"10!" they all shouted along with the TV, starting to bring in the New Year.
He spoke again, this time not breaking eye contact with her, "I don't know why, but we kissed.....it was good....." but he stopped, and tried to go again, "it was good....right?"
She nodded. "What else do you remember?"
"After that....it gets kind of blurry, but it's sort of coming back......we made it down the hall......no one noticed us leaving.....we were so in the moment....." he looked away.
"It was nice...." she added, trying to show him she felt a little better about last night than he was thinking she did.
"Nex thing I know, we're on the bed, clothes left behind in a line. We ripped them off of each other....." he sighed, wishing he could remember it all more clearly.
"9!" they continued.
"Here, why don't I take a stab at this," she offered. "We made it to the bedroom, and because our passion for each other under the influence was so strong, we went further than I think either of us expected. It was the heat of the moment that took us down a one way path.
He smiled slightly, agreeing with her.
She lowered her voice even more, "I was laid down on the bed, and your body aligned to mine, and we kissed.....passionately.....for quite some time before things took the next step."
Both were now looking outside or around the restaurant, anywhere but to each other.
"Is this awkward?" she asked.
"Yes, but no. I want to know what really happened. My mind is twisted from all the alcohol I consumed."
"Ok.....next thing....." she continued.
"8!" there were some added giggles.
"My bra was undone, and it slipped to the floor. Things got a little more passionate, if that's even possible. I tugged at your pants, and you helped me remove them. We shared kisses as we continued to undress each other." She looked to him, but then away again.
His thoughts were now making sense. The story was playing out in his mind all over again.
"And then we.....ya know.....did it?" he felt as though he were back to his teenage years, when he had sex for the first time. With her, it felt like it was the first real time it had meant something. Well, at least, he only felt that passion with one other woman.
"Yes," she replied, looking to his eyes for some kind of confirmation that it was all ok.
"7.....6.....5!" The ball on the TV dropped further and further, almost reaching it's resting point.
"Well then what the hell happened this morning?" he questioned, "I woke up in an unfamiliar room, and I was alone. I thought I heard you in the bathroom, but when I got no answer, I went to the other bathroom to get changed.
"Oh....yeah.....that....." she sighed.
"Yeah. Want to explain what that was about?"
She took a deep breath, drank some coffee, and spoke, "I felt sick when I woke up. I didn't know where I was at that moment, but then it hit me. I got up and ran to the bathroom. Nausea and throwing up from the alcohol."
He nodded with understanding.
"I would have said something to you, but when I was in there thinking about everything, I got scared. I panicked."
"Ok, that makes a little more sense. But why did you panic?"
She looked outside, avoiding his question. She soon, though, felt a hand on hers.
"I didn't know how you were going to react about this whole thing, or if you'd even remember it at all." She looked from outside down to her lap.
He pulled away, "Is that how you really feel about this all? Panicked? Scared?"
"Kind of," she muttered.
"4...3...2!" they all raised their drinks mid-way, getting ready to welcome in the New Year.
He sat back, examining the woman in front of him before speaking again, "You shouldn't feel that way. After hearing all this, and getting smacked in the face by reality, I've come to realize my true feelings for you, and I'm not ashamed at all about what happened last night."
She looked up to him, "Really?"
He got up from his side of the booth, sat next to her, and took her hands into his, "I've had feelings for you for the longest time, and I'm glad that the alcohol brought us together. Not what I thoguht would be what did it, but since we weren't doing anything, someone or rather, something, had to eventually."
"1!" the ball hit the end of the pole, and along with the people on the TV, the gang cheered, clinked glasses, and the couples shared long, passionate kisses.
Mac and Stella looked to each other, and Stella nodded towards the kitchen for one last glass of wine. Mac, being out of beer, followed after her.
But they never made it to the kitchen.......
Stella woke up to the sun in her eyes and pain shooting through her body. It seemed as though an ounce of light, sound, or smell would bring her to her knees in agonizing pain. She pulled the pillow over her head, trying to go back into the beautiful thing she liked to call unconciousness, or sleep. But, of course, her body had other plans. Nausea sent her straight to the bathroom. And, unlike any other time she had this feeling, this time she actually threw up.
Pulling away from the toilet, Stella spoke in a whisper, "What the hell happened last night?"
Her head rested against her arm, which lay across the toilet seat, "Why can't I remember anything? Was I that drunk?"
And in a flash, the night before started coming back to her.
Stella's memory flooded back, almost like it had never left her. All the drinks, the dancing, the karaoke singing, which was a shock in and of itself, and him. How could she forget him. Of all people in the world, how? She leaned back against the wall, barely able to hold herself up. Tears flooded to her eyes, "How did this happen?"
Closing her eyes, she thought more and more of everything she had just remembered. How was he going to act? Why did it happen this way? Was it the influence of alcohol that made these things happen?
Hearing a knock on the door, Stella wiped her tears, stood up, steadied herself, and called, "Who is it?"
She recieved no answer, and it was as if the footsteps were now leading away from the door. Opening it only a crack, she peered out, but saw no one. Only a messy bed was placed before her. And then it hit her.
Who was in that bed. What happened in that bed. Why it happened.
The door closed shut again, and Stella slid down the wall until her butt touched the floor with a slight 'thud'. And she was back to her memory once more.
"I've hid my feelings for you for a very long time," Mac's voice echoed through her ears. She couldn't believe what he was saying.
"Really?" she asked, disbelief almost overwhelming her.
He nodded, "Yes. But I won't keep that any longer. I love you, and it's time you know it."
She froze, and in a sudden rush, his lips were against hers.
And she opened her eyes, now back to reality, sitting in the bathroom, curled almost to a ball.
"Why me.....?" her voice muttered, almost giving a faint echo in the loneliness that surrounded her.
It seemed as if hours had passed, as though Stella had been laying there, crying, for all that time.
'What am I going to do?' she hit the floor with her fist, anger rising within her, 'How could I have done that.....'
And even more of the night flooded back in to her mind, leaving her to feel more guilt and pain.
Mac shoved Stella against the wall, pushing against her body more and more. It was as if he had been waiting forever to do this, to be with her.
"Wait...." she turned her head, making him pull back.
"What's wrong?" he questioned, using his hand to guide her face back to him, for eye contact.
"Are you sure about this? About us? Here? Now?" her eyes dropped to the floor.
"Let me show you how sure I am," he kissed her neck, his hands pushing her shirt further and further, revealing more and more skin.
And reality hit once more, tears of joy, but also of sadness, guilt, and pain, not physical, but mental, leaving her body. She needed to get away from here, to go far away and never look back.
Stella stood once again, and cracked the door open. No sign on life was apparent. She glanced to the floor, seeing her clothes thrown all over. Opening the door more, she moved cautiously towards them, picked them up, and ran back to the bathroom.
After changing, she threw her hair into a pony, wiped her tears and smeared make-up away, and cracked the door once more.
Still no sign of movement or noise.
It was all clear, finally a chance to escape.....through the window, and down the stairs. She figured it would be too obvious or someone would see her if she went through her own front door.
Stella had escaped, escaped the place she had longed to get away from, escaped reality for a while, escaped what had happened the night before.
Or had she?
As she took each step at time down the ladder, fear struck inside her more and more, almost giving that 'take over' feeling. She stopped on the last set of stairs, and looked back to the window she had left.
"I'm sorry.....Mac" she muttered.
Taking the last few steps slowly, she made it down to the ground safely, but not without another issue accompanying her.
Mac stumbled out of her apartment buildings doors, noticing her as he did.
"Crap!" she froze.
Mac, not knowing what to do.
"Hey......." she gave a crooked smile, trying to get past the awkwardness.
Thoughts consumed her by this point, racing through and causing her body to ache. Did he remember anything? Was he completely clueless? Why hasn't he said anything back?
And then Mac spoke.
"Hey....." his voice sounded different. He looked to the ladder where he had just seen her drop, "Why were you coming from up there?"
Her voice, unsteady, responded, "Um, I needed to get out....."
Her heart felt like it was crumbling, her stomach knotting in to a big ball.
"Get out?" Mac asked.
"Yeah." was all Stella could mutter.
"Why?" his tone shifted to peer confusion.
"You don't remember?" she was breaking down inside. If he didn't remember, what would she do? How would she live with herself?
Those were questions she wanted to shove to the side for now.
"I can honestly say I have no clue as to what you're referring," Mac said.
"Oh, then nevermind....." Stella's voice saddened.
He walked over to her, "No, really. What are you talking about?"
She backed away, pain aching every inch of her body.
"I can't do this right now. Meet me later. Down at the bar and we can talk there."
"Ok?" Mac almost questioned, but then turned to leave her.
Stella turned and went down the alley, dropping in an open spot, "I can't believe Mac doesn't remember!"
Sobs took over, and her body shook. She was breaking down, and Mac had no idea why.
After what had felt like hours, but was truly only minutes, Stella got up, brushed herself off, wiped the tears from her eyes, and headed back around the corner....and there Mac was, sitting on the front steps where he had come out earlier.
After seeing her out of the corner of his eye, he turned and spoke, "I remember now...."
"What exactly do you remember?" her thoughts were starting to consume her once more.
"Well....I remember having a lot to drink and then....." his story was finally starting to spill out.
"And then?" Stella asked.
"And then....you and I.....we were on the couch....and then down the hallway....and we kissed....alot...." Mac stopped.
She felt tears flood her eyes. He was remembering, but he didn't seem all that thrilled at this point.
"But, I don't remember after that..." he looked to her, hoping she knew something.
"Well, I can tell you.....because I do remember. But not here." Stella stood.
"Then where?" Mac asked.
After an hour, they both arrived down at the local restaurant. After being given a booth, their conversation began again, but in low whispers.
"Ok, so what happened next?" he questioned.
"We made it to a room, and things got heated from there....." Stella paused.
"Wow....uh...." Mac hesitated, "Why don't I remember any of this?"
"You had a lot to drink last night. Let's get some coffee in you."
When the waitress came over, they ordered two coffee's with continuous refills, and two orders of pancakes with bacon on the side. The coffee came in no time, but it was a twenty minute wait on the food.
Mac sipped his coffee, "God, my head is pounding."
Stella watched in silence as his head dropped into his hands. She didn't know what to say, but luckily he spoke again.
"So, you say things got heated....and things happened....things that we would never think would happen, and yet I remember none of it...."
'Yeah, well, I kinda thought and was hoping it would happen.' she thought.
'Please, I've been wishing for it to happen for a long time.' he thought.
But neither knew that the other one had wanted this for so long.
"Maybe, after a bit more coffee, it'll start coming back to you?" Stella suggested.
"Yeah, maybe you're right." Mac took another sip.
The sound of clattering plates, forks scraping, coffee being poured, people chattering, all seemed to be enormously louder than usual.
"I hate being hungover," Stella groaned, her head now dropping in to her hands.
Silence......but then Mac spoke.
"I remember now.....it was just after midnight......and things got carried away....."
She only looked up, not saying a word.
Had things gotten carried away, or did nature run it's course and they were exactly where they were supposed to be?
****(this is where chapter ten starts! :D )****
She looked into his eyes, seeing he truly meant every word he said. And with knowing that, she leaned in and kissed him.
Pulling away, she spoke, "I love you, Mac."
He smiled in return and added, "I love you too, Stella!"
She giggled, remembering something, "Guess you don't have to go on that date anymore!"
Mac only laughed in response, and when their food arrived, they ate and talked, spending the good quality 'couple' time both of them had longed for together.