Disclaimer: Not mine and never will be . . . "Hunter" belongs to SJC and many others.
Summary: McCall has a Valentine's Day date, but she doesn't tell Hunter who it is.
"So, ya got a date for Valentine's Day, McCall?" Hunter asked his partner.
"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do," she answered as she picked up her purse. "And if you don't mind, I'll be leaving because I can't be late."
"Who is it?"
McCall leaned over Hunter's desk, "You'll never know."
"Hey! You never tell me who your Valentine's Day date is!"
"I know. That's because it's none of your business," she said a little agitated as she turned to exit the Precinct.
"Oh, Hunter, give it a rest," she called over her shoulder.
At roughly five o'clock, McCall arrived home. Immediately, she went to the hall closet upstairs and pulled out a box. She carried the box to her bedroom and placed it at the foot of her bed. That was when she opened it and examined each item carefully.
McCall sat with the box for quite some time before she caught a glimpse of the clock. "Oh, I better hurry up," she said stepping down from the bed and picking up the box. "I can't be late."
She went down to the kitchen and took out a small picnic basket and packed a picnic dinner. When she was finished the clock read five forty-five, "I'm right on time."
Hunter was just about to leave the Precinct when he noticed that McCall left her jacket there. He decided to do the nice thing and bring it to her. After all, he didn't know if she would need it that evening.
As Hunter was driving up McCall's street, she could see that she was just backing out of the driveway. So, he picked up the microphone, "L-56 to L-57," he said. There was no answer, " L-56 to L-57," he repeated. Once again there wasn't an answer. "L-56 to Dispatch."
"Go ahead, L-56," the dispatcher said.
"Can you have L-57 meet me on Tack 2?"
"Stand-by, L-56." A minute or so later the dispatcher returned, "L-56?"
"Sgt. McCall does not have her radio on. Is there anything else that you would like me to do?"
"No. Thanks anyway. L-56 out." He hung the radio back up, "Okay, McCall, what's going on? You never turn your radio off."
Hunter did what anyone in his position would do. He followed her. Although, he was extremely careful because he didn't want her to see him.
Honestly, Hunter had no clue where she was going. He stayed a couple of cars behind for the next fifteen minutes.
When he saw her turn right onto Allen Drive, everything became clear to him. He now knew where she was going for sure. She was going to the cemetery. Hunter turned around and went the opposite way to the cemetery.
McCall opened the back door to her car and took the box, the picnic basket, and a blanket out.
Slowly, she approached her late husband's grave. She set the blanket on the ground and then sat on it herself. "Well, Steve, here I am again. Same time as always. I bet you knew I'd be here again. I would never forget to come here. " She wiped a few tears away, "This is our night, Steve. At exactly six-thirty, you proposed to me. Do you remember when we promised that would be with each other on every Valentine's Day at six-thirty? Well, I know that we both can't be here in person, but I do believe that you can hear me right now. If only there was a way for me to hear you. I'd love to hear your voice again. I miss it so much. I'm, lost without you," she paused for a minute. "But Hunter," she chuckled, "he takes good care of me. You knew that though, didn't you? I mean he helped me so much. I'm grateful for that. If I had to get through some of things I went through without Hunter, I can honestly say I wouldn't know what to do. He has always been there, ever since the night you were shot. He made it clear that if I need anything he was only a phone call away. Little did I know, Hunter would wind up being my partner, my best friend. I think I love him. Somehow, I get the feeling that you knew that would happen. You always did look out for me." She wiped a few more tears away, "Boy, this is hard. You'd think that after doing this so many times it'd get easier. Well, it doesn't get easier. If anything, it gets harder," she sobbed.
Hunter stood a couple of rows behind where McCall sat. He felt horrible for pressuring her into telling him who her date was. "I should have let it go. If you didn't want to tell me, McCall, I should have let it go. Why was I so stubborn?" he thought to himself.
Hunter walked closer to where McCall sat, "DeeDee," he said.
Hunter continued, "It's just me."
"Hunter," she gasped. "W-what are you doing here?" she asked as she wiped away the remaining tears. "H-how much of that did you hear?"
"I heard enough to realize that I should have backed off earlier today."
"Oh, I-I see. Um, uh, -- how'd you know I was here?"
"You left your jacket at the Precinct. Speaking of, here it is,'' he handed her the jacket. "It's cold, you might wanna put it on."
"Thanks," she said as she put the jacket over her shoulders. "Continue."
"Anyhow, I thought I'd bring it to you. When I got to your house you were just leaving, so I radioed you. Only when I got no answer I asked the dispatcher to have you meet me on an open Tack." McCall nodded, showing that she understood. "When the dispatcher told me that you didn't have your radio on, I knew that something was wrong. And I followed you."
"Whoa! Wait a second, Hunter. You followed me the whole way here?"
Hunter nodded his head, "Pretty much."
"How did I not see you?"
"Well, I am a detective ya know."
McCall smiled, "Care to join me?"
"Is that an invitation, McCall?"
"Yeah. I packed plenty of food. C'mere, have a seat." She motioned for him to sit down next to her.
"I think I underestimated you, McCall," Hunter said when they finished eating.
"You're a better "cook" than I thought. This was pretty good."
"Yeah, well, potato salad was Steve's favorite. He's the one who taught me how to make it."
"He taught you well."
"So, you really heard everything I said earlier?"
"I guess," Hunter answered as he stood up.
McCall bit her bottom lip and more tears fell.
"DeeDee, don't cry," Hunter said. He extended his hand, showing her that he was going to help her up.
She took his hand and mouthed the words "thank you" as he pulled her into a hug. The tears were now pouring down her face and getting Hunter's shirt wet. "I'm sorry," she said.
"Don't be. It's okay."
"I, um, better get going," DeeDee said as she went to pick up the box, which held the precious memories of Steve, and the picnic basket up.
Hunter intervened, "I got that."
There was a bang of thunder and it then started to pour down rain. McCall hoped that with the rain Hunter wouldn't notice the tears that escaped her eyes. But she had no such luck.
"Why don't I drive you home?" Hunter suggested. "We can pick your car up in the morning."
McCall started to say "yes", but she was coming down with a terrible headache and stumbled.
"You okay?" Hunter asked as he put his arm around her waist.
"What? Yeah- yeah, I'm fine."
"I think you're getting sick, McCall."
"I don't get sick, Hunter."
He put his hand on her forehead, "McCall, you are defiantly sick."
"Oh, yeah? Since when did you become a doctor? It's probably migraine or something. "
"Now, now. I didn't say that I was a doctor. I simply stated that you are getting sick," he said with a smile. "It may be a migraine, but the flu bug is also going around, too, you know."
Hunter walked McCall to her door. She started to unlock the door, but she fumbled with keys before the fell on the ground. "Oh, great," she mumbled.
Hunter handed her the keys, "Here."
McCall was finally able to open the front door, "Maybe you are right."
Hunter looked at her.
"Maybe I am getting sick."
"It just so happens that I know my mother's secret chicken- noodle soup recipe. She would always say that it could cure anything."
"Well, in that case, come in. - - I hate being sick," McCall finished saying as she closed the door.
"Now, you go take a nice hot shower and change into something dry while I start the soup."
"Knock yourself out," she said with a smile as she headed for the steps.
McCall walked into her bedroom and picked up the picture of Steve that was on her nightstand. She sighed, "I know that you want me to move on with my life. After all, we talked about that before . . ." she trailed off. "We both agreed that if anything would happen one of us, the other one should move in with their life. I couldn't do it before, Steve. I just couldn't do it. Or at least that's what I thought. Now, I think I can do it. Tonight Hunter proved to me that he would always be there for me. Come to think of it, he's making me soup now." She put the picture back on the nightstand, "Tonight, I will end one chapter of my life, and tomorrow I will start at new chapter."
About a half-an-hour later, McCall returned downstairs in her pajamas and a pink robe. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
"Feeling better?" Hunter asked her as he finished stirring the soup.
She shook her head, "I feel miserable. I am sick," she admitted.
"Well, this will do the trick," he said as he poured her a bowl of soup and brought it into the living room. McCall sat down on the couch and Hunter handed her the bowl. "Here ya go."
McCall tasted it. "This is good." Hunter nodded his head and smiled. "This is really good. Maybe I should get sick more often since you can cook like this. This is fantastic. Hunter – "
"You like it?"
"I love it."
"That's good to hear, McCall. I'm amazed it came out this good, considering what I had to work with. You do know that you need to go grocery shopping, right?"
McCall scoffed, "Me? Go grocery shopping? You know that I'm not good at that."
"Yeah. That was confirmed when I saw what you keep in your freezer. TV Dinners? Come on, McCall. Is that all you have time to cook?"
McCall defended herself, "Do you know what my job is like?"
"No, I don't," Hunter, said sarcastically.
McCall laughed as she stood up and walked into the kitchen, "Okay. Let me rephrase that." She put her bowl in the sink, "I don't like to cook, Hunter."
"I could tell."
McCall shot him on of those 'what-did-you-just-say' looks.
"What? I was only being honest."
"Yeah, well, I guess it's true."
Hunter took a look at the clock. It was eleven-fifty. "Oh, McCall, I better get going."
McCall looked at the clock on the microwave, "It's almost tomorrow," she exclaimed. "Cant ya stay until tomorrow?"
" You lost me, McCall."
"Okay. Now promise me one thing before I explain—"
"You name it."
"Promise me that you won't laugh at me."
" I promise."
She edged closer to him, "Tonight I decided that tomorrow I would start a brand-new chapter in my life. And by that I mean, that I mean I start to . . . date again and not just on Valentine's Day, either." She hoped that Hunter would pick up the clue.
"Oh. Really?" Hunter asked. By the sound of his voice, McCall could tell that he picked up her clue.
"Yeah and tomorrow comes in about ten minutes. So –"
"You're asking me stay, aren't you?"
"Well, what if I am?"
"I'd say absolutely."
"Good. I was hoping you'd say that," she said with a wink and moved a little closer to Hunter again. "Now, I know that I told you I didn't want to marry a cop again, and at the time I thought that I meant it."
"Do you still mean it?" Hunter asked. A part of him feared that she would answer "yes".
"No, I don't."
Silently, Hunter let out a sigh of relief.
"I've been thinking about it for a while now. And I think I know why I said that."
"I still wasn't done grieving over Steve. I wasn't able to handle it. It would have brought make way too many memories for me, and I wasn't able to deal with it before. But now, I think I can deal with that. - - Tonight when I was "visiting" Steve, I realized everything I was missing out on. I don't know why it took me so long to realize it, either. "
"McCall, what you were doing was perfectly normal. You dealt with loosing Steve the way that worked best for you. "
"I guess that's what I did," she paused and took another look at the clock. "It's 11:58, what'd you say if we get ahead start on tomorrow?" Then, she planted a kiss on his lips.
"I have one thing to say. You know what it is?"
"Hmm?" she asked as she nestled her head against his chest.
"Works for me!"