Never Simple, Never Easy

Chapter 1: You Belong with Me

You're on the phone

With your girlfriend

She's upset

She's going off about

Something that you said

'Cause she doesn't get your humor

Like I do

"Detective Bonasera?" the receptionist pokes her head into Stella's office. When the detective looks up, she continues. "I have a woman who would like to speak with Detective Taylor. Do you know when he'll be returning?"

"Um… he should be back in fifteen minutes or so. I can try to help her if she needs something."

"She said that she is… Detective Taylor's girlfriend."

"Oh…" Stella frowns, having not been aware that he was dating again. "Well, you can bring her to my office if you want, and she can just wait for him here."


Stella sets her pen down, wondering why Mac hadn't told her about his date. I guess we're just not as close as we used to be, she thinks as the receptionist returns. She stands to greet the woman. "Hi, Stella Bonasera," she holds her hand out to the blond woman.

"You're his partner?" his girlfriend blurts out, shocked.

Stella hesitates, not sure how to take the comment, "…Yes."

"Oh… so where is Mac?" she says, not bothering to introduce herself.

"Out. On a case."

"He'll be back soon?"

"As long as traffic isn't too bad."

The blond woman looks curiously through the glass walls of the lab, perhaps checking to see if there were any other threats to her there, "So what do you guys do here? Just look at microscopic things all day and hope they lead you to the bad guy?"

"Not really… Haven't you and Mac talked about this?" Stella answers, wondering what on earth had attracted Mac to this woman.

"Not really. We mostly talk about me. He's such a gentleman, you know; he doesn't mind listening to me talk."

"How long have you two been dating?"

"Tomorrow's our five month anniversary," the blond woman turns back to the detective. "How long have you and Mac been working together?"

"Thirteen years."

"Wow… And you've never, like, slept together or anything?"

I'm in the room

It's a typical Tuesday night

I'm listening to the kind of music

She doesn't like

She'll never know your story

Like I do

"…No…" Stella slowly says; this woman apparently didn't understand them. "What exactly do you do for a living?"

"I'm a dancer."

A dancer, Mac? You can do better than her, Stella thinks to herself, wondering what kind of dancer. "What kind of dancing do you do?" she finally asks, seeing that the woman was not going to elaborate but not sure that she wanted to know. Surely Mac wouldn't date a prostitute…

"All different kinds. I haven't been in any major productions yet, but I'm sure it'll happen soon. And I sometimes give lessons at a studio down the street from my apartment."

"Oh… I used to dance when I was little."

"That's interesting," she says, though she clearly did not find it interesting at all. She turns around to check the halls again and sees Mac stepping off the elevator. "He's back," she exits the office, and Stella follows her after a moment.

"Hey," Mac smiles when he sees his girlfriend. "What are you doing here?"

"I came to see if you wanted to go to dinner tonight since rehearsal was cancelled."

"That sounds great. I'll pick you up around seven."

"Okay. So… how about a tour?" she asks, reluctant to leave.

"Why don't you go to my office over there and wait while I do a few things?" he says.

After she is gone, Stella steps forward to speak with him, a smirk on her face. "You're dating again?"

"I guess you met Amanda."

"Amanda? A dancer? Mac, what is wrong with you?"

"What are you talking about?"

"We're going to talk later, Mac. After work. Before you see her again. And just some advice… don't let her talk to anyone on your tour," Stella takes the evidence bags out of his hand as he stands there, perplexed by her words.

"Stella?" he calls after her, not understanding what she said, but she does not turn back.

But she wears short skirts

I wear t-shirts

She's cheer captain

And I'm on the bleachers

Dreaming about the day

When you wake up and find

That what you're looking for

Has been here the whole time

Danny enters the layout room where Stella is processing the evidence that Mac had brought in. "Have you seen Mac's girlfriend?" he smirks.

"Sadly I have," Stella looks up at him.

"I think she might be worse than all the girls that I have dated."

"All of them?"

"Yes. However, she might not be as bad as some of the girls Flack's been out with."

"I have no clue what he sees in her. It's obviously not her brains. She's pretty but not that good looking, although I've never known Mac to pick a woman based solely on her looks."

"How long have they been dating?" Danny asks, pulling on a pair of gloves to help her.

"She said five months."

"He's put up with her for that long?"

"I know. I could barely stand to spend fifteen minutes with her."

"Maybe you need to knock some sense into him, Stella. I mean, he's more likely to listen to you; if I go in there and tell him his girlfriend's an idiot, he'd fire me."

She smiles, "I told him we have to talk."

"Hey, Lindsay wanted me to tell you that Lucy took her first step yesterday."

"Really? Isn't she a little young to be walking?"

"Oh, I think it'll be a while before she's actually going somewhere. And Lindsay said that babies walk at different times, but she is on the earlier end."

"Well, congratulations, Danny. You know, if you ever want me to babysit so you two can have some alone time, I'm willing to watch her."

"Thanks. We might take you up on that offer," Danny says, turning back to work momentarily. "Stella, I think you and Mac should have kids."

"What?" she stares at him.

"You and Mac are so intelligent; you could have genius kids that skip a bunch of grades and make a difference in the world. And maybe they'd be walking at six months and talking at a year."

"Danny, Mac and I are just friends. We're not even that close anymore. Besides, he's got a girlfriend, albeit one that probably has an IQ below a hundred," Stella looks out the glass wall as the two pass by.

If you could see

That I'm the one

Who understands you

Been here all along

So why can't you see

You belong with me

You belong with me

Mac knocks on Stella's office door before entering. "You wanted to talk to me."

She looks away from her computer screen, "Yeah. How did you find Amanda?"

"She bumped into me at the coffee shop one morning and spilled her coffee all over me. And then she gave me her number."

"And why exactly are you still with her?"

"Because she makes me happy. And we have a lot in common."

"Really? You have a successful and acceptable career, manners, and a brain. And she has… no brain, no manners, and no job."

"She's a dancer, Stella. She doesn't make much money from it, but she loves doing it. Like I love being a cop."

"Can she count any higher than eight, Mac?"

He frowns, "Stella, don't do this."

"Do what, Mac? What do you see in her?"

"I don't have to listen to you if all you're going to do is insult my girlfriend."

"She's a moron, Mac. You can do so much better than her."

"You're just jealous," he turns toward the door.

"Of what? And she's the jealous one; she was astounded that I was your partner."

"She has no reason to be jealous of you; she knows I love her."

"Are you on drugs, Mac? Because the Mac Taylor that I know and that I was friends with wouldn't be caught dead dating someone like Amanda."

"People change, Stella. Maybe you should open up and try to find someone that will make you happy too."

Stella hesitates before speaking again, angry at him for comment on her lack of a love life. "Do you really think that Claire would approve of Amanda as a replacement for her if she were still alive?"

"It doesn't matter what Claire thinks; she's gone. And it doesn't matter what you think or anyone else," Mac storms out of her office.

She watches him go, seriously worried about his mind. Maybe one case too many got to him…

Walking the streets

With you and your worn out jeans

I can't help thinking

This is how it ought to be

Laughing on a park bench

Thinking to myself

Hey, isn't this easy?

"Hey, Stella," Flack calls down the hallway. "I've got a big lead on the case. Can you give these to Mac for me?"

"Oh, we're, uh, not exactly speaking at the moment."

"Danny told me about his girlfriend," he hands the papers to her despite her protest and jogs to the elevator.

Stella sighs and turns toward his office. Mac waves her in before she gets a chance to knock. "Flack wanted me to give these to you. He had to run off on a lead."

"Thanks," the detective takes the paper. "Do you have a minute, Stella?"

"Sure," she says, hoping he didn't want to talk about his girlfriend again.

"I'd like your opinion on our case. Maybe you can shed some light on it, give us somewhere else to look because Hawkes and I are out of ideas."

"Okay," she takes the file from him and opens it.

Mac clears a spot on the corner of his desk, and she sits down. He stands next to her, their backs to the door, and helps to explain the scene to her. "We found her in her apartment, gunshot wound to the back of the head."

She listens as he explains, racking her brain for something the two might have missed or a connection that they had not made. "Did she have a boyfriend?"

"Yeah, he texted her right before the time of death but has a solid alibi for the three hours around the time. He has no idea who could have done this to her."

"What about at work? Have you talked to her coworkers?"

"Yeah, she wasn't particularly close to any of them. They didn't know of anyone who would have wanted to kill her."

She looks up from the files to ask him something else but immediately forgets what her question is when she realizes how close they are.

The door to his office opens, but the two don't notice. "What are you two doing?"

And you've got a smile

That could light up this whole town

I haven't seen it in awhile

Since she brought you down

You say you're fine

I know you better than that

Hey, what are you doing

With a girl like that

The two detectives spring apart from one another. Amanda crosses her arms, waiting for an explanation.

"We were just discussing a case," Stella finally says.

"Do you have to be that close to my boyfriend when you discuss your cases?"

"No, but we were both looking at the crime scene photos. Would you care to take a look?" Stella asks, smirking.

Amanda scrunches her nose up at the thought. Ignoring Stella, she turns to Mac. "I was wondering what you would like me to cook for dinner tonight to celebrate our anniversary."

"Um… It doesn't really matter to me, dear. Whatever you want to make is fine with me. Or we could always go out."

"No, I promised you that I'd cook."

Stella sets the file on Mac's desk, "I'll talk to you later, Mac." She exits the office, not wanting to be in the same room with Mac and his girlfriend.

Amanda moves closer to Mac, "So is that really all you were doing? Looking at a file?"

"Yes. What else would Stella and I be doing?"

"Oh, I don't know… She's an attractive woman, and you've known each other for thirteen years…"


"You don't feel anything for her?"

"Yes, I care about her as a friend. Nothing more."

Amanda eyes him for a moment before returning to the topic of their anniversary. "I have something special for you tonight."

"Oh… I don't suppose you would give me a hint?"

"Absolutely not. You're a detective; isn't it your job to figure out what it is?"

Mac smiles, wondering why anyone could not like her. "I need a hint; I always get a hint at work as to who the bad guy is."



"No," she leans forward to kiss him. "Now, I'll see you at seven-thirty. Don't be late."

"I won't," he continues smiling as he watches her walk to the elevator.

She wears high heels

I wear sneakers

She's cheer captain

I'm on the bleachers

Dreaming about the day

When you wake up and find

That what you're looking for

Has been here the whole time

"Stella," Flack calls. "All of us are going to grab a drink later. Do you want to come with us?"

"Does 'all of us' include Mac?" she turns around to face the detective.

"No… he said he had plans. Are you two still fighting?"

"Maybe… I don't really know. He has to celebrate his five month anniversary with Amanda tonight; that's why he can't come."

"Sullivan's at seven?" he asks, ignoring her confusion with her relationship with Mac.

"Sure," Stella says, checking her watch to see how much time she had before she could leave.

When Stella arrives at the bar that evening, everyone is already seated at a booth in the back. Adam scoots over so she can slide in while Flack signals that waitress to bring another beer. They spend the next hour talking about work and drinking. Occasionally someone mentions Mac's girlfriend, but Stella remains silent in that part of the conversation.

One by one everyone leaves until only Danny, Lindsay, and Stella are left. "Do you want to head home? I want to talk to Stella for a few minutes," Lindsay whispers to her husband as the older detective is preoccupied with her beer bottle.

He nods, understanding, and slides out of the booth, "See you Monday, Stella."

"Night, Danny," she says, not realizing that the couple was separating.

"So what do you think about Mac dating?" Lindsay asks quietly.

Stella looks up at the younger female, "I don't mind him dating; I think it's good for him. But she's not his type, not what he needs."

"What is he doing with her?"

"I have no clue. He said they have a lot in common, but I… can't imagine what those things are."

"Do you need someone to help you get him to dump her?"

Stella shakes his head, "Not right now. But if he tries to marry her… we will definitely have to intervene. Hopefully he realizes that what he needs is right in front of him before he gets to that point."

If you could see

That I'm the one

Who understands you

Been here all along

So why can't you see

You belong with me

Standing by and

Waiting at your backdoor

All this time

How could you not know


You belong with me

You belong with me

"Did you just say what I think you did, Stella?" Lindsay asks, surprised that she had actually just admitted that she had feelings for Mac Taylor.

"I guess I did."

"Tell him."

"What good would that do? We'd just end up in the worst fight we've ever had."

"He loves you, Stella. He's just… Mac. He's too afraid to tell you how he feels."

"And how do you know what Mac feels?"

Lindsay smirks, "Danny followed me to Montana because he loved me; Mac followed you to Greece – that's pretty far for someone who's just your friend."

The older detective sighs, looking back down at her beer bottle. "It's different for me and Mac; we can't have a relationship."

"Because of the department or because you're friends?"

"Both. Sinclair would fire us if he found out, and if this relationship didn't work out, I'd lose my best friend."

"Or you could have a wonderful life with the man you love and who will always return your love instead of missing the biggest opportunity in your life."

"Maybe it would be the biggest mistake of my life."

"You won't know unless you try it," Lindsay smiles. "You know, when I first came here I thought the two of you were dating. Danny thought I was nuts when I asked him. But I could really see a connection between the two of you. You two are closer than every other pair of friends that I've seen; you're closer than most of the married couples that I've seen."

"I don't think we're as close as you think we are. I didn't even know Mac had a girlfriend until she showed up at the lab the other day."

"Are you really willing to let him waste time with the dumb blond that he's with when the two of you could be together?" Lindsay asks. When Stella doesn't answer, she stands up and puts her coat on. "I should be getting home. Don't drink too much," she gives Stella a small smile before leaving.

Oh, I remember

You driving to my house

In the middle of the night

I'm the one who makes you laugh

When you know you're about to cry

And I know your favorite songs

And you tell me about your dreams

Think I know where you belong

Think I know it's with me

Stella wakes up to persistent knocking on her door. She slowly gets out of bed and pulls on her robe before going to the door, wondering who on earth would be at the door early on a Saturday morning. She doesn't even check who it is before opening the door.

"Did I wake you?" Mac asks upon seeing her.

"Kind of," she turns to check the time and finds that it is after nine o'clock.

"Sorry," he mumbles, looking down at his feet. "I, uh, brought you breakfast," he holds up a bag and a cup of coffee.

"Since you brought breakfast, I guess I'll let you in," she moves out of the way. As soon as she has closed the door behind him, she turns around, "Why aren't you with Amanda?"

He looks down at his feet again, "We had a fight. I was fifteen minutes late because I was trying to finish processing the vic's clothes again and then traffic was bad on the way to her apartment."

"Oh… I'm sorry that it's over."

"No you're not," Mac says, looking back up at her face again. "You didn't like her."

"You did."

"You were right about her. We didn't have anything meaningful in common, and she wasn't my type."

"Told you so," she smirks and holds her hand out to take the coffee from him. As she takes a sip, she turns to the kitchen, and he follows her. She watches him get two plates out of her cupboard and bring them to the table where she is seated. "So why did you come here?"

"I don't really know… I guess I thought you should be the first to know since I never really told you that I had a girlfriend," Mac puts her jelly-filled doughnut on a plate and hands it to her before getting himself one.

"Is this your idea of comfort food?"

"No," he eyes her for a moment. "Cops are supposed to like doughnuts."

Can't you see

That I'm the one

Who understands you

Been here all along

So why can't you see

You belong with me

Standing by and

Waiting at your backdoor

All this time

How could you not know


You belong with me

You belong with me

"So have you been seeing anyone?" he asks her.

"I don't see why I should tell you when you don't tell me about your dates. But… no, I haven't."

"Stella, you can't run background checks on every guy that asks you out; you'll never find someone that way."

"Maybe I'm just not interested in them."

"If you're not willing to even give these guys a chance, you must have someone in mind that you'd like…"

"So what if I do; he couldn't possibly feel the same way."

"Who is he?"

"Why are we talking about my love life?" she sets her doughnut down and takes a sip of coffee. "Can't we talk about something other than how pathetic we are?"

"I suppose we could."

"What are you doing today?"

"Oh, nothing much. I was going to go to the gym later. And probably go in to do paperwork. You?"

"Grocery shopping. So thanks for sparing me from Cheerios for breakfast for the fifth day in a row."

"The annual department dinner party is coming up in a few weeks," Mac says.

"I suppose I should go shopping for a dress for that soon. I wonder if Lindsay has gone shopping for a dress yet…"

"I thought maybe you'd like to go together as friends since neither of us has a date yet," he asks, looking at his feet again.

"Yeah, that'd be nice, Mac. Better than having to find some random guy to go with or going alone and having to dance with every other single police officer there," she smiles, hoping that this invitation could lead to more in their relationship.

"So… I guess I should leave you so you can go shopping."

She opens her mouth to tell him that he didn't have to go, that they could do something together if he wanted, but doesn't, deciding not to push him too far. "Yeah…" They walk to the door together. "I really am sorry that you and Amanda broke up. She seemed like a nice girl; she just wasn't your type."

He gives her a small smile, "See you later, Stel."

Have you ever thought

Just maybe

You belong with me

You belong with me

A/N: All four songs used in this story belong to Taylor Swift. I'm not quite sure how I came up with this idea; I think I was listening to her CD and thought a few of the songs applied to Mac and Stella so I combined them to make a story. I think I wrote this back in like February or something and just never got around to posting it. And I really don't think Mac would date a girl like Amanda; I just used her because she's the exact opposite of what Mac needs, to show that Stella is what he should have. Anyway... happily ever after is still a ways off for the two even without Amanda in the picture. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave your comments.