for Alex.
“And thank you John, I would be honoured to go with you…” Alex added, smiling as she thanked John; secretly wishing and hoping that Mark would be able to escort her.

In the darkness, Mark watched Alex closely; constantly making sure she was safe. But then to be fair all their friends were doing much the same as Mark, making sure Alex was safe and never in danger. Even Steph did all she could to keep Alex safe from any more pain or hurt, but no matter it would always be Mark that Alex would need and wish was there. Mark was never far from Alex’s side, even when she slept he would be close by in the shadows. Truth is that Alex seemingly knew that Mark would never be far away, she somehow seemed to take great comfort in the fact that he would be in the shadows; keeping her safe.

In all the years she had worked with and known Mark, he would always seemingly show his real personality; he only hid his “off screen” character that one time after No Way Out. As Alex headed off to her hotel room she could once again feel Mark watching over her, softly she smiled to herself. As was usual, Alex headed straight to her room and got ready for bed.

“Goodnight Mark, I love you.” Alex whispered softly as she passed by the open window and headed for her bed, smiling as she settled down and began to fall asleep. Within seconds Alex felt the cool breeze, smiling once more Alex kept her eyes closed but shifted closer to the edge of the bed. Smiling Mark knew she would always be the one, silently he watched her for a while; studying her as she peacefully rested.

“Goodnight my beautiful angel, I love you too…” Mark silently whispered, as he watched her fall asleep fully. For the past three weeks since Alex’s soul had been taken by JBL and Mark had taken off, he had spent every night watching her sleep. Every night he silently entered her room and would watch over her, making sure she was safe and could sleep. Sometimes Alex seemed to know he was there, but every night he would wait until she was sleeping soundly before he lay with her; longing for the day he could feel her arms around him. But tonight was the first time she had spoken to him, but it would not be the last.

When Alex woke Mark would always be gone, but she always knew he had been there. His calling card was his symbol printed upon a red rose petal, it would always be lay tenderly upon the pillow next to her. The night before the Hall of Fame ceremony Alex did as always and headed for bed, but as she passed the window she stopped and wrote something on a piece of paper.

Placing the note upon the side of the desk Alex got into bed and said goodnight to Mark as last night, but tonight she would not be falling asleep; she needed to see him. As she felt the cool air breeze past her, Alex smiled, feeling safe he was with her once again. As Mark silently told Alex the same he saw the note and picked it up, as she laid silently still Mark read the note.

I love and miss you more than words can say.
Thank you for keeping me safe and watching over me.
Please be my partner to the Hall of Fame ceremony?
Goodnight my wonderful boyfriend.

Softly Mark wiped a tear from his eye, it was not so much that she wanted to go with him; rather that she made that commitment and called him her boyfriend. Mark knew it was daft but when the only women in his life were either bitches or crazed fans, it seemingly meant a lot to him that Alex felt this way about him. Looking to Alex Mark knew she was not sleeping and sat in the chair opposite, studying her as normal; not able to rest until he knew she was at peace that night. Alex must have been awake for ages before she stirred, hoping Mark would still be there.

“Mark, please come lay with me?” Alex boldly said, needing his touch as well as to see him once more. Mark was torn between going to her and not, his heart telling him to wait as his mind told him not too.
“Sleep now my pretty angel, I shall be with you soon…” He said softly, as Alex felt the cool breeze and the followed by the emptiness. Although she was sad, Alex still felt able to sleep.

As Jillian lay in Tazz’s arms she began to think about all that had brought her to this moment, smiling as she felt the self-proclaimed thug stir in her arms. Still she was unable to understand how she, how they all had gotten to where they all were in their lives right now. Dave had seemingly settled down from a wild beast to a tamed animal, John and Randy had found not only friendship but love with Mickie James and her sister; Leanne. Hunter and Shawn had found a new flourish in their careers and love lives, while she had found her tough teddy bear in Tazz.

Everything was working out well for all the friends, the only ones seemingly still struggling was Michael, Alex and Mark. Michael and Alex would not talk about their problems, while Mark seemingly would or could not take things where he wanted them to go with Alex. Even though Mark had the reputation of never breaking character, he would on rare occasions break his act. Jillian had seen him break it a couple of times, with each time almost always having something to do with Alex in some way or another.

While she never knew Michael well, Tazz had often spoken of the two of them being best friends. From all that he had said Jillian would never have imagined Michael to screw the boss’s wife, but then again she always believed that she would end up with JBL. Jillian shuddered at the thought, realizing she had indeed been given a lucky escape! As she studied Tazz sleeping she truly felt blessed at having found what seemed to be the love of her life, Pete was such an amazing man; sometimes she would have to pinch herself to see if it all was actually real.

“I love you Pete, always…” Jillian softly whispered to Tazz as she kissed him softly, curling up close beside him. Smiling to himself softly, Pete had never felt so happy and relaxed. Silently he said thank you to the God’s, grateful that his life had finally settled down.
“I love you too my beautiful girlfriend….” Softly Tazz’s lips grazed Jillian’s forehead, pulling her closer into his warm embrace.

Michael must have been sat outside her hotel for a good four hours before he finally realized they needed to end this relationship, it wasn’t that he didn’t care for Alex anymore; it was more a case of he knew it would not work anymore.
“Just be honest with her Mike…” Linda said softly, as the pair lay in bed talking.
“But it is not that simple Linda; there is so much I need to say, to explain…” Michael answered, not really sure if he was trying to convince her or himself.

“Yes it is Mike, she damn well knows anyway…” Linda retorted, slightly angry that Mike was being this cowardly about it all. In all the years they had known each other, he had never been the cowardly one. Much like most of the superstars, on screen they all had characters to play; but off screen most were much different. Off screen Linda knew Michael as a kind, strong and powerful man; on screen of course he was much different. Sighing deeply, Michael agreed to talk with Alex and headed off for her hotel room. So know as he sat there on the night of the Hall of Fame ceremony, trying to find the right words he needed Michael began to wish things had been different.

“So how do I look guys?” Alex said, as she stood there in her brand new outfit. Standing there in the figure hugging deep purple blue cocktail dress, Alex looked a million dollars. All three friends more than a little aware that Mark was one lucky man, smiling it was John who finally spoke and broke the tension.
“You look stunning Alex…” He said honestly, his heart stopping him just in time before he said more.

“I just hope Mark likes it…” Alex said honestly, nervously smoothing down the hem of her dress; something she would do all night. Before Gabby had the chance to reassure her best friend, there was a knock at the door.

“See I told you Mark would be here!” Gabby said as she almost ran to the door, a smile upon her face that rivalled Alex’s own. Within seconds the smile was gone from Gabby’s face and both men were stood almost in front of Alex; as if to guard her.
“What do you want?” Gabby curtly asked, trying not to allow Alex to see what was happening.

“I need to talk to Alex; please will she see me for a few moments?” He spoke softly, not wanting Alex to hear his voice yet; himself unsure if she actually would want to talk to him anymore.
“Gabby, who is it?” Alex asked, the curiosity almost too much for her to take.
“It’s Cole…” Was all she could say, the look of contempt in her eyes obvious.
“What the hell does he want?” Cena said coldly, still unable to forgive a man who could hurt Alex in that way.

“I really need to talk with Alex; please may I come in?” Michael asked once more, aware that everyone in that room probably hated him right now.
“Its okay guys; let him in Gabby….” Alex said, trying to smile; but still hurting deep inside.
“Thank you…” Michael began, as he walked into the room. He wanted to say more, but stopped dead in his tracks; amazed at her beauty.

“Wow, Alex you look amazingly beautiful…” The words that he wanted to say, and indeed needed to say managed to get stuck in the back of his throat. For a moment he was dumbstruck, just about able to just stand there routed to one spot
Finally as both Cena and Batista cleared their throats loudly, Michael was able to focus slightly more.
“Can we talk, in private? About us…” Michael said, trying to stop his mind from falling once more.

Everything he thought he knew and felt had seemingly been thrown into the air, Alex’s beauty stunning him into silence. Michael had come to end their relationship, what he had not planned upon was old feelings stirring once more. He must have been silently thinking about this for a while as Alex had to clear her throat loudly twice before he came to his senses, trying to shake himself too.

“I wanted to talk about things that have been happening…” He began, not really sure what he was going to say.
“Look, just be honest and tell me you screwed Linda…” Alex began, the anger flashing within her eyes; something she realized she had got from Mark. The hurt and pain inside was beginning to overwhelm her, she was not expecting to feel such anger.

“Alex, I won’t lie to you. Yes we spent the night together, but I…” Michael began, trying to find the right words he needed. His heart was telling him to be honest and tell her the truth, trouble is that his heart wasn’t telling him just what that was. Maybe he still loved Alex, maybe he felt inferior to Mark; or maybe it was just because she looked so damn good. Whatever the reason, Michael was having second thoughts. His heart seemed to want him to fight for their relationship, his mind screaming at him to not be a fool.

“What Cole, you just what?” Tazz said, not just surprising both that he had arrived but was also trying not to let his anger get the better of him.
“Pete, please give me a minute; I’m trying to sort things out!” Michael pleaded, looking to Tazz who didn’t move.
“Why the hell can’t you just leave her alone Mike?” Tazz said truthfully, looking at the man he once called his best friend.

“Second thoughts…” Alex said quietly, not having looked up from the floor. The silence in the room that descended over them could be felt by all. The atmosphere almost able to be cut with a knife.

“Michael, I can’t make you that promise anymore. I just don’t know if I can feel the same way about you…” Alex said, wishing Mark was here. If Mark had been there; then this conversation would certainly not be taking place, and she would not be faced with one of the biggest decisions of her life.

“Alex please, we need to talk about this…” Michael said, all too aware that he could have lost her for good this time.  Turning her back to him, Michael was about to continue when Gabby called through.
“Alex, Mark’s here!” The look on both Alex and Michael’s face told very different pictures, his was sadness; while she was feeling nothing but happiness.
“I think you should go Cole…” Tazz said as Alex rushed to the other room where her friends were, smoothing the hem of her dress once more.

“Do I look okay?” Alex asked Gabby once more, who just had time to nod before the doorbell rang. Outside Mark nervously stood fiddling with his collar then tie, hoping he looked okay. It was the first time he had been to the Hall of Fame ceremony, let alone in a tux. Standing there he began to wonder if the whole tux thing was really him, holding onto the single red rose Mark tried his best to quell his fears.

“Mark!” Gabby cried out, impressed at how handsome he truly was in the tux.
“Is Alex there Gabby? I have a beautiful woman to escort to the Hall of Fame ceremony…” Mark said smiling, hugging Gabby to him warmly as he walked in. All Gabby could do was nod as she stood back and watched, like the others as this all unfolded.

Alex was so pleased to see Mark that she was almost running into his arms, she had almost got there too when Michael appeared at the door.
“What the fuck is HE doing here?” Mark said, almost unable to keep his hurt and anger in check. Mark’s eyes were dark and demonic, Alex could tell by the change in Mark’s eyes that he wanted Michael dead.

“He came to talk Alex…” Cena said, trying to find a way to smooth things over. The last thing any of the friends wanted was Alex hurt once more, but in truth he too wanted to kick Michael’s butt for all he has put Alex through.
“Mark… you look so handsome.” Alex said softly, reaching out to caress his cheek softly. Within moments Mark’s eyes had changed back to the soft emerald green she was used to seeing, smiling softly he spoke.

“You look simply stunning my darling…” Mark took hold of Alex’s hands softly in his as the two smiled like lovesick teenagers, only being brought from their moment by Michael clearing his throat loudly.
“Alex, can we not talk about this. I miss you, miss your touch…” In Michael’s mind he was just trying to fix their relationship, in Mark’s mind he was waving a red rag in front of a big angry bull.

All Mark needed to do was give him one of his legendry looks before Michael got the picture and headed to the door, taking his life in his own hands; he spoke once more.
“I still love you Alex, I want us to work and make it. Can we not try again, or at the very least talk?” There was a coldness in Alex’s eyes that he had not seen before, turning to leave Michael’s heart broke completely.

“Baby girl…” Mark’s voice bringing Alex from her thoughts, looking to this handsome man stood with her she knew she was making the right choice.
“If you want to try again, I will understand… but know I will never be able to forgive him for cheating on you!” Mark’s soft voice and tender words warming Alex’s soul deep inside, looking up into his beautiful green eyes Alex boldly kiss Mark upon the lips before speaking.

“I want to be with you Mark, I love you.” Her honesty and openness obvious for all the friends to see, looking to her friends Alex smiled and spoke once more.
“Shall we go guys? I am sure the others will all be waiting for us.” Taking Mark’s hand in her own, she led the way to their transport for the evening; leaving Michael stood outside looking hurt and totally lost.

With John and Randy picking up Mickie and her sister up on the way, all the friends headed to Civic Centre where the Hall of Fame ceremony would be held that night. Although all were nervous it was Mark that was the most on edge that evening, he was not used to being out of character; to him this was a big thing.
“Mark honey, are you okay?” Alex asked, aware his nerves were just as obvious as her own.

“This is all a little… you know?” Was all Mark could manage saying as he tried his best to calm his nerves before the walked in to the room, smiling softly she tenderly touched his face.
“We don’t have to go do this if you don’t want to baby, I will go anywhere with you!” She softly said, wrapping her arms around his waist; enjoying the feeling of his strong chest rise and fall against her.

“I love you Alex, I want us to do this…” Mark said softly, kissing the top of her forehead gently. Smiling the two friends headed into the room, Mark’s arm always around Alex’s waist; making all who watched aware that they were indeed more than just friends. As the friends all sat on the front row, the night began with a blast all enjoying how things played out.

However it was the end of the evening that would cause all of them the most trouble, and the one time that their friendships would come under such strain. As the friends left the building JBL stood outside his stretch limo as if nothing was wrong, no one could actually believe that he was stood there; or that he had the guts to do so.

“I told you I owned you now bitch… how does it feel Taker? How does it feel to have lost her soul to me? She’s mine now, get used to it…” JBL’s voice was cold and harsh; his words even colder and fuelled with pure evil. Mark was being held too tightly by Alex for him to actually do anything, Cena and Batista were trying not to react; as were the others. As Alex tried to be strong she led Mark away, back to their transport and hopeful safety. Sneering towards the other friends JBL turned to leave, not realizing that Shawn would be the one to make him pay.

Before anyone had the chance to stop Shawn he had already made his move, landing an unexpected blow to JBL’s temple; one that he would never recover from. One that would allow Shawn to continue the beat down with relative ease, the other guys led their dates away from the trouble; leaving Shawn to let his anger and evil side flow.

“You fucking bastard, I’ll make you beg for forgiveness!” Shawn said as he continued to rain down with a violent fury, each blow finding there target easily. Somehow Alex knew something was wrong and headed back to where she watched Shawn decimate JBL before her very eyes, he is not going to stop! Alex thought as she rushed to Shawn’s side.

“Please Shawn, stop! He’s not worth this, please stop!” Alex begged, as she took his arm and tried to pull Shawn away. Although Shawn stopped, he pulled his arm away quickly from Alex. Looking at her but not really seeing her, his eyes were dark and filled with a rage he had not felt in a long time.

“Shawn, please…” Was all Alex could say as she watched this good, honest and decent man she knew turn into a violent angry beast. As Shawn came to his senses all he could do was sink to his knees and sob openly and honestly, reaching out for his friend and continuing to cry as she held him tightly.

“Oh Shawn…” Was all Alex could say as she held him close, looking to Mark who had come to seek his girlfriend out. Looking to the sight that confronted him, he was more than a little aware that Alex was indeed a special one. Standing over JBL’s limp and almost lifeless body, Mark sneered down at him and spoke coldly.
“You touch her again, and I WILL kill you!” turning his back on the man he considered to be the lowest of the low, Mark went to Alex’s side.

“You are a good man Shawn, thank you for defending my angel’s honour.” Mark said softly, as he helped Shawn to his feet. Nodding to each other, both men walked off; heading back to their limo and the hotel. That night Shawn would spend all night tossing and turning; unable to sleep, his actions that evening haunting him. Something that would happen many times for the next few years, Shawn unable to forgive himself for a long time to come.

“He is in love with you Alex… he is not the only one either!” Mark said softly, as Alex asked him why Shawn had beaten JBL so badly.
“Baby girl everyone loves you!” Mark added, as he smiled.
“But I only love you Mark, you know this right?” Alex said, blushing. All Mark did was nod before the two fell asleep, both trying to dream of better things.

“Can’t you sleep Mike?” Linda said softly, as she tenderly stroked Michael’s back. With his mind still firmly upon Alex and that stunning figure hugging dress, Michael tried his best to live with his choices. Truth was though that he was finding it almost impossible, how the hell did I let it get to this? Was all that went though his mind as Linda did her best to reach him, in her heart of hearts she knew that she had lost him to Alex; but in truth she never really felt like she had him.

“Why did you let Alex walk away Mike? I mean if you still love her and everything…” Linda said boldly as she sat in the chair across from where Michael sat pensively chewing his bottom lip, Linda knew he was tormented by his recklessness; she just wished he would admit it to himself.
“Because…” Michael began, not really sure what he wanted to say.

“Because I am a fool, I just felt like the struggle was too hard I guess…” He continued, not really sure he believed it himself. Relationships were never easy, well not in Michael’s case anyway; so why was this time going to be any different.
“I wish… I wish I could turn the clock back.” Michael said boldly, he knew this would more than likely hurt Linda; but he had to say what he truly felt. Getting up Michael headed for the door, he needed some time and space to think.

“I need some fresh air, don’t wait up.” Was all he said as he left, left Linda feeling like she was cheap and had been used. In truth it wasn’t how things were but it would take Linda a long time before she could or even would see things differently, her heart would always regret hurting two people she cared deeply for. As Linda watched Michael leave he mind thought about the lives she had effectively messed with, this was never the woman she wanted to be.

As Michael walked he had no real idea where he was going or about to end up, but then as he stood outside her hotel he realised this would happen. The hurt and anger he felt towards himself was immense, sitting down heavily outside Michael began to think about all that had brought him to this moment. Maybe he had rushed into things with Alex, he had not been widowed for long; maybe he was still hurting too much. Whatever the reason he was more than a little aware that he had seriously screwed up, he had hurt more than one person and it was killing him.

When he had first met Alex, all Michael had wanted was to be with her. He hadn’t planned on screwing the bosses wife or this constant battle with JBL; he hadn’t planned for so many people to get involved in a fight that even he himself wasn’t sure he could win. Maybe he should be blaming Alex and Mark for the way things had gone, it was Mark who was quick to comfort her; and it wasn’t like Alex was pushing him away from comforting her. Of course in his mind Michael knew this was a load of rubbish, but if he was being honest with himself he would have clearly seen the writing on the wall long before this had happened.

In his mind Michael had two options open to him, he could fight for Alex or he could walk away; neither of which seemed to be an easy option if he was being honest. Anything he did now would undoubtedly cause more pain for both of them, and the last thing he wanted was an angry Undertaker on his case; he had enough trouble with JBL! Man this sucks Michael thought as he tried to find the answers he longed for, he had lost the love of his life; and his friends. All because he could not be honest instead of running away, God how he hated himself right now.

“How about navy and ivory with gold touches?” Gabby said, as she talked with Batista about their upcoming wedding. Dave sighed deeply and prayed for the answers, it wasn’t that he didn’t want to get married or anything; he adored Gabby. It was more that he felt out of his depth, he was not very good at this sort of thing if he was being honest with himself.

“It sounds good to me baby…” Dave tried his best to give the right answers, in truth he was fighting a losing battle; but neither would know why for a little while. Gabby could tell Dave was unsure, but unlike normal the first thought through Gabby’s mind was not ones of self-doubt.

“Tell me about your first wife?” Gabby boldly asked, laying her head on Dave and gently stroking his strong chest. Smiling, he gently caressed Gabby as he began to talk about his first wife.
“Her name was Angie, she was an Alex; I just never saw it when we were married…” Dave said honestly, softly kissing Gabby’s hand.
“I was letting my success and the constant travelling go to my head, I became a bit of an ass!” He continued, trying to let out a little laugh.

“Are we going to make it Dave, I mean are things different this time around?” Gabby said softly, her mind full of worry.
“Awww baby girl, I love you! Of course we are going to work, I’d give it all up for you baby.” Dave said honestly, pulling his beautiful girlfriend closer.
“Let’s talk more tomorrow, sleep now baby girl…” He added, pulling Gabby closer and closing his eyes. Smiling softly, Gabby kissed his cheek and settled down to sleep.

“Goodnight my beautiful wife to be...” Dave said softly, smiling as he slept.
“Goodnight my wonderful husband to be…” Both drifted off to sleep, safe in the knowledge both had found each other.

Both Steph and Hunter had been silent all the way home after seeing Shawn snap in the way he had, it was something neither thought they would ever see; Shawn was the last person they thought would snap.
“Will Shawn be okay Paul?” Steph said softly, the two cuddling up on the bed. Shrugging his shoulders, Hunter had a good idea why but was not sure he should say anything.

“I think he just felt so angered by what Bradshaw had done…” He finally answered, hoping it would be all he needed to say.
“He’s in love with Alex isn’t he?” Steph said softly, knowing full well of the answer.
“And he’s not the only one either is he?” She added, looking up into her husbands eyes. All Hunter could do was nod before taking a deep breath and speaking, hoping he was not about to drop his best friend in it.

“I think Michael was always going to be fighting a losing battle anyway, if it wasn’t Mark it would have been someone else.” Pulling his wife close, Hunter thought about his stunning baby daughter. His mind was torn between wanting to know and not, he had to ask; but he was afraid that he would regret the answer.
“Although to Mark’s credit it was him who was there for Alex when she was raped, I dunno if Michael would have been able to cope…” Hunter said as he immediately felt the change in Steph, from that moment he knew for certain Alex was not JBL’s first victim.

As was their relationship, Hunter knew he could be forward and honest with Steph; so that is what he did.
“When did JBL rape you?” The silence was almost deafening, Steph always thought she had hidden it so well.
“Just before Aurora Rose was born…” Steph softly said, almost instantly pulling away and curling into a protective ball. It wasn’t that she was worried of what Hunter may do more that he would look at her differently, she was more than a little aware what this could mean to both of them.

In his mind, Hunter was ready to go back and finish what Shawn had started but of course he knew he was not able to do this. As Hunter noted the change in the air had still not changed back, trying to smile a smile that would never reached his lips Hunter tenderly took his beautiful wife into his arms and held her close.
“I love you Steph, no matter what I will always love both you and our daughter…” Hunter began to say, softly kissing her forehead.

“Oh Paul, I was so worried…” Steph began, trying not to allow her tears to fall but realizing this was all in vain. As Steph cried, Hunter did his best to sooth her fears away; praying that Taker would destroy JBL.

As she watched Shawn toss and turn Rebecca knew she had lost her wonderful husband, in her mind he had already left her; the man she lay with tonight was not her husband. Picking up her cell phone she dialled the number of the one person she knew would always be there for her, waiting for a moment she smiled at the sound of his voice.

“I needed to talk to someone, can I come round?” She knew in her heart of hearts that she need not ask, he always wanted to see her as much as she did him. Thirty minutes later she found herself sat in his warm plush living room, the two friends sharing a drink and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere.
“It’s so good to see you, I have missed you.” He said softly, smiling as Rebecca blushed slightly; he loved seeing her go red.

“God I have missed you too Chris!” Feeling unusually bold, she kissed him with a passion she thought had long deserted her; enjoying the feel of his hands upon her body. As Jericho continued to talk and listen to her plight, Rebecca could feel herself falling deeper for him.
“You could stay if you like? If you don’t feel like heading back of course…” Chris said, softly caressing her back as they kissed softly. All it took was Rebecca to nod, before he led her off to his bedroom.

“Will Alex go back to Michael? I mean after all she has gone through, I dunno if he will be enough for her…” Jillian said softly as she lay in Tazz’s arms, the two tenderly sharing in the silence that had fallen between them. It was a comfortable silence that both found themselves in, something both were used to feeling. Tazz had been silent for sometime before he finally took a deep breath and replied, sharing in Jillian’s; and all their friends concerns.

“I don’t know baby, I think she is a fool if she does… but then again, they seemed so in love towards the start.” Pulling Jillian closer into his warm embrace, Tazz was half expecting her to ask why Shawn had acted in the way he did but in truth I think they all knew why. There was certainly something about Alex that made many a man fall for her, Tazz suspected that it was not something Alex herself was aware of; but it was true many men seem to have fallen under her spell.

“Shawn’s in love with Alex isn’t he, and I suspect he isn’t the only one either right Pete?” Jillian finally said after sometime, bring Tazz from his own thoughts. Nodding, Tazz softly replied.
“I think Michael would have always felt second best, it would have driven him crazy!” Tazz smiled slightly at the thought of Michael trying not to be jealous every time Alex went to the ring, yes it would have certainly would have broken Michael in two every time she wrestled.

“Michael’s a nice guy Pete, I just don’t know if he’s right for Alex…” Jillian said, curling up next to Tazz; nuzzling into his soft neck.
“Is Mark the right one for her?” Tazz asked, softly caressing Jillian as she began to evoke a deep passionate desire in him.
“I don’t know Pete, I just know you are the right guy for me!” Jillian replies as she softly kissed Tazz, gently stroking his desire making both aware that they were in this for the long haul.

As Randy and Cena walked Mickie and her sister Leanne home the mood is on edge as they try to avoid earlier events, but in truth none of them could avoid it for long.
“I’ve not seen Shawn like that before…” Mickie began, gripping John’s arm slightly.
“Even when Rebecca was hurt by Jericho, Shawn was controlled still.” Mickie continued, watching how Leanne and Randy seemed to be with each other. At first Mickie was unsure about Randy’s arrival on the scene, she was used to the Legend Killing ruthless ways of Randy; seeing this other side to him almost unsettled her.

But seeing how he had seemingly come to Alex’s aid, as well as John’s she had to give him the benefit of the doubt. And if she was being honest with herself, she had never seen her sister happier than she was right now; even if she understood their friendship could not last forever, she was seemingly more than happy with all she had right now. As they reached Mickie’s hotel room, both John and Randy bid the girls goodnight and carried on to their hotel rooms; talking as they went.
“Shawn’s in love with Alex John…” Randy said softly as the two friends walked, Randy trying his best to gently broach the subject that was on both their minds. John was silent for a long time, so much so that it almost unsettled Randy.

“I know Randy, I know. But it doesn’t change how I felt, it never would have.” John replied honestly, being as open as he could with his best friend. Sighing deeply Randy put his hand on his friends shoulder, wishing he could comfort his dear friend. By now the two had reached Randy’s room and had been stood outside for a good ten minutes, with Randy doing all he could to give support to his friend. Hugging John closely, wishing he could make all their problems go away.

For a split second, as the two friends parted they were hit with something neither had felt before; uncertainty.
“Do you really love her John?” Randy asked, trying to block the thoughts from his mind; thought he was unprepared to feel. If he had been asked that earlier John would have said yes, without a shadow of a doubt. But now, if he was being honest with himself John had no idea what he truly felt.

Randy took John’s silence to mean what he thought it meant, and in truth it was much the same as he had been thinking. Both John and Randy tried to rationalize their thoughts, neither willing to be the first to admit it.
“How can one woman have such an affect on so many?” John finally said, his mind filled with lustful thoughts he thought he would never experience. With his mind elsewhere Randy opened his door and stepped inside, looking back to John who stood there looking as though he was a inexperienced schoolboy; not sure what his next move should be.

“Wanna get drunk?” Randy finally said, willing to take a chance; hoping he had not read the situation wrong. For a moment John stood stuck to the spot, teetering on the edge of desire and what he believed was the right thing to do. As Randy smiled his lopsided; charming smile, John made his choice. Nodding, he headed inside and within seconds found himself in another embrace with Randy. As their passion and desire could no longer be denied, both men allowed the moment to take them were it wanted them to go.

“Are you sure?” Randy breathlessly asked as the two pulled back slightly, both well aware that this was a line; if they crossed they could not go back from.
“Yes!” John firmly said, pulling Randy closer; passionately kissing his best friend with all he had. The two friends allowing their passions and emotions catch up with them, knowing this could be what they both had been searching for.

As morning broke on what would turn out to be the most important Wrestlemania for their lives, both Mark and Alex had been up for ages. With the day ahead firmly on their minds, the nerves had seemingly got to them both.
“How did you sleep baby girl?” Mark said softly, tenderly kissing Alex’s soft neck. Feeling his tender touch, Alex moaned softly as she woke.

“Being in your arms feels amazing Mark…” She softly said, trying to avoid answering. Truth was she had not slept that well, the pressure of last night and their huge match getting to her slightly.
“Tell me the truth Alex, I know you remember!” Mark said, almost chiding her as he did so. Smiling Alex was amazed at how well Mark could still read her, touching his cheek softly she replied.
“I’ve just been thinking a lot about last night and today, it is a lot to take in…” Alex said honestly, knowing that no matter how hard she tried; Mark would always be able to read her.

“Truth is darling, I had the same trouble. It is a big thing for us both isn’t it?” Mark replied, softly kissing Alex’s hands.
“Mark honey, no matter what; I will always love and cherish you…” Alex began, knowing deep inside that she never really need to say the things on her mind; but wanting to nevertheless.

“Your love and friendship means everything to me Mark, even if I cannot come home; I am yours always!” Alex softly continued as she tenderly kissed Mark, caressing his warm solid naked chest as she did so.
“Forever Alex, I promise you forever my beautiful girlfriend…” Mark managed to say as his passion and desire grew, knowing that this moment would last forever in his heart; mind and soul.

As Shawn woke to a cold empty bed he knew his life was about to be turned upside down once more, he somehow knew he had lost Rebecca. Propping himself up upon his elbows, Shawn looked around the room; searching for any glimmer of hope that she had not left him. Of course he knew in his heart that she had, the moment he landed the first blow to that low life JBL made him more than a little aware of that. In his mind, Shawn tried his best to rationalize all that had happened last night. He cared so much for Alex as a friend that when she was hurt, he felt like he needed to do something.

Shawn of course knew this was not all there was to it, of course he loved Alex; who couldn’t. Shawn knew he was not the only man to have fallen under Alex’s spell, there were others; many others. But with Alex’s heart seemingly belonging to Mark, there was no way anyone else; including Michael Cole would ever win her heart. Which is why it made no sense to him why Rebecca should feel so jealous, with Mark on the scene no one; including Shawn himself would ever make a play for Alex? Sighing deeply Shawn got up and began to get showered and dressed, he had a long day; an important day ahead of him, he needed to be at his best. Shawn was already dressed and making breakfast by the time Rebecca walked in to the room, neither had said anything other than hi for the past ten minutes.

“Shawn, I want a div...” Rebecca began to say, not being able to finish as Shawn spoke; softly but firmly.
“If you cheated on me fine, if you want a divorce fine. But I have never cheated on you, and would never do so either!” His anger was rising once more, not wanting to say or do something he regret Shawn walked out and continued to walk until he was calm once more.

Waking with a stiff neck and bad back, Michael tried to figure out where he was. Being late last night when he went for a walk, he had no real idea where he had ended up; but when he was able to find out something inside him wished he had not been able to. Standing in the entrance to the cold, eerie graveyard Michael felt very uneasy; more than a little aware at how ironic this situation was. It must have been really early in the morning as the whole place seemed to be deserted, feeling more than a little uncomfortable; Michael began to slowly leave not really sure where he was actually going.

He had almost gotten outside and was ready to look for transport back to the hotel when he heard what he thought was his name being called, looking back he could have sworn he saw a tall figure dressed in black disappearing behind one of the headstones. Of course in his mind Michael knew that Mark would be with Alex, which irritated him more than he was willing to admit. Still moving backwards, Michael tripped over the curb and landed on his butt. Feeling more than a little embarrassed, Michael wished the ground would open up and swallow him whole. Picking himself up and dusting himself off Michael headed off in search for someway back to his hotel, not really sure if it was where he wanted to truly be.

He knew deep down he was not happy with the way things were, but he also knew he could be fighting a loosing battle when it came to Alex. Michael’s heart and mind were confused, not just because of things that have been happening recently. Maybe his heart really did belong to Alex, maybe he just needed to stop being such a coward; whatever it was Michael knew he needed to do something about their situation. Before he knew it Michael found himself standing back outside the hotel, watching the superstars leaving for the arena. Michael finally made his choice, knowing it would; whatever the outcome be the right choice for all concerned.

As Batista woke the first thing he noticed was the sunshine streaming through the hotel room’s window, the next thing he noticed was the absence of his beautiful girlfriend; Gabby. Although he was a rational and confident man in most things, the one thing Dave was unsure about was if he was enough for Gabby. Truth was that no matter how successful or rich Dave was, there would always be this little voice; niggling doubt in the back of his mind that he would always fail. If he was honest a lot of his doubts came from his time in the Children’s Homes, always being told he was worthless and would amount to nothing; he may look like he could win many a fight but deep inside he was still that small little naïve young boy.

He had seen many things during his days growing up, he had been both victim and instigator in many situations. After getting into trouble one too many times and ending up in jail, Dave finally made the hard choice to turn his life around. After a hard road he found himself on top in the WWE and a role model to many youngsters. It was with immense pride that Dave carried not only any belt he held but also himself, knowing that there maybe kids out there watching like him. But sometimes Dave’s own fears and insecurities seemed to overtake him, in his heart Dave knew Gabby loved him and would never leave him.

He also knew that Gabby’s feelings had nothing to do with his money or success, so why couldn’t he quiet the voices in his head. He was about to call for Gabby when Dave felt her softly kiss his shoulder blades and wrap her arms around his waist, smiling he sighed deeply at her touch.
“I was worried when I woke and you weren’t there…” Dave began, softly caressing Gabby’s arms.
“I’m sorry honey, I just couldn’t sleep; too much to think about I guess…” Gabby said softly, tenderly kissing Batista’s back.

“Big day for us all baby, not least Alex and you…” Dave replied as he smiled, knowing it would not take long for Gabby’s questioning mind to take hold. He was right, within seconds Gabby was asking question after question about what Dave had meant.
“All in good time my darling, all in good time!” Dave said softly, as the two dressed and left for the arena.

Much like many of their friends, Hunter and Steph had not slept much. Their minds filled with not only last night’s events or their pasts but also all that the ‘grand daddy of them all’ would hold for all of them. They had talked about things, but in truth neither had really found the answers they were looking for.
“I know you said it was okay Paul, but do you want me to take a paternity test?” Steph softly asked, the two having been sat in silence for quiet a long time.

Surprisingly Hunter had no doubts whatsoever in his mind that he was indeed their daughter’s father, but there was something in him that bothered him; he just could not place what it was yet.
“Of course I don’t sweet heart…” Hunter said as he pulled his beautiful wife gently into his arms, trying to not allow his mind to think of JBL or what he had done to Steph and Alex. But try as he might Hunter’s mind kept coming back to one question that seemingly burned itself into his mind, was JBL responsible for more than just these two attacks… something in his mind was telling him it wasn’t, but having no proof would always thwart any attempts Hunter could think of making.

And then the other question on Hunter’s mind came up, something none of the friends had actually been able to confirm; was Vince aware of or involved with the attacks… again with no solid proof, there was little Hunter could do to help his friends; or was there.
“I just have to check on Shawn baby, I’ll be right back.” Hunter told Steph, as he silently slipped out of their hotel room and headed for the lobby.

Dialling her number, he finally spoke; he needed to know the truth.
“Linda, I need to know; I need your help. Did Vince know about JBL’s attack on Alex, it’s important I know the truth.” As he listened to Linda, Hunter saw Rebecca heading back to the hotel; Shawn was obviously in for a rough ride.

The only couple to really have a restful sleep were Jillian and Tazz, not that it had been all peaceful though; both had nightmare-filled dreams. Jillian could not shift the thoughts of how she had once been so in love with a man that would become so evil and twisted, she never thought in a million years JBL would ever turn into this guy she saw now. Looking to Tazz who lay sleeping like a baby next to her, Jillian couldn’t help but count her blessing as she thought of the loving man she had in her life.

While Tazz could not shift his thoughts of how Michael, his supposed best friend had changed so much in such little time. Tazz thought he knew Michael better than anyone, the two had been through so much together. They had become instant friends when the pair were paired up together on Smackdown’s announcers table, people actually thought the two were lovers the way they were together. A part of Tazz had been flattered that people thought they were so close, as daft as it may sound; Tazz liked to be needed and wanted. Of course both men being married, the rumours soon stopped when everyone were used to seeing Tazz and Michael out together with their wives.

It was little secret that Michael was a bit of a coward when it came to how people treated him on screen, he would never stick up for himself; and every time he tried it would backfire. Case and point, take the Texas Rattlesnake; Stone Cold Steve Austin. The job of a good commentator is to give fans their opinions, the facts and make it interesting. But in doing so, Michael had said something about the boss that Stone Cold took a great dislike to.

It would not be the first or last time Michael was attacked, in one way or another; for his views. But this was one time when the kicks and punches were not planned, the beating Michael took was more than a little real. Which is why Tazz could not understand why Michael would want to screw the boss’s wife, surely he knew that you don’t cross the boss?

Waking in almost a cold sweat, John felt stuck with fear as he looked to the figure laying in full nakedness next to him. It was the type of fear he was unused to, something about this situation bothered him; but not what he expected. For the most part, Cena was a man’s man. He was tough, rugged and love his girls, beer and music. But deep inside of him last nights events had fuelled something within that had not scared him as much as he was expecting it too, in fact it seemed to be totally the opposite for John.

Randy however, was a different matter. He knew straight away that something deep within him had been awoken by John’s kisses last night, and if he was being honest with himself; it excited him. Randy loved his wife and daughter, and was certainly very attracted to Leanne; but something in him said that he also enjoyed what happened that night. The two men had been awake and in silence for a good ten minutes before either felt ready to speak, even then if both were honest neither had the slightest clue what to say.

“Morning…” Randy said, the strain in the atmosphere obvious to both.
“Hey…” Cena replied, not sure what he was going to sat let alone felt. Again the silence descended upon them both, both being left with their own silent thoughts of last nights events. These thoughts were soon joined by thoughts of their match today and the show on a whole, there was so much on the line for all of them; everything needed to be perfect.

“What happens now?” Randy finally said after what seemed like forever of silence, looking to John who was silently trying to find his voice still.
“I don’t know Randy, I just don’t know…” John finally managed to reply, not sure if he wanted to ‘go there’ with Randy; but also not sure if he wanted it all to stop. Taking a deep breath and taking a chance Randy boldly and swiftly moved forward and lay a kiss upon John’s lips, not stopping until he felt John relax. He needed to know, he needed to make that choice.

“No one needs to know, that way no one gets hurt…” Randy said softly, getting up to dress and head to the arena. Both men were still stood on the edge, but by the end of the day; they would both know the answers.

With everyone headed for the arena the day for most had seemingly passed without a hitch, with only Michael left to wrestle with his thoughts. His mind was still trying to convince himself that fighting for Alex would be a good idea, when in truth he knew her heart now belonged to Mark. Michael thought back to the moment they had met, smiling at how they had bumped into each other and their things had gone everywhere. Maybe it was just that she was different to the other new blood, maybe she genuinely loved him once.

How could it have gone so wrong so quickly? Michael thought as he headed for the arena, but before he had the chance he was collared by Edge; who had a job to do. A job he had to carry out no matter what, not that he ever had problem with being the bad guy of course; it was just that even Michael Cole didn’t deserve this.
“I’ve been told to give you this…” Edge said before handing the video tape over to Michael and walking away, in truth this had to be one of the lowest things Edge had ever done; and he would hate himself for it. Before Michael had the chance to say anything Edge was gone, leaving him alone and wondering what this was all about.

Heading to the arena Michael’s journey was; like the others relatively quick, heading to the production truck he asked for access to a TV and video player and then headed of to see what Edge had given him. Michael had made himself comfortable and began to watch the video, quickly wishing he hadn’t. But as he went to turn the TV off both Edge and his cronies; Ryder and Hawkins came in.

“We’ve been told to make you sit and watch it all…” Edge said firmly, even though he wanted to let Michael run. Michael went to protest but was forcefully made to sit and watch the rest of JBL’s sick video, with Edge having to turn his head away it was left to Ryder and Hawkins to hold Michael down. How can JBL be so evil? Edge thought to himself as the tape came to an end, with a silent and stunned Michael left the three men walked out. In Edge’s mind this was one too far, but JBL was not done there; not by a long shot.

“Good luck guys, be lucky!” Alex says as she hugs both John and Dave tightly as they head out to the ring, they were up first; and what a way to start of Wrestlemania! Dave and John were up against Ryder and Hawkins as part of an inter~promotional match, it had got interesting when after calling both ‘wuss’s’ the match turned into being for the tag titles. As the match got underway it was Dave that got the upper hand, being his normal powerhouse self and kicking some ass. Shawn and Hunter sat backstage in their locker room watching and were soon joined by Tazz and Jillian, with the four couples talking as they watched the match.

“So how are things Shawn?” Hunter said, looking to his friend who had been pensive since they had left for the arena that morning.
“She left me… for Jericho…” Shawn finally managed to say, tears stinging his eyes as he talked. The shock and silence had filled the room, no one knew what to say; least of all Hunter. Truth was that no one could say anything, Shawn had to do this alone; it was just a good thing that he had God to be there for him, as well as some great friends! Both John and Dave had been on top for most of the match, but then as John went to FU Hawkins; Ryder stopped him. Which earned him a massive spear out of the ring from Dave, but the momentum sent Dave out of the ring too; leaving both men out for the count almost.

With John trying to fight back he went to deliver his shoulder tackle when, from out of nowhere Edge tripped him up and pulled him out of the ring as Ryder and Hawkins distracted both Dave and the ref, Marty Elias. With John being beat up by Edge and Dave being beat up by Ryder, it was left to Randy to make the save; rushing to his best friends aid. With Edge and Orton fighting outside the ring and Dave managing to take out Ryder, it was left to John to take out Hawkins for the pin; which he got easily!

Randy was already in their locker room by the time both Dave and John had got back to celebrate with Alex and Mark, with Randy hugging both Dave and John warmly.
“Thanks Randy…” Dave said, both men realizing that this was the group’s approval and acceptance of him, Randy smiled; glad that he could finally be seen as the man he truly was. By this time Tazz, Jillian, Shawn and Hunter had shown up and were also not only congratulating the new tag team champs, but also thanking Randy for his timely save.

It was now time for the ECW champ; Matt Hardy to defend his hard-earned title, trouble was it was against this powerhouse of a man Mark Henry! As the friends watched Mickie and her sister Leanne turned up, causing a strain between Randy and John that only Mark understood. As the friends sat watching Matt Hardy beat and pin Mark Henry no one had any idea just what JBL was planning, or how much it had affected Michael. Michael must have been sitting there for a good while because one minute he was trying to hold back the tears and the next he was being called to the announcers table, still trying to get his head around what he had just seen. As he slowly walked to the ring, the only comfort Michael could take was that he did not have to call matches with the man.

He had become something of a lost cause in recent years, with Tazz not really doing as much as he would have liked; but then after everything it was understandable. In the years that Michael had been without JBL’s company, he had been paired with; The Coach, Mike Adamle; Todd Grisham and lately Mick Foley. But now Mick was bored and wanted a new challenge, due to head for TNA after Wrestlemania; Michael would once again need a partner.

Sitting quietly outside the ring, Michael gave Mick no option but to be the lead man that evening as they greeted fans to Wrestlemania 30; which was being held once again at the great MSG ~ Madison Square Gardens. With Cole meant to be kicking things off with JR as the first match got underway, everyone was well aware that Michael’s mind was nowhere near on the job in hand.

As Shawn and Hunter headed to the ring, they caught Matt coming the other way being warmly greeted by his little brother Jeff. With Shawn and Hunter congratulating Matt warmly before they went out for their match, Hunter spoke to Jeff.
“Good luck for your Money in the Bank ladder match Jeff, I’m sure you can make your big bro proud…” Hunter had of course said it to fire Jeff up, which it certainly did. As Hunter and Shawn left the two brothers to celebrate, Hunter spoke.

“Are you sure about this Shawn? It’s better to go out like this than after letting it get to you!” Shawn smiled at his best friend, there was no way he was about to let him or everyone else down.
“I think we need to steal this show!” Was all Shawn said as he headed out to the ring almost trailing Hunter behind, they carried out their usual infamous “Suck It” routine with even more vigour; knowing there would be seven people out back joining in with the chants.

“Are you ready?” Hunter would ask, followed by the fans screaming.
“No New York, I said… Are You Ready???” He would continue at the top of his voice, as he climbed up upon the ring ropes. As the fans screamed and cheered he would get back down and head back to the centre of the ring and continue, as Shawn gave the sign.
“Then. For the thousands in attendance, for the millions at home watching and for Michael Buffer to show him how it’s done…” Hunter loved to make a reference to his “Let’s Get Ready To Rumble” chant, it always seemed to be a fitting way to give even more props to the man who Hunter admired.

“Let’s get ready to suck it!!!” Hunter would shout at the top of his voice followed, or rather joined by thousands of screaming fans. And as Shawn took the mic from Hunter all the fans got off their seats and got themselves ready to shout, yell and scream as loud as they could.

“And if you’re not down with that, then New York City’s got two words for ya…” Shawn would say, then quickly holding the mic out for the fans to shout back the response… There is something rather satisfying about hearing a hundred thousand screaming fans shouting ‘SUCK IT’ at the top of their voices!

With Rhodes and DiBiase now in the ring and the two teams doing their own ‘stare downs’ Alex and Mark sat close together watching the monitors, much the same as Jillian and Tazz did. Both couples kept close body contact and both were very tactile with each other, Randy and John; however were different. Although both held their ‘girlfriends’ hands, neither seemed to be jumping at the chance of being closer to them. Mark had not only been around long enough to know people but he had also seen pretty much all, including when two best friends of the same sex get caught by the loneliness bug.

He had seen his fair share of failed and ruined relationships take place because of this bug as he liked to call it, he had also; to be fair seen some long term loving friendships flourish because of it. Whatever was to happen it would be between Randy and John, what caused Mark problems was that two lovely girls in Mickie and Leanne would seemingly get so hurt by it all. When things were more settled Mark would quietly have a word or two with Randy and John, but that would have to be for another day; tonight was about one of if not THE biggest match of his career.

As the friends watched on they saw how no matter what Shawn and Hunter did, Rhodes and DiBiase would always be one ahead and would always be able to counter their moves. Half way through the match Shawn was thrown outside to the mats, showing his anger for himself and more; he proceeded to kick the hell out of anything around him, it was only Hunter coming to him that calmed him down. With Hunter and Shawn outside the ring and the official, Jack Doan counting them out; a shot of JBL came up on the titron. He had a video tape in his hand that Michael knew all too well, and in the other hand he held up a picture of Hunter with Steph and their beautiful daughter.

“Who’s the Daddy Hunter?” JBL sneeringly asked, as all continued to listen in.
“Not you, that’s for sure!!!” He added, letting out a cackling laugh as he disappeared from screen. With Jack almost up to nine they rushed back into the ring, with Hunter ready to let his anger flow. Of course JBL and the tag champs thought this would cause Hunter and Shawn to loose, neither realised it would make them more determined to win.

As the match continued, Hunter was beating the holy hell out of Rhodes; who had become the sacrificial lamb as it were. It would take Jack many attempts to get Hunter to stop this beating, finally loosing his patient he was about to disqualify Hunter and Shawn when Shawn pulled Jack back and spoke.
“Awww come on Jack, what would you do if you had just found out that JBL raped your wife?” There was a look in Jack’s eye that said more than he ever would, he nodded silently and just gave Hunter one last warning.

“Come on Paul, I know how you feel; but rules are rules!” Jack said as he backed Hunter away for a moment, and for that moment there was a look between both men that they both would understand. As Hunter goes to make the tag he is hit from behind and before Shawn can come to help he is sent flying out of the ring and landing hard against the concrete floor, with Rhodes and DiBiase left to beat up on Hunter 2~on~1 he tried his best to hang on. But then rushing to the ring, one of JBL’s old friends came to help beat up Shawn outside the ring who was trying to help his best friend.

With Orlando Jordan ready to beat the hell out of Shawn it was left to Tazz to make the save this time, storming to the ring to suplex the hell out of Jordan; giving Shawn time to help Hunter out. While Hunter and Shawn beat up on DiBiase, Rhodes is left all alone and outside the ring. When Jack is distracted Tazz slaps on his Tazmission hold, and keeps it there for a while.

With Hunter now sending DiBiase sailing out of the ring and Tazz sending Rhodes in, both men in the ring got their finishing moves and Hunter quickly picked up the win. With the two in the ring being joined by the fans to send a huge ‘thank you’ out to Tazz for the assist, Shawn and Hunter head to the back and managed to catch up with Tazz; thanking him warmly for his help. Nodding his thanks back, Tazz heads off to Vickie Guerrero’s office; knowing he needs to make things right again.

With Shawn and Hunter back in their locker room with their friends and Tazz off to see Vickie Guerrero it was now Mickie’s turn to get back her gold, teaming again with Kofi Kingston; they would go up against Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix once more for the titles they lost. Trying his best to be normal John was trying to give Mickie some comforting words and stuff, though his heart wasn’t in it; and soon realised if he wasn’t careful she would see though him.

“Good luck out there honey, I know you can do it…” John said as he patter her on the shoulder, thankful Kofi had turned up. With Mickie more than a little aware that something was wrong she tried her best to get into the right mindset for tonight, smiling at how Kofi was still full of smiles and happiness.
“How can you be so happy when we have a lot riding on this match?” Mickie finally asked as the two got ready to head out to the ring, enjoying the feeling of his hand upon her back.

“It’s the Jamaican vibe, it makes everyone so laid back and chilled…” Kofi replied as he took a deep breath, moving forward quickly to lay a kiss upon Mickie’s lips praying and hoping he was not wrong. She should have pushed him away, she should have told him she was with John and to not do that; but in truth it was what she wanted.
“You okay John?” Mark asked, making John more than a little aware he knew more than he was letting on. That was one of the many things everyone knew Mark was good at, reading people; he was the master at it.

“Yeah I’m cool thanks Mark…” John replied, hoping he could fool Mark; knowing deep down he could not. With John’s mind on Mark rather than Mickie’s match it had already been going for ten minutes before he had taken any notice, only noticing when Mickie was sent from the ring and now had Santino almost stalking her. Part of John wanted to save her, but part of him was stuck to the spot like the other fans. With Kofi down for the count, it was left for a unlikely hero to make the save; Finlay. With the ref, Chad Patton being distracted it was left to Finlay to use his shillelagh on Santino and help out Mickie.

With Kofi now recovered and Mickie kicking Beth’s ass it was left to Finlay to throw Santino back in the ring and allow Kofi to deliver his finishing move and pick up the win, while Kofi and Mickie celebrate in the ring Finlay goes to leave. Before he has the chance Mickie is out of the ring and heading to thank him, stopping his with her hand on his arm.

“Hey Dave, thank you for what you did; I just thought John would have been there for me!” Mickie said softly as she batted her eyelids at him, she had no idea what or even who she wanted but she did know it wasn’t John she loved anymore.
“Anything for you Mickie, you deserve better honey…” Finlay said in his soft Irish accent, smiling at Mickie as he did so.

“Maybe I could say thank you with a drink later?” Mickie knew she was flirting, but in truth she didn’t care. With a smile that Mickie knew all too well, Finlay left and headed to the back leaving Mickie and Kofi to continue celebrating.
“So what do you think Vickie?” Tazz asked, playing with his sunglasses. He had not been in Vickie’s office long when he felt the nerves rise within him, he knew that he was doing the right thing but he wasn’t sure if he could forgive Michael.

“If it’s what you want Pete, then it is fine with me. How is Michael by the way?” Vickie said, almost sounding like she actually cared. Of course she didn’t, and was only trying to rub things in. Ignoring her taunts Tazz thanked Vickie and left, leaving her office and heading back to his friends and beautiful girlfriend. On the way he caught up with Mickie and Kofi celebrating their win, as all the friends headed back to Shawn and Hunter’s locker room.

As Tazz and Mickie entered the locker room, John is heading out to the ring for his match.
“Well done honey! You deserved it.” John said quickly, pecking her on the cheek as he tried to not let his emotions run wild. 

Both knew they needed to talk but neither wanted to be the first to speak about it, but by the time John had found the right words the moment was gone; with his match for the title against Kenny up next John had no choice but to leave things as they were.

“We’ll talk after my match okay honey?” John said softly, looking to Randy who passed by heading for a coffee. It was at that moment Mickie realized what was wrong, it had hit her with such shock that she needed to be away from John quickly.
“I’m sorry…” Was all she could manage to say, as she ran for the exit. Mickie had no idea where she was headed, just that she had to go somewhere.

It was only as she ran into the solid chest of Finlay that she stopped, he did not even need to ask if she was okay before she had started to cry into his solid chest. Instantly Finlay pulled her close into his arms, knowing she needed it; not wanting to let go and hoping it would last forever.
Mark had this sixth sense about what had just happened, pulling Randy to one side and talking quietly.

“Promise me you will not purposely hurt Mickie and Leanne?” Randy wanted to argue the point and defend himself, of course he knew Mark was spot on with his accusations.
“I promise Mark, I… we will sort things.” Randy said, sighing deeply. He knew that of all their friends the one man no one could keep anything from was Mark, he was just too much like his character! Mark nodded and headed for some coffee, leaving the friends to talk and watch John’s match.

That was of course if there was going to be a match, Howard Finkel had already introduced Kenny three times now and nothing had happened. Then the camera head to the back where they find an unconscious Kenny being tended to by Victoria who had found him and had gone for help, no one had any idea what would happen; they all just had to go along for the ride.

John just stood in the ring watching the titron like pretty much everyone else, wondering not just about what had happened but also what would happen. With the new RAW manager being seemingly thrown into things, he had to make a choice. No one had any idea if Kenny would be okay, there was certainly no way he could compete anymore; so John needed a replacement.

It was down to Mike Adamle to make a choice and find a suitable replacement, having found one he knew that it would not be a popular choice; but one he would have to make!
“Kenny is unable to take part in the match…” Adamle began, trying to let the boos die down.
“And I have been approached by someone who feels like he deserves a shot at your title John…” Adamle went on, knowing this decision will not be very popular with the fans.

“He came up with an idea that was just too good to pass up… so John, let me introduce your opponent for tonight’s match…” Adamle added, as he headed off to the back and allowing John’s opponent music to hit. As soon as Edge’s music hit the crowds boos got louder and John’s face looked as though he secretly had guessed this would happen, as he stood at the ramp with a mic in his hands; everyone including Michael went silent.

“Bet you’re all wondering what this idea is aren’t you?” Edge began, wondering inside if JBL’s idea really was a good one. He had been told in no uncertain terms that he was to hurt Cole and Alex’s friends as much as he could, to be honest even though Edge was used to being the bad guy; he felt this was taking it too far.
“Well John, how does a falls~count~anywhere; no disqualification match sound?” Edge continued to say as he walked down to the ring, taking his jacket off as he stood on the apron.

Sliding into the ring John and Edge had their “stare down,” the two men hustling for top dog position; before Edge spoke once more.
“Hey Cole, still thinking about that video? Maybe next time you can watch!” Edge’s sick smile caused Michael to wish he could rush in and kick Edge’s ass, but he knew John would take care of that.

Sure enough the second the bell rang John was on the offensive, delivering a huge beating to Edge who had little time to get out of the starting blocks. Meanwhile in the back Mark had been listening in quietly to all that was happening, his anger rising more and more as he heard how JBL had been acting. Mark had no respect for anyone who hurts women, he had done something things in his life; but never purposely hurt women. It was something of a bugbear for Mark; he would always try to defend the girls he worked with and for; always wanting to be the protector.

Okay there were times when he had to do some storyline where he would beat up a woman, but that was his job and he would always take it easy on them. But in truth most of the girls on all roasters were scared of Mark, they all tried to avoid him; that was until Alex came along. From the first moment she had come to Smackdown Mark was aware she was something special, there was something about her that just blew him away. When she was with Batista and he had let her take that spear from Edge; Mark knew he needed to do something, both Batista and seemingly Michael had left her alone and it was breaking Mark’s heart to see her in pain. He had to go to her, something deep inside of him compelled him to go help her.

So being the man he was he went to the ring and saved her, carrying her back to her locker room; totally unaware that Michael wanted to be her hero. And that was where Mark felt the problems began, Michael was always the soft-spoken quiet man; the coward who would avoid trouble at all costs. If Michael had acted sooner Alex would have been safe and Mark would not have fallen in love so easily with Alex, of course he could not blame Michael for everything. He too must take some of the blame, working with the girl he had lost his heart to was probably a bad choice. But Alex too, was not perfect; surely she must know that many men have fallen for her.

With the fight between John and Edge now out of the ring and heading to the back, John was still all over Edge and looked to have things won when he went to deliver his FU on Edge; looking to put him through a near by table. But before he had the chance one of JBL’s old friends came running in, from out of nowhere and delivered a huge big boot to John’s face. Leaving Edge time to recover for a moment, Orlando Jordan began to lay a beating on John that actually worried all the fans; and of course the friends watching.

So much so that Randy ran to help John, rushing past Mark as he did so. Mark was in two minds as to if John would need help, but was sure Randy would have it all covered. With Randy surprising Both Jordan and Edge, John who had by now recovered was left to pin Edge and retain his title; thanking Randy after the bell had rung. The two heading back to the locker room, both men were silent for a long time.

“Mark knows about us John, Mickie too I think.” Randy finally managed to say, stopping before they reached the locker room; both men silent for a while.
“Is Mark angry at us?” John said, already aware Mark wanted to kick his ass for wanting Alex.
“He just wants us to sort it and not hurt the girls.” Randy said honestly, knowing he needed to have a huge heart-to-heart with Leanne.
“Guess I should find Mickie then…” John half said and half thought, realizing that he was about to hurt someone he did actually care for.

Both men headed off to find their girlfriends, leaving Mark glad they would soon be ending their lies. For a little while Mark stood outside the locker room watching how Alex and the other friends interacted with each other, unaware that things would be turned on there head so much so soon. The next match was to be the Money in the Bank Ladder match, most of the wrestlers were in the ring all looking pensive and eager to go. There was Jeff Hardy, MVP, Kane, Finlay, CM Punk and Evan Bourne in the ring; the only one not there was Chris Jericho.

As the cameras were called backstage again they came across a totally unconscious Jericho, with his running buddy Lance Cade by his partner’s side trying to rouse him. It was just like the last match with trainers and doctor’s declaring Jericho unfit for action, leaving Vickie Guerrero and Mike Adamle a lot to think about. Teddy Long had his idea as to who should take the spot and while Adamle agrees, Vickie of course being none too keen.

“The fans want to see it Vickie…” Teddy said, looking to Adamle who nodded.
“And he does deserve it after all… would be great for ratings!” Adamle added, as Teddy nodded.
“Fine, just hope and pray that Kane doesn’t get any ideas!” Vickie says as she heads off to her own office, wondering who took out Jericho in the first place. It was left to Teddy this time to make the announcement that there had been a change in the advertised line up, but this time it was met with cheers and chats of ‘619.’

“And the final participant for tonight, Rey Mysterio!” Teddy said, as the crowd went wild and his music hit. Evan Bourne looked so happy, while Kane was so angry he almost looked like he would snap. As soon as Rey hit the ring he, along with the others in the ring all beat up on Kane; knowing he was the man they all needed to fear. Within the first five minutes of the match the seven other men in the ring had beat Kane so badly that he was near unconscious and being moved onto a ladder that sat perched on the edge of the ring and the security railings, allowing Jeff Hardy to do his high flying daredevil Swanton Bomb from the top of a twenty foot ladder and smashing Kane’s body through it.

As Jeff tried to recover, Kane was taken away; leaving the six other men to continue all hoping to win the match. Twenty minutes later Jeff had fully recovered and was left with CM Punk standing in a sea of broken bodies, neither man knew what to make of the scenes in front of them. Both quickly climbed the ladder and were stood within finger tips reach of the prize, the two friends both seemingly stuck in the moment. And then something happened that shocked everyone including Jeff, Punk backed away and allowed Jeff to get the briefcase and the win.

With Jeff in shock and Punk congratulating with him, Matt comes rushing to the ring to also join in with the congratulating. All the fans were going wild, even more so when Shawn and Hunter came out on stage and gave him there applause; seemingly everyone was ecstatic that Jeff had won it big time. Everyone was so happy for Jeff, Mark felt proud that the kid had done it. Smiling to Alex who was now looking over to her friend, Mark was still stood slightly outside the locker room.

“Your turn next Mark…” Tazz said, as he looked to Mark who was seemingly still very pensive.
“You guys nervous?” Jillian asked, looking to first Mark and then Alex who was also very quiet. Both just about managed to nod before they were all being alerted to the fact that JBL was in the ring already, and he had a mic in his hands! With Mark pulling Alex close, the other friends had all gathered around the TV screen in the locker room wondering what JBL was up to now.

“Guess you all hate me right now?” He said, partly to the fans and partly to all the wrestlers in the back.
“Well, you’ll hate me even more when you see this little video I had put together! Roll the tape…” JBL demanded, as he sneered towards Michael who looked like he wanted to kill JBL. As the tape began it showed JBL with a list of women he had ‘taken’ all of whom were part of the WWE, it seemed John Bradshaw Layfield loved to be the bad guy for real. Then it showed how Steph’s name was highlighted, causing Shawn and Tazz to try hold back Hunter. Then things begin to get worse, with JBL showing how he ‘took’ Charles Robinson’s wife before she died of cancer.

It would only be thanks to the other nine referee’s that Charles didn’t head to the ring and kick JBL’s ass, but as he calmed Charles knew he would have the last laugh; realizing he was the referee for the main event. But it was JBL’s next actions that would cause him the most trouble, as the footage began Alex and Mark knew what was about to happen. It was the same video Edge and his buddies had forced Michael to watch, it was like reliving a nightmare for all the friends involved.

Alex knew this was to play mind games with Mark, and if she was being honest with herself it was working. He had been staring blankly at the TV screen for the past twenty minutes, even after the screen went blank; Mark was still silently sat staring at the screen. With so much on his mind Alex knew this could make or break them, with so much to think about Mark began to walk away. Alex followed him, knowing whatever the choice they needed to make it together.

“Mark?” Alex said softly, gently touching his arm; cautiously approaching him. She could see the pain etched upon his face, the hurt of not being able to have saved her when it counted most. With his winning streak on the line, as well as Alex’s future it was all becoming too much for Mark.
“What if I cannot win this fight Alex?” Mark said quietly, aware that for the first time in his life he was not able to intimidate someone. Alex stood watching the man she love almost break in front of her, her heart being ripped from her chest all she was able to do was hold him close. Whispering soft reassurances into his big solid chest Alex cursing JBL for the pain he was putting all her friends through, gently she caressed Mark and spoke.

“No matter what Mark, I am always yours. I will love and be with you always…” Tenderly Alex kissed Mark’s cheek, causing him to blush.
“I love you my beautiful dear sweet friend…” Mark said softly, gently pulling Alex closer. The two friends now found the calm they longed for, but knew it could not last for long; both would be called to the ring soon. But for that one moment the two friends only saw each other there, their minds and hearts belonging to each other. As Mark headed to the curtain his eyes caught Alex’s looking slightly lost, softly taking her face in his hands Mark kissed Alex tenderly; in that moment their souls belonged to one another.

“Ready baby girl?” Mark asked softly as he pulled away, nodding Alex walked to the entrance curtain and tried to calm her nerves as they headed to the ring. As soon as Mark felt Alex’s arms around his waist his mind cleared of negative thoughts, he wanted to hand JBL’s head on a plate to all that had been hurt.

With JBL already in the ring with a ready to burst Charles Robinson, Mark headed to the ring; the two doing the usual ‘stare down’ as the cell lowers and the door is chained shut. With the three men in the ring and Alex nervously looking on outside, the whole arena was silent. Outside Howard Finkel did the introduction while inside Charles was trying not to let his anger rise; of course Mark saw this and nodded to Charles who seemingly knew that the beating JBL was about to get was for everyone he had hurt. Even though Mark felt he was ready to kick JBL’s ass, JBL had other ideas and as soon as the bell rung proceeded to beat the holy hell out of Mark.

The beating he was giving to Mark actually scared Alex, who had never seen Mark in this amount of pain before.
“Come on Mark…” Alex tried, in vain to help Mark fight back. But nothing seemed to help, no matter how hard Mark tried he could not come back for the beating he was getting; even Charles could not help out, getting a huge clothesline from hell for his troubles. As Mike Chioda rushed to the ring and unlocked the door, Alex knew it was bad. With Mike trying to help Charles, JBL was left to continue his beat down of Mark. Fearful for Mark’s well being Alex rushed into the ring and covered Mark’s bleeding limp body with her own, begging JBL to stop.

“Please John stop, I’ll do whatever you want; just please stop!” With tears flowing, Alex was willing to sacrifice herself for the man she loved. With no one in the arena sure what JBL would do, a hushed silence descended upon the crowd.
“Beg me bitch, in front of your friend…” JBL sneered, as he grabbed Alex’s hair roughly. Alex’s scream sent fear through her friends out the back and made Michael wish he wasn’t such a coward, Mark began to stir slightly but still had no way of defending his beautiful friend.

“Please stop John I beg you, stop…” Alex said as she allowed her tears to fall over Mark’s lifeless body, trying to protect her friend.
“Hear that Taker, I told you she was mine now!” JBL sneered, hauling Alex away from Mark who could not protect his friend. What happened next took a matter of moments, but for both Mark and Alex seemed to take forever.

Within seconds John and Dave were rushing down to the ring to help, followed closely by Shawn, Hunter, Tazz and Randy; all desperately trying to save their friends. But JBL had a plan, with Edge; Ryder; Hawkins; Jordan; Rhodes and DiBiase stopping them before they could help out. With fear in her eyes she watched on as her friends were taken out by JBL and his friends, and even as other wrestlers tried to come to the rescue; JBL always seemed to have it covered. With Alex looking at a near unconscious Mark she tried to make it to his side, knowing he was her salvation.

But then she realized the ring was surrounded by seven big burly men, all intent on beat the holy hell out of them both. Grabbing her by the hair once more, JBL made Alex look on as the six men beat the living daylights out of an already near lifeless Mark. With tears flowing now Alex begged JBL to stop, but as her pleas were ignored her unlikely hero could no longer stand by and see her heart breaking. Michael had to act, so rushing into the ring without thinking he tried to find his voice. The confusion this act alone caused JBL and the others gave their friends enough time to recover, and fight back.

“Don’t tell me the coward wants to fight?” JBL said, looking down his nose at Michael who had Alex behind him. With Mark now recovered enough to fight and within seconds he had gone for JBL while the other friends continued to fight on, quickly Michael took Alex out of the ring and sat her with Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross for safety before heading back into the ring. With all hell breaking loose outside the cell and Charles Robinson back in the ring, neither Mark, Charles nor JBL could believe that Michael was getting back into the lion’s den.

“I’m sorry Mark…” Michael began to say, looking to Charles who still wanted to kill JBL. Taking him off guard Michael lands the hardest punch of his life squarely on JBL’s jaw, before beating the hell out of him. With Alex left watching Michael find his fighting spirit, Charles reluctantly tried to get Michael to stop. Within seconds of him stopping Mark had taken the beating to JBL, every blow he landed being one for all the people JBL had hurt but especially Alex. As Mark delivers his finishing moves, Charles was back in the ring and makes the quick count for Taker to win.
“Here is your winner and still world heavy weight champion... The Undertaker!” As ‘The Fink’ proclaimed Taker the winner Alex rushed back into the ring to celebrate as JBL was helped out of the ring and limped off back to the lockers, they were soon joined by their friends; Jillian, Gabby and Steph all rush to the ring also wishing to celebrate and thank Mark. The only one not in the ring was Michael, who sat leaning against the security barriers quietly taking it all in. When they had first met he had instantly fallen in love with her, he had not been widowed long and maybe this was part of what had gone wrong.

Whatever it was, something had gone wrong between the pair. Maybe the fight was too great a risk, maybe his jealousy would always get the better of him. Whatever it maybe, they needed to talk; he needed to know. Heading to the ring, he pulled Alex to one side. Hoping they could talk quietly, of course he had not planned on having an arena full of fans and wrestlers wanting to listen in!

“I know I hurt you Alex, and I know I screwed up; but I miss you! I miss us… can you ever find It in your heart to forgive me? I still love you so much.” Michael said honestly, trying not to allow his fears to rise as the whole arena went silent; the ring being surrounded by the wrestlers.

“Michael I forgive you, but I cannot see how we can make it work…” Alex said softly, trying to make a choice she wished she never had to make. Mark could see her heart being torn, he knew there was a risk he could lose his soul mate; but he needed to let her make that choice, for the first time in his life Mark could not influence this choice.

“Can we not try? I know that I have been foolish, but I don’t want to give up.” Michael said, trying not to let the fact the whole arena was intently listening to what he had to say. In his mind Michael would have rather done this in private, not in front of over one hundred thousand people; this would be the one time he wished everyone would ignore him as usual.

“I don’t know Michael…” Alex said as she looked to Mark, who was silently stood in the ring; bloodied, bruised and very battered; intently listening in like their other friends.
“Mark?” Alex said, wanting him to say something; anything that would show her heart the way. Trouble is his heart was not telling him what he should do, he was torn between fighting for her and letting her go; silently he thought for a moment before speaking softly.

“If you want to give Michael a second chance I will understand, but you know I love you and will give my life to you…” Even though his body was aching he had to be honest with her, allowing the real Mark to show through. Alex knew she had the biggest decision of her life to make; with Mark she was always going to be safe, but her heart was meant to belong to Michael.

Deep in Michael’s heart he knew he could not hold on to her love, Mark was everything he was not and then some. He knew he had to make the choice, he knew she could never make that call; it was in her eyes.
“Alex… its okay, go to him.” Michael began, turning to leave the ring; his heart broken in two.

With an almost broken Mark looking on, his own heart was struggling with what was taking place in front of him. But as Michael left the ring and Alex did not follow he tried not to jump to conclusions, it was still Alex who needed to make that choice. Looking back to Mark, Alex saw something she had never seen before; fear. In all his years he had never felt fear as such, Mark was always the strong one that would never let anything show. But now as he faced the very real situation of losing his soul mate, Mark was anything but sure of himself.

In that moment Alex saw what she felt her heart had been hiding from her, the man she had truly fallen for and the one she believed was her soul mate. Looking to Michael, who already knew she was lost to him now; nodded his approval. With Alex and Mark surrounded in the ring by their friends, both wished they could be back in the comfort of their locker room and alone; but Mark was aware that he needed to show the real him right now.

Doing his best not to wince as he limped to the middle of the ring, Mark was met in the middle of the ring by Alex; who was to be fair still searching for the right words. Holding the mic to his lips, the whole arena went silent; superstars and officials from the back heading to ringside, longing to not only see but also hear the legendry Undertaker break character.

“My dear beautiful Alexandra…” Mark began, actually fearful of the silence that now surrounded them.
“Some people believe that love, true love, is experienced by very few; and that to attain this type of love you must know real pain, heartache and suffering. If they are right, if the depth of love is measured by the depth of suffering; you can be in no doubt that what I have for you is true love indeed…” With the silence surrounding them all Mark could hear was his heart beating in his chest, while all Alex could hear was this wonderful man being the one she always saw.

“I give my heart soul and life to you, my dear sweet beautiful girl…” Mark continued, but stopped just as quickly. Wanting to say more, to say what he truly felt in his heart but was unsure. Smiling softly it seems Alex was the only one who was actually sure, moving forward slowly slightly. Gently Alex softly caressed Mark’s cheek as they both stood in his yard both seemingly thinking the same thing, all it took was Alex’s soft touch to make Mark aware he was doing the right thing.

Nodding softly, Mark took his sign and continued to finish his sentence, sinking to one knee as he often did after a match; only this time was much different.
“My beautiful girlfriend, will do me the honour of becoming my wife?” There seemed to be a huge collective gasp fill the whole arena, both felt it and were sure that it was felt all around the world also. In truth; part of Cole was happy, Alex was a good woman and deserved to be loved and treated as such. In his heart though he still wanted her to look back at him with an unasked question in her eyes, of course he knew she would not. And she did not, smiling softly before nodding and softly saying yes before throwing her arms gently around Mark; who to be fair still grimaced slightly.

“Oh Mark, I’m sorry; did I hurt you?” Alex said softly as she helped Mark back to his feet, both trying to ignore the rumblings of happiness around the arena. Shaking his head Mark softly took Alex’s face in his hands and smiled softly, taking as long as he could studying this beautiful creature in front of him.

With an almost “first kiss” feel about it, Mark gently but swiftly moved forward a few extra inches and delivered the softest of tender kisses to Alex’s willing longing lips; both trying to block out the fact that the whole arena were cheering for them as they did so. As their kiss continued, the arena began to eventually clear of many fans and superstars; the more hardy ones stayed of course, but this too would soon change. After what seemed like forever the two lovers broke their kiss, their eyes saying all they both needed to say.

Without another word they left the ring, and even though he was hurting Mark still insisted on carrying Alex to the back in his arms. Softly she caressed his bloodied face as Mark carried her back to the locker room, where he laid Alex softly upon the large leather couch that they been sitting on earlier. Mark had wanted Alex to rest while he showered, Alex of course had other ideas; seemingly not wanting to loose sight of him. Alex wanted to taste him, to see him, to feel him close to her; all so that she would never be facing the thought of losing him again.

Surprisingly; or not so thought Mark, the two had managed to remain alone for this long and hoped it would continue. Something which they both were in much need of, with more than his fair share of aches and pains Mark tried to undress from his ring attire. Feeling an unspoken urge in her, Alex began to help him undress; softly making sure she caused Mark no more pain than he was already in.

As Mark showered, Alex sat alone on the couch; trying to rest and take stock as it were. So much had happened over the past five years, it had not seemed like five years; sometimes less and sometimes more. But now, as Alex thought about Mark loving proposal she finally could believe that she was truly settled. As Mark continued to shower Alex continued to think of all that had brought them to this moment, she thought about her past; an upbringing she would rather forget.

She thought of how her heart had been struck quickly by Michael, and how she had seemingly found her place in the arms of the Deadman. Ruefully she smiled at that thought, although she was brave enough to approach him; Alex was always aware of what others said. Their warnings of his temper and that he was a loner were still in the back of her mind when she approached him that time, but it was joined by something else; something at the time she could not place. When Batista had left her in agony outside the ring after Edge had speared her, it was Mark who had come to her rescue; he was the one who carried her to safety.

There was something in his eyes that she was sure of, if only now at least; he had never shown to anyone else. Had Mark always been in love with her or had it just grew out of their time together?  Had she missed the signs that someone, maybe God had shown to her? Whatever it was, Alex felt sure that it; whatever “it” was, was certainly in his eyes that day. So engrossed in her silent revive was Alex that she never heard Mark finish his shower or head out to the huge leather couch by Alex’s side, softly he smiled at her daydreams; which he could tell were good ones.

Taking a deep breath, Mark needed to know; he had to ask.
“Come lay with me?” Mark said softly, as he tried to lay upon the sofa. After some effort Mark managed to lay back slightly, slowly Alex lay close next to him; but no matter how hard she tried, it still made Mark wince in pain.
“Oh Mark, I’m sorry did I hurt you?” Alex cried out softly, smiling he shook his head.
“I’m just feeling my age baby girl…” Mark said softly, as his soft tender fingers gently swept across her naked midriff.

Both were more than a little aware that Alex was turned on by this action, and if both were honest it was something they both wanted to continue. Gently Mark turned Alex so she was facing him slightly; tenderly they began to kiss, caressing each other as they went along.

“I love you Alex, you are so beautiful…” Mark began, softly kissing her lips once more as his fingers nimbly began to undo the top she was wearing. Seeing that she did not attempt to stop him Mark continued, softly kissing and caressing her as he slowly undressed her. In her mind Alex knew where this was headed, so slowly she too began to undress Mark; gently helping him out of his towel.

Now instead of resting Alex wanted to explore these feelings Mark was creating deep within her, with both nearly naked Mark stopped; his eyes seemingly searching her own for the answer to an unasked question. All it took was Alex nodding for Mark to understand completely and continue to undress her, not stopping until both were completely naked. Now naked, both continued to softly kiss and caress each other. Mark was tender and slow in every move he made, causing Alex to be more than a little aware this night would last forever.

“Please don’t stop Mark; I want to give myself to you…” Alex said quietly as she tenderly took the lead and began to gently caress Mark’s ever-growing desire, all Mark could do was nod silently; more than willing to give his heart, body and soul to the woman he loved more than life itself.

(This part is the slightly naughty part.)

Slowly Mark’s fingers began to caress Alex’s willing body, gently making his way to her bountifully breasts; his fingers easily manipulating them into arousal.
“Oh Mark…” Alex softly managed to breathlessly say, her heart totally lost to him now; not that it would have taken much persuading in the first place to be fair. Maybe her heart had always belonged to him, maybe it was that he came through for her; whatever the reason Mark certainly had her heart, body, mind and soul.

“My God you are so beautiful Alexandra…” Mark just about managed to say, his breath being taken away by this stunning beauty before him; one he could now officially call his own. That thought alone filled him with a yearning that he was not used to, there had been other women in Mark’s life of course; but none had ever had this effect upon him. Alex had always hated her full name, it was part of the reason she came up with the wrestler name long before she had taken up wrestling.

The only people ever allowed to call her by her full name were Gabby and her parents, but now as she trembled at the sound of her name on Mark’s lips; she realized he too would be one of few.
“Your name means helper of mankind…” Mark began to say softly and seemingly out of the blue, Alex went to question him not realizing what he had meant.

“It fits your personality so well; I am blessed, truly blessed.” Mark continued, his heart still pounding in his chest; it was no good, he had to have her. With an unabashed passion Mark continued his passionate loving tender assault upon Alex’s willing and wanton body, she gasped out loud as his fingers found their mark. Gently he would tease her nub, creating a longing desire neither would be prepared for. Slowly his fingers found their way inside Alex causing her to allow a deep moan escape from her lips, pulling him to her; she spoke.

“Oh Mark, I am always yours…” Alex’s body shivered with pure pleasure against his solid frame, yearning to give herself to him. Within moments she had found herself laying helplessly underneath his massive frame, almost pinned to the sofa by his own highly sensitive body.

Mark was so ready it took all his will not to fall at the first fence, with his body hovering within inches of her own he needed to hear the words from her mouth before he went down that road; he needed to be sure this was what she really wanted.

“Please Mark, make love to me…” Alex said seeing the question in his eyes, she knew he would never just take her. Maybe that was the thing about him, she knew that he would always respect her wishes and she would always be in control. Nodding, Mark slowly entered Alex, trying to control his own wanton desire from taking over him completely.

Gasping aloud as she finally felt him inside her, Alex tried to find some coherent thoughts; finally giving up when she realized it was all a waste of time. Entwining her body with his, they moved as one for the longest time; feeling both of their desires growing to the point of no return.

“Oh God Mark, I’m going to cum…” Alex called out, pulling him even closer to her. He needed no other words and totally understood what she felt, gently picking up the pace slightly until they both could feel Alex letting go; finally allowing herself to give everything to him.

“Oh God Alex, I love you…” Mark called out as he came deep inside Alex moments after she had, his eyes fixed to her own; their souls now joined as one. Slowly the two lovers came down, resting together; their bodies still entwined as they began to feel sleepy.
“I love you Mark, I promise you forever.” Alex said softly, gently caressing his naked torso as he lay in her arms.

“And I love you forever my beautiful partner, I will always belong to you Alexandra.” Mark replied, knowing his heart and soul were indeed safe with this beautiful creature; he could trust his ‘helper of mankind’ with his life. And that was indeed what he would do, for maybe the first time in his life Mark would give himself totally and completely to someone. As they two drifted off to sleep, Mark was for the first time in his life contented; excited for all that the future held for them both.

No comments: