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Classification Angst, Romance (H/M)
Length Approximately 17,000 words; 54 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
Spoilers Everything, and nothing at all
 
Rating GS
Summary “The course of true love never did run smooth.” -Shakespeare

\

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

 

 

May 23, 2013
9:45 AM
Rabb House
Arlington, VA

 

“Boys are dorks!” Chloe Madison shouted as she stormed into the kitchen and roughly sat down at the kitchen table. Harm set the Saturday paper down on the table and looked at her. Chloe glared, “Well, they are.”

“Honey, you want to take this one,” Harm said to Mac who was leaning against the kitchen counter, drinking her coffee.

“I would have to agree with her,” Mac responded with a smile.

“What did Andrew and David do now?” Harm ignored his wife’s comment as his attention returned to the young woman in front of him.

This young woman who at one time was on top of an elevator and now attending American University for her master’s degree. When Chloe started her freshman year at Georgetown she chose to live in the dorm and hated it. Harm and Mac offered her a room in their house and Chloe quickly accepted. Chloe had been living with them for the past six years and had watched the couple live together. She especially enjoyed how they loved their family of four small children, to which Chloe was a big sister/aunt.

Chloe took a deep breath, “Harm, think about that question for a minute. Andrew is nine and David is four.”

“So if it’s not my sons then it’s an actual boy.”

“Gee, now I know why you’re an admiral,” Chloe sarcastically stated as she rolled her eyes.

“Chloe, getting sarcastic with Harm might make you feel better. But it won’t help your problem,” Mac interjected as she sat down at the table, “Now tell us what’s wrong.”

“Last night at the Coffee Shop Cindy asked me if Matt and I were dating.”

“You’re too young to date,” Harm fatherly stated to Chloe.

“I’ll be twenty-five in four months.”

“Mac,” Harm whined trying to get her support.

Mac looked at Chloe and ignored Harm’s whining. “Why did Cindy ask you that?”

“She doesn’t think a guy and a girl can be best friends. So since Matt and I hang out, Cindy along with other people think we’re dating,” Chloe explained.

“So how does this make boys dorks?” Mac asked.

“This morning Matt and I went jogging. After our jog we went to his place for breakfast and to review for our final on Monday. Well, I told Matt what Cindy said and he acted like a total jerk. He ignored everything I was saying and he said that if we were meant to be more he would know. But right now we’re just friends and that’s all he can see us as. So needless to say we’re fighting and I’m talking about my personal life with you two.” Chloe rested her head in her hands and sighed heavily.

“Do you want to date Matt?” Mac asked as Harm’s eyes bulged out of his head.

“He’s my best friend,” Chloe defended herself.

“Answer the question,” Mac said to her little sister.

“I’m not on trial, Mac.”

“I know, honey. I just need to know the answer to help you out,” Mac explained.

“I care about him a lot. But I don’t know if I want us to get involved because of our friendship,” Chloe said sounding like a scared little girl.

Mac looked at Harm and smiled softly. “Sound familiar?”

Harm chuckled slightly. “Sure does.”

“What sounds familiar?” Chloe asked.

“I used those same words about ten years ago,” Harm said.

“Now paging confused party of one. Your table is ready,” Chloe said as she found herself lost in their conversation.

“You know how Harm and I were before we got married?”

“Best friends, I was at your wedding,” Chloe stated.

“You were but you weren’t there for the months before it.” Mac twirled her wedding ring and engagement ring on her finger.

“We talked every week, Mac.”

Mac chuckled. “You were fourteen. Do you really think I told you everything that happened with us?”

Chloe looked at Harm as he covered his mouth to hide a smile. “No, I don’t think you did.”

“How about a story then?” Mac asked.

“Will it help?” Chloe responded.

Harm looked at Chloe. “It should.” Chloe shook her head.

“The both of us had made a lot of mistakes with each other and lost a part of our friendship. So we started to rebuild it. It took time and lots of understanding. It took so much time that we didn’t realize how our friends were interpreting the time we were spending together,” Mac explained.

“You’re best friends, best friends spend time together,” Chloe stated the fact she used when talking to Cindy earlier in the day.

“Right,” Harm said, “But our friends thought there was more then just friendship between us.”

“You’re married now so there was,” Chloe said.

“There was but we didn’t know that. You can see it from the outside, but the view from inside is always different. So different in fact that our friends thought we were dating. When we weren’t,” Harm said, hoping the Chloe would understand.

“So how did you two start dating?” Chloe asked.

Mac gave her little sister a smile. “It all started one night when a group of us went to Benzinger’s after we won a case against Bud and Sturgis. While Harm, Sturgis and Bud were playing a game of pool, I was sitting at the table with Harriet and Bobbie, just talking about different things.” Mac paused and let her mind drift back to that night. “Well, Bobbie suddenly changed the course of the conversation when she asked me…”
 


FLASHBACK - 10 years earlier
Friday May 2, 2003
10:32 PM
Benzinger’s

 

“So, Mac, how would you describe Harm in bed?” Bobbie asked as she took a sip of her drink.

Mac choked on the tonic water she was drinking when Bobbie asked the question. “What?!”

“Harm in bed,” Bobbie said with a smile.

“What?”

“Come on, you can tell us,” Harriet said with a grin.

Mac stared at Bobbie and Harriet in disbelief. “We’re not sleeping together.”

Bobbie smiled sweetly. “So you two are waiting, there’s nothing wrong with that.”

“That’s so sweet,” Harriet added.

“What are you two talking about?” Mac asked quickly as she placed her drink back on the table.

“You two have been dating for a while,” Harriet stated.

“We’re not dating,” Mac said to the two women.

“Mac, you don’t need to hide this from us, we see it.” Bobbie coyly smiled.

“See what?” Mac asked, still in shock.

“Everything,” Harriet stated, holding her hands out in front of herself in an exaggerated measure to convey her point.

“What in the world would give you two the idea that Harm and I are dating?” Mac asked, not understanding where Harriet and Bobbie were seeing this.

Bobbie smiled. “You spend a lot of time together.”

“We work together,” Mac said.

“Including at night and on the weekends?” Harriet asked.

“Sometimes,” Mac defended herself.

Harriet raised her eyebrows at Mac. “So last weekend when the two of you went flying in ‘Sarah’ you were working.”

“We weren’t working, we were…” Mac trailed off, trying to think of the right words to describe the last weekend.

“Out on a date,” Bobbie supplied.

“No. He wanted to go flying and asked me to come. Besides we’re best friends, friends do stuff together.”

“Like cook dinner for each other every other night.” Bobbie shook her head in mock-agreement.

“We have working dinners,” Mac defended herself.

“Do you also have working lunches and coffee breaks?” Harriet asked.

Mac took a deep breath. “Why are you two ganging up on me?”

“I just want to know what’s going on with you and Harm. Lately the two of you have been inseparable,” Bobbie stated. “For example, last week Sturgis needed to cancel the basketball game with Harm. He tried Harm at home and on his cell-phone and couldn’t reach him. So Sturgis called your place and there Harm was.”

“So just because Harm was at my place when Sturgis called that means we’re dating?” Mac looked at Bobbie, knowing that this one event was not enough evidence.

“It was 11:20 at night.”

“It’s all circumstantial.” Mac shook her head and finished her drink. “I’m going to get another drink. Want one?”

Bobbie and Harriet exchanged a look and said, “No, I’m fine.”

“Okay,” Mac said as she walked over to the bar.

Harriet watched as Mac walked away, “Is it just me or is she in denial?”

“Yeah, and we’re not talking about the river,” Bobbie said as Sturgis and Bud walked over to the table. “So who won?”

“Harm,” Sturgis said as he and Bud sat down.

“Where is he?” Harriet asked.

“He went over to the bar to get a drink,” Bud said as he pointed towards the bar.

Bobbie and Harriet looked over at the bar and saw Harm standing behind Mac. He just said something in her ear and Mac was laughing. Bobbie and Harriet looked at each other and smiled smugly. Bud and Sturgis looked at the two women and found themselves mildly confused.

“Oh yeah, definitely not dating,” Bobbie sarcastically commented as she watched Harm place one hand on Mac’s left hip and the other on her right shoulder.

“I hear denial is beautiful this time of year,” Harriet laughed as she watched her friends at the bar.

“What are you talking about?” Bud asked, letting Harriet and Bobbie spark his curiosity.

Bobbie looked over at Bud. “Harm and Mac are dating and they won’t admit it.”

Sturgis laughed. “I think if they were dating we would know.”

“You are so blind,” Bobbie said as she rolled her eyes.

Sturgis raised an eyebrow. “All right, explain this one to me, Congresswoman.”

“I would but here they come. Take note, his right hand is holding his drink while the other is on her back,” Bobbie pointed out to the small group of friends.

The four at the table all noticed this and looked at each other with mild understanding and hopefulness. Harm and Mac reached the table as everyone stopped talking. “Did we do something?” Harm asked as he and Mac sat down.

“If only you knew,” Harriet muttered under her breath to Bobbie.

“No, we were just talking about different things,” Sturgis said, still finding himself confused about the conversation that had just taken place.

“Really?” Mac said as she took a sip of her tonic water. She had a good idea what the conversation had been and didn’t want it to continue.

“Yeah.” Bobbie watched Harm and Mac and could have sworn they looked like two people who were happily dating.

Everyone looked at each other as an uncomfortable silence surrounded the table, so Sturgis decided to break the tension. “You know, Harm, I should have bought your drink, since I did lose the game.”

Harm looked at his drink. “You can get the next one.”

“Deal,” Sturgis said with a smile. Then very slowly the six people started to pick up a new conversation, this time not about the topic of Harm and Mac.

About an hour later the group started to leave the bar. “Hey Harm, Bobbie and I can give you a lift home,” Sturgis offered as he and Harm walked outside in time to see Bud and Harriet’s van pull out of the parking lot.

“Mac said she would drive me home.”

“Okay, I’ll meet you at the court for our game at 6:00.”

Harm snapped his fingers as he remembered something. “That reminds me, I need to cancel.”

“Why?”

“Mac is borrowing my SUV tomorrow to pick Jingo up from the vet and she promised me dinner in return.”

“Oh. Okay,” Sturgis said, thinking about the earlier conversation Harm hadn’t witnessed. “How about a run Sunday morning?”

“How about basketball Monday night?” Harm suggested.

“Sure. Why not a run?”

“Mac and I go running every Sunday,” Harm explained.

Sturgis bit back a smile. “Okay. Monday and you can’t cancel.”

“Deal, see you then.” Mac and Bobbie walked over to Harm and Sturgis.

“Ready?” Mac asked Harm.

“Sure.” Harm placed his hand on her back.

Bobbie looked at Harm’s hand and took Sturgis’ arm. “Come on, sailor, take me home.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Sturgis smiled, then looked at Mac. “Have a good night, Mac.”

“You, too, Sturgis, Bobbie.”

“Goodnight,” Bobbie said before she and Sturgis walked towards Sturgis’ car.

Harm and Mac walked to her Corvette and Mac drove Harm home. Once they reached Harm’s apartment he handed her the keys to the SUV. “My keys.”

Mac smiled at the keys. “Thanks for letting me borrow it.”

“Remember you’re cooking tomorrow night,” Harm said as he escorted Mac to the SUV.

“I know.”

“Good,” Harm said as she unlocked the car door. He watched as she got into the SUV and moved the seat. “Great, now I’ll never get the seat back to where I like it.”

“Just wait till I move all your mirrors,” Mac smiled as he rolled his eyes and laughed as she adjusted the review mirror. Then she buckled up and looked at Harm before she closed the door.

“I really appreciate this, Harm.”

“I know. Call me when you get home so I know that you got there all right.”

“Yes, Dad,” Mac jokingly commented with a playful smile on her face.

“At least you didn’t give me the ‘I’m a Marine’ speech.”

“Goodnight, Harm.” She reached for the door handle to close the door.

Before she could close the door Harm took a step closer to her, placed his left hand on her cheek, leaned and kissed her on the lips. He wanted to give her a gentle goodnight kiss but it ended up lingering and turned from one kiss into several soft sweet kisses. He slowly stopped kissing her lips and then lightly kissed her cheek before he pulled away from her. He looked at her and noticed a soft smile on her face. “Goodnight, Sarah.”

“Goodnight, Harm,” Mac said as he took a step back and she closed the door.
 


Chapter 2

BACK TO PRESENT
 

“So you two kiss, talk the next day, and start dating. Right?”

The couple laughed at Chloe’s comment. “Would have been nice if it was that easy,” Mac said for them.

“No, it took a little while longer and a trip to get us closer to dating.” Harm placed his arm around the back of Mac’s chair.

“Did you two go away for a weekend?” Chloe asked, knowing this was something Harm and Mac did about every three months to get some time away from work and the kids.

“It was Memorial Day weekend. Sergei and I were going to visit Grandma Sarah. He asked his girlfriend Evelyn to join us and they in turn told me to ask Mac to come along. I believe the reason they gave me was so I wouldn’t feel like a third wheel. So I asked her and she said sure.”

“Of course I was told Grandma Sarah and Sergei would give me blackmail on him. And I never miss the chance to embarrass him,” Mac added on with a smile on her face.

Harm looked at Mac for a brief second, then at Chloe. “She said yes and we left Friday after work. We got to the house around eleven. Sergei and Evelyn were asleep in the backseat, while Mac was keeping me awake from the passenger seat.”

 

FLASHBACK

Friday May 23, 2003
(Memorial Day weekend)
11:03 PM

 

Harm pulled the SUV into the driveway of the farm. “Grandma’s excited to meet you.”

“Do you think she’ll like me?” Mac asked, finding herself nervous for some reason.

“If she likes you half as much as I do you’ll be better than fine,” Harm said as Mac gave him an odd look.

Mac was about to respond as Sergei and Evelyn woke up. “Are we there yet, brother?” Sergei asked.

“Just pulled into the driveway.”

“When were you going to wake us, Harm?” Evelyn asked, picking on Harm.

Harm thought for a second. “I was thinking sometime next week.”

“Funny, Harm,” Evelyn chuckled.

“Do I need to separate you two?” Sergei interjected.

Evelyn wrapped her arms around Sergei’s neck. “As long as you’re with me, I don’t care.” She and Sergei shared a long kiss.

Harm and Mac glanced at each other and smiled shyly. As they approached the house Harm slowed the car down and reached with his right arm into the back seat to gently swat at the couple to break them apart. “All right, all right, you two, knock it off.”

“Envious, brother?” Sergei asked with a smile as he and Evelyn separated.

“Not at all,” Harm lied. He turned off the engine after putting the car into park. “We’re here.”

The four got out of the car just as Sarah Rabb walked out of the front door. “Thought you got lost.”

“You know Harm is never on time.” Sergei walked up and kissed his grandmother on the cheek.

“Hello Sergei, how are you?” Sarah asked, giving her youngest grandson a hug.

“Good, Grandmother.” He motioned for Evelyn to join him on the porch. “You remember Evelyn?”

“Of course, how are you?” Sarah smiled as she hugged the younger woman.

“I’m good, Sarah.” Evelyn smiled back, feeling special to the older woman.

Harm walked up to his grandmother. “What were you just going to forget about me?”

“You, the grandson that jumped off of the hay loft when he was eight because his mother and I told him not to. Harmon, I couldn’t forget you if I tried.” Sarah smiled as Harm kissed her cheek and gave her a hug.

“I love you too, Grandma,” Harm said with a smile. Sarah just smiled at him before she looked at Mac who was shyly standing back from the group. Harm noticed his grandmother’s attention and motioned for Mac to join them. Slowly Mac smiled and walked onto the porch. “Grandma, I would like you to meet Sarah MacKenzie. Mac this is my grandmother,” Harm introduced Mac politely to Sarah.

Sarah smiled a mile wide. “So I finally get to meet you. I have heard nothing but wonderful things about you, Sarah.”

“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am,” Mac said holding her hand out to Sarah.

Sarah reached for Mac’s hand and pulled her into a hug. “We hug in this family, Sarah. And you can call me Sarah or Grandma.” Mac just smiled at Sarah’s words. Sarah grabbed Evelyn’s hand and kept Mac’s in hers. She turned to her grandsons. “Us ladies are going to go inside, so you gentlemen can unload the car.”

“Yes Ma’am,” Harm and Sergei said as they walked back to the car to get the bags.
 


Saturday May 24, 2003
8:02 AM

 

“It is so beautiful out here,” Mac said as she sat down at the kitchen table drinking her coffee.

“I’m glad you like it Sarah,” Sarah smiled as she took a sip of her coffee. “I’m also glad you like the coffee strong.”

“It’s the only way to drink coffee.”

Sarah laughed. “Harm would have to disagree with you on that.”

“Harm disagrees with me on just about everything.”

“He may but I hear a lot of what he isn’t saying to you.”

“He doesn’t say a lot on certain things, but there are some topics he can and has talked for hours on.”

“He’s like his father that way.” Sarah sipped her coffee. “Harmon would sit at this table for hours talking about the Navy and flying, but the second I would ask him about a girl from school he would be as quiet as a church mouse. His son does the same thing according to his mother. Have you met Trish?”

“Twice, but I think that Harm is trying to avoid any future meetings,” Mac said.

“Why?” Sarah asked.

Mac grinned. “Blackmail.”

Sarah smiled like any good loving grandmother would. “Well, I’ve got bathtub photos and stories that would make him want to crawl under a rock.” Both of the women started laughing at that comment.

“Please, tell me you didn’t tell her about the time I broke my arm by jumping onto the bunk bed,” Harm said as he walked into the room to the sound of laughter.

“You broke your arm while trying to jump onto a bunk bed?” Mac said, not believing him.

“Oh, man,” Harm groaned.

Sarah laughed. “No, I was thinking about telling Sarah the story of the night you kissed Becky Miller and spent the night in jail.”

Mac started laughing. “I want to hear that one.”

“Shouldn’t you wait until Sergei and Evelyn get up so you don’t have to repeat the story,” Harm said, hoping by that time, Mac and his grandmother would have forgotten about the story.

“Are they still in bed?” Sarah asked.

“They are normal people and sleep in on the weekends.” Harm took a sip of his coffee. “Oh, who made this?”

“I did. Don’t you like it?” Sarah said, looking at her grandson with mock anger.

“Almost as bad as Mac’s.” Harm sat down next to Mac, just in time to have her playfully slap his arm. “Abuse.”

Mac smiled. “Not when you deserve it, and I happen to like the coffee.”

“That’s because you and my grandmother are weird. Both of you are out of bed on a Saturday before ten and take your coffee stronger than the catapult on the Henry,” Harm said to the two women who were just smiling.

“I think he likes it but won’t admit it,” Mac said to Sarah in all seriousness.

Sarah laughed as she watched her grandson and Mac banter with each other. “So what are you kids going to do today?”

“I really didn’t plan anything,” Harm said.

“Good, Emma Clark called yesterday and said the church is having the Spring Social tonight. And since you and Sergei are here with your girlfriends, she wants us to attend,” Sarah explained, “It starts at seven and usually stops around midnight.”

“I’m sure Sergei and Evelyn will love to go,” Harm said.

“And what about you two?” Sarah asked, looking at the two people in front of her.

“Sounds like fun,” Mac said.

Harm looked at her and smiled, then turned his attention to his grandmother. “Yeah, it does. But Grandma, you know Mac and I aren’t involved.”

Sarah just smiled and stood up from the table. She placed her coffee cup in the sink and started to leave the room. Before she left the room she looked at Harm and Mac and said, “You two are more involved than you know.”
 


PRESENT DAY
 

“So Grandma Sarah got you two together,” Chloe said as she found herself getting into the story.

“She got the ball rolling,” Harm said, “Because that night after the Social I did something I didn’t think I would do.”

 

Chapter 3

FLASHBACK
Sunday May 25, 2003
12:32 AM

 

Everyone had left the Social and was back at the Rabb farm. Sarah left the Social earlier, before everyone else, and was now in bed. Sergei and Evelyn were in the guest room, spending time together. Harm and Mac were walking around the back yard, talking quietly. Harm took Mac’s hand into his and led her into the gazebo near the far end of the property, away from the house.

“It’s really nice here, Harm. Thanks for inviting me.” Mac said to him as they sat down on the porch glider in the center of the gazebo.

“Thanks for coming.” Harm placed an arm around Mac’s shoulders and pulled her closer to him. He leaned his head back and looked at the stars through the opening above them. “I love sitting here.”

Mac leaned her head onto his shoulder and looked up at the stars. “It’s very nice.”

They sat for a few minutes without talking, just looking at the stars above them. After a while they both watched a shooting star flash across the sky, “A shooting star,” Mac said in awe.

“Make a wish.” He watched her eyes close as she made her wish. When she opened them she found herself staring into Harm’s eyes. “What did you wish for?” he asked.

“If I tell you it won’t come true.”

Harm smiled secretively. “I could guess it.”

“How would you know what I wished for?”

“Hey, every now and then I know how you think and not to mention the fact that…”

“We’re finishing and starting each others sentences.”

“Exactly,” Harm said as he lightly touched the tip of her nose. “Just give me a minute to think about your wish.” Harm took a minute and thought about what she could have wished for. He stood up, looked at her, extended a hand to her and she took it.

“So what was my wish?” Mac asked him as she stood up.

Harm looked into her eyes and pulled her into his arms. “To dance with me under the stars in this gazebo.”

Mac smiled and leaned her head on his shoulder as they slowly danced together with their bodies pressed against each other. After a few minutes of their silent dancing, Harm moved his hands to rest on Mac’s hips. “This is nice.”

“It is.” Mac lifted her head off his shoulder and ran her fingers though the short locks of hair on the back of his neck. “Was there anything else in my wish?”

“Yeah, this,” Harm whispered to her. He leaned down and captured her lips with his. The kiss was soft and sweet, but after a few seconds both of them wanted more. It slowly grew into something more. Mac moved her hands on his neck to get a better grip and he moved his hands to the small of her back to hold her closer. After a few kisses they slowly broke apart from each other. Harm looked down at Mac and noticed her cheeks were blushing and her lips were full.

Mac smiled softly at him, especially when she noticed the lipstick on the corner of his mouth. She took a deep breath. “So now I get to guess your wish.”

“Yeah,” Harm said, looking into her brown eyes and wishing he could hold this moment in time.

“I don’t think I can get you a Tomcat,” she joked.

He looked into her eyes as they sparkled with laughter. “It had nothing to do with the Navy.”

Mac softly grinned at him. “I think you wished for this.” This time she initiated the kiss. Once again their lips attacked each other with soft passion and tenderness. The kisses went on for a while, then they slowly came back to the real world. Even though the time they spent kissing was nicer then anything they could wish for. “Did I get your wish?”

“Close.” Harm paused for a second to enjoy Mac’s features in the moonlight. “So what was your wish?”

Mac slowly slid her hands down Harm’s arms and then rested them on Harm’s hands which were placed back on her hips. “I wished for a nice quiet end to the evening by sitting in front of the fireplace.”

He moved his hands to hold her and gently squeezed them. “That was my wish too. What do you say we go do that?”

“I would love to.” They walked out of the gazebo shoulder to shoulder and into the house, holding each other’s hands.
 


2:12 AM
 


“They’re adults, I don’t need to check on them as if they were five,” Sarah Rabb told herself as she looked at the pictures on her night stand. One was of Sergei and Evelyn, taken that last time they came to the farm. The other was of Harm and Mac. Harm left the picture at the house about a year ago. Sarah smiled as she stood up from her bed, grabbed her robe, and walked out of her room.

She walked to the first door she came to and opened it slightly. She peered into the room to find Sergei and Evelyn asleep fully clothed on top of the covers. Sarah quietly walked into the room, picked up the folded blanket from the floor and draped it across the sleeping pair. She tenderly kissed her fingertips and gently touched both of their foreheads and quietly left the room.

She walked to the room that Harm and Sergei were sharing. She remembered a time about forty years ago when she opened this door and found Harmon and Trish sleeping together. She smiled as she opened the door, hoping to find Harm and possibly Mac. She looked into the room and found both beds empty. “Where is that boy?”

She closed the door and looked at the door across from the room she was just in. It was one of the guest rooms, the one Mac was staying in. Sarah slowly opened the door, but found this room just like the one before, empty. Sarah took a deep breath and tried not to get worried. She wasn’t worried about what they might be doing, but worried about where they might be doing whatever they were doing. “They’re adults. They can do anything they want to,” Sarah mumbled as she walked down the stairs.

As she entered the living room she found a dying fire in the fireplace and a lamp in the back of the room still on. “Who left the fire on?”

She walked over to the fireplace to put the fire out, but stopped halfway there as she found Harm and Mac lying on the floor. Harm’s head was resting against one of the pillows from the couch as he was holding Mac to him. Mac’s head was resting in the nook between Harm’s shoulder and chin. One of her arms was under her chin while the other was wrapped around his body. One of her legs was resting on top of Harm’s.

Sarah smiled sweetly, thinking about how cute they looked together. But her smile grew into a shocked grin as she noticed Harm’s hands. One of his hands was resting on Mac’s waist, pulling her closer to him. His other hand was resting on Mac’s posterior. Sarah felt her cheeks blush as she remembered her David holding her like that.

Sarah watched them for a few minutes and sighed softly as Mac snuggled closer to Harm for warmth. Sarah walked over to the chair and pulled the blanket off the back of it. She was about to place it over them, when she saw Harm’s camera sitting on the end table. Sarah got a mischievous look on her face, placed the blanket back onto the chair, and picked up the camera. She took a picture of them sleeping, making sure that she got Harm’s hand placement in the picture. Once she had the picture taken, she covered them with the blanket.

As she walked back up the stairs, she repeated Harm’s words from earlier that day. “But Grandma, you know Mac and I aren’t involved.” Sarah chuckled as she reached her bedroom. “Let’s just see how involved you two are once you see that picture.”
 


PRESENT DAY
 


“Question.”

“Yes, Chloe,” Harm said to her.

“How do you know what Grandma Sarah did?” Chloe bluntly asked.

Harm and Mac both laughed as Harm said, “She told me.”

Chloe thought for a second. “Were you talking about the picture on the night stand next to your bed?”

“Yes,” Harm said with a smile.

Chloe smiled. “Cool, so what happened next?”

Harm smiled. “Actually, not much. The next morning we woke up. Stiff from the hard floor and slightly embarrassed about falling asleep with each other.”

“You mean that you two didn’t realize that you were in love at that point.”

“No, but we were getting close,” Mac said.

“Actually, the picture helped a lot,” Harm said. “Two weeks later I was running late for work.”

“As usual,” Mac added in.

Harm glared at his wife for a second then continued, “Because I had picked up the film from the trip. I knew Mac wanted to see the pictures, so I put them into my briefcase and walked into JAG.”

 

Chapter 4

FLASHBACK
JAG
Thursday June 5, 2003
8:07 AM

 

“Sir, the admiral would like to see you,” Tiner said as Harm stepped out of the elevator.

“Thank you, Tiner,” Harm said as he looked into the bullpen to see Mac talking to Sturgis. “Could you put these in my office for me?” He handed Tiner his cover and briefcase.

“Yes sir,” Tiner said.

Harm walked into the admiral’s office. “Commander, do you have a problem with telling time?”

“No excuse, sir,” Harm said as he stood at attention.

“Good. Have a seat.” Harm sat down as the admiral started to talk. “I’m sending you to Norfolk. The Seahawk is there for repairs and Captain Miller has two officers that need to talk to an attorney about fraternization charges. The officers have admitted to the charges and would like to know what their options are.”

“The UCMJ is pretty clear about their options, sir,” Harm stated.

“Yes, but Captain Miller wants to have it better explained to them. He wants to keep both officers on board or at least where he can still use them. According to the Captain they are excellent officers, two of his best.” The admiral paused. “Take Petty Officer Coates with you. She might be able to shed some light on the affair.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Dismissed.”

“Aye, aye, sir.” Harm left the office. As he walked through the bullpen, he spotted Jen. “Coates.”

“Yes, sir,” Jen said to him.

“We need to report to Norfolk for a investigation. Can you secure a vehicle for us?” Harm asked her as they walked into his office.

“Yes, sir. I can have the vehicle ready in about ten minutes,” Jen said. “May I ask why I’m accompanying you, sir?”

“Deals with two officers on the Seahawk, the admiral said you might be able to add some information about the situation,” He explained, then noticed the that she was slightly surprised still. “It’s a good experience, Jen.”

“I’m just surprised, that’s all, sir,” en honestly said to him.

Harm chuckled at her softly. “You’ll do fine. I have a few calls to return and then I should be ready to go.”

“Yes, sir.” Jen then left his office to secure the car for the day.

After ten minutes Jen knocked on Harm’s door. “Sir, the vehicle is ready and waiting for us.”

“I’ll meet you downstairs in a few minutes,” Harm said as he wrote something down on a piece of paper.

“Yes, sir.” Jen walked away from the door.

Harm was putting the file in his briefcase when Mac walked over to the door. “Is going to Norfolk your way of getting out of Beltway Burgers for lunch today?”

“No, I was actually going to ask you out to dinner instead.”

“I do like dinner better.”

“Is that a yes?”

“Yes.”

Harm picked up his cover and briefcase. “I’ll call you later about picking you up. Oh, I almost forgot, I got the pictures back from the weekend at Grandma’s.”

“Bring them tonight,” Mac smiled.

“Great, see you then.” He walked out of his office and towards the elevator.

 

Norfolk
2:45 PM

 


“I just don’t get it, sir.” Jen sat down at a table in the conference room aboard the Seahawk. Harm sat across from her, writing some notes on a legal pad.

“What’s there to get, Jen? They serve aboard the same ship, they cannot carry on a relationship aboard the vessel.”

“He’s a pilot and she works in the communications room. The only time they spent together was on leave and they ate together a few times. They even admitted they tried their hardest not to be alone with each other, so they wouldn’t get charged. Isn’t love more important then regs, sir?”

Harm thought about her words. “In the eyes of the Navy, no. In the eyes of normal people, yes.”

“Is there any chance they can get around the regs, Sir?”

Harm took a breath. “Well, we gave them several options. Now it’s their decision,” Harm said as Jen thought about the two officers who were in love. Harm kept on writing his notes as his pen died on him. “Jen, can you hand me another pen from my briefcase?”

“Sure, sir.” Jen opened his briefcase and handed him a new pen. Suddenly she saw the picture envelope. “Pictures, sir?”

Harm smiled, thinking about the pictures when Jen gave him the pen. “Over Memorial Day weekend Sergei, his girlfriend, Mac, and I went to visit my grandmother.”

“Oh.” Jen looked at the envelope again. “Have you looked at them yet?”

“No, I picked them up this morning.” Harm continued writing on the paper.

Jen decided to take the direct approach. “Can I look at them, Sir?”

“Sure,” Harm said, not really thinking much of the question.

Jen smiled and pulled the envelope out of the briefcase and started looking at the pictures. Jen took in each picture, seeing a side of Commander Rabb that normally, no one got to see. She laughed out loud at one picture.

“What?”

“This, sir.” Jen handed him a picture.

Harm chuckled as he saw the picture being one of him, Mac, and his Grandmother sitting on the couch. Sarah had a photo album on her lap and was showing it to Mac. She was pointing out one picture that Harm didn’t want Mac to see. So he had grabbed Mac by the waist and was trying to pull her away from his grandmother and the picture. He had ended up pulling Mac across his lap, so her legs were on his lap. He then tried to cover her eyes, but found it very hard to do because both of them were laughing. Sergei grabbed the camera and snapped the picture without any of them noticing. “Grandma was going to show a Mac a very embarrassing photo.”

Jen laughed. “It looks like a fun picture, sir.”

Harm handed Jen the picture back and she continued to look at the pictures. Jen was just about finished looking at the pictures when she found the one of Harm and Mac asleep in front of the fireplace. Harm noticed that Jen fell very still. “What’s wrong?”

Jen looked at him and her cheeks started to turn a little pink. “Nothing, sir.”

“It must be something. Let me see it.” Harm held his hand in front of Jen and she handed him the picture.

He had a smile on his face, but the second he looked at the photo his smile faded. He memorized the photo in a matter of seconds. Making sure he took in the way that Mac’s body fit against his. He swore he could remember the feeling of her next to him again, he recalled how well he slept that night in spite of the hard floor. He could feel the softness of her breath on his neck and the light scent of her perfume in the air.

“It’s an interesting picture, sir,” Jen said, breaking him out of his memory.

Harm then looked at Jen. “Sergei or Grandma must have taken it.”

“Sir, a bit of advice. I would be careful of who sees that picture.”

“It’s not that bad.” Harm looked at the picture and noticed the soft smiles on his and Mac’s faces.

“It’s a really good picture. But someone who doesn’t know that you and the colonel are dating might be concerned about your hand placement,” Jen informed him.

Harm looked at Jen with a surprised look on his face. “We’re not dating.”

“Everyone at JAG thinks the two of you are.”

“We’re not. We’re just friends”

Jen looked at him and honestly said, “Sir, you might want to think about those words. I have a close male friend and if he put his hand on my six he would have a broken arm.”

Harm looked at the picture again and noticed that indeed his hand was on Mac’s six. ‘God, I wish I was awake for that’, he thought. “Jen, can we keep this between us?”

“It’s our secret, sir. Just one question.”

“Yeah,” Harm said as he handed Jen the picture and watched as she put it back in the envelope with the others.

“What are you going to say to the colonel when she sees the picture?”

Harm looked at her. “Ask her not to break my arm.”

Jen laughed at Harm’s words.
 


4:19 PM
En Route to DC

 


“Do you think they made the right decision, sir?” Jen asked.

Harm looked at Jen briefly. “I think they made the right decision for them. They both love their jobs, luckily there were a lot of options for them.”

“What would you do, sir?”

“About what?” Harm asked, hoping that Jen wasn’t asking him what he thought she was.

“If you fell in love with someone in the same chain of command. Would you give it up for her? Or ask her to give it up?” Jen honestly asked.

“I don’t know, Jen. I’m sure that the two of us would have to talk about it for a while to reach an understanding.”

They fell silent, until Harm’s cell-phone rang. “Rabb.”

{“You never call, you never write,” Mac said to him with a slight laugh.}

Harm smiled at her voice. “You picking on me again?”

{“Someone has to, it was in today’s memo.” Mac smiled. “Are you going to make it home tonight?”}

“Jen and I are about two or so hours out of Washington, but we’re going to hit traffic,” Harm told her, slightly sad.

{“Why don’t I cook dinner instead of going out?”}

“You can cook?” Harm said, chuckling and getting a slight chuckle out of Jen, who had a good idea of who he was talking to.

{“Just for that comment, squid, I’ll make you a real burger,” Mac warned.}

“Anything but that, Mac. Okay, I take the comment back,” Harm joked.

{“Accepted,” Mac said, knowing he was smiling. “What would you like tonight?”}

“Whatever you cook is fine, you know what I like.”

{“Good, say around seven. That gives you enough time to get home, change, and everything.”}

“Seven sounds good. Can I pick up anything to help?” Harm asked, trying to be helpful.

{“I’ll handle dinner. Unless you want to watch a movie or something?” Mac said.}

“The ‘or something’ sounds like a good offer, but I think I’ll go with the movie,” Harm said.

{Mac bit her tongue at the offer of ‘or something’ but found herself saying, “Do you think you can handle my ‘or something’, sailor?”}

“You’ll never know unless you let me try, Mac,” Harm said, knowing he was getting very close to crossing that invisible line with Mac.

{Mac decided to drop the subject. “I’ll see you tonight, Harm.”}

“Okay, Mac. Bye,” Harm said as he hung up the phone. He placed the phone back into the cup holder by the radio. Then he glanced at Jen who was trying not to smile at the thoughts in her head. “What?”

Jen looked at him and took a deep breath. “Are you sure you are not dating the colonel?”

“We are not dating,” Harm informed Jen.

“Because dinner and a movie sounds like a date.”

“We’re best friends. Friends do things like that.”

“How many times a week do you and the colonel get together after work, sir?” Jen questioned, hoping she might be able to shed some light on this topic.

“I don’t know, say three or four times a week.”

“Does that include weekends?”

“No, you asked after work.”

“Do you two get together on the weekends?” Jen asked, now knowing how a lawyer felt while in court.

Harm thought for second. “We go running every Sunday and sometimes on Saturday we go out to the movies or something.”

“Do you want to date Colonel MacKenzie, sir?” Jen asked at point blank range.

“Mac and I have been through so much, I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” Harm stated.

Jen sighed softly, knowing Harm had successfully avoided her question. So she tried a different approach. “Have you ever kissed her?”

“I really don’t see the point of these questions,” Harm said defensively.

Jen bit her bottom lip, knowing she hit a nerve, “I’m just thinking you and the colonel are dating and neither one of you knows it, sir.”

Harm looked at Jen, then refocused on the road for a couple of minutes. “So you think she knows it?”

“I can call and ask her, sir,” Jen offered.

“No, thanks, Jen,” Harm said with a smile to her.

 

 
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