Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read, review, alert, and/or favorite my stories. That's so kind and very uplifting. Though I don't watch CSI: NY now, I am pleased it was renewed for an eighth season. I hang on to hope that Melina will come back, even if it's just for one episode.
Dedicated to lily moonlight. Happy birthday!
I own nothing. Just borrowing it for fun! Enjoy!
"Aunt Stella," the six-year old said, "these are the bestest days ever! I love it when you pick me up from school!"
Stella chuckled and opened the back door of the truck and helped the little girl climb inside. "These are my favorite days, too, Lucy Goosey."
Lucy giggled. "Hey! This isn't my seat," she said, indicating the booster seat.
"Very impressive, Miss Messer." No doubt she had her parents' attention to detail.
"I only know 'cause it don't have a chocolate milk stain on it."
Stella smiled as she watched the independent little girl flop into the stain-free booster and reach for the seatbelt, easily clicking it into place. "Your mom let you have chocolate milk in the car?"
Lucy shook her head. "Daddy did. Mommy yelled, then I got sad, 'cause I begged Daddy for the chocolate milk and promised I wouldn't spill it. But I did."
"It was an accident; you didn't spill it on purpose."
"No, but Mommy said I couldn't have it 'cause it would make me not hungry for dinner. But that's silly 'cause I always got room for dinner! Can we have dinos and trees for dinner?"
Stella grinned. "I think we can manage that."
"Yes!" Lucy exclaimed, her arms shooting skyward. "Thanks, Aunt Stella."
"Any time," Stella replied, shutting Lucy's door. As she slid behind the steering wheel, she knew there was nothing she wouldn't do for the little girl.
After a quick stop at the grocery store for fresh trees-broccoli, which Lucy ate for only Stella-dinosaur chicken nuggets, and chocolate chip cookies (because what was a sleepover without cookies?), the pair headed to Stella's with no definite plans except fun, fun, and more fun.
A few hours later, after the "bestest dinos and trees ever," according to Lucy, the pair finished cleaning up, and Stella carried the plate of cookies into the living room so they could have dessert while they watched a movie.
"I bought a new movie for us," Stella said.
"It's next to the TV."
Lucy raced to the TV and quickly found the DVD case. "It's 'Spicable Me!" she exclaimed, clenching the case in her hands. "This is my favorite movie!" she squealed, literally hopping back to where Stella sat on the couch. While hugging Stella-bouncing only slightly less than before-something caught Lucy's eye, and she gasped. "Uncle Mac!"
"There's my girl!" he said, crouching down as Lucy pulled away from Stella and raced to hug him.
"I'm so glad you're here. Did you know Aunt Stella got my favorite movie? It's 'Spicable Me," she said, showing him the case. "You can watch it with me and her!"
Mac chuckled. "Sounds like an excellent plan."
"I think so, too," Lucy nodded. Then she turned back to Stella, eyes wide. "Can Uncle Mac watch it, too?"
"Of course he can," Stella smiled.
Mac moved toward the couch and bent to kiss his wife.
"Why didn't you tell me you were coming home, Mac? I'd have fixed you dinos and trees, too."
"I wanted to surprise my two favorite girls," he said, kissing Stella again.
"You gotta have some real food, else you can't have cookies, Uncle Mac! That's what Mommy always tells me."
"Then I guess I'd better eat dinner because I love cookies!"
"Uh-huh!" Lucy nodded. "You eat, and me and Aunt Stella's gonna change into our 'jamas, 'cause we always watch movies in our 'jamas. Can we have popcorn, too?"
"Lucy, you just ate!" Stella laughed. "Where are you going to put all this food, in your shoe?"
"Nope, in my belly!" Lucy exclaimed, patting her belly with her free hand, the other hand still holding the movie. "Please? We can't watch 'Spicable Me without popcorn. And cookies."
"All right," Stella grinned and shook her head. "Maybe Uncle Mac will fix the popcorn while we change."
"Will you?" Lucy asked.
"You got it, Luce," Mac agreed. He could never tell her 'no.'
Fifteen minutes later, the 'jama-clad trio sat down to watch the movie. Lucy insisted on sitting in the middle and holding the bowl of popcorn on her lap and a chocolate chip cookie in each hand. As the previews and legal notifications played, Lucy sighed. "Just play the movie, already!"
Finally, the movie started, and Lucy happily munched on a cookie. "The minions are so cute! I got a minion at home. I wish Mommy put my minion in my bag so I could show it to you."
Though she'd seen the movie many times, Lucy grew silent, eyes glued to the television.
Well into the movie, cookies and popcorn already gone-mostly Uncle Mac's doings-Lucy shifted and glanced up at Stella. "Aunt Stella, why did you go to Orleans?"
"Well, sweetie," Stella began, certainly not expecting that question, "I got a really good job, and at the time, I thought that was what was best for me."
Mac gave her an encouraging smile and reached over and squeezed her shoulder reassuringly.
"But you came back 'cause you missed me and Uncle Mac?"
Stella felt a lump in her throat, but grinned and kissed the top of Lucy's head. "Yeah, that's exactly why I came back."
"I'm glad you did, 'cause you belong here with me and him."
"I know," Stella replied, happy tears sliding down her face.
Lucy yawned and rubbed her eyes. "I'm not sleepy!" she declared. "I want to stay up forever so's I can see you and Uncle Mac more!"
She stayed awake as long as she could, but eventually Stella heard Lucy's breathing change and felt the little girl lean against her heavily, indicating that she was already deep in sleep.
Mac noticed, too, and slowly stood and gathered Lucy in his arms, careful to not wake her. He tucked her into bed and kissed her forehead then quietly left the room, closing the door behind him.
He sat down on the couch again, this time in the seat Lucy had previously claimed. He put his arm around his wife and kissed her temple as she leaned against him. "You and Lucy are really bonding."
"Yeah, she's a great kid. I'm lucky to have her in my life. We're lucky. Oh, no!" Stella exclaimed. "We forgot to brush Lucy's teeth!"
"I think she'll be okay if she misses it this one time," Mac grinned and pulled her even closer.
"Okay, but we're brushing her teeth first thing when she wakes up."
"And Danny and Lindsay will never have to know about it."
The movie played on, and as the credits rolled, Stella couldn't help but relate to the movie. Everyone was right where they belonged.
"You know," Mac said, almost as if he could read his wife's mind, "Lucy's not the only one who's glad you came back from New Orleans."
Stella smiled and patted his leg. "I know," she replied, initiating a sweet kiss. "What I needed was always right here."
Thanks for reading!