Catacombs of the Heart
Part Eleven

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JAG Headquarters
Falls Church, Virginia
Wednesday, October 15, 2003
0903 Hours (local)

Mac had managed to avoid Harm so far that morning, but the Admiral had called staff call at 0900. He himself was running a few minutes late as he got off the phone with the SecNav. This put him in an even worse mood than he was already in. But he wanted to address the events of the previous afternoon. He sighed heavily as he sat down. "What went on in this office yesterday afternoon was not acceptable. The parties concerned have already been dealt with," he said, looking at Harm. "Behavior like that in this office will not be tolerated. Is that understood?"

A round of "Yes, Sir," went up from the table.

"Should anyone see Mr. West on these premises again, I want to be notified and I want him to be secured by the MPs."

"Yes, Sir," was once again heard around the table.

"As for what occurred here yesterday, I don't want it to go outside of this office. It had no business occurring here, but it did. We do not need to give the Navy, or the Marine Corps," he said, glancing at Mac, "any bad press. And lawyers already have a bad reputation; they don't need any help," he said with a smile.

He was rewarded with a few smiles.

"Okay. Dismissed. Colonel, Commander Rabb, Petty Officer Coates, stay here." Everybody else rose and exited the room as ordered with the exception of Harm, Mac, and Jen. "I have spoken to Detective West and her superiors at D.C. Police. Detective West apologized for what occurred yesterday. And for any misleading that may have been done on her part," he said, once again looking pointedly at Harm. "After talking to her superiors, we have decided to leave her on the case. We decided this based on her solve-rate, she's very good, and she worked with the original case and is familiar with the material. D.C. Police are swamped and it was easier to leave her on the case than to put some one new on." The Admiral stopped speaking, providing an opening for questions.

Jen looked at Harm and Mac. Mac was staring pointedly at anything, other than Harm. And Harm seemed desperate to make eye contact with Mac. Neither of them seemed inclined to speak up, so Jen spoke. "Sir, what about the undercover operation at the club?"

"That will continue. However, you will not be participating this weekend."

"Why is that, Sir?" Jen asked again.

"Two reasons. We want to let this issue die down a little bit, give some time and space to the parties involved. And," the Admiral sighed before he continued, "Meredith and I are holding a get-together this Saturday night. Call it a late engagement party, but we were all a little busy last spring," he finished with a smile.

Mac turned to the Admiral, "That's wonderful, Sir."

The Admiral continued smiling, "Thank you, Colonel. You are all expected to attend, casual civilian attire. Keep it to yourself for a while until I make a general announcement."

The three of them nodded. Harm asked, "When we do go back to the club, will Detective West be coming with us?"

The Admiral nodded, "Yes, she will. It is a part of her job, regardless of what took place between the two of you."

Mac looked down at her hands.

"Do you have a problem with that, Colonel?" the Admiral asked.

"No, Sir," she said, looking back up at the Admiral. She sighed heavily and turned to glance at Jen. Neither one of them had grown up in pleasant homes, and if anyone understood what Mac was thinking, it would be Jen. And as much as she disliked the present situation, she was concerned for a fellow human being, and woman. "I just don't know if that is the wisest thing for Detective West."

"Are you questioning my decision?" the Admiral asked, glaring at Mac.

"No, Admiral," Mac responded, shaking her head, "But if Detective West's husband is the sort of man who will come into an office building, a military office building no less, and attack a man because he thinks he's sleeping with his wife, then what is he going to do to his wife? Especially when she goes out with the man with whom she had the affair again?"

"There is no history of abuse in their relationship," the Admiral said.

Jen spoke up, "Sir, I have to agree with the Colonel. Mr. West has shown violent tendencies. And previous cases of abuse may not have been reported or the Detective may just be hiding it. A lot of women do."

The Admiral regarded the two women. They had a point, and both of them had been through abusive situations in the past. "There's nothing I can do. It has been decided. If things change in the Detective's circumstances, we'll deal with it. For now, this is how it is."

"Understood," Mac responded.

"Good," the Admiral nodded. "Then we're done here. Dismissed."

After they had left the conference room, Harm caught up to Mac. "Mac, wait."

Mac turned around to face him.

"Can we talk about this?"

"Why, Harm? What is there to say?" Mac continued walking to her office and Harm followed her.

Once inside her office, he shut the door behind him. "I think some things need to be said."

"Harm, you slept with her. It's a simple thing, don't complicate it. It doesn't matter if she's married or not, you slept with her."

"It was only that one time, Mac."

Mac glared at Harm and crossed her arms over her chest. "A one-night stand, Harm?"

"I guess so." He hadn't really thought about it like that. "It just wasn't supposed to mean anything. It happened."

"Yeah, it did. And that's all that matters."

"Why are you so angry about this?"

Mac turned away. "I don't want to get into this, Harm. Just go."

"I think we need to talk about this. You are obviously upset about it."

"As you once said it yourself, Harm, this is not a marriage. I don't have to listen. I don't have to talk to you."

"So that's it, end of conversation?"


Harm turned and left her office, pulling the door shut behind him, letting it slam.



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