"What does that mean?"
"It means that Stella is going to have to go back to Greece and she will no longer be a part of the NYPD."
"Isn't there something I can do to stop this?"
"No, end of conversation"
"What? I have to go? I can't live in the states anymore?"
"I'm afraid so. Apparently you were born in Greece and you never got legalized which means you are not a US citizen."
"I can't leave. This is my home Mac"
"I know," he pulled her into a hug.
She cried onto his shoulder, "wait a minute, can't I get a visa or something," she wiped the tears off her face.
"It takes too long to get a work visa and the only other option is a fiancé visa."Stella's head snapped up and looked a into Mac's eyes, "What? Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Mac you are my best friend and I would do anything for you but right now I want you to do something for me."
"Stell, are you thinking what I think you are thinking?"
"Mac, will you marry me?"
"That is a federal offense," he dropped his voice to a whisper, "Stella Bonasera. we are police officers we can't break the law like that." The truth was that in the last few years his feelings toward Stella had changed. They were no longer simply feelings of friendship. He had tried many times to ask her out but he always came up with an excuse not to.
"I know Mac I know what I'm asking you to and I understand if you can't but no matter what the immigration office says they are asking me to move away from my home." The first time she had met Mac Taylor she had been attracted to him. Of course he had been married at the time so she could not act on her feelings. Then 9-11 happens and he became a shell of the man he used to be. She had held him together and she went out with other guys trying to convince herself that she was fine with them being friends. She had got stuck with Frankie, and when he was finally ready to move on he did it with Peyton. She wished it could have been her.
"I just don't want you to leave," he tightened his arms which were still wrapped around her.
Stella buried her face in Mac's neck, "Mac what would you say if I told you that I liked you more than one friend should like another friend." Mac's hand which had been rubbing Stella's back froze. His whole body froze. Stella kept her head in his a minute of silence she couldn't take it anymore, "Mac say something."
"Sorry, it's just- "
"I'm sorry just forget I said anything," she tried to pull away.
Mac finally responded, "No don't leave," he held her close.
"How long do I have left here?" Stella asked. Suddenly Mac released her and walked over to the window, "If we can't find a solution you only have another week."
"I'm going to go home. I have to start packing. I think it would be best if I just left my badge and gun here now," she wiped another tear off her face, "I am really going to miss you Mac." He heard the door to his office shut. When he turned around he saw Stella's gun and her badge, the number as familiar as his own. He couldn't get his thoughts straight. After an hour trying to think his way through the situation he simplified things. He knew there was no way he could ever do his job without her, hell he wasn't sure if he could function normally if he had to go more than a day without seeing her. He grabbed his coat and ran down to his truck.
Stella was in her apartment sitting on her couch, looking around at all her possessions. On a chair in her living room sat a large stuffed gorilla. About a year ago when the fair had been in town they had a particularly difficult case which had orphaned a young child. Mac knew how bad those cases made her feel so he took her to the fair and won her that gorilla. It was ridiculous really, lime green and went with absolutely nothing in her living room let alone house. There were other small signs of Mac around her house. A picture of them Lindsey had taken at the staff Christmas party, a souvenir blue ribbon from the dog show he had taken her to, another picture of them standing next to a horse he had worked hard to save, a necklace he had bought for her in Greece when he had followed her there a few months ago. When she looked at the necklace she began crying all over again. As she reached for a tissue she heard a knock at the door. She quickly wiped the tears from her face and tried to look presentable.
He stood outside her apartment. He was as nervous as he could ever remember being but excited at the same time. He knew he was going to have to do it as soon as she opened the door or he would lose his nerve. "Coming." she yelled to the door. She gave up wiping her tears as they refused to stop falling. She opened the door only to reveal Mac.
"Mac!" she gasped.
He stepped over her threshold.
"Stella I have been a stupid man tonight." he grabbed her face between his hands and wiped away her tears which had stopped in the shock of seeing him. He held her face in his hands. Then, it seemed in slow motion to Stella, he leaned toward her as he studied her eyes. She felt a tingling sensation as his lips touched hers. It was gentle and tentative. He pulled back and looked into her eyes again. Then she wrapped her arms around his neck and he wrapped his arms around her waist. They pulled each other close so that there was no space between their bodies. Their second kiss wasn't nearly as reserved. The passion that they had buried for years broke lose. Her hands held his head in place as she pushed her tongue against his lips seeking entrance too which he happily complied. Eventually in what could have been hours for all they were concerned. Mac rested his forehead against hers.
"Would you believe that there is no jewelry store open past midnight."
"Look, Stella, I'm not good at saying what I feel, but I want you to know that I love you. I have for a few years now. I want more than anything right now for you to say that you will be my wife. Not only to keep you in this wonderful country, to keep you next to me on the force, but so that I have someone to come home to at night, to take care of, and to love more than my own life." tears had started running down her face once again. He paused for a second, "I wanted to have a ring . . ." as he trailed off Stella started to laugh. It came out as a choking sound as she was still crying too.
"Mac Taylor, only you could melt my heart with that amazing proposal only to complain about not having a ring. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my life with. I had always been attracted to you but after Frankie I realized that I was in love with you. I would love to be your wife." She kissed him again. It was slow but they could still feel the passion burning underneath.
"Tomorrow we can go get the license and go to immigration. We also have to go get your badge. One more thing I can't do without you."
"You are too kind sir," she giggled. Then she stepped out of his arms and looked at him with a serious face, "What are we going to do about Sinclair?"
"I'll talk to him tomorrow when we pick up your badge. He should be happy enough that you will get to stay."
"He won't be happy that it's because we are getting married."
"If one of us has to quit I will. This whole thing is my fault you've worked to hard to get to where you are."
"Stella, let's not get ahead of ourselves. He may be happy enough that you get to stay that he will overlook the reason."
He looked unsure of what to do he stood stiffly with his arms at his sides. She assumed that it was because he had done what he came here to do and now he didn't know what to. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around him. "You have made me one happy woman tonight Mac."
"I hope to be doing that for the rest of my life," he placed his hands on her shoulders and held her at arms length. Looking her in he eyes he said, "Stella, if you ever decide that you don't want me anymore just say the word and I'll leave I promise."
She looked him in the eye to make sure her words were not lost on him. "Mac I have waited ten years to hear you say those three little words. I want to spend the rest of my life right here in your arms." She stepped back into his embrace and he held her tightly.
"I guess I just find it hard to believe that you could ever like, much less love, a guy like me."
"Don't sell yourself short Mac. In fact I would really like it if you would stay here tonight."
"Stella as much I would love to. . . I . . . well. . . you know I'm old fashioned and we will be married tomorrow." He hadn't given much thought to that part of the marriage yet and he suddenly found himself staring at her body. Something that was not lost on Stella.
"Mac you still with me?" she smiled at him, "we don't have to have sex, yet. I just want you near me. I want to wake up with you next to me and know that this hasn't been a dream." She could see the indecision in his eyes. "My bed is big. You probably don't even have to touch me."
He cupped the side of her face and brought her lips to his, "Lets go."
She lay down in her pj bottoms and t-shirt. He came out of the bathroom. She had found a pair of sweatpants she had thought would fit him but they were ridiculously small.
"Stell would it bother you if I slept in my boxers?"
"Fine with me I just want you to be comfortable," she lowered her voice, "if it were up to me you wouldn't be in anything."
"Stell," he groaned as a blush crept up his neck.
"Relax Mac I'll behave." He stripped himself of the sweats and crawled under the covers next to her. He pulled her into his arms. "Mac are you OK with this."
"More fine than I've been with anything in a long time." After a few moments silence he spoke again, very softly, "Stell?" she rotated in his arms so she was looking at him. He continued, "If I kiss you right now will you let me stop after one kiss and get some sleep?"
With a grin she replied, "I'll do my best." She stretched up and kissed him. This time he pushed his tongue against her lips. She opened her mouth and battled his tongue with her own. She moaned in pleasure as his hand ran up and down her side. She rolled so that she was laying on top of him and moved her lips to his neck. He moaned deeply. She could feel that his body was ready to take things to the next level.
"Stella!" he groaned. He gathered the will power to flip them over, "not yet." he whispered planting one last kiss to her lips. He got up then.
"Mac?" Stella looked at him in concern.
"I'm just going to go to the bathroom quick."
"OK," she smirked at him.
"Wipe that smile off your face."
"Yes sir!" she gave him a mock solute.
When he got back he snuggled up to her.
"I can't believe we are going to be married tomorrow."
"Mrs. Taylor are you getting cold feet."
She pressed her feet against his legs, they were warm, "No, Mr. Taylor, I am excited though."
"Does it feel like we are doing this backwards?"
"Mac we have to do it this way. It is fast but I honestly believe that if we had finally gotten it through our heads that we should start dating any relationship would have ended in marriage. We can skip the dating, we already know everything about each other."
"Stell, I'm not good at opening up. I want you to let me know if you ever feel like I'm shutting you out."
"You'll do fine. I believe in us Mac."
"I believe in you it's me that I'm worried about."
"Mac you need to trust yourself. I do."
"I love you."
"I know. I love you too." With one final kiss they feel asleep in each others arms.