Author's Notes: When I first got the idea for a sequel for Wrong Place, Wrong Time, it was going to be just to have Stella and Brady get married. Then it kind of branched out to the case fic with the wedding in the background. Now with the case solved, the wedding festivities I originally planned can commence. Portions of this chapter were inspired by getting to watch some late season 3 episodes this week on Spike. I'm sure you'll catch the references. Probably two or three more chapters to get the nuptials complete. Hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: CBS, Anthony E. Zuiker, Carol Mendelsohn, and Ann Donahue own all rights to the characters and premise of the show. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
Lindsay stood in the middle of the visitor area of the airport, straining to see over the heads of everyone gathered around. She cursed, not for the first time, her small stature as she watched for the arrival of her dearest friend. She'd checked the board several times and she knew Stella and Brady's plane had landed twenty minutes earlier. How long did it take to retrieve bags from the baggage claim and make your way up? She looked down at her phone to make sure she hadn't missed them somehow.
"Lindsay!" The familiar voice cut over the buzz of chatter in the airport causing Lindsay's head to snap up and a wide smile to overspread her features. Stella practically threw a large garment bag at the handsome man beside her and ran the rest of the way to hug her dearest friend.
After enthusiastic greetings between the two women, Lindsay finally released her hold on Stella and turned to Brady. She hugged him warmly as well. "Welcome to New York, Brady."
"Glad to be here. Where are Danny and Lucy?"
"At the house. I should warn both of you that as soon as everyone at the lab discovered the two of you were coming in this afternoon, plans were made. I hope the two of you aren't worn out from the flight because you'll maybe get a couple of hours to rest before everyone starts dropping by."
"I wouldn't want it any other way." Stella assured her friend. She took the garment bag back from Brady since his hands were full pulling their other luggage and then linked arms with Lindsay as they headed out of the airport. "I can't wait to see your house. From the pictures you sent me it sounds like a dream."
"It is." Lindsay agreed. "Some days I come home from the lab and I just look around and can't believe that it's actually ours. I don't think I loved the house I grew up in as much as I do this one. It's perfect for us."
"Are you sure it's not an imposition having Stella and I stay with the three of you until the wedding?" Brady probed gently. "We appreciate it, believe me, but we don't want to put you and Danny out."
Lindsay rolled her eyes. "Please, our feelings would be hurt if you didn't stay with us. Everything is all set up. Now, no more talk about being an imposition. Got it?"
"Yes, Ma'am; not another word about it." Brady leaned over and kissed Stella's cheek as they walked.
It didn't take long to load their luggage in the back of the Avalanche. Lindsay looked at the garment bad that Stella carefully placed in the back. "Are those our dresses? I can't wait to see what you picked out for my maid of honor dress. I've been going crazy with curiosity. I know you sent me the link for the dress but a picture can't do it justice. Can I take a quick peek?"
"NO!" Stella almost shouted stepping between Lindsay and the garment bag. Lindsay gave her an odd look and the older woman quickly explained. "I want it to be a surprise. Besides, Brady's been trying to sneak a peek at my wedding gown and you know it's bad luck for him to see it before the wedding."
Still curious but satisfied with the answer, Lindsay let the matter drop - at least momentarily. Once everyone was buckled in, she pulled the truck from its space and headed out of the airport garage. As Lindsay drove, Stella pointed out different sights to Brady, feeling as if she'd never left. The atmosphere inside the vehicle was relaxed, friendly, and bordering on noisy. So noisy in fact that Lindsay almost didn't hear her phone beep with an incoming text message.
Almost as if no time had passed since the two had ridden together to a crime scene, Stella reached over and retrieved Lindsay's cell phone. She read the message, not trying to be nosey but knowing Lindsay couldn't do so while driving. She smiled. "It's from Danny. He says there is an 'egg-mergency' at home."
Lindsay smiled as well. "He and Lucy were going to make cupcakes for tonight while I was picking the two of you up. It was a consolation prize since Lucy wasn't going with me. Apparently the eggs didn't survive the attempt. If you don't mind, I'll stop at the bodega and pick up a carton on the way."
"Go ahead. I really hope you aren't going to too much trouble." Stella insisted but knowing it was a battle she had no chance of winning.
"Are you kidding? Now that we've got a full size kitchen I'm discovering I secretly married a cross between Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Betty Crocker. Who knew?"
A few minutes later, Lindsay pulled into a space right in front of the corner store and promised to be right back. Brady unbuckled his seat belt and leaned forward to kiss Stella. "Have I told you lately how much I love you Ms. Bonasera?
She returned his kiss with one of her own. "Not since we arrived in New York. I love you too, Mr. McWilliams. Have I told you how much I'm looking forward to being your wife?"
Brady grinned back at her. "Not since we arrived in New York. You've missed being here; I can tell. You're happy to be back here, aren't you?"
Stella nodded. "Yeah, I've missed being here; missed my friends but I wouldn't trade it for what I have now. I love my life in New Orleans. I love my life with you. I'm happy to be here but only because you are here with me."
They kissed again. Brady pulled back slightly, caressing Stella's cheek with his finger. "I'm sure it helps you to see Lindsay so happy. I know how much you've worried about her."
"She was getting back to herself when the attacks against the department happened. It's been weeks but I know everyone is still trying to deal with the emotional aftermath. I was afraid it was going to send her right back to that dark place she was in after the kidnapping. She sounded better but I couldn't be sure. I guess I worried about nothing. She's seems happy and centered."
"I know. It's amazing really. She's not the same woman she was when she and Danny came to visit in New Orleans."
"She's Lindsay again. The same Lindsay she was before the kidnapping. I'm sure she still has moments but it's like it never happened."
Brady took a glance to the back of the vehicle where their bags, especially the garment bag that held the dresses for the wedding, currently resided. "What do you think she's going to say when she sees her dress for the wedding?"
"She's going to flip her lid but she'll love it."
Lindsay emerged from the store and Brady sat back and refastened his seat belt. She set the bag to one side and looked at her two friends. "Sorry, there was a line. Apparently there's been a rash of 'egg-mergencies' tonight. Let's get you two to the house."
As soon as she turned into the driveway, the front door of the house opened and both Lucy and Danny stepped out on the front porch. The youngest Messer was jumping up and down in excitement, an excitement that was apparently shared by Stella who had her seatbelt off and door open before Lindsay could even put the Avalanche in park.
"Aunt Stella!" They met halfway and Stella scooped Lucy into her arms for welcoming hugs and kisses. It was an even noisier reunion than the one she had shared with Lindsay earlier at the airport.
"I think they are happy to see each other." Lindsay comment wryly as she opened the back of the truck to help Brady get the luggage out. Brady laughed and shook his head.
"I know she loves being in charge of the crime lab in New Orleans and I know she loves being with me but seeing how much she misses everyone here makes me wonder sometimes if she'd be happier if we moved here. It would be hard but I'd do it if it was what she wanted."
Lindsay reached over and squeezed his arm. "Whenever I go visit my family in Montana, my reactions are much more extreme than Stella's. However, as much as I miss everyone there and am glad to see them, it's not home any more. Even if Danny and Lucy agreed to move back there with me, I wouldn't go. Montana is my past and for the most part a great past but New York is my present and it's my future. It's the same way with Stella. Don't worry about her, Brady."
Brady ducked his head a little. "She pretty much told me the same thing while you were buying the eggs. I just want the very best for her. She's that important to me."
"You are the very best for her." Lindsay assured him. "Trust me, she wouldn't be marrying you if she didn't think so and those of us who love her here wouldn't be supporting the marriage if we didn't think so. Now, let's get your stuff inside; Lucy is going to want to greet her Uncle Brady next. Want me to carry the garment bag?"
Brady shook his head. "Not a chance. Stella would have my hide if she thought I was giving you a chance to take a peek."
"How about I help with the luggage and you, my beautiful wife, can see if you can extract our daughter from Stella." Danny greeted his wife with a kiss and then shook Brady's hand. "Good to see ya again.. Those two might be sayin' their hello's for another hour if we don't do something. Lucy is the only person I know of that can talk to Stella longer than Linds can without saying anything at all." He laughed as Lindsay swatted his arm but proceeded to get the luggage out of the truck.
As Brady followed the married couple up the walk, Lucy did break free of Stella as soon as she saw him. She launched herself at his legs hugging him tightly. "U'nca Brady, you came too?"
Releasing the luggage, he knelt down to her level and gave her a proper hug. "Of course I did, Miss Lucy. Couldn't let Stella come all the way to New York to see you by herself."
Lucy looked behind him. "Where's Roscoe?"
Roscoe was Brady's German Shepherd whom Lucy had fallen head over heels in love with when the small family had visited Stella in New Orleans. Brady ruffled her hair slightly. "Roscoe had to stay back in New Orleans to take care of the house. Besides, I hear you have a puppy of your own. Think you can introduce me to her?"
With the chance to introduce the newcomers to the fourth member of the Messer family, Lucy led the way into the house. The next few minutes were spent with Stella and Brady appropriately oohing and ahhing over Reese's. Then Danny was able to lure Lucy away with the reminder of making cupcakes now that Lindsay had brought more eggs. The toddler happily skipped her way to the kitchen for a thorough hand washing before cooking. Lindsay offered to give Stella and Brady the tour of the house.
After looking at the upstairs and the main floor, Stella turned to Lindsay. "This place is perfect for the three of you. And any more of you that comes along. And for such a reasonable price."
Lindsay smiled as she started to lead them to the basement to show them Danny's pride and joy. "Well, there are a lot of updates the house needs but nothing that we felt was truly pressing. So when we got the home loan we factored in those expenses but decided to use the extra money on some splurges instead of some of the less necessary updates. I gave Danny free reign to do whatever he wanted to the basement. I should warn you, Brady; your bachelor party will be held down there because it is the team's newest favorite hangout. Stella, Jo and I are taking you out on the town for your bachelorette party the same night."
"As long as I don't have to get John McEnroe to lick a lifesaver off a necklace and then ask him to buy me a condom, I'm okay with that."
Brady looked confused and a little horrified at the notion but the two girls just laughed remembering the crime scene that had vexed them all those years ago. Lindsay had almost completely forgotten about that case as so much had been going on at that time like her burgeoning relationship with Danny. "I promise we will not do anything that will cause your husband to be to be impaled on a condom machine.
Brady shook his head. "This conversation is getting a little to weird and way too painful sounding to me. Maybe I should go up and help Danny and Lucy make cupcakes."
Stella looped her arm around his waist and held him in place. "No way. Sounds like Danny's man cave might become your favorite room as well. You should see it."
Lindsay led the rest of the way down the stairs to the basement, flipping on a light as she did. The three adults stood at the base of the stairs, Lindsay with a proud smile on her lips as she saw the surprise and admiration on Stella's and Brady's.
One corner of the room was a large entertainment center complete with a large screen tv - much larger than the one upstairs in the living room. Several old couches that looked very comfortable for watching the game or whatever else might be going on. Behind that was a set-up for an in-home bar. Stella pointed out one piece of equipment that was proudly displayed on the back counter.
"Is that a kegerator?"
Lindsay nodded. "Triple tap. Danny figured why give Sullivan's all our money when we could have our own set-up right here at the house. Danny's gotten quite good at the bartending duties since we've moved in. If he ever needs to moonlight or quit the crime lab, he's got a second career all lined up."
Stella scanned the rest of the room. With the exception of the comfortable couches she did feel like she'd walked right into a sports bar. There was a dart board on one wall and on the other side of the room, a pool table. She smiled. "Danny got a new pool table. That's great. I know how much he hated to get rid of the one he had when the two of you got married."
Lindsay smiled softly. To the normal eye, it did look just like any other pool table, no different than any of the thousands of other pool tables in the city. However, Lindsay had recognized right away that this was no ordinary pool table. For a moment she allowed herself to be swept back to the memory of the day, right as they were moving into their new home, that Danny had showed her his surprise.
Lindsay sank into the living room couch wearily. It had been a long day of hauling boxes from the apartment to the house and then unpacking them. It had helped that all of their friends had been there to help. Mac had even given Sheldon and Jo who were technically on duty to help out provided they didn't pull a crime scene. The work had been hard but at long last everything that had once resided in their apartment was now in the house even if there were still more boxes that needed to be unpacked. Danny sat down next to her and pulled her close. She burrowed her head into his inviting chest.
"I'm glad to have had the help today cause I really don't know how we would have gotten everything done that we did." She admitted softly, her eyes were half-closed and the rhythmic sound of Danny's heart beat under her ear was quickly lulling her into an exhausted sleep.
"I hear a but in there. Babe, it's only eight o'clock. You aren't flaking out on me already are you?"
"Just resting my eyes." Lindsay argued then continued. "But I'm glad they didn't want to stick around tonight after the pizza ran out. I want everyone to feel welcomed here and it's going to be great having the space to entertain but I'm not feeling it tonight."
"To be fair, you are still recovering from what happened." Danny lightly raked his fingernails up and down Lindsay's arm not really wanting to relax her further into sleep but unable to keep his hands off his beautiful wife. She sighed contentedly.
"So are you. How's your back?"
"It's fine. None of the guys would let me even think about lifting any box heavier than ten pounds. I have a surprise for you."
Her eyes opened and she sat up, thoughts of sleep disappearing. "What kind of surprise? We've been so busy with the move you haven't had time to do anything but pack boxes."
Danny grinned, looking boyish and eager. "It's downstairs in the game room. Can I show you?"
The game room was probably the one room she hadn't been in at all that day. Now, looking back she wondered if that had been by design rather than accident. She shook her head confused. "A surprise for me? In the game room?"
Danny nodded and stood, holding his hand out to help her up. She let him pull her up and then lead her to the narrow staircase that led down to the basement. At the top of the stairs though, Danny stopped her and held up a black sleep mask one she hadn't seen since their early days of dating and he'd made a game of surprising her with things. "Can I? I don't want you to see it until I'm ready."
She trusted him with all of her heart. She knew he would never hurt her. In the past whenever he'd put the blindfold on her, it had led to some wonderful surprise or very pleasurable experience. But despite knowing all of that, her heart beat quickened and her breath caught in her throat at the thought of putting on a blindfold. Danny immediately sensed the change in her and tossed the sleep mask aside and pulled her close. "Aw Babe. I'm sorry I didn't think. Dammit."
Lindsay let him hold her for just a moment and then rose on her tiptoes to kiss him. "It's okay. Just one of those things. How about I promise to close my eyes instead? Once we get to the bottom of the stairs though. I know you would never let me fall but those stairs are so narrow you'd have to be behind me."
"Agreed." Danny instead led the way stopping on the bottom step to look back at Lindsay. "Okay, eyes closed, Babe." Satisfied that her eyes were closed he led her the rest of the way into the room. He wrapped his arms around her waist as he guided her into position. "Open your eyes, Montana."
She did and was surprised to see the pool table. She didn't have to ask to know that it was the same one that had once resided in a prominent place in Danny's apartment. But how had he gotten it back? In the days she'd spent in Montana after her surprise wedding to Danny, the task of packing up and moving his stuff to her apartment which was slightly bigger had fallen to him. She hated that he was having to sell the pool table because it meant so much to the both of them but it just didn't make sense to keep it with a baby on the way. She twisted and looked at him.
"How? You said you had a guy ready to buy it while I was in Montana."
He nodded. "I did. I even showed it to him. He was a nice kid; reminded me of myself when I first bought the table. I could imagine him and his buddies gathered around it, drinking beer, making bets, talking about girls. Everything I used to do. I couldn't sell it to him. Couldn't stand the idea that other guys would play pool on the same surface where I first made love to you. So I told him I changed my mind about selling; turned down better offer after better offer until he finally realized I wasn't haggling for a bigger price. Then I asked Ma and Pop if I could store it at their house along with my bike."
He laughed self-depreciatingly. "Ma accused me of trying to hang on to my bachelorhood days. I let her think she was right; couldn't exactly tell her what we'd done on the table. I mean you were big-as-a-house pregnant…" he dodged her sudden swat and continued. "So Ma kind of knew we'd you know…"
"Had sex? Admit it, you can't say sex within fifty words of mentioning your mom."
He blushed slightly. "So, can you?" Lindsay laughed but didn't deny it. "Are you mad? That I kept it?"
Lindsay kissed him once more. "Are you kidding me? I felt so bad that you were selling it. I wanted to tell you that we'd figure out a way to keep it but I didn't see how it would fit in our apartment with all the baby stuff. I didn't say anything because I figured you think I was just being silly and sentimental."
"You silly and sentimental? Never." He pulled her closer, his arms wrapped securely around her waist as she clasped her own hands behind his neck. "So Lucy is with my parents all night and the gang won't be back until late tomorrow morning to help us finish unpacking. What do you say we play a round or two."
Lindsay pulled Danny's head closer so that she could kiss him deeply. Then she started stepping backward, pulling him closer and closer to the pool table. Danny was almost instantly transported back to that night in his apartment, the night he finally discovered how wonderful loving Lindsay could be. Her hair was shorter and being a mom had rounded out all her curves in just the right places making her sexier than ever and they were both as sober as could be. But everything else seemed the same. The look in her eyes mirrored the lustful look she'd given him that night all those years ago. The way she almost seductively chewed at her bottom lip had him fully aroused. As her rear end bumped into the table, she rose up on her tip toes to nibble at his ear lobe. "I'd love to play around with you, Mr. Messer."
Danny obligingly lifted her up to sit on the edge of the pool table, his hands untucking her shirt from her waistband. His mouth blazed a trail from the top of her jawbone down to her slender neck. "I thought you were tired."
"We can sleep later. The pool table makes a pretty good bed."
The young mother jumped slightly as Stella's voice drew her back to the present. She blushed slightly. "Sorry."
Stella gave her arm a squeeze. "It's okay. I'm not sure where you went but it definitely seemed like a happy place. I hated to interrupt whatever you were remembering but Danny called down to say the gang was arriving. Brady's already headed back upstairs."
- CSI: NY - CSI: NY - CSI: NY -
"Danny's really in his element, isn't he?" Stella commented an hour later as everyone gathered in the backyard. Danny was holding court around the grill, a housewarming gift that everyone in the lab had contributed to, demonstrating to the guys his best grilling techniques.
"I'm not going to complain," Lindsay answered. "At this rate, I may never have to cook again." The doorbell chimed and Lindsay rose from her spot at the patio table that had been left behind by Mrs. Goldberg when she moved. "Let me get that. It's probably Jo. She's about the only one who still rings the bell when everyone gathers here."
Stella watched her friend go and then looked back out across the yard. Danny was busy at the grill and Lucy was on the other side of the yard having talked Brady into trying to teach Reese's how to fetch. She was taken back to the first day her friends had arrived n New Orleans and she and Lindsay had talked about just this very moment.
The sliding door leading out to the back yard slid open and Danny stepped back in. Lucy's laughter could be heard as she ran around the backyard playing with toys that Stella had also borrowed from her friend at work. "The grill is finally hot enough. You got the steaks ready?"
Stella nodded and started to get up but Danny waved her back to her seat and retrieved the meat from the kitchen before returning to the porch. Once the door slid shut again, Stella looked out to where he was carefully putting the steaks on the grill. "I feel bad. You three are my guests and he's out there cooking supper. I'm going to go take over."
Lindsay smiled and shook her head grabbing Stella's arm keeping her to her seat. "Don't you dare. Danny's feelings would be horribly hurt if you did. The only time he gets to grill is when we go to his parents house and he manages to wrestle grill duties away from his dad. Want to talk about fun fights to watch? Danny has made me promise that if we ever decide to buy a house, the first thing we have to buy for it is a grill. I'm all for it because I may never have to cook again."
It was times like this that Stella missed being in New York the most. "Are the two of you seriously considering getting a house? I know how much you both love being in the heart of the city."
Lindsay shrugged. "Maybe one day. Lucy would love having a backyard to play in all the time. Danny really wants us to have another baby and despite some of the not so great parts of pregnancy and labor I would too. However another child would mean we would need more room and a small house would make more sense than trying to find a bigger apartment. Sometimes looking into getting a house makes a lot of sense."
Stella knew her friend well even if she had been away for awhile. "I'm sensing a but in there."
"I don't want every emotional event of my adult life to mean a move. I get my dream job and I have to leave Montana to move to New York. When I got pregnant with Lucy and Danny and I decided to move in together we moved into a bigger apartment. Then Shane Casey breaks into that apartment and threatens my husband and daughter and once again, another move. Even if what happened to me didn't prompt the move to a house, I think I need more time to get past it before I seriously consider another move. Otherwise I'm afraid I'll always connect the house with the kidnapping and rape. Does that sound bad?"
"Not at all." Stella assured her. "Trust me, I know all about those emotional necessary moves. After what happened with Frankie there was no way I could stay in that apartment. It devastated me when I had to find a new place to live when that apartment was destroyed by the fire. When I moved here, the idea of finding a new place to live was terrifying. I didn't want to settle for the first thing that came along because I was in some sort of hurry to find something. I put my stuff in storage and got an extended stay suite for a month where I could look at my leisure. I felt really good when I found this townhouse. I was amazed that I was able to find something this big with a backyard for less than half of what I was paying in New York."
Lindsay's eyes bugged out. "Less than half? If I thought I could ever get Danny to agree to leave New York, I'd ask if you had openings in your lab for both us and we'd move in a heartbeat. This place is great."
With Danny's help with the door, Lucy came running into the living room and threw herself into her mother's lap. Her face was red from the exertion of playing and her little chest was fairly pounding from the humidity she wasn't used to. Stella pushed a couple of tendrils of her sweat laden hair out of the little girls eyes. "You having fun out there, Lucy?"
Lucy nodded and looked up at her mother. "I thirsy, Mommy. It's hot out there."
Laughing Stella got up to fix her something cold to drink. She gave the cup to Lucy who drank half of it in one long swallow. Then the little girl looked at Stella. "Aunt Stella, your yard needs a doggie."
Lindsay laughed. "Better watch it Stel, she'll have you talked into one before we leave if you give her half a chance. A grill is on the top of Danny's list for a house and a d-o-g is on the top of Lucy's."
Lucy drained her cup and then ran back outside to play some more. Stella waited until the door closed behind the little girl before turning her attention back to her friend. "So a grill for Danny and a pet for Lucy. What's on the top of your list?"
"Are you kidding? I have the absolute best husband in the whole wide world and a little girl who makes my heart almost burst with love every single day. Getting to come home to them is the only thing on my list."
It seemed like all their dreams were finally coming true. Stella couldn't help but think there was no family more deserving. The back door opened and Jo Danville stepped out. Stella rose and greeted the woman she'd become friends with while Lindsay was recovering from the kidnapping. Jo took a seat at the table. "Okay, I want to see the rock and the fiancé."
Obligingly, Stella held out her left hand. Jo gushed over the ring and then scanned the backyard for the unfamiliar face. She nodded toward the ring. "I approve." Then she nodded toward where Brady had given up trying to teach Reese's to catch and had allowed Lucy and the dog to tackle him to the ground. "And I definitely approve."
Stella looked back toward the house. "Where's Lindsay?"
"She'll be out in a moment. Danny's cell phone was beeping as we came through the house so she decided to check it real quick."
"Danville, glad you could make it. Where's Ellie?" Danny, carrying a platter of cooked chickens, stopped at the table to greet Jo with a quick kiss to the cheek.
"She and Tyler are sharing a brother/sister night. They don't get to do that much any more so she enjoys the opportunity when it presents itself."
Danny nodded. "I gotta get these inside and get the burgers and dogs to put on the grill. There's sodas and beers in the cooler over there."
"What, not using the kegerator?" Jo teased.
Danny simply shrugged. "I was all for it but Lindsay figured it was asking too much for everyone to be running up and down the stairs to the game room every time someone wanted a beer. I'll be right back."
Jo got up long enough to open the back door for him before returning to her seat. Danny carried the food into the kitchen and set the platter on the counter. He could see Lindsay sitting at the dining room table staring at a cell phone. Concerned by the look of bewilderment on her face, he stepped into the room. "Something wrong, Babe?"
She looked up at him. "My mom sent you a text message. Why are my parents coming to New York and why didn't I know about it? Is something wrong? Is someone sick?"
"Nothing's wrong. They're coming to the wedding, that's all."
Lindsay shook her head. "Why would my parents come all the way from Montana for Stella's wedding. They've never even met Stella. Danny, there's something you aren't telling me."
"Danny, need some help with the food?" Stella skidded to a stop as she could feel the tension in the room. Danny looked back at her.
"I think it's time." He didn't elaborate but Stella nodded her understanding and left the room. Danny knelt beside the table and took the phone away from his wife. "Babe, remember when you were getting ready to head to Montana before you had Lucy? I was torn up inside, not knowing what to do. I knew I loved you but I wasn't sure if that was enough. Mac had a long talk with me and he finally told me that I could either live in a place of fear or believe in the best possible version of myself. So I took a chance and asked you to marry me."
Lindsay shook her head, confused. "I know all this, Danny. What I don't know is why my parents are coming to New York."
"See, I tried to convince myself that I was choosing to believe in the best version of myself but really, I was still living in a place of fear. I was afraid you were going to get to Montana and decide you didn't want to come back. That you'd rather raise our child with your family close." Seeing she was about to protest, he held up his hand and continued. "I know you wouldn't have kept me away from my child but I was a mess back then. So in that place of fear I thought that if I married you before you went you'd have to come back to me."
"Danny…" Lindsay tried to break in but Danny hushed her with a quick kiss.
"I don't regret marrying you and I know you don't regret it either. But marrying you like that, in the clerk's office with only Stella and Mac to witness it, wasn't right. You deserve so much more. Your parents deserved more. WE deserved more. I don't think I ever really thought about it until you went missing. There were moments when I worried we wouldn't find you in time and that I'd have to raise Lucy alone. I could see this teenaged version of our daughter asking about you and our wedding and it didn't feel right to me. When we were in New Orleans, you told me about your childhood wedding dreams and I felt like a heel cause I robbed you of that opportunity. Then I saw the dress you were looking at and I knew I had to do something."
Lindsay shook her head. "Dress? What dress?"
"This one." Stella stepped back into the kitchen holding a beautiful white gown. The same white gown that Danny had pulled up after Lindsay had left the office that day she'd claimed to be looking at the gown Stella had picked for herself. It was even more beautiful in person.
Lindsay swiped at the tears that had slipped down her cheeks. She couldn't believe she was looking at her dream dress. The one she'd go to anytime someone she knew was getting married. The dress she'd known she'd never where but could imagine that she was the model on the computer screen. She looked back at Danny who took her hand in his and brushed his lips against her knuckles.
"Lindsay Monroe-Messer, will you marry me again?"