Disclaimer: I do not own CSI New York or any of it's characters.

Chapter Seventeen

Stella was up late that night, despite the fact that she was so tired her eyes were burning. The apartment was quiet. Madeline was tucked up in bed, fast asleep. Eventually Madeline had agreed that she needed to call her parents, but by the time she had made up her mind, it was already too late; the call would have to wait until tomorrow.

The thought of Madeline telling her parents that she was staying in New York made Stella feel incredibly anxious. She felt like she was stealing Madeline away from them, but she was an adult now, and she had to make her own decisions.

Stella thought about how dramatically her life would change once Madeline made that call. She had already missed practically a whole week's work and she couldn't afford to miss much more. Mac had been so helpful the past week, allowing Stella the time she needed, but there was only so much he could do. Stella looked around her apartment. She loved the place, and had finally got everything just how she wanted it, but there was no way that it was big enough for 2 adults and possibly a baby. She'd have to start looking for a new place first thing tomorrow. If Madeline decided to keep the baby, the new apartment would need to be completely baby-proof. Stella pressed her fingers against her forehead, as if she was trying to quieten the thoughts screaming in her head.

Was it possible to work her job, with the constant danger and the erratic hours, and still look after her pregnant daughter? As much as she loved Madeline, Stella knew how much attention she needed, and she wouldn't always be able to physically be there for her.

When Stella woke up the next morning, she was still fully clothed, sitting upright on the couch. She wasn't sure of the exact time, but she knew it was early, maybe 6 or 7 am. As she walked through her apartment to the bathroom, a feeling of sadness washed over her. She didn't want to leave her home, but as she said to Madeline, she had to face up to her responsibilities.

Stella stripped off and climbed into the shower at switched on the hot water, letting it fall all over her body. The heat instantly made her feel relaxed. She tried not to let herself think about everything that was bothering her.

As she stepped out of the shower, she wrapped a large fluffy white towel around her. She pulled some clean underwear and clothes out of the linen closet. Quietly she walked into her bedroom. To her surprise, Madeline was sitting up in bed, staring out the window.

"What are you doing up?" They said in unison.

Stella laughed at sat down on the bed and put her arm around Madeline's shoulders and kissed her on the top of her head. Madeline adjusted her position so that she was cuddled into Stella's side.

"I've been thinking about what I'm going to do." Madeline said.

Stella mentally prepared herself. This was it. Whatever Madeline said next was going to change everything.

"If you're really, seriously going to be there for me..."

"Which I am." Stella said, cutting her off.

"Then I want to stay with you, and keep the baby." Madeline stammered out the last bit.

Stella felt elated. She was proud that Madeline had made her own decision and was facing up to her responsibilities. There was also a part of her that was excited at the idea of having a baby around. As difficult as it was going to be, it would be an exciting new chapter in both of their lives.

"I'm proud of you Madeline. We've got a lot to get together now; 7 months will go by so quickly."

Madeline sat quietly for a few minutes, twisting the ends of her hair together and pulling on split ends.

"This is kind of terrifying." She whispered.

Stella thought back to when she was in Madeline's position. She remembered the unbelievable pressure, the fear, the worry and the anxiety. It was so daunting going through it all on her own, but for once she felt glad she did. Knowing what she did would allow her to give Madeline every bit of support.

"Yep, I know. It's scary but we'll get through it. Providing I don't get called into work, the first thing I'm going to do is set appointments to look for a new apartment, a bigger place with enough room for all of us. Then I'll call the doctors and set you up there. It's going to be okay, I've done this before, remember."

"Thank you." Madeline leant forward on her arms and kissed Stella's cheek. "I think I'm going to try and sleep again."

"Good idea. I'll wake you up in a couple of hours. I'm going to the grocery store, do you want anything?"

"No, thanks anyway, I'll see you later." Madeline lay her head back down and pulled the bed covers up over her head.

"Okay, love you." Stella smiled and closed the bedroom door, leaving Madeline to rest.

The grocery store was as quiet as expected early on a Saturday morning. The peacefulness allowed Stella to think clearly and the emptiness allowed her to amble around the aisles at her own pace.

As she walked through the store, she had a flashback to before Madeline had arrived in New York. Everything was different but it was exciting. Now, when she saw a mother and a baby together, it didn't bring back the feelings of guilt. She would do everything she could to be there for Madeline and the baby.

Stella rounded the corner of the baby aisle. She desperately wanted to feel the cart up with baby products; nappies, bottles, pacifiers – whole lot, but something was stopping her. She didn't want to scare Madeline or make her panic about everything that's going to happen. She was absent-mindedly comparing two different boxes of baby formula when she heard a familiar voice.

"Something you feel like sharing, Stella?" said Danny Messer, laughing too himself. "Do I need to be getting a 'Worlds Best Mother' card or something?"

Stella jumped when she realised who it was. How was she going to talk herself out of this one? Again she was left wondering whether she should talk about Madeline's pregnancy or whether she should just keep it quiet. She was going to have to tell eventually, so it may as well be now.

"Ah no, try world's best grandmother." Stella sighed. Saying the word 'grandmother' in reference to herself made her feel old.

Danny laughed out loud until he realised she wasn't kidding. He raised his eyebrows in shock. Stella still had her back partially turned to Danny. He grabbed hold of her shoulders and spun her round. Her eyes were red like she wanted to cry.

"You're serious?" Danny said looking her dead in the eyes.

Stella nodded, bit her lip and smiled. A smile spread across Danny's face, he wrapped Stella in his arms.

"That's fantastic! Tell Madeline, I said congrats." Danny kissed Stella on the cheek.

"It's all a little over-whelming if I'm honest. And thank you, but I'm not sure if she even wants me talking about it. She's going to stay with me though, here in New York, so I'm not losing her."

"Well whatever happens, Stell, we're all here for you." Danny hugged Stella again. "Now, I gotta get this stuff back to Lindsay. She's even demanding on a Saturday." Danny said, gesturing towards a shopping cart filled with groceries.

"Thank you." Stella replied. "I'll probably see you later anyway, I have so much paper work to catch on and I've not exactly had my eye on the ball this week."

"Ok, see you then Grandma." Danny pushed his cart off, laughing, before he could get it any trouble.

Stella put the box of baby formula back on the shelf and walked off, leaving the baby aisle behind her.