Mac Taylor looked up from the case files on his desk when he heard the door to his glass cage open. He smiled when he saw it was Stella.
"Hey, Stella," he greeted her.
"Hey, Mac," she said with her normal warm smile. "Some of us are going down to Sullivan's after work. You in?"
"I don't know," he admitted, reluctantly. "I really should get some of this under control." He waved a hand at his cluttered desk.
"What makes you think an all night session will achieve what four days hasn't?"
"Because it'll be quiet?" Mac hazarded.
Stella rolled her eyes. "Come on, Mac," she sighed. "You can't hide out here all the time. You need to live a little. Let your hair down."
Mac sighed in resignation. He wouldn't get any peace from Stella, so he closed the case file and added it to his stack of cold cases. "You talked me into it," he said with a good natured grin.
"Good," she remarked with a grin of her own.
Sullivan's wasn't too crowded for once. Spring had finally arrived in New York and being ones not to pass up an opportunity many New Yorkers were out enjoying the early Spring evening instead of lurking indoors.
Mac slipped onto a stool at the end of the bar to wait for the others. He left Stella back at the lab trying to round them up. He had to smile at the thought of Stella playing mother hen and rounding up her chicks.
"Hey, Mac," broke into his thoughts. He looked up and saw Barb standing there with a cold glass of beer.
"Taken up mind reading?" he gently teased after accepting the glass and taking a sip.
"Part of the stock and trade," she quipped. "Are the rest coming or did they decide to wander Central Park looking for dead bodies?"
"Stella was rounding them up as I was leaving, so they shouldn't be too far behind."
"Speaking of..." Barb pointed to a group standing in front of the bar window.
"Right on time," Mac murmured with a knowing smile.
"Montana, you make me crazy!" Danny growled as he followed Lindsay into the bar.
"Likewise, Messer!" Lindsay snapped back. Danny had been getting on her nerves all day with his sexist remarks and put downs. She thought they had moved past that kind of juvenile behavior.
"Ouch!" Danny yelped. "Damnit, Flack! That hurt!" He reached up and rubbed the back of his head where Flack had smacked him.
"Quit pissing Lindsay off," Flack warned. "Or next time it'll hurt more."
"Some friend you are," Danny muttered. He slipped onto a stool next to Mac watching Flack and Lindsay slip into a back booth. "Evening, Mac."
"Danny," Mac greeted the younger man. "You really have to quit aggravating Lindsay."
"I know," Danny admitted. "But somedays she just rubs me the wrong way."
"Just go over there and kiss her, Danny," Barb chimed in. She placed a bottle of beer and a glass in front of Danny.
"You aren't going to win the pool that easily, Barb," he retorted with a wicked grin. He filled his glass and took a sip. It tasted wonderful after ten hours of nothing but bottom of the pot coffee. "But nice try."
Barb smirked and shook her head in bemusement. "I got a vacation to pay for, so a little extra spending money would have come in handy."
"Where are you going this year?" Mac inquired. He was interested, but trying to appear not overly so. Danny would report any interest back to Stella and then he wouldn't have a moment's peace.
"Ireland," Barb replied with a grin. Not many folks really cared where she traveled to, so any interest made her happy. "Do a little genealogical research and visit the typical tourist sites."
"And pub crawl," Danny interjected.
"Have you always had a one track mind, Danny?" Barb retorted more amused than annoyed.
"Yeah," he said. "And before Mac smacks me, I'm going to go see what's keeping Stella." Picking up his glass and slipping off his stool, he headed toward where Lindsay and Flack were sitting.
Stella stood outside of Sullivan's and watched her friends unwind for the evening. She was happy to see Mac having a conversation with Barb since it seemed to her that they had a fair bit in common.
Believing her work there was done, Stella turned her steps in the direction of Central Park.