Thank you to every single person who has been along this journey with me. From my hospital bed three years ago, to my bedroom tonight, you have each impacted upon me in ways I never imagined.
Dedicated to you all, but especially you Tiff. Thank you for everything.
We meet up whenever our paths cross- nowadays that means on my days off, when I'm home in Tampa, and his days at work, in TNA.
I'd kept away from the frenzy of Jeff jumping ship to them; the day he left the WWE, he left me too. We meet up when we can to sort that out, the figure out our lives now we're apart. We need to tie up our loose ends.
On the days he stays with me, he's remarkably together. He shows me pictures of his daughter, Ruby, and talks about her as if she's the only baby on earth. To Jeff, I suppose she is.
I see through this new 'family man' bullshit, and he knows that I do. Our times together are so right and so wrong that they've become indistinguishable once again.
I'm getting ahead of myself.
We had planned so much together in the hours that truly belonged to us…in the hours that we truly belonged to each other. Our plans to wrestle, our plans to travel, to marry…I didn't drink, and he stopped all of his drugs bar one necessary painkiller. We were clean when we were together.
I suppose that's why everything was so hard when, rather predictably, we fell apart every time. All of the bad things we had stopped for each other, for the sake of our love, crashed back into us. Jack Daniels, in his familiar, enticing Southern drawl, gathered me into his arms, warm and comforting, night after night. He slept in my soul.
I could see Jeff's true mistress that he referred to affectionately as 'Crystal', on him and in him every time we locked eyes. I knew that he saw Jack, his amber arms wrapped around me protectively, warming me from within. Jack was my life blood.
On our paths of destruction, nobody followed. Randy had changed, now the family man that Jeff would impersonate later. John either couldn't or wouldn't look at me. Mark and Glenn had more important things to do with their time than waste it by caring about me. Estelle had quit once I returned, saying that she couldn't distinguish between reality and wrestling anymore. Tiff buried herself in wedding plans that I soon felt excluded from, with her new friends quickly pushing me out of a bridesmaid dress.
I was welcomed only by one section of the wrestling world; the McMahons. Vince seemingly respected me more now for blurring fiction and reality so vividly that nobody knew who the real Amber Mardeyn was. Even I didn't know who Amber was.
Stephanie was different, her green eyes constantly on me, waiting for one last collapse.
Only she would be right.
We reached the water quickly in the still, hot night. Standing at the edge, Jeff grasped my hand.
"I'm done Amber," he confessed, "I can't take any of this anymore."
I nodded, "Anything I ask of you is always one leap too far."
He turned and smiled at me, that same smile that I had fallen in love with. "I'm so lost, Amber."
"Me too, Jeff."
"My soul," he paused, inhaling the dry, hot air, "It's not free."
I eyed him, the intensity of the situation almost overwhelming me. "After everything…you're walking out on me?"
"I don't have another choice," he smiled sadly, "You're not the only one consumed by this Am."
My eyes filled as he grasped my hand tighter and we stood in silence, watching our reflections together for the last time.
Often, I wonder if either of us saw what the rest of the world did; two broken people, slowly suffocating each other with each and every desperate kiss.
Jeff has a new image now he and Beth have Ruby. The drug addict we all still see, simmering under the surface, is masquerading as a pure family man. Matt is expected to join him in TNA, something I'm glad about, considering that since my return to the business he's cut me down at every chance he got.
It's our first meeting for a month or two, and our first since I got out of rehab for the second time.
"How was it?" he drank some of his Dew, "I never did experience it in the end."
"Obviously." I snorted, "It was better than the first time. Probably because I don't drink now…it got a lot easier to see where my problems came from."
He said nothing, just stroked my face slowly as if he was questioning himself.
I don't know how long we sat like that, holding each other.
My second time here is shaping up to be a lot better than the first. I'm still reminded of it, the room where I screamed for hours is only a corridor away from my current one.
Therapy this time is centred around where my issues come from. They tell me that my parents are dead, expecting this news to be a revelation to me. Instead, they get a glimmer of recognition from a woman who already knew that, somewhere deep in her mind. Slowly, it begins to open up, the memory. Just like me.
They died when I was 16, shortly after I left high school. Estelle was 11. My parents were only children, and I, along with my 20 year old boyfriend, became her legal guardian.
Unable to cope with their deaths, I turned to the man whom I thought I loved. He gave me up to the man that would never leave me; Jack Daniels.
Before I knew what was happening, Estelle was 14, pregnant with my now ex boyfriend's twins. She was out of her mind. The babies were born and died the night she showed up at my apartment; we named them Cary and Ava after our parents.
Our parents, it later transpired, did not die in a car accident. They took their own lives at 33, star crossed lovers until the end.
It was a freeing revelation, admitting their suicides out loud. They had left us, just like I'd always maintained. Now, I just knew how.
I don't suppose I'll ever learn why.
Even apart, Jeff and I remain dedicated to each other. This time, we meet at a tattoo parlour around 30 minutes away from my house.
We hug quickly and he asks me what we're doing here, his tattooed hand running through his freshly dyed hair. It's blonde. Mundane. Not my Jeff.
"We are making sure that I never make the same choices again." I half smiled at him, "You're welcome to join me."
He does, and chooses the same words as me, after we re-tell each other the story at each other's urging. Our story.
It takes us three hours, after waiting for the designs to be drawn up and for our artists to arrive. We're just finishing it, together, when the stencils are applied. We laugh in between the tears that are on both of our faces as the story ends with him leaving my new home before his first TNA show. Our words then become our tattoos now.
"Promise me something." Tears ran down my face as he wiped them away, kissing my cheeks.
"Anything, Amber, anything."
Our eyes met, hands holding each others faces.
"Just promise me," I whispered, "Never again."
The words symbolised a lot to us. As the artists finished their work on us, Jeff grabbed my left hand and kissed it.
"The thing with us Am," another kiss lands on my palm, "Our story will never have an end."
Finally, I retire from wrestling aged 33. I plan to take a long vacation before I return to the WWE as Steph's right hand woman. I hope to see my friends again, see my sister again. Tiffany and John are expecting their first child in two months time, and my sister will be getting married in December to a nice guy, far removed from the wrestling business. They both deserve happiness.
Jeff and I had a falling out recently after I declined his request that I be Ruby's godmother. I thought it was perfectly reasonable as;
1) I will always love Jeff
2) I hate Beth and I always will
3) I don't anything to do with their baby
That night after the rejection of his offer, Jeff told me how he sees his Mother often, and she now looks happy, something he had been trying to make her since he first saw her.
I rolled my eyes, "Jeff, you see what you want to see and hide the rest."
As he looked at me sadly, I realised just how lost he was and just like he'd done to me years earlier, I left him there, lost in his own existence.
The sun shines every morning when I wake up, alone. Alone is the best thing I can be. Alone is without Jeff.
I had postponed my return to the WWE in favour of spending more time with myself and my loved ones. Living, it transpired, was fun.
Steph had text me her reply, summing up everything I knew about her in one sentence.
Steph (14:53): The job offer is like me. Always there.
Often, I dream of marrying Jeff. My Jeff, not the one that's stumbling around now, pretending to be a person. I keep that Jeff alive in my heart, and hope that one day he'll be real again.
I will love Jeff Hardy forever. My Jeff lives in me. My Jeff is the real Jeff that I know he will one day return to being.
I looked out to my front yard from my bedroom window, and saw him walking down the path towards my front door. He is in my room, our room, before I can blink and I greet him with a kiss.
I have been awake for years now, truly awake.
When Ruby was five, he returned to me. My betrayal was not as large as Beth's: my fake coma vs. Jeff's fake daughter? There was no contest.
We are both clean, and have been for years. No longer broken, we are perfectly together as a whole.
Never again would we ruin our love with poisons. Never again would we slip out of our reality.
Together, we are awake.
Together, we are alive.
Together, we will die.
WWE Hall of Famer's found dead
Jeff and Amber Hardy were today found dead in their home in Tampa, FL. The couple had been married for thirty years and are survived by their three children and four grandchildren.
"Have you finished?"
I nodded, numbly, "There's nothing more to say."
My editor smiled, "That's how their, your, story should end?"
I shrugged, "That's how it will end. One day."
"Amber. How does your book really end?" she pushed, "We can't publish this."
I looked up at her, "The story doesn't have an ending. It hasn't finished yet."
My autobiography followed my retirement and, ten months after I joined WWE Creative, here lay its final manuscript.
I thought for a while before grabbing a fresh and final sheet of paper. The words flowed freely from my hand, and I read them out to myself to make sure that I meant them.
"La fin…Jack, old and weary but well rested in his retirement, looked at Crystal -unable to function and visually falling to pieces from use- with contempt. He moved to her for a final time, his once warming amber arms now wrapped around her coldly. His Southern tones spoke the words the woman he had once lived in had been yearning to for years. 'I forgive you. I forget you. The End.'"
As I spoke those final words, tears threatening to spill from my blue eyes, I realised that I meant them.
My name is Amber Nicole Mardeyn.
After...after everything, I am free.