A/N: I was bored one day and decided to take a little break (again!) from my main story, The Message. So here's what I've came up with and I hope you'll enjoy it. The parts in italics are the past, just to clarify lol! I had this idea bottled up for SUCH A LONG TIME! So, I decided to finally write it all out and I hope you guys enjoy!
Yes, the beginning of this story will be VERY confusing and that is my goal! Then you will slowly begin to realize who is actually telling this story. :)
Disclaimer: I do not own CSI NY!
A life I gave to someone else
I'd never imagine that a simple errand to the local café in downtown Manhattan could end up reopening a history of wounds and scars. Actually, I would never imagine that my life would end up like this just because of one decision and my unwillingness of letting go.
Autumn, a season of such beauty and colours - a graceful medium between the hotness of summer and the chills of winter. It's a season where I love to fill my house with a bundle of warm, earthy décor, pumpkin spice candles, and cranberry stuffed turkey. A season of beauty, a season I love to embrace with everything I am. But such beauty could never mask the pain behind the smile I fake.
Thousands of people live in this city but I just had to run into him. I saw him there across the busy street and those feelings came back again. I was going to turn around and run into a little shop to conceal myself from him but my stance was frozen to the spot as I saw him flash a smile and a wave. I tried not to think that I was the one he noticed but I knew the one he saw was me. I just knew. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide as his eyes met mine. I started to tremble with something more than fear.
The feeling was something so strong, so powerful that no amount of words can explain. It had been seven years but the world stood still around me and my knees weakened, threatening to collapse me at any second.
"Hey, I just came by and maybe we could whip up something to eat." He said as he walked into my house with two brown grocery bags in hand and a smile painted across his face.
"Yeah sure, come in." I said dishonestly. I closed the door behind me as I watched him walk in front of me and into the kitchen. I let out a short sigh as I felt something wanting to explode inside of me. How was I going to tell him? How was I going to say that I can't do this anymore? That it was killing me inside?
"I got some chicken breasts and whole wheat pasta! Chicken parmesan, how does that sound?" He asked gracefully with all the love in the world in his eyes.
"That sounds great."
It was probably ten seconds but it seemed like ten decades had just flipped by. We finally met in the middle of the street and he opened his arms. For a flash of a moment, I didn't know what to do. What does that gesture mean? Then I suddenly remembered, I too opened my arms and our bodies fitted together in a warm embrace. His subtle cologne lingered into my senses and chills were sent up and down my body as I closed my eyes slightly. He smelled so good.
He noticed the honking cars as they watched our quick embrace and he let out a little laugh. That laugh… that laugh melted my heart- right there, in the middle of the street. He suggested that we go sit in a little café as he pointed to the small architecture behind me. Has he forgotten? That was our café. We would go there all the time as lovers and now we're going as strangers. "Sure, I'd love to." I said honestly, not knowing what was going to happen in there.
As we walked to the small café, he said to me ever so sweetly, "How have you been? It's great to see you again. You're really a sight for sore eyes." Did he really have to say that? Why do you have to tear me apart with such wonderful complements? You stupid, stupid man. Why did I have to fall in love with you? Why am I still falling in love with you?
I said to him quietly with a smile, "I can't complain… I'm doing fine."
"I'm fine…" I lied as I angled my body away from him and folded my arms across my chest. My head hung low and I looked at my toes. I told myself not to cry, not one single drop because once I start crying… I don't know when it would stop.
"Hon, I've known you long enough and I know when you're lying." He said honestly. He knew me so well; he was so good at what he does. He was a good detective… sometimes too good. That was what was killing me.
"I'm fine… I don't feel well, why don't we have dinner another time?" I suggested with fear in my heart. You know, I really wanted him there… but I also wanted him out of my life. Perhaps it was to protect me from going through that pain again. Whenever I look into Mac's eyes, for some reason I see a long history I shared with another man.
"Come on, you can tell me."
"I'm fine, just leave me alone!" I shouted at him. I don't know why I raised my voice but I wanted him to leave so bad but at the same time I didn't. I just needed a minute so I could think about what was happening between us.
As we entered the café, we sat in a booth near at the end of the little interior – a booth that was much farther away than our usual one. The waiter quickly approached us and asked for our order. He graciously ordered, "black coffee for me and she'll have a London fog, light on the sugar." He paused for a bit and continued, "do you still have oatmeal muffins on Fridays?" and the waiter responded with a simple nod as he added, "She'll take one of those too." After all these years, he still remembers what I order.
What do I have to do? Where do I have to go – to get you out of my memories, to leave you behind? Nothing… I can't do anything, I keep on loving you.
"I'm sorry! I just need space!" I hollered again. I really didn't need any space. I wanted him there with my for my whole life but I knew that wasn't possible. It would just open up scars that took years to stitch up and heal. I just couldn't do it.
"You're the one who also said that I don't spend enough time with you, and now that I'm here… you're pushing me away!" He said with a raised voice. I have never seen him angry and this was the first time. Now I got the sense that he was truly committed to me and I was about to break his heart.
"I'm not pushing you away! I just need some space!"
"We haven't seen each other in nearly a month! You know how much I missed you?" He asked with a sincere heart. He had his hands gripped onto the edge of the counter and I could see his knuckles turn white. It scared me a little to know how much he cared.
"I missed you too but you don't understand!"
"What don't I understand? Just tell me, did I do something wrong? I'll change, I promise I will." He vowed promisingly. There was nothing wrong him, he was absolutely perfect. It was me who had to change. I had to change my inability to let go of the past.
"Will you give up your job for me? Will you?' I asked him with a raised voice. I didn't want to ask this question but I absolutely I had to. I knew the answer, his job meant too much for him.
The waiter came by and dropped off his coffee, my tea & muffin and then quickly scattered away to another table. We laughed about old times and all we went through.
I tuned out a lot as I kept staring into those deep, beautiful eyes and I looked at his lips. I remembered what those lips tasted like; soft, sweet… beautiful. When I looked down to stir my tea, I noticed something on his left hand; something that gleamed with joy and commitment. He's married... My heart hitched in my throat and I slowly swallowed it down.
I also noticed how he was dressed and it was very different from what I used to know. He had left his usual attire of a suit and tie behind for something more casual, homier. He was sitting in a casual faded green sweater and dark blue jeans; something of her inspiration.
"Yeah, that's what I thought…" I said softly and turned around. His silence said it all.
"Why did you come here anyway?" I asked sternly with my back towards him. The quietness between was killing me inside.
"I came here to cook for you, to take care of you, to love you and I want to do that for the rest of my life." He answered in his low, husky voice that made me go weak at the knees. But I had to stay strong. I needed to make this right. The concern in his voice shattered my heart instantly.
"What are you talking about?" I turned around to ask him directly in the eyes.
"I'm talking about how I want to marry you!" He said with a raised voice as he made his way around the kitchen island, slowly towards me.
"No, I can't…" I said softly with my head hung low.
"Honey, why not?" He was quickly stepping closer to me, almost closing the space between us.
"I just can't. I can't bare to lose another and I don't love you anymore!"
I screamed back at him. That was a complete lie. I loved him with all my heart but I couldn't give my heart to someone who is willing to sacrifice their life for someone else's. I had to live with that years ago and I couldn't do it again. From a very young age, I watched my brother leave the house with his gun and his blue uniform but one day… he didn't come home anymore.
I saw a woman in the corner of my vision walking into the café and I pushed it out of my mind when she walked in with a smile on her face. It confused my mind when I saw the woman walking closer and closer to the table where we sat. And that's when she walked up to him.
"Christine… my wife." He said with a huge smile painted on his face. He got up and kissed the woman and placed his hand on the small crook of her back. He turned to face me and said, "You've met many times before."
"I hope you regret what you're saying right now." He said sternly with his deep hurt in his eyes as he stepped away from me. That distance was too far and I just wanted to pull him closer to me, to accept his proposal but I can't. I just can't. It would just hurt me too much. When he was in the hospital bed, I couldn't sleep for weeks, I couldn't eat. God forbid if something that happened to Stan happened to him, I wouldn't want to live.
I too got up and stuck out my hand, gently caressing hers in mine. I looked at her, she was absolutely beautiful and I've seen her before. I could imagine this woman making him happy. She loved him, I knew it. In the hospital she even said it herself, "I just love him, can't help it…" I gave my best smile but I was dying inside. It was an awkward moment between us and she knew it herself. I decided to break the silence by saying, "Hello Jo."
"How ya doin'?" She asked me in her predominant southern accent as she graciously reached out her hand.
"I'm doing, great." I lied. "How long have you two been married?" I asked kindly.
"Six years, and lovin' every minute of it." She responded with a big smile.
And with that he slammed the velvet box on my kitchen counter. Tears were flowing freely from my eyes as I watched him slam the door to leave… leave my life forever. I took the box and gently opened it. Inside was the most beautiful diamond ring I've ever seen. I carefully took it out of it's holder and slipped it onto my hand. It didn't fit perfectly, but I didn't care.
Suddenly I saw a tiny figure tugging on his leg whispering, "Daddy…"
"Now who do we have here?" I asked, mocking a smile as I bent over to match the little girl's height. She had soft brunette tresses and big beautiful hazel eyes, about five years old. She looks so much like him.
"This is our daughter, Sarah Belle. Say 'hi', sweetie" He said as he looked down at his child. The little girl immediately turned away and hid behind her mother's leg.
He chuckled and added with a smile, "She's a shy one…" He stretched out his arm and took a quick glance at his watch and said, "We've got to go now, it's getting late. It was so good to see you, Christine."
"Yeah it was good to see you guys Mac, Jo." I pretended to check my watch but I was truthfully looking at the engagement ring he gave me years ago that I wear to this day. The wedding band turns cold as it reminds me of a path I regret not taking. I smiled at them and quickly add, "my husband's waiting for me at home."
I looked at them gingerly, careful not to show my lying face. Who did I have home to go to? An empty house, four walls I call I home with no children, no husband, no loving arms to wrap around me; to tell me everything's going to be okay. Who did she have to go home to? A house that comes alive with a child's laughter, a husband who holds her at night, a solider who will fight for her dreams. Yes, this is a life I gave up, a life that I gave someone else, a chance that I missed.
"Looks like we both found happiness." He said softly while giving me a final embrace. They turned around and walked away; giving me a final wave before pushing open the glass door.
I wave at them with a shadow of a smile caressing my face. I'm happy for him, though and I'm glad he had found someone who made his dreams come true. She's one lucky woman and I believe that he's one lucky man. She accepted his hand in marriage; something I was so afraid of. I wouldn't go that far, I didn't follow my heart.
How can a memory last this long? Will he ever go away? How about when the stars burn out and fall – will he go away then? How can someone who left so long ago, still be here with me today? You know, they say time heals everything… but I'm still waiting.
My unwillingness to marry him because of my selfish guilt of losing my brother has cost me a life with him. Still, my world stood still. I couldn't move and all I could feel was this aching in my heart, saying I loved him…. Still.
Imagine if this happened in the show? I'd be so freaking happy – Mac and Jo with a daughter seeing Christine in a café… alone (lol!).
I was so afraid to post this story but I decided to give it a try. Christine is actually by far my least favorite character on the show. Not just because she's with Mac but because I personally think that her character was poorly written with no in depth story arc behind her.
*This principle of this story was inspired by Reba McEntire's song, "And Still"
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