Thank you Crysalis escapist, Blue Shadowdancer, Chickadee063, Lost In New York, Shawdoo and Lily Moonlight for your reviews, I'm so pleased you liked the last chapter.
This is the final chapter of this story, and my first CSI completed story that isn't a one shot! I'm already working on the next one which is even longer so hopefully I'm improving!
Enjoy and have a great weekend.
Running up the stairs two at a time, Mac looked at his phone once more, trying not to run into anyone in the process. Given his athletic shape, his heart rate had barley quickened and when he ran into Hawkes and said quickly "Hi Sheldon, have you seen Stella?" it wasn't apparent he had just run up 3 flights of stairs in little over 30 seconds.
"Ok, thanks anyway." And he was off again, he was going to find Stella, he was going to do it, tell her at last. At least before his caffeine high wore off and he chickened out.
Lab? No not there.
Office? No not there.
Coroners? No not there.
Office? Surprisingly she hadn't materialised out of thin air in the 2 minutes Mac had been away from the office.
Staff room! That's the only place left. Smiling at his own brilliantness he strode triumphantly into the staff room.
Now was the time, now he would tell her, how they would be together at last…
Except she wasn't in there.
Shit! Where is she?!
Feeling the nerve to throw something, or someone, out of the window, Mac suppressed the feeling by slumping down on the sofa.
"It was hardly a success Linds and it definitely will not be repeated!" It was the familiar voice whose owner Mac had been trying to find for the last 20 minutes.
"Bummer, I was looking forward to the juicy details."
"He lives with his Mother, hardly riveting stuff!" Stella said with a laugh.
Mac sat up and tried to work out where the voices were coming from. Momentarily perplexed, it hit him after a moment of pure annoyance, of course, why did he not think! There had been a separate area built on each end of the staff room, one area for the men to change and one for the women. It was an open plan and all that separated each area was a small plastic screen, hence why Mac could hear the girls talking.
"No not really! Let me set you up with someone."
"I dunno, I'm not sure I'm rushing back into the dating thing any time soon."
"Well the guy I want to set you up with won't want to hear that."
"Who do you have in mind?" Stella asked, clearly taking an interest.
Mac was sitting bolt upright.
No Lindsay, no! Don't set her up with anyone!
"Well he's kind, sort of quiet but I think he's really your type, very career driven, like you and I know he'd protect you no matter what."
"Sounds pretty good actually."
"Well there's a small problem."
"He's the boss."
Nearly falling off the chair, Mac had to shut himself up as he was practically chocking on the water he was drinking and was now attempting to silently cough!
"What are you talking about Linds, Mac? He's my friend, my best friend!"
"So? Come on Stel, they way you look at each other, the way you share those knowing little glances. The only time Mac ever truly smiles is when you are around. I'm a girl Stel, and a hopeless romantic, I notice these things. I've seen the way he looks at you. You can't say you don't feel something?" There was a moment of silence as Stella contemplated the question.
Why is she not answering? Answer her!
"Ok, yeah I suppose I do, ok, I definitely do. He's my best friend, we've been through so much, but I do wish there was more. He makes me feel so special, he's the only guy I can really picture myself with, you know?"
I'm going in I'm going to tell her right now I'm going to… Flack what are you doing? No Flack not now, please not now!
Flack was rattling on the door, gesturing for Mac to come and look at whatever he was looking at. Mac looked in the direction of where the girls were, then at Flack and after repeating the action several times he let out a noise which was half a groan half a noise of fury and darted to Flack.
"We've got a lead on the Henderson case. I checked out the…"
They're still in there there's still time to tell her.
"I guess it's a bit of a long shot but it's worth checking out in case he…"
3 more people have entered the staff room, including Danny, great, ok I'll do it tomorrow instead, I don't think I can with all those people around.
"I can get some guys on it and if its clear that…"
No, not tomorrow, today, do it today! Don't just sit there like you have done for the past two years and watch her walk away whilst you drink your black coffee with two sugars that has been stirred three times to the left and three times to the right, do it today, be spontaneous for once!
"So what do you say?"
"Erm, yeah, that's fine."
Before Flack could say another word Mac had gone straight back to the staff room. Danny was standing with Lindsay and Stella who were getting things out of their lockers in the communal area. More people seemed to have appeared, presumably out of the changing areas and those new arrivals Mac had seen accompany Danny, but Mac didn't care. He opened the door and saw Stella, beautiful amazing Stella. He marched straight up to her, ignoring anything else that was happening. He was going to do it, this was it, he was just a foot away from her.
Shit, what am I going to say?!
Heads turned as Mac strode into the room, a look of sheer determination on his face. When it was apparent Mac was approaching her Stella turned to face him, "Hey Mac, is everything…" Before Stella could finish her sentence Mac had reached her. There didn't seem to be anything to say, just one thing to do, he put one hand on her face and one on her waist and had drawn her to him. Mac put his lips on Stella's and kissed her, a full blown kiss on the lips. Jaws dropped, looks were exchanged and eyes were drawn to them as the kiss continued. After a few moments, Mac pulled away.
Stella looked at him.
What did I just do?
She looked deep into his eyes, her expression unreadable. He didn't move except to place his other hand on her waist as well.
Why didn't I just say 'hey'?
Then Stella smiled, a warm but excited smile.
Danny and Lindsay exchanged a look and Lindsay bit her lip. Stella wrapped her arms around Mac's neck and kissed him back as he held her slender waist.
"We better erm, go." Danny said, trying to stifle his grin. He grabbed Lindsay's hand and hurried out of the staff room, everyone else who was in the room all said something on the lines of "Yeah me too." "I better get back to work." "Is that the phone?" and had followed there lead, leaving the staff room empty apart from Stella and Mac who were still engrossed in their kiss. Mac pulled Stella closer to him and she ran her hands through his hair as she explored his mouth with her tongue. She tilted her head allowing him to gently nibble at her bottom lip as he ran his hands down her body. Their body's became one as hands explored the body they had been longing to touch, eventually they pulled away and as Stella ran her hands slowly down Mac's toned chest she said quietly with a smile, "I've been waiting so long for you to do that."
"So have I".
"So that's why he wasn't really listening," Flack said with a laugh "I was wondering what was on his mind, now I realise it was who!"
Lindsay laughed as Danny put his arm around her, "Finally," She said, "took them long enough!"
"What's going on?" Hawkes, who had just walked up to the small crowd outside the staff room, asked.
"You owe me 20 bucks mate." Danny said, turning to his friend.
"Mac and Stella, you said it wouldn't be until after Christmas and I'm afraid it's November now, so pay up!" Hawkes smiled as he realised what Danny meant and had no reluctance in giving him the 20 dollar bill that signified the beginning of a long overdue relationship between two of their friends.
"What?" asked a young woman with a name tag on, indicating she was a receptionist at the lab, "Detective Curly got him?" She got out her mobile and as she walked away she said loudly, "Detective Hotness is off the market Cheryl!"
"I can't believe how long this took!" Flack said, "Mind you, of all the ways it would happen, Mac snogging her face off in the middle of the staff room was not how I would have predicted it going down!"
"Well love is unpredictable." Lindsay said as she glanced again at Mac and Stella who were sharing another passionate kiss.
Mac Taylor arrived at work 16 minutes before his shift began and went to the coffee machine and paid one dollar for a black coffee. He added one sugar, picked up a plastic spoon from the tray and stirred his coffee three times to the left then three times to the right. After throwing the spoon away, he headed to his office. He went over some cold cases, taking a sip of coffee in-between each page. He sighed a frustrated sigh and closed the file, returning it back to its position in the unsolved pile. Watching Stella, he felt his heartbeat quicken for the few moments when his eyes met her smile. She came into his office like she did everyday before the rest of the team arrived and they began their day.
"Hey," She said.
"Hey," he replied, "I've got you coffee."
She took a sip of the drink on the desk then wrinkled her nose.
"Ugh, black coffee one sugar, that's yours."
Taking a sip of her own drink she said with a smile "You're so predictable Mac."
She walked round and kissed him on the lips.
"But I wouldn't have you any other way."
He pulled her gently so she fell onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her. He kissed her neck softly as she snuggled into his loving embrace.
"I love you Mac."
"I love you too Stel."
She stood up and kissed him once more on the lips before taking her coffee and walking out of Mac' office.
Everyday he watched her walk away and would remind himself that he and Stella were together, and that he would be leaving the office with the woman of his dreams, just like he had yesterday and the day before and had done for the last 6 months and would continue to do so for a long time. As he finished his black coffee with one sugar that had been stirred three times to the left then three times to the right, he smiled, sometimes there wasn't anything wrong with a little predictability.