A.N.: all right everyone first off Happy Valentine's Day, second here's a little diddy that got cooked up hope you enjoy. The restaurant mentioned is a real one thought I've never been there so I didn't know what it looked like inside I just guessed. The song is of course "At Last" by Etta James it's what inspired this little ficlet. So on with the show.
Disclaimer: I own nothing
My love has come along
My lonely days over
And life is like a song
"Coming, coming," Stella shouted hopping on one foot as she tried to put her shoe on to answer the door. "Gees you think someone's impatience much."
Unlocking the bolt and pulling the door open just a fraction Stella peered through the chained entrance, to see a twenty something man with light brown hair standing tapping his foot with a vase of flowers in his hand.
"Stella Bonasera," he questioned a hurried look in his eyes.
She closed the door again and pulled the chain before reopening the door, "That's me! How can help you?"
Hastily he shoved the vase towards her, "Ma'am these are for you," at least he still had some manners.
Surprise marred her features as she reached out to take the cool crystal in her hands, "But I didn't…"
"No I would think not, but someone did. Have a good day," and with that he turned on his heel and stomped away.
Shaking her head, Stella with one hand holding the vase, closed and relocked it, before taking a closer look at the flowers, roses, yellow with red tips. Burying her nose in the fragrant blossoms, and took a deep breath, the sweet smell bringing a smile to her face. She looked around trying to find the perfect spot to set them and to look for a card. Picking the middle of her kitchen table for the perfect spot, Stella set them down and combed through the soft petals until she found the white stock card envelope with her name scrolled across.
Pulling the small card out the simple words had her puzzled.
First we were friends and will continue to be so. Hopefully you will accept these roses as a gift of my friendship to you.
No signature had her fretting over who the sender of the beautiful bouquet could be. She wasn't seeing anyone at the moment and today… she glanced at the calendar and gasped, how could she have forgotten Valentine's Day. Of course work had been hellish the last few weeks and with no one to celebrate with the date slipped her mind. Sighing she took one last lungful of the sweet blossoms before going to grab her coat and purse heading out her mind filled with who could've sent her the flowers.
Still distracted she didn't hear Lindsay calling for her as she walked onto the thirty fifth floor of the New York City crime lab.
"Stella you ok," Lindsay called tapping her lightly on the arm.
"Oh," she exclaimed turning to face Lindsay, "Sorry Linds my mind isn't really here this morning."
Concern flared in her light brown eyes, "Is everything all right? Did something happen last night when you went home?"
Shaking her head, brown curls moving around her shoulders, Stella smiled slightly, "No nothing like that. I just got a rather interesting delivery this morning."
"As in?" Lindsay prompted intrigued by the idea.
"Flowers, a dozen red tipped yellow roses," she answered the words from the card coming back to her.
"Was there a card?"
Stella nodded again, "But no signature."
"What's the card say?"
Stella repeated the message word for word and watched Lindsay's eyes to see if any of it made any sense.
"Well yellow roses do mean friendship and I think if there red tipped it can also mean, falling in love, so maybe someone is trying to tell you that their your friend, but want more," Lindsay answered, catching sight of Mac standing outside his office watching the pair.
Stella sighed, still at a loss as to who the sender could be, "How do you know so much about flowers? There something you're not tell me Linds?" she teased.
"I'll never tell," Lindsay smiled walking away with a wave.
Stella just shook her head and made for her office only to be stopped by Mac, "Morning Stella."
"Morning Mac. Any cases yet?"
"None! Though it seems you have a secret admirer," Mac answered an usual twinkle in his light blue eyes as he pointed towards her office.
She turned to see another bouquet of roses sitting on her desk, this time they were a mix of light and dark pink roses. Slowly she made her way over, Mac trailing behind her.
Plucking the card from the top and with shaking fingers opened the envelope, another crypt message scrolled out before her eyes.
Light pink is for your grace and my admiration. Dark pink is to thank you for the friendship and love you give me, which is greatly appreciated.
Again no signature graced the bottom. She was beginning to get just a bit frustrated by this. Granted the flowers and the words were beautiful and she cherished them, but not knowing who the person was scared her just a little. Too many wrong turns in love has brought her too much pain to just let this be some kind of wonderful dream not, yet anyway not until she knew who the person was.
"You all right Stell?" Mac asked worry coloring his voice.
"I guess, just a little spooked," she returned turning back to face him.
His concern warmed her heart making her wish that the flowers she was receiving came from him. She knew that it was foolish to think that he'd see her as anything other than a valued friend and co-worker. He'd never cross that fine line between friends and more. Yet she had found herself wanting that even more as the years progressed. She loved that they were, so close as friends, but something, call it her biological clock or just the want to have someone love her truly and deeply that wouldn't hurt her, made her yearn for more from this man.
"Spooked about what?" Mac asked pulling her back from her thoughts.
"It's nothing Mac trust me. If it does turn I'll let you know," she responded laying a hand on his arm.
Mac just shook his head, but remained unconvinced, "For now I'll let it go," he returned taking hold of the hand on his arm and giving it a gentle squeeze.
For hours nothing else arrived. She sat in her office finishing up paperwork helped Danny and Hawks with their case, and went to lunch around one with Lindsay.
"So any clue yet?" Lindsay asked taking a sip of her tea.
"None," she returned glancing out the window watching the people bundled up against the cold winter chill.
"I'm sure it's harmless Stella," Lindsay reasoned hoping she'd be right.
"Let's just forget about the flowers for now. So did Danny get you anything?"
A light blush graced her cheeks as she nodded brown hair swinging around her face.
"So spill. It has to be better than what I've gotten. Hell I didn't even remember that today was Valentine's Day until I looked at the calendar this morning after the deliver."
"Nothing to special, just a rose and this," Lindsay answered presenting her hand towards Stella to show off an Everlon© diamond ring.
"Damn Linds that it way better than mine," Stella laughed admiring the beautiful piece of jewelry.
"He's trying to make up for forgetting last year," Lindsay smiled glancing down at her hand.
"To right he should."
After lunch they both made their way back towards the lab, talking and laughing like the world didn't matter. Her special delivers forgotten until she walked into her office Lindsay right behind her.
She stopped dead in her tracks and stared at the beautiful bouquet of dark red and red roses, by far the most beautiful dozen she had received today. Slowly she bent down taking in the perfumed buds marveling at the colors. Plucking the envelope from the middle she pulled it open wanting to know what this one said.
The beauty of these roses doesn't match the beauty I see when I look at you. Passion, courage, and splendor wrapped into one gorgeous package. Tonight I hope you will be in my arms forever. Meet me at eight at Bellini Italian Restaurant and you will find out who I am.
"Did he sign it this time?" Lindsay asked over her shoulder.
Stella shook her head, her heart in her throat. He wanted to meet. She would finally get to know who had sent her the roses all day. One part of her didn't want to know, she didn't want to be disappoint when it turned out to be someone else, someone she couldn't have any other type of relationship with other than friends. Not when one man held her heart captive.
"He…," she swallowed the lump in her throat, "he wants to meet."
Hazel eyes met shocked brown ones, "You sure that's a good idea. I mean not to rain on your parade but he could be a stalker."
"I know that's what scares me the most about all this. Maybe I shouldn't go," Stella reasoned glancing towards Lindsay.
"I can't answer that one for you Stella. If you do decide to go take someone with you at least I mean this man could be the one you've been wanting for."
"Or the one who's going to end everything," Stella responded sitting down heavily.
"Either way let me know what you want to do," Lindsay answered a hidden smile gracing her lips.
With no cases coming across her desk, Stella managed to get out by five that afternoon wondering what would be waiting for her when she got home. When she arrived and nothing out of the ordinary popped out at her, she relaxed but only barely. Glancing at the clock on the wall, just passing six, she hurried off to get ready.
Ten minutes to eight Stella stood at the front entrance of Bellini's skimming the crowded dinner room filled with couples. She barely contained the whence at the lovey dovey atmosphere, only just holding down her lunch. She knew deep down she shouldn't be feeling this way, she was for all tens and purposes she was happy, had a wonderful job great friends, yup real happy there.
"Stella," a deep male voice questioned from behind her.
Turning she smiled at him, "Thanks for helping me out Don. I know it kind of ruins your night, but I really appreciate this."
"It's no problem Stell, just glad I could help," Don answered a grin pulling at his lips.
They made their way towards the bar, to wait hoping to catch a glimpse of the man before he approached. Once seated a glass of white wine in her hand Stella turned to face the crowd of people once more, when her eyes settled on the form of one man. Her heart jumped into her throat as he approached, dressed in a tux of all things, his eyes focused solely on her, holding a single red rose.
When near enough so she could hear him speak, "You look gorgeous Stella."
"No don't look so bad yourself," Stella chocked out accepting the red rose from him.
"I think you're in good hands Stell, see you tomorrow," Don whispered before taking off.
Stella focused her eyes on the man in front of her, "They knew didn't they?"
He nodded a grin spreading across his face, "I needed a bit of help with this one."
"You know you could've just asked."
"Where's the romance in that," he responded holding his hand out to her.
"Never pegged you as the romantic type," she answered accepting the hand and sliding off the stool and into his arms.
"There are many things you don't know about me Ms. Bonasera."
"I'm beginning to notice that one."
A frown marred his features for a minute as he studied her face, "Are you unhappy to learn who's been sending you those roses?"
She shook her head, leaning in to whisper into his ear, "Not in the least bit. I was hoping you'd be the one Mac."
Pulling back slightly he caught her eyes seeing the sincerity in the hazel depths, before leaning back in to place his lips against hers in a chase kiss.
Ooh Yeah, Yeah, At last I found a dream You smile
The skies above are blue
My heart was wrapped up in clover
The night I looked at you
That I could speak to
A dream that I can call my own
I found a thrill
To press my cheek to
A thrill that I have never known
Oh and then the spell was cast
And here we are in heaven
For you are mine at last
I found a dream
"Happy Valentine's Day Stella," Mac said his voice filled with emotions as they stood there like no one else was in the room.