Wow, it's been a long time since the last NY fic! Thanks for all the support. Fic number 99 takes place after 'The Formula.' Enjoy!
They zoomed across the finish line side-by-side, blurs of green and blue virtually indistinguishable. Even in different cars, it was hard to see where one ended and the other began.
The cars slowed to a stop, and Stella pulled off her helmet, a few curls escaping in the process and blowing across her face in the light breeze. She brushed them back with her fingers and glanced over at Mac, who already had his helmet off and was looking at her, sporting a wide grin.
"That was amazing!" Stella exclaimed with a boisterous laugh as she extracted herself from the car and walked toward him. "I'm so glad we did this!"
Mac chuckled at her exuberance as he climbed from his own car. His excitement--though more contained--matched hers, and for a brief moment, they were all that existed.
"Nice driving," Stella smirked, holding out her hand for him to shake.
Drawn back into the present, Mac nodded. "You, too. Almost good enough to beat me."
"You want to try that again?" she asked, playfully narrowing her eyes at him.
"You heard me."
"Yeah, but you're so wrong," Stella scoffed. "All that talk about my A game--well, consider it brought, because I owned you on the racetrack, Taylor."
"No, way!" Mac argued. "I edged you out right at the end there, Bonasera."
Her hand dropped from his, and she took a step toward him. "Oh, yeah?" she challenged.
"Yeah," he countered, mimicking her actions, his step putting them practically nose-to-nose, personal space most definitely invaded.
"Why don't we get an expert opinion?" she breathed, eyebrow quirked, further challenging him. Quickly turning her head--flyaway curls smacking against Mac's face--Stella called out to the professional driver who stood nearby, eagerly taking in the debate. "Liza, do you mind helping us settle our little… disagreement?"
"I'm thoroughly enjoying the smack talk, but I'm sorry, Detective Taylor," Liza said with an apologetic half-shrug. "It was really close, but Detective Bonasera's quite the driver. Not that you were bad…"
Pleased by Liza's answer, Stella turned to face Mac again, their bodies as close as they could be without actually touching. "Care for a rematch?"
"Just name the time and place," he grinned, his warm breath tracing over the contours of her face. "And be prepared, because you're going down!"
"Keep telling yourself that," she said semi-sweetly, reaching up and patting his cheek. Then, spinning away from him, Stella walked to where Liza stood. "It's great to meet you. Thank you for this, and best of luck with your racing."
"Thanks," Liza said with a smile as the two women shook hands. She lowered her voice before continuing. "And good luck with Detective Taylor."
"He's stubborn, but he'll eventually see it my way," Stella grinned.
"Yeah, a little friendly competition is always good in a relationship."
"What?" Stella asked, surprised by the comment. "Mac and I are just friends. We're not in a relationship."
"Then maybe you should be," Liza offered. "I may race cars, but I still have woman's intuition, and what I see between the two of you is an undeniable chemistry."
Stella sighed and tilted her head to the side, contemplating Liza's words.
"I hope I'm not overstepping any boundaries," Liza continued. "All I'm saying is that my line of work has taught me to not take anything for granted. If I want something, I go for it then because I might not get the chance tomorrow."
"What's going on over here?" Mac interrupted, coming up behind Stella.
Stella sent a small smile in his direction as he stopped beside her.
"Detective Bonasera and I were discussing what it's like to be in the driver's seat," Liza replied, sneaking a glance at Stella.
"Yeah," Stella nodded, eyes traveling from Mac to Liza, then back to Mac. "She's really good at putting things in perspective."
"Only when it's something I know about," Liza grinned. "Well, I'd love to stick around and chat," she sighed, "but I've got to get ready for some P.R. stuff. Don't worry about the cars; my guys'll be by to get them."
"We understand," Mac nodded. "It's been great fun, and thank you again."
After another round of goodbyes, Liza was gone, leaving Mac and Stella alone.
"You hungry?" Mac asked.
"Starved. Who knew winning could make a person this hungry?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Mac groaned, feigning annoyance. "No need to rub it in."
"Oh, come on, Mac, it's all part of the smack talk," she grinned as they began walking toward the exit. "You'd have done the same thing if you'd won."
"I guess we'll find out next time when I leave you in my dust."
"Bring it on."
"That's the best smack talk you've got?" he asked, stopping in his tracks.
Realizing he was no longer beside her, she spun on her heels and stepped into his personal space yet again. "The smack talk is just beginning."
Thanks for reading!
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