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

Chapter 39

Billy opened the door to the club. Rebecca was behind the bar, "Hi, Rick. How are you?" she asked. She got her answer by the look on his face "What’s wrong? You look terrible." He ran his hands through his hair, "I feel terrible. Can I talk to you for a minute?" She walked from behind the bar wiping her hands on a towel. "Sure," she said and motioned for him to sit down. He sat down and she followed. Billy took a deep breath and out came the whole story. Who they really were and what had happened. Rebecca kept silent the whole time. "And when I got there I spoke to the manager. They said the cops had come to take her away. Do you see why we couldn’t stay and face the music? They would have sent us both up the river." Rebecca took a deep breath. "You took a big risk, telling me all this. I could call the cops right now. Why did you do that?" He looked at her with such sadness that she felt a lump rising in the throat. "Because you were good to us, you took us in, trusted us. I see no reason why I shouldn’t trust you." She nodded, clearing her throat, "What can I do?" "You can help me get to Karen. I mean you know her, don’t you?" She got up and walked behind the bar again, pouring them both coffee. "I don’t really know her that well, Ri, I mean Billy. I just know that she had a lot of problems, missed a lot of work because of accidents at least that’s what she always called them. One time, she had an eye blackened, and scratches all over her face. She said something about her cat scratching her, but she wouldn’t talk about the eye, just said it was an accident. We usually have a little holiday gathering every year for the employees and their families. She only brought him once. That was the first time I met Jacob. JJ hated him on site, said he was too arrogant for his taste." "He kept hitting on every woman in the place," she continued, "even with Karen right there. I never told anyone this except JJ, but he even hit on me. He said Karen would never guess. All I know is something about him never sat right with me. He was too slick, you know?" He nodded. He had seen Jacob, albeit briefly, in action with Mac that night. "Would you be willing to tell what you saw to the police?" he asked. "Even the fact that he hit on you?" "If you think it will help, sure, but I think you need to find out what’s happened to Mac first."

Mac sat in the police station. Her grandmother and her dad had been there to meet her when the police car arrived at the Genoa City police station. They had said very little, just hugged her and told her they were glad she was home. Mac could barely look them in the eyes. The door to the small room she was sitting in opened and in walked her grandmother and father. They were accompanied by a female police officer. Kay looked at her granddaughter and smiled. Brock spoke first, "Mackenzie, this is Officer Steele. She is going to sit in the room while we talk." He glanced at the officer who nodded and moved to sit in a chair in the corner of the room. Kay and Brock sat down across from Mac. "Will you tell us what happened?" Brock grasped her hand as he spoke. She nodded. As she told her story, she watched their faces carefully, unable to judge whether or not they really believed her.

It didn’t matter, really. The only thing that mattered was keeping Billy safe. When she had finished, the officer got up from her chair and left the room. She returned with two other policemen. She spoke, "Mackenzie these are Detectives Logan and Kincaid," she motioned to the two men with her. "They are here to take your official statement. Your father has arranged for an attorney to witness it. Mr. Silva? I believe is his name?" Brock nodded. "I’m going to bring him in now." She opened the door and motioned for John Silva to come in. He entered and sat down, giving Mac a reassuring smile. She spent the next two hours repeating her story, this time officially. No turning back now.


Chapter 40

"And when I turned around, I knew it was the police. They brought me here." Mac finished. She had been talking for two hours, non-stop and her throat was dry. "Could I have a glass of water, please?" The officers nodded and Officer Steele left briefly and returned with a Styrofoam cup filled with water, placing it on the table in front of Mac. She picked it up and drank it, closing her eyes against the stares of those around her. She set the empty cup down and asked, "Are we done now?" John Silva nodded and then asked. "Is that your complete statement?" She nodded. He answered. "Well if that’s all, then I will see what the situation is," he motioned towards the two detectives and the officer, they nodded, rose and walked with them into the hallway. Brock rose from the table and followed them "I’ll be right back, sweetheart" he said as he closed the door behind them. Mac looked at her grandmother. "I’m sorry, Grandma. I really am. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen." Kay grasped her hands over Mac’s. "I know, dear and we’re going to help you out of this." Kay was sure her granddaughter was lying. But to protect who?

She would get the truth out of her, but not here. Brock returned. He spoke quietly. "Mackenzie, the police are going to release you to our custody. Now, you won’t be able to come and go as you please. The investigation is still continuing. They don’t feel they have enough evidence to indict you." He stopped and looked at his daughter. He was also convinced she was hiding something.

Jill sat in her office. She had just been watching a news report on television about Mac’s arrival back home for questioning. Good, she thought. Good riddance. She was also relieved that Billy seemed not to be involved. Where the hell was he? The investigator she had hired in NY had turned up nothing. Thank goodness he wasn’t with that worthless street urchin. She smiled. Katherine’s granddaughter a murderer. She couldn’t have planned it more perfectly if she had done it herself. Her thoughts were interrupted by the phone. She picked it up. "Jill Abbott. Yes, of course I’ll speak with him! Billy? Billy? Where the hell are you? If you don’t get your butt home this instant you will regret it for the rest of your life, I promise you." Billy paused, not sure if he was doing the right thing. "Nice to talk to you too, Ma. I’m fine. I just wanted to let you know. I’ll be home soon. Everything’s okay. Ma?" he asked, trying to sound off-hand. "Yes?" she answered. " I saw something on the news. What happened to Mac?" Jill paused. "She’s being questioned. It's only a matter of time before the arrest happens. I told you that girl was trouble, Billy. Aren’t you glad you listened to me for once?" Billy tried to keep his voice even. His mother could make him made enough to kill sometimes. Hell, what was he thinking? He had already killed a man. "Yeah, sure Ma, well, thanks and I’ll call you real soon," and hung up quickly.

She wasn’t under arrest yet. He still had time. He turned to Rebecca. JJ had come in earlier and while Billy was working up the courage to call his mother, Rebecca had filled in him on the real story. He was sitting, chin in hand, listening intently to her when Billy returned to the table. "So," he began. "I guess your wife has told you everything. I’m sorry, I know this is trouble you don’t need and you’ve both been very kind to Mac and me. I’ll understand if you don’t want to help us, the only thing I ask is you give me the chance to talk to Karen. If I can’t convince her to help, I’ll be outta here tonight." He finished and waited for an answer. JJ thought for a moment and then said quietly "Of course we’ll help you. I mean, I know what happened was terrible for everyone concerned, but I also know that Jacob finally got what was coming to him. No one deserves to die, but he killed people slowly, every day. You’re right, Karen is the key. If you can get her to tell you what really happened. I’m not saying you still won’t be in trouble, but she may save both your lives." He paused. "What about Mac? Is she under arrest?" Billy shook his head. "Not yet. I gotta talk to her, find out what she told them. know she didn’t mention me. My Mother would’ve said something. She’s taking the blame for this whole thing herself, I know she is. I can’t let her do that." JJ and Rebecca saw the tears in his eyes. Rebecca leaned in and grasped his hand." Why don’t you try to call her? If they aren’t holding her. She should be home soon." Billy nodded. "I’ll wait about an hour. I'll give her some time. My Mom should be making her life even more miserable pretty soon." He stood up. "Thanks for everything. I’m gonna go upstairs and wait, see if I can get a hold of her." He offered his hand and JJ took it, grasping it firmly. "I know you love her and want to help her. Just try and be patient. We have to be careful not to scare Karen off." Billy smiled sadly and shook his head, "Thanks again," and went upstairs.

Rebecca stood up and hugged her husband. "What was that for?" he asked, smiling. "Nothing, I just love you. That’s all." He returned the hug," We’re gonna help those two. I promise"


Chapter 41

Billy walked into the small apartment. It was now dark as nightfall approached. He took off his coat and paced around, looking at his watch. His eyes fell on the kitchen table where the flowers he had given Mac still sat. He walked over and touched them gently, remembering how beautiful she had been, how happy she was. He knew that happiness was gone from her now. What was she doing? Was she thinking about him? Of course she was, the fact that his mother hadn’t mentioned anything spoke volumes. She was doing what she felt was best for him. How the hell had this whole thing happened? How did they end up here? He looked at his watch. Give her another half-hour, then he would call the Chancellor home.

Mac walked into the Chancellor house followed by Kay and Brock. It felt strange to be back here again, s if she had been gone for years instead of just days. She took off her coat and sat down on the sofa. Kay and Brock looked at each other, not speaking until Kay broke the silence, "Can we get you something, dear? Anything you want?" she shook her head and then stopped, looking at her father. "Dad, would you mind very much if I spoke with grandma alone? I just need to tell her some things and I think it would be easier if I told you both separately." Brock looked at Mac and then back to Kay and smiled. "Sure, sweetheart. I’ll just go upstairs and call John Silva to see if anything else has happened. Take all the time you need." Brock was a little hurt by his daughter’s request, but tried not to let it show. If talking to her grandmother alone would help the situation, then of course, he had to let her. He leaned over, kissed her on the cheek and walked out of the room and upstairs.

Kay sat down next to her granddaughter. "What did you want to say, Mackenzie?" Mac hesitated and then spoke. "I just wanted to say again how sorry I am about this whole thing. I never should have come here in the first place, I’ve brought everyone nothing but trouble". She began to cry and Kay reached out and enveloped her in a hug. She held her for a few minutes and then asked quietly. "Why don’t you tell me what really happened that night? From the beginning." Mac pulled away and looked at her, tears rolling down her face. "Tell me, Mackenzie, please. I promise you I’ll do my best to try and help you, but I can’t if you won’t tell me the truth." Mac took a deep breath and looked at her grandmother's face. Could she tell her? She hesitated and then began slowly. She spoke softly and the tears were flowing freely as the story began pouring out of her. She told her everything, including the events of the night that she had found Billy behind Crimson Lights. When she finished, her eyes were not the only ones filled with tears. Kay did not speak for several minutes. She looked at her granddaughter's face and knew that her suspicions had been right. Billy Abbott had been involved and she gave a silent prayer of thanks that he had been. She could see the love her granddaughter had for him written all over her face. When she finally spoke, it was softly. "Where is Billy now? I promise I won’t tell anyone, dear. I would just like to help him with anything he might need." Mac looked up at her, wiping the tears from her face. "He’s in Chicago, I know he thinks he needs to stay there and find Karen. She’s the only one who can help us. If what he thinks about Jacob is true, she’s the one who would know. I just hope he’s okay. He just has to be okay." "You love him very much, don’t you?" Kay asked. Mac looked at her again and looked down at her hands in her lap. "You don’t have to answer, Mackenzie, I can see it all over your face. He must love you too, otherwise why would he have gotten involved in this whole thing in the first place? I think that I’ve underestimated Billy in the past. From what you’ve told me, I couldn’t think of anyone I would have rather had be with you in this situation. Now we just have to help him anyway we can." She rose from the sofa and rubbed her chin, thinking. Mac wrapped her arms around her grandmother and held on tight. "Thank you," she whispered, "thank you for wanting to help him." She pulled away. "You’re right, grandma, I do love him. Almost as much as I love you and Dad. We’ve got to help him even if it means that I have to go to jail." Kay shook her. "You will not go to jail! Do you understand me? Now that doesn’t mean there won’t be some price to pay and I understand the reason you told the police that story. You wanted to protect Billy, but we will find you a way out of this thing!" Their hug was interrupted by the phone ringing. Esther was out shopping, so Kay picked up the phone. "Katherine Chancellor," she said. Billy hesitated on the other end. He hadn’t expected her grandmother to pick up. "Hello?" he said and Katherine recognized his voice immediately. "Billy?" she said and Mac sprung to her feet to stand next to her. "How are you, Mrs. Chancellor? I just heard about Mac and I wanted to," he began unsure of how much Mac might have told her. "It's all right, Billy. Mackenzie told me the whole story. We have to keep this brief though. Just know that I will help you two anyway I can. Here she is," she extended the phone to her granddaughter. Billy sighed with relief on the other end. Mac took the phone and whispered softly "Billy?" and the sound of her voice was like music to him. "Hi, sweetie, it’s good to hear your voice again. Can't stay on too long. I just wanted to let you know that I haven’t left you there to face the music by yourself. You know what I have to do, don’t you?" she answered "Yes, and I did what I thought was best to help you do that." She looked at her grandmother who turned away to give her some privacy." I love you, Billy, and we’re gonna help you. I can’t wait to be with you again." Her voice faded softly at the end. Billy smiled." I love you too, Mac. This whole thing will be over soon. Keep thinking about that, will you? Think about when this whole thing is over. I gotta go. I can’t stay on too long. I love you, remember that, okay? No matter what anyone says." "I will Billy. I’ll remember. I love you too, more than anything. Be careful, please." "I will. You too." And hung up the phone.

He rested his head against the kitchen wall, eyes closed. He just had to get through this night, that’s all. Talk to Karen; convince her to come back with him. Then he could see his Mackenzie again. No one would be able to stop him from being with her. No one.

Mac hung up the phone and turned to her grandmother, who in turn enveloped her in a hug. She rubbed her back reassuringly. She pulled back to look at her. "Mackenzie, I’m going to have the car brought around. I’m going to Chicago to help that boy. Now, you can’t come, but I promise you I will do my best to try and help him. Will you tell your father everything while I’m gone?" she gathered her coat and purse. Mac nodded. "Please help him, grandma. Help him convince Karen to come back here and tell her story. It's the only way. Tell him that I love him, will you?" Kay nodded. "I’ll be back here with him soon, I promise". With that she left. Mac looked towards the staircase and walked over to it, slowly climbing the stairs. "Dad? " she called as she headed up to tell him the truth.


Chapter 42

Billy walked into the kitchen, hauling another load of dirty dishes. Since he was here he figured he might as well work. JJ had promised to let him know as soon as Karen got here. He had just dropped the empty dishpan onto the floor when the kitchen door swung open. JJ walked in. "There’s somebody out there asking for you, an older woman, pulled up in a big car, says her name is Chancellor. Should I tell her you’re here?" Billy wiped his hands on a towel and nodded. "That’s Mac’s grandmother, I wonder what she’s doing here? Do you think something’s happened? To Mac, I mean?" he pushed past JJ and walked out front.

He spotted Kay standing at the bar, eyeing the place carefully. She spotted Billy coming toward her, his face looked frantic. "Mrs. Chancellor is it Mac? Is she okay? Nothing happened to her. You would tell me if something happened to her, wouldn’t you?" Katherine smiled. "Of course I would Billy. No nothing’s happened to her except she misses you. I told her that I would come here and do whatever I could to help you out. Has Karen shown up yet? "Billy shook his head. "Not yet. I’m beginning to think she might not." She looked at Billy and smiled. "I never expected to see you in a place like this, washing dishes no less! If your mother could see you now," she chuckled. Billy laughed lightly." I know, pretty funny isn’t it? It’s not too bad, actually, once you get used to it." He paused, "How is she Mrs. Chancellor? I mean, really is she okay?" She answered, " She’s as well as can be expected considering the circumstances. As I said, she misses you. I know she loves you Billy and I can see that you love her as well. Have you thought about what your mother may think about this?" He dropped the towel onto the bar. "Yes, I’ve thought about it and I know what’ll she think. To tell you the truth, I really don’t care. I’m sick of her and the way she treats Mac. All of a sudden she’s concerned about me?" Billy’s eyes were ablaze. "She ignores me my whole life and now she’s concerned. Who cares? Mac is the only thing that matters to me now." Katherine looked at him carefully and was glad she had decided to come here. "Why don’t you worry about that when we get back? All that’s important now is Karen."

As she spoke, the front door opened. A young woman walked in carrying a garment bag over her arm. She was pretty, Billy noticed. She had reddish brown, shoulder length hair, blue eyes. She looked around rather sadly, he noticed. She walked up to the bar a few feet from where they stood. Rebecca emerged from the kitchen and Billy looked up at her. She nodded to let him know that this was the person he had been waiting for. She walked over to her and gave her a hug. "Karen, how are you? JJ and I were so sorry to hear about Jacob." The girl nodded and spoke softly, "Thanks, I’m okay. I’m anxious to get back to work though. Try to keep busy, you know?" Rebecca nodded. She wrapped her arm around the girl and walked her toward the door that led upstairs to the small apartment. "Why don’t we go upstairs and sit for awhile, JJ and I would like to talk to you about something." Karen looked alarmed. "I’m not gonna lose my job, am I? I mean, you know my situation. I can’t lose my job," Rebecca smiled, "Of course not, honey. We just want to know how you are. What we can do to help you. Shall we go?" she extended her arm and Karen walked up the stairs. Rebecca called after her. "I’ll just get JJ and I’ll be right up," and closed the door after her.

She walked over to where Kay and Billy sat. Billy introduced Katherine to Rebecca. She smiled and nodded saying "Happy to meet you. I’m glad you’re here, we’ll need all the help we can get." She looked at Billy. "Ready?" he nodded. "Good," she said. "I’ll go get my husband and we can get this thing started." She walked into the kitchen and returned with JJ in tow. They walked up the stairs and Rebecca knocked softly on the apartment door. "Karen? May I come in?" "Sure," came the answer from inside. She opened the door to find Karen sitting on the couch. She had already changed into her uniform. She looked up and smiled at Rebecca and JJ, but her smile quickly changed to a questioning look when she spotted Billy and Kay. "Who’s this?" she asked. JJ introduced them and added, "They are friends Karen. They have something to tell you. It’s about Jacob.


Chapter 43

Karen rose from the couch "What about Jacob? What do you two know? Do you know who did this to him?" Billy walked forward " It's a long story, Karen. Do you mind if I call you that?" she shook her head. "Why don’t you sit down. I’ll tell you everything from the beginning." Billy poured out his story and Karen’s eyes brimmed over when he told her about how Jacob had died. "He had a knife, Karen. He was pulling her pants off. He was gonna rape her, I know that as sure as I’m sitting here. I didn’t mean to kill him. I swear. I just couldn’t let him do it. I couldn’t." He told her about Mac, how difficult her life had been, what she had been through already. Karen listened and the tears continued to fall. When he finished, Karen was silent until Kay asked, "You see now, Karen, why we came here? You are the only one who can help us. Please, tell us what happened between you and Jacob." She looked at the young girl’s face, streaked with tears. Would she help them, could she?

Karen spoke angrily, "What can I do? You killed him and I know that everyone is glad, glad to be rid of him! What makes you think you don’t deserve to pay for what you did? Jacob wasn’t a good person, I know, but that doesn’t mean he deserved to die." Billy interrupted "I know that and I will live with that guilt the rest of my life, but don’t you think Mac deserves a shot at life too? Forget about me, I know you probably can’t forgive me, I don’t blame you for that. But Mac didn’t do anything to deserve this. Please, don’t do it for me. Do it for her." Karen looked at him. "You love her, don’t you?" she asked. He nodded "More than anything. I’ll do anything you say, just help her, please. Please, tell us about you and Jacob." Karen sighed. "If you want to know the truth, .the truth is I’m glad he’s dead." She looked at their surprised faces. "Hadn’t expected that, had you? I know that everyone thought that I was poor little, battered Karen and the truth is for a long time, I was. I took his garbage for a long time until one day something happened that made me see Jacob for what he really was. Filth, that's what he was. The lowest kind of filth. He kept telling me that he loved me and I believed he wanted to change, I hoped that he would. Things were going along okay until one day I came home a little earlier than usual. I heard voices and laughter through the door, and I listened to see if they sounded familiar. I recognized Jacob’s voice, but the other one was a female voice I didn’t recognize." "I opened the door slowly. I didn’t want anyone to realize I was there." She took a deep breath and continued. "What I saw there made me sick. Jacob was sprawled on his knees on the bed. Pinned underneath him was Julie, my 15-year-old sister, laughing and giggling. Julie’s blouse was open and Jacob was pawing her, slobbering all over her." She wiped fresh tears off her cheeks." My Dad and Mom died 3 years ago in a car accident. I’ve been taking care of Julie ever since. She’s a good kid, just a little wild at times. Anyway, Julie must have gotten frightened, or maybe she heard me come in, I don’t know, but all of a sudden she started pushing at Jacob, saying, ‘Okay, okay, that’s enough. Karen will be home soon.’ But he didn’t listen, he continued to paw at her. Julie’s voice got more and more insistent and she finally said loudly, ‘Get off me, now! I mean it.’ Karen’s voiced cracked. "Jacob pulled a knife out of his back pocket and said, ‘ I’m not through with you yet, and put it to her throat. He started to yank at her pants and she started to scream. He covered her mouth and I jumped on him from behind. I threw him off her and he dropped the knife. He started to scratch and claw at my face and then he hit me." Rebecca walked over to Karen and put her arm around her shoulders. She continued." He hit me until I couldn’t fight him anymore. He was smart though, he didn’t hit my face, except for my eye, that is. I lay there in the corner. Julie had run into the bathroom and locked it. I could hear her screaming. I must have passed out, because the next thing I knew I was in bed and Julie was standing over me. She begged me not to tell anyone what had happened. I told her I wouldn’t, but that Jacob was going to pay for what he did, one way or the other." Rebecca spoke." It’s all right, Karen. He’s gone now, he can’t hurt you or Julie anymore." She smiled at her. "I know that, and I’m sorry that I let him get away with it now. No one else should have had to go through that, no one."

Billy spoke next, "What happened, Karen? Why didn’t you go to the police?" She looked at him. "Guess you never needed money, have you? I was supporting Julie and myself. Two days later, Jacob came to see me, he apologized, saying he lost his head and that it would never happen again. I decided to do what was best for me and for my sister. I told him I wouldn’t go to the police if he agreed to pay me to keep quiet. I knew his band had been going pretty well and it was the best solution. I could send Julie away to school and no one would ever know about this." She looked at the faces around her. "I know you must think I did a terrible thing, but I did what I thought I had to do. Julie went away, started a new life. She’s doing great now. I don’t know how I’m gonna manage it though, now that Jacob’s."

Kay stood up and walked over to her. "That’s where I come in. If you come back to Genoa City with us, I’ll have my lawyer draw up an agreement. I’ll take care of Julie’s tuition. Call it a loan, if you like," she smiled. "It’s the very least I can do for you and your sister. You’ve been through too much already." Karen smiled and nodded. "Thank you, I would appreciate that. I’ll pay you back, every cent, I promise." Billy joined them. "Will you do this Karen, will you help us?" She nodded. "Can we go now? I’d like to call Julie first though let her know that I told you, in case the police want to talk to her." Rebecca took her into the kitchen to use the telephone. JJ stood up and shook Billy’ s hand. "I’m glad I could help you, but I better get downstairs, see what’s going on. I hope all this works out for you, son. Maybe when this is all over, you could come back and see us? Bring Mackenzie with you?" Billy smiled and nodded. "I hope so. I know she would love that too. Thank you, JJ. You and Rebecca have been the best. Thanks for everything." He waved off Billy’s thanks and let Rebecca know he was going downstairs.

He left and Billy and Kay were alone. "Do you think it will be enough, Mrs. Chancellor? Do you think the police will believe her?" he asked. "I know they will, Billy. It’s the truth; they have to believe it. Karen and Rebecca came back into the room.

"I’m ready whenever you are." Karen said. Billy walked over to the chair where he had left his jacket. He put it on and turned to leave, he spotted the flowers on the table, grabbed them and turned to Kay. "I’m ready, let’s go." They walked out of the apartment, Rebecca closing the door behind them.


Chapter 44

Billy and Kay walked into the Genoa City police department followed by Karen. Kay had called them from the car saying that she had some important information for them. The policeman at the desk escorted them to the same room where Mac had been earlier. When everyone was in place, Karen told her story. When she finished, the room was silent. Billy asked, "What happens now?" Detective Logan replied "We get Miss Reynolds down here, get the real story out of her. We’ll need to call your sister, Miss Shane. We need to get a statement from her. This will still have to go before a judge, probably in juvenile court due to your ages. If all the stories match, we’ll see." "See what? Don’t you see now? I didn’t mean to kill him, I just meant to stop him. I picked up the brick. I just couldn’t let him hurt her. I’d have let him kill me first." Billy had tears in his eyes. "I know, kid" the detective tried not to let the sympathy he felt creep into his voice. "Let’s just see what else we can find out before we jump to any conclusions. The only thing is, we’re gonna have to place you under arrest. You’ve admitted to a crime. If you can get someone to post the bail, we can have you out tonight." "I will post his bail," Kay broke in. "He doesn’t deserve to spend one night in jail, not one. What do I need to do?" she rose from her chair. Billy stood up and hugged her. Kay was taken aback, yet moved by his display of affection. "Thank you, Mrs. Chancellor. Will you call Mac? Let her know what’s going on?" She nodded." Of course, I’ll bring her down here if I can. I can tell you’re anxious to see her." He nodded. "Will you give her those flowers, the ones we left in the car?" She nodded. "I’ll be back as soon as I can, Billy," she said and left. The detectives stood up and Detective Kincaid spoke, "Let’s get this over with, kid, okay?" Billy nodded and they walked him out of the room to book him and bring him to a temporary holding cell.

Mac sat in the living room on the couch next to her father. She had told him everything and as expected, he was very sympathetic, listening quietly and trying to soothe her fears. She had finished and he sat with her, stroking her hair, letting her cry. When her crying finally stopped, he asked her quietly, "Feeling a little better now?" He felt her nod. "Good. Why don’t I have Esther make you some hot milk? It may help you relax, you really should try and get some sleep." She shook her head. "I can’t sleep, not yet. I need to find out what happened tonight. I want to wait and talk to" her words were cut short by the sound of the front door slamming. Jill walked into the living room and spotted Mac sitting with her father.

"Well, well if it isn’t America’s Most Wanted? Right here, in my living room. Honestly, Brock, why are you letting her stay here? Aren’t you afraid she’ll kill you in her sleep?" Brock stood up quickly, but Mac rose before he did, placing her hand on his arm to quiet him. "You better watch out Jill. I know the way to your room too," she said with a menacing tone. Jill was taken aback by her statement and her mouth hung open. A hearty chuckle came from behind her. "Good for you, darling!" Kay said and Mac ran to her grandmother’s arms. "What happened?" she looked at Jill, afraid to mention Billy’s name, but dying to know what happened. Kay took the flowers out from behind her back. "For you," she said. "From someone who said to tell you he loves you very much." Mac’s eyes filled with tears. The daisies from last night, she held them close to her chest. "Is everything okay? Did you get what we needed?" Katherine looked at Jill. Jill woke up from her stupor and said, "I’ll leave you alone to discuss whatever it is you’re talking about." "Hold it right there, Jill. This involves you too." Jill turned around, "Me? What do you mean by that?" she asked derisively." It involves your son. He’s the one who gave me the flowers." Kay smiled as the meaning of her statement registered on Jill’s face. "I thought that would get your attention. Why don’t you sit down and let me tell you the whole story?" Jill sat down. Kay told her the whole story while Jill never took her eyes off Mac. When Kay finished, Jill was quiet for a moment and then lunged for Mac’s throat. Brock pulled her off and shook her. "What on earth do you think you’re doing? Aren’t you the least bit concerned about your son? He’s in jail right now. Doesn’t that bother you?" Jill’s face was crimson. Her voice came out in a growl, "The only reason he’s there is because of this little tramp. What did you do Mackenzie? Perform the same "service" you did for that singer? Did Billy catch you in the act? Is that why he killed him? I don’t believe your little story, not for one second. My son would never put himself in harm’s way, especially for a worthless piece of trash like you," she spat. " I’m getting out of here. I’m going to see my son." She grabbed her coat and stormed out the door.

Mac sat on the couch, her hands at her throat. Jill had wanted to kill her. What would she say to Billy? Would he change his mind about her? Kay walked over and sat next to her. "Darling, are you all right? She didn’t hurt you did she?" Mac shook her head. "Are you worried about what she’ll tell her son?" Mac nodded, "Grandma, what if he changes his mind about me? What if he listens to her?" Kay hugged Mac to her. "I saw the look on Billy’s face when he spoke about you. Believe me, nothing she can say will change his mind." She drew her back and looked into her face, "Would you like to see him?" Mac’s face lit up and she smiled "Could I? I mean would I be allowed?" Katherine took her hand and stood up. "Only one way to find out, let’s go. Brock, are you coming?" "Yes, please Dad come?" Mac said. Brock smiled and said, "Just try and stop me," and they walked out to the car together.


Chapter 45

Jill paced up and down in the police interrogation room. She had stormed in and demanded to see her son. They told her to wait here and they would bring him to her. The door opened, and Billy walked in. Dressed in the same clothes he had come in, jeans and the hooded sweatshirt he had bought at the thrift door, in handcuffs and escorted by a police officer. His bright smile faded when he saw who his female visitor was. He had hoped it would be Mac. He plastered a smile on his face at the sight of his mother and said “Ma! Great to see ya! How’s it goin’?”. He sat down at the table across from her. The officer sat on a chair in the corner of the room. “Don’t get smart with me, young man. I could kill you for this, I really could. What were you thinking? Protecting that little slut? Is that what you-“ “ Be quiet, Ma..” he broke in." Don’ t you tell me to be quiet, you little fool. You may have ruined your entire life over that piece of street trash, she isn’t fit to be in the same room with you, and now you think you’re in love with her? She must really be something Billy, guess what they say about her is true..” Billy stood up. “Officer,this visit is over…my mother is leaving. Can I go back to my cell now?” He held out his handcuffed arms. The officer nodded and stood up. “Billy,wait…please I’m sorry I didn’t mean it…sit with me, let me talk to you.” Jill pleaded. He shook his head." There's nothing to say, Ma. I love Mac…and if you can’t deal with that..we don’t have anything to say to each other. It's just like always, Ma. You go your way, take care of yourself. I'll take care of myself”. The officer grabbed his elbow and walked him out the door, back to his cell.

Kay and Mac walked into the precinct, followed by Brock. They asked for Detective Logan and he soon came to greet them. Mac told them she would like to revise her official statement. They went to the interrogation room, to find Jill sitting at the table in tears. She looked up as they walked in the room.

She walked over to Mac." You'll be happy to know that my son now wants nothing to do with me, and it’s all thanks to you.” Mac kept silent. “You will pay for turning my son against me, that I can guarantee you…” she grabbed her coat and purse and left.

When Mac had finished giving her revised statement, she asked if she could see Billy. The detective shook his head. "“Please, just for 5 minutes..please, just let me see if he’s ok..” The detectives face softened a moment. “All right, all right. but just you, your folks will have to wait here. C'mon I’ll take you to him. Five minutes, no more!". Mac jumped up to follow the detective." I'll be right back…” she told her grandmother and father as she left.

Billy lay on the cot in his cell, staring at the ceiling. He was not upset at what had happened with his mom, in fact he was happy about it. She had never been there for him, why should she care what happened to him now? He couldn’t let her talk that way about Mac. Billy confirmed a decision he knew already existed. He was going to marry that girl some day. He knew it as sure as he was sitting there. He had to, he didn’t want to live without her anymore. He could do it, he knew. he'd been doing it all these months. But if the last few days had taught him anything, it was that he needed to be with her, always. There was no point to anything if he couldn’t have that.

“Abbott?” Detective Logan’s voice rang through the otherwise empty cells. Slow night, Billy was the only prisoner they were holding at the moment. “Visitor” he turned his head and saw her. Standing behind the prison bars, “Billy?” she whispered. He got to his feet slowly. He looked pleadingly at the detective “ all right, 5 minutes, no more…I’ll be right over here.” He walked over to the next cell a few feet away, and turned his back to give them some privacy.”

Thank you” Mac whispered. Billy walked over to her, she had her hands through the bars, beckoning him to come closer, just as she had so many times in his dreams. He walked over to her, reaching his hands through the bars to cup her face. She wrapped her hands around the back of his neck, running her fingers through the soft hair at his nape. He held her face in his hands, running his fingers over her eyes, then her lips." I missed you…” he whispered “not as much as I missed you..” She leaned in, carefully through the bars and kissed him softly. He looked at her." what's wrong?” he asked. “Nothing” she said. Now was not the time to tell him about Jill." When are you gonna be able to get out of here?” she asked, continuing to stroke his neck with one hand, and his cheek with the other. She didn’t want to waste a minute of their time together not touching him. She couldn’t have stopped herself if she tried." Tomorrow morning. just don’t tell my Mom. I don’t want her to know when I’m getting out. She be surprised when she sees me tomorrow, at your house” Mac smiled." Sure. I've got a lot to tell you, when you get out tomorrow…we have a lot to talk about.” He looked at her with such adoration that she felt her heart would break." That we do,” he whispered." More than you can possibly imagine”.

The detective cleared his throat. ”Ok, Ok we get the message, you gotta go” he looked longingly at Mac. “Will you come to pick me up tomorrow?” he asked. She nodded. “Try and stop me” she leaned in again and kissed him, more deeply this time. His low groan was captured by her open lips ,and she ran her tongue around the inside of his mouth quickly. He was once again amazed by her love and how freely she could now show it. He pulled himself away from her." Tomorrow, sweetie…” he whispered. His hot breath in her ear shot fireworks throughout her body and she nodded. ”Sorry, you just have that effect on me. I'll see you tomorrow.” She kissed him again, quickly this time." As early as possible". She walked over to the detective and he walked her down the hallway, Mac waving and smiling as she left. Billy walked over to the cot, knowing he would sleep very little tonight.


Chapter 46

Billy and Mac sat in her room, alone at last. Kay and Brock had gone to talk to Paul Williams. He had contacted them as soon as he had gotten home. He said he had done some

preliminary checking and had some information for them. Billy and Mac were in her room, they had yet to run into Jill, and they wanted to keep it that way. She told him what had happened with Jill, and how she had tried to choke her. Billy had exploded, and Mac immediately regretted what she had said. He hadn’t said a word to her in minutes, she was afraid. Afraid of what he might be thinking of doing.

Billy was sitting, hoping that his anger would subside before he spoke again. He kept his voice calm as he spoke “ You realize what this means, Mac? don’t you?” She shook her head. “It means that she will never let you and I be together. don't you see that? Even when this whole thing is over, she's never gonna let up. I thought things would be different once I told her, but I see that nothing’s changed. She's still the same witch she always was. Which means only one thing. When this whole thing is settled, one way or the other…..” He got down on knee and Mac’s stomach flip-flopped. “Mackenzie Reynolds…will you marry me?” he grinned at her.

“How? Billy? How can we get married? “. “In Indiana..” he said. “ I remember somebody once told me that you can get married at 16 in Indiana. That way if anything happens, we know that we’ll still be together. forever.” He sat down again, next to her. “Even if I have to go to jail, once I got out, we could still be together. no one could tell us what to do. it's the only way..” he looked at her. “Am I scaring you?”. She shook her head “No,” she answered." When can we do this?”. She asked excitedly. Could they really pull this off?

“The hearing is at the end of this week…my dad’s lawyer told me that he was almost positive that he could work out a deal…community service or probation. I'd have to be good for the next year or so. but once the hearing is over. we could do it then.” Mac stroked his face. He was so excited, his eyes were dancing with delight. “I can’t wait to marry you” she said softly.

He leaned over and kissed her, pulling back to look into her eyes. “I have a few arrangements to make, take care of everything beforehand..but come this weekend…we’ll be husband and wife. Hey, do you realize that now you’re my fiancée for real?” she laughed." I should be really good at it, I’ve had a little practice, you know.” She kissed him quickly and got up, moving around the room. She opened her closet, pulling out her backpack. He lay back on her bed, watching her." What are you doing?” he asked. “Packing for my honeymoon” she said, smiling. He watched her pulling out clothes, stuffing them into her backpack. He got up and put his hand on her arm." Why don’t you let me take care of that? I mean the less stuff we carry the better, right? Besides,” he pulled her close to him." That's way more clothing than you’re gonna need.” He smiled and kissed her. She dropped the shirt that was in her hand and gave herself fully to the kiss, leaning her head back and slowly moving her lips over his. They stood like that for several minutes, until the kissing became more heated. He pulled away and whispered. “We can’t do this now, Mac..ohhhh don’t do that” she was sucking his earlobe again, the way she knew he loved. “Why not?’ she asked “No one’s home…” she swirled her tongue  around the inside of his ear, slowly. she knew that made him crazy.

“Cut it out, Mac” he said halfheartedly. She felt so good, every inch of her pressed against him. Could she feel how much he wanted her? He didn’t want to scare her, rush her into anything. Oh God, now what was she doing? Sucking on his neck, that's what…Oh,God..did she realize what a effect her touch had on him? How much he wanted to move to that bed with her..bury himself deep inside her? He pulled her arms away from him, gently." I mean it, Mac, cut it out” She looked at him, her lips were swollen from kissing him so intensely, her eyes glazed over with desire. “Don’t tell me that you didn't’ t like that, Billy…I know you did…I felt it..” her face turned red, and she looked at the floor. She looked up again, and said “Don’t be afraid with me, Billy. Please. We're not doing anything wrong. You would never force me to do anything I don’t want to do..” She pressed herself against the length of him, tightly. “I love you.. and I want you…is that a crime?” He wrapped his arms around her again and shook his head." I just want everything to be perfect for our honeymoon. You can wait a couple of days, can't you?” He leaned in and returned the favor, taking her earlobe in his mouth, and tugging it gently between his lips. “Not if you keep doing that, I can’t” she gasped. He chuckled and swatted her on the behind." Good!” he snapped “Now you know what it feels like”.

“Mackenzie,Billy? are you here?” her grandmother’s voice called from downstairs. She ran to the door. “We’ll be  right down!” she called. She grabbed his hand and led him out the door and down the stairs.

Kay and Brock were in the living room, hugging each other. Mac and Billy walked down the stairs," What are you two so happy about?” Billy asked as they walked into the room. Kay pulled away from her son to look at the two of them. She smiled from ear to ear.
“Just some good news, that's all..” Mac smiled “Good news? About us?” she asked. Kay nodded. “We just came from Paul Williams’ office. He had some preliminary information for us…about Jacob. It seems that since the real story behind his death hit the news, two more women came forward with stories..similar to the ones you and Karen told. Paul said that he also had information that at least three more women were ready to give statements regarding Mr. Marsh. Seems that he had quite a sordid past…”

“So what does this mean? For us?” Billy asked. “ It means that the charges will probably be dropped down to justifiable homicide, which more than likely means probation or a suspended sentence, given the circumstances. Paul contacted the police with the information, and they are contacting the women today.” Brock answered. “It means your probable freedom, Billy. The judge will decide later today.” Billy’s mouth dropped open.

He sat down on the couch, still in shock." You mean, no hearing on Friday? No court date?”

Brock nodded." The judge will rule on the new evidence today,” he looked at his watch." We should know his decision in a couple of hours.”

Billy stood up. “How do I thank you? All of you, for all the help you’ve given me? I don’ t know how to even begin…”. Brock walked over to Billy and placed his hand on his shoulder.

“There’s no need for that, Billy…Mackenzie loves you, and you saved her from a horrible fate, probably saved her life. It's the least we could do.” He smiled at Billy, who returned it and said." Thanks, Mr. Reynolds. I just wish my mom felt the same way…” he looked up at Mac, who was gazing into his eyes, completely understanding how he was feeling. She came to stand beside him." It's really all gonna be ok, Billy….your mom loves you. I know she does. It just that sometimes she just shows it in all the wrong ways.” He looked at her “Do you think it’s right? I mean the way she treats you? Talks to you? …I won’t let her do it anymore. From now on, if she won’t deal treat you the way you deserve to be treated, she won’t hear from me again, and I mean it.” He smiled, as if to chase those thoughts away." I don’t wanna talk about her anymore. How much time did you say we had, Mr. Reynolds. before the judge made a decision? “ Brock smiled. “About 2 hours, three at the most..”

“Good,” Billy said. That should be more than enough time, he thought. “I have to go out for a while. Just some errands, I ran outta a lot of stuff you know, haven't been home much lately” he said. “I’ll be back in about 2 hours…” he grabbed his coat and extended his hand to Mac.

“Walk me to the door?” She nodded. He took it and smiled at Brock and Kay," Thanks again, Mrs. Chancellor ,Mr. Reynolds. for everything. I promise you won’t be sorry about this.”

Mac walked him to the door." Where do you think you’re going? Don’t you want to stay around, wait here with me for the judge's decision?” she asked in a whispered tone. “I’m going shopping, dear…shopping for our honeymoon… that’s how confident I am about the judges’ decision ” She smiled. “Oh” she whispered “I promise I’ll be back, probably in an hour or so…” “Can I come with you?”. He shook his head." I want to keep that promise I made to you, about surprising you every day. Do you mind? I want this to be a complete and total surprise.” He leaned in and kissed her." See you in about an hour”. He walked out the door, looking over his shoulder at her, giving her a last wave. Mac leaned up against the door, eyes closed. The judge just had to make the right decision, he had to.


Chapter 47

Billy walked up to the front door of the Chancellor house. His arms weighted down with bags. The door flew open before he even had a chance to knock. Mac flew into his arms, kissing him all over his face." He did it, Billy! He did it! “ He dropped the bags onto the floor, and wrapped his arms around her, mostly to keep himself from topplin g over. She had her legs wrapped around his and her arms around his neck." Can you believe it? The judge dropped the charges..he dropped the charges! You’re free…we’re free!” She stopped talking for a second and looked at his face." You mean it?” He whispered. She nodded excitedly. He spun her around, returning the favor by kissing her all over her face. She laughed until her sides hurt, until finally she said “Put me down, please…Billy,please..I’m gonna have a heart attack from laughing, please…”

He put her down. Kay and Brock were in the living room, smiling, having heard their exchange.

He walked her into the living room, his face reddened, embarrassed by having had an audience.

“Is it really true?” he asked them. They nodded and he let out at whoop, causing Brock and Kay to burst into laughter. His face became serious and he asked “Does my mom know?” Kay nodded." She was here, earlier. She left to let your father know. She was very relieved, Billy.”

“I’ll bet she was” he said." She was probably worried about how Jabot would handle the bad publicity if I was convicted.” He looked at them." I know, I know, I shouldn’t things like that, but I can’t help it. I'm glad she and my dad know though, less for them to worry about. I’ve made a decision, and I’d like you three to be the first to hear it. I'm moving out of my father’s house. I found an apartment, in fact, that's why I was so late coming back. It's not too far from Crimson Lights…if I get a job, I should be able to swing it on my own. I'll be 18 in two months, and if they try to stop me now, I'll just move out then. I won’t live there, answer to them, especially my mother….aren’t you gonna say anything?”

Brock shook his head." It's up to you. If you feel you can handle it, that's fine. Just don’t cut yourself off from your family completely, Billy. They do love you, in spite of how it seems sometimes.” He turned to his mother. ”Mother, why don’t we leave these two alone for awhile? They’re expecting us at the shelter this afternoon.” He extended his hand to Billy .”Congratulations, Billy” who shook it and answered “Thanks again, for everything” .Brock and Kay left, while Mac looked at Billy with an incredulous look on her face.

“What?” he said. “An apartment? You really rented an apartment? “ she asked. He nodded." Where did you think we would live, once we got married? Here?” she blushed. She hadn’t thought of that." Can I see it?” He nodded. “Let me put this stuff upstairs, no peeking allowed, young lady” he wagged his finger at her, and ran upstairs to put it in her closet. He ran down the steps 3 at a time, to find her standing with her coat on." Anxious to see it, are we?” she swatted his arm and then nodded." Let's go!” he said.

The next few days flew by in a blur of happiness for Mac. When she awoke on Friday morning, she realized what day it was. Happy that she still had yet to face the trauma of returning to school, she realized that the next time she was back there, she would be Mrs. Billy Abbott. Her grandmother had checked with her teachers, and they said she would still be able to graduate next January. She hadn’t missed enough time to effect her grades. Thank goodness. She couldn’t wait to get out of school and start her life for real..as a married woman, with a home of her own. The ring of the phone next to her bed broke into her dreamy thoughts. “Hello” she said “Hello…is this the future Mrs. Abbott?” she smiled as she recognized Billy’s voice.”umm, yes it is, who's calling please? “ she decided to tease him a little, she was so happy this morning. “this is someone who loves you very much, who wants to know if you would like to spend the rest of your life with him? Just in case you’re not doing anything else, I mean.” “Let me check my schedule, and I’ll get back to you…” he laughed. ”Sure, not even married yet and already giving me a hard time. “ his voice lowered.” In about 12 hours, I expect to really be giving you a hard time..” she laughed again, a slight shiver went through her.His voice had suddenly become low, and very sexy. “Promise?” she said, lowering her voice to match his. The same shiver went through him and he whispered hoarsely “You bet”. She asked “Are we still telling everyone we’re going to Chicago to see Rebecca and JJ? Did you call them to tell let them know in case anyone calls? Billy, are you sure we can pull this off? I mean if anybody finds out-“ I hate to interrupt you in mid-rant," Billy paused to hear her chuckle on the other end." But everything is taken care of, I called Rebecca, she was thrilled, by the way, wished us luck and congratulations. She already has her story planned. The band appearing tonight ended late, you were exhausted, so she’ll call to let everybody know we’re spending the night with them.” He paused again." Separately of, course” She played along “Oh,really? Not even married yet and already sleeping in separate rooms? Maybe it’s not too late to change my mind..” Billy broke in." Don't even think about it. I'll kidnap you if necessary.” “Ok,ok..you convinced me..” she lowered her voice again “I can’t wait. I'll see you about 4,ok?” He smiled. “See you then…I love you.”

Mac looked around after hanging up the phone ,so much to do…take a shower, wash her hair. Make sure everything was just right. She spent most of the day checking and re-checking the inventory in her head. She was dressed and ready to go at 3:oo and she spend the next hour pacing the floor of her room, until she heard the front door bell ring. She looked in the mirror, Rebecca's makeup lesson had served her well.Satisified with what she saw, she grabbed her coat and closed the door behind her, racing down the stairs.

Billy was standing in the hallway talking with Esther when she came flying down the stairs. He laughed at her enthusiasm. ”Anxious, are we?” he asked. “Just a little”. She explained to Esther, who was smiling in amusement." I really want to see that  band, and Rebecca and JJ of course” .Esther turned to leave,” Have fun, you two” she said She turned her face to his, lips curled up in a smile and he leaned down and kissed her,." You ready?” he extended his elbow to her. She linked her arm through it and nodded “Never been more ready for anything in my life. Let’s go!”


Chapter 48

They got in the car, Indiana was about 3 hours away and Billy had found a justice of the peace in a small town called Elkhart. The ride flew by happily and when he pulled up in front of the small house with the justice of the peace sign outside, Mac could feel the butterflies in her stomach begin. He stopped the car and got out, opened the door for her and grabbed her hand. He opened the trunk and grabbed two suitcases. He handed her the smaller one, and grabbed her hand again, walking together towards the front door. He rang the buzzer and the door opened to reveal a small, white haired woman. She smiled and said “Are you Mr. Abbott?”

He extended his hand and said “Yes,I am..and this is my fiancée, Mackenzie Reynolds.” The woman shook his hand and opened the door wider..”Lovely to meet you, I’m Mrs. Delancey..Joan Delancey..my husband Jack is the justice of the peace here. Won't you come in?”

She led them inside. A lovely, comfortable home, a fireplace glowing with light at the far end of it. “You have a beautiful home, Mrs. Delancey..” Mac said." Thank you, dear. we've lived her for 51 years this May…” she noticed the suitcases. “ I suppose you two would like to change, you still have a little time left before we will begin. Follow me” She led them up a small staircase, at the top of which were several small rooms. “Now,Billy you can dress in there” she pointed to a room at the end of the hallway." Mackenzie, what a lovely name that is dear, you can dress right in here.” Billy took off down the hallway, anxious to get started.

The woman led Mac into a small room, with a mirror and dressing table." We keep this room just for brides…it’s sort of a tradition around here. Can't tell you how many brides have gotten dressed in this room…well, I leave you now, let me know if you need anything.” Mac smiled." Thank you” and the woman left. Mac put the suitcase on a small rack next to the dressing table and opened it. On top was a small white envelope, addressed to her. She picked it up, recognizing the handwriting.

She opened it, her face breaking into a wide grin." Dear almost wife” it began." Inside you will find everything you need for a happy wedding and an even happier honeymoon. Told you I would take care of everything, didn't I? See you soon, Love, almost-husband, Billy.” She put the note back into the envelope and tucked it back in the suitcase, under the clothes. She noticed a familiar color peeking out at her and picked up the garment. ”Oh, Billy…” was all she could manage to say. It was the lilac  dress she had seen in the window, in Chicago. How did he know? It was as beautiful as she remembered. She put it on, along with the pale, bone-colored stockings she found in the suitcase. Shoes? what about shoes? He couldn’t have forgotten. she dug around in the suitcase. In the pocket on the inside of the lid were a pair of pale, dyed to match lilac shoes…he had thought of everything, she smiled. She slipped them on. She pulled her hair up in the clips she had remembered to bring along in her purse, fixing it just the way it was that night, back at the apartment. That's it. She looked at her reflection in the standing mirror by the side of the dressing table. Perfect, she thought.

Billy was downstairs, giving Jack the necessary information needed for the marriage license. He had dressed in a flash, in his best suit, a dark charcoal grey, with a crisp white shirt and a matching deep grey tie. He felt in his pocket. Two rings, just where they should be.

He turned to Jack “Did the flowers come?” Jack nodded and pointed to a small box on a table next to the fireplace. He walked over and opened it, the small bunch of violets inside was perfect. He turned to Joan, who was watching him with amusement and asked her" Could you give these to her? I would, but you know tradition and everything..” She took them from him and nodded. She walked up the stairs and knocked on the door of the dressing room ”Mackenzie, dear… May I come in? It’s Joan”. “Yes,come in” was the answer from the other side of the door. The woman opened the door and smiled. The girl she had thought rather plain at first glance had been transformed into a beautiful bride, glowing in a pale lavender dress." You look beautiful, dear…these are for you.” She extended the small bouquet to her and she took it, holding it to her chest." They're beautiful, thank you.” She said.

“Don’t thank me, thank that young man of yours. He thought of everything, looks like.” She nodded. “Are we almost ready to begin?” she asked." We can begin whenever you like, I'll let my husband know, just come downstairs when you hear the music. Good luck” She left and headed downstairs.

Joan was seated at the piano, waiting for the signal from her husband to begin. He smiled at her and nodded and she began playing, the familiar strains of the wedding march drifting upstairs. Mac looked in the mirror “This is it” she said to her reflection, smiled and ran to the top of the stairs. She regained her composure and walked slowly down the stairs, loving the way the dress swished around her as she walked. She descended slowly and turned her head to see Billy waiting for her, so handsome in his suit, that it hurt her heart a little bit, just looking at him .He smiled at her with such love, that her step became a little quicker. The room was lit with candles and glowed with the light from the fireplace. Jack stood behind him, book in hand. She walked towards Billy, who extended his hand towards her.

Billy thought his heart would pound right out of his chest as soon as he saw her. The dress was perfect, it fit her like a glove. She seemed lit from within, her face glowing, her bare back an d shoulders gleaming in the firelight. He took her hand and kissed it, holding it in his own. They turned to Jack, who began speaking. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in holy matrimony. If anyone here can show any reason why these two people should not be wed, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.” The statement was a mere formality, the only witness was Mrs. Delancey, who stood smiling by Mac’s side. “Mackenzie Elizabeth Reynolds do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband. Will you live with him in sickness and health, forsaking all others till death do you part? She looked first at Mr. Delancey, and then at Billy, who had a nervous look on his face. She smiled at him, nodding slightly “I will” she answered. Billy's face broke into a relieved smile, and Mr. Delancey asked him the same question..”I will” he answered, wiping the same nervous look off Mac’s face that had been on his. “Do you  have the rings?” he asked Billy, who nodded his head and reached into his pocket. He handed them to Mr. Delancey, who handed the smaller one to Billy, and the larger one to Mac.

Mr. Delancey continued, “Repeat after me. I William Foster..take thee Mackenzie Elizabeth..” Billy repeated the words, slipping the ring on her finger, continuing without any prompting from Mr. Delancey “to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.” He held her hand up to his lips and kissed it. Mr. Delancey turned to Mac," Mackenzie?” She nodded and smiled, her eyes brimming with tears. ”I, Mackenzie Elizabeth, take you William Foster to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward; for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and health, to love and to cherish till death do us part.” The tears were rolling down her cheeks now, as she slipped the ring on his left hand. They turned to Mr. Delancey, still holding hands. “By the power vested in me by this state, I now pronounce you husband and wife.” He smiled “You may kiss your lovely bride”.

Billy and Mac turned to each other. He held his face in her hands and leaned in to kiss her softly. Their first kiss as husband and wife, the beginning of new lives for both of them. Neither one alone any longer, they would never have to be alone again. As they broke the kiss, Mrs. Delancey put her hand on Mac’s shoulder and turned her around to face her, giving her a quick hug “congratulations,you two! That was beautiful,” she linked her arm through Mac's, leading her towards the small table next to the fireplace." You two must sign the register, and then the marriage certificate. That makes everything official”. Billy followed, after shaking hands with Mr. Delancey.

Mac signed both documents, and then Billy took his turn. Mr. Delancey reached into the small drawer under the desktop and pulled out a camera." Stand over there by the fireplace, you two” Billy took Mac’s hand and they walked over to the fireplace, standing close together.

“Just like that..perfect” he said and snapped the picture. “One more, just in case…” and snapped again. “ There, I’ll send you two a copy as soon as it’s developed. We always take pictures of every couple we marry here. Sort of a tradition.”

Billy stepped forward and shook Mr. Delancey’s hand again." Thank you for everything, it was perfect, wasn't it, Mac?” She nodded and added “ Yes, perfect, thank you so much.” He smiled.

“I just need my fee, and you two can get on your way. That will be $35.00”.Billy paid Mr. Delancey while Mac went upstairs to get their things, accompanied by Mrs. Delancey.

While they were upstairs, Mr. Delancey looked at Billy closely. He hesitated before asking the obvious question." Forgive me for asking this, but aren’t you two a little young? Don’t you think you could have waited, even just a little while? You needn’t answer if you feel I’m intruding..”Billy shook his head." We couldn’t have waited even one second longer. You see, there are things between her family and mine, going back a long time. We needed to be sure that no one could break us apart..and now no one can.” Mr. Delancey extended his hand and Billy took it." I wish you all the luck in the world. I hope that you will always be as happy as you are right now.” Billy shook his hand and smiled “Thank you, I know we will be.”

Mac and Mrs. Delancey came down the stairs. Billy took the suitcases from them and extended his arm to Mac. “Ready?” he asked and she nodded. They walked to the front door, followed by the Delancey’s. When they were safely in the car and had pulled away from the curb, into the night, they closed the front door. Mrs. Delancey sighed “I hope those two know what a tough road they have ahead of them...still.”

 

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