A/N: Forewarning: this does reference the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters or ideas created by Anthony Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn and Ann Donahue. I borrowed them for the entertainment and amusement of my audience.
SUMMARY: Mac's on a date!
GENRE: Romantic-Comedy (except for the very last sentence, which casts a shadow over the whole story)
DATE COMPLETED: January 28, 2011
Mac stared at her over the top of his menu. Her blue eyes were scanning her own menu up and down. She didn't appear to have noticed his eyes on her. He watched her tuck a stray lock of her brown hair behind her ear. He smiled as she bit down on her bottom lip, intense in her focus on what to have for lunch. He really should be looking at his own menu in an effort to make his own selection, but he couldn't take his eyes off of her. He'd never studied her so closely before. Her light brown hair appeared to have faint highlights when the light hit just right. Her blue eyes had the common tendency to lighten and darken depending on her mood. Her lips—
"What can I get for you two?"
She looked up and met Mac's eyes, giving him a broad smile before turning her attention to the waiter. "I'll have the chicken club on wheat, no side. Thanks."
Uncomfortably aware that he had not even glanced at the menu, he shifted in his seat while quickly scanning the page in front of him. Breakfast dishes. "I'll have the Midwest omelet with bacon and hash browns on the side. Thank you." He closed his menu and handed it back to the waiter. She followed suit, but Mac could see amusement in her bright blue eyes. She looked like she was suppressing laughter and he wondered what the joke was. The waiter left them to themselves once again.
"Mac Taylor. I never would have seen the day when you ordered breakfast for lunch." She reached across the table and placed her hand over his. He felt the warmth such a touch elicited and turned his hand over to grip her palm in an affectionate manner.
Comprehension dawned on him as he was finally let in on the joke. He flashed his half-smile across the table at her and replied, "I guess you didn't know I could be such a rebel." He brushed his thumb over the back of her hand, feeling the smoothness of her skin. He didn't think there was a flaw anywhere on her.
"I will definitely have to start paying better attention to your antics now. You might surprise me again." She looked down at their hands, fingers now interlaced and then back up at him. "How are things at the lab today?"
Reluctantly he pulled his hand away to rub his chin in thoughtful silence before answering her question. "Things are going the same as always. Crimes are committed, lab techs analyze evidence, suspects are questioned, the villain goes to prison." He shrugged nonchalantly. Straightening up, he seemed to recollect something. "Actually, I have a new investigator I am in the process of training. He just started two weeks ago. Some of my colleagues and superiors said I shouldn't hire him, but something about his file caught my interest." He gave a forced laugh, "I don't even know what it was, but I decided to take a chance on him."
She lightly tapped him under the table with her foot. "How's he working out? Is he making you regret giving him a chance, or is he making your colleagues and superiors eat their words?"
"It's too soon to tell, but he seems to be soaking everything up like a sponge." He sighed. "Only time will tell." He smiled over at her. "How about you? How are things at the office?"
She groaned theatrically while rolling her eyes. "Don't even get me started on that." She was prevented from elaborating by the arrival of their food. Mac knew her well enough to know that she was merely exaggerating with the eye roll and the groan, which meant she was probably just having an average day.
His inquiry after her day at work seemed to have left with the waiter and small talk in between bites of food occupied the remainder of their meal.
At one point during the meal, her fork sneaked across the table and stabbed a bit of his omelet and he found himself defending his food from her clutches with his own fork. She sat back in her chair, surprised. "What has gotten into you today? First you're ordering breakfast for lunch and now you're engaging me in fork wars over the table. Not to mention, you've been staring at me since we met up. You act like you've never seen me before." She pursed her lips together, waiting for him to respond. Her blue eyes had darkened in concern towards him.
He quietly set his fork down on the plate, staring at the little space of table visible between their plates. "I don't know. I just feel like we should be having more lighthearted fun together." His eyes left the table and traveled up to her face. Her lips had spread into a wide smile, showcasing perfect white teeth. She leaned towards him.
"We do have fun, lots of fun." She straightened up and turned her face to the window to look outside. "But, you're absolutely right. Our lives have become so mundane and average. We should liven it up a bit; be spontaneous." She furrowed her brow in concentration, and he could just see the wheels turning in her head as she tried to think of something spontaneous for them to do. Suddenly her eyes lit up and she turned back to him, her entire face glowing with the idea that had just occurred to her. "The opera! There's an opera that's running right now that I've been hearing glowing reviews about! We should go. Please!"
He chuckled at her pleading tone and begging eyes. How could he refuse her? He'd never refused her anything in their entire life together. He managed to keep silent for a bit longer to keep her on edge, but he couldn't deny her any longer. He smiled and nodded his head.
She practically squealed in delight and any other man would probably have looked uncomfortably around, worried about glances from the other patrons, but he had eyes only for her. She pulled her cell phone out and immediately set about calling the theater's box office. They both got to their feet and headed towards the door, him to pay the check and her to hail a cab. As he handed his card to the cashier, he watched her out of the corner of his eye. Time and again, she failed to hail a cab and he could see her getting more and more frustrated. The cashier handed his card back with the receipt. He signed the slip and left the restaurant.
"Idiot!" she exclaimed, leaping back from the curb as a car came barreling down the street, cutting dangerously close to the sidewalk. He came up behind her and spun her around, hardly giving her chance to say a word before he kissed her, only letting go once they were both breathless.
"Mac," she gasped. "There are people all over the place." She took a step back and Mac was pleased to see a slight blush creeping up her cheeks along with a lovestruck grin.
"I'm just being spontaneous." He bent to kiss her again and this time she wasn't caught so unawares.
Pulling back for air, she smiled up at him. "As much as I would love to stay here all day with you—well, maybe not here here—" she glanced up and down the busy New York City street, "but, I really do have to get back to the office."
"Let me help you with that." He stepped up to the curb and stuck his arm out in traffic with a facial expression that would dare the next cab driver to ignore them. Twenty seconds later, one had pulled to the curb right in front of the couple.
"Showoff," she glared mockingly at him. She opened the door and was about ready to get in, when she stopped. "Oh, the opera was sold out for tonight, but I got us two tickets for tomorrow night, seven o'clock. You'd better get your tux out tonight." He laughed and kissed her once more, this one a quick goodbye kiss, before closing the door on her cab and watching it pull away from the curb.
The lab was only three blocks away and Mac felt like a walk would do him some good. As he started up the sidewalk, dodging the lunchtime rush of foot traffic, he pulled out his phone and flipped to the calendar. Opera. 7PM. Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
How was anyone supposed to know what the next day held?