I know, this where you ask me what turned him from the gentleman that I fell for into the monster that I eventually divorced. I heard it all before. There were several things about Scott that I didn't know going into our marriage - things that I really should've known before he even asked me to marry him because I probably would not have made the mistake of walking down the aisle with him.
Well, I was examined by several doctors and given pain medication and was even seen by a psychiatrist in the hospital. It was their standard procedure for all rape and abuse victims. The shrink wasn't interested in what caused Scott to go off the deep end - all he wanted to know is why I would do something that my husband told me not to. I was to blame for Scott beating and raping me. Sure thing, and there's a tooth fairy, an Easter bunny and a Santa Claus.
I was crying uncontrollably when Paul walked in after the shrink left. I had my knees drawn up to my chest with my head resting on them. He walked over and sat on the bed. I looked up and was face to face with his soft, caramel-colored eyes. "I'm in love with you." I whispered. "I know this isn't the best time - but I had to say that to you."
"Okay, so where does that put our relationship, Kari?" He asked. "Am I going to take priority over Scott or do I have to wait until you're strong enough to get all this crap with him behind you."
"I'm not sure." I said tearfully. "Paul, I've wanted to say that for so long. Years even, and it was all but out of my mouth every time I opened it while we were eating dinner. But I've got to get through with this shit with Scott before I can give you all of me. And I want you to have everything I can give you - faults and all."
"Well, I want to give you the same, Kari." He said as he took my hands. "Scott was arrested. He was in Stephanie's room."
"Oh, I'm sure that Vince was about fit to be tied at that point." I said.
"Pretty much." Paul said with a smile.
"I guess once we get back to the states I have a few things to do." I said. "I need to find my own apartment, find a lawyer - you know the usual divorce protocol."
"Well, you could stay with me." He said.
"No, not until I'm completely free of Scott." I said with all the resolve I could muster. "I couldn't watch him hurt you and if I move out of his house and into yours it could get pretty ugly."
"Well, are you going to be ready to travel for the rest of the Canadian tour before Wednesday?" He asked. "Cause the doctor said that if you feel up to it you could go."
"Yeah, let's get out of here." I said as I started to get up from the bed." I said. "Uh, Paul, do you mind if I share your room when we get back to the hotel? I just can't go back to mine."
"Sure, it even has two beds." He said with a laugh.
We went back to the hotel and the next night on Raw, the bruises I had were blamed on the fall I took off the ring apron. I doubted that the fans would actually buy it, but it was easier to say that than to tell them the truth right then. I returned home to the townhouse that Scott and I were sharing in Stamford on Wednesday. He was still in custody in Toronto. I was slated to go back at the end of the month to testify against him at the trial.
I know what you're thinking - no nothing happened between Paul and I once we got back to the hotel. He slept in one bed and I slept in the other. Actually, he slept and I stared at the ceiling all night wondering where I went wrong in my relationship with Scott to make him hate me so damn much.
I woke up in the hospital this morning. Everything hurts and I still don't understand what upset him so much. I thought we both wanted to have a family. I was excited to find out that I was pregnant. I even stayed up extra late so that when Scott got home I could tell him. When I smelled alcohol on his breath I should've known better than to tell him anything, but damn it I was excited and I wanted him to be excited that there was a new little life growing inside my body. How was I supposed to know that he hurt his back and was going to be off from work for a while to get it back in shape? Well, needless to say the romantic notion of him being excited about becoming a dad came crashing down around me. And my dream of motherhood was completely over by the time my body reached the bottom of the stairs. Immediately, he called for an ambulance and told them that I'd fallen down the stairs. The paramedics knew him and didn't bother to question the validity of his account of the events. He even went so far as to tell them that they had to hurry so that they could do everything possible to save "our" baby. I learned to adjust to his Jeckyl and Hyde mood swings. I also never made the mistake of getting pregnant again. I will never forget the words we spoke after I woke in the hospital.
"Scotty, did I lose the baby?" I asked tearfully.
"Yeah." He said matter of factly. "We won't be having any children, Kari."
"I can't have any more." I started to cry.
"That's not what I said. Physically, you can have more children." He said. "We will not be having children. You and I married each other because we are supposed to be together not because we need a million brats running around."
"Uh, okay." I choked out. "But I thought you'd be happy to have a baby - I didn't know that you didn't like children."
"I love kids, Kari." He said. "I just don't want to have any with you."
Yes, he really did say that. And yes, I was stupid enough to stay with him anyway. I was also stupid enough to believe him when he said he'd never hit me again. Damn I still wish I could get those years back. But time's a funny thing, you think you have all the time in the world until you make a mistake that you can't go back and change.
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March 21, 2002 - Stamford, Connecticut
We got back to Stamford yesterday and aside from getting a place of my own, all I wanted to do was sleep. So I started tackling my errands today. First thing I did was contact the legal department at the WWF offices to see if they had any ideas to point me in the direction of a good divorce attorney. All I wanted was out. I didn't want to leave with anymore than I came with - with the exception of my current salary. I also called my credit card company. I have a Visa card in my name that I got when I was in college. I've always been good about keeping it paid up and keeping Scott from knowing that I didn't close the account. One of the most valuable things I learned in life was that women have a hard time starting over after a divorce or being widowed because all their credit is tied to their husband - unless they were smart enough to establish themselves on their own first.
Nervously, I parked in front of Janine Kirkpatrick's office. She was the attorney that was most often mentioned by the folks in the legal department. In fact, Josie, one of the legal secretaries called and made the appointment for me. So, armed with all the resolve I could muster and my medical record that seems to give the most sordid and unflattering view of my marriage, I walked in.
"Excuse me, I have an 11:00 o'clock appointment with Ms. Kirkpatrick." I said softly to an older woman who I thought was the receptionist.
"You must be Kari." The woman said as she stuck out her hand. "I'm Janine. Come on into my office. My secretary is out sick today. So, Josie said that you want to file for divorce. "Is it going to be easy or messy?"
"Most likely it's gonna be very messy." I whispered. "But its time."
"And why is it going to be messy?" She asked. "What grounds are we filing on?"
"Mental and physical cruelty." I said.
"I see. Do we have evidence and witnesses to this abuse?" She asked.
"It will make it a lot less messy if we have something to substantiate the claims."
"Yeah, here's my medical records for the last five years. With the exception of surgery to have my tonsils taken out, every injury was caused by my husband." I replied. "Up to and including this past Monday."
Janine carefully read through my entire medical history and studied every photo, x-ray and doctors note in the file. She sat there quietly for a while and then looked at me.
"Kari, do you have any children?" She asked.
"No, I've been pregnant twice - once before I met and married Scott and once after." I answered. "The first one I lost in a car accident and the second one I miscarried after Scott shoved me down a flight of stairs. He told me he didn't want to have children with me."
"Okay, well, we may have to contact the father of the first child to get his testimony as to your account of that miscarriage." Janine said.
"He doesn't know about the baby." I said tearfully. "I never told him."
"Oh." She replied. "And if you don't mind my asking, why not?"
"Because, we were both kids at the time and he was just getting established in his career and I was afraid he'd resent me and the baby. I wasn't going to give the baby up, I just didn't want to make him feel trapped."
"Kari, that's gonna make this even messier." Janine said. "Scott, once he gets an attorney can call the child's father as a hostile witness. If you know how to get in touch with him it is in the best interest of this case for you to talk to this man and come clean with him. I'm going to go ahead and draw up the papers for us to file. I will put this on the court's docket for Monday, but I need to know that you've spoken with this man before then."
"I'll call him as soon as I leave here." I said through choked back tears. "Janine, the father of that child is one of my best friends - in fact, he's already said that he'll testify for me if I pursued this."
"Well, just tell him about the baby and why you didn't tell him in the first place." She said. "If he cares enough about you to help you get away from Scott, he'll understand why you kept it from him."
"Okay." I whispered.
"Go ahead and call him." She said. "I have more than enough stuff here to get the case off the ground. I'll need to see you in my office again next Wednesday - is 1:30 okay for you?"
"Yeah, I'll see you then." I said as I got up to go. "Thanks, I appreciate the help."
After I walked out of Janine's office, I looked across the street and saw that the Gold's Gym was facing me. I moved my car over to their parking lot and looked around - Paul's red Hummer was in the parking lot. I grabbed my gym bag and headed in. He was standing at the counter signing in when I walked in.
"Hey stranger." I said with my best attempt at a smile.
"Hi, there." He said. "So, what have you been up to today?"
"I just left the lawyer's office." I said. "She's filing the papers on Monday."
"That's great." He said with a bright smile.
"Except for one little thing." I whispered as we walked towards the locker rooms. "I need to talk to you about something. After we get done here can we go grab a bite to eat?"
"Sure." He said. "Is everything alright?"
"I'm not sure, depends on your reaction to what I've got to tell you." I said.
Well, we finished working out and then went and dropped my car off at my apartment. Paul drove us to a little out of the way Chinese restaurant. The waiter put us at a table in a quiet corner. Paul took my hand in his - toying with the finger that I used to have my wedding ring on.
"So, you wanted to talk to me?" He asked, patiently.
"Yeah, but you have to promise not to get mad at me." I said.
"Why would I get mad at you?" He asked.
"Just promise, okay." I pleaded.
"Okay, I promise I won't get mad at you." He said. "Now are you going to tell me what this is all about?"
"Yeah." I said. "First, I need to apologize to you for not writing or calling you back after the car accident."
"Is that what this is about?" He asked, puzzled. "Kari, that was like seven years ago."
"I know, but I need to explain why I stopped calling." I said. "Paul, do you remember that weekend in New Orleans when you said you were no where near ready to get married and have a family?"
"Yeah, vaguely." He said.
"Okay, well I made a life altering decision when you said that and I made up my mind to keep something from you." I said. "When I was in the car accident and you showed up at the hospital I was so full of guilt because of I that I pushed you away."
"What are you talking about?" He said.
"That first night we were together - after Starrcade - I got pregnant." I said. "I was going to tell you after I got to New Orleans, but when you said you weren't ready for a family, I kept my mouth shut. I was afraid that you'd hate the baby and me. You were making so much progress with your career at the time and I didn't want to see you give it up. I didn't want to cause you to give it up."
"You lost the baby in the car accident, didn't you?" He asked.
"Yes." I answered. "I pushed you away out of guilt after that. I felt like God would've spared the baby if I'd been open and honest with you. I'm so sorry."
"Okay, so where do we go from here?" He asked, his hands shaking and his eyes brimming with tears. "Is there anything else you need to get out in the open?"
"No, Paul." I choked out through steadily falling tears. "I'm sorry if I hurt you."
"Kari, it hurts - not because the baby isn't here, but because you didn't tell me sooner." Paul said. "I would've rethought my statement about marriage and family if you'd told me. I loved you then and I love you now. You know what else hurts - you gave up on us and then have put yourself through hell with Scott. You deserve better than that."
"I had better." I said as I nervously touched his hand. "I used to have you."
"I'm here and I'm not going anywhere." He said. "So, let's move forward. Once we get rid of Scott, we can move on with us."
"Okay." I answered.
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Okay, so I finally felt like my life was getting back on track. I had something (or someone) to look forward to. I had my divorce in the works and I had a good job that was independent of Scott's. I was making my own way and I was proud of myself for it. With Scott away from the arenas and us, Paul and I got a little bolder and possibly even careless about how we showed our feelings for each other. We realized our mistake one Monday night in April.
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April 8, 2002 - Phoenix, Arizona - Site of RAW is WAR
The group of us arrived in Phoenix without incident. I was actually enjoying not having any bruises on my body for a change. We were sitting in the creative meeting for the show and a drastic change in the story line was presented to us. I was going to turn my back on Hogan, Hall and Nash in favor of hooking up with Triple H. The scene was set to be fairly dramatic - with the Nash and Hogan attacking him during his title defense against Hall. After they get down there, it was slated that I was to put myself in harms way to protect him.Things were about to get truly interesting.
"So, Kari, what do you think of this new story?" Kevin asked as we walked around the backstage area. "Are you ready to leave the wolfpack?"
"I guess I don't have much choice in the matter do I?" I giggled. "At least they aren't aligning me with someone I don't know or can't stand."
I walked into the locker room and found my cell phone ringing. I answered it. A woman on the other end of the line told me that Scott was released - he'd only be sentenced to seven days in excess of time serviced prior to the hearing on the spousal abuse charges in Toronto. Thanks a lot. As I listened to her, I played with a small rock I'd purchased earlier in the day. I was going to give it Paul as a joke later. After I hung up the phone I called Janine. She told me that while we had the case filed, it was going to take a long time to get through the courts. I told her that as long as it seemed like we were making progress, we were going to continue with it. After hanging up, I went to find Paul.
"Hey there." I said as I caught him grabbing a sandwich in the catering area.
"What's up?" He asked as he sat down. "You ready for this story?"
"Yeah, I think so." I said. "I got something for you."
I handed him the rock. He turned it over in his hand a few times and then looked at me with a puzzled look on his face.
"What's this?" He asked.
"Iron Pyrite, you know, fool's gold." I said with a smile.
"I know that, but why?" He asked.
"Because I thought of you when I saw it." I said.
"And why would this make you think of me?" He said.
"Cause, like I've come to realize that's the same stuff that wedding rings and title belts are made of." I said. "Some people act foolish until the get them, they're even more foolish once they have 'em."
"But what if I want to marry you once your divorce is finished?" He asked.
"We won't wear gold rings." I said with a grin. "We'll get silver or platinum."
"Oh, I see." He said with a smile. "Well, do you want to go over some of our scenes for later?"
"Nope, we can just do them when it comes time." I said as I got up to go. "Have I told that I love you?"
"Not today." He replied.
"Consider yourself told." I said as I went on my way.
I was smiling to myself as I walked back around to the locker room. When I got there, one of the productions guys had a bouquet of roses for me. I looked at him and said that there must be some mistake. He said that being that I was the only Kari in the company there was no mistake. I took the bouquet in and sat them down on the counter. I pulled out the card and read it. In all honesty, I truly thought they were from Paul. However, whoever sent them didn't sign their name to the card. Oh, well I decided to enjoy them anyway.
I went to the set for the first scene that we were going to film. Paul was standing there drinking from a bottle of water.
"Thanks for the roses." I said softly.
"What roses?" He asked.
"The red ones that I got about forty-five minutes ago, silly." I said.
"Kari, I didn't send you any roses." He said.
"If you didn't, who did?" I asked.
"I don't know, but if I were you I'd watch my back." He said. "Okay, let's get this scene in the can."
We taped the scene that was supposed to air prior to Paul's match on the show. We were simply flirting with each other in the hallway. I enjoyed it - even if it was a little more dangerous than I realized at the time. The show went well and right after Hogan and Nash entered the ring to help Scott brutalize the Champ, I got in the ring. I'd come to ringside with Scott and was waiting for my cue. Hogan and Kevin were holding Triple H (damn, why is it so hard for me to call him that) while Scott shouted at him and smacked him around. When they dropped him on the canvas, and were going to go for the spray paint and to start kicking him, I crawled into the ring. I laid over him pleading with them to stop. Hall grabbed me by the hair and tried to get me out of the way. I continued to fight - or at least try to fight them off. The show went off the air after they tore my shirt from me and spray painted my back.
The show was technically over (at least the televised portion) when Paul helped me up to go to the back. We walked arm in arm up the ramp to the dressing room. Jerry was having a field day seeing me in nothing more than tight leather hot pants and my silver and black lace bra. We were about halfway up the ramp when Scott came through the crowd and attacked us. The audience didn't know it wasn't in the script so they sat there glued to the scene before them. Scott hit Paul repeatedly with a lead pipe. When Paul was sufficiently down on the ramp, Scott tangled his hand in my hair and drug me to the top of the staging area. I pleaded with him to let me go, but he wouldn't even look at me. Then he backed me to the very edge of the stage. I looked over at Paul; he was bleeding heavily from one of the blows to the back of his head.
"You better worry about saving your own ass, Kari." Scott seethed. "He can't save you right now."
"Scotty, what do you want from me?" I sobbed. "Tell me what you want."
"I want you to call off the divorce." He said. "Just call that bitch of a lawyer you hired and call off the divorce."
"No, I can't do that." I said. "Scotty, it's time for us both to move on. You don't need a wife, you need a punching bag and I can't be that anymore."
"Fuck you!" He shouted. "You couldn't wait for my contract to be cancelled because I couldn't pass the physical. That way you'd be free and clear to fuck your brains out with Levesque. Well, Kari, let's see how much he wants you when you're crippled."
After that Scott shoved me off the stage to the concrete floor below. I don't remember anything other than it felt like it took forever to hit the floor. I knew it was coming and I couldn't stop it. The next thing I remember was waking up three days later in a Phoenix hospital. I looked around the room and tried to raise my head up off of the bed. I was immediately dizzy and had to lean against the pillow again. I finally got my eyes to focus enough to realize that my right leg was in traction and my left arm was in a cast from my elbow to my fingers. I noticed someone or something stir in the corner of the room and saw Paul sitting in a chair, trying to sleep. He looked absolutely miserable in the position he was in - his left leg was hanging over the arm of the chair and his right arm was bent up under his head for a pillow.
A nurse came in to check on me a few minutes later and ended up waking Paul as well. She told me that as soon as I could function properly in a wheelchair I could leave the hospital for home. After she left, I was reduced to tears - I believed that Scott had accomplished what he'd set out to do on Monday night. Paul came over to the bed and sat down beside me. He put his arms around me while I cried and finally calmed me down.
"Kari, it's okay." He whispered against my ear.
"No it's not, he wins again." I sobbed. "He said he would cripple me. The nurse just said I can't leave until I learn to function in a wheel chair."
"Kari, listen to me." He said as he wiped my tears away. "You're not crippled. Your left arm is broken and your right leg is broken. Without both arms functioning, you can't walk on crutches."
"That's all it is?" I asked.
"Yeah, baby, that's all." He said. "I promise. Aside from the concussions that we both have, a broken wrist and a broken ankle aren't so bad."
"I guess not." I said.
"Scott's back in jail." He said. "And there should be no way of getting him out early this time."
"I hope not." I said.
Paul then leaned in and kissed me. As our tongues danced, I knew this kiss was more intense and passionate than anyone I ever had before. I also knew that I had to stop it now or I couldn't just stop with a kiss.