i can hear the pain in her voice
At first Nikki thought it had to of been a joke, Brie's way of getting back at her by fraternizing with the enemy and blatantly flaunting it in Nikki's face. One thing Nikki could be sure of was that it wouldn't last long, AJ couldn't be trusted and Brie would see that eventually.
Even when they weren't talking, Nikki still had Brie's best interests at heart. That's what she told herself as she entered a feud with the crazy diva. Brie would soon see and Nikki would welcome her back… eventually. Nikki didn't need Brie knowing that she would cave the second Brie wanted back into The Bella's.
Soon it becomes clear that perhaps both AJ and Brie are in this thing of theirs for the long haul. The sight of her sister being clearly happy with AJ made something in Nikki's chest ache, Brie wasn't supposed to be happy about icing Nikki out. Sure she hasn't been the greatest sister to Brie but she'd been angry!
It soon becomes clear that perhaps both AJ and Brie are in this thing of theirs for the long haul until it becomes clear that AJ wasn't in it as wholeheartedly as Nikki previously thought.
It happens at ringside; AJ takes a mic and says "I love you, Paige."
It distracts Paige for a moment but it's enough for her opponent to grab a win. Nikki would've been over the moon about that, something to hold over the anti-diva's head to taunt her with if it wasn't Brie's heart AJ had been breaking in front of the whole WWE universe.
Brie's entrance music hits and Nikki watched her sister walk down the ramp looking calm and composed as she grabs a mic and slips into the ring all graceful.
How dare AJ disrespect her sister this way?
"What is going on AJ?" Brie asked, her calm composure slipping ever so slightly. She looked confused.
AJ was looking at Brie all innocently and Nikki knew in that moment she hated AJ.
"I'm sorry," AJ said "you know I love you too."
Brie's shaking her head slightly "I can't believe you," she said before turning and leaving the ring.
AJ's following Brie up the ramp looking desperate as she tried to keep up with the retreating form of Brie.
Nikki stayed in her locker room.
AJ and Brie seem to have patched things up and their relationship is smooth-running and Nikki hates it. Despises it, deeply wants AJ to screw up again and just prove to Brie that she's not worth the effort Brie is putting in.
AJ's managed to refrain from granting Nikki's wish for two weeks. It's a long two weeks, made even longer from the silence she's enduring from Brie.
Then AJ slips up majorly.
It's after Brie's match, a match AJ was at ringside to support her for. Paige was up next and AJ's on commentary. She's supposed to be anyway, half-way through she leaves the commentators table to support Paige at ringside.
AJ's in the ring, jumping on Paige and hugging her. It's too much to be friendly and then the golden moment occurs when AJ kisses Paige on the cheek, just missing the lips.
The camera zoomed in on Brie at the top of the ramp, she's turning away and Nikki knows she's holding back tears as she disappeared backstage.
Still, Nikki stayed put in the locker room.
Nikki's not run into Brie backstage in a while but she knows Brie's been watching her matches against AJ, she must've done. Nikki hoped she had been anyway. All the hurt AJ had caused Brie over the past week by flirting openly with Paige was what fuelled Nikki to be more aggressive in her matches.
She'd been more than aggressive with both AJ and Paige.
Paige may not be openly responding to AJ's flirting but she's still part of the reason Brie is hurting.
Nikki watched as Brie stormed back up the ramp after being involved in an altercation with Paige in the ring, AJ seemingly stuck between choosing Paige or Brie. Nikki thought it had been a fairly simple choice to make.
Things just seem to get even worse from there on.
AJ is persistent with Paige and it has a clear effect on Brie in her upcoming matches, she even broke down in one. Nikki struggled to keep herself in the locker room because she's meant to still be pissed with Brie but she can hear the pain in her twin's voice when she speaks and it breaks Nikki's heart.
"She's my little English muffin," AJ said affectionately during a joint interview with Paige and Nikki is seething with anger.
AJ's been toying with Brie for weeks, getting her hopes up and letting her down. It's been worse recently with Paige seemingly growing respondent to AJ's attention.
Nikki wants to take them both down.
She watched as Brie evades an interview.
"Brie!" Byron is calling out "Brie, what is your response to AJ's comments in her earlier interview?"
Brie turns ever so slightly "Leave me alone, I'm not in the mood to talk." She said before turning her back again and carrying on.
At this point Nikki isn't sure if AJ is playing mind games with Paige to throw her off her game for their upcoming match but Nikki doesn't contemplate it too much. She has her own match against AJ soon and she has a particularly harsh time planned for the Diva's champion.
AJ's openly made her feelings clear for Brie, walking off seemingly unaffected by Brie's tears, the clear heartbreak she has caused.
Nikki doesn't want to say she had told Brie so.
Paige soon cottons onto AJ's mind games and grows suspicious.
"Please Brie," AJ says as she stands at the top of the ramp after Brie's won her match "I never meant to hurt you."
Nikki calls bullshit because she has no doubt that was exactly AJ's intention.
Brie looks conflicted. Nikki doesn't want Brie to fall into the crazy diva's trap, not again.
"You're crazy," Paige says to AJ in the middle of the ring.
Nikki had watched the altercation unfold on screen. Paige confused by AJ's attention and what she'd said to Brie.
Everything AJ had put into place was crumbling and that's exactly what Nikki had wanted to happen, she wants AJ to hurt because she couldn't have caused Brie heartbreak at a worse time. Nikki isn't able to provide comfort because she's meant to be pissed at Brie but she's too stubborn to seek her sister out.
Brie's been shouldering AJ's betrayal as well as Nikki's harsh words and actions these past couple of weeks and Nikki has no doubt that it has been having an effect on her sister. She's had to watch all of this unfold from afar. Nikki's only been able to let her emotions out as she uses more force fuelled by anger when she faces AJ in the ring.
Everything has been boiling up to this moment, the anticipated fight and Nikki was on the edge of her seat. Brie hasn't been able to get her hands on AJ or Paige for weeks and now she's facing Paige and they're both not holding back.
There are "this is awesome!" chants from the crowd and Nikki feels oddly proud of Brie.
It's not easily picked up on but Nikki notices immediately, the fun back and forth in the match and the gleeful look on Brie's face. She's having fun.
AJ's at ringside looking smug, she's got two girls fighting over her but Nikki wonders if she's aware that Paige and Brie are the ones flirting.
Brie certainly has a type.
That type: Nikki's nemesis's.
Paige gains an advantage due to a distraction caused by AJ. Brie's tired and aching and still lying in the ring but AJ's slipping under the ropes and running her fingers through Brie's hair.
Nikki sees red. Every fibre of her fizzing with anger.
Nikki doesn't know how AJ hasn't figured it out yet but when AJ finally does zone in on the electric energy between Brie and Paige whenever they are in the ring, she's livid and it's pretty ironic.
Unlike before Brie seems to be taking her time and Nikki understands that, AJ messed with her head and Nikki used that to her advantage in her matches. Trash talking AJ was easy, winding her up and getting her into a state of anger where she makes mistakes had become incredibly easy.
She doesn't know why Brie comes out to ringside during her championship match against AJ but she doesn't question it. She wants her sister here, wants to share this moment with Brie. Nikki's not pissed off anymore, she knows Brie is loyal to her partners and that's why she'd left Nikki defenceless against The Authority.
All she wants is her sister back and to be WWE's Divas champion.
It's sometime into the match when Brie steps up onto the apron, championship belt in hand and getting AJ's attention. Nikki's left confused too because Paige is at the top of the ramp, nodding at Brie.
"What are you doing?" AJ's asking hesitantly.
Brie's hand shoots out and grabs a handful of AJ's hair, pulling her in for a kiss. A long kiss.
Brie's pushed AJ away and the short diva is distracted, Nikki takes the opportunity for what it is and gets AJ up on her shoulders.
She can't believe it, she's WWE's diva's champion. She's not spoken to Brie in months but her sister is there, placing the title in her hands. A proud teary smile on her face before she engulfs Nikki into a tight hug.
"You deserve this," she murmurs.
"I'll be coming for that title," Paige comments one night that she joins Brie and Nikki for dinner.
Nikki smiles as she picked up her wine glass "I look forward to it," she replies.
Brie places a hand on Paige's knee and smiles fondly at her "No work talk tonight," she says.