and romance (H/M)
Approximately 1,100 words; 4 pages (8 ½” x 11”)
Season 9, before “Hail and Farewell”
thinks of a way to break up with Clayton Webb
Peering through the security peephole on her front door, Sarah MacKenzie
grinned softly to herself as she recognized the face waiting on the
other side. This is going to be fun, she thought, reaching for
“What took you so long?” a snide male voice asked as soon as she opened
“Hello to you too, Clayton,” she answered wryly.
Leaning in to give her a kiss on the cheek, Clayton Webb was momentarily
taken aback when Mac avoided his advance and turned towards the kitchen
instead, leaving him standing alone in the middle of the living room.
“How about dinner?” he called as she disappeared around the corner. “If
you change into something more appropriate, I have reservations for 7:30
at the Elysium.”
“Did you say something?” Mac emerged from the kitchen, looking at him
“We have reservations,” he repeated crossly, ignoring the itch that had
begun in his nose. “Go get dressed.”
“Funny, I don’t remember us having a date tonight,” she commented.
Patently ignoring him, she reached for a set of placemats from a drawer
in the armoire.
“I was in the neighborhood and thought—” Suddenly, the itching escalated
into a full blown sneeze.
“Gesundheit!” Mac said absently, laying the mats on the table. “If
you’re not feeling well, maybe you should go home and go to bed.”
“Sarah, I feel fine—” !!!ACHOO!!!
“Gesundheit! Are you sure you’re okay?”
“I’m fine.” He frowned, pulling a handkerchief out of his breast pocket
and wiping his now running nose. Just as he began folding the white
cloth, his attention was drawn to motion down near the base of Mac’s
“When did you get a cat?!”
“This morning.” Chuckling inwardly, Mac stepped over to where the large
feline was rubbing up against the furniture and hoisted the cat into her
arms. She turned to Webb. “Sophie, meet Clay. Clay, meet Sophie.”
“Good god, Sarah, what were you thinking? I’m allergic to cats!”
Absolutely horrified, Webb began to back away as Mac took a step
“You are? You never told me,” Mac shrugged, stifling a giggle as Webb
once again whipped out the handkerchief, this time holding it
protectively over his nose and mouth.
“Well I am,” he insisted. “You’ll just have to get rid of it!”
Gripping the cat tighter, Mac buried her face momentarily in her soft
fur. “I found her outside the building this morning, and I’m not going
to put her back out there to fend for herself in the elements just
because she gives you the sniffles.”
“It’s a little more serious than ‘the sniffles’,” Webb informed her as
he sneezed yet again. “I’m terribly allergic – just ask Mother.”
“I’ve never met your mother,” she reminded him.
“Look, either the cat goes or I go.” Staring at her defiantly, Webb gave
her an ultimatum. “It’s your choice, Sarah.”
She paused to think about it for a moment.
“See you around, Clay.”
“You’re choosing the CAT over ME?!” he asked, his voice laced
“Look, Sarah,” he tried one last time, “you can have a few days to find
another home for that… thing. Just give me a call when it’s gone
and then we’ll talk.”
“I’m not getting rid of her, Clay. Sophie stays.”
“I don’t believe this,” he muttered, turning for the door. Obviously she
wasn’t willing to listen to reason.
“Have fun at dinner!” she called after him as the door slammed in his
Listening for a moment at the sound of his shoes clomping roughly down
the stairs, Mac burst out into laughter. It just couldn’t be that easy,
could it? Giving the cat one last squeeze, she set her gently down onto
the chair and returned to setting the dining room table, humming to
A short while later, another knock sounded on her door. Once again
peering through the peephole, Mac yanked open the door to reveal the
second visitor of the evening.
“Hey. Ooh, whatcha got there?” she greeted Harm with a grin as she took
one of the paper bags he held in his arms.
“Carryout Chinese, as requested.”
“Did you get the Kung Pao Beef I asked for?”
“Relax, Mac, it’s in there.” Chuckling at her enthusiasm, he passed her
the other bag. As she carried the parcels over to the table, Harm
spotted the cat, who sat washing herself on the chair cushion.
“Hey, Sophie,” he greeted, picking the animal up and scratching her
belly. “What are you doing up here?”
“She stopped by to help me out with a little problem I was having,” Mac
told him as she finished setting the table. “It’s all taken care of now,
Harm glanced over at her. “Rodents?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“You want me to take her back down to Mrs. Furber?”
Mac smiled at him. “If you wouldn’t mind – I found Sophie hanging out in
front of the building this morning, and she’s probably getting hungry.”
“No problem.” Harm said, carrying the cat towards the door. “Save me
some dinner, though.”
“Don’t worry, Flyboy. It’ll still be here when you get back.”
“Earth to Mac!”
Startled out of her daydream, Mac focused in on the handsome face in
front of her. Harm was standing across from her desk, waving one arm in
an exaggerated arc, trying to get her attention.
“Sorry, Harm. What was that?”
“Everything okay? You seem a little spacey this morning.”
She nodded, a little embarrassed at having been caught off in some other
world. “I’m fine. You were saying…?” Harm chuckled.
“I came by to see if you’d be interested in a working dinner tonight,
say at your place around 1930? I could bring carryout,” he offered with
an enticing smile.
“Chinese?” she purred.
“I’ll stop at the little place around the corner from your apartment.”
Grinning, he turned to leave.
“Harm?” she called after him. “You’re not allergic to cats, are you?”
He paused just outside her doorway. “Not that I’m aware of. Why do you
She smiled to herself. “Oh, no reason in particular. See you tonight!”