A lot of things made Justin Gabriel smile – the feeling he got jumping off the top turnbuckle into a 450 Splash, his Mom’s Bunny Chow, beating Kofi and Evan at the WWE video games. Alicia Fox’s laugh was right up there too. It was guaranteed to make him smile, because it was a full-on-from-the-belly-I-don’t-care-who-hears-how-loud-I-am-laugh. It was absolutely real, nothing artificial about it. And in the wrestling business, that was rare.
True, he also had a thing for the beautiful body and stunning face that the laugh belonged to. He especially liked when she blushed like crazy, usually right after she’d caught him smiling at her. In fact, he liked it so much that it had become a game for him; seeing how much he could make her blush just by looking at her. He was getting really good at it.
He’d learned a lot from playing that game. She loved wearing sequins and fur. She rarely wore pants, preferring skirts. She took a lot of sugar in her coffee. He started leaving sugar packets for her to find – in her coat pockets, in her bags, her hood, and her boots. Alicia playfully narrowed her eyes when she saw him in the hallway. Justin smirked and flicked a sugar packet over his shoulder. He didn’t need to look in order to hit his target.
That night he found pink and yellow peeps in his gym bag. His favorites. Very nice. He smiled and bit the head off a yellow peep. Tomorrow, he was going to leave a pink mouse in Alicia’s bag.
Then he was going to up his game.
Alicia was stirring a cup of coffee when he next saw her. She looked preoccupied. Justin poured sugar into her coffee without warning. She started in surprise, then giggled when she saw it was him. If he could have framed that look, he would have.
“Stopping your games?” she teased.
“Just changing them.” Justin raised an intriguing eyebrow. “I hear you play a mean game of golf.”
Alicia laughed hard. Justin savored it. “Is Booker still telling that story? I only beat him that one time.”
“Want a new opponent?”
Alicia’s smile was as beautiful as ever. They agreed to meet after the show. She needed a ride anyway.
He only had to wait ten minutes for her. She appeared in an apricot dress and a cropped fur jacket. Patches of the fur were dyed bright green.
“Oh, that’s all me,” Alicia informed him when he commented on it. “I like making things my own.”
It wasn’t a long drive. The sky was shades of blue and black. Alicia cracked the window and closed her eyes into the night breeze. Her hair – currently colored a plum so deep that it was almost purple – whipped away from her face. Justin’s hands tightened on the steering wheel. He had to keep his eyes on the road.
He managed to for about 80% of the journey. Alicia teased him, her cheeks tinged pink.
She laughed when they pulled into a Pitch and Putt. There were only four other cars parked there, but the place was clearly open. The lights around the gate were every color possible and they winked in time to the piped-in music.
“I can’t believe this,” Alicia exclaimed.
Justin’s smile felt like it could be permanent. “You like it, right?”
“Of course! It stays open all night?”
“Wow…..this is awesome.”
Alicia clung to his arm as they walked. She was literally bouncing with excitement. It was going to be a fun night. They collected clubs and a bucket of Day-Glo balls at the first hole. Alicia was really good, even in wedge heels. She laughed and smiled the whole way round. They spent some time retrieving the balls from stubborn long grass, sand traps, and a pond full of fat koi fish. Justin’s shirt got soaking wet, as did Alicia’s dress. They played around the giant windmill at the center of the course. You got an extra point if your ball went through the windmill’s window and landed in the tiny room inside.
It was almost 3am when they finally finished. Alicia carried her shoes in one hand. Her toenails were painted turquoise and her eyes sparkled under the colored lights. Justin pulled her closer. Out of breath and slippery with pond water, they kissed in the parking lot. She tasted of sugared strawberries and thick chocolate cream. Justin wanted to chase that taste all night. She was still laughing. He wanted to chase that too.
Her legs were the first thing he saw when he opened his eyes. Justin smiled. He was always pleased to see them; they were a hell of a beautiful sight. He was surprised to see them this early in the morning though. He yawned and pushed sleep back so that he could watch Alicia rushing around the hotel room. He must have made a noise because she suddenly turned towards him.
“I’m sorry, baby. Go back to sleep. AJ needs me.”
“Daniel’s been there and……”
Justin started to sit up, but Alicia shook her head. “It’s okay. He’s just difficult. She needs somebody to give her perspective.”
Anything that Justin was going to reply with was silenced by the sight of Alicia stripping off her tiger-print chemise. God, a month of regularly seeing that much of her skin and it still made him speechless. Alicia grinned at his expression and pulled on sweatpants and one of his shirts, cramming her feet into running shoes.
Justin was happy just to watch. He didn’t complain though when Alicia darted over to pull him into a kiss. Her tongue traced his bottom lip for a moment, then she was out of reach. She threw the chemise at him without warning. Justin got a faceful of warm silk.
“I’ll be back for that,” she sing-songed over her shoulder as she grabbed her purse.
Justin pulled the chemise off his face and grinned. “Don’t worry. It’s not my size.”
The last thing he heard before the door shut was Alicia’s laugh. It followed him into his dreams.