Thanks for all the support/feedback for my first two CSI:NY fics. You're wonderful! The plot is (hopefully) original. I took a cursory glance through all the Mac/Stella pages and didn't see anything similar in the synopses, but if there are any similarities to other fics, it's completely coincidental (as I am just beginning to read them). If there are similarities, though, please shoot me a line so I can read those stories and make changes to mine. Also, there are no specific spoilers, but anything through Season 5 is fair game. Enjoy!

VVVVV

Stella Bonasera sipped her coffee as she stared out the kitchen window at the New York skyline, beautiful in the early morning sunlight. If the view was any indication, today was going to be a wonderfully gorgeous day. A hint of a smile pulled at the corners of her lips; she felt as though everything in her life was heading in the right direction. She had wonderful friends, a fulfilling job, good health, a new apartment--new to her, anyway,--

"Good morning," came a baritone voice she'd grown accustomed to.

--and a man she was happy to call her partner, in every sense of the word. Her smile widened as she finished her thought.

He crossed the kitchen and stood behind her. "Have I ever told you I love you in red?" he asked as he gently rested his hand on her hip and pressed a kiss to her bare shoulder, intentionally missing the strap of her red tank top.

"In red or in bed, Big Mac?" she teased.

He chuckled and she felt, rather than heard, the rich vibrations course through her body.

"Both, though they just touch the surface of my feelings for you. I'm not a fan of the nickname, though."

Smile at full wattage, she turned in his arms. "I'll make sure not to call you that in public."

He closed the distance between their lips, loving the way they--their lips, as well as in general--fit together. Yin and yang. Everything.

"So good," he sighed when they pulled apart.

"It's the coffee," she informed him, eyes shining as she took a sip from her mug. "Yours is on the counter," she said. "I was going to bring it to you, but I got sidetracked by the view."

"Believe me, the view is better from the outside looking in."

Stella wasn't embarrassed often, but she felt her cheeks flush with heat, and her gaze slipped from his.

He placed his index finger under her chin and tilted her head upward. "I mean every word."

"I know," she said as she cupped his cheek with her free hand. "I'm just not used to hearing it."

"Then I'll have to tell you more often."

This time, their lips met in the middle in a deep, sensual kiss.

The doorbell rang and they reluctantly pulled away from each other.

"You finish getting ready, and I'll get the door," Stella said.

"I'll be right out," Mac replied as he left the kitchen and headed down the hall toward their bedroom.

Stella followed him from the kitchen but turned the opposite direction.

The doorbell pealed again.

"Coming!" she called. She reached the door moments later and glanced through the peep hole. Not believing what--who--she saw, she undid the locks and turned the doorknob.

Stella pulled open the door, her eyes widening further as the woman in the hallway came into full view. Stunned, the coffee mug slipped from Stella's hand and shattered upon impact, sending hot liquid and shards of ceramic in every direction.

"Claire?"

VVVVV

Thanks for reading! Is it worth continuing?