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Sunday
December 12, 2004
Mac’s Apartment
Georgetown, DC
1:03 AM

 

Harm woke up and was startled for a moment, not knowing where he was and what had woken him. It took him only a moment to remember that he was at Mac’s, but the reason why he’d woken up was still unclear to him. ‘I guess it was a bad dream,’ he thought and closed his eyes, trying to fall asleep again.

That’s when he heard it. A quiet voice. Someone was talking and the sound came out of Mac’s bedroom. But that wasn’t the only noise disturbing the silence in the dark apartment. Now he could hear it clearly. A sniff. Someone was obviously crying. “Mac,” Harm muttered to himself and got worried. Slowly he got up from the couch to make his way to the bedroom door. It was slightly ajar and a dim light was shining through the crack.

Harm touched the door, but for a moment he was unsure about whether or not he should go ahead and find out what’s wrong behind that door. However, another little sniff coming out of the room made up his mind. Slowly he pushed the door a bit, so that he was able to look inside.

He could see the bed and the sight in front of him made him smile. There, on the right side of the bed, was Mac. She was lying on her back and on top of her, with his head placed on her chest, was Jimmy. He sucked on his thumb while Mac was rubbing his back in a soothing manner.

Mac held a book in her other hand and quietly read the story for him. Harm immediately detected that it was Jimmy’s favorite story ‘Bedtime with Winnie the Pooh’. Harm knew it so well since he’d read it many times for his younger godson.

By now Harm could hear that Jimmy was the one crying. Then he let his eyes wander a little bit further and could see that his other godson was lying in the middle of the bed. He was snuggled up to Mac and obviously asleep.

Unaware to his mind, Harm’s hand pushed the door even wider and his feet started to move further into the room. Suddenly the door squeaked and made his presence known.

Mac heard the squeak and looked up from the book just to see Harm standing at the doorway. He didn’t say anything and just watched the scene in front of him. She tried to read his look, but for some reason it was unreadable for her.

“Hi,” Mac whispered and watched him close the door before moving even further into the room.

“Hey,” Harm quietly replied. “Is everything okay? I heard the sniffling and got worried.”

Mac nodded her head. “Yeah, everything is okay. Jimmy had a bad dream and woke up. I heard his crying through the baby monitor and it woke up Little AJ as well.” Then she looked down at the older boy. “Thankfully he is already asleep again but Jimmy is still fighting his tiredness though.”

Harm again didn’t say anything and simply looked like he was memorizing the scene in front of him. Mac saw his reaction and the longing in his eyes. Without thinking twice she tapped the space right next to her and Little AJ, asking him to join them without using any words.

Harm didn’t need to be asked twice and quickly moved around the bed to get slowly into it, trying not to wake Little AJ up in the process.

As soon as he was seated Mac held out the book to him. “Here, want to read the rest? It shouldn’t take much longer to get Jimmy back into dreamland.”

“Sure,” Harm softly answered and started to read the story from where she’d left off.

Just like Mac foresaw, it didn’t take long for Jimmy to fall asleep again and even when he was already asleep, Harm didn’t stop reading the story until the very end. “It worked like a charm,” Harm quietly said and softly touched Jimmy’s cheek, getting a little sigh in response.

“Yeah, at least there was no need for a lullaby this time,” Mac told him and smiled. “I think we should bring them back to bed. It should be safe by now.”

Harm nodded and together they brought the boys back to the guestroom.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

“I can’t believe that Jimmy’s crying didn’t wake me up earlier,” Harm commented in bewilderment as soon as they were back in the living room. “Not even you running through the living room woke me up.”

Mac smiled and nodded her head. “I guess you were more tired than you thought.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s it,” Harm replied and got down on the couch, trying to find a comfortable position to fall asleep again. “Let’s get some more sleep. Night, Mac.”

“Good night, Harm,” Mac tenderly said but didn’t walk back into the bedroom. She stood at the doorway of her bedroom and watched him trying to fall asleep again. She could see that he was troubled by not finding a comfortable position.

Harm beat the pillow, turned on his back and groaned. ‘It wasn’t that uncomfortable earlier. Not uncomfortable at all,’ Harm wondered and looked up at the ceiling. That’s when he saw the outstretched hand in front of him. He followed the arm and looked up into Mac’s smiling eyes. “Let’s go to bed, Harm,” she tenderly told him.

“Are you sure? It’s really not a problem for me to sleep on this couch.”

Mac nodded her head and took Harm’s hand into hers. “I’m very sure,” she said and hand in hand they made their way into her bedroom. “But no funny business.”

“Who? Me? No, I’m Prince Charming, Mac. You won’t even know that I’m lying right next to you,” Harm pointed out with a grin and then thought to himself. ‘This is going to be a long night.’

‘Yeah, right. Like that could happen. This is going to be a long night,’ Mac thought to herself and then said out loud. “Just try not to snore too loudly. Oh, and be aware that, should you hog the cover, you’ll be out of my bed faster than you can say ‘oops’,” she joked.

“Wow, you’re one demanding lady in bed, huh?” Harm chuckled, glad and even a bit surprised that the situation between them wasn’t awkward at all.

Mac smirked and raised her eyebrow. “You bet, Flyboy,” she told him before closing the door behind her.

 

Mac’s bedroom
4:27 AM

 

Someone was watching her. Mac could feel it and immediately woke up. She could hear Harm’s quiet snoring right behind her and knew that he was still asleep.

Slowly she opened her eyes and came face to face with her intruder. “Hey, honey,” she whispered and gently touched Little AJ’s cheek, feeling beads of sweat and drops of tears on it. “Bad dream?”

Little AJ nodded his head and took a deep breath. “I’m scared,” he quietly told her.

Mac nodded her head and moved a little backward, being careful so that she wouldn’t disturb Harm in his sleep. Then she raised her blanket. “Do you want to sleep here, honey?”

Little AJ once more nodded his head and quickly crawled into the bed next to Mac. She covered his little body with her blanket and then drew him into her arms, making him feel safe.

“Auntie Mac?” He whispered.

“Yeah?”

“Was Uncle Harm scared too?”

“What do you mean, AJ?” Mac curiously asked.

“He’s sleeping in your bed too. Does that mean he was scared just like me?” Little AJ asked full of innocent.

Mac had to smile and for a moment she didn’t know how to answer the question. Little AJ always tried to make the grown-ups around him believe that he already was a big boy, and that there’s nothing that scared him. The thought that his Uncle Harm was perhaps scared after having a bad dream as well, made him feel better. If it was okay for his hero to be scared, then it was okay for Little AJ to be scared.

“Yes, honey. Your Uncle Harm was scared too. But now everything is okay again and he’s asleep.”

Little AJ giggled and tried everything to be quiet. “He’s snoring.”

Mac chuckled. ‘Yeah. Well, at least he doesn’t hog the cover,’ she thought before giving her godson an answer. “Yeah, he does, doesn’t he. Does it bother you?”

“No, daddy snores too. Only much louder,” AJ told her as a matter of fact and yawned. “Mommy always says he sounds like he’s sawing off an entire forest.”

“Well, we’re happy then that Uncle Harm doesn’t know how to snore that loud. Do you think you can go back to sleep now?”

“Yes, Auntie Mac. Good night. Love you,” he said and already sounded more asleep than awake.

Mac kissed his forehead. “Good night, honey. I love you too,” she said and closed her eyes.

Little AJ’s even breathing, Harm’s quiet snoring and the blowing sound of a wind outside were the last thing she noticed before joining her boys in dreamland.

 

7:56 AM

 

Harm groaned, not liking the wake-up call he got today. “Turn the radio off, baby,” he said fretfully, still more asleep than awake and tried to get the warmth he was holding in his arms even closer to him. “It’s Sunday and we can sleep in.”

The only answer he got was a quiet murmur and Harm didn’t understand one word. “What?”

Mac sighed, not wanting to wake up. This was such a nice dream she had, and she didn’t want to let it go. “I said, I don’t have a radio in my bedroom,” she whispered with a sleepy voice and yawned.

“Then what’s this squealing noise?” Harm annoyingly asked and started to kiss her neck. ‘Hmmm, she tastes good,’ he thought and then took a deep breath. ‘And she smells even better.’

‘This feels nice,’ Mac thought. ‘And it feels so real….’ Suddenly it dawned on her. ‘Wait, this isn’t a dream. This is real,’ she continued to let her mind wander and finally woke up with a bright smile on her face.

She could feel the warmth right next to her; his warmth. Harm was spooned against her from behind and one of his arms was wrapped around her middle, slightly running circles on her belly underneath her pajamas top, which caused goose bumps to form on her skin. Her head was pillowed on his other outstretched arm. Harm’s legs were tangled with hers and she could feel his hot breath against her neck while he continued to kiss it. She had no idea how or even when they ended up in this position, but she really liked it. ‘I better wake him up before this gets out of hand though,’ she thought and then said out loud. “Harm, wake up.”

Mac slowly opened one eye and could see that the spot where AJ had slept earlier was now vacant. That’s when she finally figured out where this noise came from.

“I’m awake,” Harm muttered against her neck and his breath tickled her skin. “And I wish we could shut off the squealing so we can go back to sleep.”

Mac chuckled. “For some reason I doubt you’re totally awake, and don’t let your godson hear that you’re calling his singing ‘squealing’, Harm.”

“Huh?”

“The noise you’re hearing is coming from the baby monitor. AJ’s singing ‘The Bare Necessities’ to his brother. Jimmy loves this song.”

Harm stopped kissing her neck, opened his eyes and looked up to see the baby monitor standing on Mac’s nightstand. He listened more thoroughly to the sound and indeed discovered Little AJ’s voice. Harm let his head fall back to the pillow and groaned. “How can a child be so cheerful so early in the morning is beyond me.”

“Has to be his genes,” Mac quietly answered and slowly moved onto her other side so that she came face to face with Harm.

Now she was able to look into Harm’s eyes and could see the bright shine in them. It was clear to her that he knew exactly what he’d done earlier. Maybe he didn’t mean to call her ‘baby’, but the kisses were given intentionally. That she was sure about. “Hi.”

“Hi.” Harm smiled and started to caress her cheek with his fingertips. “Good morning, Beautiful. This is really nice,” he softly told Mac, first pointing at her and then at himself.

Mac nodded her head. Waking up in his arms was indeed a nice thing, and something she’d dreamed about for a long, long time. “Yes, it is. Very nice.”

“Please don’t expect me to apologize for waking up with you in my arms, or for kissing you,” Harm quietly begged and tucked one loose wisp of hair behind her ear.

“I won’t,” Mac told him in a whisper and with a shy smile on her face.

Harm eagerly returned her smile with one of his own. “Good. And also know that I was awake enough to know who I was holding in my arms and who I was referring to as ‘baby’.”

Slowly their heads started to move forward, longingly waiting the moment their lips would finally meet.

“Ooof,” Harm and Mac groaned out at the same time when a little whirlwind bounced without any warning onto the bed and right on top of them. They took a deep breath and let their foreheads touch. They’d been so near, but obviously it wasn’t the right time. With a sigh they both let their look wander to Little AJ, who was sitting with a wide grin on their hips.

“Good morning!” Little AJ yelled with a cheerful voice and giggled. “It’s time to get up, I’m hungry,” he announced as a matter of fact and interlocked his arms in front of him. “Can we have dinosaur pancakes, Uncle Harm?”

Harm groaned again and glanced at Mac, who still looked a little shocked. “Do you think that if we ignore him long enough he’ll go away again?” He hopefully asked her in a whisper.

Mac looked at him with a ‘get real’-look. “Sure, Harm. Sure,” she answered in sarcasm.

“Damn,” he quietly cursed to himself and threw his head back into the pillow. Then he looked at his godson. “Sure, AJ. Dinosaur pancakes sound like a great idea. That is, if your aunt has the supplies in her kitchen.”

Two pair of eyes were now looking at Mac. “Sure. Shouldn’t be a problem,” she confidently answered.

“Cool!” Little AJ yelled and jumped out of the bed. “Come on then. We have to hurry. The quicker we’re done, the faster we can go sledding.” Then he took Mac’s hand into his and started to pull her out of the bed. Of course he wasn’t strong enough to do that, but Mac more or less willingly helped him and got out of the bed. Less willingly was Harm though, who had to let her go from his arms.

“Why don’t you go ahead, AJ? We’ll be right there,” she told her godson and stretched her weary muscles.

“Okay!” Little AJ called out and ran out of the bedroom. It only took him a few seconds before he once again started to sing cheerfully, this time performing his favourite song ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’.

Mac turned around to look at Harm and saw that he’d thrown the blanket over his head. She shook her head and chuckled. Mac took one corner of the blanket into her hand and pulled it away from him. “Time to get up, Harm. You’ve heard the little man. He wants your famous dinosaur pancakes.”

Before Mac had any chance to react, Harm was grasping for her arm and pulled her on top of him. “I won’t get out of this bed before I get my ‘good morning’-kiss,” he said with a pout.

She looked at him with a raised eyebrow and smirked. “Now who’s so demanding in bed, huh?”

“You haven’t seen anything yet, Marine.”

“Oh, really?”

“Really! And now kiss me for Pete’s sake,” Harm commanded with a grin on his face.

Mac licked her lips and moved her face a bit closer to his. “My pleasure,” she whispered and gave him what was meant as a quick and teasing peck on his lips.

However, after their lips parted Mac looked into Harm’s eyes, only to be greeted by a gaze full of love and desire, and she was sure that the same look mirrored in her own eyes. That was all it took for Harm and Mac to come together again in a slow, long and loving kiss. Harm sighed in relief and both thought ‘About damn time’.

“Auntie Mac! Uncle Harm! When are you coming?” Little AJ called from the kitchen. “I’m waiting.”

Harm groaned as they broke their kiss and Mac slowly moved away from him.

“Come on, old man. Time to feed the youngsters.”

Harm took her outstretched hand and got up from the bed as well. Then he drew her back for another short kiss. “We are so doomed,” he told her and got a giggle in response.

“Go get freshen up while I get Jimmy. We’ll meet in the kitchen.”

“Okay,” Harm said and made his way to the bathroom before turning his gaze back to Mac. “And Mac?”

Mac stopped at the doorway and looked back at Harm. “Yeah?”

“We need to talk,” he softly told her.

Mac smiled and nodded her head. “We will, Harm. Believe me, we will,” she said and walked out of the bedroom.

‘Yes, we will,’ Harm thought and stepped into the bathroom.

 

~~~~~~~~~~

 

AN – Okay, for this story let’s pretend that there’s a parking lot in the backyard of Mac’s apartment building and that she can overlook it while glancing out of her windows. We always got to see the front of the building, but that doesn’t mean Mac’s apartment has to be out to the front, right? Thought so… ;-)

 

8:23 AM

 

Harm was in the kitchen preparing the dinosaur pancakes, while Little AJ and Jimmy kept him company. They were both seated on the little kitchen table, still wearing their nightclothes and anxiously awaited their breakfast. Mac hadn’t joined them yet, since she was still in the bathroom to freshen up and getting dressed.

“Okay, guys. Here’s your breakfast,” Harm said and served each of them one pancake and got himself one too. Then he filled one of Mac’s mugs with coffee and took a place right next to Jimmy, so that he could help him with his breakfast.

“Hmmm, this is yummy, Uncle Harm,” Little AJ told him and took another bite of his with maple syrup covered pancake.

“Morning, boys,” Mac greeted from the doorway and determined made her way to the coffee machine to get herself a mug of coffee. She took a long gulp and sighed in relief.

“Want some pancakes, Mac?” Harm asked and held his fork with a piece of pancake to her. “Here, taste it.”

Mac raised her eyebrow and grinned. “Do you want me to open my hangar again, Harm?”

Harm laughed, remembering their little feeding party yesterday. “Yes, please. I could even do the airplane noises again,” he offered and chuckled.

“Nah, that won’t be necessary.” Mac obeyed and ate the piece of pancake Harm offered her. “Hmmm, very good.” Then she got closer to him and whispered into his ear. “I think you’re a keeper, Harm. You for sure know how to make pancakes.”

Harm looked at her with a raised eyebrow and smirked. “That’s it? That’s the way to your heart, MacKenzie? Pancakes?” He asked astonished. “You should have told me that years ago.”

“Nope, there are still two or three more things you need to know how to do, but I think you can handle it,” Mac joked but then got serious again.

Harm immediately saw the change in Mac and knew that something was wrong. “What?”

Mac looked at Little AJ and could see that he was still engaged with his breakfast and didn’t care about his surroundings. Then she turned her gaze back to her partner. “Do you have a minute? I would like to show you something.”

“Sure, lead the way,” he answered and followed Mac into the living room. “What’s wrong, Mac?” He asked worriedly once more as soon as they were out of the boys’ earshot.

Mac just nodded at the muted TV before pointing to the window.

“Uh oh,” Harm commented after watching the news for a moment. Then he followed Mac and joined her at the window. “Oh my.” Harm let his gaze wander as if he was searching for something and shook his head. “Ummm, Mac?”

“Yeah?”

“Ummm, where’s my car?” Harm once more overlooked the backyard of Mac’s apartment building, but he couldn’t find his car.

“I think it’s there,” Mac answered him and pointed to a wall on the left side. “At least the antenna looks familiar to me.”

“I don’t see anything, Mac. Wait, let me re-phrase that. I can see a lot of snow out there, but not my car.”

“Can you see the snowdrift over there?” Mac asked and got a nod as response. “There’s an antenna sticking out of it and if I’m not mistaken, that’s where you parked the car yesterday.”

“In other words… my car is under this nice blanket of snow?”

“Yup, that would be my guess.”

“That’s… lovely. Really… impressive.”

“Yeah, it is, isn’t it?” Mac replied and turned around to take another look at the news of ZNN. “I’m not sure what’s more impressive though. Seeing your car totally covered with a blanket of snow or the fact that a snowstorm raged last night and we all totally slept through it.”

“I take it that you’ve watched the news for a while before you came into the kitchen. How’re the prognoses? We’re stuck, aren’t we?”

“Yes. They gave out the advice not to leave the house if it isn’t necessary. The weather report says that the worst is behind us and that everything should be calmed down by tomorrow.”

“And that means going sledding is no longer an option,” Harm concluded and took a deep breath.

“Yeah, that’s a given.”

Harm saw the sadness in Mac’s eyes and took her face into his hands to give her a short but sweet kiss. “Come on; let’s go back to the boys. I think we need to have a talk with Little AJ.”

Mac just nodded her head and followed Harm back into the kitchen. She still felt taken aback about what happened between them in these past twenty-four hours. It was such an amazing feeling she felt deep in her heart and she couldn’t stop the nearly goofy looking grin that took place on her face.

However, as soon as she entered the kitchen and saw the grinning AJ in front of her, she felt the pang of sadness coming back again. Mac knew how much AJ wanted to go sledding and that he would be disappointed about the change of their plan.

Harm took one of her hands into his and tenderly squeezed it. He knew what she was feeling right now, since he felt the same. Something needed to be done and he had to come up with it.

“I’m stuffed,” Little AJ said as his godparents entered the kitchen. “Can we go now?” He asked with a glimmer in his eyes and Harm and Mac knew what he meant.

Mac sat down on the stool right next to him and ruffled his hair. “I’m sorry, AJ, but we can’t go sledding today.”

“Why not?” The glimmer in his eyes was gone and the disappointment on his face was clearly visible now. “You said that if there’s enough snow we would go sledding and there is enough snow. I checked it this morning. Come look.” Little AJ jumped from the stool and wanted to run into the living room but Mac gently held him back.

“AJ, there was a snowstorm last night, and it simply isn’t safe for us at the moment to go out of this building,” Harm tried to explain but saw that by now the disappointment on his godson’s face was mixed with sadness and even a little bit of anger.

“That’s not fair,” Little AJ cried and offended ran out of the kitchen, in response knocking off his plate from the kitchen table.

Mac sighed and closed her eyes for a moment. “That went well,” she said while the loud bang of Mac’s bedroom door was heard in the otherwise quiet apartment.

Jimmy started to cry as soon as his brother ran out of the kitchen and the plate hit the kitchen floor. The banging of Mac’s bedroom door made him cry even more.

Harm took his younger godson out of the highchair and cradled him in his arms, kissing his forehead. “Sssshh, it’s okay, Jimmy.” Then he looked at Mac and gave her an encouraging smile. “Tell you what. Why don’t you go and try to talk with him, while Jimmy and I clean up this mess and try to come up with a plan B.”

“Yeah, I better go and try to talk to him,” Mac answered and suddenly realized what he’d said a few seconds ago. “A plan B?”

Harm nodded his head. “Yeah, there’s always a plan B. You just have to try and find it,” Harm explained and sat the now calmed Jimmy back into his highchair.

Mac, being now deep in her thoughts, only nodded her head before leaving the kitchen while Harm got the broken dish up from the floor. He was just dumping the broken plate into the trashcan when he saw that Mac remained standing at the doorway, having an intense look on her face.

“Everything okay?” he asked worried.

Mac didn’t answer him, nor had she heard him. Too important was the thought she had on her mind. Was it possible?

“Always?” She only asked in a whisper so that Harm nearly hadn’t heard her.

“Yes, Sarah. Always,” Harm immediately answered her without thinking twice, knowing exactly what she was asking about. They were still talking about children, just not about Little AJ and Jimmy anymore.

They smiled at each other before Mac nodded her head and walked away to have a talk with AJ.

Harm took a deep breath, looked at Jimmy and shook his head. “It’s not even much later than nine o’clock and I already feel like I’ve lived an entire workday,” he told him with a chuckle.

Jimmy responded with a giggle and started to babble. Harm laughed and nodded. “Yeah, you’re right, sport. Family life is a lot of fun, isn’t it? But now we better come up with a good plan B, or else this day may end in a disaster.”

 

9:08 AM

 

Mac took a deep breath and slowly opened the door to her bedroom. At first she couldn’t see Little AJ anywhere and only after she entered the room was she able to see him cowered behind her bed, on the left side right in front of the nightstand. His knees were pulled to his chest and Mac couldn’t see his face, since he’d laid it on his knees and crossed arms.

After closing the door behind her, Mac moved deeper into her bedroom and walked around the bed. Every now and then she could hear his sniffs and hiccups. With a sigh she took place on her rattan armchair and looked at Little AJ, who hadn’t looked up so far.

Mac watched him but didn’t say anything. She wanted to give him the time he needed and hoped that it wouldn’t take long for him to open up and talk with her.

Little AJ suddenly looked up and into her eyes but still didn’t say a word. His face was tear-stained and slightly red while the disappointment was still clearly visible in his eyes.

“You know, if you keep your lips like that for more than three minutes, they will stay that way,” Mac softly told him, talking about his lower lip, which was stuck out in a pout. She remembered that her uncle Matt had told her that when she was a little girl and had pouted that way.

AJ immediately reacted as he’d heard his aunt’s words, pulled his lower lip into his mouth and bit on it.

Mac raised her eyebrow in wonder when she saw what her godson was doing. “Why are you doing that?”

Little AJ sighed and wiped off the tears on his cheeks. “Because I think I was keeping my lips that way for more than three minutes,” he whispered with a teary voice. “I don’t want them to stay like that.” As soon as he’d finished his explanation, he was biting on his lower lip again.

She nodded her head and gave him a little smile. “I’m sure it wasn’t more than three minutes, AJ. Your lips are looking fine.”

“Are you sure?” Little AJ quietly asked.

Mac once more nodded her head and confirmed her statement. “I’m absolutely positive.”

AJ slowly got up on his feet, went to the armchair and sat down on Mac’s lap. Then he threw his little arms around her neck and hugged her. “I’m sorry, Auntie Mac,” he whispered into her ear and Mac could hear that he was on the verge of starting to cry again. “I didn’t mean to do it.”

“What are you sorry for, AJ? What didn’t you mean to do?”

“I broke the plate and ran away,” he told her, still whispering.

“Oh, honey. I know you didn’t mean it,” Mac answered him and pulled him even closer to her. “It was only a plate and nothing to worry about. Okay?”

Little AJ sighed in relief and Mac could feel that his little body relaxed again. “’kay. I love you, Auntie Mac.”

Mac kissed his wet cheek. “I love you too, honey.”

 

Mac’s living room
Same time

 

The dishes were put into the dishwasher and Harm already had changed Jimmy, who was now sitting on his blanket, playing with his favorite toys. The CD player was playing some jazz music in the background while Harm was cleaning the living room.

Doing household chores and listening to soft music always helped him to come up with a good idea for court and he hoped that it would help him to come up with a good plan B for today. He believed in what he’d told Mac earlier and knew that he would come up with one.

“Come on, Harm, there has to be something,” he murmured to himself and took the bowl with candies from the coffee table to place it on Mac’s dining table. “Think, man. What did you like to do as a kid while you were at your grandma’s around Christmas time? Just think Christmasish.”

Harm sighed and walked to the window, looking out at the Washington version of Winter Wonderland. He thought about the many times he’d spent as a kid at his grandma’s farm in Belleville. They were often snowed in and could only spend their days indoors and barely leave the house. However, it was never boring back then, since his grandmother always knew how to entertain her lively grandchild.

Harm turned away from the window and walked to the dining table to get one red gumdrop out of Mac’s candy bowl. He took a bite and had to smile. ‘I still remember the first time she’d taught me how to make chocolate cookies or when we...,’ he started to think and suddenly had to stop when it finally dawned on him. “That’s it,” he said out loud with a smile and nearly ran into Mac’s kitchen. “Please tell me it’s possible.”

Harm opened a few of Mac’s cabinets in hope of finding everything he needed for his plan. However, soon he had to give up in frustration. Most of the supplies they would need simply weren’t available in Mac’s kitchen.

“What now?” Harm asked the room and looked back into the living room, watching his little godson playing on his blanket. “No way are we being Scrooge the entire day. Right, Jimmy?”

Jimmy just babbled cheerfully and continued to play with his toys.

‘Scrooge?’ Harm thought and had to smile. “Bingo,” he suddenly said out loud and walked into the living room to get Jimmy into his arms. “Come on, sport. It’s time for a visit.”

Together they made their way out of Mac’s apartment, ready to accomplish the mission called ‘Plan B’.

 

Meanwhile in Mac’s bedroom

 

“So we can’t go sledding?” Little AJ asked and raised his face from her shoulder so that he could look into her eyes.

“No, honey. We can’t go sledding today.”

“Why not?” He wanted to know; still not understanding why they couldn’t go sledding even though it was snowy outside.

Mac slowly got up from the armchair, still holding Little AJ firmly in her arms. “Ooof, you’re heavy, AJ.”

“I’m five, Auntie Mac. I’m a big boy and I have to be heavy,” Little AJ proudly answered her and giggled.

As soon as she stood on her feet, he circled his little legs around her waist, clinging tightly to her. “Let me show you why we can’t go today, okay?”

“’kay,” AJ answered and together they made their way into the living room.

The first thing Mac noticed was that neither Harm nor Jimmy were no where to be seen or heard. The only sound in the room was coming from her CD player. ‘I guess they are in the guestroom,’ Mac thought and walked straight to one of the living room windows.

“Can you see your uncle Harm’s car out there?” Mac asked her elder godson and watched him while his prying eyes were searching for Harm’s SUV.

Little AJ shook his head. “No. Where is it?”

Mac pointed at the wall on the left side of the parking lot. “It’s over there. Can you see the snowdrift right in front of this wall? Right under this blanket of snow you can find your uncle’s car.”

“Wow, it’s snowed in,” Little AJ enthusiastically replied with wide-open eyes.

“Yes it is, AJ. The snowstorm last night created quite a few of these snowdrifts and it isn’t really safe for us at the moment to go out, just to have some fun with our sleds,” Mac tenderly tried to explain the situation.

“Oh.” Little AJ thought about everything his aunt had just told him. “Does that mean we’re stuck and can’t leave the house?”

Mac gave him a little smile. “No, if it would be necessary, we’re able to get out of the house. But as long as no one of us is seriously sick or hurt, we shouldn’t leave the house at the moment.”

“For how long? Will we have to stay for days?” Little AJ curiously asked and Mac was glad about his interest, knowing that he started to understand the reasons.

“I’m not sure yet, sweetie, but I think by tonight we’ll know more.”

“Okay.” Then a bright smile took place on Little AJ’s face, just like the one he had on his face this morning before Harm and Mac had to tell him about not being able to go sledding. “Maybe Uncle Harm, Jimmy and I have to stay more days here. That would be sooo cool,” he said delighted.

Mac couldn’t hold back her laughter about her godson’s enthusiasm and gave him a quick hug before letting him down on his feet again. “You would like that, huh?”

Little AJ strongly nodded his head and grinned. “Mmm-hmmm.”

“What?” Mac asked, knowing that something else was on his mind.

“What about Mommy and Daddy? Do you think they can come home tomorrow?” Little AJ asked while they sat down on the couch.

Mac wasn’t sure how to answer his question. “I’ll tell you something. Why don’t you try to call them later today? I bet they would like to get a call from you.”

“Can I?”

Mac smiled and nodded her head. “Of course you can.” She ruffled his hair and was taken aback when her apartment door suddenly opened and Jimmy slowly walked into the room. He was followed by his uncle, who had his hands full of bags and boxes. “Where are you two coming from?” Mac asked in surprise.

Harm gave her his best flyboy grin and placed the bags and boxes onto her coffee table. “Oh, Jimmy and I just visited the Ebenezer supermarket and got everything for our plan B,” he told her enthralled.

Mac just raised her eyebrow and let her gaze wander to the bags and boxes before returning it to her partner’s shining eyes. “Explain yourself, Mr. Rabb,” she said and could hardly await his explanation.

Harm immediately gave her a salute. “Aye, aye, Ma’am,” he said and hoped that Mac, and even more important Little AJ, would like the plan B he’d come up with.

 

9:41 AM

 

Mac still looked agog at Harm, eagerly awaiting his explanation about what he’d planned. “Come on, Harm. Don’t keep us waiting here. What is this ‘supermarket’-talk about?”

“The Ebenezer supermarket,” Harm corrected Mac’s statement with a smirk and took a seat in one of her armchairs, placing his younger godson on his lap. “Jimmy and I visited the Ebenezer supermarket. Oh, and may I add what a very nice lady you have as a neighbor, Ms. MacKenzie. She reminds me a lot of my grandmother. Mrs. Ebenezer says hi by the way.”

Mac frowned and then raised her eyebrow. “You two were visiting Mrs. Ebenezer? Why?” She incredulously asked, not believing her ears were working right at the moment. “Please, Harm. Tell us about your plan B.” Now more than before Mac was impatient to hear about her partner’s idea. “What are you up to?”

“If you insist,” Harm promptly said and thought about what happened just a few minutes earlier.

 

Flashback


A few minutes earlier
Mrs. Ebenezer’s Apartment

 

Harm lightly knocked on the door and hoped he wouldn’t disturb Mac’s neighbor. Jimmy stood right next to him, watching his godfather with hawk-eyes.

After a lot of thinking he’d finally come up with a plan B to do another Rabb family tradition with his favorite boys and girl. However, soon Harm had to give up this idea since Mac’s kitchen was simply missing most of the supplies they would have needed.

Thankfully, he found a package of chocolate chips in one of her cabinets while rummaging through Mac’s kitchen and immediately thought about baking his grandma’s favorite chocolate chip cookies with Mac and his godsons. Only two ingredients were missing and Harm now hoped to get some help from Mac’s neighbor.

“Yes?” An elderly woman asked through the partly opened door.

“Mrs. Ebenezer?” Harm asked and got a little nod as response. “My name is Harmon Rabb. I’m a friend of your neighbor Sarah MacKenzie.”

Mrs. Ebenezer immediately showed him a bright smile and opened the door of her apartment wider. “Oh, you’re Sarah’s commander.”

At first Harm frowned while hearing what Mrs. Ebenezer was calling him, but then he returned her smile and nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.”

“What can I do for you, Commander? Sarah and Little AJ are okay, aren’t they?” The elderly woman asked with worry clearly audible in her voice. She looked down at Jimmy, who shyly hid his face behind Harm’s leg.

“Please call me Harm and yes, Ma’am, Sarah and AJ are okay. But obviously we’re stranded in the apartment today and I thought about baking some chocolate chip cookies, but…,” Harm started to explain.

“But Sarah’s kitchen doesn’t have the ingredients for the cookies,” Mrs. Ebenezer concluded Harm’s sentence and chuckled. “Am I right, Harm?”

Harm laughed and shook his head in wonder. “You really do know my partner, don’t you?”

Mrs. Ebenezer just nodded her head and laughed as well. “I once asked her if she had some vanilla extract I could borrow and Sarah told me that she had none and that baking wasn’t really her thing.”

Now it was Harm nodding his head. “It obviously is still not her thing, because the vanilla extract is still missing. And so is baking soda.”

“Why don’t you and your little boy here come in, Harm? I’m sure I can help you out,” Mrs. Ebenezer said, letting him and Jimmy enter her apartment.

“That would be great, Ma’am. At first I thought about making a gingerbread house, but to find any ingredients for this project in Mac’s kitchen was literally a dead end. I think we could’ve made the icing and the decoration, but that’s about it,” Harm told her while he and Jimmy followed the elderly woman into her kitchen.

“So baking chocolate chip cookies wasn’t the first choice?” Mrs. Ebenezer asked and took the vanilla extract and some baking soda out of one cabinet.

Harm took the items out of her hands. “Thanks, and no, baking the cookies wasn’t my first choice. I wanted to do one of the Rabb traditions and make a gingerbread house with Mac and the boys. I’ve done quite a few with my grandmother while I was a little boy, but I guess that’s something we’ll have to do another time.”

“Maybe not,” Mrs. Ebenezer only replied.

“Excuse me?”

“Maybe not, Harm. I think I can help you out with your problem.”

“How so?”

Mrs. Ebenezer smiled at him and pointed with her forefinger behind her back. “The tradition you had with your grandmother as a child is the same tradition my grandson and I have. Timmy, my daughter and son-in-law wanted to visit me this weekend but sadly, my grandson got the flu and they couldn’t come,” she started to explain and then turned around to show Harm all the items she had for the gingerbread house. “I already baked the wall, roof and chimney pieces. I would like you to take them and the other stuff I bought for the icing and the decoration.”

Harm was perplexed. “Are you sure, Ma’am?”

“Very. If you don’t take it I would throw all this into the trashcan anyway.”

“I don’t know what to say,” Harm quietly answered, still being perplexed about the offer and the positive outcome of his little visit.

“Just say thank you, Harm. I’m just glad that I can help and I know you’ll have a great time.”

Harm quickly gave her a peck on her cheek and then one of his best flyboy grins. “Thank you, Mrs. Ebenezer,” he said and then came up with an idea. “I’m sorry about your grandson though. Why don’t you just come with Jimmy and me? You could spend the day with the boys, Mac and I. You could help us build the gingerbread house. I’m sure the kids and Sarah would love to have you around.”

Mrs. Ebenezer smiled and shook her head. “Thank you, Harm, but this is something you should enjoy with the boys and Sarah,” she disclaimed. Then she got an impish grin on her face and winked. “Maybe you and Sarah could practice for the future.”

To say that this statement made Harm speechless and feeling dumbfounded was an understatement. First she was calling him ‘Sarah’s commander’ and now this one. ‘What’s going on here?’ Harm thought to himself. “What exactly has Mac told you about me, Mrs. Ebenezer?”

“Oh, not much. It was more the things she hasn’t said. You know, the words you can read in between.”

Harm chuckled. “You sound like a lawyer.”

“No, Commander. Just like an old woman with a lot of experience and a very good knowledge of human nature,” she explained and then added with a smile. “And now you better go before Sarah calls out the cavalry.”

Harm once more kissed her cheek and gave her a bear hug. Then he took the items from the kitchen counter before following Mrs. Ebenezer and Jimmy to the apartment door. “Thanks for everything, Mrs. Ebenezer.”

“My pleasure. Please tell Sarah I said hi.”

“Will do,” Harm promised. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye, Harm,” Mrs. Ebenezer said. Then she looked down at Jimmy and waved. “Bye, bye, Jimmy.”

Jimmy shyly waved back before following his godfather back to Mac’s apartment.

 

End of Flashback

 

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