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Y&R Mac & Billy FanFiction "CRUSH" By Donna

Chapter 31

Ten minutes later she stood in front of the mirror in the apartment's small bedroom.  She hardly recognized herself. She was wearing the uniform with sheer black stockings she had bought on the way back to the motel this afternoon. The shoes that she thought she would never get to use had come in handy after all. Rebecca had suggested that she let her apply some makeup. Mac had tried to object, but Rebecca had insisted and when she was done, the transformation was remarkable.  "Pretty good, huh?" Rebecca stood behind her, admiring her handiwork. "You look beautiful, Katie."  Mac couldn't stop staring at her reflection. she looked pretty, she actually looked pretty. Her hair was swept up off her neck, piled loosely at the back of her head, with pretty clips holding it in place. A few loose tendrils fell around her face and shoulders. . Her lips were colored rose and her cheeks were swept with a matching pale rose. Her eyes sparkled. "One more thing!" Rebecca leaned over and grabbed a big power brush, dipped it into a sparkling powder, and swept it across face, brushing some on her neck and shoulders. "Perfect! Oooh, look at the time! We'd better get downstairs."

Billy was in the kitchen; so far things were pretty okay.  It was messy work and despite how cold it was outside, it was raging hot in here. He had treaded carefully with JJ, not mentioning anything about Jacob or the band, waiting for him to mention it. So far, nothing.  JJ walked through the swinging door that led into the kitchen. Behind him an older man dressed in a T-shirt and jeans.  "Rick, this is Benny, be nice to him, he's a little grumpy whenever we get new help, if he yells a lot just ignore him."  JJ winked at Billy.  Benny was a great cook, not a real big menu, standard bar stuff, but people came from miles around for his burgers.  He looked at Billy, sizing him up and huffed, "Just stay outta my way, and we'll get along fine." Billy nodded at him and said, "Sure, no problem. The only thing I know how food is how to eat it. " JJ laughed and slapped him on the back "You two should get along fine," and walked out of the kitchen.

Once the doors were opened, things picked up quickly. Billy found the work exhausting and wondered how Mac was holding up. She's probably fine, he thought. She's used to working hard, not like him. The hardest he had ever worked was at trying to keep out of trouble.  He picked up a stack of dirty dishes and dumped them into the hot soapy water in the sink, wiping the sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm. "Not so easy, heh, kid? "Billy was startled by the sound of Benny's voice.  "Ah, it's not so bad.  I done worse. " Billy tried hard to sound offhand.  "You new in town?" Benny walked back to the grill and flipped over four burgers.  Billy nodded. "My fiancée and I just got in yesterday."  "Where's she?" Benny asked.

"Out front. She's the new waitress."  Benny took the burgers off the grill, one by one, placing them on the plates he had set up. "The girl I saw on the way in here? The one with the dark hair? Dark eyes? The looker? Kid, how'd you get so lucky?" Benny

smiled.  Billy shook his head " I have no idea, what she wants with me is anybody's guess. All I know is one day I walked into this coffee shop in New York and saw her. That was the beginning of the rest of my life I guess."  Benny looked at Billy and nodded. "That's how it was for me, with my Ruby, one look and that was it. Been together ever since. " "How long?" Billy asked.  "42 years this June. Sounds like a long time, huh? Take it from me kid, it goes by just like that. " he snapped his fingers.  

He placed the plates with the burgers on the warming tray above the grill. The door swung open and Mac entered "Benny, is the order for table four ready?" she spied Billy bent over the sink, up to his elbows in hot water. He heard her voice and turned his head. She smiled and asked, "How's it going, honey?" Billy just stared wordlessly, unable to speak. He reminded himself to thank Rebecca next time he saw her. Mac no longer looked like the lost, frightened little girl he had come in with. The magic that Rebecca had worked was not just cosmetic. He had always thought Mac was beautiful anyway. This was different; she seemed to glow from the inside, her eyes were sparkling, a smile dancing around her mouth. He found his voice, "You look beautiful, baby, just beautiful." She blushed and walked over to Benny, grabbing the plates and placing them on the tray she carried and walked backwards through the door, still smiling at Billy.

Mac gave table four their orders, asked if they needed anything else and walked over to the bar, stopping to rest for a minute. The work was fine, but it was really busy here tonight. JJ had said that the other girl who usually worked this shift, Karen, he said her name was had called and told them she was having some personal problems and wouldn't be in until the day after next, something to do with an old boyfriend or something. The place was closed on Monday, so things should be a little easier the next time. Mac smiled to herself, remembering Billy's reaction at seeing her just now. Poor thing, that kitchen was so hot and the work was probably killing him. She was anxious to speak to him alone, partially to talk about Rebecca's offer, but really to see his reaction to how she looked again. She looked up at the time. It was 11:30. She had a dinner break coming up in about 15 minutes, she hoped that Billy would be able to join her. 

Just then, he came through the kitchen door, wiping his hands on a towel.  He spotted her standing at the bar, and walked over.  "Ready for a break?" he asked. She nodded and said "I've got another 15 minutes or so yet, though.  " Rebecca walked behind the bar and said "You two might as well go now, while there's a little lull. Why don't you take Rick upstairs and show him the apartment?" she smiled.  "Are you sure it's okay?" Mac asked.  She waved her hand. "Off you go."  Mac turned to Billy and said, "Follow me," and led him to the door in the corner behind the bar. When they had reached the apartment, Mac told him about Rebecca's offer. "Do you think we can do it, Billy? I mean it's better than that motel room and we wouldn't have to move around so much." She walked into the small kitchen that adjoined the front room. "Look, a stove and a refrigerator.  We could save some money that way.  It would keep us off the streets, away from people, the fewer people that see us the better, right?"

Billy loved watching her; she seemed so excited by the possibility of the two of them staying here. He walked over to where she stood. "I think it's perfect, in fact, I think we should go get our stuff now, and check out. That way when we're finished work,

we just walk upstairs. " She hugged his neck. "Thanks," she said.  "Why don't you sit down for awhile? I'll run over to the motel, you must be tired."  He shook his head, "I'll go in a minute, " he paused, hating to return to harsh reality. "Did you find out anything? " She shook her head, "The only thing I found out is that Jacob's band used to appear here every Friday night and that he was quite popular. " Her voice lowered to a whisper. "Especially with the female customers.  A few of them seemed really broken up about his death. Rebecca mentioned something about what happened, but I didn't want to push it any further just yet. " He sighed,  "I didn't find much out either, but don't worry, we are gonna find out something. " He touched her cheek reassuringly, "I better go get my coat and run down to the motel. Need anything?" She shook her head. "Just be careful, please."  He nodded and headed for the door. Before he closed it, he stuck his head inside and said, "By the way, in case you didn't hear me before, you look beautiful, baby, just beautiful," and closed the door. She wandered through the rooms; the last room was the bedroom. She heaved a sigh, another room with only one bed. This was getting harder and harder. 


Chapter 32  

Mac closed the door to the apartment and leaned against it. Billy had already walked in and headed right for the bedroom and flopped face down on the bed. This was way harder than Crimson Lights, she thought. She looked at poor Billy sprawled across the bed. He had it worse off than she did, at least she had collected $35. 00 in tips tonight. She walked over to the bed and said softly, "You want the shower first, or should I go? Billy? Billy?" fast asleep already.

She reached over and brushed his hair off his forehead, and got up collected her nightclothes and went into the shower. When she came out he was still asleep, sprawled across most of the bed. She didn't have the heart to wake him. She went to the closet, pulled out a blanket and went to spend the night on the couch in the front room.

Billy woke up disoriented. Where the hell was he? Every bone in his body ached, worse than any hangover he ever had. Like his whole body had one too many. He sat up and looked around, peering through the darkness. He spotted Mac through the open door, asleep on the couch.  He got up and went into the front room. She looked about 5 years old, curled up with her feet underneath her, trying to stay warm. He put one arm under her shoulders and the other under her legs and lifted her into his arms. He carried her, still asleep into the bedroom, placing her gently on the bed and covering her with the blanket. He got in beside her, leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. " I love you, Mackenzie," he whispered and rolled over on to his side.

The streaming sun peaking through the windows woke Mac up. She sat up and stretched and then realized where she was. How did she get in here? She looked over at Billy, still asleep. He must have brought her in here last night. She got out of bed carefully, so as not to wake him up and crept out of bed and into the shower. Billy heard the shower running and pried one eye open. The bathroom door was not completely closed all the way. . don't look. He fought with himself, damn it, don't look. The sound of running water stopped.  He squeezed his eyes shut tightly. It wouldn't be fair to look at her, not this way. He kept his eyes closed for a minute and heard her step out of the shower, her bare feet splashing against the tiled floor. He cheated and opened one eye, just a crack. He caught a glimpse of her standing before the mirror, wrapped in a towel, drying her hair. Her body glistening and wet. He closed his eyes again and rolled over quietly, not trusting himself. He lay there, listening to her, drying her hair, and getting dressed. When she walked out of the bathroom, fully dressed, he remained still. She whispered out loud "Might as well go get some breakfast. " She grabbed her coat and purse and walked toward the bed, checking to make sure he was still asleep. She leaned in and whispered " I love you, Billy," and touched his cheek gently. He did not stir. She put on her coat and walked out the door.

Billy lay in bed, in shock over what he had just heard. Did she mean it? He knew she did, Mac never said anything she didn't mean. She thought he had been asleep, that's why she said it. What difference did it make why she said it? She said it! He decided not to say anything about it to her when she came back, for now, just knowing it was enough. He could get through just about anything, now. He got up and headed for the shower, whistling merrily. Everything was gonna be okay. Mac loved him, she loved him.

When she returned, she found him sitting in the small kitchen. The table was set with some mismatched dishes he found in the cabinets above the stove. He stood up as she entered the room and took the bag of groceries from her. "Good morning" he said. He leaned in and took her face in his hands and kissed her on the lips, very gently. She did not pull away this time. She clasped her hands over his face and smiled, her eyes still closed. "Good morning, what was that for?"  He shrugged "I just felt like it. You mind?"  She shook her head. She leaned in and kissed him again, this time a little more intensely. "Thank you," he said, smiling very close to her face.

She walked over to the table and began taking things out of the bag of groceries, trying to calm her furiously beating heart. They sat at the small table and began to eat, neither one speaking until Mac said, "Billy, what are we going to do today?" He paused, still chewing, and swallowed.  "Well, as much as I would like to just hang out here with you all day.  I thought we could do some more checking, you know, Jacob. Maybe walk around the neighborhood and find out who knew him, where he hung out.  Maybe even where he lived. It's Monday, should be easier to make some headway now. "  Monday. Everyone would be back at school today. They both looked at each other, realizing what he had just said. "Billy, what do you think is happening back home? What do you think Brittany and your friends have told everyone by now?" Billy was thinking the same thing. Brittany had probably told that story about Mac and Jacob to everyone by now, spreading that lie around. "Who cares? None of that matters now, the only thing that matters is finding out the truth about Jacob Marsh. I know I'm right about this guy, I can feel it. "

Mac got up from the table and walked over to the window that looked out onto the street, trying to hide the tears in her eyes from his view. He came up behind her and placed his hands on her shoulders. He turned her around to face him, and seeing the tears in her eyes, placed his hand on the side of her face, tenderly stroking her cheek. "Why did she think that about me Billy? Why would she make up those lies about me? I mean, I know she didn't like me, she always pretended to be nice, but I guess I never gave her any reason to like me in the first place. I was always mean to her. I was always mean to everyone, even you. " She looked at him.  " I know it's a little late, but I'm sorry Billy. I'm sorry I was so mean to you. I never meant it, it just sorta came out that way. I never fit in with any of those people, and it hurt, it really hurt. The way they treated Raul and me. " Raul. Mac realized this was the first time she had thought of him in days. " I was even mean to Raul.  He was so sweet to me. It's just that," she stopped, turning back to the window.  "It's just that what Mac?" Billy prodded, wanting her to continue.  "It's just that I realized that the only person whose opinion mattered to me hated me and it made me mad."  Mac realized there was no turning back now. "Who? who are you talking about?" he asked, needing her to say it out loud.

"You, Billy. It was you. I hated the way you made yourself act when you were around them, the drinking, and the stupid routines. I knew that wasn't the real you. I had seen him.  I saw him when you came looking for me when I ran away, I saw him when we talked about my dad. I knew the real you was down there, but he got further and further away every time you were with those people. That's why I was always so nasty.  I saw him slipping away and I wanted him back." Billy put his arms around her from behind, resting his chin on the top of her head. " I know I was a jerk, it's just that you were always snapping at me, judging me. Every time I got close to you, you pulled away. I wanted to be close to you, Mac. I've always wanted that. The drinking, the act, that's all it was, an act. The booze buried the fact that you hated me, that the one person whose opinion mattered to me, hated me," he repeated her words. " I tried to ask you to the dance.  Remember when we were talking about it, how lame it was gonna be and then Raul walked in? I had the tickets in my pocket, Raul just beat me to the punch. " Mac turned around in his arms. "You were going to ask me? " She threw her arms around his neck. " I wish you had Billy, maybe none of this would have happened. " He stroked her hair. " I know, sweetie, me too. I just wish we had both been honest with each other, it woulda saved a whole lotto grief, for both of us. Speaking of honesty.  I want you to know something." He pulled away to look in her eyes.

" I love you, Mac.   I think I always have. It's okay, you don't have to say anything.  We can just take things as they come, play it by ear if that's all right. I just thought that you should know. " Mac stood speechless, Billy's face right next to hers, looking at her with such deep emotion that she thought she would faint. She spoke softly " I love you too, Billy. I didn't want to, I mean I tried to love Raul, and in a way I do, but I know it's not the same. I felt it every time we were in the same room. Even when we were screaming at each other, I always felt it.  " He grabbed her and held her tightly to him, kissing her all over her face. She hung on to him as if for dear life, until they were both breathless. 


Chapter 33

Billy and Mac sat on the couch, as close as possible to each other. He was playing with her hair, touching the ends. She grabbed his arms and wrapped them around her tightly. She turned her head around to look at his face, eyes closed, resting against her head.

"What now?" she asked softly. "Now we continue, but now we have a reason. " He answered.  "What I mean is, we had a reason before, but now nothing else matters, but us, together. Whatever we have to do to stay that way, we do. " She turned around to face him, "What about your Mother? And Brittany? what do we do about them? " He looked at her.  "Do you really care what they think? I don't. I'm tired of worrying about fitting in and being cool and about what other people think. Everybody else can go to hell."

Billy's voice was angry. No one was going to come between them. They had gone through too much already to get to this point. She reached over and touched his cheek, "Please don't be angry, not today. not when we're so happy. " He leaned in and kissed her. She responded, more quickly than he thought she would. They sat for minutes like that, kissing until they had to break apart for breath. "I do love you, Mac," he whispered.  "More than I thought I could ever love anyone. " She nodded.  " It feels amazing, doesn't it?" he smiled, the excitement in her voice was contagious. He pulled her in for another kiss, deeper this time, until she pulled away, breathless again. "I thought we were gonna do some checking around today, " she smiled.  He pulled her close again " It's early yet.  besides, there's some checking around I wanna do right here. " He kissed her again, and this time her lips parted, allowing his tongue to gently slide into her mouth.

He was surprised by her boldness, and delighted. He wanted to possess her, keep her with him always. She continued to deepen the kiss until Billy thought he would lose his mind. They can't do this. His head told him, not now. Billy shivered as her mouth moved from his lips to his jawline, kissing her way slowly up to his ear. Mac was enjoying herself; she had never felt like this before. She liked the way Billy was responding to her touch, her kisses. She swirled her tongue inside his ear and Billy groaned, softly. She went a step further and took his earlobe between her lips, tugging on it gently. Suddenly, Billy pushed away from her and stood up, not without some difficulty. "Cut that out right now, young lady!" he shook his finger at her, trying to be serious. She stood up " I'm sorry, did I do something wrong? I mean if I went too far, I" He grabbed her by her arms.  "Stop! I was kidding. Are you crazy? Wrong? " He held her close and his voice softened " You did everything just right, honey.  Better than I ever imagined, and believe me, I did imagine" She laughed.  " It's just that we've got a lotta stuff to take care of before we take that next step. " He smiled an evil-like smile. "But we can experiment a lot if you want. See what happens.  I mean I would really like to help you with your research, but  if I feel we're going too far, too fast. I'm gonna stop you, okay?" She nodded.  "Just kiss me again, Billy, just once more, please?" she asked.  "Oh, okay, if I have to," and did as he was asked.

"Billy," Mac asked as they were once again seated close as this on the couch. "What about Raul? What must he think? Do you think he has any idea? I mean, about us?" He rubbed his hands up and down her arms, thinking.  " I don't know, Mac. But when we see him again we have to tell him," he murmured, " I know, I just don't wanna hurt him anymore than I already have."  He sighed " I know, but of course it's gonna hurt him, he loves you, don't you know that?" She pulled away to look at him "You think so?" He nodded. " I know so, I recognized the signs right away. Why do you think I didn't wanna hang around with you guys? I thought you loved him too and it was killing me. I know now that's what the drinking was all about. I was trying to drown my feelings for you.  Mac, look at me." He turned her face to his.  " I'm not gonna do that anymore, we're not gonna do that anymore.  I feel terrible about Raul, but I can't be without you anymore, not now, when I know that you love me."  " I know, " she said, " I can't imagine my life without you now. " She reached up and stroked his face, pushing the hair away from his eyes.  " You don't have to anymore. I'm right here," and pulled her in for a hug.

Raul walked to the front of his locker, throwing it open and dumping his books inside. Where the hell was Mac? and Billy?  Raul didn't say it, but deep down, he knew they were together. In the back of his mind, he guessed he always knew. Mac was always obsessing about Billy. He realized that most of their conversations had centered on Billy and why he acted the way he did. What an idiot I was.  Why didn't I see it before? And what happened with that guy? Did Mac really kill him? Everyone in school was looking at him with pity. Poor schmuck, didn't even realize your girlfriend was a killer. He slammed the locker shut. He turned around to find Brittany staring him in the face.  "How are you, Raul?" she affected a look of deep concern. "Fine" he said, trying to push past her.  "There's some stuff I really think you should know, it's about Mac" she began. "What about Mac?" he asked angrily. "I was at Crimson Lights on Saturday, we all were. Something happened that I think you should know about" and proceeded to tell her story. Raul's face was becoming redder by the minute.  "You expect me to believe that? Mac would never do those things.  I know her better than you do. She would never, ever do that!"  He turned to walk away from her. "So where is she then, Raul? And where's Billy, my boyfriend! Face it, that little tramp killed that guy and somehow convinced Billy to help her out. Once she's found, she's going away for a long, long time. She deserves it. She never belonged here. " Brittany's pretty face was twisted with rage. Raul walked away from her in disgust. Part of what she said made sense. Where was Billy? And if her story wasn't true, why did she run away? He had to talk to someone about this, someone who knew for sure. He headed out the door, not caring about the rest of his classes and headed for the Chancellor house. Her grandmother, she would know the truth.

Jill slammed down the phone with a bang. The police in New York were as useless as the police here. They had taken her information and said they would contact her if they found anything. The police here were busy working on the Marsh case, she didn't want to tell them that she had a sinking feeling that the disappearance of her son and the case were tied together. What the hell was wrong with that boy? Risking everything for that little witch, Mackenzie. She walked over and poured herself a drink. If she hadn't heard anything by tomorrow, she was flying to New York herself.  She was nearly certain that's where Billy was, she just hoped she could get to him in time before he did anything foolish or dangerous.

"Mrs. Abbott?" Esther's voice interrupted her thoughts, "Raul is here." She turned around and smiled at him, traced with a touch of pity. Poor kid, he was taken in by that piece of garbage, too.  "Raul, how are you?" she asked, as Esther left the room.  He walked in, "I'm okay, Mrs. Abbott. I was just wondering, is Mrs. Chancellor around?" She shook her head "Not at the moment. She said something about the police station, more questions.  I'm sorry about Mac, Raul. It seems she had us all fooled."  

Raul kept silent, wanting to smack her, but also wanting to hear what she had to say.  "Any news?" was all he said. She put down her glass, "No, nothing yet. The police are widening the search. I wish they would pay as much attention to finding my son. " She paused.  "You know, Raul. I spoke with Brittany last night. Poor girl, she seems devastated about Billy. She told me what happened at Crimson Lights that night. " Raul could no longer hold back, " Seems she can't help herself, she spent most of the day spreading that story around school. It can't be true, it just can't be. Mac couldn't have done those things she said. I know you don't like us much, Mrs. Abbott, " "That's not tr--," Raul held up his hand, "Don't try to deny it, I know you don't like me, or Mac. I've seen how you treat her."  "You're right, Rau," Kay's voice interrupted his statement.  "Jill, will you excuse us? Esther told me that Raul was here to see me." Jill said "Certainly," and left the room, lingering in the foyer to listen to their conversation. "How are you, Mrs. Chancellor?" Kay smiled "I'm worried about my granddaughter. " Raul answered "That's part of the reason I'm here, Mrs. Chancellor. I wanted to see if there was any news, have you heard anything?" Kay shook her head. "No, nothing new.  I just came from the police station. They asked me for Mackenzie's medical records in case, well you know, in case anything happened. They also said that they found blood on the floor near the body that didn't match the victim. I guess they want to see if Mac's blood type matched it. "

Raul nodded and then quietly asked, " Is there anything I can do? I mean anything I can tell them to help?" Kay thought about his question,  "There is something you can answer for me. Actually a couple of things." she paused.  "Some of this may be hurtful to you, and I am sorry about that. Did you ever notice anything going on between my granddaughter and Billy Abbott? It just seems to be too much of a coincidence for them to disappear together. And what are these stories about that Brittany Hodges is spreading around the school?" Raul took a deep breath and answered "The stories are a bunch of garbage she made up about something that happened at Crimson Lights the night that Mac disappeared. Something about what she did with the guy that got killed. " He lowered his reddened face, too embarrassed to tell her exactly what he meant, but Kay got the idea. "As for Billy, I know now that the two of them were interested in each other. All they ever did was talk about each other.  I probably knew it then, but I just didn't want to see it. The whole thing makes sense; Billy's pulling away from us, Mac being so angry all the time. They didn't want to hurt me.  It's really all right, Mrs. Chancellor.  I just want the two of them to be okay. "

Kay walked over to him and grabbed his hand. "Thank you for that, Raul.  I know this must be hard on you. As for Brittany,   I'll take care of that situation, don't you worry. I'll let you know as soon as we hear anything. " He turned and walked to the door.  "Thanks, Mrs. Chancellor," he said and left, not noticing Jill lurking in the hallway. Kay called out, "You can come in now, Jill.  He's gone." Jill's smile faded and she walked sheepishly into the room. "Did you hear all that? Your son's little girlfriend is spreading stories about my granddaughter all around the school. I'm warning you, reign her in, or I will. " Kay was serious.  "Can I help it if your granddaughter did finally did something worth talking about? Apparently the high and mighty routine was just an act, probably like everything else about her. " "Well, apparently," Kay replied, mocking Jill's words "Your son seemed to have no problems with anything about Mackenzie. Don't you know by now that wherever they are, the two of them are together? Why don't you tell that to Brittany? Maybe that will shut her up!" Kay brushed roughly past her, out of the room. Jill was furious. What the hell had Billy done? 

*****NOTE: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS ADULT CONTENT. NOTHING EXPLICIT, JUST A LITTLE RACY. . ****


Chapter 34  

Billy opened the apartment door and Mac walked in. He followed and closed the door behind them. They had just come back from a walk around the neighborhood where they had gotten some information about Jacob. The band had been regulars at the club for about a year, and a few people had answered their casual questions about him, they used a story about writing and obituary for a college newspaper. A few people had mentioned something about a girlfriend. . a waitress at the Blue Night. . Karen. The waitress that Mac had heard about last night. Not many people had seemed too upset about the loss of Jacob. Always had an attitude, always gave people grief. No one could seem to understand why a nice girl like Karen had wasted her time with someone like him. There were stories about his unfaithfulness, and a list of bad habits as long as your arm.

Billy took off his coat and sat down at the kitchen table. Mac did the same and looked him. He was deep in thought. "Billy. What?" she asked.  He snapped out of his deep thought and smiled at her.  " Nothing.   I was just thinking that Karen is probably our key to this whole thing. I hope she comes back to work tomorrow. We need to get this show on the road, already. " "Homesick already?" she asked.  "Nope, not in the least. I just want to get this whole horrible thing over with, get our names cleared. I wanna go back home, face what we have to do," she looked down. He put his hand under her chin and lifted her face up. " I can't wait to go home and start my life with you." "Do you really think we can, Billy? I mean what if we don't find out anything tomorrow? What if she won't talk to us? What if the police come?" the fear rising in her voice.  " I want you to do something Promise me if we don't find out something soon, that you'll go home. Please, Billy.  I can handle myself. . I've been on the streets before. I don't want you to give up your whole life just to help me. You've done too much already".

He waited a second after she finished and then asked, "Trying to get rid of me already, huh? What makes you think I would want to leave you.  I couldn't, not now, not ever. If I lose you, I lose half of me now, don't you understand. As for doing too much, when we get home, I wanna show you exactly how you deserve to be treated. " He pulled her to her feet, and gathered her into a tight hug. "And about Karen? Just be yourself, I mean the real you, not the nasty you I came to know and love. " She slapped playfully at his arm.  "If she's really hurting, she'll be happy to have a sympathetic ear. Columbo rule #34, I think" She couldn't help but laugh. "What are we going to do until then?" she asked.  An idea had hatched in his head earlier, and it was still formulating. "I have some suggestions, but what do you want to do?" She walked over to the couch and sat down, patting the seat next to her. " I would like you to come over and sit here" he did and she continued "I want to spend the day here, with you. Pretend this is our place for real, just to know what it would feel like, in case."  He grabbed her hand.  "Don't say it, don't even think it.  I mean I would love to spend the day here with you. It would be good practice for us, get you used to having me around for the next 50, 60 years. " He stood up suddenly. "Will you stay here for a little while, I just remembered I have to go out. I have some stuff to get for our evening together. " He grabbed his coat before she could reply. "Do one thing for me. " He looked at his watch. " You know that dress you bought at the thrift store? The one you thought I didn't notice you buying?" he smiled at her shocked face. " Put it on for me, try to make yourself look even more beautiful than you already are, although I don't see how that's possible. I should be back in a couple of hours." "Billy, please, do you have to go? I don't think you should be running around. . " He grabbed her hat and sunglasses and put them on. "Feel better?" she laughed. He grabbed her and kissed her quickly, then once again more slowly and said, " Love you," and left.

Mac stood before the mirror, once again amazed at her own transformation. The dress fit perfectly, although it was a little short. The makeup Rebecca had given her worked its magic again, but she knew the glow on her face was not just from makeup. Their confessions earlier today had lightened her heart, in spite of all the trouble they were in. She seemed different, even to herself. She even looked different, less girlish, more like a woman. She walked into the front room and looked at the clock in the kitchen. Where the heck was Billy? He had been gone for what seemed like hours, but in reality was only about 45 minutes. She paced up and down in front of the sofa, until she heard the key turn in the lock. She ran her hands quickly over her dress to smooth it, and gave her upswept hair a quick pat before the door opened. A bunch of daisies with a pair of black pants underneath it stood in the doorway.  The flowers lowered to reveal a smiling Billy, still wearing her hat and sunglasses. He walked in the door and closed it. He handed her the daisies and walked in a circle around her, removing the hat and sunglasses and throwing them on the sofa, never taking his eyes off her. He let out a low whistle and smiled. "You clean up real nice, Mac, real nice."

Mac blushed to the roots of her hair. "Thank you".  He held a shopping bag up in his right hand. "Feel like dinner yet?"  She shook her head. "Not just yet. " She placed the daisies on the coffee table in front of the sofa and turned around to face him. "Take your coat off."  He did and Mac smiled. "Where did you get that?" she asked. Billy was wearing an old-fashioned tuxedo, narrow satin lapels, small black bow tie. "Where do you think? I figured if it was good enough for you, it's more than good enough for me.  I noticed it there the other day and I realized it was perfect for tonight. 20 bucks and they threw in the shirt. "She walked over and straightened his tie slightly. "It's perfect, you look so handsome, like a movie star. " He blushed slightly, embarrassed by her compliment. "I got nothing on you, lady. That dress looks like it was made for you." He took her hand and kissed it.  "Come over here and sit with me," he walked her over to the couch. She sat down and he joined her.  The two of them sat like that for a little while, just looking at each other, grasping each other's hands. No words were necessary for the moment, they were just enjoying looking at each other. Billy was the first to speak. "Wanna dance?" he asked. "Hang on a sec, " he sprinted to the kitchen and turned on the small radio that was on the counter. He fiddled with it a while and found some slow, old style dance music.  He walked over to her, held out his hand and asked, "May I have this dance?" She smiled and nodded and extended her hand to his, letting her lead her to the center of the floor. He held her close to him and they began to move around the floor as the music floated around them.

Lovely, with your smile so warm

And your cheek so soft

There is nothing for me, but to love you

And the way you look tonight.

Billy grasped her close to him, loving the feel of her bare back beneath his hands. He ran his hand over it, and she shivered at his touch. Her skin felt incredible, warm and soft. She nestled her head into his shoulder as they moved across the floor, slowly. She reached her hand underneath his jacket to pull him closer to her. He looked down at her, her eyes were closed and her head rested against his shoulder. "This is how it should have been, Mac" She lifted her head up to look at him, puzzled.  "The dance, Mac.  This is how I dreamed it would be." She placed her head against his shoulder and whispered "Me, too. Except this is better, just us" He chuckled " I like the way you think" and leaned in to kiss her. They stopped dancing and continued kissing.

Lovely, never ever change

Keep that breathless charm

Won't you please arrange it?

'Cause I love you. .

And the way you look tonight.

The song ended and they continued to stand there kissing. Mac loved the feel of Billy's hands on her skin and deepened the kisses. Billy was once again amazed by her, the way she felt, how passionate she quickly became. She pulled away from his lips and ran her lips along the side of his face. She kissed his neck, just below his ear and remembering the last time they were like this, slipped his earlobe between her lips, teasing him. He groaned and whispered hoarsely "You better cut that out, right now," but his plea was half-hearted. The feel of her lips and tongue was making him crazy. "Why?' she whispered.  "Don't you like this?" hearing the answer in his groan. " I like it too much, Mac. "She ran her hands over his back, under his jacket, and reached up to this shoulders, taking the jacket off.  She pulled away from him and he looked at her, alarmed. She smiled and stroked his face reassuringly. She pulled the bow tie loose and threw it to the floor. She opened the first few buttons of his shirt. "That's better" she said. "Aren't you more comfortable now?"

He nodded in amazement, and pulled her close to him again. She nestled her cheek against his chest, finding the bare skin now exposed by the opened buttons. He decided to pay her back a little for her teasing his ear a moment ago. His hands on her bare back crept lower, down to where the deep backline ended. He slipped his hands underneath the material to touch the silky skin of her lower back, running the pads of his fingers over it softly and she gasped, softly. Billy looked at her face and knew that she had gasped from desire and surprise, not from fear. He pulled his hands further up her back again and Mac was disappointed until he began to tease her ear with his lips, grabbing the lobe and nipping at it, as she had earlier. He was delighted when her sigh matched his and pulled tighter to him. "Billy, " was all she could manage to gasp. He pulled back to look at her, eyes heavy with desire." I am so in love with you Mackenzie," and kissed her deeply, his tongue plunging wildly into her mouth. She returned the kiss with equal fervor, her tongue meeting his, delving deeply into his mouth. He pulled away suddenly brought his hand to her lips and kissed it and said " I think we should stop this now. How about some dinner?"

 Mac was disappointed. What they were doing felt like heaven. Why did he want to stop? "Why do we have to stop now, Billy? Why? " and pressed against him, kissing the side of his face "I love you too, Billy, so much. "  He smiled, his eyes closed, loving the feel of her lips on his face. "That's why we should stop now, honey. Because we're in love. We don't need to rush things, we know how we feel. We have all the time in the world. " She looked at him.  "Don't you want to get to know me better? I know that I wanna know all about you, everything," he kissed the tip of her nose.  " I wanna discover all there is to know about you. " She looked away. "Maybe you won't feel the same way about me if you do. Maybe you'll change your mind.  I want to know what it feels like to be with you, Billy. In every way."

He let her go and walked away from her.  "Still don't trust me, huh? Listen to me, there is nothing I could ever find out about you that would make me not love you. Just isn't possible, end of story. I want us to go slowly and when something happens I want that to go slowly, too. " He looked at her, his desire evident.  She returned the look and he nearly lost it. He fought the desire to unbutton that button at the back of her neck to see the rest of that skin. Glowing in the soft light. He held out his hand to her "Let's eat," and walked her to the table. As they sat at the table, Mac looked at Billy. The skin of his throat and the patch of skin exposed by the open shirt buttons was driving her to distraction and she bit her bottom lip. He looked so beautiful, like Cary Grant or somebody, in an old time movie. He had bought dinner, from a nearby restaurant, and as they ate it really felt to Mac as if she were home. Clearing the dishes, chatting easily. As if she really belonged with him.

When they finished, he took her hand and walked back to the sofa to sit with her. He sat back, and she sat back against him, pulling his arms around her, gasping softly when his hand accidentally touched the side of her breast, both of them trying their best to keep their newly revealed desires under control. She could stand it no longer and turned around to kiss him, turning her body to his, pressing herself against him. She wrapped her leg around his, his hand running up and down her thigh, down to her calf. The rough feel of the stockings slowed him down a bit and he moved his hand again to her bare back, moving slowly over her skin. " I want you, Billy," she said and moved his hands from her back to the sides of her breasts that were exposed by the deep back of her dress. He rubbed his thumbs against their sides, stroking softly. "Billy, I just want to feel you against me, " her voice was thick with desire. She started unbuttoning his shirt and pulled it out of his pants, yanking it down his arms. She sat up, across his lap and ran her hands slowly over his shoulders, his arms. . so beautiful, long lean muscles tight under his silky skin. She ran her hand back and forth, up and down his arm, and he placed his hand along the side of her neck, stroking her ear, gazing into her eyes.  She bent her head and ran her cheek along his forearm, closing her eyes,  feeling the hairs on his fore arm slightly rough against her cheek. "You're so beautiful, Billy.  I always thought you were beautiful," she said. He reached his hands up behind her neck and opened the single button that held the dress together.

It fell away and pooled around her waist.  Billy gave a sharp intake of breath as he looked at her. She pulled herself against him, wanting to feel her skin against hers. He looked down at her, overwhelmed by his feelings. " I could stay here like this with you for the rest of my life," he said simply, looking deeply into her eyes, gathering her even closer to him to kiss her deeply. Her nipples pressed against his chest, and he began to groan. She loved the feeling of the rough, yet silky hair on his chest against her breasts and moved her body up and down against his. The friction was unbearable, yet he never wanted it to end. Their kiss deepened further and he reached behind her head, removing the clip that held her hair up. It tumbled to her shoulders and he pulled even closer, her tongue movingly wildly inside his mouth. He groaned and opened his eyes, stopping suddenly, and pushed her away, getting up from the sofa, turning away from her.  "Pull your dress back up, please honey, pull it back up," he pleaded in a soft voice, not seeing the tears that suddenly sprang to her eyes as she did as he requested.  He rubbed his eyes with his hands and she asked quietly " Is there something wrong with me? Is that why you pulled away?". 

He picked up his head to look at her and walked over to where she sat.  He took her hands in his and shook his head.  "Look at me," he said. "There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, in fact, just the opposite, " he smiled.  "I just think that we're moving a little too fast, that's all. I mean, a couple of days ago we were barely speaking to each other and now?" His thoughts flashed on her a moment ago, naked to the waist, hair in wild disarray around her shoulders, her eyes burning with love for him. He shook his head again and continued, "This is so new to both of us.  Why should we rush it? Besides, I wouldn't be able to think about anything else if we. I wanna get all this stuff figured out first, Mac. I want us to be able to concentrate on nothing but us, but we gotta take care of everything else first." 

She looked at him, tears staining her cheeks.  "But Brittany told me, I mean she said that you two were gonna go to Aspen and that you and she were.  I thought you wanted to with her, so I," He pulled her to her feet.  "What did she tell you? I never said anything about what we were gonna do when we got there. I said I would go, but the only reason was to get away from everything. I figured you and Raul were getting closer, and to tell you the truth, I didn't wanna be around to see it. I never told her we were gonna make love, Mac.  She thought about that all by herself. " She let out the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "So, that's it? That's why you pulled away? Not because you found me repulsive or because you thought I was," she stopped. "Thought you were what?" he asked. She sat down on the sofa and looked up at him "Sit down, Billy, there's something I wanna tell you something about me that may change your mind, about me, about everything. "


Chapter 35

Billy sat down and turned to her.  What was it? What seemed to be always inside her, tormenting her, making her so angry and sad? Would she finally tell him? The only thought he voiced aloud was "I already told you, there is nothing you could tell me that would change my mind about you. " He rubbed the back of his hand against her cheek, urging her to continue. She took a deep breath and began to speak. " I thought that maybe when we were kissing and stuff before," her face colored and she paused. " I thought maybe that you thought I was too easy. You know, because I pushed you too far.  Sam always told me." She put her hand over her mouth and tears sprang to her eyes. She hadn't meant to say his name aloud. It had just slipped out.  "Sam?  Who's Sam? " Billy asked her, an unexplained feeling of dread creeping into his question.  "My stepfather," she whispered and looked at her hands in his, sitting on her lap.  "You see, he used to tell me," and drew in a breath with a deep sob. He pulled his hands from hers and grasped her face comfortingly. "It's all right sweetie, just tell me, whatever it is. " " He used to tell me that I was no good, that I was just like my mother. A good for nothing tramp. He used to come in my room at night. Sometimes when my Mom drank too much and she was passed out. He would," she stopped and looked at him, tears still running down her face. Billy felt as if he could explode, but kept his voice even and soothing, "What did he do, Mac, what did he do to you?"

Her voice was choked with shame and dropped to a choked whisper, "He would touch me.  Just touch me that's all, he never did anything else. He said he wanted to, but he never did. " Billy's heart split in two, but he just smiled gently at her and urged her silently to continue, "I knew that if I stayed there, something bad would happen. It started when I turned 13. He never did anything before that. He started to look at me funny and say things when my mom wasn't around. He touched me, but he never got a chance to do anything else. That's why I ran away.  He told me that I was asking for it, but Billy I never," she wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her head against his shoulder.  "I'm still a virgin, Billy.  I guess I just don't feel like one. He made me feel used and dirty. It took me a long time to get over it. I was on the streets for a year before the dreams went away. I guess my feelings for you brought them back again. I guess I felt that if you knew the truth, you wouldn't want me and it broke my heart. " She stopped speaking and waited for a reaction from Billy.  When there was none, she spoke, "Billy, I understand if you wanna leave."

He grabbed tightly. " I just told you, there is nothing you could say that would make me leave you.  What makes you think I would ever leave you? I just want 5 minutes alone in a room with Sam, that's all. " He pulled back from her "Where is he now? What happened to him?" She wiped the tears from her face with the back of one hand. "Gone, from what I hear.  After I ran away he and my mom split up.  I knew she would blame me for his leaving.  That's why I never went back there. That's how I know that what I feel for is real.  I could never do this with anyone else, never talk like this with anyone, except you. " Billy sighed and spoke "Listen to me, Mac. You are a remarkable person. Smart, independent, not bad on the eyes," he smiled, trying to lighten her mood. "There is nothing about you that is dirty or used. The way you kissed me, the way you responded to me. It only proves that you love me. It's not bad, or wrong.  It doesn't make you 'easy'. It makes you human and beautiful. That's what you are Mac, a strong, passionate and beautiful woman. " She smiled at him with such relief that his heavy heart lightened a bit. He leaned over and kissed her lightly.  " I didn't think it was possible, but I love you more now than I did 5 minutes ago. " She hugged him to her, and the tears that ran down her cheeks were now of joy, not sorrow. A weight she had carried for almost 3 years had been lifted from her shoulders, and she knew that the dreams were gone again, this time for good.

They sat on the sofa for a long time just like that, holding tightly to each other. Billy broke the silence, "Mac" he began, stroking her hair, " When we get home, and this whole thing is over, I want you to tell your grandma and dad about this.  You have to. I'll be with you. . They deserve to know this, they love you just like I do, they'll understand. " She nodded. " I know, and I will, as soon as this whole thing is over. The hardest part for me was telling you.  I know now I can do that, I can tell them. Thank you for that "  Billy smiled "Anytime " he said. "tired?" he asked her, feeling her stifle a yawn. "A little bit, yeah" and snuggled up against him tighter. "C'mon, let's go to bed," he said. They rose from the couch and walked into the bedroom.

Mac gathered her nightclothes and went into the bathroom to change. She emerged in the same outfit that had set his mind reeling the other night. He took her elbow, pulled down the comforter and helped her into bed, covering her up. Her eyes began to close as soon as her head hit the pillow. Poor baby, he thought, she was emotionally drained, the exhaustion had hit her quickly. He leaned over, close to her face, his lips hovering over hers, murmuring,  'Sweet dreams,' and kissed her lightly.  She reached up and stroked his cheek and muttered, "G'night, Billy, " and dropped her hand back to her side. He slipped into the bathroom to change clothes, showering first to give her a chance to fall asleep more deeply. He opened the door, pulling a T-shirt on over his head. He got in bed next to her. She cuddled against him, breathing him in deeply. He pulled her close to him, relieved that she had finally told him. He had suspected since that night in her room that something was wrong. He looked down at her, sleeping peacefully her lips curled into a tiny smile, as if the weight of the world was finally gone from her shoulders. He would get them through this, he had to. No one would ever hurt her again, not while he was breathing. He finally fell asleep, holding her close, praying that this whole nightmare would be over soon. 


Chapter 36

Billy squinted against the bright light. Morning. He rubbed his eyes and ran his hands through his hair, yawning. He sat up. Where was she? "Mac?" he called out, getting out of bed. What was that smell? Coffee. He followed his nose into the kitchen. Mac was up and dressed her hair brushed up into a ponytail, bustling around the small kitchen. The table was set with the daisies from last night sitting in a tall glass in the center.  He leaned against the wall, arms folded across his chest, smiling. "Good morning."  She turned from the stove, looked at him and smiled. " She shut the stove off and walked over to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and looked up at him. "Good morning, yourself." He leaned down and kissed her gently. "You did all this?" she nodded.  "It's about time I started doing something for you. . you've done so much for me already.  I started breakfast. How do you like your eggs?" she grabbed his hand and led him to the table, "Sit down. Let me do everything."  He sat down and watched her, grinning from ear to ear.  She was like a new person this morning, the events of last night seeming to free her. Her smile was lighthearted and genuine, not forced the way it often had been in the past. "You didn't answer me, how do you like your eggs?" she stood with a spatula in her hand poised over the frying pan.  "Over easy. you didn't tell me you could cook." Her smile faded briefly.  "You learn a lotta stuff when you have to. Sometimes my mom wasn't up to it, you know? I'm kind of glad about it. You never know when it might come in handy," her face brightened again.  Billy returned her smile. So much I don't know about you, Mac.  " I'd like to keep finding new stuff about you every day. Think you could manage that?"  he asked, trying to lighten the mood.  She flipped the eggs over in the pan smoothly and answered, "Only good stuff from now on, I promise."

She slid the eggs onto a plate and brought it over to him. She sat down across from him and he turned and looked around at the table. She had made toast and coffee and they sat on the table in front of him.

"Eat," she ordered and watched him take the first bite.  She let out a sigh of relief when he proceeded to wolf them down. He looked up from his plate, "Aren't you eating?" he managed to get out between bites. She nodded and took some toast.  "I guess it's okay then? I mean you haven't keeled over yet," she grinned.  He continued eating and when he finished, he put down his fork with a contented sigh, patting his stomach. "Best eggs I ever ate.  Do you do everything this well? I mean you're smart, hardworking, you cook. Is there anything you can't do?" She decided to have a little fun with him, she felt so wonderful this morning.  "Well, you said you wanted to learn stuff about me everyday. . guess you'll have to hang around awhile and find out. " She got up from her chair and took his plate, bringing it over to the sink. He got up and stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, his cheek against her hair. "Just try and get rid of me.  Need some help?" She shook her head and turned around, "I told you, let me do everything.  Sit down and finish. We have the whole day ahead of us. We don't have to be at work until 8:00." He let her walk him over to the table where she pushed him gently into the chair and kissed him on the cheek. He sat at the table, drinking coffee and watching her. She moved easily, washing the pan and the dishes, it seemed as if she were in her own home. She would be back there soon, he vowed. Billy felt a little pang at the thought of returning home. He had gotten used to being with her all the time. That would change when they got home. And Raul, and his mother, those jackass friends of his. None of that mattered unless they got the information they needed.

He felt her hand at the back of his head, stroking the back of his hair softly. "Everything okay, Billy? You're awfully quiet." He nodded and pulled her into his lap, she giggled.  "I was just thinking about how lucky I am and how happy we're gonna be from now on, once this whole mess is over with." She stroked the back of his hair again, and looked at him, " I was just thinking, too.  Feeling a little guilty, I guess.  I mean a man is dead, the police are looking for me and I'm so happy! I should be frightened out of my mind, but I'm not.  The only thing that frightens me is the idea of anything happening to you. If we can stay together and find out what we need, everyday can be like this for us." He looked back at her "Everyday will be like this, except." She shot him a worried look.  "Except what?"  He milked it a little longer. "Except how do we explain to your family and mine this insane craving I have for those eggs you make? What do I do? Sneak over to your house everyday for breakfast. Sneak you into my house, frying pan in hand?" she giggled.  "Can you picture the look on my mom's face if she walked into the kitchen and saw you standing at the stove, cooking my breakfast?" Mac's smiled darkened at the mention of Jill.  'She'd probably think that I was where I belonged, a servant." She looked down.

He picked up her chin, "Hey, hey no trips about my mother today.  I know how she is, but if you think I'm gonna let her treat you the way she has, forget it. I never should have let her in the first place. I won't let anybody hurt you anymore" He leaned in and kissed her softly. "Whattya wanna do today?" she asked. "I think we may have a way to find out some more information.  JJ has a computer downstairs.  He said I could use it anytime I wanted. I'll go downstairs and get on the internet, see if I can find out anything more about this guy.  I guarantee there's some information out there. " She stood up, letting him rise from his chair.  " I better go get cleaned up before I do anything.  Thanks for breakfast, it was great. " He walked into the bedroom and she heard the shower running soon after. She was finishing up the dishes when Billy walked in the room, dressed and ready to go downstairs. "Can I come along, Billy? I'd really like to help you with this.  please?" "Of course, I need you to come.  you're smarter than me. I might miss something. " They laughed and went downstairs, closing the door behind them.

Two hours later, they sat in front of the computer screen. Billy rubbed his eyes, tired from staring at the screen.  They had found some more information. Nothing that they hadn't known already. He pushed his chair away and got up to stretch his legs.  Mac looked away from the screen and up at him.  "Giving up so soon?" she asked. He shook his head.  "Not a chance, just wanted to stretch my legs a little. Why don't you join me?" the computer began playing music and she turned to look at it. "In a minute," she said.  She had found a page set up by a local women's shelter. It gave information about counseling and advice on how to deal with abuse.  She noticed a link and clicked on it.  As the page downloaded, she thought she saw a familiar face, but waited until the page was done. It was a page about the rights of men who had been falsely charged with abuse.

Mac looked more closely. "Billy! come here, look at this. " He walked over and peered at the screen.  the picture in the upper right hand corner looked familiar. He sat down.  "That's him, isn't it?" he said.  " I think so.  Click on it, see what happens" He did and a new page opened.  "Sometimes, the stain of abuse can lead to scandal," he read, "Jacob Marsh, a singer of some renown around the Chicago area was arrested and charged with battery against his girlfriend, Karen Spencer.  The charges were dropped, due to Ms. Spencer's refusal to testify against her boyfriend, claiming the whole thing was a misunderstanding. Mr. Marsh claims to have been paying the price ever since. 'It was no big deal' he said. 'We had an argument, and things got a little out of hand. I would never hurt anybody, and now I've got this thing hanging over my head. It's just the press trying to wreck my career. ' Ms. Spencer was not available for comment. " He turned to Mac and said "This is it honey. If we can get Karen to come with us and tell her story we can go home."


Chapter 37

Billy walked into the apartment and closed the door. Mac had walked in before him and sat down on the couch. "What happens now?" she asked him.  He sat down next to her. "What happens is we talk to Karen tonight. You'll have more contact with her than I will. Just be subtle. Try not to make it too obvious. I'm anxious to have this whole thing over with, but we can't scare her off." Mac looked at him, "What if I can't find out anything.  I mean you know how I am sometimes. I scare people off." He took her hand. "You can do it, I know you can. I'll help you as much as I can, but sometimes women find it easier to talk to other women. At least that's what I've heard. You'll be fine. Just show her the side that I see, the real you." she smiled. "She'll be telling you her life history before you know it. Now, what's for lunch?" She stood up and looked down at him. "Oh sure, I cook for you once and now it's my job," she said teasingly.  He looked at her, trying to keep a straight face.  "Is that any way to behave? Now go in the kitchen and do your duty." He smiled, waiting for the expected explosion. Instead, she smiled sweetly and batted her eyelashes. "Anything you say, dear," she answered in a high pitched voice. "Really?" he asked, standing up and taking her in his arms. "Don't make that offer again, or I might just take you up on it." She swatted him on the arm and went into the kitchen. 

She came back a few minutes later carrying a sandwich on a plate. She placed it on the table in front of the sofa and asked "anything else?" He shook his head and patted the spot on the sofa next to him. She sat down to watch him eat. Another new thing discovered today, Billy sure could eat. It was fun to watch him, he was like a little kid, inhaling his food. Mac wondered if she would ever know everything there was to find out about him. She loved just to look at him, the strong jawline, the way his eyes crinkled up at the corners when he smiled, the way his hair would sometimes fall in his eyes. This is what it's like to be in love. She felt like a part of an exclusive club, one she never felt she had a right to join. Only now she belonged to it, hell, today she even felt like its president. Everything about him seemed made just for her. His strong hands, the way he pushed up the sleeves of his sweater, the light glinting off the fine hair on his forearms. He felt her eyes on him and turned to look at her and she looked away, embarrassed.  "Something wrong?" he said, mouth still full.

She shook her head and laughed. "Nothing from where I'm sitting. Okay, busted. I like to look at you.  Is that a crime?"  He swallowed and smiled, shaking his head,  " I just can't believe you said it. You know sometimes, when we were at Crimson Lights,  I used to watch you, even when I wasn't alone.  I used to sneak peeks at you when no one was looking and when we were at your house? Before the dance that night? I tried not to look at you when you came down the stairs, I really did. I just couldn't help myself.  You looked so beautiful." He laughed aloud, "Guess I'm busted, too. " Mac looked at him, dreamy eyed "You were looking at me? Why? I was so sour and mean and I don't know, icky," he burst into laughter again at her choice of words. "Icky? I take back what I said about you being so smart" and ducked as she attempted to punch him in the arm. "You know what I mean. Why would you look at me, even back then, when you were with Brittany?" He gazed back at her. "Because I loved you, even then. I couldn't help it.  I thought you couldn't stand me, so I never mentioned it. Seems pretty stupid now, huh? Us sneaking peeks at each other when nobody was looking?"

She nodded. He clasped her hand in his "When we get back home, nobody's gonna stop me from looking at you" he stroked her ponytail, "or touching you, except you of course. May I touch you now?" She shook her head, and he pulled his hand away, startled. " I wanna do it this time" and brought her hand up to his face, running the back of it over his cheek, as if to memorize it. She leaned in and kissed him, softly, her lips barely grazing his and whispered, "You can touch me now," and kissed him again. He pulled her to him and kissed her deeply, the way he had always done in his dreams, except this was better, this was real.

The kissing continued. Less frantic than before, less rushed. It was as if they were kissing for the very first time, that night in her room that seemed so long ago now. The same electric current charged through them every time they touched.

Billy never remembered feeling like this in his life. Sure he had kissed girls before, not as many as he would have everyone believe, but he had done his share. Nothing in his memory of those times compared with this.  Her lips were like nothing he had ever felt before, soft, especially the full bottom one. He ran his thumb along it, back and forth as he sat with his face very close to hers. Ah, she liked that. He watched her eyes close.

Mac thought she would lose her mind. Billy was rubbing his thumb back and forth over her bottom lip and it was driving her crazy. She closed her eyes, and his thumb moved from her bottom lip to her top one, rubbing it the same way. She decided to push things a little further and when he tried to move his finger to her bottom lip again, she took it into her mouth. She opened her eyes and saw that Billy's were now closed. Ah, he liked that. She pulled his finger slowly out of her mouth and held it in her hands. She brought it to her lips again and ran her tongue around it lightly before asking, "Like that?" He gulped, "More than anything I ever felt before."  She smiled at his apparent pleasure, "Give me a little time, I'm new to all this stuff. Who knows, we might find something that you like better. "  He groaned and kissed her again, once again amazed by her obvious passion for him.

He had never expected her to be so free with him. Billy knew they were walking a dangerous line, and Mac's newfound boldness wasn't helping any. He was at the point where just a certain look from her could get him aroused, she didn't even have to speak or touch him. When she put his finger in her mouth, he thought he might pass out, just from sheer pleasure. She was touching him now, running her hands over his back, rubbing her smooth cheek against his and he knew they had to stop. "Mac, please," he pleaded in a soft tone, not really wanting her to stop, but knowing they had to.  She pulled away and smiled gently at him.

"I'm sorry.  It's just.  I don't even know how to explain it to you." He sat back and tried to arrange himself more comfortably, trying to think of anything except how she looked and felt in his arms. "Try," was all he said.

She smiled again at his obvious discomfort and realized for the first time the effect she had on him. "It's just that I can't seem to stop myself. My heart sort of takes over my body. I love you so much. When you kiss me, I forget about everything else. I just don't want it to ever stop. Am I terrible?" He shook his head.  "I know exactly what that's like.  It's the same for me. I can't get enough of you, the way you feel. That look in your eyes. I can see how much you love me when I look in your eyes and it gets to me, like nothing ever has.  But, you see why we can't do this, don't you?" She nodded "I know, and I know that when we get home, things will be different except I will still love you." Billy smiled. "I think I know that by now." "Do you, Billy? I mean I know I can never make up to you for everything that you've done for me." "That debt has been settled, you know that, " he answered, " I'm so in love with you, I can't see straight. Can you imagine what it will be like when we make love? " He sat up and moved closer to her.  "The rest of the world will really disappear then. " He kissed her again, and pulled himself away, looking at his watch. "We still got a few hours to kill before work. If I take a cold shower now we could start all over again." She laughed out loud, a sound that was still new and thrilling to Billy. " I think I can keep my hands off you.  At least for a couple of hours anyway. Besides we've got a ton of dirty laundry, I need to go to the laundromat next door. "

She walked into the bedroom and picked up the laundry she had piled into a large trash bag, and dragged it into the front room. She picked up her coat and hat and headed toward the door. He stepped in front of it, blocking her path. "Where do you think you're going?" he asked, his arms folded across his chest. "I just told you, to the laundromat next door," she smiled.  "Not without me, you're not."  He moved to get his coat and she grabbed his arm. "Billy wait, it's not necessary. I'll be right next door.  It's the middle of the afternoon, what can happen?  Besides, I think we both need some time alone.  Kind of a cooling off period, you know? Please, I can take care of myself; I've been doing it most of my life," she stated proudly. " I know" he said softly "It's just that you don't have to anymore. I'm here now." He looked at her, and seeing her shake his head, threw up his hands." Okay, okay, but if you're not back soon, I can't be held responsible for what I might do. " She walked over to him, laying her hands on his chest. "Just don't do anything that might incapacitate you. In any way," she looked him in the eyes to see if he understood the real meaning behind her words. He did, and she continued "At least, not until I've had my way with you," she grabbed his sweater and pulled him to her, kissing him boldly, running her tongue along with even teeth.

She released him and looked in his eyes. They were closed, with that now familiar look of complete desire. She opened the door and whispered, "I love you, Billy," and left. Billy stood in the same position for several minutes after she left, a wide grin plastered across his face. When he came back down to earth, he headed for the bathroom, whistling again. 


Chapter 38

Mac stood in front of the washing machine, folding clothes with a dreamy look in her eyes. She even loved the idea of sorting his laundry. She laughed at herself. She had it bad, all right. Now even laundry was fun. She picked up the old T-shirt he had worn to bed last night and held it to her face. It still smelled faintly of him, soap and cologne. She folded it carefully and added it to the pile she had already done. One more load was still in the dryer, and then she was done. She wanted to give Billy this time alone, she felt so bad about what had happened earlier. She didn’t want him to think that she was a tease. The dryer rumbled, loudly, so she was startled when she heard voices behind her, speaking her name. "Mackenzie Reynolds?" The voice repeated, "Mackenzie Reynolds?" She heard footsteps approaching her. "It's no use, Mackenzie, there’s no where for you to run. You might as well turn around now. " She turned around to see two men, who were obviously police, dressed in plain clothes. "Mackenzie Reynolds, we have a court order for your extradition back to Wisconsin for questioning regarding the murder of Jacob Marsh." Mac didn’t hear any of what was said after that. Her mind shut down completely. Her last thought when she was in the back seat, driving back to Genoa City, was of Billy. At least they didn’t put the sirens on, she thought. Give him a chance to get away. She looked up at the window of the apartment where he was waiting for her. Get out of here, Billy. Run as far and as fast as you can.

Billy paced around the apartment. He had showered and was dressed for work. He had to force himself to sit down and not run out the door, down the steps and next door to the laundromat. This time alone had seemed important to her otherwise he never would have let her go there by herself. Where the hell was she? Give her another 15 minutes, Abbott, don’t be a jerk. He sat and stared at his watch, walked to the kitchen and proceeded to stare at the clock. When the fifteen minutes finally ended, he grabbed his coat and ran out the door. When he got to the laundromat, it was nearly deserted. He spotted a pile of clothing, neatly folded on top of one of the machines. He walked over to it, a sinking feeling of dread starting to creep up from his shoes. On top of the pile was the sweatshirt she had worn to sleep in "property of Evanston high school athletic team." He looked around frantically. The manager, a bored looking older woman, sat behind a counter at the back of the store. He walked quickly to the counter, "Excuse me? Did you just see a girl here? Pretty? Dark hair. She must have used the machine right over there," he pointed to the pile of clothing." You know her?" she asked, eyeing him suspiciously. He nodded, "She’s my fiancée. Did you see her? Please tell me where she is." Her face softened a little and she answered. "Two men were here, cops they said they were, from some place in Wisconsin," she registered the pain on his face and said, "I’m sorry!" shouting it as he ran out the front door. Mac, what the hell do I do now?

Mac sat quietly in the back of the car. Another hour and they would be back in Genoa City. She had some time to get the story she would tell them together, at least in her head. She killed him, because he led her on, then rejected her. He had mocked her, saying he could have any girl, any time he wanted. What would he want with a nothing like her? He kept taunting her, telling her not to try to get in touch with him, just get lost. She could say that she had a secret crush on him for a long time. She had seen his picture on the cover of a CD and became obsessed. When she actually met him in person and he rejected her, she lost it and hit him. She hadn’t meant to kill him, it was an accident. The knife, what about the knife? When he realized how obsessed she was, he pulled out a knife and told her to back off. He turned to leave and she picked up the first thing she saw, the brick. How did the brick get into the coffeehouse? She could say she brought it inside to prop open the dressing room door. It had a habit of sticking when closed. She remembered. She could say she was afraid of being locked in overnight. She saw it lying on the floor and decided that Jacob would pay for rejecting her. What about Billy? Had they put two and two together? She decided that she wouldn’t bring up the subject unless they did first. Her story would only reinforce what everyone always thought about her anyway, she was trash. If Brittany had spread that story about her around; people would believe her obsession story. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the seat.

Billy ran up the steps to the apartment. What was he gonna do now? He thought about turning himself in. That would help Mac, but end his life. What difference did it make? If he lost Mac, he wasn’t alive any more anyway. Were they there yet? What was she telling them? Knowing her, some story about how she had done the whole thing. It was all her fault. He knew with absolute certainty that she would deny having been with him. She probably wouldn’t even mention knowing he had been missing. His decision was made; he had to stay here. He had to convince Karen to tell the truth about Jacob. Stay strong, baby, we’re gonna get outta this mess. He ran downstairs.

 

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