Randy spun round; ready to break the nose of whoever it was that had pulled him into this janitor's closet.
Whoever it was ducked and pushed him against the back wall. "Shh, less noise, Champ." It was strange, Randy had had girls call him all kinds of things, babe, lover, darling, sugar but not one of them made him smile the way Ric calling him 'champ' did. It was even better now that he was THE champion.
Of course, the other reason he was smiling was because this was the first time he'd seen Ric to speak to for a week and a half. There was a time, when he'd come back from injuries, where this would have lead to some serious necking. But now they were content to hold each other, an embrace that gave Randy some comfort. It was insane, and Randy knew it, to need someone so much. But that was the truth of it.
"I missed you." Ric was going to say something but Randy stopped him with a kiss. "But this was a stupid risk to take."
"I saw an opportunity and took it. Hunter thinks I'm at the gym with Dave, Dave thinks I'm at the hotel with Hunter. No risk there. And even if they find out I'm not where either of them thinks I am, there's no problem, I'm just crazy old Ric." There was a time when Randy had thought that Ric was crazy. But now he knew better. "I had to check that you were holding up okay."
A few weeks ago Randy would have made a joke about being a big boy now and not needing his hand held. Maybe even offering to prove it had there been time and space and occasion. But not now, now he knew what Ric meant. How was Randy coping with the paranoia that came with the belt and with this plan of theirs? Ric's plan really.
"I'm okay." Ric didn't believe him. Ric never did. "You know, you could find out for yourself, if you just gave it up."
"Oh no. Hunter's going to pay for what he did." For all that Ric insisted he wasn't as crazy as Hunter thought he was, Randy sometimes had his doubts. This was one of those times. He had seen the sense in keeping their relationship quiet, no point giving other people the advantage, playing them off together or threatening one of them to keep the other in line. And it had been easy enough to do, they always had the furthest two rooms and Hunter would have had to get past Dave to get to them, which he probably couldn't do, and if Dave woke up they would have heard him no matter how distracted they were because the guy was as loud as a herd of buffalo.
All that covering up meant that Hunter thought that Ric would follow his lead in regard to Randy. So once Randy had fallen asleep after all the partying that followed his victory at Summerslam, Hunter took Ric to one side and explained his plan for showing Randy the error of his ways. If Ric had been half as stupid as Hunter thought he was, he would have given the game away then. But he didn't. He went along with Hunter's plan.
He didn't even warn Randy, not properly anyway. Not because he didn't trust Randy, but because he didn't think Randy could act suitably surprised when it happened. The only thing he said was that Hunter was going to do something that he disagreed with and to remember that. And Randy did, for the rest of the day because it had been such an odd thing to say, it wasn't as though Ric always agreed with Hunter anyway.
All this added together meant that when Hunter turned on him and Dave with him, Randy was suitably surprised. But he remembered what Ric had said, and knew no matter how hard Ric hit him he didn't mean it. Ric was up to something and just play along. With all the shots he took that didn't take a lot of acting talent.
Randy wasn't surprised that Ric had a plan; Ric was always up to something. He hadn't taken kindly to the way Hunter talked about his present renisance being all down to Hunter. So he planned his revenge. He wasn't stupid though, and he was patient. He was going to make Hunter suffer and for that he could wait for the perfect opportunity.
The opportunity had never presented itself though, and then when Randy came back there he seemed to lose impetus. Why rock the boat? Ric had everything that he could have wanted, power, prestige, glory, Randy.
Then all this happened and the desire for revenge burnt in Ric's veins. He'd see Hunter hurt for trying to do this to Randy. No one did things like this to his boy.
"I'll beat him up. Regularly. For months. If it would make you happy and stop this."
"Nothing's go to stop me." So Randy kissed him and tried to show all the fear he had for him and Ric and where this would lead. "Don't worry yourself, kid." Randy liked that particular term of endearment less than all the others. "I've got through to worse people than Hunter, and come out of it pretty well."
Randy couldn't very well say that that was then and this is now. Ric hated being reminded that there ever was a time before now, said it made him feel older than he was. Then again Ric also held to the saying that you're only as old as the person you're feeling up.
"It's not Hunter I'm worried about, it's Batista." Whose intentions might not have been as black as Hunter's but he was still six foot five and dangerous.
"Don't worry about Dave. I have whole separate plans for Dave." That was all this situation needed, plans within plans.
"If I'm not allowed to worry about the other two, can I at least worry about you?"
"No, I'll be fine."
"You should probably be going. I don't want the other two to get suspicious."
"Will I see you tomorrow?"
"Not unless you're on the other side of a chop."
"You never know, you might be on the other end of an RKO."
"It could happen, but I doubt it." Ric started turn the handle to open the door but he turned around before he opened it. "Give me 'till Survivor Series. If I'm not getting anywhere by then, I might reconsider."
It was a tiny ray of hope, but Randy didn't mind clinging to it.