Sins of the Daughter Ch. 8 Pt. II
They stayed until the restaurant closed.
After she had talked to her father, Mackenzie felt a lot lighter and freer, like she had worked something out; and though it was a realisation that her problem had actually run a lot deeper than she'd imagined, at least she now knew how to fix it. The question simply was whether she would…if she could.
She had forgotten how easily Will and her father fitted, and fitted into her life; how simple this had used to feel. She wasn't entirely sure how many glasses they'd had now, but she was sure getting up for work tomorrow was going to test their strengths of will.
She knew that she'd started the day off really anxious, had moved to happy, and then as the day had worn on, despite having Will and her father laughing and smiling in the same room, instead of making her think how right this was, it had made her realise how wrong it was – how wrong it was that she would probably wake up tomorrow morning and this would be gone. And she thought it might break her. This is what she'd been confusingly trying to say to her father.
As she sat, relaxed and fairly tipsy, smiling between her two men, she couldn't help the flashes of fictional family dinners, little boys with blonde fluffy hair, tiny girls with dark curls, and a hazy Will, slightly greyer, but smiling at her across the breakfast table. Would that ever be her reality? Or had she really fucked it up for good?
She blinked, and tried to push these thoughts from her head – if this might be the closest she'd ever get, then she was going to freakin' well enjoy it. She leaned forwards to join the conversation.
"What did Jim mean earlier?" Her father asked curiously, as he took a sip of Scotch. Will scoffed into his glass, not managing to find it within himself to meet Mackenzie's eyes.
Having been expecting to join in some conversation mocking either Britain or America, she was taken aback. When had it turned personal? And why did he have to ask that damn question?
"I – well." She looked sideways at Will, who was a bit red and grinning at his plate. She kicked his leg again, and he stilled her by grabbing her wrist under the table. She glared at him, "He's seeing this – absolutely lovely, by the way – girl called Lisa, who is the flatmate of the girl he's in love with…who is our associate producer."
Michael frowned at her, clearly not understanding what the problem was.
"And why is he seeing her flatmate instead of her?"
"Because he's an idiot." She hedged, taking another sip of her wine, as Will put a little more pressure on her wrist. She gave him a look.
"Because Mac told him to – what was it? Gather his rosebuds while he may –"
"And he didn't!"
"No. The girl he really likes – Maggie – the petite blond one? You met her earlier? She's dating my former producer, and the four of them can't sort it out between them."
"Five." Mac supplied, looking thoroughly annoyed at the tablecloth, as though imagining Jim's face there in his absence.
"What? Oh – Sloan. Yeah, One of our other staffers – Sloan Sabbith – is into my former producer…but they're all weak asses and refuse to see what's in front of them."
At this last line, a massive amused smile spread across Michael's face and he nodded, smirking into his glass, before leaning back into his own chair and looked bemused between the two of them.
"I see... So, when Jim said 'You're one to talk'…what do you think he meant?"
It was addressed to both of them, but neither answered. They both remained silent, mouths slightly open, but not quite gaping. He'd spoken to each of them separately that day, but it was the first time that anyone had proposed or even hinted at what he was getting at to both of them at the same time.
When it was clear that neither of them were going to say anything, he simply raised his eyebrow (almost sternly) before leaning back and calling on a weary looking waiter for the cheque.
As he fished his wallet out of his jacket pocket, Mackenzie felt Will's hand hesitantly slip gently from her wrist to her hand, curling around her fingers; her head snapped around to look at him. What she saw there shocked her slightly.
The look in Will's eyes was one of regret and longing; no sign of accusation or bitterness in sight. Her breath caught slightly and hope started to creep once more into her veins. The opposite of a few minutes ago, all the good moments of the day started to run past her eyes, and she found herself smiling slightly. Actually, when she thought about it – really thought through the moments between Will and her today, and in the past few weeks – they were doing pretty damn well considering where they had been when she'd come back.
At the sight of her lips curling, Will's eyes sparked and he held her hand a little tighter, a smile spreading across his own face as her fingers tentatively knotted themselves through his, returning the pressure.
She blushed happily, and looked down at her plate as her father looked back at the two of them. Will could see that he was trying to work out what he'd missed in the last twenty seconds, but right now his loyalty was to Mackenzie, so he rearranged his smile so that it looked at little less mischievous.
"Can we walk you back to your hotel?"
"Oh God, Dad! I didn't even think! You're welcome to stay at mine, of course." Will laughed, running a thumb along the back of her hand in a way that made hairs on the back of her neck stand to attention, but her father smiled at her.
"Not to worry, you were busy at work. It's only for one night. But let me take you for breakfast tomorrow before I head home. When do you have time?"
"She's free from ten." Will said firmly as Mac hesitated. She looked at him accusingly and he shot her a stern look back at her. "Mac, you never stop for breakfast, it'll do you good. You'll be back in time for the tone meeting."
She was about to argue but caught the amused look forming on his face, and shook her head and smiled at her father. "That okay? Or are you going to be too hungover?"
Her voice was teasing and Michael raised an eyebrow at her once more as he pointedly finished the remnants of his scotch, making Will laugh again and causing a bemused expression to form on her own face.
"I, darling, am more worried about the two of you in the morning."
"Ah, it's a News Night tradition to go for a drink after work."
"Not for eight, though." Will muttered, grinning at Michael.
"Hey! Who's side are you on here?"
"Yours, obviously." He said immediately, and Mac nodded triumphantly at her father; but Will tugged at her hand under the table to get her to look back at him, "But that's mainly because he's leaving tomorrow morning and I'm working with you until ten tomorrow night."
"That was uncalled for." She muttered, pouting her lip as he stood up, reluctantly dropping her hand, and taking her coat from the waiter, holding it out for her to coax her out of her seat. Tutting, she pushed herself up, making sure she held onto the edge of the table to minimise the abuse her father and Will could send her way. Her father turned to another waiter who had brought over his jacket and handed over a hefty tip, briefly speaking with him. In the meantime, Will slid the coat up Mac's arms, and once it was settled on her and her back was effectively against his chest, he let his face linger at the side of hers, his lips within millimetres of her cheek.
Her breath hitched once more, and his heartbeat skipped as he watched her eyes close. The ghost of a smile flickered across his face as he saw Michael readying to turn back to them. He gently ran his hands down her forearms from where he put the coat on her, quickly squeezing her hands as he reached them, and twisted to get his own jacket.
They thanked the staff and made their way to the door.
"You've both gone very quiet." Michael spoke airily over his shoulder as he let in some crisp October air when he pushed open the door. Mac looked over her own shoulder to see Will grinning at her and found herself smiling back before skipping a few steps to catch up with her father and slipping her arm through his before placing a gentle kiss on his cheek. He turned to look at her, that smile that had always made her feel safe glowing from his face.
"Thank you." She whispered, leaning her head on his shoulder. He smiled down at her, pressing a kiss to her forehead, and she suddenly felt like she was ten years old and snuggled in her Dad's arms. She hoped he knew that she wasn't just thanking him for dinner.
She felt Will's warmth at her shoulder and the three of them set off.
Will had never been able to decide whether he thought New York was at its most beautiful at night or at dawn.
There something so magical about a city that looks so alive in the black of night, yet he's always been a morning person; and the way the dawn light glares off the glass jungle of Manhattan has always been equally as magical to a young boy from a town outside a town outside Lincoln.
Michael's hotel was less than ten blocks away, and despite the chilly, crisp air around them, Will felt quite warm as he walked slightly behind Mackenzie and her father; the two of them giggling together as he told her some story about her mother.
There was a smile on his face that he couldn't shake; but it felt familiar, and he was perfectly at ease to let the sensation wash over him.
When they reached the hotel lobby, Michael asked them if they would like a night cap at the hotel bar, but as Mackenzie stumbled on her heel (luckily Will was standing right behind her), Michael conceded that maybe these youngsters should get to bed before they did something dangerous.
"I'll make sure she gets home okay." Will said, laughing at Mac's embarrassed pout as her father looked her over as though she was coming home drunk at seventeen. Michael's eyes flickered up to Will, a knowing, twinkling look in his eyes.
"I'm fine." Mackenzie protested. "If Will's taking me home now, he can take me home in one drink's time, no?"
"No." Will said gently, his arms still gently holding her upright (slightly – in fairness, she was doing okay at standing on her own…he just liked holding her there). "I think since you're seeing your Dad again in nine hours you can forgo one drink and get some sleep."
Mac frowned up at Will, apparently upset that he was making some sense. She looked back at her Dad and stepped forward into his embrace, wriggling into his arms.
"Goodnight Mackie. I love you, darling." Pressing a kiss to his cheek, she stepped back as Will stepped forward to shake his hand, ending up in a close one armed hug.
Mackenzie smiled, not particularly caring if either of them saw, nor what conclusions they draw.
"Right, we'll see you tomorrow." Will stopped as he realised what he's said. Would he see Michael tomorrow? The older man smiled wryly at him.
"I'll stop by the studio before I go." He nodded at Will. "Please make sure my daughter gets home safe, William."
"Yes, sir." He nodded a little solemnly, and tucked his arm around Mackenzie, pulling her back towards the door, and grinning as he felt her lean into him.
He knew that if he looked around he would see Michael beaming at them, but he found he didn't need to. The feel of Mackenzie curled into his side was all he needed to make him smile for hours to come.
He did, however, come to the conclusion that his favourite time in New York was when Mac was with him. And this maybe the alcohol talking, but he's pretty sure that he used to feel this way all the time both with and without alcohol, so he's quite optimistic about being right.
He knew Mackenzie's address from the staff address book, but he'd never been there before. He did, however, know that the quickest way to get there was through central park – his and Mac's favourite walking spot when they had been a couple. Boring and obvious maybe, but they had loved it – they were both so in love with this city.
She didn't question where he was walking them, but as they turned off Madison Avenue her arm curled around his waist and her head pressed into his chest.
"Mac," He whispered into her hair. She made a noise and drew closer to him to let him know that she'd heard him. He tried to say something else, and then realised that he didn't know what he wanted to say. He made a few noises of someone who was trying to speak and then promptly shut up again, leaning back into her.
After a moment of him not saying anything, she gripped his waist and made him stop.
"Will, what is it?" Her eyes still showed she was a bit drunk, but there was also a wishful, almost scared look there. He stared back at her, finding himself unable to tear his gaze away from her. He was so tempted to just pull her to him and never let her go…Jesus, what had happened to them today? In the space of eighteen hours, it seemed like everything had become so much clearer. To his disgust, he still couldn't figure out what to say; so failing words, he grabbed her hand once more and pulled her into the park, lifting his arm around her shoulders, her hand still in his so that she was wrapped close to his body, and pressed a kiss to her forehead.
They'd been walking for about five minutes, with Will becoming twitchier by the second. He had to stop, pulling them abruptly down to a halt again as they walked past the pond. The way he was holding her meant she was trapped to him, so when they suddenly stopped she fell into him sideways.
"Mackenzie," she looked up into him at an awkward angle, but he seemed so consumed by his thoughts that he hadn't noticed. "I – do you ever feel like we're being ridiculous?"
She frowned at him for a moment, her eyes blinking in what he couldn't decide what was either confusion or disbelief, before she looked away trying to formulate her sentence.
"You – you have got to be kidding right?"
He knew that this was the alcohol fuelling the conversation, but at this particular moment he really didn't give a shit. He actually laughed.
"I mean, I feel like we've just been told off by our tenth grade teacher? I – I – "
"Can you do me a favour, and not do this?"
He frowned at her, not understanding. The hand holding hers which was resting on her shoulder gently ran its thumb down her cheek. "Don't do what?"
"Don't – don't apologise or – or say that you feel bad for doing…everything I guess." He was once more fixed onto her eyes, completely drawn by them. "I think I know what you're going to say…and if you really mean it – if you're really serious than you can actually do this…can we just have a new start and – I mean I would really prefer that you didn't say anything and just kissed me."
Her words were still slightly slurred, but as soon as she said the last thing he smirked, his eyes dancing. But with her free hand, she pressed a finger to his lips, "But…only if you're sure."
Her voice turned serious and she looked at little more pleadingly at him, "I'll wait for you. But – but we both know our own history, so let's not relive it?"
There was a small gust of wind and her hair blew gently across her face, making her look a few years younger than she had since she had been back and before she'd thrown herself through a war zone.
He knew what she was asking – a topic he had thankfully been thinking about a lot that day, so he knew that he did vaguely have an answer.
Before he could give it, there was another gust and Mac shivered (it was a rather cold night) and Will instantly pulled her closer to him, wrapping her in as much of his jacket as he could and running his hands up and down her back and arms.
She had taken the sudden movement as an opportunity to look down and away from him, clearly nervous about the answer she was going to get. It made Will smile, if slightly sadly. He quickly put a finger under chin and brought her face upwards to look at him once more; the expression on her face clearly told him that her heart and happiness rested in his hands – in this one small moment. Will realised just how small they were, here together.
"How's this –" His voice came out as more of a whisper than he'd intended, but he somehow felt that speaking at a normal volume wouldn't be appropriate at this moment anyway. "I can't promise that I've completely sorted myself out yet…but I'd rather get through the rest of it with you than without you?"
He couldn't read the look in her eyes and it made him nervous. He could see tears forming there, but he had no idea whether they were good tears or bad tears – not that he really wanted her crying at all, but if there was no alternative he knew which ones he was rooting for.
"I love you Mackenzie. This isn't done yet, but I know enough to know that you're right – we've both been idiots. Is that enough?"
Her eyes had widened brilliantly, and she seemed to be struggling to speak. It took her a few seconds, "You – sorry, you love me?"
He laughed, a small feeling of disbelief washing over him. "Now that is a prime example of one of us being an idiot." She smiled nervously and giggled. "Yes, Kenz, of course I love you."
The smile on her face became a little more confident, and she leaned her forehead gently against his.
"Then yes – of course that's enough for now." He grinned, looking at her as though seeing her for the first time again. "But I still want us to sort this out."
"So do I." He replied instantly, serious once more. There was a happy, peaceful look in her eyes now. He hesitated. "Only if I'm sure?"
It took her a minute to realise what he was saying before her face once more broke into a tentative, watery smile.
Wiping the tears gently from her cheeks, Will kept his eyes open until after she had closed hers and his mouth and moulded to hers.
She was already about as close to him as she could be, encircled by his coat and his arms, but hers slipped around his back so that there was no more space between them as she eagerly kissed him back.
There was a rumble at the back of his throat as he laughed for some reason, making her pull back slightly, torn between curious and worried. He instantly saw the look on her face and squeezed the hands at her waist gently, smiling.
"You can go a little easier Kenz, neither of us are going anywhere."
The relief in her eyes made him laugh again, and this time when he leaned in he made sure he did it slowly, and looking into her eyes and slowing the pace down as their lips met once more.
When Will retraced his steps an hour later, memories of him and Mackenzie here in this park earlier, and in her apartment, and earlier still with her father and their colleagues…he found himself stumped at how it had taken them so long to clear the air between them and get back to how they should be.
As soon as he had her in his arms that day, it had been made perfectly clear to him exactly where they were meant to be.
He still felt like he'd been reprimanded by his high school teacher…but he found he really didn't mind. His thoughts were on Mackenzie, and the future, and the past, and where the months ahead and small diamond ring might lead them.
One. More. To. Go.