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Y&R Mac & Billy Fan Fiction "CRUSH" By Donna

Proofread by Kamarie

Chapter 16

Mac put the empty tray away. She stacked the last of the clean cups under the counter. Cody sat at the table tallying the receipts for the night. The place was now empty. After their last set, Joe and Max had left, saying that they were beat and were going to go back to the motel. Cody had booked them before they headed back to Chicago in the morning.

Jacob had disappeared after the last song. No one knew to where, but Joe and Max had said that it wasn't unusual. He usually liked to bask in the glow of his own ego for awhile after every performance; not wanting to share the accolades with anyone. Mac was relieved.

She hadn't said anything to Cody about what had happened earlier and now she wouldn't have to. Cody finished the tally and closed the ledger book. He looked up at Mac and smiled, "Well Mac, looks like another pretty good night. This should make Nick and Sharon pretty happy." She smiled and nodded. The silence was broken by the sound of the telephone. Mac picked it up, "Crimson Lights? Oh, hi Sharon, yeah it was really great. You should've been here. The band was great. Yeah, Cody's right here, sure hang on. Cody?" She handed him the phone, "Sharon? Listen you are not gonna believe. What? Oh, no you gotta be kiddin' me! I swear I made that reservation last week. Okay, okay, I'll take care of it. Sure, no problem. Just let me, hang on a sec." He held his hand over the receiver and looked at Mac. "You're not gonna believe this, Mac, but somehow the stupid motel says that they don't have any reservations for the band. The guys called Sharon to ask if I could help them find one for tonight. I hate to ask again, but could you close?" Mac silenced him with a smile and a nod. "Sure Cody, but watch out, I'm gonna be running this place before you know it!" Her eyes twinkled a little. She was glad that Cody trusted her enough to close again. He flashed her a relieved smile. "Sharon?" he said, "I'm on my way. Yeah Mac will close again. Okay, sure I will. Have a good night" He hung up, "Sharon said to thank you again. You've really been a lifesaver these last two nights. You know what to do, right? Alarm, floor, dumpster?" She nodded. "Okay then I'll just get my jacket. Here are the keys." He handed them to her while putting on his jacket."  "Okay, I'm outta here. Wait'll I get a hold of that motel manager." He smiled and said, "See you next week Mac, and thanks again." He then left.

Mac locked the front door behind him. Blessed silence. She thought that this night would never end. She called her house and left a message with Esther. Yes, she would call a cab to get home; and yes she would be very careful. She assured her before hanging up. Now, what was left to do? Oh, yeah the garbage. Mac paused, remembering last night with Billy. The feel of his arms around her. His cheek against her hair. His warm breath next to her ear. Where was he?

Her reverie was broken by the sound of someone tapping on the glass of the front door. "We're closed!" she called out without turning around. "Mac? It's me, Billy."  Mac froze. "Mac, c'mon let me in, it's freezing out here! Please?" Mac walked over to the door. Billy smiled at her through the glass. She turned the keys in the lock and opened the door. "Whaddya want Billy. I told you, everybody's gone. We're closed." Billy brushed past her, sending that now familiar electric charge through her body as he walked in. She sighed and locked the door. He turned to her, "Where's Cody? Why are you here alone again?" he asked." He had something he had to do. It's no big deal Billy. What are you doing back here? I saw you leave hours ago." She blushed and looked down at the floor. Damn, she hadn't wanted him to know that she noticed him leave. "I tried to use my cell phone and I realized I didn't have it.  I must of left it here. Did anyone turn it in?" Mac walked behind the counter to look in the lost and found basket Cody kept there. Billy let out a deep breath. When he left earlier, he had gotten into the car and drove around for hours thinking. There was going to be hell to pay for what happened with JT tonight. He knew. And there's Brittany. His mom was gonna have a cow. Billy was glad to have the excuse of a lost cell phone to come back here. "Anything?" Mac held up a small blue object, "Is this it?" Billy smiled, "Yeah, oh, great. Thanks." He walked over and took it from her. "Is that all you wanted?" she asked. She wanted to get him out of here before he started grilling her like Brittany had earlier. "How was the second set? That band was pretty cool, huh? And that lead singer. You musta been psyched to have him sing that song for you. Do you know him?" Billy couldn't help it. "Listen, Billy I don't know what Brittany told you but." Billy paused and waved his hand trying to be casual,"Ahh, you know how she is. Everything is a big joke. I just figured the guy was grateful to you for helping him out, that's all." Billy didn't want to tell her that Brittany was smearing her reputation with his so-called friends. He would take care of Brittany and her big mouth later. Mac whispered, "Thanks." He couldn't think of anything else to say, so he stood looking at her as if waiting for some response. When she said nothing, he smiled awkwardly and said, "Well I guess I better hit the road then." Mac shrugged and said, "Whatever." and came out from behind the bar to unlock the front door for him. He turned as he walked out the door and said, "Thanks again and g'nite Mac." She leaned against the door and paused as if wanting to say something, but then thought better of it and just said, "G'nite, Billy," and closed the door, locking it behind him.  She leaned against it with her eyes closed. Would she ever understand what Billy was really all about? And why did she care so much if she ever did? She walked over to the bar. Where was she? Oh, yeah, the garbage.

Billy got into the car and started the engine. It turned over immediately, despite the cold. He turned on the radio first, then the headlights. He was just about to shift into gear when something caught his eye, or rather someone. A tall figure, a man, standing casually slumped against the front wall of the coffeehouse. He couldn't make out the face. He was looking at the sidewalk. The man looked up when the headlights came on and Billy recognized who it was. It was the singer. What was his name again? Jerry? No, Jacob. The figure moved. He stood up and walked casually around the corner. Billy shifted the car into gear and pulled away from the curb. He wondered just what the hell Jacob was doing outside the coffeehouse all alone at this time of night. 

Chapter 17

Mac was dragging the garbage bag across the floor. She opened the back door, bracing herself against the biting wind and pushed the brick against the bottom of the door with her foot, shoving it hard to make sure the door would stay open against the wind. She heaved the heavy bag up and into the dumpster. She turned to go back inside, reaching behind her with her right foot to kick the brick out of the way when an icy cold hand clamped over her mouth. She struggled and began to try to wriggle out of the iron grip she suddenly found herself in. "Mackenzie." She recognized the voice immediately. Jacob. She froze. "That's better, babe. No use in fighting this. The moment I saw you, I knew it was inevitable." He pushed her into the open doorway and the door closed behind him. Mac didn't hear the usual click that meant the door was fully locked, but did not turn around to see if the door was closed all the way. He continued to hold his hand over her mouth and his left arm was across her chest, holding her arms down in a vice grip. "Walk," he ordered. She walked, or rather, he pushed her over to the bar where he stood behind her. He was close enough for her to feel the evidence that their closeness excited him. He pushed in closer to her and Mac felt the bile rise in her throat. He pinned her against the bar with his hand still clamped tightly over her mouth. He began to whisper in her ear, "We are gonna have such a good time, baby. Such a good time." He began to stroke her hair. He pushed the hair away from her shoulders and began to kiss her ear. Mac pulled away, repulsed at his touch. She felt the tears stinging her eyes.

 Billy was stopped at a red light about 3 blocks away from the coffeehouse. He couldn't get the picture of that singer out of his head. What the hell was he doing there, anyway? And that song he dedicated to Mac. Mac, oh, my God, Mac. He looked around and saw that no cars were coming the opposite way and made a quick U-turn with tires screeching on the silent streets. He had to get back there. Mac was all-alone. Hold on Mackenzie, just hold on.

Jacob was enraged at Mac. No one pulled away from him, no one. He twirled her around to face him his hand still in a death grip over her mouth. "That's better. I always like to see the eyes. See how turned on you get, baby." He reached down with his free hand and fumbled for the end of her sweater." This," he looked into her eyes, "take it off, now before I cut it off you." Mac looked back at him and he smiled at the fear apparent in her eyes. He smiled, "I'm gonna take my hand off your mouth now." He moved his hips flush against hers, pinning her tightly against the bar, letting her feel how turned on he was by this. He reached into his back pocket and in one swift motion pulled out a shining switchblade. He pushed the button that opened it and held it up, "If you make one sound. I will cut you. Remember that." He released his hand from her mouth. He reached for the end of her sweater with his now free hand and pulled away from her a little. He pulled it halfway up, exposing her bra, bunching it up around her arms. "Pull it off baby, that's right, take your arms out." The sweater was now around her neck. "That's it, all the way, baby." He reached into the neck of the sweater and yanked it off her. The tears were flowing steadily now. He pinned her tightly against the bar with his hips once again. "That's better." Mac began to shake from the cold and from the full realization of what was about to happen to her. He smiled with eyes half-closed and sick with desire. He began running his free hand over her stomach. She flinched from the cold. He leaned in and whispered, "Sorry so cold baby. You'll see, you'll be real warm in a second. In fact, you'll be so hot." He leaned in and began to kiss her, licking and sucking on her neck. Mac squeezed her eyes shut and tried desperately to lean back away from him.

 Billy's car slammed to a halt in front of Crimson Lights. The lights were still on. Mac should have been gone by now. He shut off the engine and got out of the car, walking up to the front door. He peered in and saw two figures pinned up against the bar. He froze. Jacob. He saw the glint of something shiny in his hand. He began banging furiously on the door. "Mac, Mac, open the door. It's me, Billy.

Jacob tightened his grip around Mac's waist. He straightened up and turned Mac around. He pulled her against him tightly so that her back was up against the front of his body. Once again, the evidence of his excitement pressed against her. "Feel that, baby? Feel good? You're gonna get all of it and more. Just gotta wait a second." He pushed her ahead of him toward the room in back away from the front door.

Billy continued banging on the door and peering inside. where'd they go? He looked inside more closely. The back door, something must be wrong. The back door was still partially open. Mac would never leave it opened. He ran at full speed around the corner. When he got to the back door it was still open just a crack, the brick that held it open hadn't been pushed fully out of the way. He grabbed the edge of the door and pulled it open, picking up the brick in his gloved hand. He decided to carry it inside with him just in case. He held the door as it closed and it made a clicking sound. It locked. Jacob had Mac pinned against the far wall of the small dressing room in the back. He had her arms in each of his with the blade of his knife cold against the palm of her hand. He was really into it now, slobbering and licking her, biting and tugging at her smooth flesh. Mac continued to squirm and lean away from him. She gasped as the movement caused the knife to move and she felt the warm blood drip from the palm of her hand and down her arm. Billy heard Mac's voice. Was that pleasure or pain that made her gasp? Maybe Brittany was right? Maybe she did have a thing for. He had to find out. He walked toward the back room, clutching the brick in his right hand. The door was partially opened.

He crept up to it quietly and he saw Mac; the tears running down her face, her eyes tightly shut and arms pinned against the wall. Jacob was slobbering and licking her neck. That sweet vanilla neck that had haunted Billy all last night. He reached down and unsnapped her jeans, tugging at the zipper. Billy was about to turn away, thinking he had interrupted something when the glint of the switchblade and the dark red of Mac's blood caught his eye. She opened her eyes and looked into his. He raised his finger to his lips, telling her to be quiet. He showed her the brick in his hand and crept up behind Jacob. He raised the brick quickly, hitting Jacob in the back of the skull. He crumpled into a heap on the floor with the blood running from the back of his head already pooling onto the floor underneath him. Mac stood against the wall; her arms still pinned back, although nothing held them there now. The blood from her hand was dark against her skin. Billy looked at her. "Mac, Mac, honey, your hand. We've gotta get your hand." She looked at him and slumped to the floor. Billy dropped the brick and ran over to her. She was against the wall clutching her knees to her chest. He grabbed her and stood her up while putting his hand under her chin so he could look at her face. She looked into his eyes.  Billy's heart turned over. He grabbed the back of her head and clutched her tightly to him, just as he wanted to earlier. He couldn't hold her close enough and she began to speak. Her voice cracked and was muffled from behind his shoulder, "Billy, I was putting the garbage into the dumpster and he, he. I didn't want to. He tried to force me." He stroked her hair and rubbed his hand in small circles on her bare back, trying not to be distracted by the softness of her skin, the smell of vanilla. "I know honey, I know. It's okay." He pulled back from her and crouched down to look into her eyes. "Why don't we sit down, huh? Right over here. Okay? You tell me what happened." He sat her down on one of the chairs in front of the dressing table. He crouched down on his knees in front of her. He forced a weak smile. He reached up and rubbed his thumb over her cheek. "It's okay, sweetie," he said softly, "Just tell me what happened." She wrapped her arms around herself, shivering. It was so cold. Billy took his jacket off and draped it over her shoulders. She slipped her arms inside and wrapped the jacket around her. "I was taking the garbage out to the dumpster and when I turned around to go back inside he put his hand over my mouth and forced me inside. The door closed behind us, but I didn't hear it click. Is that how you got in here, Billy? The door didn't click, right?" Billy smiled, same old Mac, all the facts had to check out. Only she would have noticed the door at a time like that. "That's right, honey. Thank God the door was still open when I got here." She looked at him. "Why are you here, Billy? Why did you come back?"

Chapter 18

"You should have been half way home by then, Billy."  Billy smiled again. She must be feeling a little better. The logical time obsessed Mac was kicking in again. "What made you come back?" she looked at him plaintively. " When I left you and got in the car I noticed somebody. Him," he motioned with his head towards the body lying on the floor. I got about 3 blocks and I realized that maybe what Brittany had said, " Billy's lips slammed shut. Damn you, Abbott he swore at himself. What the hell did you say that for? Mac pulled her hand away from his. "What did Brittany say? Billy, tell me, please." Billy let out a deep breath. "She said that the reason he sang the song for you was that he was grateful to you." He paused and looked at her, hating what he was about to say, "but not because you helped him with his stuff, but because you performed 'another service' for him." Mac looked at him. "And you believed her?"  "Of course I didn't believe her.  I just about strangled JT when he said he did. That's why Brittany and I fought. I couldn't let her say those things about you." Mac looked right into his eyes, "Why? What do you care?" Billy hesitated, "Because Raul is my best friend. If he were here he would do the same thing."

Mac smiled gently. He still felt pity for her, only pity. "Well, whatever the reason, thank you. I know how hard this is gonna make things for you with your friends." Billy stood up, "Friends?" he spat out, "what're those? Oh, you mean JT and Brittany? forget it.  I told Brittany that we should kinda cool it for a while, anyway." "Yeah, I know." Mac said softly. He turned around to look at her. "How did you know?" Mac stood up, "Never mind, forget it. Billy what are we gonna do? We should call the police right now and explain to them. Tell them what happened." She looked over at Jacob lying on the floor and shuddered. Billy looked at her. Her arms were wrapped around herself in his jacket, trying desperately to stay warm. He walked closer to her. "No, no police, not yet anyway." He put his arms on hers and looked down into her face. "We can't call the police, Mac." She looked up at him "Why not, Billy? I mean you could say it was self-defense. He had a knife and you caught him trying to rape me." She paused. "Because if JT and Brittany have told this little story about you to anyone else who would believe that it was rape?" Mac looked down. He put his hand under and chin and held up her face to his. "Mac, remember what I said to you last night? Anyone wants to get to you, they hafta go through me first." He smiled gently at her. "Billy what are we gonna do?" "First thing we do is get you warmed up. Where's your sweater? Can we go find it before we do anything?" She nodded. She had almost forgotten about it. She walked out of the room and into the front of the coffeehouse.  The lights were still on. Billy followed behind her. Mac walked over to the bar and picked up her sweater that still lay where Jacob had thrown it. As soon as she picked it up, Billy walked over to her and asked, "Where's the light switch Mac? I think we should shut them before anybody notices how long they've been on after closing." She walked behind the bar and turned off the switch. The room was now dark except for the light coming in from the street. Mac slipped off Billy's jacket and put on her sweater. She went to the sink behind the bar and rinsed the blood off her hand. There was a first aid kit here somewhere. Billy saw her struggling and asked  "What's the matter?" "My hand," she started. He walked over to where she was standing and took her injured hand in his. That now familiar electric current raced through her. He looked down at it. "Doesn't look too bad. Does it hurt?"  "A little," she said, trying to keep her voice even. He was rubbing circles around her palm with his thumb, trying not to touch the cut. She spotted the first aid kit underneath the bar. He saw her looking at it and reached down to get it. He opened it, still holding her hand in his, and spotted some antibiotic cream and band-aids. He held her hand up, applied some of the cream, and then covered it with one of the band-aids. "Better?" he asked. She nodded. He brought her palm up to his lips and gently kissed it. Mac tried not letting her shaking knees collapse under her. "There, all better," he said. "Thanks," she said. "Now what?"

Billy thought a moment. He had an almost impossible plan taking shape in his mind. "Is everything ready here? I mean the alarm, the doors?" she nodded. "Good." He walked back into the dressing room. Jacob still lying there in the pool of blood on the floor that was nearly a lake now. 'Good, scumbag,' he thought. Better you than me. The brick was exactly where he had dropped it. He had gloves on when he hit him with it. No need to take it with them. The knife, he looked down, the knife was still clutched tightly in Jacob's hand. No need to touch that either. He walked out of the room back to the front of the coffeehouse. He asked Mac, "How much money do you have on you?" Mac got her purse from behind the bar. She opened it and took out her wallet. Looking in it, she said, "About a hundred dollars. I got paid tonight. Cody gave me cash. Why?" Billy pulled out his wallet and looked in it. Two hundred bucks in cash, Dad's credit cards, can't use those. It might be enough. "Billy, answer me, why do we need money?" Billy looked at her and smiled. "Because we're hittin' the road, Mac. Just you and me. It's the only way out of this thing."

Chapter 19

Mac looked at him as if he had two heads. "Are you insane? We can't go anywhere, Billy. I should have known this was your great solution. Take off like you always do." Billy let her speak. When she stopped he said, "Finished? Good, because we gotta be gone from here like ten minutes ago. C'mon, Mac, don't you see this is the only way outta this thing. Listen if this guy did this to you, he might have done it to other girls. That's why we gotta go to Chicago. That's where he came from, right?" She nodded. "We find out about this guy. Ask questions and wait till things cool down a little here. It's the only way. I mean, I know you'll miss your Grandma and Dad and Raul." He stopped to look closely at her. No reaction. He continued. "But this is our lives we're talking about here." He moved closer to her." I know I'm not your favorite person, but you don't want me to go to jail for murder, do you?" She shook her head. "And you, honey, they're gonna drag your name through the dirt. Brittany and JT. "And your mom," she cut in. "And right, my mom. Well, they'll see to that. You think you can handle that?" She looked at him and shook her head silently. "Do we have enough money to get to Chicago?" He shrugged. "I think so, but there's a 24 hour ATM down the street. There's an account there in my name. C'mon, get your coat and stuff. We gotta get going." She put on her coat and hat and picked up her purse, putting her wallet back in. She walked over to him. He buttoned his coat, put on his gloves, making sure his wallet and cell phone were on him. He straightened up to find her looking at him. "What?" he said. "I just wanted to say thank you. That's all. You didn't have to come back here, or put your life on the line for me. You still don't have to you know." She looked at him and he shook his head. "Thank you, Billy." He grabbed her hand and said, "Let's get outta here already." They walked to the back door, opened it, listened for the click and took off into the night.

Billy stood in front of the ATM. They had decided to leave John Abbott's car parked exactly where it was. It was locked and alarmed. Nothing would happen to it. They had walked the few blocks to the bank. Mac stood quietly behind him as he fumbled for the cash card in his wallet. "Are you sure this is such a good idea?" she asked. He turned around to look at her." I mean I don't want to take your father's money and use it for me. We could just use what we have. I." "You what, Mac?" Billy looked at her, puzzled. "I don't want you to get in any more trouble because of me. I mean, we're in enough trouble as it is." She looked down at the ground. Billy spoke softly, "Mac, it's okay. The account is in my name.  My Dad gave me the card to use. I use it all the time." It was true; Billy frequently dipped into this account whenever he needed extra cash. Usually it was just for unimportant stuff; CD's, booze. He was grateful for the chance to use the money for something important for once. To get the chance to make up to Mac for last night. "Probably more than I should," he smiled at her as she turned her face up from the ground. "It's really okay." He turned and put the card into the machine, punching in the PIN number. The current balance read $700.00. He punched in the amount, withdrawing it all. The cash came out of the slot and he quickly stuffed it into his wallet. He turned to her, extending his hand. She hesitated and then took it. "Ready?" he asked. She nodded, tears welling up in her eyes. She had so many questions. Where would they go? What would they do? And most importantly, why was he doing this for her? The only one she voiced out loud was, "Where to now?" He smiled, "Chicago." She answered." I know, but how are we gonna get there, fly?" His smile broadened. "Oh, no, maybe next time. I thought that for our first trip together, well, really our second if you wanna get technical." She smiled." I thought that we would use a form of transportation that you're already comfortable with, ya know? The bus station is about ten blocks from here, up that way I think." He pointed north with his free hand. "It's the only way to fly!" She laughed. She couldn't help it, he looked so endearing, standing there trying to make it seem like this trip was for fun. Billy's heart leapt when he heard her laughter. He tightened his grip on her hand and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "C'mon, I know its cold, but if we walk real fast. C'mon!" They huddled together, walking as fast as they possibly could in the direction of the bus station.

Chapter 20

Billy opened the door to the bus station and walked inside leading Mac by the hand. He looked around. The place was practically empty. A couple of people sitting on benches, some reading, some sleeping. He walked up to the large counter in the center of the room while Mac stood behind him a few feet away. A young woman sat behind the desk. He smiled at her, "Excuse me?" She looked up from the book she was reading. Her eyes brightened considerably as she looked Billy in the face. 'What a cutie. "Yes?" she answered. "Hi, I was wondering if you could tell me when is the next bus to Chicago?" She put down the book, smiling sweetly at him. 'What a babe,' she thought. A little young maybe, but still, the things she could show him. She decided to have a little fun with him. "What's it worth to you?" She leaned in toward him, her eyes twinkling. Billy caught on immediately. He leaned in close to her face, "Well, ya see, ordinarily I would never refuse to answer a question like that, especially from such a beautiful woman, but," he lowered his voice, " you see, my fiancée is standing right back there." He pointed over his shoulder at Mac. The woman looked past him at the girl standing behind him and sized up the competition. Not much, she thought. Pretty, but sort of plain. "Hmm, fiancée huh?" she asked. "Aren't you two a little young?" Billy paused. "You know, we always get that everywhere we go. I guess someday we'll be grateful to look so young, but believe me, we're old enough for a lotta things, if you know what I mean " He waggled his eyebrows up and down and she laughed. He continued " I always thought that I would be really old. I mean at least thirty before I even thought about getting married, but when I met her, I just." He turned around to look at her and give her a dazzling smile. He sighed deeply for effect. Mac looked at him quizzically and hesitantly returned his smile  "Let's just say that I am a very lucky man." The woman sighed as he turned back to her. 'This kid had it bad, all right.'  " Looks to me like she's the lucky one. Now, let's see, Chicago, right?" He nodded. She turned to the computer terminal and typed in the information. "The next bus leaves in about 15 minutes. Gate number 12, two tickets, I guess?" He nodded again. "That'll be $65.54." She got up and walked over to the printer waiting for the tickets to come out. Billy got the money out of his wallet and paid her. She came back with the tickets and his change and handed them to him. "Here you go. Have a nice trip and good luck with everything," she nodded her head in the direction of Mac. He leaned in again, putting his hand under her chin, running his fingers underneath it. "Thanks. And too bad the timing was off," as he looked deeply into her eyes, milking it for all it was worth. The woman sighed and nodded as he walked away.

He turned and walked over to Mac." Got 'em.  Bus leaves in 15 minutes, gate number 12, I think it's right over that way." He pointed over to the right. "You want anything before we? What? What are you looking at me that way for?" Mac was looking at him in amazement. "What were you saying to that woman? Why did she keep looking at me? And why were you touching her?" Mac wished she hadn't asked the last question, it just kind of slipped out. She just couldn't believe that he was flirting at time like this. "Jealous?" he asked smiling. "Of what, you and her?" Mac blurted out. She laughed, "Are you kidding me?" She looked past him at the woman at the counter, who was still staring dreamily at the back of Billy's head." I just thought that you two seemed to be getting pretty cozy and if you wanted me to disappear for awhile." "Mac," he began, "what did you think I was gonna do? Sneak her into the bathroom for a quickie?" He laughed at her blush. "If you really wanna know. She sort of, well, she kinda came on to me a little. You know just a little harmless flirting, in fact" he looked directly into her eyes. "I told her that I was flattered, but I didn't think my fiancée would like it too much. That's when she looked at you." "You told her I was your fiancée? And she believed you? " Mac looked at him incredulously. " It was the first thing that popped into my head, Mac, we might have to kind of make this stuff up as we go along, you know? Think on our feet. If we let everybody think that we're just on a little trip having some fun, it might make things a little easier. People tend to leave two people in love alone." Billy wondered if he had said too much.

Mac stayed quiet, looking at the floor. " I'm sorry, Mac. I really didn't mean any harm. It was just the first thing that came into my head." " It's okay, Billy, really. It's just that I can't believe that anybody would think that you were in love with me, that's all." Her voice trailed off. "Well, she didn't seem to have any problem believing it. In fact, she said that you were a lucky girl." She looked up at him, 'any girl would be lucky to have him,' she thought. "Yup, that's me, the luckiest girl in the world," she said with a tinge of irony in her voice. "I'm sorry Billy, from now on, I'm just gonna shut up and let you do the talking. I mean, I've caused you more than enough trouble already. I shouldn't have asked, it wasn't any of my business." He looked down at her hands and took them in his." From now on, everything you do is my business. Understand?" She looked him in the eyes and she knew he was telling the truth. She nodded. He put his arm around her shoulders and gathered her next to him. "Let's go." As they walked toward the gate he noticed the woman behind the counter following them with her eyes. What the hell, he thought, might as well give her a show. He leaned in close to Mac and started to nuzzle her ear with his lips. Mac felt the blood rush to her face. She looked at the woman behind the counter. She was staring at them. She smiled up at Billy as he pushed her hair aside to gain better access to her ear. He brushed his lips against it and whispered, " Is this okay?" She nodded. As they walked past the counter she turned his face to her and kissed him lightly on the lips. He mouthed the words, "I love you," into her mouth and returned her kiss. The woman sighed and turned to the next customer on line "Yes, may I help you?"

Billy removed his arm from Mac as soon as they were past the desk and inside the gate. Both were still reeling from the show they had just put on. They got on the bus and chose two seats in the back. Billy stepped aside to let Mac sit next to the window. They both settled into their seats and were silent for a minute. "Mac?" Billy asked quietly "Everything okay? I mean what just happened out there. It was an act, you know, for the chick behind the counter. You saw her staring at us, didn't you? I mean I thought, why not? What the hell, give her a show." Mac's heart sank. He had said I love you. She knew it had been an act. Why was she heartbroken? Mac smiled and nodded, "Sure, I know, no big deal." Her voice changed. The old hard edge was back.

"What happens when we get to Chicago?" wanting to change the subject as soon as possible. Billy looked at her. The old Mac was back. "Well, I think we need to check into a motel, a cheap one if possible. Try to make the money last as long as possible. It may take awhile to find out about this guy." "What about our families, Billy? What happens when we don't come home? And Raul and Brittany?" She looked down at her hands. "When we get settled somewhere we'll call 'em. We'll let them know we're okay. I promise, but for now we've just gotta worry about ourselves, see if we can find out a way outta this mess." His last words were interrupted by the sound of the bus doors closing. The driver announced, "This bus makes stops in Kenosha and Evanston with a final destination of Chicago. We should be arriving in Chicago in approximately two hours. Thank you for choosing Trailways." Billy reached over and clasped Mac's hand. "It's gonna be okay, Mac." She smiled weakly and leaned her head against the cool glass of the window. She prayed he was right. ©

 

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