Title: The Wedding Date

Summary: A dateless Stella gets a reluctant Mac to be her date for a friends wedding. But more than confetti is going to fly between them before the night is over. SMACKED fluffy/romantic one-shot

Disclaimer: I dont own Mac Taylor but I wish I did (Course then I'd have no time to write!) This is a piece of fan fiction. It is written for pleasure and not for profit. The characters of CSI New York and any other regular cast and supporting cast members all belong to CBS, Paramount & Jerry Bruckheimer and Anthony Zuiker. All other characters are my own. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.

A/N: no peril guys just straight up SMACKED romantic fluff (some humor if you squint)! Enjoy :)


'Stella Bonasera, you and a guest are formally invited to the marriage of Barb Summers and Brent Printers on_____________'

I stare at the invitation with a blank stare and offer a heavy sigh. This has already been a tough week and the last thing I wanted was to attend the wedding of a foster sister, much less one where an old flame might also be in attendance.

"Perfect!" I offer with a slight scowl as Lindsay nears my office door with a wondering frown.

"Stella, bad news?" She asks quickly.

"The worst kind," I lightly moan as I hold up the embossed paper for her to see.

"Ah wedding. Close friend?" She wonders, taking the wedding invitation and looking at it with interest.

"Foster sister," I inform her. "We were close growing up until I went to the Academy and then we sort of lost touch. We reconnected a few years back but I didn't think I was close enough to garner one of these."

"Long Island Manhattan Hotel, wow, must have money. Tomorrow? Stella!"

"I just opened it now."

"Do you even have your dress?"

"Dress? That's the least of my problems!" I retort. "I don't have a date."

"Want to borrow Danny?" She teases and I finally offer a slight smile.

"Actually an old boyfriend might be there," I frown.

"And you need someone to make him jealous. Ah got it," she starts and I open my mouth to protest. "Well Danny can't make him jealous but how about someone else? Ask Mac," she suggests and I look at her in shock.

"Yeah right," I shoot back. "He hates fanfare and a wedding is the worst kind of that type of display. Besides I don't know if I could put him through that just to save face," I frown as I reach for the phone about to send my regrets.

"You know he'd want to help you. Isn't that what friends are for?" Lindsay urges.

"That might be pushing it with Mac," I frown as I start to dial.

"You're going to cancel?" Lindsay manages.

"Absolutely," I reply in haste. "To be honest, I'm not a huge wedding fan and..."

"Don't you just want to go and show them up a little?"

"Lindsay that is grade two, and I am beyond that sort of behavior," I huff.

"Too bad," Lindsay shrugs. "Says here that even one night at the hotel is paid for if you want to stay. I hear the Long Island Manhattan hotel has a really nice spa. Who are these people?"

"Her husband to be's family are all lawyers and doctors. They have money. Thanks," I reply taking the invitation back from her.

"Go Stella. Ask Mac and just go and have a good time. I know you want to."

I watch her leave and then reach for the phone and call Barb; my mind already racing with nervous anticipation of what she is going to say when I tell her I can't make it. I just can't do that to Mac. Sure we have been testing the romantic dating waters as of late, but this is a bit more serious than just a dinner out. Besides, Mac would say no. He might say yes?

"Stella!" She exclaims with a tone so loud I have to hold the phone away from my ear. "So you got the invitation. I can't wait to see you. The hotel is amazing and it has..." her voice trails off and I just roll my eyes but my lips can't help but smile at her enthusiasm as I lean back in my chair and settle in for the long haul. This is going to be harder than I thought.

"Actually, I was going to tell you that..." I start only to be cut off once again.

"So yes I invited David. I mean I had to as he and Brent are still really good friends. He's still asking about you, you know. Funny after all these years he still likes you."

"I thought he was dating Cathy, oh what's her name?" I sigh.

"Barns," she laughs. "No they broke up a few months ago. Part of me thinks that it's because I said you were going to be coming and if memory serves me right you're still single also, correct?"

"Actually I'm, uh, well seeing..." I lightly stammer, not actually able to spit out a name.

"Seeing someone? Really? That is excellent! Who?" She replies happily. "Oh I can't wait to meet him! What's his name so I can put it on the card beside you? Oh I can't wait until you make David jealous! Show him what he's been missing all these years!"

I offer a heavy sigh and am about to utter a protest when I am once again cut off. "Barb, I need to tell you that..." I start. Stella, just back out right now!

"You are coming right?" She urges. "I mean you can't be the only one not here because of a lame reason like work! Tomorrow is Saturday! Even you can take the weekend off! Stella I know you wouldn't use work as an excuse to miss my wedding!" She tosses at me and I inwardly cringe. And although I am not the kind of person to be bullied into anything, her persistent urging is slowly driving me to say yes; which, much to my happy surprise I do.

"I'll be there, of course I will," I offer weakly. "I wouldn't miss your wedding."

"YES! And your boyfriends name is?"

"Mac?" Boyfriend? What! Oh what have I done? He's going to kill me.

"Mac what?"

"Taylor," I reply absently; my mind already picturing my death certificate.

"Ok-ay, see you both tomorrow," she gushes. "Can't wait to see you!"

I hang up with a heavy sigh, take my invitation and slowly push myself toward the office next door. I pause just outside his door, my heart racing. Oh I can't do this. But I must. I mentioned his name. Maybe he'll be busy. Mac, busy? He's never busy, he's always working. That is busy! Oh Stella, grow up, I tell myself. Just go and put yourself out of your damn misery already! I take a deep breath and push my way into Mac's office. This is going to be bad.

XXXXXXXX

"Right thanks," I hang up just as I see Stella walking into my office with a tense look on her usually calm face. I can't help but smile whenever she approaches and I sometimes wonder if I look a little longer at her than I professionally should. Can't help it, she does that to me. Even now; after working with her on such a regular basis for so long; I can't help but feel my mood lift whenever she is close; my heart beat faster whenever she nears. She had asked me last week out for a casual drink and while I had said no, afraid of what might happen, I think I'm ready to finally be the one to put myself out. I wonder what she's doing this weekend? Would she say yes if I asked her out? Would I survive asking?

"You look tense. What's wrong?" I immediately notice.

"I have a little problem that I am hoping you can help me with," she tells me with a slight frown. But by the way she's standing, would tell me the problem is more than little. What's she hiding?

"What is the problem?" I ask in wonder.

"You know never mind."

She looks at me with a frown; hesitates and then turns to leave. "Stella?" I ask in concern. "Everything okay?"

"Actually yes, you know I just need to make a call," she stammers, heading back for the door.

"You know you can tell me anything right," I offer. "I mean you can't just tell me you have a little problem and then say everything is okay and then turn to leave. You'd never let me get away with that."

"Sure I would."

"You'd cuff me to the desk and beat the truth out if you had to."

"You'd probably like it," she tosses at me with a slight smile.

"Probably would. Really it can't be that bad. Just tell me," I beg.

She looks back at me with a pleading expression before taking a deep breath. "My friend is getting married on Long Island tomorrow and I told her you were my date!" She blurts out and I am speechless.

"Pardon?" Is all I can manage. I am not big fan of weddings, even my own wasn't the large, outgoing affair that most seem to want to make it today. But a strange wedding? As her date?

"Right. Oh I knew this would be a bad idea," she throws at me in haste.

I can't help but smile at her nervousness and am almost flattered that she'd even want me as her date in a setting with all her friends wondering what was going on. However, getting dressed up to impress a bunch of strangers is not my idea of fun. Course I would get to see Stella dressed up and that I always welcome; as the last event I didn't have a date and had to watch another man holding her close. Besides my mental sanity, what else do I have to lose? Your heart? My brain queries. Stella already has that. Very true.

"Forget it," she tells me; falsely assuming that I am upset.

"Just the dinner?" I casually ask. Mac, I warn myself. I'm just wondering.

"What?" She asks weakly.

"The dinner, would I just have to go to the dinner?"

"Well Ceremony and Reception," she informs my in haste. "But it's all together at the same place."

"Well it wasn't something I had planned for the weekend," tell her.

"Mac, you don't have to say yes. I can just as easily call her back and cancel," she mentions in a softer tone. Having known her for so long, I can tell when she's disappointed and this is no exception. And then when this weekend is over, she'll come in on Monday and all I'll hear about is how she should have gone and then my mental sanity really will be over because I will feel guilty because I didn't insist on making her go.

"But you want to go, right?" I ask quickly; a feeling of impending doom starting to take hold.

"I do."

"And if you don't, I'll hear about it on Monday right?"

"You will," she resigns. "Part of me wants to go and the other part says it's a stupid tradition and I won't be missing anything," she frowns. "But please don't just to it to help me out."

"I don't mind helping you out," I tell her with a smile.

"So you actually want to go?" She asks in shock.

"Do I have to wear a tux?" I wonder with a frown.

"No," she replies with a slight smile. "I actually like the black pinstripe on you," she starts and then stops as I look at her in amusement. "You know what, wear what you want," she lightly blushes.

"So what time should I pick you up?" I ask, forcing her eyes back to mine. Oh well, it's not like I had anything better planned. You never do, my brain scoffs.

"Mac you sure about this?"

"I'm sure. Haven't been a plus one in a long time."

"Oh sorry I..."

"Stella, what time?"

"Ceremony is at four. So pick me up at two?" She asks, knowing it'll take at least an hour to get there and I nod my head in approval.

"Thanks Mac," she smiles. "I know this really isn't something you might enjoy but, I do appreciate it. Would mean a lot to me."

"Then it's worth my time," I offer as she quietly takes her leave. I offer a heavy sigh and suddenly feel nervous tension starting to cover me. A wedding? A date for Stella? With all her friends? This is going to be hell on my nerves I frown as I slump down in my chair and offer another heavy sigh. What as I thinking?

"Black pin stripe huh," I mumble as my voice trails off. "How bad can this be?" It will be your mental downfall, my brain scoffs. That happened long ago.

XXXXXXXX

I can't believe Mac said yes. My date? To Barb's wedding? Oh I better not drink too much so I don't do something stupid and regret that I actually dared myself to go through with this. My mind flashes images of myself falling into the wedding cake or tripping down the isle and at that moment I have vowed to have one drink only.

"This is going to be interesting," I mumble as I walk back to my office; passing Lindsay who just offers a smile.

"He said yes right?" She smiles. "Can I offer a told you so?"

"No," I reply I haste as I push myself into my office.

"You don't have to," she calls out. "Your smile tells it all."

I can't help but smile in return but as I look at the time and know that I don't have a dress and Macy's is still open for another few hours, I have shopping to do. So without anything further I quickly grab my coat and rush for the exit, hopping into the nearest cab and giving them the address to the closest mall. I lean back on the seat of the cab and close my eyes for a few moments; allowing my brain to comprehend what I have conned my handsome partner into.

I know David Wilson will be there, did I just do it to show them all up? Kinda childish. But at the same time, I would have lamented, come Monday morning had I not gone, David or no David. I'm going for Barb, I confirm as I finally reach the mall and then hurry inside; only one department on my mind. I know the invitation said a free room was included if I wanted to take advantage of it, but I have no desire to stay there on my own and I know Mac will want to leave as soon as he's allowed. Would he stay the night with me? Would he survive? Would I?

I take a few dresses into the changing room and try them on, finally settling on a black satin gown that hits just above the floor with a modest slit and halter style neckline. I try to picture Mac's face but even now I'm more worried about something bad happening than actually thinking I'll enjoy myself at this function. Remembering that I also need a gift, I head into the mall and purchase a gift card from a store that has unique house ware items and then finally head for home. Almost too excited and nervous to eat, I rush past the kitchen and into the bedroom, hanging up my dress so that it doesn't crease or get ruined.

But to keep my mind from replaying a mental showdown between David and Mac I hurry into the kitchen to make myself some supper; my mind now wondering what Mac is up to. I wonder how he spends his Friday night? I wonder if he's still at home? I wonder if he'll actually enjoy himself tomorrow or just say he will to make me feel better? My mind races with so many questions that by the time I actually get to sleep, I have no trouble as my entire being is literally worn out wondering what tomorrow will hold.

Sleep is thankfully restful but as soon as I'm up, I'm rushing around to get ready for the day. Thankfully the reception immediately follows the ceremony as I won't have to worry about wearing two dresses or finding something for Mac to do during the few hours interlude that usually happens when couples have an earlier ceremony. I finish my shower and then get to work on my hair and makeup; choosing to have my curls up, showing off the halter style of the gown.

Finally two hours later, I am standing in front of the full length mirror offering a small exhale as I examine myself to ensure that everything is in place. A soft knock is heard at the door and Mac is right on time; my heart now racing in anticipation.

"Wow," he whispers with a warm smile as I pull open the door and greet him. "Stella, you look beautiful."

"Thank you," I answer with a small smile. "You look pretty good yourself."

"Thanks," he replies meekly as he stands fixed in time, his eyes still staring at me as if he's never looked at me like this before and might never have the opportunity again. He finally helps me with my wrap and it's time to go; my heart racing as we slowly head down to the waiting Avalanche, drawing numerous stares and smiles at the beautifully dressed couple heading out for a night on the town.

XXXXXXXX

I'm glad that Stella is talking about her foster sister who's getting married as it's forcing my brain to keep my eyes on the road and not to examine the perfect olive skin that keeps coming into my line of sight as I glance over to the right to check the mirrors, the slit of her dress not sitting quite the way she wants. She's stunning. Have I told her that enough? I keep wondering how tonight will end? I had seen the invitation and it said a complimentary room was provided for the night. But Stella didn't bring an overnight bag and so since she never mentioned it I am just assuming that she'll be leaving with me as we had arranged yesterday; and I'll be coming home alone, as I usually do. Somehow that thought saddens me very much. It's just wedding fever. Always makes people think about their future. And yours looks bleak and alone! My brain reminds me. Time to change that, today!

As we near the Hotel where the Ceremony and Reception are going to take place my heart starts to beat a bit faster. These are her friends and this is her world; is praying for a dead body to show up and distract me, a wrong idea? Yes! My brain quickly counters as I pull into the parking lot and up to the Valet service. I didn't have to bring a gift or anything so figure I'd offer Stella the best service I could in whatever way possible.

I look over at Stella and I can tell she's also nervous, not as much as I, I presume so at least I'm not the only one left wondering how my mental sanity will fare at the end of the night. I quickly get out of the truck and hurry to her side, offering my arm and smiling when she takes it quickly, pulling me close as we slowly walk into the hall where the Ceremony will take place. The groom's family, I'm told has lots of money, and I can tell by the lavish surroundings, but I wonder if with wealth comes class? Or will they be arrogant and stuck up as I so stereotypically presume?

"Stella!" A loud happy voice breaks my mental tirade and soon both of us are swarmed by a few women, all hugging Stella, breaking our bond and leaving me to fend for myself, offering nods to the other dates who look just as thrilled as I am to be here.

I turn my gaze to glance around the anxiously waiting crowds when I hear a deep male voice mention my partners name and I have to turn and see who has forced a hush over the female crowd. I turn to see a tall man, with dark hair and eyes that have locked onto one woman and one woman alone; Stella, the woman I know I am attracted to; my date.

"Stella."

"David," Stella nods and I am quick to notice her fingers tighten around her small jeweled clutch and by the way her body stiffens as he comes and stands inches from her I can tell that they have shared a past history. This is not what I expected. Of course I know she has dated in the past, but this guy seems a bit of a mystery. How come I don't know him? You forgot, my brain sighs in anxiety.

"So good to see you," he whispers warmly as his strong arms wrap around her, pulling her close and holding her a little longer and closer than I would like. "You look more than amazing. Beautiful as always. I've missed you."

"Thanks."

I hear his words and inwardly curse. Are you jealous? My brain queries. I would like to say no; insist that my attraction to the amazing woman beside me is strictly platonic. But I would be lying. In my heart I know I love her, I just haven't had the nerve to let her know that anything other than a strong bond of friendship exists inside my mind and heart. However, the longer I see his body linger against hers, my usually calm rash intellect reverts into typical cave man mode, and I want to take him out back and kick his ass. Very mature, my brain scolds. I know I would win.

"David this is Mac Taylor," Stella introduces with a tense smile, forcing me back to reality. "Mac, David Wilson."

"Nice to meet you," I offer my hand.

He takes it with a small snort, holding it firmly and I am wondering if perhaps I will be challenged to an after school fight by the high school quarterback before the night ends. I pull my hand free and offer a small nod as he quickly turns back to Stella, his hand on her back; instantly garnering another jealous bout of mental insecurity. Ha! You are jealous!

"Save me one dance," he whispers, his lips too close for comfort as he finally takes his leave, not offering me even a second backward glance; not worth his time or effort. Stella turns to me with a weak expression; her eyes begging for forgiveness before her lips can even offer the words.

"Mac, I'm sorry if that was awkward."

"Ex boyfriend?"

"Ex is the key word."

"How long did you date?" I ask weakly, praying she can't hear the tension in my voice. You are jealous. That means you love her. I think I always have.

"It was a long time ago Mac."

"It's okay if..."

"Six months Mac. I kept it low key and...well we just met and..."

"Right. Stella, you don't owe me..."

"Yeah Mac I do," she whispers softly. "I owe you the truth. David and I dated for about six months. But he wasn't the one for me and he's not getting a dance or a second chance at anything."

"It's okay," I offer with an outright lie. "If you want to dance with him it will be um..." I try, not actually able to get myself to tell her that it would be okay for me to witness her being held close by another man; a man I am now very jealous over.

"It is okay?" She asks and now I'm sorry that I said that. "Are you sure? Would you want to see that?"

NO! I want to scream. I'd rather die than watch that man engage you in any kind of intimate embrace. However, I am not sure she even wants that confession from me at this time so I just frown and say nothing further. What if she does want to dance with him? Will I be able to watch? Oh why did I agree to this?

"Mac?" But she presses and I need to offer her something.

"No. I don't want that," I whisper and her face lights up. That's good right? Yes! My brain confirms.

Thankfully before it can be even more strained, she takes my hand and holds it firmly in hers, giving it a warm squeeze as we slowly walk into the Ceremony hall and take our seats. I notice David's eyes watching us but thankfully not to the point where I want to flex my law enforcement muscles and have him arrested on suspicion of stalking.

XXXXXXXX

I glance over at Mac and can tell he's more than a little uncomfortable by all this; completely out his element in a sea full of strange faces, all looking at him and wondering who he really is. Thankfully no one has called me on the 'boyfriend' status as I'm sure that would seal my fate, but I am now wondering about his stiff silence after the run-in with David. Is he jealous? You wish, my brain jeers. That would mean he cares for you more than a friend. I'd like us to be more than friends. Have you told him that? I haven't, I have to admit in glum resignation. Mac had told me that after Peyton he was afraid to put himself out on an emotional limb; afraid of having his heart broken one more time. It's up to you, my brain commands and I have to heave a mental sigh. I know. I just don't know if that's what he wants. He's jealous, of course he wants it.

My mental tirade is brought to a halt as the wedding music starts up and I turn, with everyone else, to see Barb walking down the isle, the arm of her father-in-law holding her firmly as she slowly walks toward the man she'll hopefully spend the rest of her life with. Marriage, to be honest, scares me. However, when I look over at Mac, I'm surprise to see his expression has softened and I dare say I see a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. Claire. I am not jealous of her as a person, but part of me will always be jealous over something I fear I might never have; an intimate and loving relationship with an amazing man. And as I watch Barb, I picture myself with Mac waiting for me. Stella! My brain snaps me back. I can't help it, I know in my heart I love Mac. Then don't let him get away; make a move today!

Mac glances over, catches my eye and smiles warmly and my heart rate starts to slow. I turn back and see David watching, a slight scowl on his face and I'm not upset. I have no interest in David, my mind and heart belong to the man beside me, the man whose warm sapphire eyes continue their penetrating search into my soul. Tell me Mac, tell me you want more for us, my mind begs. Tell me my risk with be worth it.

The Ceremony quickly passes and then it's time to slowly head into the reception hall. Once again we are bombarded with people, asking questions, offering hugs, lending kisses and taking pictures; the fanfare is once again taking its toll on my partner's mental state.

"Stella!" Barb, the beautiful bride states happily as she rushes toward me, gathers me in her arms and holds on tightly.

"You look so beautiful today," I whisper in her ear as I plant a small kiss on her cheek, not wanting to leave red stains on her perfect completion. "Brent," I hug him next.

Mac offers his warm congratulations until Barb has to ruin my ploy.

"Mac is Stella's boyfriend. He works for the CIA," she laughs and Mac looks at me in shock.

"CSI," Mac mentions with a soft smirk.

"Ah Science Geek too huh," Brent laughs as he offers Mac a hearty pat on the back. "Boyfriend...so how long have you two been dating?" He queries with a large smile as David walks up to join us, he being a close friend of Brent's.

"Sometimes seems like forever," Mac replies and I can tell by the tone in his voice I'm in for a serious tongue lashing the next opportunity we are alone.

"Ya lost her buddy," Brent goads David, who looks at Mac with a less than amused expression.

"Her loss," David retorts with a smile that anyone can tell isn't genuine.

"Brent I think your mother needs a few pictures," I quickly interject, thankfully taking advantage of the mother in law whose frantically waving her arms in our direction. The bride and groom turn and leave, David turning back to look at us with a frown.

"I think I need a drink," Mac pipes up before David can say another word, and I'm quick to take his arm and take advantage of the opportunity to leave before anything further can develop and I'll lose Mac to him retreating behind his emotional wall. Mac offers David a smug nod, a set of narrowed eyes behind my back tell the whole story.

"Boyfriend?" Mac whispers in my ear as we near the bar.

"Mac, I'm sorry I..." I turn to him with a panicked look of anxiety.

"Are you under the impression I'm upset?" He asks in a soft tone as he orders us both a glass of wine. I look at him in surprise. He's not upset? See, my brain states quickly. Time to act on that.

XXXXXXXX

At first I was surprised; she never told me but then I was flattered that Stella told them I was her boyfriend; didn't seem to dissuade that David guy however from hanging around us, but at least he thinks she's not single. She shouldn't be, my brain states in truth. Make a move already! What are you afraid of? Rejection, plain and simple. And while I know she told her friends that I was her boyfriend so she wouldn't have to face this situation alone, I'm not fooling myself into thinking that inside her mind and heart that's what she really wants. But maybe she does? You really are cluless, my brain sighs.

"I thought you'd be furious," Stella replies as we slowly head back to our seat. "I'm sorry I never told you earlier."

"Kinda flattered actually," I admit in an almost inaudible tone. But it's not lost on her so when we sit down, she places her hand over mine and warmly squeezes.

"How flattered?" She dares, her green eyes starting bore into my soul and instantly I feel my core starting to warm.

"Stella..." I start and then stop, my lips offering a small nervous chuckle.

"Sorry Mac. Didn't mean to put you on the spot," she states and her hand is quick to leave mine. Did I just blow it? Yes, my brain sighs. Good going.

"Just wasn't expecting to hear that."

"But now that you did?"

"You mean the term boyfriend?"

"Scary?" Stella queries.

"You know I thought it would be scary but...but I guess we can talk about that later."

"Right," Stella states with a quick swallow and now I'm left wondering once again.

"Stella?"

"It's okay Mac, I've heard that line from you before. I'll be right back."

"Look I'm sorry if..."

"Answer me this Mac, right here, right now. Does the idea of romantic commitment scare you?"

"Depends on the person wanting the commitment," I quickly answer as she stands up. "Stella?"

"I have to go do the bathroom," she informs me and I just shake my head, mostly at myself.

"Okay."

"Be right back."

Idiot! My brain yells at me. She wants that romantic commitment from you! I offer myself an inward curse and then watch her leave, her amazing body straining against the black satin, I'm sure incurring the wrath of all jealous women and the desire of every human male; myself included. I am of course biased, because I am told that no other woman looks as good as the bride on her wedding day. And while I will admit the Bride of course looks great, she does pale in comparison to the only woman my heart races for. Tell her stupid! My brain yells again as I take a sip of my wine and sigh heavily. But just as I lean back in my chair, I see David hurrying toward the exit Stella just went through and my instincts take over. I am up on my feet in seconds, heading in their direction. Just keep yourself in check, my brain reminds me.

I round the corner only to see David gently take Stella by the arm and lead her toward a private area. I know she is more than capable of handling herself, however, I'm not about to let him take time away from me. Oh I know it seems small, but I'm human and who could fault me for that? Did you answer the boyfriend question?

"So how serious is this relationship you are in? Barb said she didn't even know you were dating," I hear David ask Stella. "Is it even serious? Or was this guy just some loser from work?"

Loser? Okay I don't care if he's a tad inebriated, he's earned more than an ass kicking. However, the last thing I want is to embarrass Stella in front her friends and give him anything to hold over me; I just bite my tongue and curse myself for forcing her to be put into a situation where she has to admit things that aren't the truth.

"Mac is an amazing man and our relationship is very serious."

"Right how long have you known him?"

"Ten years. What's this really about David?" I hear her ask with some annoyance.

"Stella, I missed you. Seeing you today has made me realize what a mistake I made. I want you back. What can I do to get you back?"

"Nothing David."

"Just name it Stella," he urges and I'm almost tempted to reveal myself and interject. However, knowing it's not really my place to help Stella fight her battles, I step back and hold my breath, my mind racing in anticipation of what she'll tell him. She already said you were amazing, what more do you need to hear?

"David, it's over," she insists. "I'm sorry but I do have to go."

"What does he have that I don't?" He asks sourly.

"My love. I'm sorry but that you'll never have."

Love? What?

I stand fixed in time, my mind still racing but my heart almost stopped. I numbly turn and head for our table, my mind now wondering if her words were genuine or just said in the heat of the moment to get rid of a pestering ex so she could take her leave. I won't mention it. Just don't drink anymore, my brain insists. I watch her come back, walking to the table and locking eyes with me; making me feel like I am the only man in the room, the only man on the face of this planet. She has that effect on me. And you still haven't told her how you feel? I will; very soon. You better!

XXXXXXXX

"What did I miss?" I ask Mac as I slowly sit down beside him, my heart racing. I had told David that I loved Mac; mostly to get him to leave me alone but when I said those words, my heart took immediate comfort in them, as if I was meant to say them and not just once. Good thing Mac didn't hear. I want him to hear it from me directly.

"Nothing. Did you talk to anyone interesting on the way?" Mac queries and I wonder if he saw David stop me? But I see Mac's eyes watch David walk back into the main Reception area and I know he suspects something.

"A few words to David, but why do I get the feeling you already knew that?"

"I saw him go after you."

"Go after me," I lightly smile. "You have that tone."

"What tone?"

"That you wanted to challenge him to a fight in the parking lot."

"I would've won," he states, his eyes dropping to his fingers as they fidget with the edge of the napkin.

"There would be no need," I state in truth and he looks up in wonder. "There is only one man here that I'm interested in," I start, my heart racing. "The one I came with and the one I'm leaving with," I finish as I lean in closer. "The only one I care about," I whisper as I plant a small kiss on his cheek. "In case your thick head can't figure it out; it's you."

Mac's face finally relaxes and I know my words have finally penetrated his hard outer shell and I'm praying they'll land on his heart and force his own heartfelt confession before the night is over. Dinner is finally announced and the rest of the table fills up and the next two hours are filled with eating and making light conversation with the guests around us.

After dinner we all patiently wait as the dance floor is cleared of the tables; making way for the bride and groom's first dance. I settle back in my chair to wait. But when Mac's arm protectively wraps around my shoulders, holding me close, telling the world around us that I belong to him, I am more than thrilled with the small gesture and just smile in return, not wanting to him to think his efforts were in vain.

We all watch as the happy couple sways on the floor to their selected song and then the bridal party and family joining in for the second song. Finally the third song starts up and I am now wondering if Mac will want to leave or if I'll actually have the pleasure of feeling his body pressed up against mine in such a public setting. Thankfully I don't have to wait too long for the answer I want as I watch Mac slowly stand up and extend his hand.

"Will you honor me?" He asks softly and I can't get myself up fast enough. He leads me to the almost crowded dance floor, wraps his arms around my body and holds me close against his tight frame; my heart I'm sure keeping time with his.

"You do me the honor Mac. When did you learn to dance?"

"It's like riding a bike right?" He counters as the corners of his eyes gently crinkle in delight.

"Have I told you that you are the most handsome man here?" I ask as my grasp around him tightens, my lips lingering near his ear, his warm scent tempting my hungry brain. His lips curl upward but his modesty once again forbids him from getting a swelled head or even uttering a small acceptance statement.

"Trust me Stella, next to the bride no one here compares to you. Your dress, the way your curls dangle down, whatever perfume you are wearing, your smile...everything. Simply beautiful," he whispers, his warm breath sending small shivers down my spine. His soft fingers slowly move up my back, teasing bare skin, forcing my brain to wonder what those hands would feel like touching all my bare skin. Stella! Can't help it, never been this close in this type of setting. But the longer his body presses into mine, the faster my brain is going to tell me to find a dark corner and force myself on him.

"I know you didn't really want to come tonight Mac, but thank you," I tell him as the second song starts. I quickly glance over at David and then back at Mac; not sorry that he's not dancing as the man holding me close is the one I want.

"Actually I'm having fun."

"Fun? Mac Taylor having fun?" I gently tease and his face warms.

XXXXXXXX

I want to ask her how the night will end, but I'm too afraid. She told me she cares about me but she's said it before so that keeps me from wondering if it's just the magical setting we are forced to be in right now that would make me think her words mean something more than a plutonic friendship.

"I'm having fun too," she adds and I quickly snap myself back to reality. "How long did you want to stay?"

"That's usually my line?" I counter and she smiles. Her hands continue to hold my back, my body close to hers and the longer her lush frame sways in my arms, the quicker I'll be in trouble; certain parts having a mind of their own.

"I came here to see Barb and I did that..."

I see David slowly making his way toward us and figure I'll put myself out of my misery before he does. "David's coming," I sigh. "Are you going to..."

"Dance with him?" She manages and I just nod my head, unable to actually get myself to ask the dreaded question. "Not interested."

"You sure? Because if you are just saying that to..." I start only to have one hand reach the back of my head and tilt it forward, allowing her access to my mouth and silencing me with a warm but firm kiss in the middle of the dance floor. She pulls back and I'm out of breath, speechless; David no where in sight.

"Does that answer your question?" She asks and I can only nod. "Mac?"

"Sorry what? Still waiting for my heart to restart," I offer and she lightly laughs. I want more than anything to pull her into me, devour her lips and show her everything I am feeling inside. But I remind myself that we are in public and that free room isn't ours; yet.

"I'm not interested in David. As I said before..."

"I know you care about me. As a friend only?" I have to know.

"Do you want more Mac?"

"From you?"

"Yes from me and for us?"

"I do...do you?" I ask in hesitation.

She looks at me square on before her arms encircle me once again, her lips near my ear, tickling the sensitive skin around the lobe. "I do want you; more than a friend," she whispers so that only I am privileged to hear her confession. But she doesn't pull back, her face remains out of sight and I wonder if it's because she's afraid I won't offer the same sentiment in return. I gently pry her arms away from me, take her by the hand and lead her off the dance floor.

"Mac? What is it?" She questions as I guide us over to a small private area, just off the main Reception area. I turn her to face me and notice the perplexed look on her face. I tenderly brush a stray curl behind her ear before I bring her lips to mine and taste them.

"You asked me a question earlier," I start into my whispered confession.

"What?"

"About a romantic commitment."

"Mac I wasn't meaning to force you to..."

"Force me?" I arch my brows in wonder. "This is from the heart Stella. I want that; with you for us. I love you."

She looks at me in shock; this time it's her turn to be left speechless, my heart nearing critical that she'll just turn around and leave me vulnerable. But she pulls me close, places her warm hands on my face and guides my lips back to hers once again, planting another warm kiss on my waiting mouth.

"I love you too Mac. I think I always have. I want that romantic commitment; was just waiting for you to tell me what I needed to hear. What I am already feeling inside," she confesses and my heart swells. Part of me wants to think this is all just a dream and that I'll wake up tomorrow and realize that I am still alone and Stella is only my best friend and nothing more. "Do you want to go?"

"I guess it's getting late. We should go."

I wrap my arm around her waist as we slowly head back into the main party area. I gather up her things, allowing her to say her goodbyes to the bride and groom as I turn and head for the door.

"Stella!" I hear David call to her and she turns back to face him. For another split second, my romantic insecurity tells me that she'll give him the dance just to be nice and I'll be forced to watch another man share what only I want to claim is all mine.

"I'm sorry David, I can't make that dance. Mac and I have another date to get to; one in a more private setting. Goodbye," she tells him firmly, no hug or kiss; simply turning on her heel and heading straight for me. I look past her and offer David a smug nod. I know it's childish but I won; in the end I won the most coveted prize of the day, the love of a beautiful woman.

"All set?" She asks as she loops her arm in mine and then kisses me full on the mouth, David watching in shock. That kiss I know was for show, but I don't care. If he wants to come after me, I'm an expert in criminology; they'd never suspect I did it. Thankfully it doesn't come to that as David simply turns and walks back into the crowd and we head for the entrance.

XXXXXXXX

Hearing Mac confess he loves me and wants a romantic commitment with me means more than he might ever know and so I know my next actions were totally justified. Instead of heading for the Valet service, I direct us toward a waiting elevator car and guide my handsome date inside.

"Stella?" He asks with a confused look; a boyish expression that drives me totally insane. "I thought you said that in jest."

"We have a free room Mac," I mention softly. "Unless you don't want to use it?"

"I have been waiting for an opportunity to get that dress off you all night," he blurts out and then looks at me in horror. "Stella I..." he starts only to have me quickly silence him with a warm kiss.

"I'm not mad. I want to undress you just as much."

He kisses me once more as the elevator finally deposits us on the specified floor. We both get out, walking hand in hand toward our waiting room and then slowly step inside the luxury room.

"Very nice," Mac mentions as I flip on a small light; not adding much brilliance but just enough illumination to see the person you are with and all they have to offer you.

"Come here Mac," I warmly instruct as he takes off his jacket and tosses it aside. My fingers slowly start to undo the knot in his silk tie as his fingers gently fumble with the zipper to my dress. I toss the tie aside and get to work on his dress shirt as he lets my dress slowly slide to the floor, his eyes devouring all they see.

"I lied earlier," Mac murmurs in haste.

"What?"

"I think you are more beautiful now," he praises and my face beams. I let his undershirt drop to the floor as my fingers start to trace his warm smooth stomach up to the scar above his heart as his fingers start on the clasp holding my halter bra in place; his body already hard in anticipation of a new union.

"You are amazing Mac," I praise as he gently scoops my nearly naked body into his strong arms, holding me against his bare flesh as my mouth starts to devour his; my tongue forcing its way into the soft folds of his mouth, my ears delighting in the pleasurable moans his lips are offering. He lowers us to the bed, small beads of sweat now making the back of his neck damp but sizzling to the touch.

"I love you Stella," he whispers once more as our new union finally starts; two hearts racing as one. And as we continue to make love I know one thing is certain; David Wilson might have been one man from my past; but Mac Taylor is the only man in my future.

"I love you too Mac."

THE END!


A/N: yes I got this idea from watching the movie 'The Wedding Date' and had thought about making it longer, like for the weekend but settled on this one shot instead. Hope you all enjoyed it and please let me know and thanks.