A/N: I know some of you think I left this one for the last on purpose. I swear I did them in strict alphabetical order to avoid any source of bias… really…

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STELLA – I ONLY THINK OF YOU

I try to paint you, and I can't manage to do so. After slowly studying you I end up thinking that I'm lacking the intense colors that would reflect your unusual beauty; I can't capture your smile, or grasp your looks, little by little, I only think of you…

I know I'm a fine one to talk.

I do. I really do. Love you, I mean. I know I'm not exactly bending over with demonstrations of my feelings for you. But there's a reason for it, and if you bear with me long enough, I'll tell you about it.

First it was lust, as simple as that. Ask any officer who's worked with you a case or two if they don't resort to your cleavage or your legs while sharing an intimate moment with themselves and you'll have either a bunch of liars or a group of cheek-burning mumbling idiots. Even Robson, who's as gay as they come, has commented on your… uh… "assets". And if his queer eyes wander, how do you expect mine not to have done so?

Then it was admiration. When I hears about you facing Mac over the police horse case, and how you armed and disarmed that weapon… man… do you have any idea just how hot that is? A fine looking chic with a fine looking gun and the knowledge that she can actually USE it? Please forgive my Penthouse moments on your behalf; when you're absolutely sure you can look but you'll never be allowed to touch you make do with whatever you can.

Then there was that time at the break room… I thought maybe I had imagined the whole thing… but I swear I felt something click in place the moment I saw you and all of a sudden I wanted to kiss you. Probably would have, if Mac hadn't walked in just then, with some new evidence for us to work with.

Ever since then, I've wondered. Wondered how your mouth would feel on mine, how your body will react to mine when I hold you close, how my heart would stop beating the moment you said you loved me…

See? I told you. I love you.

I've just never told you. I have my reasons. They're probably no the best reasons in the planet, and I'm pretty sure you' call them excuses and you'd probably be right, but that's just the way things are. First it was the issue of seniority… until I became Detective myself. Then I said it was the age difference… until you mentioned that May-December romances worked better when the woman was the one with more life experience.

Then there was Frankie, and the hurt and the pain and the fear and the mistrust, and I spent a long time feeling I had to tip-toe around you in order not to scare you. Then I got blown up and there was pain again, albeit a different kind, but enough for you to be doing the tip-toeing this time around.

Then we started sort of, kinda, something like flirting. And it felt good, and it felt a bit like something forbidden and it felt like maybe just maybe it might get us somewhere… somewhere warm and exciting and dangerous and everything else that made my insides go gooey whenever you were standing next to me.

But then there was all that mess with you getting caught and the possibility of AIDS and everything that went with the waiting and it hurt that you decided to shy away from me instead of asking for my support. I wanted to believe that you knew I'd go to hell and back for you, but your actions spoke louder than my wishful thinking and it felt like we were back to square one, except we never got to collect the 200…

And now that you're back to the land of the living for good and you seem to irradiate life wherever you go. I love that, mind you, except that I don't seem to be the only one noticing it. Would you think less of me if I admit to jealousy? First there was the landlord from the Statue of Liberty case who seemed to be far more interested in you as a female than as the lead in the murder case of his girlfriend. Then there is that matter of a certain pesky guy who doesn't seem to take a hint and leave you alone and what is it with the weird gifts, anyway? If I could be certain that you'd never EVER find out I'd probably take him for a spin in a patrol car…

Last but not least, there's Mac. I know you've two have known each other since forever, and that you're definitively a force to be reckoned with when working together and that you're the only one that really understands him and it didn't really surprise that you were the first to find out about Peyton and that you rushed to his side as soon as you sensed his need. And that's all fine and dandy and it speaks volumes of you, and I know that you'd do the same for any one of us in the team. But the Neanderthal in me, the one with huge issues of possessiveness and jealousy and every bad thing that could possibly cloud my judgment simply does not like the way you smile at him.

I know. I already said I'm a fine one to talk, didn't I? You're probably listening to all of this and wondering how dare I play the jealous card when I was the one parading a girlfriend all over the place. In my defense I'll say it was jealousy all over again. I know, I know. In my warped logic, and since I thought you were interested in the freaky guy from the antique shop, I decided that two cold play the game and I was certain that I'd pique your interest once more if you saw me more as a man and less as a cop.

Granted, you got to see me as a James Bond wannabe, and you probably catalogued Devon as an airhead the minute she opened her mouth and I had never felt so stupid in my entire life. The moment I saw that look on your face and heard the sarcasm dripping from your voice I knew I had chosen the worst possible strategy and I felt… I felt "dirty" and unworthy of you. How juvenile of me to think you'd feel threatened by the likes of a girl like her!

Not only that, but you, poised and gracious like you always are, came to my rescue when I fumbled at the party. Of course you'd know the exact words I should tell her in order to keep my anatomy intact! But truth to be told, my problem was not what to tell her… I'm a cop; I know the value of a well timed half-truth. My problem was that after seeing you in that black dress I could barely remember her name. Even worse, I couldn't find a single reason to go back to her after that night. My hesitance was finding the right wording to not promise something I was not going to do, and do it in such way we wouldn't cause a scene.

And I haven't seen her since. She hasn't called me either, so I guess she found something more thrilling to play with that a simple mortal who gets to play hero in a tux every now and then. And if I played a lame Flack, Don Flack, and I'd rather have my Guinness over a martini on any given day, you outshone every single Bond girl in the world and then some. It should be you the one with the Bonasera, Stella Bonasera line, and not me.

And now that you know the truth, and since you know that these eyes would never lie, would you please, please give me a chance?

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"Solo pienso en ti" by R. García Blanca is, perhaps, my favorite song in the album. That it fitted what I had in mind for Stella has absolutely nothing to do with it. Really…

I take this opportunity to bid a temporary farewell to those readers who are kind enough to follow my work, read and review it. I'm taking November off to work on my NaNoWriMo project… perhaps my first step into actually writing for a living. So wish me luck! I promise I'll be back in December, bearing gifts and such…