La Jolla, California
Monday, July 5, 2004
0733 Hours (local)
Harm woke up before Mac the next morning. She looked so peaceful when she was asleep. He would have been happy to stay with her, but he knew he wasn’t going to go back to sleep, and instead of disturbing her, he decided to go ahead and get up. Sliding out from under the covers, he pulled his boxer shorts back on and walked to the door. Pausing, he glanced back and smiled at the sleeping woman still wrapped in the sheets. She was incredible.
Slipping out of the room, he closed the door quietly behind him and crossed the hall to his room. Shutting that door behind him, he quickly changed his clothes. He went downstairs and was surprised to see his mom at the kitchen table, sipping coffee and reading the paper. “Morning,” he said calmly.
“Morning, dear,” she called. “Sleep good last night?”
Thinking about the previous night, Harm poured himself a cup of coffee. Before he had even fallen asleep, it had been the best night of his life. Sex had never felt like that before. It had never been that moving, like coming home. He knew, without a doubt, that never in his life had he made love, until Mac. Last night he had probably slept better than he ever had in his life. “Yeah,” was all he told his mom, taking a seat at the table with his coffee and picking up the sports section.
“That’s nice,” Trish said, looking up at him, smiling, her blue eyes twinkling.
Harm met her gaze for a moment before returning to the paper. He knew she knew. How could she not? His bedroom door had been left open all night and he and Mac hadn’t exactly been quiet. Hell, he was 40-years-old and he knew his mom knew he wasn’t a virgin; she wasn’t that naïve. But he wasn’t about to discuss his sex life with her.
“You and Mac should go out today,” she suggested as she sipped her coffee.
“We don’t have a car,” he reminded her.
“You could take mine.”
“You aren’t going to work?” Harm asked, glancing up from the paper, surprised.
“The gallery will survive a day without me.”
“Take Mac out to lunch, do some shopping. I think it would be good for you guys to get out of the house for a while before she has to catch her flight.”
Harm nodded. “I’ll have to ask Mac when she gets up.”
“Ask me what?” Mac asked as she entered the kitchen. Her eyes were still filled with sleep and her hair was disheveled, but in Harm’s eyes, she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
“Do you want to go out today for lunch, maybe do some shopping?” Harm asked, smiling. He wanted to go to her, take her in his arms and kiss the daylights out of her until she agreed to go back upstairs with him and get back in bed. But he wanted to talk to her before they did anything more public with their relationship, make sure she was okay with everything.
Mac nodded. “That sounds good. We can do that.”
Trish smiled. She knew Harm would love to get out of the house and go somewhere other than to see a doctor. Having Mac with him would only make it better.
Mac poured herself a cup of coffee and took a seat next to Harm. Deciding to follow his lead, she acted as if nothing had happened the night before. “Did you have anything particular in mind?” she asked.
“There’s a restaurant down on the pier with a great view of the ocean and there are lots of little shops around there.”
Mac nodded, smiling. “It’ll be fun.”
La Jolla, California
Monday, July 5, 2004
1307 Hours (local)
They had both ordered salads for lunch. As Mac put a forkful into her mouth, Harm asked her, “Should we talk about it?”
“Last night?” When he nodded, Mac shook her head and continued, “It happened and I don’t regret it. I wanted it to happen.”
Harm couldn’t help but to smile. Even though she had invited him into her room, he was still afraid that she would regret it today, fearing that she had gotten caught up in the moment and now resented him because he had followed through. But at her words, that fear was gone. “So did I.”
Mac smiled as she speared some lettuce and a piece of a tomato, all drenched in salad dressing. “Then there is no problem.”
“I didn’t say there was.”
Mac continued chewing for a moment. “Has this changed how you feel about coming back to JAG?”
“I still want to come back, but…” he trailed off.
Mac shook her head and put her fork down. “Absolutely not. Do not base your career decisions on me. Don’t worry about me. Do what you want, what makes you happy.”
“You make me happy.”
Mac picked her fork up. “Okay, do what makes you happy career-wise.”
Harm nodded and took a bite of his salad. “What does this mean for us, then?”
“We are what we are,” Mac stated simply.
Harm regarded her for a moment, but didn’t say a word.
“Don’t ask me what we are, though,” she smiled. They had never really been able to put a label on their relationship with each other, so why should now be any different? “But can we get off the topic, please?” she asked, her eyes pleading.
“I guess so, but… why?”
“Last night happened. It was a beautiful thing that neither one of us regrets. Yes, it’s changed things between us, and I’m not sure how things will be when you come back east. But I feel like it was a step in the right direction, forward, and I’m afraid that if we talk about it too much, we’ll analyze it to death, and end up taking two steps backwards. Best to let sleeping dogs lie.”
“Good point,” Harm nodded as he took his last bite of salad.
They were silent for a few minutes, each enjoying the company of the other. Their server came, Harm paid the bill, and they walked out of the restaurant, hand in hand.
They wandered around the area, gazing through windows and ducking inside shops. Mac bought a new pair of shoes and a lightweight dress to take home. She also got a few little toys for little AJ and Jimmy. As they passed one window, Mac stopped to look in at the jewelry. Even though she didn’t say anything, Harm followed her gaze to a simple ring, nothing more than a gold band with a diamond. Knowing what was on her mind, he vowed to make things right and told himself he’d come back one day soon.
San Diego International Airport
San Diego, California
Monday, July 5, 2004
2115 Hours (local)
Harm and Mac stood outside the set of double doors leading into the airport, Mac’s bags at their feet. Trish was waiting in the car, the engine idling. “It’s been a great weekend,” Mac smiled up to Harm.
“Thank you for coming. I’m sorry I made you miss Harriet’s party, though.”
“No offense to Harriet, but I think I enjoyed this more,” Mac grinned, her eyes sparkling.
Grinning back down at her, Harm responded, “Good to know. I’ll have to file it away for later use.”
Mac laughed. “I have no doubt you will.”
Suddenly serious, Harm grabbed her hand and said, “I wish I was going with you.”
“You know, about a month before your mom called me to tell me you were in the hospital, I had won a huge case in court against Sturgis and Bud. It had been an uphill battle, so when I got home, I was so excited. I picked up the phone to call you and remembered you weren’t home. It completely deflated me, but it also made me realize that I was ready for you to come back into my life. I wanted you to come home. I missed you, and I wish you were coming home now,” Mac finished, her eyes threatening to tear up.
Harm squeezed her hand. “I’ll come home soon. But if you want to talk to me, for any reason, call me.”
“That goes for you, too.”
Harm smiled. “Well, you’ll get sick of me calling you real quick,” he teased.
“Doubt it,” Mac smiled.
For a moment, they only gazed at each other, oblivious to the people moving around them. “Aw, hell,” Harm said, grinning. Pulling Mac towards him, he wrapped her in his arms, kissing her passionately.
Mac was caught off-guard, but she quickly gave herself over to the situation. Wrapping her arms around him, she pulled his head down to her level. As she slipped her tongue out of her mouth, Harm opened his mouth under hers. Their tongues danced and they quickly became lost in each other. Pulling back for air, neither of them could help smiling. “Wow,” Mac said.
“You got that right,” Harm said.
“If I get goodbyes like that, I’ll have to leave more often.”
“You better not,” Harm threatened, pulling her close for one last kiss.
When they separated, Mac took a step back, putting some distance between them, fearing that if she didn’t, she’d end up with a UA charge against her in the morning.
Harm picked up her bags and held them out to her. “Call me when you get to work in the morning, just to let me know you got in all right.”
“Will do.” Unable to keep the words from spilling out, Mac said, “Love you, Harm.”
“Love you, too, Mac,” Harm responded automatically, but still meaning every bit of it.
Mac quickly turned and left without saying another word and Harm watched her go with a smile on his lips. In the idling car, Trish was also wearing a smile.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
2107 Hours (local)
The telephone rang just as Mac pulled her dinner from the microwave. Setting the steaming TV dinner down on the counter, she spun around to answer the phone. “MacKenzie.”
“Hey, beautiful,” Harm’s voice spoke.
“Hey yourself. How are you? Is everything okay?” Mac asked worriedly as she peeled back the wrapping on her dinner, succeeding not only in exposing the meal to her, but also burning her fingers. She couldn’t help but to worry every time Harm called her.
“I’m fine,” he said. On the opposite side of the country, he was wearing a smile, thinking of coming home to her. He knew she worried about him every time he called, and he couldn’t help but to be touched by the gesture. “I know you worry, but I’m fine.”
“Good,” Mac smiled as she inserted her fingers into her mouth, trying to cool them. After making meals like this for so many years, one would think she would know to let the food cool before pulling back the plastic, but she was never patient when it came to food. “So, are you calling for any reason in particular?” she inquired.
“Actually, I am,” he said, his grin widening.
Mac could hear the excitement in his voice. “Oh?” she asked, genuinely intrigued.
“I’m coming home,” he stated calmly, even though his stomach was jumping up and down with excitement.
“Oh my God!” Mac squealed, dropping the fork she had picked up and was getting ready to spear her still-steaming chicken with. “When?” she asked excitedly.
“Next week,” he answered proudly.
Grinning, Mac retrieved her fork from the floor and rinsed it off in the sink. “That’s wonderful, Harm! I can’t wait!”
“Neither can I,” he admitted. He really wanted to see her again, make sure everything was going to be okay between them after what happened the last time she had come to visit. They were fine talking over the phone, but things tended to happen when they were in each other’s presence, and Harm was afraid of that explosion he had tried to avoid by leaving last December.
“Do you have the flight information yet?” Mac managed around a steaming bite of her dinner. It was very hot, but Mac didn’t stick it in the microwave so it would remain cold.
“No, but I’ll tell you when I do.”
“I’ll pick you up,” Mac offered, her mouth full of food.
“Are you eating?” Harm asked suddenly, changing the topic.
“Mm hmm,” Mac grunted, another mouthful of food keeping her from talking.
“Oh,” Harm said sadly. “I’ll let you go, then, so you can eat.” He had really been hoping he could just spend some time talking with Mac tonight. His mom and Frank had been great, but he missed his old life, the life that revolved around the law, the Navy, and Mac.
“No, you don’t have to,” Mac spoke quickly, not wanting him to hang up. She loved talking to him after a day at work. It wasn’t the same as having him home, but it was better than nothing. “I like talking to you while I eat.”
“I can’t afford to call you every time you eat,” Harm warned, the grin having returned to his lips.
“I’m not asking you to call me every time I eat. Just tonight,” she said, taking another bite.
“I see how it is…” Harm trailed. “You only want to hear from me when it’s convenient for you.”
Swallowing quickly, Mac answered, “You hit the nail on the head, Hammer.”
“Cute, Marine,” Harm responded. He rose from the chair he had been sitting in on the deck and began pacing.
“I believe beautiful was the word you used earlier,” Mac reminded him.
“I meant that one.”
“You better have. If you didn’t, I’d be out there in a few hours to kick your six,” Mac laughed lightly.
“Kick it to where?” Harm questioned.
“Hmm…” Mac pondered for a moment as she chewed. “Here.”
“Oh, in that case, I didn’t mean it,” he said smartly.
“Too late. I already know that you meant it.”
Harm laughed lightly for a moment before sobering. “Are you really glad that I’ll be coming home?”
“Hell yeah, I am. I miss you, Harm. Even before your accident, I missed you. I was ready for you to come home then.”
“I was ready to come home, too. Then…” he trailed off.
“You still don’t remember what happened, do you?” Mac asked softly.
“No,” Harm answered, shaking his head as if she could see him. “I can remember some of the cases I was working on before the accident, but not exactly what happened. I spoke to my CO out here when I went back to the base to collect my stuff. He looked over my caseload and he thinks my situation may be tied to a particular case. A Lieutenant was caught running a drug-ring, both off base and on. The people involved that were related to the base, have all been accounted for and are in the system now. But a few of the off-base guys have disappeared.”
“But he thinks this case may be involved?” Mac asked, concerned.
“It may, but unless the missing men are found, we are just as clueless now as we were when it happened.”
“Hmm…” Mac nodded, chewing her food thoughtfully. “But you remember most of what happened before that?”
“Bits and pieces. Things are coming back to me.”
“Well, that’s good.”
“Yeah, it is,” he admitted. “But it also reminds me of how boring my life was.”
“At North Island?”
Harm nodded before remembering that Mac couldn’t see him. “Yeah.”
“Were the cases that bad?”
“No,” he chuckled. “The cases weren’t bad. But you weren’t here.”
Mac snorted, trying not to choke on her chicken. “You missed the arguing, huh?”
“I did. Arguing with you keeps my mind sharp. I just wish we didn’t do it to hurt each other,” he said softly.
“Me, too,” Mac admitted.
“Maybe we should work on that,” Harm suggested. “Arguing without insults, taking the emotion, the hurt, out of it.”
“Sounds simple, but probably won’t be. Our lives never work out that way.”
“Maybe we’re due for a break,” Harm said, serious, but keeping his voice light. “What do you say?”
Nodding to herself and smiling, Mac said, “I’m up for it if you are.”
“Oh, I’m up for it, Mac,” Harm responded.
Mac rolled her eyes, scraping her fork around the edge of the small bowl with mashed potatoes. “I’m sure you’re up for something,” she teased.
“Whenever you are,” he laughed back.
Shaking her head, Mac swallowed the last of her chicken. “Hey, can I ask you something?” her voice serious once more.
“You just did, but I’ll give you another chance,” Harm responded, still teasing.
“We agreed on another year, right?”
“Yeah…” Harm answered, somewhat puzzled. “Are you pregnant?” he asked suddenly.
“No!” Mac answered quickly. “I shouldn’t be…” she trailed. “Given that my period started yesterday.”
“Way too much information there,” Harm laughed. “Go on,” he insisted.
“What were you going to do for AJ’s birthday out there in San Diego?”
His mind racing, Harm was silent for a moment.
“Harm? Do you remember?”
“I do,” Harm said. “Don’t rush me. I’m trying to think.”
“Okay,” Mac agreed, nodding. “Take your time.”
Harm sighed heavily before he spoke. “I hadn’t decided what I would do, exactly, but I wasn’t about to let it slip by and not do anything. I had made you a promise and I intended to keep it.”
“So, you were going to do something?”
“I was. I didn’t know if I was going to call you, or… I had thought about coming home for a visit. I just wasn’t sure.”
“Okay,” Mac said, smiling softly. “Just as long as you didn’t forget.”
Harm laughed. “No way I could forget something like that. It isn’t everyday you get the chance to go through with a promise like I made five years ago!”
“I guess not,” Mac laughed softly as well.
Halting his laughter, Harm asked, “You okay?”
“I’m fine. I’m looking forward to you coming home.”
“You know, I’ll be expecting a huge party and balloons, don’t you?” he teased.
Ideas already running through her head, Mac said brightly, “Count on it.”
“I’ll bet,” Harm grinned.
“Harm, I’d love to stay and chat with you longer, it has been nice, but I have court in the morning and I have some preparing to do,” Mac said, her voice heavy with disappointment.
“I understand,” Harm said, disappointed as well. “Call me if you need any help,” he offered.
“I will,” Mac assured him.
“Thanks. Call me when you get the flight information and I’ll pick you up.”
“I will. Take care, Mac.”
“You, too, Harm,” Mac said softly as she hung up the phone. Glancing around the room, Mac smiled to herself. Harm was coming home next week. And his comment about a party already got her mind going. Walking out of the kitchen, turning out the light as she went, Mac moved towards the couch, a glass of water in her hand and her head filled with ideas. She knew she would be talking to Harriet in the morning.