"So, I have some good news." Heath Slater glances to the pair of dry-cleaning bags, resting over his left arm. "We have a real match on TV!" He then shifts his gaze to his in-ring partner and boyfriend, Rhyno.
Rhyno knows that look. Rhyno has nightmares about that look. That's the look he gets just before Heath is about to tell him something that he knows Rhyno won't like.
"What's the bad news?" Rhyno stares warily at Heath. He crushed the empty seltzer can in his hand.
"We've been picked for the annual Trick or Street Fight. That's not the bad news." Heath stares at the tile on the floor.
It's clear that he's procrastinating.
"Doesn't that involve costumes?" Rhyno asks, his voice barely above a whisper.
"I called every costume shop in Baltimore but it's the day before Halloween..." Heath pauses again.
"Spit it out already, Heath!" Rhyno exclaims, exasperation leeching into his voice. "I've already figured out that you're going to tell me something I'm not going to like."
"Better to show you." Heath pulls the zipper down on the top drying cleaning bag. He drops the bag and reveals a red velvet dress.
"No." Rhyno shakes his head. "I love you, Heath and I'm pretty sure there's almost nothing I wouldn't do for you and I well... let me put it to you this way...In the words of the Great Meatloaf...And I would do anything for love but I won't do that."
"Now before you say anything else...I called fifteen shops and this was the best option. The cow suit was way worse and you wouldn't have been able to move in it." Heath sighs, staring at the dress in his hand. "Rhyno, please! It's the day before Halloween and I swear I did the best I could!"
"It's Mrs. Claus. In October." Rhyno throws the crushed can across the locker room. He starts to speak slowly and deliberately. "Mrs. Claus in October." He groans and then, his frustrated look softens as he catches sight of Heath.
Heath slumps to the bench and rests his hand into his head. He stares forlornly at the dress and glances away.
Rhyno feels like a real asshole.
"This is important to you?" he asks, moving to sit next to Heath. "Like really important?"
"Extremely." Heath sighs. "I'll be right there with you- the Santa to your Mrs.Claus."
Heath opens the other bag, showing Rhyno the matching red suit.
"I don't like this anymore than you do. We just have to stay relevant!" Heath exclaims and then follows up with a sigh.
Rhyno lightly caresses Heath's cheek. Cupping his face, he leans in and kisses him.
"What's that for?" Heath asks, cocking his head. "Thought you didn't believe in kissing on company property."
"Sometimes, even I think some moments call for kisses." Rhyno cups Heath's face and kisses him again. "Let's see what this monstrosity looks like."
Heath hands him the dress. Rhyno flips open the collar and stares at the clothing tag. It's uglier than he originally thought. As he examines the size, he realizes that it's three sizes too big.
"They also only had one size left." Heath shrugs. "We'll make it work." He kisses Rhyno on the cheek. "Love you."
Rhyno intertwines his fingers with Heath's fingers. Squeezing his boyfriend's hand, he sighs happily.
Rhyno feels like a fool.
Yet, he loves how Heath's eyes shine with glee.
Being Mrs. Claus seems like a small price to pay in exchange for Heath's happiness.
Time for the backstage interview.
Rhyno's tuning out, half listening to what Heath says.
Pretty Woman. We won. Dressed as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. National TV. We killed it!
"How do you feel?" Heath stares directly at him.
Like an idiot? Like I got my holidays mixed up?
"Sexy." It's not quite true but it's also not a lie. He's energized by the energy that he feels coming off Heath. Now that is sexy...
Heath grabs him by the hand and twirls him around.
Rhyno feels ridiculous in his dress and fishnets. It's not what he would wear if he had a choice.
He also knows that it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
What matters is the light in Heath's eyes. It goes on when he's out with the crowd, doing what he loves. He carries the high and that light with him for days after.
Heath is ultimately happiest when he's able to be with Rhyno and in front of a crowd.
Just two of his favorite things...
He realizes that Heath has noticed him staring and quickly glances away.
Need to face it. Rhyno thinks. Heath Slater knows that you are wrapped around his finger.
Rhyno is also forced to admit one other thing.
I would have it no other way...