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My Mistake

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I fiddle around with my phone waiting out in the hallway near the locker rooms for AJ to come out so we could head out. I had sent him a text about ten minutes ago to let him know I was ready but I haven’t gotten a reply back from him. I wonder what could be taking him so long. We are supposed to be heading to see the premiere of this new movie that we both have been looking forward to seeing. I was extra excited because it was going to be just AJ and I to go, he promised, and he always keeps his promises.

See, AJ and I have this special relationship together. We will go out on “dates” together, like the movies, or to a popular diner in whatever town we are in. Or we will just hang out in his or my room watching TV or whatever. There may or may not also be some intense make out sessions between us, with some heavy petting. Okay, a lot of heavy petting, doing everything without actually having sex. Basically, we are dating without having the official title. AJ said that he didn’t want to put a title on us just yet, and I’m fine with that. I’m just thrilled at being able to spend time with him, I don’t need a title.

Though the last couple of weeks, the relationship between AJ and I has changed greatly. Ever since the Superstar Shake-up, it is never just AJ and I when we go out. It is always myself, AJ and…

“Hi Jessica…”

The fake, sickly sweet voice of Charlotte Flair comes from beside me, causing me to inwardly cringe. I turn to see Charlotte standing there next to AJ with a smug grin on her face. My eyes flick from Charlotte to AJ who is standing there smiling, carrying his and Charlotte’s things. Oh don’t tell me…

“AJ, I thought it was just going to be you and me tonight?” I ask, trying to keep me voice as normal as possible. Not wanting to let on to how I’m really feeling.

“Well, I thought it would be nice for Charlotte to come with us. We were talking and I mentioned us going to see the movie. She said that she had been wanting to see it too. So I invited her along, I knew you wouldn’t mind.” he replies smiling at me.

“Oh, am I intruding?” Charlotte asks, putting on a guilty look.

I narrow my eyes at her, and at the same time AJ and I reply,

“No/Yes!”

Our heads snap around looking at the other in disbelief, “You can’t be serious!”

“Jessica! That is rude,” he turns back to Charlotte, “of course you are not intruding! You are more than welcome to join us at the movies. Right Jess?”

The look he gives me makes my heart drop into my stomach. Why did he not see how much this bothered me? If he wanted to go to the movies with Charlotte, why even invite me to begin with? Why make the promise of it just being the two of us when that wasn’t going to be true? So much for AJ always keeps his promises. Now this is going to turn into every other time Charlotte joins us for an outing. It will be Charlotte and AJ glued to the hip and I’m going to be left behind as the third wheel… forgotten.

I open my mouth to respond, but Charlotte speaks before I can, completely disregarding my opinion and feelings,

“Come on AJ. If we want to get good seats we need to get there now. Oh you have the tickets right?”

“Yeah, I have them. OH Jess, we need to get you another ticket, I gave Charlotte yours. You don’t mind right? Great! Come on.”

AJ grabs his and Charlotte’s bags and walks off, Charlotte following close to his side. But of course she had to get one last cocky smirk sent my way.

I can only stand there, mouth gaping open, watching them walk away in shock, and hurt. AJ just completely dismissed me! Not only did he give away my ticket to the movie that we ordered weeks ago, before Charlotte even got here, but he doesn’t even care. The tickets are sold out! There is no way I’m going to get another ticket tonight! Not on opening night.

And not only that, but he doesn’t even bother to offer to help me with my stuff. Of course I can get my own bags, but that’s not the point. AJ usually offers to help me if I need it, or sometimes he would just take it without giving me the option.

But now, nothing. He just doesn’t even seem to care.

Though, I shouldn’t be surprised. I don’t even know why I was surprised about his inviting Charlotte along to the movies with us. This is how it has been since Charlotte came over to Smackdown from Raw. With her here now, it is all about her, and I’m pushed to the side and forgotten, a fleeting thought. Hell, I don’t think I’m even a fleeting thought anymore. Not as long as Charlotte is in the picture, I’m nothing to AJ anymore.

I let out a sigh and grab my stuff, heading to the exit. Even if I don’t go see the movie, AJ is still my ride for the night, so I have to go with them. Maybe I can find a different movie to see or something; just to waste time until he is ready to head back to the hotel.

*Ping*

My phone goes off, stopping me in my tracks. Opening up my messages I see a text from AJ,

Hey, Charlotte and I went on ahead to get a good seat, I’ll get you a ticket and leave it at the door for you. See you when you get here! – AJ

Oh… my heart drops and I fight back the tears pooling in my eyes. They, they actually left without me. AJ actually forgot that I rode with him and didn’t have a way to get there. I don’t even have a way back to the hotel now.

Sniffling, I try and keep myself from crying. It hurt, God it hurts so damn much.

“H-eyy Jessica!”

Sniffing back the tears and quickly wiping my eyes, I turn around and force a smile seeing Carmella making her way towards me with her own bags.

“Hey Mella.”

We hug, and Carmella pulls away with a sly looking grin,

“What are you still doin’ here? I thought you and lover boy, oh I mean AJ, were supposed to go to the movies tonight.”

She wiggles her eyebrows at me and I have to laugh. Leave it to Carmella to be able to make me laugh when I feel like my heart is breaking.

“Um, yeah, well we were supposed to. But…” my voice trails off, shifting my eyes away from Carmella.

I hear her scoff, and I know she just rolled her eyes, “Don’t tell me, Charlotte managed to weasel her way in on your day right?”

She questions, clearly already annoyed at the thought.

I bow my head, “It wasn’t really a date,” I mutter.

That’s all I could think of to say.

“Jessica.” She says in a warning tone, hands on her hips.

Sighing, I nod, “Yeah, AJ invited her along. Actually, he gave her what was supposed to be my ticket, saying that he would buy me another ticket when we get there. Or I guess I should say, we they get there.”

She cocks an eyebrow at me, “What is that supposed to mean?”

“They went ahead without me…” I speak in a soft voice.

“Oh you have got to be kidding me!” Carmella shouts, flinging her arms out, “You mean to tell me that jackass left you here to go with her to the movies on a date that was supposed to just be the two of you?! What about you? He expects you to meet them there? How? Didn’t you ride with him?”

Again I nod,

“I, I guess he forgot…” my voice breaks slightly, eyes wet with tears.

Why does it hurt so much more to say it out loud?

“That is not an excuse! If anything that should only serve to piss you off!” she exclaims.

I can only shrug, not trusting my voice enough to say anything.

“Oh Jess…”

Carmella wraps her arms around me, pulling me in for a tight hug. I wrap my arms around her, shutting my eyes tight to try and keep myself from crying.

She rubs my back in a soothing manner, “Hey, it’s alright sweetie. Look, how about you ride back to the hotel with me, and we have a sleepover in my hotel room. I’m rooming with Tamina, but I’m sure she won’t mind. How about it? Order some room service; watch some bad rom coms or whatever. We can do each other’s hair, our nails, just whatever we want. What’d ya say?”

I wipe my eyes and give Carmella a small smile,

“Yeah, that sounds good. Thanks Mella.”

She smiles at me, “Anytime girl. Now come on, let’s get to the hotel. Tonight is going to be great.”

Wrapping her arm around mine, Carmella and I head off to the car. Maybe this will be good for me, take my mind off AJ and Charlotte. I just hope AJ doesn’t get mad at me for not showing up, not my fault. And if he did somehow manage to get me a ticket for the movie, I’ll just give him the money to pay him back for the wasted ticket.

Chapter Text

“Okay Jess, truth time.” Carmella says, bouncing onto the bed, finishing having showered and changed, curling up next to me.

I had bribed Tamina with the key to my hotel room, since I was rooming by myself, she jumped at the chance to not be forced to sit through our shitty picks of movies to watch tonight. Like they were the types of movies that are so bad they’re good, with the horrible animation and everything. But we did through in a few of my favorites to make me feel better, like “Robin Hood Men in Tights” I need a good laugh. Anyway, Carmella and I would have gone to my room, but my room, like always, is right next door to AJ’s and I just didn’t want to deal with him. Not tonight anyway.

I turn to look at Carmella, “Okay, truth… You wear too much make-up; it makes you look like a clown.”

The shocked look she gives me has me doubling over in laughter, “Sorry Mella, but you asked for the truth.”

She glares at me, “Well, if I look like a clown, it’s your fault since you are the one who does my make-up.”

I stop laughing, “Oh damn, your right. Well then, I retract my statement and say, you look absolutely stunning every night on Smackdown.”

Carmella rolls her eyes at me, smacking me with the pillow behind her. “That’s what I thought. Now come on be serious here please.”

“Okay, okay,” I giggle, “serious, promise. So, truth, what truth?”

Crossing her arms and giving me a completely serious look, Carmella looks me dead in the as she asks, “What is really going on between you and AJ?”

My face falls at her question, my eyes turning away to stare at the comforter on the bed.

“I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.” I mumble, playing with the tie string on my sleep shorts.

“Oh don’t you play dumb with me Jessica, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is more to this relationship between you and AJ than just two friends who hang out together. There are true feeling there deeper than friendship.”

I sigh at her accusation. As right as she might be, she is that much wrong.

“There might be real, deeper feelings there Mella, but it is all one sided. I don’t think AJ feels the same way about me as I do for him. Maybe at one point he might have felt something for me. But now, I’m not so sure.”

Carmella stares at me with sad eyes, “Oh Jessica, I’m sorry. I, I don’t really know what to say right now to comfort you. Anything I can think of will probably only make you feel worse than better.”

I manage to give her a small smile, “Thanks Mella, it’s okay though. Well, not really, not right now anyway. But I guess it will be. Eventually. Maybe.”

Wrapping her arms around me, Carmella hugs my as tight as possible, “Oh course it will be okay. There are plenty of guys out there… and girls too. You know, whoever catches your attention. But someone out there will see how truly amazing you are. And they will return your love 10 fold. They will be 110 times better than stupid AJ Styles.”

“Thanks Mella: but I thought that there could really be something between AJ and me. And then these past couple of weeks happen and AJ behavior towards me change. When we hang out, Charlotte somehow gets involved too and then I’m just left feeling like the third wheel. That is if I don’t get forgotten completely. Why even agree to spend time with me if he just wanted to be with Charlotte; just save me the pain and embarrassment.”

She runs her hands through my hair as I lay over on her, “I know this probably not what you want to hear, but I think you need to. You just need to forget about AJ, cut all ties with him, and only interact with him when it is about work. It is clear that Charlotte has his wrapped around her pinky and he’s not fighting it. And we know how Charlotte can be, it is probably best if you just have minimal interaction with the both of them, keeping it as professional as you can.”

I pout, I don’t want to cut ties with AJ. I want to have some kind of relationship with him. I don’t even care if he is friends with Charlotte, that is not my problem. My problem is that whenever we make plans for it to be the two of us, Charlotte worms her way in. And it’s not fair. Let me have my time with him.

And besides, I can’t just tell him we are no longer going to be friends. How would I explain that to him? Anything I try to tell him short of the truth and he will know it is a lie. He can always tell when I’m trying to lie to him. Then again, there is a chance he might not even care, not that that thought makes me feel any better. If anything, it hurts even more.
I snuggle up closer to Carmella, turning my attention to the movie playing and try to push the thoughts from my mind. Tonight is about enjoying time with Carmella and not being sad.

A knock comes to the door, pulling Carmella and I from our trance of the movie.

“That’s probably the food, I’ll get it.” she pauses the movie and gets up to answer the door.

I decide to go through my phone waiting for Carmella, and check out some of the fan photos and videos from the show tonight. They always get such shots, and the comments are always hilarious or heartwarming. I could use of that right now. However, the first picture that loads is not a fan photo, but it is one that fans have been circulating like crazy since it was posted… 10 minutes ago. Staring at the caption under the picture though is what brings tears to my eyes.

There on my phone is a new photo, posted from AJ’s account, of AJ and Charlotte together at the theater, from the looks of it, waiting for the movie to start. They are sitting really close together, AJ’s arm around her, her head resting over on his shoulder. Both are smiling wide. But the caption, it just cuts me deep. Under the picture it reads

“Nothing like spending the night at the movies just me and my best (favorite) girl. Love ya Charlotte girl!”

So that’s it. That right there says it all and there is no denying it; it is all I need to know that there is something going on between Charlotte and AJ.

He doesn’t even notice that I’m not there, he probably doesn’t even care. He is probably thrilled to be rid of me, because now he can focus his whole attention on Charlotte. Maybe that was the plan all along; ditch me so he could just spend time alone with Charlotte. He never even wanted me around. I was just a place holder until he could have Charlotte.
That’s gotta be it!

I feel a lump forming in my throat, making it harder to breathe. The pain in my chest is becoming unbearable. I just let the tears go, fighting back a sob, feeling my heart break beyond repair.

“Food’s here… Oh my god! Jessica, what happened?!” Carmella exclaims finding me doubled over on the bed.

She rushes over to me, pulling me to her, trying to calm my sobs.

“H-he... he used me! Oh God! It, it was all a lie!” I screech out, falling into her lap, crying my heart out.

“W-what? What are you talking about? He who Jess?”

Unable to answer, I hand her my phone to show her the photo. She goes silent, I can feel her body tense up, but I’m able to react.

“That bastard!” she hisses.

I hear my phone drop to the table hard, but I don’t care. I simply cling to Carmella, still crying.

“Shh, Jessica, calm down. You need to calm down, breathe honey. Before you pass out or something.”

“I-it hurts Mella!”

“Oh Jess, I know. I’m so sorry. But he’s not worth it. He is not worth your tears. They both are snakes and deserve each other. You, you deserve so much better Jessica.”

I say nothing and just continue to cry until I am finally able to calm down, but I do not let go of Carmella. She simply sits there allowing me to cry, rubbing her hand down my back or through my hair, in a comforting manner.

I nod and we get settled on the bed to eat and ready to start our mini movie marathon. I try to focus and enjoy the movie, but thought of AJ and that picture just won’t leave my mind. Maybe this is supposed to be the final nail in the coffin, the thing that tells me that Carmella is right and I just need to stay away from AJ. He obviously doesn’t care about me like I care for him, and has no consideration for my heart. So why should I worry about his. As of this moment, AJ Styles means nothing to me.

I’m done!

Chapter Text

The following morning, Carmella and I pack up and head to meet up with Tamina. Normally I would ride with AJ (and unfortunately Charlotte as well) to the next town. But after last night, I want nothing to do with AJ Styles. I cannot bring myself to face him right now. The wound is too new to try and confront AJ just yet; so I’ll just avoid him and Charlotte like the plague.

And that is exactly what I do for the next two weeks. As childish as it might seem, but I do everything in my power to make sure I am never in the same place as AJ or Charlotte at the same time. I change around everything just to try and avoid seeing them, separate or together. I was thankful to have a few people I could trust to help keep me from them without having to explain the situation to them.

I began riding with Carmella and whoever else was riding with her. I even started rooming with Carmella, and giving Tamina my solo room or whoever wanted it. Just to ensure I was not rooming anywhere AJ and run the risk of seeing him. I had one of the other make-up artists take over for me when it came to Charlotte’s make-up. No one questioned why, most knew I didn’t get along with Charlotte and figured I had reached my breaking point with her. Which isn’t wrong, just a little more complicated than they thought.

Again, I realize this might be childish, but I’m doing this out of self preservation; to keep my sanity and to keep from losing my job. Because after some time, the hurt faded away and was replaced with burning anger for that lying bastard and blonde bitch from hell. No, I’m not bitter at all, okay, maybe a little bit. But I’m working on it. Thus why I keep my distance; and I have been doing a great job at it so far. So maybe the universe was on my side for this… Maybe.

One Tuesday, setting up to get the women on the Smackdown roster, I’m feeling happier than I have in almost a month. And that is because after the live show tonight, we have a few days off, and I’m heading down to Orlando with Carmella and meeting up with Cass, Enzo, and Enzo’s girlfriend, Tiffany I believe is her name. I’m excited, nothing better than hitting the beach with friends to forget about all problems.

As I’m happily getting my stuff together and lost in my world, I am oblivious to another person joining me in the make-up room.

“Oh, it’s you. Hadn’t seen you in a few weeks, I would’ve thought you’d have left by now. You know, since no one actually wants you around.”

Charlotte Flair’s voice reaches my ears and instantly my smile falls from my face. I grit my teeth, spinning around to glare at the tall blonde bitch. I see her with her arms crossed, smirking at me.

“And I’d have thought someone would have kicked your teeth down your throat by now. You know, since you run your mouth too damn much and piss everyone off.”

Her smirk disappears and is replaced with a shocked look on her face. I’m sure she was not expecting me to have a comeback. Since before I always held my tongue when she would talk down to me, and not stand up for myself. But before I had AJ to worry about, now, oh bitch its game on!

“How dare you speak to me that way! I am Charlotte Flair…”

“I don’t give a fuck who you are or who you think you are. You are nothing more than an annoying, stuck up bitch who deserves to be put in her place because you think somehow your last name means you are better than everyone else.”

She glares at me, standing to her full height, trying to intimidate me, but it’s not working. I have a hot curling iron in reach and I will use it if I have to. Attack me bitch, see how tough you are with a hot iron bitch slapping you across the face.

She slowly stalks towards me, “I am better than everyone else, especially you. You are just a lowly, pathetic make-up artist. Did you really think you had a chance with AJ Styles? Please, you were just someone to warm his bed at night, to keep him entertained. You meant nothing to him. I mean, clearly, since he so easily ditched you once I got here. AJ and I have history, we are on the same level, we deserve each other. You are so far beneath us it is sad actually that you thought there could have really been something between you and AJ.”

The snide in her tone, the way she talks down to me, I can feel myself shaking from anger.

“You’re the pathetic one Charlotte. You come here practically begging to get AJ’s attention. You can’t stand it if you are not the center of attention. God forbid AJ is close to anyone other than you, and it kills you that I actually held his focus for almost a year, and what about you? What did you get? Nothing. The fact you attacked me the moment you stepped foot in Smackdown is proof enough that you feel threatened by me.”

Before I can react, Charlotte is pushing me, shoving me hard against the wall there. I hit hard enough to lose my breath for a moment. I stare at her in shock, and find her nearly shaking with anger,

“You are nothing Jessica! AJ doesn’t care about you, never did and he never will. He told me that he felt bad for you, that is why he started talking to you, out of pity. But you just stuck around, he grew annoyed with you. But you were easy to him, so desperate, he could get anything he wanted from you. The only reason it never went farther was because he just couldn’t bring himself to sleep with you. He told me everything, always complaining about you, and how he felt nothing for you. He needed me to take care of him. I never complained about him being with you because I knew in the end he would always come back to me!”

My hand shoot out and I slap her as hard as I can, the sound echoing throughout the room. She is stunned, head turned to the side and a red mark of my handprint already present on her face.

“Jessica! What the hell is wrong with you?!”

Our head snap towards the door to see AJ standing there with his arms crossed.

Charlotte instantly turns on the pity act, “AJ! She hit me for no reason. I was just trying to talk to her, telling her how we missed hanging out with her the past two weeks. She called me a bitch and slapped me!”

She runs to him, wrapping her around him, fake crying. I roll me eyes at her sad acting. Crocodile tears and the pity act just doesn’t work for her. I watch them, watching how AJ hugs her, cupping the cheek that I slapped and how he is so gentle with her. I feel my heart clench at the sight. How can he be so thick to not see through her act? Is he really that blind to her true intentions? Why can’t he look at me that way? Is what Charlotte said true?

“Go get some ice for your cheek and go to my locker room, I’ll see you there after I talk to Jessica.” AJ’s voice breaks my thoughts.
My mouth drops, is he really going to scold me? Really?

Charlotte gives a sad sniffle and nods, “Okay AJ. J-just don’t be too hard on her. Okay?”

She gives him a peck on the cheek and walks out. I quickly turn my head to the side, not wanting to see their sickly display of affection. It makes my stomach churn.

“Jessica, what is wrong with you? Why would you hit Charlotte? She has done nothing to you.” He asks in a disappointed tone, just like a father scolding his child.

I bite my tongue, keeping my eyes away from him and mess around with the make-up table. I wince slightly as a pain shoots through my back. That is going to bruise, I know it.
“Jessica, answer me.” He urges.

“Why, anything I say you won’t believe me. Charlotte is the angle and I’m the devil in this situation. Nothing I say will change anything. Since the moment she got here. It has been all about her, and I mean nothing… maybe I meant nothing to begin with. Just someone easy to keep your bed warm at night.”

Without looking, I know AJ is shocked by my words, by how emotionless my voice sounds. Hell, I’m even surprised at the sound of my voice. I just don’t care what he has to say. I think Charlotte said everything for the both of them.

“Jess, you know that isn’t true. I care about you, I do. What is going on, you haven’t been yourself recently.”

I turn and glare at him, “Oh like you would know how I’ve been. You haven’t seen me in two weeks, haven’t paid any attention to me in almost two months. How would you honestly know how I’ve been? You’ve been shoved so far up Charlotte’s ass don’t know where she ends and you begin. Just go away.”

He takes me by the arm and keeps my facing him, “No, I will not just go away Jess. Something is wrong, I know it is. I’m worried about you.”

He voice sounds so sincere that I almost believe him. Almost being the key word there.

“Yeah, I bet you’ve been real concerned about me. So much so you left me stranded at the arena two weeks ago to go see a movie with Charlotte that WE were supposed to see together.”

“Is this what this is about? Jess, don’t you think you are being childish and just a little petty?”

“YES! I am and I have every right to be!” I yell in his face, “You left me, AJ, you were my ride, and you left me at that arena with no way to the hotel or even to the theater. If it wasn’t for Carmella still being here, I don’t know how I would have gotten to the hotel. And hell yeah I’m being petty about the tickets. We got those tickets weeks in advance, before Charlotte even came to Smackdown, and you know they were sold out for opening night. Yet you still gave my ticket to Charlotte without even asking me. I was looking forward to it being just the two of us and I was really upset when you ditched me. But it’s clear by your post from that night, you didn’t even care I wasn’t there. Clear that you just wanted it to be you and Charlotte, and it that’s true you should have told me. Might have hurt less.”

I pull my arm away from him and step away. I can’t look at him anymore, though it does feel nice to get all of this off my chest. Maybe it will make it easier now to get over him.
“J-Jess…” AJ stutters over his words.

“Am I interrupting something?”

The sweet voice of interviewer Dasha breaks over AJ’s voice. I turn to her, looking pass AJ and smile,

“No, Mr. Styles was just leaving. Come on Dash, let’s get you all pretty up for the show tonight!” I tilt my head towards AJ, “Good-bye Mr. Styles, have a good show. If you or Ms. Flair need something, go find another stylist, I’m busy.”

AJ and I keep our eyes locked onto the other as Dasha hesitantly walks around AJ, glancing between the two of us.

Finally AJ shakes his head, giving me look I can’t quite place and walks to the door. Before he leaves, he looks back at me,

“This conversation isn’t over Jessica. I’ll come to our room tonight, there is a lot we need to talk about.” He says and walks away.

“Yes it is over. And you can try to come to my room, but I’m not going to be there.” I speak quietly to myself, feeling as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

“Jess, is everything okay?” Dasha asks from beside me.

I give her a smile, “Yup, everything is fine. Now come on, we have to get you ready for tonight.”

And with that all thoughts of AJ and Charlotte are gone and I am completely focused on my job, just get through to night and then time to hit the beach.

Chapter Text

That night after the show AJ head to the hotel wore out. The brutal match with Jindar taking a toll on his body, and then all this stuff with Jessica and Charlotte is mentally exhausting. He is actually thankful that Charlotte decided to ride with Becky; he needed a break and a chance to think everything over. He checks the time and sees how late it actually is. There is no way Jessica will want to talk to him now, she will be too tired.

‘I’ll just wait until tomorrow to talk to her. Let her calm down from tonight and get a good nights rest.’ AJ thinks to himself.

He sets his phone down with a sigh and then heads to the bathroom for a quick shower before bed.

Standing under the hot water, he can feel his muscles start to relax. He swears he is going to go insane dealing with all this drama between Charlotte and Jessica.

AJ heard Charlotte’s side of the story in his locker room before the shower, but something just didn’t seem right about her story. He knows Jessica, and he knows that she is not the type of person to just attack someone without being provoked. Jessica had told AJ once that she would not hit anyone unless they hit her first, then it would simply be self-defense. So then, why would she just slap Charlotte for no reason? There had to have been something to happen to cause Jessica to act so out of character and slap Charlotte without Charlotte provoking her.

Unless… unless Charlotte is lying about what really happened.

Could Charlotte really be lying to him? But why? Why lie?

AJ knows that Charlotte doesn’t really like his relationship with Jessica, but did that mean she would really go as far as to sabotage the relationship? Is that why Jessica has been avoiding him for the last two weeks? Did something else happen that he didn’t know about?

If something else did happen, then why didn’t Jessica just tell him?

“Anything I say won’t change anything. Charlotte is an angle and I’m the devil… Since the moment she got here, it’s been all about Charlotte and I mean nothing to you anymore.”
Jessica’s words echo in his head. Had, had he really been ignoring Jessica for Charlotte? He was happy to have one of his closest, and longest friends back with him and he just wanted to spend time with her. Nothing wrong with that, right? And surely he had to of spent equally alone time with Jessica… right?

AJ’s pauses after pulling his sweatpants up and tries to think back to the last time he and Jessica spent any time alone together. But he comes up blank.

AJ realizes that in the last two months, every moment is spent with either just him and Charlotte, or inviting Charlotte along on “dates” that were meant for just him and Jessica. And even then, he realizes, Jessica is pushed to the back and is basically forgotten while he and Charlotte have fun. He has constantly ditched Jessica for Char. And the movies… oh God, did he really leave her at the arena to try and meet up with them? Charlotte was the one to suggest leaving early, and he didn’t really have a chance to argue otherwise.

AJ honestly had forgotten that Jessica had ridden in with him. He never meant to leave her. He would never knowingly do something like that to Jessica.

God! No wonder she is avoiding him and so pissed off. She probably thinks he is no longer interested in a relationship with her and only one with Charlotte. But there is nothing going on between him and Charlotte. He has known her since she was young, if anything, Charlotte is like a little sister to him. Nothing more.

‘I’ve got to make this right with Jess. I just have to.’

AJ grabs his phone and sends Jessica a quick text,

Charlotte’s riding with Becky tomorrow, let’s meet up for breakfast and then we can hit the road to head home for our days off, just the two of us. I promise. I’ll come by your room tomorrow, be ready by 8. See you early, night Jess. I’ve missed you, really. -AJ

‘It’s not much, but hopefully it is a start in a huge apology that Jessica is long overdue.’

His head is starting to hurt from thinking so much. He just needs to sleep and hopefully tomorrow him and Jessica can talk and get everything figured out, get back on the right track in their relationship. Then he needs to sit down and have a long conversation with Charlotte, let her know that things are going to have to change. He is not going to lose Jessica and what they have built together so far. AJ is positive he wants more with her, and it is about time he lets her know.

 

“Oh I wish I could have been there to see you slap the taste out of that bitch’s mouth. The bitch better be happy I won’t there to knock the hell out of her for putting her hands on you.”

“Thanks Mella.”

“But what about AJ? What did he have to say about it all?” she questions, taking a quick glance at me.

I let out a sigh, “Well, he basically tried to make me out to be the bad guy, like Charlotte can do no wrong. Called me childish and petty for getting upset about the movies, like that was the only reason I was upset. And I told him how I felt. That it was clear he only wanted Charlotte there to begin with, and used Charlotte words that I was only a play thing to him.”

“What’d he say?” she hesitantly asks, as if she was worried about my answer.

I give a shrug, “He denied it. But isn’t that typical? Why would he actually admit in that moment that he was using me?”

“Maybe he’s telling the truth?” she suggests.

I snap my head around to her, “You can’t be serious?”

“Well, I mean, I know AJ isn’t our favorite guy right now. But what if everything has just been all Charlotte’s doing? What if AJ’s behavior was unintentional and he wasn’t aware of how he was treating you? I’m not trying to make excuses for him, honestly I’m not. But, I just can’t believe that Charlotte is telling the truth, that doesn’t seem like something AJ would do.” Carmella explains.

And as much I don’t want to, I have to agree with her. In the time I have known AJ, he just doesn’t seem like the type of guy to use a girl in the way Charlotte claimed. Even in that moment I didn’t want to believe her. But there is that small part of me, the part that is still deeply wounded, questioning what if there is a fraction of a chance that she was telling the truth? What if AJ is just that cruel of a man and not the kind of man he pretends to be?

“I don’t know Mella. He had told me before leaving the make-up room that he would come by my room to talk last night. Then I got a text saying that he wanted to get breakfast together and then head out, talk in the car heading home. I didn’t tell him that I was going with you.”

She grins, “Let him see how it feels to be ignored and ditched, nice. But I do think eventually you need to sit down and talk it all out with him. You don’t need to let things end the way they did or you will never really move on from him.”

“Yeah, you’re right. But I don’t want to think about that now. Can we just forget about AJ and the blonde bitch and just have fun this week. I don’t want them ruining my time off.”
“You got it, we are almost home. I can’t wait to see Cass! I miss him so much!” Carmella gushes with a goofy grin on her face thinking about her boyfriend.

I can’t help but feel a little jealous at her relationship with Cass. They are so cute together; I want a relationship like theirs. At one point, I thought I might have been able to have that with AJ, now that just seems like a child’s dream.

Pulling up to the house Carmella lives in with Cass, we grab our stuff from the car and Carmella practically skips up to the house, ready to see her boyfriend, and I can only laugh at her behavior.

Carmella and I are barely in her and Cass’s house when Cass is practically running up on us.

“Hey babe!” Carmella greets him with a big smile.

“I did something, don’t be mad.” He greets with a slight pout.

I see Carmella narrow her eyes at her boyfriend, smile falling from her face, crossing her arms. “Jess, go into the living room, I don’t want any witnesses to me murdering my boyfriend.”

I start to step away when Cass grabs me, “Actually, what I did involves Jess, so, stay.”

He holds me in place in front of him, acting as her personal shield. I look up at him,

“Are you seriously trying to hide behind me? You are 7 foot, I’m 5’5”, I can’t protect you from her. Also, she scares me when she’s mad; I’m just going to jump out of the way.”

“Stay.”

I huff and cross my arms. Carmella rolls her eyes at the two of us,

“Alright, what did you do that somehow involves Jess?”

“I invited someone to come stay with up the next few days. His place flooded and needed a place to stay while getting it fixed up. And since we also have Zo and Tiff joining us, Jess would be surrounded by couples, I didn’t want her somehow feeling left out. But this also means him and Jess will either have to share the guest room or pull out together.”

Carmella sighs. His heart was in the right place, just wish he would have told us before we got here, given us more of a heads up. Her eyes meet mine, a questioning look in her eyes,

“Jess, you okay with this? You’re the one who’d have to share a room with him.”

I think it over for a moment; it might not be that bad really. Give me another distraction. I look back up at Cass,

“It depends. Who is it?” I ask.

He jerks his head towards the living room, “He’s in there. Go say hi.”

I side eye Cass, why won’t he just tell me who it is?

With a huff, Carmella and I walk to the living room and find Enzo and his girlfriend Tiffany sitting on the sofa, and across from them on the love seat is the our extra guest for the next few days. He looks up at me with a big grin on his face,

“Hello Jess!”

I can’t help but smile back at him, “Hello Finn.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, I’m glad I found y’all,” AJ says walking up to Lana and Naomi, “have either of y’all seen Jess? I tried her room, but no one’s there.”

Lana and Naomi glance at each other,

“Uh, AJ, she left last night with Carmella. They were heading off to Orlando for the next few days. Didn’t she tell you?”

Lana crosses her arms, giving the southern male a hard look, “Why would she? Not like he would even care. He’s too busy with Charlotte to care about Jess feeling or to notice when she is around or not.”

Naomi gives the blonde a hard nudge, “Girl…”

“What?! It’s the truth. We have been telling her for months now that he was no good to her. Ditching her all the time, ignoring her, forgetting about her until its convent for him and suits his needs or wants. Jess is finally getting over him and he’s coming back to her. Why? Because Charlotte is off with Becky somewhere, so you can’t have your head shoved up her ass. Leave her alone AJ, you have Charlotte now, and for the way she talks, she is the one you’ve always wanted. Let Jess move on with her life and find someone who won’t treat her like a toy to pick up and put down when you’re done playing with her.”

Lana turns on her heel and walks away from AJ, off to find Rusev and head out. Naomi turns back to AJ, his eyes down cast, a frown on his lips, and hands on his hips,
“AJ?”

“She’s right; I’ve been an asshole to Jess. I know this now, and I was hopin’ to use this time to make it up to her. She could have at least told me she was taking off with Carmella. Dang it.”

He storms off, leaving Naomi with a concerned look on her face. She sighs, running a hand down her face.

“Hey what’s wrong with you?” Jimmy asks, coming up to wrap his arm around her shoulders.

“AJ just found out Jess took off with Carmella and he’s not that happy about it. I think he’s about to do something stupid and it’s not going to make things any better for them.”
Jimmy squeezes her shoulder, “It’s there mess, we just have to let ‘em work it out on their own.”

“Yeah, come on, let’s get home.”

AJ storms out of the hotel, grumbling to himself and stomping to the car, throwing his bags in the trunk of the car. Why the hell would Jess just leave like? She could have at least told him so he wasn’t waiting around for her like an idiot.

‘Breathe, this is just like what you did to her with Charlotte. You’re getting a taste of your own medicine, just suck it up and deal with it.’

AJ takes a deep breath, mentally talking himself down from going into a rage. Well, maybe now he knows how Jess has felt the last couple of months.

He picks up his phone and calls Jess, only to get voice mail,

“Hey Jess, I uh, I found out you went with Carmella to spend your days off. I wish you’d have told me, but I guess I get why you didn’t. Have fun and maybe we can talk when later. I lo… uh, bye Jess.”

That is the message that Jessica woke up to and she doesn’t know how to feel. Maybe just a little guilty for just up and leaving without telling him? Then again he has done the same thing to her so why should she feel guilty. But it’s what AJ says, or almost says at the end that throws her off completely.

Did, did he really almost just say he loves her? Seriously? No, can’t be. Or maybe he just means like a friend? He can’t actually mean that he really loves her. For heaven’s sake he has Charlotte, why would he say he love her if he’s with Charlotte? And why now of all times to say something like that?

Jessica is finally starting to feel herself get back to normal and getting over him. Is he just doing this to mess with her? Throw her off? Keep her from moving on and just wanting to string her along? Could he really be that cruel?

“Jess? Jess? Hey Jessica, you okay there?”

Finn’s voice from the doorway of the guest room knocks Jessica from her thoughts.

“H-huh?”

Finn’s brows furrow together, moving closer to her, “Jess? What’s wrong, yer shakin’.”

She shakes her head, putting her phone away, “I’m fine. I think. I don’t know really. I haven’t really been fine for a few weeks now.”

He puts his arms around her shoulders, “Everyting okay? Did something happen between you and AJ?”

Oh yeah, Finn doesn’t know what’s been going on. He still thinks Jess and AJ have a “some” relationship. She blows out a huff of air, laying her head over on Finn’s shoulder.
“It’s a long story. You sure you want to hear?” she asks, looking up at him through her lashes.

“Come on love. Tell Finn what’s on yer mind.”

With a deep breath, Jessica sets out to tell Finn everything that has happened in the last two months and the fallout from last night between her and Charlotte. By the end, she notices how Finn has his fist clenched by his side, and his eyes narrowed in anger. She is slightly afraid that he is going to bust a vein from being so tense.

“Finn…?”

He closes his eyes, inhales, and slowly exhales to relax.

“Oh Jess, there is so much I want ta say, and if I could I’d go punch him in the face, give him a Coup de Grâce. But I won’t cause I know it’ll upset you more. So instead, I’m goin’ ta make sure that the next few days are spent with you not once thinking ‘bout AJ Styles. How’s that sound?”

Jessica smiles at the Irish man, “Sounds good.”

“Good not come on, I’d come to tell ya that the others want ta head ta the beach. Get changed and we’ll head out.”

Jess gives him a mock salute, “Okay, get out so I can change.”

Once he’s out of the room, Jessica changes into a simple pink bikini with a top that had white and pink zigzags and blue anchors on it. She pulls her hair up into a high ponytail and put on some of her water proof eye-liner and mascara. Something about the bikini gives her a boost in confidence and she poses in front of the full length mirror in the room and takes a picture to post to Instagram.

A knock on the door has her turning around to Finn once again standing there, “Ready?”

“Yup, just let me slip on some shorts and a sandals and I’ll be ready. Can you grab my bag for me? I’ve already got it together with what I need for the beach.”
“Sure, I’ll take it down, just come down when you’re done. Okay?”

Jessica makes a sound of agreement and pulls out a pair of jean shorts to put on over her bikini bottoms, opting out of putting any kind of shirt on, and then slips on a pair of sandals.

“Ready!” she exclaims, bounding down the stairs.

“Great! The guys are getting the cars fixed up with the cooler and stuff. Let’s go. Nice bikini by the way, so cute!”

Jess winks, “Thanks Mella! Your and Tiff’s are cute too.”

The girls giggle heading out to the car. Once everyone was settled, they head off, Jessica riding with Finn, and then Carmella, Cass, Enzo, and Tiffany in the other car.
It is a short ride to the beach, but Finn and Jessica spend the ride joking and laughing. Finn has Jess laughing so hard her sides her and she is nearly in tears. And hearing him laugh, it’s hard for Jessica to not laugh along with him, he has a contagious laugh.

“Alright crazy man, we’re here. Come on, I need you to help me get sunscreen on. And you promised you’d help me build a sandcastle. No backing out.” Jessica says, pointing a finger at Finn with a playful grin.

“Anything you want love. Let’s go have fun.”

Getting out of the car, and everyone helps with getting the stuff out of the car, carrying it to find a good spot on the beach. It was a little crowded, but not too bad. They found a spot they all liked, and got set up. They made sure everyone was loaded down with sunscreen.

Jessica lays out on her towel, next to Carmella, watching the guys and she can’t help but to stare as Finn strips off his shirt, leaving him in his swim trunks. He is one fine specimen.

“You’re drooling.” Carmella’s teasing voice comes from beside her.

Jess jumps, “What? No I’m not. Shut up.”

Carmella throws her head back laughing as Jessica smacks at her.

“Hey Jess, come here a second!” Finn calls out to her, signaling her to come to him with his fingers.

She stands, walking over to him, he wraps his arm around her waist, turning them so their backs are to the ocean.

“Cass, take a picture of us for me with my phone?”

“No prob man.”

Cass grabs Finn’s phone and Jessica leans more into Finn placing one hand on his chest, smiling.

“Say Cheese!”

Carmella watches from the side, smiling, happy to see her friend finally smiling more and almost back to her old self, before the AJ and Charlotte drama. Maybe Finn coming along was a great idea.

Finn takes his phone from Cass and goes right to posting the picture to Instagram with the caption,

“Any man dumb enough to let this woman go is a fool. Nothing better than spending the day at the beach with friends.”

He tags Jessica in the picture and then sets his phone to the side with a satisfied smile.

“Come on Finn! You promised to build a sand castle with me!” Jessica shouts,

“Coming love!”

AJ just happens to be searching through instagram when the photo of Jessica and Finn pops up. Reading the caption has AJ seeing red, and possibly on the verge of doing something very stupid.

Chapter Text

AJ tries multiple times to call Jessica, blowing up her phone with voice mails and texts. Her not answering is only adding fuel to the fire, and it shows no signs of burning out anytime soon. By night fall AJ is completely livid, and he is ready to explode.

Grabbing his phone, he tries one more time to call Jessica,

“Hello?”

“Where the fuck have you been? Why the hell haven’t you been answerin’ the damn phone?! Too busy screwin’ around with Finn?!” he shouts in an accusing manner.

Jessica is shocked to say the least at his tone. She was not expecting him to yell at her like that,

“W-what are you talking about? AJ, I’ve been at the beach all day. My phone has been turned off, I just turned it back on and was going through your messages. What is wrong?” her voice hesitant, as if afraid to say something to make him angrier.

“I thought you were with Carmella?!”

“I am, what…?”

“Then what the fuck are you doing with Balor huh? Hanging all over him wearing basically nothing!”

“It’s a bikini AJ,” Jessica sighs, “and it covers more than some of the bras and panties that I own. And so what if I took a picture with Finn. He’s here because Cass invited him to stay while he has work done on his place. We all were at the beach together. If you took the time to look at other pictures then just that one, you would know that.”

She rubs her temple, feeling a headache coming on. Why do they have to do this again? Why does he even care?

“Then what the fuck was his caption about? Any man would be stupid to let you go? The fuck is that about?”

“Oh I don’t know. Maybe it is something similar to you posting about “being out with your favorite girl” when you go out with Charlotte. Why does it even fucking concern you AJ? You have Charlotte, so why do you care what I do and with who?”

“Because we are supposed to be working this shit out between us! And you go off and leave without even fucking telling me! And then you go gallivanting around half naked with the first guy to come along!”

“Oh my GOD! I was wearing a fucking bikini AJ! Loads of women wear them, I don’t see the problem with me wearing one! And for fucks sake! I have been friends with Finn since he joined NXT! That is longer than I’ve known you!” Jessica fumes, fed up with how AJ is talking to her.

“And that excuses you from just up and leaving without telling me! We had made plans Jessica…”

“No! YOU, you made the plans AJ. And is this what this is all about? Huh? You’re getting all pissy because I ditched you? Not a very good feeling huh? Now you got a taste of what I went through the last few months when it came to us making plans and you breaking them for Charlotte. But see, I had these plans made before you made yours. Kind of like how you already had it planned it out to go out with Charlotte, but still went along with plans I made because you were bored and needed something to do until the blonde bitch was around.”

“Don’t talk about Charlotte that way!” he hisses through the phone.

Jessica rolls her eyes, “Oh my god! So what? You’re allowed to bad mouth Finn because we are together and your feeling abandoned or jealous or whatever. But I can’t express my real feelings for the bitch? No, that’s not how this is going to work. And plus, Finn is a hell of a lot that Charlotte. At least he doesn’t try and play the victim to make someone else look bad, or look down on others acting all high and mighty. Finn isn’t purposefully doing things to keep up apart. Not that is all you and Charlotte!”

“And you’re just a lowly bitch who opens her legs for the first man to come along and show you attention!” AJ bellows over the phone. “I wanted to work this out with you. Hear your side of everything. And also try and make it up for making you feel unwanted. But do you give me the chance? No you go run hope on the next dick to come along! God! Maybe Charlotte was right and you’re nothing more than a gold digging slut, trying to sleep your way up. That’s why you were so desperate for something more with me right? And when I wouldn’t give it to you, you go to the other Golden Boy of the company! You’ve just been using me this whole time!”

His words hit harder and deeper than she ever thought possible. Is that really how he sees her? A gold digger? A whore who would try to sleep with anyone for power, money, or fame? He really doesn’t know her at all.

“AJ Styles you are, without a doubt, the cruelest man I have ever met in my life!” she curses,

“You are a jackass, and a downright bastard! You have caused me nothing but heartache, stringing me along with promises of something more but always finding excuses of not keeping those promises. God! I regret the day I ever said I’d go out with you! I am done, D-O-N-E, DONE! Don’t call me, don’t text me, don’t even look at me when we are at work, I want nothing to do with you. And keep the blonde bitch from hell Charlotte away from me too! I’m not afraid to bitch slap both of you with a hot flat iron! Try me asshole!”

Jessica ends the call and throws the phone down on the bed. Thankfully it has a protective covering on it because from the force of her throw, the phone bounces off the bed on to the floor. Jessica collapses to the floor in a heap, letting the tears freely fall. She chokes back a sob, a hand clutching at her chest.

“Jess? Oh God Jessica! What happened?!” Carmella exclaims rushing over to Jessica’s side.

She gathers Jess up in her arms, holding her close as Jessica continues to cry. The others gather in the room, all standing around worried about Jessica. Finn moves to sit on the other side of Jessica, rubbing her back soothingly.

No one moves or says anything. They all had heard her yelling at the end, and though they don’t know what the whole conversation was about, they knew enough to all want to punch AJ in his handsome face. Especially Finn, he was set of releasing the Demon King on “the phenomenal one.”

Carefully, he takes Jessica from Carmella, “Come ‘ere love, I’ve got you.”

Jessica curls into his hold, burying her face into his neck.

“Guys, let’s leave them alone. We can check on her in the mornin’.” Cass commands gently, shuffling the others out of the room.

Carmella has a hard time leaving, wanting to make sure that Jess is alright.

“Don’t worry Mella, I’ll stay with her. And if at any point she asks for you, I’ll come get you.”

Reluctantly, she agrees and leaves the room.

“Come on Jess, let’s get you in the bed.”

Finn gently lifts her up and places her on the bed, and crawls in next to her, happy they both had already showered and changed into their pajamas. He holds her close, stroking her hair soothingly. Her cries die down, until she eventually falls asleep in his arms. Finn remains awake most of the night watching over her to make sure that she remains sleeping peacefully.

“Damn it! Son of a bitch!” AJ hollers, throwing his phone across the room, having it shatter against the wall.

He’s breathing hard, pulling at his hair. Why the hell does this keep going from bad to worse?! That is not how he wanted things to go! Something has to be done; there is no way he can just let things end like this with Jessica.

He grabs his keys, and takes off to his truck. At this point, AJ is not really thinking, he is just acting.

The next morning, Jessica wakes up to find herself still in Finn’s arms. She tries to remember how she ended up in this position, and is suddenly hit with the memories of her phone conversation with AJ from last night. She lets out a sigh, closing her eyes.

“You okay love?” Finn’s sleepy voice asks.

She looks at him and blushes, “Sorry about last night…”

“Don’t apologize Jess. I just want ta know yer alright.”

Jessica shrugs, “I don’t know really. I never really expected AJ to act that way, to say the things he did.”

“What did he say?” Finn whispers.

A part of him didn’t want to know because he is sure that it’ll make him want to kill AJ.

Jessica gives a shake of her head, “This was the final straw with everything. I’m sick and tired of this push and pull with him. He says he wanted us to talk, then he goes and ruins any chance of me ever wanting to talk things over with him by saying…” she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

Tears fill her eyes once more, her low lip trembles as she hold back crying. Finn pulls her in closer to him, letting her rest her head in the crook of his neck.

“It s’okay love. You don’t have ta tell me if you don’t want ta.”

Jessica sniffles, “I basically said I was easy. Opening my legs for any man who shows me any attention.”

A low growl emanates from the back of Finn’s throat, his hold on Jessica tightening. He places a gentle kiss on her forehead,

“That's not true love. You know that's not true. He was just tryin to hurt ya, that's all. Don’t believe him.”

Jessica doesn’t say anything in response, she just lays there in his arms soaking up the warmth and comfort of his body. Finn’s hand runs up and down her spin, helping her to relax and release the tension she has been holding.

They just lay there in the bed, comfortable and peaceful in their own little bubble. Unfortunately, their bubble is popped and the peace is stolen.

They hear a loud commotion coming from down stairs, yelling, and rush out of bed to go see what is going on.

“Get the hell out of my house you asshole! Cass, let me go! I’m gonna punch the bastard into next year! Let’s me go!”

Jessica starts down the stairs, “What’s going on? What’s… wrong…?”

She freezes half way down the stairs,

“AJ? What are you doing here?”

Chapter Text

Before AJ has a chance to say anything, Finn is jumping over the banister, running right for AJ. Everyone is rendered frozen in their spots as Finn slugs AJ across the face, knocking him to the ground. Kneeling over AJ, Finn strikes him again and again

“Oh my God! Finn get off of him!” Jessica shouts running to try and break them apart.

Enzo grabs her before she can reach them,

“Zo, let me go! They’re going to hurt each other!” She barks, fighting against his hold.

At this point, AJ has managed to fight back, getting some good hits in on Finn, but neither backing down. Jessica panics even more,

“Enzo please! Someone is going to get seriously hurt!”

Enzo tightens his grip, “I think that’s the point Jess. They can take it though, you can’t. Just let them fight it out right now. If you get too close you could get hurt worse than they would!”

“Well then, maybe it would get them to STOP!”

Enzo rolls his eyes at her, but refuses to let her go knowing that she will be hurt if she tries to get in the middle of their brawl.

“UGH! Fine! Just someone do something! Please!”

Cass rolls his eyes, having enough of this drama taking place in his house. He moves away from Carmella who is watching the fight with a smile. This is entertaining for her, watching AJ get his ass handed to him. He deserves it for hurting her best friend. Even though AJ has managed to get a few good hits on Finn.

“Alright, break it up right now!”

Cass grabs Finn, pulling him off of AJ and pushing him to Jessica. Enzo releases Jessica and allows her to wrap her arms around the Irishman. She checks his face to see just how bad the damage is while Cass helps AJ up.

“Why the fuck are you so worried about him huh? He’s the fucker who attacked me!” AJ sneers, stumbling away from Cass and eyes narrowed on Jess and Finn.

Jessica spins around, hands on her hips and using her body to block Finn from getting to AJ again. She glowers at the southern man,

“Why are you here AJ? You have no business being here.”

“We need to talk Jess.”

She shakes her head, arms falling to her sides, deflated. Finn securely and protectively wraps his arms around Jessica, holding her close to him. AJ gives a low growl, not liking how close they are.

“There is nothing to talk about; you said everything you needed to last night. Just go home.”

She goes to turn around and leave, but AJ calls for her,

“Jess wait! There is still so much for us to talk about. Last night, I am so sorry. I- I said it out of anger.” He begs, trying to get her to stay.

Jessica doesn’t even bother to look at him, “Go home AJ. We’re done… Come on Finn, let’s get you cleaned up.”

She takes Finn by the hand and pulls him back upstairs to clean up his cuts. AJ follows her with a pleading look.

“Jess…” he whispers watching her leave.

“You heard her. Leave. You’ve done enough damage to her, just let her go and move on. Ya got the girl you want…” Carmella says, hands on her hips.

“I do NOT! Why does everyone keep fuckin’ sayin that?! Why do you all say that Charlotte and I are together?! We’re not! I don’t want Charlotte! I want to be with Jess, and I realize I keep muckin shit up with her, but I want to try and make it better!”

Carmella glares, crossing her arms, “Then ya might want to talk ya girl about that, cause she don’t seem to think the same thing.”

AJ stares at her in confusion, “What do you mean? Charlotte knows we are just friends.”

The blonde woman scoffs, “Yeah, okay. That’s not what she’s told Jess. So someone has their story wrong and is lyin’ so you might want to get that straightened out before you make empty promises and apologies to Jessica. Cause you keep hurtin’ her and it won’t just be Finn you have to fear. Ya hear me? Lucky I don’t come over there and add to what Finn did. But you look pitiful enough, even I’m not one to kick someone while their down. So just leave.”

Carmella turns and heads upstairs to check on Finn and Jessica, leaving AJ there with just Cass as Enzo and Tiffany had taken their exit. AJ runs a hand through his hair,

“URGH!!” he bellows, punching the door.

“Look man,” Cass starts, putting his hand on AJ’s shoulder “you might not be my favorite person right now, but I’m not going to add insult to injury. You can use the downstairs bathroom to get cleaned up before you leave.”

AJ bows his head with a sigh, “Thanks man.”

Cass shows him to the bathroom and then waits until he is finished cleaning up. Walking the southern man back to the door, AJ turns and looks up at the taller man,

“Hey, um, I’m sorry ‘bout bargin' in here and causin' problems. I just… I really want to talk to Jess.”

“Again, you’re not one of my favorite people right now because of you hurtin’ Jess. But, if you really mean it, just give her a few days. Take this time to really think things over, do like Mella said and talk to Charlotte because, it might not be my business, but a lot of your problems involve Charlotte in some way. You might not want to believe it. But when everyone starts telling you stories that are similar and they go against with what Charlotte tries to tell you, it is time for you to realize that it is not everyone else lying to you.”
His words seems to knock some sense AJ as a certain look that Cass can’t seem to name crosses AJ’s face.

“Uh, y-yeah. Thanks, I- I’ll take your words into consideration. Sorry again.”

AJ and quickly takes off in his truck. Cass just shakes his head and locks the door.

Upstairs in the guest room, Jessica is carefully cleaning Finn’s busted lip, while Carmella sits beside them on the bed.

“You shouldn’t have done that Finn. You could get into a lot of trouble of Stephanie or Hunter find out about this.” She scolds softly.

Finn pushes her hand away, taking her chin in his hand and making her look him in the eye, “I don’t care about getting in trouble Jess. The things you told me he said, and the things he has done to you, it’s not right. He deserves to have his ass beat. And I’ll do it again in a heartbeat.”

“What did he say? Is this about the phone call you had with him last night? Do I have to go kick his ass? Cause I will.” Carmella adds, getting ready to jump up and go attack AJ.

Jess shakes her head, “No Mella, you are not going to go and kick he’s ass. I don’t want to talk about last night any more. I just want to move on and forget about AJ Styles. He is just hell bent on making sure I can’t. It’s not fair. He gets to move of to Charlotte, but I’m forced to remain hung up on him.”

Carmella shifts, “Well, I don’t know about him and Charlotte being a thing. Now, I am in no way trying to defend him. But I think that maybe Charlotte is playing you both, and I wouldn’t put it past her to do something like that.”

The Irishman huffs, squeezing Jess’s hand, “That don’t matter. His word speak for themselves. You own him nothing Jess, not even hearing his side of things with Charlotte. Just forget about him. You know, there is an opening on RAW for lead make-up artist; our lead is getting ready to go on maternity leave. If you want, you could talk to Shane about switching over to RAW, I’m sure he would let you. RAW will willingly take you on.”

Carmella smacks his arm, “She doesn’t need to just run away. I want her to be happy, but I don’t think she will be unless she fully hears AJ out. He might be an asshole that I want to beat up. But if Charlotte was playing him, then he is just as much a victim as Jess is to Charlotte’s evil schemes.”

She bows her head to mess with the first aid kit in her lap. Carmella and Finn acting like the two little angle and devil on her shoulders trying to tell her what to do. They are pulling her in two different directions and only confusing her more. One on hand, Carmella makes a good point, what if Charlotte was just playing them both to tear them apart. But then like Finn said, AJ’s words and actions speak for themselves. Charlotte wasn’t whispering in his ear last night on what to say, those were his words, his feeling. And that is what makes it hurt even more.

“Jess? Love look at me.” Finn speaks softly, “We cannot make you do anything. We can only tell you our opinions, but in the end, it is up to you to decide what you want to do. Whether it is talking to AJ or leaving and coming to Raw, it is all up to you. We can only be here to support you in the end.”

She is torn on what to do; she just needs time to think.

Chapter Text

AJ wonders around backstage of the arena searching for Jessica. He had given her the space Cass recommended and did not try to contact her again. But in that time apart, AJ is sure he was close to driving himself insane. He spent all of his time thinking over everything that has happened between Jessica, himself and Charlotte. And he hates himself for his actions. He is a grown ass man for fucks sakes who just turn 40 years old. He should not be acting like a teenager with no control over their actions and who acts before they think. He has already been through that point in his life.

And after these last few days, thinking, AJ is positive that he needs to talk to Jessica, working things out between them. Even if he does not get the outcome that his wishes for, just having her in his life as a friend will be better than nothing. And honestly, he would not be surprised if he even gets that with her. But maybe there can be a way for them to start slow and work up to being close to what they were before.

Turning down one particular hallway, he comes sees Finn Balor leaning against the wall, messing on his phone. AJ walks up to him, remaining completely calm. He is at work, there is no way either of them is going to want to do anything to get in trouble at work.

“Hey, what are you doin’ here? This ain’t RAW.” He says in a even, almost teasing tone, trying to show he’s not going to start anything.

Finn smirk at AJ, “Hey, how’s the face?”

AJ rolls his eyes, “Ha ha ha, very funny. But no, really what are you doing here? Is there something wrong? Did something happen to Jessica?”

He can feel himself start to worry that Jessica might be hurt and he didn’t it. He has to know that she is alright.

Finn shakes his head, standing up straight, “No, Jessica is fine. I’m just here for a little while with Jess while she gets some stuff straightened out with Shane before leaving.”

AJ’s eyes go wide as his world comes to a complete standstill. She’s leaving? Without even talking to him, giving him a chance to explain? Not even giving them a chance to have a friendship? No, she can’t, she can’t just up and leave and not give him some kind of explanation. Not without letting him make up for treating her like shit.
It has to be a lie, Finn it just trying to mess with him. That has to be it.

Before AJ has the chance to retort, the door to Shane’s office opens and Jessica steps out. She turns to face Shane, keeping AJ from seeing her face.

“Thank you for understanding Shane. I am truly grateful that you are so willing to work with me on this.”

“It is no problem Jessica. I know how tough this can be, just take your time and when you feel you are ready to come back just give me a call. There is always going to be a place for you at Smackdown Live.”

Shane gives Jessica a quick hug before retreating back into his office, shutting the door behind him.

“Okay, you ready… AJ?”

Jessica turns to address Finn, but find AJ standing there staring at her intently.

“What are you…?”

“You’re leaving?” he interrupts her, she can hear the panic in his voice.

Closing her eyes, she sighs, “I told you to apologize to him if you saw him. Not tell him I was leaving jerk face!”

Jessica slaps Finn hard on the arm glaring at him.

“Ow, I was explaining why I was here. Didn’t mean to say that. And stop hitting me, your slaps sting.”

“Good! You wuss.” her face softens from the glare as she turns back to AJ.

“So you're really leaving?” his features show complete distraught, eyes turned down.

Jessica has the thought that he looks like a scolded child. With a gentle smile, she reaches out to take his hand,

“Why don’t we go to your locker room and talk, okay?” she glances at Finn over her shoulder, “Finn, head back to the hotel, I’ll catch a ride back with someone else.”

Finn stiffly nods, not at all happy to leave Jessica with AJ, but he knows they need to talk, she told him that she was going to talk to AJ and there is nothing he can really do about it.

AJ squeezes Jessica’s hand in his and guides her to the locker room. He has her sit next to her on the sofa, refusing to let go of her hand. Jessica stares down at their interlocked fingers and can’t stop the butterflies from fluttering around her stomach. Why does his touch have to affect her so? It’s just not fair.

“Jess?” he softly says her name.

Her eyes jump to meet his gentle gaze, “Hmm?”

“Are you really leaving?”

Jessica slowly exhales, “Yes, but…”

AJ jerks his hand away from hers as though her touch suddenly burns him. He jumps off the couch and begins to pace, shoving his hands through his hair,

“How can you leave?! I know I’ve been’a ass to ya the last couple of months! But come on, that ain’t a reason for ya ta leave! You love it here, and you’re so good at what ya do! You shouldn’t quit cause I’m a jackass!”

“AJ, I…” she tries to speak, but AJ keeps rambling.

“I didn’t mean to be a jackass I swear… I didn’t even realize I was bein’ one at first. I didn’t mean ta keep ignorin’ you and ditchin’ you. I guess I got swept up in havin’ Charlotte around and being able ta spend time with her again like we used to, but I always wanted you to be involved. Charlotte just tends ta find ways ta keep the attention on her. Like with the movies, it didn’t occur to me at the time that what I was doing was hurtin’ ya Darlin’. And to go ahead without you, that was Charlotte’s plan, and I wasn’t able to argue against it, she just kept pushing me, and begging I caved.”

“AJ…” Jessica tries again, but AJ still isn’t paying attention.

“And then seein’ ya with Finn, I got so jealous cause at first I thought you were justified in ditchin’ me like I had done you. But you with Finn, I didn’t like it, not one bit. I couldn’t stand seein’ his hands on you. And you looked so beautiful in that bikini; I let my possessive side come out. I know I have no right to be possessive over you Jess, but God Jess, it has been killin’ me ta not call ya mine! Before Charlotte, I was tryin’ to find a way to make everythin’ wit ya official, ta finally get ta claim ya as my girl, but everythin got so out of wack and…”

“AJ!” Jessica shout, standing up and grabbing a hold of him.

That she has his attention, and heard his rambling she gives his a smile. Cupping his face, she strokes her thumbs over his cheeks, hoping to calm him enough to be able to speak,

“AJ, I’m not leaving for good.” she says softly.

He looks at her surprised, “You’re not?”

“No,” she shakes her head, “I’ll be coming back eventually.”

“Really? T-then why did Finn say you were leaving?”

Jessica lets her hands fall from his cheeks and takes a step back,

“Because he was being a jerk to you. He is still pisses about what happened at Carmella’s, but we can talk about that in a minute or two. I wasn’t going to just up and leave and not let you know. I thought about it a lot these past few days, even talking to Mella about it, and we do have a lot to talk about. Even more with that little confession you rambled off about wanting to make thing official; again that can wait. I wanted to let you know that I would be taking off for a few weeks and then maybe when I get back, we would find time to sit down and really talk things over.”

She explains to him with a small smile playing on her lips.

“Why are ya takin time off then? Is it serious?” he questions, still trying to process the fact that she wasn’t quitting.

“My brother’s wife was in a car crash. Nothing too major thankfully, but enough for her to need minor surgery. I’m taking the time off to go help my brother with their two kids during her recovery and everything. I’m not sure how long I will be long, but I will be back.”

This bring a smile to AJ’s face, “That’s great! Wait no, I’m sorry ‘bout your sister-in-law, but uh, I mean… I’m just glad you can be back. And we can talk? Even while you’re gone?”

Nodding, Jess chuckles at how flustered AJ is being. She doesn’t think she has ever seen like this before, it is rather charming in a way. Obviously that isn’t going to make her forgive him completely right away, but hearing just a little of his side, she is a little less mad at him. Realizing that once again Charlotte is behind most of it; conniving little bitch.

Knocking on the door has the two to jump, “AJ! You ready? You’re needed at gorilla for your segment and match.”

A stagehand calls from outside the door. AJ glances between the door and Jessica with a worried look. She rolls her eyes at him, “Go! I’ll still be here when you get back.”

He gives her a quick nod and a kiss on the forehead, not even thinking about it, and rushes out of the room to get to the ring.

Jessica shakes her head, laughing slightly and sits back down on the couch. She scrolls through her phone, sending Carmella and Finn a message to let them know she was okay, and idly passes time waiting for AJ to get back from his match. There feels as though a weight as been lifted off of her shoulders already, and she knows there is more she her and AJ to talk about. But for now, at least have started on the right path of possible working things out and can see where it leads them.

The click of the door catches Jessica’s attention,

“That was a quick match. I figured it would take longer.”

She says, lifting her head expecting it to be AJ to walk through.

“Ugh, what the fuck are you doing here? I thought I got rid of your ass already? Are you that desperate and pathetic, you will still cling to AJ just for some kind of attention?”

The smile drops from Jessica’s lips upon seeing Charlotte enter the room. She narrows her eyes at the blonde,

“Hello Charlotte, still bitter with a stick up your ass I see.” She taunts, leaning back and crossing her legs.

The blonde bitch sneers, storming up to Jessica and grabbing her by the arm to jerk her up off the sofa.

“Listen here you little bitch. I don’t know what the fuck you are doing here, and frankly I don’t care. I just know you best fucking leave before I toss your ass out. You don’t even deserve to be anywhere near Smackdown, much less AJ. AJ is mine do you understand me? The quicker you get that through your damn head the better. He deserves royalty like me, not some dumb make-up artist like you!”

Charlotte twists Jessica’s wrist hard enough that she for sure has left a bruise. Jessica struggles against the grip, pushing Charlotte away from her.

She catches movement behind Charlotte and smirks, looking up at the blonde.

“What are you smiling at bitch? Finally come to your sense and realize that AJ is meant to be with me?” Charlotte sneers in a snooty tone.

Jessica shakes her head, still grinning, “No, but you say AJ’s yours? Well you might want to turn around and explain your claim to him because I’m not sure he understands how your claim works.”

Charlotte’s eyes go wide, instantly letting go on Jessica’s arm and spinning around, plastering a fake smile on her face,

“AJ! Did you win? Jessica and I were just catching up and…” she trails off, trying to think up an excuse.

AJ crosses his arms, glaring at Charlotte, “There somethin’ ya want ta tell me?”

Chapter Text

Jessica sits back on the couch with a satisfied grin; Charlotte has finally been caught in the act and cannot talk her way out of it.

“AJ it, it wasn’t what it looked like! I swear, she started threatening me first!” Charlotte claims.

“Oh bullshit! I was minding my own damn business when you can in here telling me to leave because AJ is yours.” Jessica argues, glaring at the blonde bitch.

“Shut up!” Charlotte hisses over her shoulder at Jessica.

Jumping back up, Jessica charges at Charlotte, pushing her hard, “NO! I will not shut up! I am so sick and tired of you and your bullshit! All you do is run your fucking mouth, talking down to me, treating me like scum! All the while, you try and act like this sweet, innocent princess around AJ making him think you can do no wrong. And I’m done!”

She turns around to face AJ, “You wanna know why I slapped the bitch? It’s because she told me that you were using me. That you two had been together this whole time and that she allowed you to have your fun with me so you wouldn’t be too lonely at night when she wasn’t around. She said that you joked about me, how easy and pathetic I am and how you only talked to me out of pity! She told me how you complained about me to her because I was so damn clingy and needy that you couldn’t get rid of me. And that, that is why I slapped you. That is why Finn kicked you ass, and why Carmella wants to kick both your and her ass. Because if even an ounce of that is true then I will walk out that door now and when I come back, I will be on RAW and not Smackdown.”

“Good! Leave, we don’t need her here!” comments Charlotte from the side.

AJ glares at her, “ENOUGH Charlotte! That is enough!” his gaze moves back to Jessica, “no, it is true. None of it is true, I swear on everything I hold dear, what Charlotte told you was all lies.”

With his hands on his hips, he shifts his hard stare back to Charlotte,

“That is why everyone was assuming we were together. Because you were going around actually saying that it was true! Why in the world would you do that? Ya knew how I feel about Jess? Yet you still pull a stunt like this. I’m so disappointed in you, and hurt that this whole time you have been playin’ me as well as everyone else. Did you for one second think about my feeling in this? No ya didn’t ya only cared about what Charlotte wanted and how Charlotte felt. Daddy’s little princess always used to gettin’ what she wants, she can’t handle when somethin’ don’t go her way.”

“But AJ!” Charlotte buts in trying to make her argument.

“No! I don’t want to hear it. After hearing that bullshit you spewed to Jess just now, I have a pretty good idea what you are going to try and say. Anything you have to say to try and justify your actions will only piss me off more. There is nothing between us, never has been and never will be. After this, I’m not even sure I want to have a friendship with you.”

“You can’t be serious?! All because of this pathetic make-up artist. What the hell does she have to offer you that I don’t? I superior to her in every way! We would be perfect together, unstoppable. The Phenomenal One and the Queen; we could rule to wrestling world! Both in and out of the ring.”

“My God, you sound like one of those crazy stalker women who go around murdering anyone who gets close to “your man.” You are so spoiled and used to getting your way, you can’t handle being rejected can you? That makes this whole thing even more sad, and makes you the pathetic one. Not me. I’m not the one chasing after a man who shows no interest in me. I started pulling away from AJ when he stopped showing interest, I wasn’t going to force anything between us. You on the other hand? You don’t know when to take no for an answer.” Jessica comments, crossing her arms.

Charlotte swings around, slugging Jessica across the face, knocking her to the ground. Jessica hits the floor, holding her cheek with a hint of a metallic taste in her mouth.

“Jess! Charlotte! The hell is wrong with you?!”

AJ rushes over to her side to try and help her up. But she just pushes him away, getting up on her own and diving for Charlotte. Jessica might not be a trained fighter in the slightest, but she can hold her own. Without hesitation, Jessica swings on Charlotte, putting all of her force in the one punch. She doesn’t let up, grabbing Charlotte by the hair and slinging her to the floor.

“My mama always taught me to never start a fight, but I best damn be the one to finish it. And I am finishing this right now. I will NOT do this with you. You say I am beneath you? But you are the one beneath me. I will NOT fight you for the attention of one man. I refuse to lower myself to the pettiness any longer. I’m done, I’ve been done, you are the one who keeps going like you have something to prove. So if you want to continue this, fine. Just leave me out of it.”

Jessica spins on her heels, collecting her bag leaving Charlotte in shock and AJ confused.

“J-Jess, wait!” he stammers after her.

“No AJ, I’m done. We will talk, we will, but I refuse to be here any long with her and deal with her petty high school bullshit. I’m over it. I have more important things to worry about than her. I’ll give you a call after I get settled.” Her eyes flick to Charlotte who was still on the floor, “Bitch, get a life.”

And with that, she is out the door, calling a cab to take her to the hotel. It feels like she has stepped out of a high school drama TV show or something. Or one of those Lifetime movies with the new girl trying to get rid of the man’s lover so she can take her place. It just doesn’t seem like something that actually happens in real life, and yet here she is.

Charlotte scoffs, “Can you believe she dared to actually hit me? And who the hell does she think she is to talk to me that way! To call me petty!”

She then looks up at AJ trying to pull a hurt look, poking out her bottom lip with wide eyes, “You don’t agree with her, do you AJ?”

AJ throws up his arms exasperated, “My God Charlotte! Of course I agree with her! You’re actin’ damn ridiculous. We are grown adults Charlotte, not children in middle school or high school who barely understand the consequences of their actions. This all is petty and stupid. Ya know I don’t see anything with you, hell right now, I don’t even know if I want ya anywhere in my life! All ya do is cause drama when ya don’t get yer way!”

Charlotte darts up off the floor and grabs AJ by the arms, “You can’t mean that AJ! I love you please! I’m better for you than she is. And how do you know she even want to be with you now after everything? You should just forget the little bitch and be with me please!”

She begs AJ, but doing a poor job of trying to persuade him to see things her way.

“You’re right, Jess might not want to be with me again after all this, I don’t know until I talk to her. But I do know one thing. Charlotte, I’m done with you. This friendship is over. You can’t seem to respect me or the people I care about, thinking you are the only one I need in my life. And that just not true. I’m done with you and your drama.”

His voice steady and strong, completely serious about everything he just said.

“No!” she cries out in denial.

In a last ditch effort to hold on to AJ, Charlotte grabs him and presses her lips to his. AJ harshly shoves her away, causing her to stumble.

“The hell is wrong with you?! I tell you I don’t want you and you kiss me?! That’s not going to change my mind Charlotte! I’m done, get the hell out and stay the hell away from me!”

“AJ…” she whispers, holding back tears.

Normally this is when he would cave and try to comfort her, but not now. He is coming to realize just how much she has played him, he is not sure if her tears are sincere or just another ploy of hers to trick him.

“You’ve a very good actress, you know that? Take your crocodile tears and get the hell out. We’re done.”

Hand on his hips, breathing hard, AJ glares at Charlotte until she’s finally runs out of his locker room, chocking out a sob. There is a small part of him that feels bad for making her cry. But after the shit she has pulled the last few months, making him look like fool, trying to control who he is with or not, she bought all of this on herself and has no one to blame but herself. From this moment, Charlotte Flair is no longer his problem to deal with or worry about.

Jessica winces as a pain shoots through her cheek, opening the door to her hotel room.

“Jess? You back already?” Finn’s voice greets her.

“Shit…” she hisses with a grimace. She blows out a sigh, “Yeah Finn, I’m back.”

She replies and shuffles in the room.

Finn is sitting back on the bed watching TV and turns to smile up at her. The moment he sees her busted lip and the bruise forming on her cheek, the smile falls from his face and replaced with a pissed off look. He stands, moving over to her to inspect her face,

“What the hell happened?! Did AJ do this to you? Did he hit you?! I’ll kill him!”

Jessica grabs Finn’s hand, “Stop, calm down. AJ did not do this to me; he did not touch me at all. It was Charlotte.”

“Charlotte!” he exclaims, staring at her in disbelief, “ok, go sit down, I’m goin ta go get you some ice for you and den you’re goin’ ta tell me everything.”

She nods with a crooked smile and sits on the bed, waiting for Finn to get back. It does not take him long, for him to come in with a bucket of ice and grabbing a wash cloth from the bathroom. He inspects her cheek closely,

“It’s not that bad, but it’s going to hurt for a couple of days. The lip too. I hope you kicked her ass for doing this to you.”

“Yeah, I decked her good. But I also told her I was done with her petty bullshit and that I wasn’t going to be fighting her over one guy.” she explains carefully.

“Good, you deserve better than AJ Styles.”

“Finn…” she sighs, closing her eyes.

He gently pushes some of her hair behind her ear, “All I mean is that, he hasn’t treated you like you mean anything to him. Even before Charlotte, he kept things physical with you, never anything deeper than scratching an itch. He was blind to what was right in front of him; just as you have been.”

Slowly he leans in closer to her face, his nose just barely touching hers.

“Finn?” his name no more than a whisper on her lips.

“Let me open your eyes.”

He says before softly pressing his plump lips against hers in a sweet kiss.

Chapter Text

After the shock wears off, Jessica pulls back from Finn wide eyed and confused,

“Finn…?”

He cocks an eyebrow, giving her an apprehensive look, “Anything?”

Jessica scrunches up her face and slowly shaking her head, “No…”

His head drops, huffing out a sigh and his head drops, “Yeah, same here…”

Finn raises his head and shrugs, “Oh well, three strikes and you’re out right? That’s how the sayin’ goes? Right?”

Jessica nods, “Yeah, guess it’s just not written in the stars for us Finn. I love you, but there is no spark or anything.”

“Yeah, same. Alright, time I stop tryin’, bruising my ego now s’all I’m doin’.”

Jessica giggles, lightly patting him on the cheek, “Sorry, it was a nice kiss and all but, just didn’t do anything for me. Almost like kissing my brother”

“Rubbin’ salt in the wound Jess, rubbing salt in the wound.”

She throws her head back laughing, “Ow, my lip,” she says still laughing.

“Well stop before you make it split open again ya goof… here.”

He holds the ice back up to her lip and they slip into a comfortable silence. This isn’t the first time Jessica and Finn have shared a kiss. No, way back when in NXT, Finn and Jess on two different occasions have attempted a relationship, but it never seemed to go anywhere. For them, their relationship is perfect just as it is, being friends, and it doesn’t need to be anything more than that.

“Alright, so tell me what happened after I left.”

Jessica begins to tell him the events from the night, everything that AJ had said and what went down with Charlotte.

“I’m conflicted Finn…” she says with a frown.

“How so?”

“I want to talk to AJ, get all of this worked out, but I’m not sure what I want the outcome to be. I’m not sure I actually want a relationship anymore with AJ.”

Finn moves around to pull Jessica into his side, wrapping his arm around her. He presses his lips to her temple,

“He has put you trough a lot, I think you have da right ta re-tink tings between you two. I might not be de biggest fan of his right now, and dis hurts me to say, but maybe you should clear the air completely. Like Mella said, get everyting out. You don’t have ta make a decision about anyting right now. And just ‘cause you talk tings out, don’t mean you have to be in a relationship with him. I meant it when I said you deserve better than AJ Styles. Might not be me, okay, but you deserve better.”

She leans her head over on his shoulder, “I don’t know, maybe your right. But I think about him saying that he wanted something more with me and I just… the feelings I thought I was working on burying are coming back. I don’t know if it is what I really want or if it’s just the part of me coming back that once wanted something more with AJ. Am I crazy? I feel like I’m going crazy.”

Finn chuckles, “You’re not goin crazy… well no more than normal anyway. Ow, don’t hit me!”

“Then don’t call me crazy!” Jess argues, fighting back a laugh.

“You said it! I just agreed!” he shoots back.

“Jerk…” she mumbles, burying up closer to him.

Finn laughs, shaking his head.

“Just talk ta him, think things over. No one is forcing you ta make a decision now. Use this time off and away from everything to get your head straight. It doesn’t matter what I say, what Carmella might say, and it doesn’t matter when AJ has to say. In the end, what you do is up to you and no one else. Now, enough of dis kind of talk. Go shower, change and head off ta bed. You got an early plane tomorrow.

Jessica smiles up at the Irish man, leaning to kiss his cheek,

“Thank you Finn. I’ll always love you, just in a strictly platonic way.”

“I love ya too Jess. In a strictly platonic way.”

They share a smile before Jessica is off to shower and prepare for bed. Her talk with Finn has somewhat helped eased her mind. She is still conflicted on how she feels, about AJ and the whole situation. But Finn (and Mella) are right, she just needs to clear the air with AJ, get her head straight and go from there. It’s not going to be easy but she doubts things of this nature, issues of the heart, are ever simple. Just take it all one day at a time.

And when she curls up in her bed, the moment her head hits the pillow, she falls into a peaceful sleep. One of the first ones she has had since the whole ordeal began. Hopefully, it will not be the last one she gets after this is all over with. No matter how this ends between her and AJ.

Chapter Text

I’m sorry about what happened with Charlotte tonight. I’m sorry that it took me so long to see Charlotte for who she really is. She had me fooled, believing the act the put on. But not anymore, I told her I wanted her out of my life, and I mean that Jess. I’m done with Charlotte. Please call me whenever you can, whenever you want to, and I’ll answer… unless I’m in the ring. But then I will call you back. I love you Jessica. I’ll be waiting. – AJ.

Jessica listens to AJ’s voicemail yet again, not sure she actually believed what he was said. It has been a week since she left Smackdown on an extended leave and she has yet to try and make contact with AJ. She is still trying to wrap her head around the voicemail he left her while she was on the plane.

Was he serious? He told Charlotte he wants nothing to do with her? He actually cut all ties with her? Is that even possible? How long will this last before Charlotte somehow manages to weasel her way back in and have AJ falling for her lies?

Plus, they work together; WWE loves to exploit their friendship. There is no way AJ can be completely done with Charlotte. They will always have to have some type of interaction together. But Jessica can handle that; she can be professional as long as Charlotte is.

Her problem is the fact that AJ is saying he has cut her off completely when even he knows that is not true. It doesn’t seem like AJ is being honest with himself or even being realist on the situation. It is not going to be as easy as just telling Charlotte he is done with her. And if Charlotte knows that AJ is doing this for her, that means Charlotte could possible up her torture and bullying directed at Jessica.

Plus, even though AJ never really admitted to it, and as much as he tried to deny it, Jessica knows that some part of him did have feelings for Charlotte. He had to feel something for her. And feelings like that don’t just go away over night. They have to still be there in some form.

She lets her head drop to the table and groans.

“Hey, what’s wrong?” her brother, Eric, questions as he walks into the kitchen.

Jessica turns her head to look at him, “Men are idiots and jerks.”

He blinks at her, “Okay, this I am aware of. But why this time?”

“There is a lot that has happened that I haven’t told you about.”

Eric studies his sister close, noticing how tired and stressed out she looks. And this is not something new; he has seen her look worn down for a while now.

He takes a seat next to her, “Alright, it is still early morning. Kids are asleep, wife is asleep. Tell big brother what’s going on.”

And once again Jessica is spilling her guts about the whole situation with AJ and Charlotte. Everything that has happened up until the night she left. Jessica even told him about the “arrangement” she had going on with AJ, a bit of information Eric didn’t want to know, but left that comment to himself. He sat and listened to her the entire time without interrupting her.

When Jessica is done talking, Eric sits there for a moment, taking a sip of his coffee and letting her story sink in.

“Alright… wow. You have entered into some kind of Korean drama or soap opera. No wonder you are looking at this as more of a vacation. You need it.”

Jessica stares at him waiting for him to say more, but he doesn’t.

“That’s it? That’s all you’re going to say? No going all “big brother protective”? No saying that you’re going to kick his ass or, telling me to kick him to the curb?” Jessica questions with a raised eyebrow.

Eric laughs, “One, AJ Styles could easily beat my ass. Second, you’re an adult and have proved plenty of times you know how to take care of yourself. If this was a case where he was abusive, you bet your sweet ass I’d go all protective of you. But that is not what is going on.”

He takes another gulp of his coffee before continuing to speak,

“I have a feeling you have had enough people tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. Telling you to talk to him or to just let go and walk away. I’m not going to do that, because I’m your brother, I know you Jess. I know that no matter what I tell you, you would still want to talk to AJ so that you could put everything to rest. Whether you decide to pursue a relationship with AJ or not, you would still want to clear the air to get everything off your chest.” Eric explains calmly.

“I can’t tell you what to do, but I can give you a piece of advice.”

Jessica stares at Eric with wide eyes, “Which would be what?”

Eric stares her straight in the eye, “Be cautious. He has hurt you once, before you were even in a real relationship. He only made promises he didn’t keep. He let another woman come in and basically spilt you up, believing her over you when you are supposedly the woman he loves. He manipulated you, lied to you, ignored you, and emotionally and mentally cheated on you. If that is any indication of what being in a relationship with AJ Styles is like, be cautious.”

He voice stern, sounds as though he is speaking from experience.

The sound of the kids waking up breaks the morning silence. Eric stands up to go deal with the kids and allow Jessica time to ponder over his words.

What he said really hit home for Jessica; he put it in a way no one else had. And he was right. Everything he said was right. Even the cheating part; even if they had not been in a relationship exclusively, they were in the beginning stages of getting to that point. And then Charlotte comes along and everything became about her. He didn’t even realize anything was wrong until she pointed it out to him and starting cutting ties with him.

Could this just be an act of his to keep her around because he isn’t willing to let her go? Does he have the thought of “if I can’t have her no one can”? Is that all this is about? Is that also his reason for getting so possessive when she is with Finn? Or any other man for that matter.

Could it be that he views her leaving would be a blow to his ego.

Maybe he doesn’t actually care about her or being in a relationship with her. Maybe he only cares about her as a possession and loves the idea of her. But he doesn’t actually love her.

Jessica shakes her head, feeling her heart break more from all the questions and stands from the kitchen table and heads up to her temporary room. She stops by the master bedroom real quick where she finder her brother, sister-in-law and their two kids playing on the bed.

“Hey, I have a call to make. Ya’ll be okay for a little while?”

Eric, instantly knowing what his sister has to do, gives her a nod, “Yeah. Take your time. I’m here if you need me.”

Jessica gives him a small smile, “Thanks.”

She sits on the bed, staring at the number on her phone. She feels a sense of déjà vu come over here, knowing she has been here before. Hesitant to call AJ, to talk to him. The only difference this time is there will be a definite outcome to come from their talk.

No more running away, no more talking in circles, no more speculations or lies. It will all come out now and the course of their relationship will forever be changed in one way or another.

Chapter Text

“Hello?”

The southern drawl comes from the other end of the phone, causing Jessica to take a deep breath. Well, it’s now or never.

“AJ? It’s Jess, do you have time to talk?” she asks hesitantly.

“Yeah! For you, always.”

“Good. I’ve had time to think about everything you said and…” she takes a deep breath, “ and now, it’s your turn to shut up and listen to everything I have to say.”

She didn’t even prepare anything she wanted to say, just finally going to get everything off her chest that she has kept bottled up.

“AJ, you claim to love me, but what evidence is there to prove it? Up until recently, you never once showed any interest in being anything more than fuck buddies.”

“I didn’t…”

AJ tries to interrupt, but Jessica cuts him off.

“Don’t try to deny it AJ, we both know it was true. Anyone with eyes could see there was something going on between us. But anytime someone said something, you were quick to shut them down and say that we were “just friends.” Do you know how much that hurts? To know that you deny me in public, but behind closed doors, you whisper empty promises to me; telling me how things will be different, how soon you would tell everyone about you. When in the end, you only used me for my body for your own pleasure.”

She lets out a shaky breath, trying to keep a hold of her emotions.

“And then, Charlotte comes along and I was tossed aside like a used toy no longer of any worth. Any plans we had, she weaseled her way in, and I was left as third wheel. Or I was just left behind and forgotten all together. It didn’t matter what we were doing, or how long in advance we planned it Charlotte became the center of everything to you.”

Jessica pauses her speech, half expecting AJ to interrupt again, but he doesn’t. He remains completely silent and just allows her the moment to say what she needs too.

“I know you say that there is nothing going on between you and Charlotte, but, you said the same thing about us. Only difference is, I let you say it. I didn’t go behind your back telling the whole locker room that we were sleeping together. I didn’t go to another woman and tell her to leave you alone because you were sick and tired of her following you around and that you only started being with me because you were lonely and needed someone to warm your bed. Charlotte did all of that, but yet she remained an angel in your eyes.

“No matter what others told you, no matter what I told you, she could do no wrong... You didn’t seem to care that she was hurting other people, attacking me, and lying about everything. I know you should believe your friends and everything, but come on AJ, there had to of been a point with everyone telling you all the shit Charlotte was doing, you though “huh, maybe Charlotte is the one lying to me and not everyone else.” Because having some many people say the same thing, that should count for something right?!”

At this point, Jessica is just ranting, pacing around her room out of aggrivation. Spewing out every pent up frustration that she has towards Charlotte and AJ. How stupid, irrational, arrogant, narcissistic, and blind they have been the whole time. Some of her frustration is even aimed at herself because she let this go on for so long, let herself be a part of this whole cluster fuck. And as she is getting everything off of her chest, she is starting to think her decision is going to be the right one.

“I was trying to move on you know? The time I was away from you and the blonde bitch, I was trying to get over my feelings for you and try to move on. But you just couldn’t let me. It was like you just knew what I was trying to do and your ego wouldn’t allow it! I don’t think you would have actually tried to approach me if not for the fact that Finn posted the picture of us.”

“That is not true Jessica!” AJ finally finds his voice, speaking sternly. “I was worried about you. I missed being with you. I came to you before the picture, you were the one to leave without telling me! I was going to meet with you so we could ride together and…”

“Because Charlotte was riding with Becky! That is the only reason you came to me AJ. You knew Charlotte you would be riding with Becky and you came looking for me out of sheer need for someone to keep you company.”

“NO! Jess, the ain’t true. I- I mean, well, it made it a little easier to go to you with Charlotte not being with me, but it was not the main reason. I wanted to talk to you, to see you. I’d been tryin’ to get to you but you avoided me, ignored me, you are the one who made it difficult. I had to corner you!”

“And you didn’t think that there was a reason I was ignoring you, avoiding you? You had Charlotte! Why did you have to keep chasing me?! And don’t say it was because you love me. Please, I’m not really sure I believe that. Because if you truly loved me, you would have proved your feelings for me before all of this shit went down! You would have listened to me, believed me, chosen me! Above Charlotte. I won’t condemn a friendship, especially one as long as yours and Charlotte’s. But your actions, your words, they contradict each other. You say you love me, but your actions thus far say you love Charlotte!”

“Jess…” AJ breaths out, not sure what to say.

“Would you have come to find me at Carmella’s if Finn hadn’t posted that picture of us? Would you have cared enough to try and seek me out again if you had not thought for one second there might be something between Finn and I? Would you have actually admitted your feeling for me it not brought on by jealousy and possessiveness? Or if you had known that I was not leaving for good? Was your admission of love just your attempt to keep me close to use so that you could just use and play with me whenever you pleased?”
Jessica can feel herself practically shacking, waiting on baited breath for AJ to answer her questions.

“Jessica… I- I don’t know…” he stumbles over his words.

Jessica’s questioning has thrown him off; he was not expecting that when she called him. For her to interrogate him in such a way, question his feelings for her. He doesn’t really know how to respond to her questions. It feels like no matter what he says, it’s not going to be the right answer for her.

“Jess… I don’t know what ta say. Yeah, maybe seeing you and Finn together did finally push me to admitting my feelings for you, but that wasn’t the only reason. I – I guess I was just scared about telling you how I really felt, I was scared what the change would mean for our relationship, because I liked how things were. Then Charlotte came back to Smackdown and we just picked right back up like before both brands split…”

“What do you mean picked right back up? Was there actually something going on between you and Charlotte? You said there was nothing between you other than a friendship!”
AJ winces at her tone,

“There may have been one or two times… but they honestly meant nothing! We both were drunk and…”

“Oh my GOD! You lied to me! You lied to Charlotte! No wonder she hated me so much, she actually thought there was something between the two of you! My God, she was just as blind as I was to you and your lies!”

“NO!” AJ shouts feeling his anger rise at her accusations, “That… that is not what I meant.”

He takes a deep trying to calm back down and keep a level head.

“I meant the friendship we had picked back up like nothing changed. Those two times we slept together were before I even signed with WWE. I swear it Jess, they happened years ago, and nothing has happened since then. I thought Charlotte and I had moved past them. I had no idea she felt any sort of feelin’s like that towards me.”

Jessica huffs, sitting back down on the bed, feeling slightly deflated.

“AJ… this still changes so much.” her voice tight.

They both fall silent. This was not how they originally planned their talk going. It doesn’t really feel like much is getting resolved. More is coming up to cause problems than going away.

“AJ, I don’t think I want to do this anymore.” Jessica croaks.

“W-what? What do you mean?!”

Jessica gives a small sniffle, wiping her eyes.

“I mean, my feelings for you have changed. Everything that has happened I don’t know if I can trust you anymore, or if I even want to. I don’t know if I want to try and have a relationship with you if I’m going to have to deal with Charlotte still, and you know as well as I do you can’t rid yourself of her completely. You work with her and the fans love seeing you two together. I’m just tired and it feels like nothing is really going to change.” She explains solemnly.

“Of course it will! I promise!”

“That’s just it AJ. Your promises don’t mean anything anymore. You say you will do this and do that, but for a while there, yeah, I put faith in those promises. But now… I’ve grown weary of your promises and sweet words which hold no merit. God, I’m such an idiot for not walking away sooner, for letting you string me along for so long.” she chokes out laugh to cover her need to cry.

“Jessica, you can’t mean that.” He complains, wishing there was something he could say to change her mind.

“Why not? You have to know I’m right AJ! What we have, or had, it is an unhealthy relationship. For the both of us. Maybe it is better if we just end it all now before too much damage is done that can’t be fixed.”

AJ falls back in his chair, running a hand down his and releasing a long sigh.

“Maybe your right,” he reasons, “maybe our relationship was unhealthy to some extent. But you have to admit, we had some good times.”

A small smile pays at Jessica’s lips, “Yeah we did. Had a lot of fun together. I guess it was good for a while there.”

 

The line goes quiet once more. They both slowly coming to terms that this is officially the end for them. Their relationship wasn’t meant to be. They had a good run there for a while, but it wasn’t meant to last a life time, just a season. And there is no fault in that. Some relationships are just meant to last for a short while before it is time to move on.

“Hey Jess…” AJ mumbles,

“Yeah?”

“Do, do ya think we might still be friends? Eventually?” he asks hesitantly.

Jessica shrugs, even though he can’t see her, “I don’t know AJ. I really don’t. I guess maybe we should just take things slow and see where time takes us.”

“I do love you Jess… but I know that’s not enough to fix all the pain I’ve caused you. And know that if ever you need me, I’ll be there for you. Always.”

“I love you too AJ. It’s just not the same anymore, but I hope over time wounds can heal and I can tell you the same, that I’ll always be there for you if ever you need me. Maybe going into this we both expected or wanted different things. No one can really be blamed for that… Good-bye AJ.”

“Bye Jess… maybe I’ll see you are when you get back.”

They hang up and even though it was not what they expected, somehow AJ and Jessica both feel like a weight has been lifted. They both will be able to finally move pass all of this.
And who knows what the future might hold for them. Things change over time and maybe at some point, their paths might cross again opening up a possibility for a romance to blossom once more.

Chapter Text

Jessica smiles; waving to the people she passes as she makes her way around the arena. It’s nice to finally be back. Life ended up taking a weird turn causing Jessica to take a full year off from WWE but now she is back; for how long, she’s not sure.

“JESSICA!”

Jessica is caught off guard by the loud squeal coming from her side and before she is able to react, she is nearly bulldozed over by Carmella attacking her.

“Oh my God! I missed you so much! There has been so much going on, you just don’t even know”

“I missed you too! You have no idea! God, talking on the phone just was not enough!”

Both girls talk at the same time, hugging the other and bouncing around.

“Oh my God! I missed you so much! God, it has been too damn long.” Carmella says, hugging Jessica as tight as possible.

“A-air Mella… need air!”

Carmella lets go, laughing, “Sorry, but you deserve it! You left me for a whole fucking year! You bitch!”

Jessica throws her head back laughing, “I’m sorry… well, not really because, damn it’s been one hell of a great year! And it’s not like we didn’t see each other. Just not as much as we used to.”

“Exactly. I’m used to seeing my favorite make-up artist almost every day. Not once or twice a month. It wasn’t enough for me. Actually, Cass is now jealous because of how much I complain about missing you.”

This has both girls laughing again and Carmella loops her arm around Jessica’s, “No come on, tell me all about you time away.”

“You know most of it, but these last few months have been over the top crazy. But I have met some of the most amazing people!” Jessica smile, widens even bigger, if at all possible.

Carmella smirks at Jessica, “Alright, tell me about him. He must be something grand to put that kind of smile of your face.”

“Carmella! You’re up in 10!” a stage hand shouts.

She sighs, “Alright!” turning to Jessica, “I’ll catch you after the show, we’ll ride together and catch up then. Okay?”

“Got it. Now go, you have work to do, and I have a meeting to get to.”

They blow each other a kiss and go their separate ways. Jessica goes to her meeting with Shane, discussing her future with the WWE. Something that she has spent a quiet bit of time thinking over in her spare time. And thankfully, Shane is willing to except her terms of returning to the company, because he sees that her proposal is beneficial to both parties.

“Welcome back Jess!”

“Jess! It’s good to see you again!”

“Hey! Long time no see! Lookin’ good”

More and more people continue to greet her and welcome her back as she wanders around the arena. And since she wasn’t technically here to work, she was free to basically do as she wishes, as long as she does not get in the way.

She is enjoying the show backstage with some of the other talent when the one person comes out who she has somehow manage to miss all night,

“They don’t want none; they don’t want none…”

“Making his way to the ring, weighing in at 218lbs, from Gainesville, Georgia; he is the WWE Champion; AJ Styles!”

The arena erupts in cheers for AJ and Jessica smiles at how happy he looks, showing off his title. She looks over to Jey Uso, one of them watching the show with her,

“When did AJ get the title back?” she asks him, cocking her head to the side.

He thinks for a moment, “Uh, a couple a weeks ago. He won it from Jinder. You didn’t know that?”

She shrugs, “I’ve been really busy. I haven’t been able to keep up with what’s been going on as much as I would have liked. But I’m happy for him, he makes a good champ. And clearly, people love him.”

Jey shoots her a look, “You’re happy for him? After everything that went down between you two? Seriously?”

She laughs, shaking her head, “Jey, I’m over it, I’ve moved on. Plus, I’m not petty. I’m not going to wish his career fails because of the shit that went down between us.”

He nods, “Good, I’m glad. So, you’re going to have no problem workin’ with him or Charlotte.”

Jessica cringes, wrinkling her face up, “I’ll be professional with her, but she breathes in my direction the wrong way, I’m beating her with a hot iron.”

Jey laughs at her, shaking his head, and they watch the rest of the match in silence. AJ won, shocker there, and was making his way up the ramp. An impulse takes over Jessica and she quickly stands up and heads out to find AJ. It has been a whole year since she last saw him, last spoke to him, she would be lying if she said that she didn’t miss him, just a little bit. They were friends, kind of, before world war 3, and there is a tiny part of her that wants to be friends again. Plus, if they will be working together, she is going to have to get over the awkward first meeting no matter what. Might as well and get it over with.

She makes it to gorilla just as AJ is walking through the curtains,

“Hey, congrats on the win. You looked pretty good out there.”

AJ’s face goes from that of confusion at hearing her voice to pure joy at seeing her stand before him.

“Jessica! Wow, you’re back!” he exclaims, moving right to her.

AJ doesn’t even hesitate, he gathers her up in his arms, hugging her tight to his body. And Jessica doesn’t even care that he is sweaty, she wraps her arms around his neck, burying her face into his neck until they both pull away, but not letting go.

“It’s really good to see you again Jess. You look good, glowing even.”

She giggles, “Thanks, bonus of being on LA, and working outside a lot.”

His eyes go wide, “LA, I thought you were away for family.”

She backs away, putting some space between them, “I was, at first. But while I was away, I got a call from a friend of mine who works as a makeup artist on movies, and she asked me to come out and help her for a project she was working on cause she was short staffed. And then one project turned into me getting an offer for another. I’m now in the process of opening my own company, based in LA. I’ll be working with WWE too, but free to work on any movies or TV shows or whatever I get contacted for.”

AJ beams at her, “Wow Jess, that’s amazing. You’re moving on up, just like you always wanted. I’m really happy for you.”

She blushes, shuffling her feet slightly, “Thanks. And what about you? I see you got your title back. Congratulations, sorry I missed it. I wish I could have seen you win it back.”

“Thanks, it was rough, but they finally saw that I’m the better man to be champ. Especially after seeing me carry the show as the US champ.”

Jessica gives him a confused look, “You were the US champ too?”

He nods, “Yeah, for a good part of the year.”

“Aw, I missed it. I bet you were great as US champ.” Jessica responds, pouting.

He cocks his head, “You didn’t know?”

“No, sorry.” She says shaking her head, “I got really busy and haven’t been able to keep up with the storylines for a while. And when I would talk to Carmella and Finn… well.”
“I’m not exactly their favorite people to talk about. It’s alright. I understand. Well um, if you’re free… maybe, maybe we could go out to lunch sometime and catch up? You could tell me more about life in Hollywood and I can tell you how amazing I am at being the champ the run Smackdown live.”

Jessica rolls her eyes at his cockiness, but laughs at the dorky grin on his face.

“Yeah, I’d like that. A lot has happened this last year, personal and professional; it’ll be nice to catch up. My number’s still the same. Call me tomorrow and we can make plans.”

“Great, I can’t wait. It’s good to have you back Jess, I hope this gives us a chance to start over.”

She smiles softly at him, “I hope so too. I have missed you AJ, as a friend.”

She can see him hesitate for a second before bring his gloved hand up to cup her cheek, “I’ve missed you too… as a friend. I think I realize now, that’s all we were meant to be just friends.”

“I agree. Maybe we tried to force something that just wasn’t meant to be. We worked better together before we tried to make things complicated and make our relationship into something more to fast, or more than it should have been. A mistake we both learned from. And one, we won’t make again.”

“Agree. I have to go shower and change, I’ll call you tomorrow and we will set something up. Okay?”

“Yeah, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.”

AJ starts to walks away from her, stopping once more to turn around and grinning at her, “It’s good to have you back Jess, really it is.”

“Thanks AJ… it’s good to be back.”

Things are going to be different this go round. It doesn’t matter what path their relationship takes, she is going to ensure that things are different, better, healthier, than they were the last time. It is a brand new beginning for them, and one that Jessica is looking forward to exploring.