Happy New Year, Maddie

by LadyOfPurple306

Blue Moon Investigations was a moderately successful detective agency somewhere in L.A. Not a good place, not a bad place, just someplace in the middle. It was filled with pleasant employees, probably more than was needed, consistently pretending to work when she passed by. Because she was the boss, and even though she knew there was nothing much for them to do, it was best to just pretend. No reason to give her an excuse to kick them out.

Enter Madolyn Hayes. Gorgeous ex-model, currently working in the only business she still owned anymore. Ever since her accountant stole all her liquid assets, she had been forced to work alongside the people she employed in order to pay back the debts he had left her in. For a while, the business had been steadily working itself upwards, but suddenly the lucky streak stopped.

This was the only reason she was sitting in her office at eleven thirty PM on New Year's Eve, working through a mountain of bills and expenses.

Maddie sighed and shifted through another pile of official-looking papers. She'd never get anything done. The streets outside were packed with people, she could tell simply from the level of noise that seemed to seep through the glass of her window. She tapped a few numbers half-heartedly into the calculator and it spat out a few more sums. Still negative $800. "Oh, damn it," she groaned. She let the pencil she was holding drop onto the desk and rested her head on her hands. She tried to just breathe, block out the noise, block the numbers from her mind, everything…

Her head snapped up. Someone was fumbling at the door, trying to get it open.

She got to her feet slowly, moving as quietly as she could around her desk, her heart pounding a hundred beats a minute. Who could that be? Robbers? Everyone had the day off, and anyway, it was almost midnight. What idiot would bother to be at work on New Year's Eve at eleven o'clock at night…?

Oh, right. Her.

A key rattled in the lock as she moved toward her door, opening it just a crack. She almost considered looking around for something to defend herself with, but then the door opened. "Maddie, you in?" called a familiar voice.

Maddie relaxed. "I'm in my office, David," she called back, feeling a trifle annoyed as she sat back down at her desk. "You nearly gave me a heart attack, you know that?" she added when he came in and swung the door shut.

"Hello to you too," he replied, setting down a bottle on her desk.

Maddie eyed it. "What's that?" she asked.

"Champagne." David took off his coat and tossed it over the arm of the sofa behind him.

"I know it's champagne, David, what I want to know is why it is in my office." She narrowed her eyes. "And for that matter, why are you here? It's New Year's! You shouldn't even be in this part of town."

"Well…" David grunted as he flopped down next to his jacket. "I swung by your house, but you weren't there, so I figured you were here." He flung his arms open wide. "And ta-da! Here we are."

"Why were you at my house, David?" Maddie turned back to the numbers staring petulantly at her from the desk.

He looked at her in mock surprise. "To see you, of course."

"Shouldn't you be out there, celebrating with everyone else?" Maddie jabbed her pencil in the direction of the window, still not looking up from her sets of numbers.

"Could have been. Didn't feel like it, though. It's cold out. I'd rather hang around with you, anyway." He half-shrugged.

She shot him a look that was almost amused. "With me. On New Year's Eve. With champagne."

"Of course." He snapped his fingers. "Speaking of which, I'll be right back." He raced out of the room and was back in a flash, a wine glass in each hand. "I don't have any champagne glasses, but I figure these will do just fine."

Maddie stared as he set down the glasses and set about trying to work the cork out of the bottle. "You have wine glasses in your office?"

He grinned at her. "I have to have something to drink the wine out of, don't I?" The cork popped and David poured some of the bubbly liquid into each glass. "Figured we could make a toast at midnight." He handed her one and clinked his own against it. "Cheers!"

She took a sip and watched David over the rim of her glass. He had wandered over to the window and was peering down at the crowd below. "Quite the gathering down there," he commented.

"David," she began, rising from her chair to come over to him, "why did you come to see me?" He glanced at her, opening his mouth to say something, but she added quickly, "I mean, why me? Why not Miss DiPesto or somebody?"

David shrugged, for real this time. "Because I didn't want you to be alone on New Year's."

Maddie paused. "Why me?" she asked finally. "How do you know Miss DiPesto isn't alone?" 'And how did you know I was?' she added silently.

"Because I called her." David took another mouthful of champagne. "She had a few people from the office over, she said." They stood in silence for a while, watching the people milling about below, sipping champagne.

"What time is it?" he asked finally, when both their glasses were empty.

Maddie checked her watch. "Almost a quarter to midnight," she answered.

David went to the table and poured himself some more champagne. "Want some?" he asked over his shoulder.

"Sure." She walked over and he refilled her glass, almost to the rim. "Careful," she warned, as it threatened to spill over onto her hand. They both drank in silence.

"So," David said, after refilling their glasses for a second time, "What are you doing, working so late?"

She pulled a face. "It's our expenses," she said, glaring at the papers waiting for her on the desk, so deceptively innocent. "We're still $800 in debt."

"Ooh, ouch." He winced. "Better drink that up, you might need the alcohol in your system."

Maddie almost chuckled and put her glass down. "If I keep this up, I won't be able to focus on anything, much less our finances."

"And that's a good thing." He nudged the glass back into her hand. "Listen, Maddie, it's really late. You can pick this up another time. C'mon, relax, have some champagne. It's New Year's! You can forget business for tonight. At least for the rest of what's left of it."

"But if I stop now, I'll have to start all over again," she fretted, looking hopelessly at the pile of bills. "I've been here for hours, David, I can't stop now!"

David moved in front of her, blocking the desk from view. "Yes, you can." She tried to move around him, but he caught her arm. "Listen," he continued gently, "if it helps, I'll come over here in the morning and give you a hand."

Maddie chewed the inside of her cheek. "Really?" she asked doubtfully.

"Jeeze, Maddie, don't sound so hopeless. I'm actually not too bad at numbers."

She nearly sagged with relief. "Thanks, David," she said, and she really meant it.

One corner of his mouth twitched up into a half-smile. "No problem." He looked at the piles of documents, at the calculator, at the pieces of paper cluttered with sums Maddie had scribbled over in pencil. "Why don't you just hire an accountant, anyway?" he muttered absently.

Maddie bristled. "In case you don't remember, David, hiring an accountant was what lost me my money in the first place, so you'll forgive me if I don't quite trust them anymore." She stalked over to the desk and slammed her glass down, where the champagne threatened to slosh over the rim. "And anyway," she continued, in a less severe voice, "good ones are expensive, and we just don't have the money right now."

"Hey, I didn't mean anything by it." David held up his free hand in a peaceful gesture.

She let out a breath. "I know." She collapsed in her chair and stared grimly out the window. "I'm just… I get stressed out from all this."

"From all what?"

"The finances. The staying up late just to make sure we can scrape by for another week. The not knowing if and when another client is going to come." She looked at him helplessly. "We're not going to be able to go on much longer, David. I mean, if this keeps up, we might have to sell furniture, fire people… Maybe we'll even have to sell the place."

"No, Maddie, don't say that, please don't say that…" He rushed over to her, knelt by her chair. "We'll work it out. I promise."

"But what if we don't?" She glanced down at him, her eyes reflecting both the moonlight and her desk lamp, creating two very different-looking spots on two different sides of her eyeballs. "What if we don't, David? I don't have the money to keep this place open forever. We can't keep all those people working for us if we can't pay them. We can't have lights and heat and water and nice offices if we can't pay for them."

She was getting more and more hysterical but was cut off when someone from the street below with a bullhorn shouted, "Five minutes to midnight!" The crowd screamed its appreciation.

David squeezed her hand and handed her back her glass. "Don't… don't think about that anymore tonight," he said softly. "Just enjoy yourself. It's New Year's, for crying out loud! The bills can wait." He guided her out of her chair and to the window, where they had a clear view of the street. It was packed with people, crowding out cars and lampposts.

Maddie just stood there, gazing blankly through the glass as the clock ticked down. David nudged her. "Snap out of it, will ya?" he said. "It's almost time."

"One minute to midnight!" screamed the man with the bullhorn and the crowd cheered.

David leaned sideways. "Get ready for your kiss," he muttered in her ear.

"My what?" She gave a start and turned to stare at him.

"Your New Year's kiss," he repeated matter-of-factly.

"My what?" Maddie spluttered, but David only grinned as the countdown began.

"Ten, nine, eight," shrieked the crowd.

"You're going to kiss me?"

"Yep."

"Seven, six…"

"You are not going to kiss me!"

"Sure I am."

"Five, four, three," chanted the crowd.

"David Addison, don't you dare…"

"Two, one…"

"I'm gonna."

"Zero!" screamed the crowd. "Happy New Year!"

David turned to Maddie, a wide grin decorating his face. "Happy New Year, Maddie," he said, and then he kissed her.

Even though she'd known it was coming, it took her completely by surprise. The feel of his lips, the way they moved gently against hers, fitting perfectly. A match made in heaven. Maddie felt her eyes flutter closed, her lips parting in spite of herself, and the kiss instantly becoming deeper and more passionate. The wine glass slipped from her fingers and thudded onto the carpet, mercifully empty. He moved closer, his arms wrapping around her, pulling her to him, and she gripped at his shirt, kissing him back as hard as she could.

And suddenly, he pulled away. His mouth was slightly pinker than it was before, and he was breathing a bit more heavily. Maddie automatically put one hand on her heart as she caught her breath, her pulse hammering, and she felt sure she was blushing like crazy. They stood there staring at each other for a moment, the office eerily quiet apart from their breathing.

"Did you just…?" Maddie whispered, somehow sounding unnaturally loud.

"Yeah."

"And did we just…?

"…Yeah."

There was a pause.

"…Never happened?"

"…Yeah…"

There was another pause, longer this time.

"Ah, what the hell," said Maddie, and leaned over and kissed him again. The kiss was a longer, more intimate one than before, and this time neither of them pulled away until the pressure of no oxygen forced them to.

After a few minutes, David broke the silence. "…Wow."

"Tell me about it."

Maddie shakily picked up her glass and went over to the desk, pouring herself some more champagne and downing it in one go. David came up behind her and filled his own glass. "Good idea," he said, sounding a lot calmer than she felt, and gulped it down.

He poured them both some more and she looked at him for the first time since the second kiss. His cheeks were flushed, and he still breathed harder than normal, but otherwise he looked same as always. "You probably look better than me," she muttered to herself and gulped more champagne.

David heard. "I don't think so," he told her softly. "You always look beautiful."

She met his eyes and raised her glass. "A toast," she said.

"To the new year," added David.

Their glasses clinked together.

"Cheers, Maddie," he said, and winked.

She smiled over the rim of her glass.

"Happy New Year, David."




 

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