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CHAPTER 10

ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
BLACKSBURG, VA

 

It was almost 2100 before Harm and Mac arrived at St. Vincent’s Hospital. Mattie smiled as she saw them walking in together, holding hands. It lifted her spirits more than all the news she had been given that day. Tom, Trish, and Frank were in the room when they arrived. Tom turned to Harm, knowing he would want time alone with Mattie.

“Hello, Commander. It’s nice to see you again.”

“Harm, Mac, it’s nice to see you both. You look radiant,” Trish said, unable to stop herself from making her son and about-to-be daughter-in-law squirm a little as they blushed. Looking at Harm closely, Trish wagged her finger at him. “You aren’t getting enough sleep, Harmon Rabb. I thought your mission was over Thursday.”

“Yes, Mom, and hello to you too. Hi Dad, Tom. Yes, I did finish the case late Thursday, but I worked Friday all day getting caught up on some paperwork and trying to help Bud, who has been covering for me all this time. As for Mac, she just got back from Iraq.”

“Oh,” Trish said, sounding a little disappointed. She had hoped they had been working together.

“How are you, Son? You do look tired. So does Mac,” Frank said.

“Harm, you don’t have to come see me so often now. I have Dad, Aunt Genie, Trish…I mean Grandma and Grandpa to help me. You could have stayed home and rested.”

“Stop worrying about me, Munchkin,” Harm ruffled Mattie’s hair as he bent down to give her a kiss on the forehead. “More important is how are you doing?”

“Do we tell him now, or make him and Mac suffer? Hi, Mac. You may look tired, but you look so beautiful. You and Harm are the perfect couple.” Mattie giggled a little.

“I see our Munchkin here has gotten her voice back. So, what’s the news?”

Everyone looked at each other, waiting for one of them to speak. Just then, Dr. Rosenbaum entered the room. He nodded disapprovingly.

“I know there were special circumstances that made me allow you all in late at night, but there are too many of you in here. It’s not good for my favourite patient.”

“Frank, Trish, why don’t we go get some coffee while Harm and Mac visit with Mattie and talk to the doctor? We’ll be down in the cafeteria, or outside waiting for you.”

Frank put his hand on Harm’s shoulder and squeezed it. Trish caressed Harm’s face gently and leaned over to put her cheek next to Mac’s before leaving the room.

“Did they tell you the good news?”

“Well, I spoke to Aunt Eugenie, whom I have yet to meet,” Harm said, “and I was told that there had been a change in Mattie’s prognosis, but no, they haven’t told us anything yet.” Harm was holding onto Mattie’s hand with one of his hands, and his free arm was rested lightly around Mac’s shoulders.

“Do you remember my telling you that once Mattie came out of the coma, we would be able to better assess her spinal injuries?”

“Yeah, something like that,” Harm muttered. “That was in the first few days, but yes, I do recall you saying that. Has there been a significant change?”

“Why don’t you sit down,” Dr. Rosenbaum smiled at both Harm and Mac. Harm sat on the edge of the bed while Mac took the chair next to him.

Harm and Mac looked at Dr. Rosenbaum, waiting for the good news.

“Well, her spine is not as severely injured as we believed. Since we could not get an exact MRI while she was in the coma, we weren’t able to see the extent of her injuries. She has several broken vertebras, which we will have to repair in surgery. She has several discs that are severely damaged. They, too, will require surgery, but she will be able to walk again. Now, I’m not saying she is going to walk out of here next week, as she keeps pestering me about. She is going to require weeks, perhaps months of physical therapy, but her prognosis has improved drastically. Our main problem is going to be in convincing her to keep still. She does have feeling in all her limbs, so there is no permanent damage. Your Mattie is a miracle, Commander Rabb. But then again, you did tell me that she was a fighter, didn’t you?”

Harm had not realized how tightly he was squeezing Mac’s hand until she pulled it away, joking about needing some circulation in her fingers. He wanted to hug Mattie, but he knew he couldn’t. The news was indeed miraculous. He turned to Mac, taking her in his arms, not even bothering to hide his tears.

“Do you have any questions, Commander?”

“I think you left him speechless,” Mac said, smiling.

“When can she go home,” Harm asked, and everyone laughed, including Mattie.

“Now I know where she gets her impatience from, Commander. I can’t give you a date, not until after the surgery.”

“Will you be operating on her,” Mac asked.

“No, actually, we are bringing in a Dr. Courtney. He is an excellent back specialist and the type of surgery Mattie will have will require his skills. I will assist.”

“When will the surgery take place, and can you fix the vertebras and the discs at the same time,” Harm asked, his voice deep with emotion.

“Dr. Courtney will make that decision. My opinion is that he will want to repair any and all damage done to her spine first, meaning the vertebra. The discs are, of course part of her spine, but they can be repaired later. Depending on how quickly she recovers…”

“Stop talking about me as if I’m not even in the room,” Mattie pouted rather loudly. “I’m going to surprise everyone, you just wait and see.”

Harm reached out to play with her hair again, leaning down to kiss the tip of her nose.

“You better watch her, doctor. Mattie hates authority, which means she hates being told what she can and cannot do.”

“Good. That means she will fight that much harder to get back on her feet. All of you need to understand something. It isn’t going to be easy. Mattie, it will be painful, and there will be times when you will not even want to see me, much less talk to me, but if you are as strong as the commander insists you are, I believe you will come through the surgery with flying colours. Do you have any more questions? I haven’t had dinner yet, and I would like to get some rest. By the way, Commander, you might want to take your mother and father home so that they can get some rest also. They have both been spending long hours up her with Mattie. Now I know where you got your endurance.”

“I can’t think of anything right now, but if I do, I’m sure I’ll be back here soon.”

“Okay, then, I’ll be leaving you and your lovely wife to visit with Mattie. Oh, yes, I am sorry about the misunderstanding, but I rather enjoyed the look on your faces when I assumed you two were married.”

Harm and Mac looked at one another, laughing just a little, then turned back to the doctor.

“We’ll be getting married very soon, Dr. Rosenbaum,” Mac told him. “I have to make sure Harm doesn’t change his mind. After all, it’s only taken him eight years to let me know how he felt about me.”

“And what about you, Colonel? Did you tell him how you felt about him?”

“Gotcha,” Mattie said, giggling.

Dr. Rosenbaum joined in the laughter, especially after both Harm and Mac blushed. Mac buried her face in Harm’s chest. Even as she breathed in his scent, she wondered if their lives could be any more perfect. Dr. Rosenbaum left, telling them to be sure and take Trish and Frank home.

“So, Supergirl, you did it. I told you everything was going to be okay, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you did, Harm. I should have had more faith in you, but then again, you did lie to me about Dad.”

“I did?” Harm tried to look surprised, but he knew that she was referring to his drinking.

“Yes, you did. And here you’ve told me countless times not to lie.”

“What did he lie to you about, Mattie,” Mac asked.

“Oh, he told me that Dad was home resting. I knew Dad couldn’t handle this, and that he had started drinking again, but thank you, Harm. I know why you did it.”

“Has he been okay?”

“Yes, and with Aunt Eugenie here, he won’t be falling off the wagon again, not unless he wants to lose me forever, or at least, that’s what I make him believe.”

“You’ve become a very mature young woman, Mattie Grace Johnson,” Mac said, her pride in the young girl quite obvious. “Your Dad will need all the help you can give him, and perhaps with you needing him as much also, you can help each other. He’s your Dad, and he loves you very much. So does this big crybaby here,” Mac said, punching Harm in the stomach lightly, then stroking it to ease any pain she might have caused him.

“I know, Mac. I do need Dad, but I also need you and Harm. When are you getting married, and you better not wait until I can walk, that’s an order.”

Mattie’s words filled the room with laughter as Mac nodded at Harm, telling him he better obey, or else he would be in trouble with Mattie, and HER.

“Why are you two ganging up on me,” Harm said, putting his hand over his heart. “I’ve been such a good boy, okay old man, and you two are being mean to me.”

Mattie could not stop laughing even through her pain, which caused her to moan several times. Mac hugged Harm.

“Okay, Mattie, what if we get married soon, and then we can have another ceremony when you get well. That way Harm can’t ever leave me. Would that be okay with you?”

“Just be sure to tape the wedding so that I can see it. Since I am going to be here for a while, I will need something to cheer me up. I think it’s great, Harm, that you are finally going to get married. Don’t you think it’s about time?”

“Yes, Mattie, I do. Actually, about eight years too late, but I waited for Mac, and more importantly, she waited for me. Do you mind if we take Mom and Dad home, Mattie? I know that you have become very attached to them.”

“Grandma needs to rest. Besides, all she talks about is the wedding. You better watch her or she will be planning your wedding at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I think she needs to get away from hospitals for a while. Let her help you plan the wedding. I know you will be here for me when I need you.”

“Well, we will definitely be here for the surgery. I’ll talk to General Cresswell, who sends his best wishes to you, and let him know about the change. He probably knows more than I do already anyway. I just want him to know that I will be taking some leave when you have the surgery.”

“Harm, I will be fine. Stop looking so worried and look like a happy bridegroom-to-be. Oh, there’s Aunt Genie. Good, you will both get to meet her.

 

MEETING AUNT EUGENIE

 

Harm and Mac turned to greet the as yet unknown Eugenie Grace. They saw a tall, slender woman, dressed not elegantly, but in a way that attracted attention from both men and women. She was either in her late thirties or early forties. When she entered, she had a smile on her face, but when she saw Harm and Mac, a scowl took its place.

“Hi, Aunt Genie. This is Harmon Rabb. I’ve talked enough about him that you don’t even have to wonder about him. This is his fiancée, Sarah MacKenzie. She’s a colonel in the Marines, Aunt Genie.”

Genie looked at both of them, up and down, liking what she saw when she took a very close look at Harm. Mac smiled, quite secure in their love. Besides, Mattie had just mentioned that they were engaged.

“There’s no doubt you’re Mattie’s aunt,” Harm said. “Now I know where she got her hair from. You two look just alike, red, curly hair, green eyes, and a temper that seems to be typical of red-heads.”

“So you are the infamous Commander Harmon Rabb that I’ve heard so much about,” Aunt Genie said, offering her hand in greeting. “I’ve also heard a lot about his beautiful fiancée, Mac, is it? And yes, Mattie did inherit my looks, thank goodness, but her mother looked just like me.”

“Yes. My name is Sarah MacKenzie, but everyone calls me Mac. It’s nice to meet you, Eugenie. I have to admit, we’ve heard very little about you. And by the way, you have beautiful hair.”

“Thank you, Mac, but that’s not quite true, is it Harm,” Genie looked at Harm, completely changing the subject. Mattie rolled her eyes, stifling a giggle. Her Aunt Genie had to flirt first, but Mattie had already warned her aunt about the very amazing Col. MacKenzie.

“It’s nice finally meeting you, Eugenie,” Harm said, getting closer to Mac. “However, I doubt I know anything about you except that you are Mattie’s aunt on her mother’s side, and that you share Mattie’s stunning looks. You’re from Canada. Am I right?”

“Vancouver, Commander. Don’t mind me, Mac. I like to flirt with a man the first time I meet him. That’s the way I judge a man. Your Harm immediately told me that he belongs to you. It really is nice to meet both of you.”

“I should have warned you about Aunt Eugenie, Harm. Mac, don’t let her bother you. I think even she can see she doesn’t stand a chance with Harm.”

Smiling at each other, Harm’s eyes told Mac that he didn’t care about any other woman except her.

Harm and Mac visited with Eugenie for almost an hour. They learned that she was never notified of Mattie’s accident until Trish started asking questions. Harm raised his eyebrow.

“Trish, as in my mother?”

“One and the same, Commander. Tom told them about me, but he didn’t know where to find me, so Trish had your Dad, Frank, look for me. I came as soon as I found out. I can’t thank you enough, Commander, for all you’ve done for my niece, and for Tom also. He seems to admire and respect you very much. I think his love for Mattie, and his need to earn your respect, will keep him sober, and if he falls off the wagon, he knows that I will take Mattie from him and he will never see her again.”

Eugenie Grace was indeed a formidable woman. She vowed that she would stay by Mattie’s side as long as she was needed.

“What about your work,” Mac asked, wishing she hadn’t probed into her personal life.

“I own my own business. Computers and all that goes with them. I have good people working for me. They will cover for me, and I will fly back once or twice a month. Trish told me she would stay with Mattie while I am gone, but it will only be for a couple of days. I think what your Mom and Dad have done for my niece is more than anyone in the Johnson family put together would ever do. I’m sorry, Mattie, I know you don’t like me talking about your Dad’s family that way, but it’s true.”

“I know it is, Aunt Genie, but Dad is trying, so give him a break. Just as long as you don’t talk about his relatives like that in front of him, it’s okay.”

“Why not, Mattie, I know what my family is like,” Tom Johnson said, as he walked into the room. “Besides, I know how Eugenie feels about me. She hated the fact that your mother married me, but she learned to accept me.”

That evening, Harm and Mac took all of them out to dinner. It was one of Harm’s happiest visit to Blacksburg since Jennifer had first told him about the phone call informing him of Mattie’s accident. Aunt Eugenie was a riot, making everyone laugh. Although she picked on Tom mercilessly, it was obvious she was going to be there for him as well as Mattie.

“So, Mom, I hear you’ve turned into a detective of sorts,” Harm teased.

“What?”

“All we need to give you is a Sherlock Holmes hat and a magnifying glass and you will be out finding missing people all over.”

Frank laughed, hugging Trish. They all shared a good evening and when the it was over, Trish and Frank had agreed to return to Washington with Harm. Mac insisted that they stay at her apartment since she had two bedrooms.

“We can stay at a hotel, Mac. It’s not necessary.”

“Mom, Mac is with me all the time. You will have the entire apartment to yourselves,” Harm said, making Mac blush a bright red. “Besides, you two are going to need a place to make plans for the wedding so that we men can go out and have fun with the boys.”

“Oh, no, you don’t,” Mac said.

By then, the entire group, including Tom was laughing at Trish’s expense, and at Mac’s, for she continued to blush. It had been so long since Tom had been with so many good friends, and the fact that Mattie’s improvement was progressing, made this evening one that Tom would cherish for a very long time.

 

JAG HEADQUARTERS
FOLLOWING THURSDAY

 

As expected, Trish immediately began making wedding plans. She loved the idea of her and Frank having Mac’s apartment to themselves, for it meant that her son was with the woman he loved, and the one he was going to marry.

For some reason, Mac didn’t want to tell anyone at JAG that the engagement ring was from Harm. She was enjoying the looks she was getting from everyone, knowing that they were all wondering who the man in her life was, and how Harm was accepting her choice. Of course, Sturgis was the first one to ask Harm how he was taking Mac’s engagement, despite the fact that their friendship had taken quite a beating.

“Mac is very much in love and that makes me happy for her, Sturgis.”

“But you love her,” Sturgis muttered, wanting to shake his friend.

“Yes, I do, but the man she is in love with has offered her so much more.”

Sturgis walked away shaking his head. He knew that he had damaged his friendship with Harm in many ways, but he also felt that Harm had done his share. He would never tell Harm what started it all because he would never believe him. It went back to when Harm and Mac returned from Paraguay and Admiral Chegwidden had let Harm go without much explanation. Harm had always been JAG’s ‘golden boy’. Okay, he wasn’t blonde, but he was still the ‘golden boy’ of JAG. When the SECNAV needed someone to defend against war crimes, he had handpicked Harm and Mac. When the CIA offered Harm a job almost before he left JAG, Sturgis was jealous. It was the beginning, and it began to fester after Harm was asked to return to JAG. But it was the incident in which he had brought charges of manslaughter against Harm without even investigating the case that had truly caused a bigger rift. However, he had been trying, as had Harm.

Wondering if he should talk to Mac, Sturgis decided to stay out of it. If Mac was happy, and Harm didn’t seem to mind, maybe it was for the best. After all, Harm had Mattie to worry about. Mac didn’t seem to have a shortage of suitors, and Harm could always find a new girl, so Sturgis stayed out of their business.

Harm and Mac had been assigned to the same case, with Mac and Bud defending Lt. Chang. She had been accused of administering a medicine that was supposedly in short supply to a wounded child, when the orders were that the medication be used only on U.S. troops.

It was a difficult case for Harm. As Jennifer, outspoken as always, had reminded him that Lt. Chang was the kind of doctor that Harm would have wanted to treat Mattie. Why was it that Harm’s heart wasn’t in prosecuting, or defending cases anymore? Despite their extremely intense physical relationship, Harm and Mac never let their love get in the way of their work. In the end, it was the defendant herself who made the decision. Harm had lost the case, but when Bud and Mac talked to Lt. Chang, it was her decision to take her punishment.

“I joined the Navy to serve, but I am a doctor first and a lousy officer,” Lt. Chang had pointed out, something that Harm had used in his argument.

It was Lt. Chang’s decision that ended the case. For Harm and Mac, it wasn’t quite as difficult as it appeared, for when they went home, they left their work behind, and forgot about it in the love and passion they shared as often as they could.

Frank and Trish were enjoying Mac’s apartment. The four of them had gotten together after the Chang case was over, and a wedding date was set. Since Harm, and Mac also, were very anxious to get married, they selected the first weekend in June; the 4th for their wedding. Unbeknownst to Harm and Mac, there was a conspiracy going on behind the scenes regarding their wedding.

Harm insisted that Mac stay in D.C. when he went to visit Mattie twice during the past week. Since he talked to either Tom or Eugenie every day, Harm was satisfied that things were indeed progressing well. It was his mother who pointed out something to him.

“You know, Harm, Tom needs to know that he can do this alone. He knows you are subject to be sent all over the world, and he can’t fall apart because you aren’t there. So, give them some time alone. I will be going back to Blacksburg when Eugenie flies back to Vancouver for a couple of days, but even I know that Mattie is in good hands.”

“And sometimes we wonder why we need parents,” Harm said, looking at Mac, who was sitting next to him at his apartment. They were on the sofa, while Trish had the big comfortable chair, and Frank had taken one of the dining room chairs. “You’re right, Mom. I do tend to be too protective, but until the first surgery is over at least, I will fell better seeing Mattie for myself. The surgery is scheduled for Monday. I’ve already asked General Cresswell for the time off. I’ve requested two days, but he told me if I needed more, it would be no problem.”

“Your Mom and I want to be there also, Son,” Frank said. “I know this surgery is weighing on your mind, so we will be there to support you.”

“So will I,” Mac said, surprising Harm.

“How? With me gone…”

“General Cresswell insisted, Harm. He wanted someone there that would call him right after the surgery is over, so, you won’t get a chance to flirt with Aunt Genie,” Mac teased.

“And here I was planning on a romantic tryst,” Harm said, then grabbed Mac’s hands before she swatted him. Frank and Trish just laughed.

“Mac, why don’t we look at wedding dresses in Blacksburg. While I was there, I found this unbelievable Bridal Shoppe.”

“See, I warned you all that she was already planning this wedding before you even told her about it,” Frank said, hold Trish close to him. Harm looked at his Mom, suddenly realizing that he hoped that he and Mac could be this much in love after thirty years of marriage, or fifty, or forever.

 

ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
BLACKSBURG, VA
FOLLOWING MONDAY

 

The Burnett’s and the Rabb’s-to-be arrived in Blacksburg Sunday evening. They all wanted to see Mattie before she went in to surgery. They were stunned to see her in such good spirits, but once they heard Aunt Genie talking, and the things she was saying, they all knew why Mattie was in such good spirits.

Dr. Rosenbaum came in and gave last minute details of the surgery. Mattie had been moved out of ICU a week ago, so it was much easier for all of them to be there at the same time. Dr. Courtney arrived just in time to field all of Harm and Mattie’s questions.

“How long will the surgery take,” Harm asked, looking at Mattie.

“We’ll take her down around 6:00 AM, but the actual surgery won’t begin until all the necessary tests are run and we are satisfied that she is strong enough to undergo the surgery.”

“You mean I might not even have the surgery,” Mattie pouted, not pleased with Dr. Courtney’s words.

“There is that possibility, Mattie, as we’ve reminded your father, aunt and Commander Rabb. However, since we have been taking tests daily, I doubt there will be any problems, but we do have to prepare just in case. Also, anytime you undergo anesthesia, it poses several problems, among them death, but that is highly unlikely. I have tell you that so you will know ahead of time. This will be your first time under anesthesia, so it might cause you to throw up afterwards. Dr. Haifa, our anesthesiologist, will be in to talk to you later, or early in the morning. Any more questions?”

“You never answered the question, Dr. Courtney,” Mac said. “How long will all this take, assuming the surgery won’t begin until maybe 0800, providing all the tests are okay? Once she is in surgery, how long will it take?”

Harm was standing next to Mac, and hearing her words filled his heart with love and pride. She was not only beautiful; she was brilliant.

“Assuming things go well, and if we don’t find any other problems, we will be in there about four to five hours. I am overestimating the time so that you won’t worry if it does take that long. I am going to look at the damage to her discs, and there’s a very slight possibility that we might try to do it all in one surgery. However, I don’t like to keep my patients under anesthesia any longer than necessary, especially someone like Mattie, who had never experienced it.”

“Will I feel anything? I mean, when you start cutting me open, am I going to feel it,” Mattie asked, squeezing Harm and her Dad’s hands. Listening to Dr. Courtney was filling Mattie with anxiety. Dr. Courtney sensed her fears.

“No, Mattie, you will not feel anything. Your anesthesia will be injected through your IV, so we won’t even have to stick you,” Dr. Courtney patted Mattie’s foot. “Believe me, Mattie, we are going to do everything we can to fix everything at the same time, but we will not rush it.”

“Will anyone come out and talk to us during that time,” Harm asked, a little nervous himself.

“I usually have one of the operating room nurses come out and give you a status report about once every two hours in this type of surgery. When Mattie wakes up, she will not feel any pain. We are giving her an epidural, so that will take care of the pain in her lower back. We’ve tested her for types of pain medication, and she seems to do well on Demerol, but we might change it to Morphine if she needs it.”

“After the surgery…”

“Let’s discuss that after the surgery, Mr. Johnson. I assure you that Mattie will not be any worse off than she is right now if the surgery should be a complete failure, which I have yet to see in any of my patients. I am obligated both by law, and as a doctor treating a minor, to tell you all the possibilities, but our intention is to have Mattie in physical therapy within a week. And I do want her to get a good night’s sleep tonight, so I am going to ask all of you to leave within the hour. Mattie, would you like your father to remain with you until you go to sleep since I am going to give you a sleeping pill?”

“Would it be okay if Harm and my Dad stay,” Mattie asked, squeezing their hands so tight that Tom was wincing.

Dr. Courtney looked at them. What a support group Mattie had in these people. He was not too familiar with Tom Johnson since Dr. Rosenbaum had recommended that he talk to Commander Rabb.

“Mattie, I’ll stay with you for a few minutes, and then I’ll leave you and your Dad alone. I think you need him more,” Harm said, remembering his mothers’ words.

“Why don’t I give you some time alone with her, Commander,” Tom said, knowing how much this man had done for Mattie and for him. Eugenie, who had surprisingly remained extremely quiet, smiled happily.

“Five minutes with Commander Rabb, then you can stay with her until she’s asleep, Mr. Johnson,” Dr. Courtney said.

“How long after the surgery is over before we can see her again,” Mac asked, seeing the anxiety in Harm’s eyes.

“Well, only Commander Rabb and her father will be able to see her, and only one at a time. If one of them wants to give up their turn to visit with her, then someone else can come in. Okay, Mattie, I’ll see you in the morning. You get a good nights’ sleep, and I recommend that the rest of you do the same. If you want to see Mattie in the morning, before she is given the first shot, you’ll have to be here around 5:30.” Dr. Courtney had started moving towards the door. He saw Trish and Frank standing in the back.

“You must be Mattie’s grandparents,” Dr. Courtney said to them.

“Yes, we are,” Trish answered without hesitation.

Dr. Courtney looked at Eugenie, waiting for her to speak.

“I’m her aunt, and we will all be here in the morning. Thank you, Dr. Courtney for taking the time to explain everything to us.”

“Remember, Mattie needs her sleep tonight, so make your visits short,” Dr. Courtney said, walking out. Dr. Rosenbaum had remained uncharacteristically quiet. He joined Dr. Courtney as they walked out.

Frank and Trish walked up to Mattie’s bed. Trish bent down to kiss her cheek and caressed her face.

“You know. Mattie, with me getting older, and you getting yourself all fixed up, I am going to have a hard time keeping up with you. Just remember we love you, Mattie, and to us, you are our granddaughter.”

No one noticed that Aunt Eugenie was crying as she remained in the darkest corner of the room. She was so afraid of losing her niece as she had lost her sister.

Frank walked up, played with Mattie’s hair, and bent down to kiss her on the forehead.

“We’ll see you in the morning, and afterwards, we will be right here until you wake up.”

Mattie reached out to take both Frank and Trish’s hands, then took Harm’s.

“Thank you, Harm. You not only gave me a second Dad, you gave me Mac, and now my grandparents. I know I’m going to be okay since I have all of you here with me. I love you, Harm.”

Trish and Frank left the room. Tom walked up to Mattie’s bed, telling her that he would be right back after she visited with Harm, Mac and Genie. He had tears in his eyes. He put his hand on Harm’s shoulders as he walked out.

Aunt Genie was the next one to come up. She was trying to think of something funny to say, but she couldn’t think of a single thing. This room, these people, had shocked her.

“You are so lucky, Mattie. I know your Mom is looking down on you this very second and wondering how you got to be so lucky. You have the best support group I’ve ever seen, or known. If I hadn’t seen this with my own eyes, I would have never believed it. I love you, Mattie, my little Peanut. You probably don’t remember, but that’s what I called you when you were a baby, and the last time I saw you when you were six years old. There are so many people that love you, honey, that I know everything is going to be just fine and you will be back home with us in no time. I love you, Mattie.” Genie could not hide her tears.

“Don’t cry, Aunt Genie. I’m sure that Grandma and Grandpa, and Harm and Mac will all love you just as much. I love you, too, Aunt Genie. Thanks for telling me that Mom is looking down at me. That makes me feel better, and I also feel good that you are here with me.” Eugenie bent down to kiss her niece and then left the room.

Mac followed quickly, telling Mattie that they would all be there in the morning, and waiting for her when she woke up.

“You know, Mattie, we didn’t know each other very well until this happened, and I can’t believe how much I’ve grown to love you. Harm and I will be right here for you, in the morning and when you wake up.”

Just then, Valsa, a beautiful nurse from India, came in to tell them that she would be giving Mattie her shot within the next ten minutes. Like all the other nurses, Valsa had become very attached to Mattie.

Mac bent down to give Mattie a kiss on the forehead and the she left the room. Next was Harm.

“Well, Munchkin, it’s that time. I told you everything was going to be okay, didn’t I? You didn’t believe me, did you? I know it won’t be easy, Mattie, but you will be okay, and I will be here for you, along with Mac and your new grandparents. They have really grown to love you, knowing I won’t ever give them any grandchildren. How are you feeling?”

“A little scared,” Mattie said, holding on to his hand with a viselike grip. “Harm, if Dad drinks again, be patient with him. Aunt Genie sounds real tough, but she’s a softie. Dad is going to need all of you if something happens…”

“Nothing is going to happen to you except that you are going to walk again eventually. You will be giving me nightmares again very soon. Oh, by the way, Jennifer sends her love and said to tell you she would be here as soon as she could. The Roberts also send their love and are waiting for you to get well so you can babysit for them.”

“Harm, I want to babysit for you and Mac. You know, Grandma needs a grandson or granddaughter that belongs to you.”

“You belong to me, well, at least a little. When things get too rough, I’ll just ship you back to you Dad,” Harm said, trying to make Mattie laugh. It worked.

Harm and Mattie talked for at least three minutes more, with him telling her about the wedding date and how excited his mother was about him finally getting married.

“Well, I don’t blame her, Harm. You’re an old man.”

“Ouch,” Harm said, putting his hand over his heart. Valsa walked in at that precise moment.

“Oh, did Mattie hurt you,” Valsa asked with a grin.

“She sure did,” Harm said, but his heart was racing. He had to leave and give Tom a chance to be with Mattie. “Well, Mattie, I better go. Once they give you that shot, you’ll be falling asleep pretty soon and I know your Dad wants to be here with you. I love you, Munchkin,” Harm said, ruffling her hair and bending down to kiss the tip of her nose.

“I love you too, Harm. Send Dad in, will you please?”

“I’m right here, Mattie,” Tom spoke up.

Harm walked out, glancing back to see Mattie take hold of Tom’s hand. Things were going to work out between them, Harm hoped.

Tom Johnson stayed with his daughter until she was sound asleep. They had talked briefly about her mother, and how lucky she was to have so many people around her. Tom was also grateful for all the help he was getting. His AA sponsor had been in the waiting room all this time, and would remain with Tom until Mattie came out of the surgery.

 

ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
THE FOLLOWING MORNING

 

At 1230, Mattie finally came out of surgery. Dr. Courtney was beaming as he walked up to them.

“We did it. She won’t have to undergo another surgery unless complications come up, but Mattie did very well. They will be transferring her to ICU within the next few minutes. It’s best that she is left alone for at least another two hours. One of the nurses will come and get you. Audrey is here today, so I’ll send her.

 

JAG HEADQUARTERS
FALLS CHURCH, VA
WEDNESDAY MORNING
1100 HOURS

 

On Wednesday, Harm and Mac returned to JAG. Mattie was awake, and although the anesthesia had caused an upset stomach, she was doing well. Frank had rented a car so that they would not have to depend on Harm to drive them, and they stayed until the following day.

Things were indeed looking up for Harm and Mac. Most importantly, Mac had found her wedding dress in Blacksburg. She hadn’t expected such an elegant bridal gown, but Trish insisted, and once Mac tried it on, she realized she wanted to see Harm’s eyes when he saw her in it. Harm had asked Frank to be his best man, but Mac was having problems. Harriet was struggling with four little ones at home, and Mac had not really expected this big of a wedding. Mac made her decision, hoping it wouldn’t be too painful for Harm. Chloe would be her maid of honour.

 

CHAPTER 11

THE DREAM TEAM?

JAG HEADQUARTERS
WEDNESDAY

 

Harm was both a little surprised, yet at the same time, he had been expecting it, when General Cresswell gave him his next assignment. Commander Harmon Rabb was to be second chair to Lt. Gregory Vukovic. It wasn’t that Harm minded being second chair. After all, he was one of the senior staff. When he had first arrived at JAG, he knew that other senior staff felt the same way about him.

However, what did bother Harm was that General Cresswell had not bothered to talk to him personally, but instead given the assignment to Lt. Vukovic, who then informed Harm that he was assisting him in the defense of Petty Officer Farrell on manslaughter charges. To be fair, Harm was not used to taking orders from someone like Lt. Vukovic, who made it obvious from the very beginning that it was his case and Harm was just there to please the general.

Mac tried to warn him about Vukovic. Since Harm had not worked with the younger officer as yet, and had actually seen very little of him, he tried to get some insight into him from Mac.

Much to his chagrin, Mac seemed to think quite highly of Lt. Vukovic. Harm tried not to be jealous. After all, Mac was in his arms and in his bed every night, and they were planning their wedding. Somehow, though, Harm felt the green-eyed monster rear its’ head when Mac praised Lt. Vukovic. Harm wondered why she would feel this way about the young officer when she had told him some of the things he had done and that she had covered for him. General Cresswell also seemed to think highly of the new resident ‘golden boy’ at JAG.

Harm realized that the reason he felt the pangs of jealousy was because he was very tired. He had been working hard at JAG, then driving out to Blacksburg and staying with Mattie for hours during the last four days. He missed Mac, but he had not wanted to put that kind of strain on her. Besides, Mac and Trish were busy making wedding plans, therefore it only made sense for Harm to go with Frank or by himself. Somehow, he wondered if he was ready, or in the same league as Lt. Vukovic to assist him.

When Bud had first started out at JAG, he counted on Harm’s mentoring him. Even as a lieutenant, Bud would still come to Harm, and/or Mac for help, yet he had so much to offer to a case. Lt. Vukovic was another matter altogether. He was arrogant to the point of refusing to take orders, unless, of course, they were from the general. Harm realized he had been wrong when he tried to set some rules for Vukovic, but the lieutenant’s response had been downright disrespectful. Harm took it well, but it only went downhill from then on.

Vukovic was so sure that the case was won, he handed the case to Commander Bud Roberts, who was prosecuting. However the young man would not listen to Harm. It was apparent to Harm that he was along only for the ride and to satisfy General Cresswell. Harm wondered if the general was that blind to Vukovic’s arrogance and lack of scruples. Admiral Chegwidden would be shaking his head in dismay if he saw what was happening to JAG.

For some unknown reason, working with Vukovic put a strain on his relationship with Mac. He felt as if she was comparing the two of them, and then he laughed. He was being foolish. Mac was about to become his wife. She was wearing his ring, although no one yet knew it was his ring. The trips to Blacksburg seemed to get longer as the days passed, until Frank told Harm that he was taking too many chances. It was during these long drives that Harm also realized why Mac had become attracted to Vukovic. He could be charming to the ladies, but he hated superior officers unless they were female. Lt. Gregory Vukovic was indeed a man on the prowl, not only for women, but for the position he believed he deserved, whether he earned it or not.

When Mac walked in and found Harm dozing at the office, Harm was embarrassed that she had seen him this way, and angry with himself. Looking at Mac, he realized that they had not even been together for four days. Well, they were together, but she was asleep by the time he returned from Blacksburg, and since they had early court cases, he didn’t wake her up. This upset Mac even more, which only made matters worse. Frank had remained in Blacksburg, so Harm decided that as soon as the case was over, he and Mac were going to spend the weekend alone. After all, Tom and Eugenie were there also, so there was no need for him to be there every night.

Knowing his heart wasn’t in the Farrell case, Harm decided to change his attitude. He had been the one who had learned that P.O. Sanguinias had died of poisoning caused by the ingestion of puffer fish. He gave the details to Vukovic, telling him that he needed to verify everything before eliminating anything else.

Sitting in the conference room, Bud had agreed to drop the charges of manslaughter based on the information that Vukovic had presented to him. Harm saw the triumphant grin on Vukovic’s face, his chest puffing out even more if that was possible. Much to everyone’s surprise, Bud was pleased with the outcome, that is, until he taught Vukovic a lesson he had learned from Harmon Rabb and Sarah MacKenzie many years ago, but one that the brash young lieutenant had ignored. Bud stood up, holding a folder.

“I will be filing charges of pre-meditated murder against P.O. Farrell.”

Of course, Vukovic almost laughed, but Harm knew Bud was on to something, just as Mac and Sturgis did. Vukovic had believed his own publicity.

Everyone stared as Bud presented fact after fact that proved P.O. Farrell was most probably guilty. All the things that Harm had warned Vukovic against were now being used against him by a very astute Bud Roberts. In his overconfidence, Vukovic had ignored Harm’s advice, and by doing so, he not only looked quite foolish, but would probably have to defend a guilty man.

“Good job, Bud,” Mac said, congratulating the man who had been her friend for so long.

Even Coates looked up at Harm, asking what the defense had to say about Bud’s own investigation. Harm was a little shocked, if not disappointed, that Coates, Mac and Sturgis thought he would be upset. He was so proud of Bud at that moment, and when he saw the look on Vukovic’s face, it made Harm’s day. Harm couldn’t help but notice that everyone, including Mac, seemed almost haughty in his or her humiliation of Vukovic and Harm. He knew that Sturgis had a problem with him, but the others?

“Congratulations, Bud. You did a great job,” Harm told Bud. It was worth losing the case to see the look on Vukovic’s face. Perhaps now the young officer would listen to others, Harm hoped.

It was at that moment that General Cresswell walked in and dropped a bombshell into Harm and Mac’s plans.

Once again, Cresswell shocked everyone by tabling the usual order of business and going directly to the news. Harm heard the words, but they didn’t register, not yet.

“With the CNO and Commandant’s blessing, the SECNAV is setting up a Prototype Joint Legal Services for both Marine and Navy lawyers in the field under the same command.” General Cresswell seemed to have a small, satisfied grin on his face. “Colonel MacKenzie, you’ve been chosen to command that unit. It’s yours.” With that, the general had handed Mac a folder.

Lt. Col. Sarah MacKenzie had a smile on her face for she knew this position was very good for her career. “I don’t know that to say,” Mac smiled. Thanking the general, she then heard the next words.

“That’s Joint Legal Services SW,” General Cresswell said. “You’ll be stationed in San Diego.” That’s when the smile left Mac’s face. San Diego. No, that would mean she would be separated from Harm whether they were married or not.

Through a haze, Mac heard Harm speaking.

“Well, that’s only five hours away,” Harm said. Mac didn’t care. She didn’t want to be five hours away from him. She didn’t want to be an hour away from him.

Then came the next bombshell.

“I wouldn’t make my vacation plans just yet, Commander,” General Cresswell said, once again sporting that satisfied grin on his face.

Unbeknownst to both Harm and Mac, General Cresswell had a very good reason for his actions. Needless to say, he had been in touch with the now Ret. Admiral A.J. Chegwidden. The ball was now in Mac and Harm’s court. However, neither A.J. nor the general knew just how involved Harm and Mac truly were. Well, that was not quite true, was it? After all, one of those men was part of the conspiracy with Trish concerning the upcoming wedding of Harmon Rabb and Sarah MacKenzie.

“I hope you like Yorkshire pudding, Commander,” General Cresswell’s voice finally registered in both Harm and Mac’s minds. They both watched as the general handed Harm a folder.

“Force Judge Advocate General of Naval Forces, Europe?” Harm’s voice was stunned. He turned to look at Mac. At that moment, neither one of them cared who knew about them. They couldn’t be separated, not again.

“You’ll be stationed in London. By the way, it is a captain’s billet.”

Neither Harm nor Mac was listening anymore. Who cared about being promoted now? The offers were great, but not for them. Suddenly, Mac felt the bitterness she had felt when she first learned that General Cresswell was being considered to replace Admiral Chegwidden. He had gotten his wish. He had separated her from Harm.

Harm was also remembering that conversation with Mac.

“He can separate us,” Mac had said, and Harm had foolishly ignored those warnings.

“Congratulations, Captain Rabb.” The words finally penetrated Harm’s mind.

Even as the words were said, Harm and Mac stared at each other. This couldn’t be happening to them, not now, not when they were so close to making their dream a reality. Harm saw Bud grinning widely in joy over the news of his friends’ career advancements. Then suddenly, it was as if the room ceased to exist. Harm and Mac continued to gaze at the other, oblivious to their co-workers looking at them.

After another minute or two, the meeting ended as abruptly as the general’s words had changed their lives. Harm was the first one to leave, after the general, of course. He had to think about this new wrinkle that had just created a serious problem in the life that he and Mac had been planning. Mac stayed behind, Vukovic making sure he had her full attention. Harm turned back, suddenly remembering Australia, when Mac had accepted the ring from Mic Brumby, even though she argued it wasn’t an engagement ring. It was déjà vu all over again. Mac was laughing at something Vukovic was saying. Sturgis was standing next to Mac, also congratulating her again. Jennifer was staring at Vukovic, not saying too much. Bud seemed to be the only one who noticed that Harm was no longer in the room.

Closing the door to his office, Harm sat down at his desk chair. He was tired, and to be honest, feeling old. Mattie was doing well and her progress was steady. Tom Johnson had stayed sober. Aunt Eugenie was almost like a second mother to Mattie. When he had arrived the evening before, Tom and Eugenie were making Mattie laugh. He had looked at them through the door window, accepting the fact that he wasn’t really needed anymore. Oh, he would always be special to Mattie, just as she would to him, but Harm saw a family in the making. Frank had been with him.

“Mattie seems to be doing very well, Harm. It’s not necessary for you to be here all the time. She came through the surgery with flying colours. Dr. Rosenbaum and Dr. Courtney have both given glowing reports on her. Why are you doing this to yourself, Son?”

“The night before the surgery, Mattie and I talked. She was afraid that her father would not be able to remain sober. I promised her that I would always be here for her. I guess I feel obligated to fulfill that promise.”

“Mattie would be the first one to tell you to take care of yourself, Harm. All she ever asks about is the wedding. Shouldn’t Mac be with you instead of me?”

“Well, as you said, Dad, she and Mom are busy planning the wedding, but we’ll both be here over the weekend. It’s been a hard week.”

Now, as he sat in his office, he remembered his promise to Mattie. If he went to London, it would mean breaking his promise to her. More importantly, it would separate him from Mac.

Mac. His beloved Mac had just been handed the opportunity of a lifetime. She had seemed so happy when she first heard that she had been selected to command the Joint Legal Services. He knew she loved him, but was it fair of him to do this to her? If she took the post, it would mean seeing her only on weekends, if possible. But with him in London, it would make it almost impossible, especially during the first few months when they would both be getting adjusted to their news posts.

Harm leaned his head back. In many ways, he wished now that he would have never given in to his love for Mac, but the thought of not having known her passion, felt her lips against his, or her body trembling under his, erased all doubts and/or regrets. He loved Mac as he had never known he could love any woman. The last few months proved that she loved him just as much. He would not let Vukovic, or different locations, or promotions stand in the way. But one thing he was determined to do was to tell Mac that if she wanted the billet, he would understand. He couldn’t keep her from accepting a post she deserved so much.

“I hope you aren’t asleep again,” Mac’s soft voice came from the door. She closed the door and blinds behind her.

Walking over to Harm, she put her hands on his shoulders and began massaging them, feeling the tension.

“That feels good,” Harm said, closing his eyes again.

“Congratulations, Captain Rabb,” Mac said, bending down to kiss the top of Harm’s head. She realized it would be a reminder of decisions they must make, but she was very proud of Harm, just as she knew he was proud of her.

Harm swung the chair around, causing Mac to land on his lap. Looking deeply into her eyes, he saw the joy in her eyes. More than that, he saw the love. Taking a deep breath, he gave her a tight squeeze before letting her get up.

“Congratulations to you, Col. MacKenzie. I’m very proud of you, Mac. You really do deserve this post.”

“Harm…”

“I think you better get out of here before the general walks in and finds me kissing the new Commander of the Joint Legal Services in my office. What would he say to that?”

Harm and Mac finished up the rest of the day. He had called and talked to Mattie, telling her that he would not be coming up that evening.

“Good, that means you’ll be spending some time with Mac. Dad and Aunt Genie are here, so don’t worry about me.”

Mac left a full hour before Harm did. Driving home, Mac knew exactly what had been bothering Harm. Besides Vukovic’s uncalled for remarks and his blatant attention to her, she also remembered his words to her.

“Now I know what you see in me, Col. MacKenzie,” Vukovic had told her.

“You do,” she had asked. “What?”

“Him.”

Vukovic had been right for once. Mac was taken by Vukovic’s exuberance, brashness, and flirtatious manner because that’s how Harm had been when they first met. She had thought Harm to be arrogant, brash, and a womanizer, which is exactly what Vukovic was. However, Harm had never been underhanded, not like the young lieutenant, but Mac realized he would learn in time, just as Harm had done.

What was really bothering Mac was that she knew Harm was wondering what to do about the news General Cresswell had given them that day. Like herself, Harm would be very proud of her new post and her duties. She was just as proud of his promotion, not only to the very prestigious post of Judge Advocate General of Naval Services in London, but to his captain’s bars as well. Somewhere along the way, Mac felt the same heaviness and doubts that she knew were eating away at Harm. How could she deny him this post? If he remained behind, would he began to resent her in the future? Would she come to resent him if she gave up her post? General Cresswell had been so kind to her; so forgiving; so accepting of her changed ways, but he had managed to do what she had feared the most. He had separated them, and whether he did it for all the right reasons, or all the wrong reasons, she and Harm were going to be forced to make a hard decision.

Mac expected Harm to stay late, giving her time to think about her future, but instead, she was preparing for a special evening. Taking a long shower, Mac got out, dried her hair, and then slipped into one of Harm’s favourite gowns, if not his very favourite.

 

HARM AND MAC’S APARTMENT

FRIDAY EVENING

 

Mac was waiting for Harm when he got home. She wouldn’t let him do anything to ruin the evening she had planned for them. It belonged to them, just as they belonged to each other. Mac had already made her decision, but Mattie would have to enter into the equation. The post Mac had received was a prototype, which could mean that it would be gone in a year or so if it did not measure up to the SECNAV’s standards, or continued funding was allotted. They would keep her in San Diego, but she didn’t want to be transferred there, despite the beautiful beaches and even more envious weather. Harm, on the other hand had been offered a long-standing post, and one that he would excel in. Mac was so sure of that that there was no reason to even discuss it, for she had all her arguments ready.

So, she had prepared dinner, lit candles all over the apartment, and informed Trish that they would be unavailable that evening.

“Trish, I’m sure Harm will tell you about it later, but it is something that will make you extremely proud of your son. It also means we have to make some decisions.”

“Mac, you don’t ever have to make excuses to be alone with Harm. Frank and I were going to Blacksburg. I haven’t seen Mattie since the surgery, so we’ll probably stay the weekend. You and Harm take all the time you need.”

Hearing the door open, Mac stepped down from the bedroom area to meet Harm. She saw the look in his eyes when he saw what she was wearing. She also knew that it wouldn’t stay on for very long.

“You aren’t being fair, Mac,” Harm groaned as he threw his briefcase and jacket aside. She knew he couldn’t resist her, in that gown or any other, for she couldn’t resist him either.

“All in love is fair,” Mac said, taking slow, seductive steps towards Harm.

“You did this on purpose, didn’t you?”

“Uh huh,” Mac said. “It seems like weeks since we’ve been alone, and even longer since we’ve made love. I called and checked on Mattie…”

“I know; I talked to her also. Mac, you are so beautiful, and you aren’t playing fair right now. You know we have to talk.”

By now, Harm and Mac were inches apart. He inhaled her fragrance, the soft, sensuous scent that was so distinctly Mac. He felt her fingers on his chest.

“I’m not playing, Harm,” Mac said, her voice sultry with desire. “We’ll have dinner later, but right now, I want you. I need you so much…”

Harm could not resist Mac as he took her in his arms, his lips capturing hers, his tongue plunging into the depths of her mouth. He heard her moan softly as she pressed her body against his. Harm had learned quickly that his reaction to Mac was always instantaneous, as it was now. She swayed against him, imprisoning his willing arousal between them, causing him to growl and groan into her mouth. He was trembling, and he could feel her own body shaking against him. There was no end to the wonder of their kisses.

They had no idea how, or who started taking their clothes off, but as they walked towards the bed, they left a trail of discarded clothing behind them. Harm’s shirt was first, followed by his shoes. Mac’s nightgown landed right on top of Harm’s pants, almost as if a sign of what was about to transpire. They barely got to the bottom of the steps before they were both completely bare, and Mac brushed her breasts against his bare skin, eliciting a contented sigh from Harm and a hungry one from Mac. Picking Mac up, Harm carried her the rest of the way to the bed, their lips locked in a scorching kiss. Other people might need air to breathe, but Harm and Mac needed the taste of their kisses so much more. They fell on the bed together, their arms and legs entangled. No matter how much Harm had been determined to resist her charms, he was lost in her.

New, more intense and intoxicating emotions filled both Harm and Mac, igniting their passion to an intensity that was consuming them. Harm had missed her so much, and now, feeling her soft lips on his, his hands exploring the body he absolutely adored, he lost all rational thought.

Hungrily he sought her breasts out, quickly swallowing one of them, his tongue tasting her engorged nipple. His other hand caressed the other breast as he heard her moan, pushing deeper into him. He nibbled, bit and then finally settled into a slow, but very delicious rhythm of sucking on first one breast then the other, hungering for them as he hungered for life.

A liquid fire engulfed them as their hearts, bodies and souls spiraled out of control. Mac’s fingers were wrapped around Harm’s burning erection, sliding them up and down, increasing her tempo with each time. She knew in that instant she wanted it all. Pushing Harm against the pillows, Mac straddled his body, her moist, aching core coming into brief contact with his throbbing arousal. They both shuddered. Pulling his soft lips up to hers, Mac sucked the air right out of his lungs in a kiss that almost put a brief ending to their lovemaking. Instead, she devoured him, pulling his tongue into her mouth, tasting it with her own, then plunging into his mouth. Seconds turned into minutes and finally, they both came up for air, gasping, before Mac looked into Harm’s eyes.

“I love you, Flyboy. Make me yours, all the way.”

“I love you, Mac, oh, God, how I love you.”

Harm gulped as he took one breast in his mouth while positioning himself under Mac. She whispered his name, then a cry followed as she felt him nursing from her. It drove her wild when he did that, but she loved it. She could never get enough, nor could Harm.

Lifting up, Mac gazed at Harm at her breasts, then took him into her with the same fierceness that Harm was suckling from her. Harm stopped for several seconds as the euphoria of being encased in Mac’s heated walls consumed him. The rest of the world ceased to exist, for Harm and Mac were one, and for several seconds, they felt the tremors building within them.

“Ha…r…mmm…oh…don’t…stop.”

Harm couldn’t talk at all. His hands were on her hips, his legs were flailing as he tried to lift himself up. Each time Mac came down on him, it left him breathless. No woman could ever make Harm give himself so completely as Mac did. He pulled her down on him, then let her breast go and flipped them around. He pounded into her, over and over, knowing that Mac had already gone over the edge at least twice. He went deeper and deeper, and suddenly, the room went black, the roar began, and flames washed over them, filling every inch of them. Still they didn’t stop, even as Mac’s love washed over Harm and his emptied out into her, filling her, still seeking more.

Mac had cried out Harm’s name as she went flying into paradise, just as Harm called out her name seconds later as he joined her.

Their love was insatiable. Their need for the magic and mystery of their exquisite passion was overpowering. The aftershocks continued to rock Harm and Mac. It was only the beginning of their evening of love, of passion, and of being one.

After almost five hours, and making love twice, then showering and surrendering to what both Harm and Mac loved so much, tasting one another all over, giving each other pleasure with their fingers, kisses, and tongues, they finally came down to get something to eat.

Speaking very little between submitting to their mystical passion, Mac, feeling very content and happy, and having forgotten all about the decisions they had to make, they now sat down before each other. Harm kept reaching out to touch Mac, wondering if he could ever leave her. He couldn’t. He was ready to do whatever was necessary, but too much time had been wasted, and he wouldn’t do it again.

“I’m not allowing anyone to separate us, Harm, so you better come up with a good solution, because if you don’t, I already have one.”

“I should have known my beautiful bride-to-be would resolve the problem all by herself,” Harm said, leaning over to kiss her as he took a bite of the omelets he had made for them. It was the almost midnight, but then again, who cared.

“That’s because I’m the brilliant one,” Mac said saucily.

“Is that so,” Harm said, reaching out and sitting her on his lap. “Then how come I was smart enough to fall in love with the most beautiful woman in the world?”

“And I fell in love with the most perfect man in the world, although you can be exasperating at times. Harm, no one is going to separate us and that’s definite.

”What about your new…”

“Harm, it’s just a prototype program. You know that if funding doesn’t come through for it next year, or it doesn’t quite meet the SECNAV’s expectations, they will shut it down.”

“Somehow, I can’t see it not exceeding all their expectations with you in charge. Mac, you’ve worked so hard for something like this, and now that you have achieved that goal, I just want you to promise me you’ll think about it.”

“I already did,” Mac said, planting a quick kiss on his lips.

“Hmmm. Good kiss and good omelet, since I can taste both,” Harm said. “You can’t possibly have given that much thought to it, Mac. I love you. I can’t let you give it up for me.”

“I’m not giving anything up for you, Harmon Rabb. I’m giving it up for me, for us, for our future. I don’t want to wake up five years from now and look over at an empty pillow because I let Cresswell separate us. It’s up to you what to do now. I know that we have to think of Mattie, but with things looking so hopeful for her, I think she would be very happy for us. I’m not giving you up, Harm, and that’s final.” Mac gave Harm one final kiss, then got off his lap.

“Will you promise me you will talk to Cresswell about it before you make a rash decision?”

“If that’s what you want, but I’m not giving you up and that’s my final word.”

Harm seemed to get extremely quiet for several minutes, not saying anything. Mac could tell something was bothering him, but she waited.

“Can I ask you a question, Mac?”

“Anything,” she replied, not expecting the question she was about to hear.

“When we were talking the other day, about Vukovic, you said that you were glad he was working with me because he might learn something from me.”

‘Ye…eee….ssss,” Mac said, knowing where it was leading.

“But when I asked you if he had learned from you, your response startled me. You said you hadn’t slept with him, since that’s what my question really was, and it wasn’t. Why did you even think I was asking such a question?”

Mac felt the uneasiness make her squirm. When she heard Harm’s question that day, her answer had come out without thought.

“Maybe because I thought you were jealous of him.”

“Even if I was, Mac, I have enough faith in you to know that you would not risk your career for a fling with a junior officer, that is, unless you really loved him. I also have enough faith in our love to even think such a thing. I guess that’s what shocked me. We waited nine years to get together, Mac, because we respected the rules of engagement. It never even occurred to me that you would even think of it, especially not now. I’ve had doubts about your love for me, and yes, it’s dealt with Vukovic, since all the women at JAG seem to be falling all over themselves to get to him, but I never thought you had slept with him. I didn’t think you would fall for him, and even if you did, you…”

“I’m sorry, Harm. I guess I’ve been unsure of what is going on with you since Mattie’s surgery.”

“Mac, you can do better than that. You can’t doubt me every time I withdraw, or yes, push you away. You do the same thing, Mac. We have a long history together, and if we want to spend the rest of our lives together, then we have to put those doubts aside. I was so tired, and you were right. I was doing it to myself by driving to Blacksburg every night, and trying to keep up here at work. I love you, Mac. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Sarah MacKenzie, but if you have doubts…”

“I don’t, Harm. Yes, I’m a woman and I was flattered by his attention. You were gone all the time…”

“I think we had this conversation some weeks ago. I guess it just surprised me that you would think I would believe you capable of cheating on me. Besides, being in the service will mean being separated, perhaps for long periods of time. I trust you, Mac, and I won't be wondering what you might, or might not, be doing. I want you to know that I would never be unfaithful to you.”

“Don’t you ever see a woman and desire her?”

“It’s been a long time since that has happened, Mac, unless the beautiful woman is you. I see, and admire beautiful women every day, but I’ve been in love with you for years. I doubt there’s any woman that I could want more than I want you. Is that the problem, Mac? Am I expecting too much from this relationship? I belong to you, so completely, that I wonder how I ever thought my life was happy. Being with you, making love to you, sharing my pain and my happiness, well, that’s the most important thing in my life. Sometimes, when we make love, you are almost frantic…”

“Usually when we’ve been separated for days. Harm, there’s no other man I want but you, so can we forget about this. I was stupid in my comments, but I really did think you were jealous. Our past and our careers have kept us apart for nine years. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I’m sorry, Harm.”

“Okay, Mac, but promise me something. If I look at a beautiful woman, admire her, work with her, maybe even travel with her, please don’t think I am going to hop into bed with her because I need a one-night stand. I’ve waited a long time for you, and I don’t want anyone else. I hope you will always feel that way about me, but I don’t want you to forget what you wanted out of life. Do you remember?”

Mac tilted her head and looked at Harm. There were a lot of things she had wanted, but none the way she wanted, and loved, Harm.

“Yes.”

“A great career, a good man and comfortable shoes, lots and lots of them,” Harm said, a smile on his face. “You can still have that, Mac.”

“Oh, come on, Harm. You and I are going to live on the other side of the world? That’s not even an option, at least not for me.”

“Then let me retire. Somehow, I can’t see myself having to deal with the English hierarchy. You know how I feel about compromising, especially politicians.”

“Who knows, Harm, you might even get invited to Her Royal Majesty’s palace for dinner, and maybe even get to meet another princess.”

“I’ve already met a princess, and I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Besides, I’m trying to be serious, Mac. I don’t care about going to London. I don’t know why they even considered me for that post…”

“Because you’re the best, and they know it. Harm, let me ask you a question, okay?”

“I’m listening,” Harm said, his hands and fingers roaming over Mac’s body.

“Are you willing to walk away from me again? Are you willing to put our wedding on hold, or cancel it completely? Do you still love me enough to let me go, or make that, do you love me enough to make sacrifices in order for us to be together?” Mac’s voice trembled a little more with each question.

Harm gazed into her eyes, feeling his heart split into a million pieces at the very thought of life without Mac. He had to think of Mattie, and his Mom and Dad, but it was Mac who still had those strings wrapped around his heart, and he couldn’t leave her.

“No, I’m not willing to walk away from you again, but I will if that’s what you want. No, I don’t want to put our wedding on hold. If anything, I’d like to marry you today, but why can’t you have everything you want – that great career and a good man and we already know that you have lots and lots of comfortable shoes.” Harm had to try and ease the tension so that the ache in his heart would not consume him. “As for loving you enough to let you go, Mac, I will always love you that much, even it means us be…”

Mac’s lips came down on Harm’s words. Enough was enough. Her mind was made up. At that moment, she wanted only one thing in life – a good, sexy, delicious lover and her husband to be, and that meant Harmon Rabb. Needless to say, talking ended for the rest of the night.

It was a night of gentle lovemaking. It was night of frenzied lovemaking. It was a night of lovemaking such as Harm and Mac, although already familiar with their passion, seemed to be experiencing for the first time. They loved with their bodies. They made love in the shower. They gave each other pleasure with their exquisitely ecstatic kisses. They loved each other with feather-like caresses, which quickly turned into hungry, demanding ones. Their tongues left a wet trail of heat all over them as they traveled to that secret place beyond that they had created with their love. The soft moans would become urgent, needy ones, as Mac would call out to Harm, begging him to go faster, or deeper, until their love would explode, leaving them shaking from their powerful release. It was indeed a night such as no other for Harm and Mac, for the fear of being separated made their bodies shelter them from the outside world and its attempt to tear them apart. Their hearts were so full of love; nothing else existed. Their souls belonged only to one another, now and forevermore.

 

MAC’S APARTMENT
THE FOLLOWING MORNING

 

“My son is a captain,” Trish gushed when Harm told them the news. It took Trish a second to realize what that meant for Harm and Mac. “But, you can’t go to London, Harm. What about the wedding? What about Mac?”

“Mac has her own promising billet, Mom. And it is only the beginning for Mac. The general seems to think highly of her, and I’m sure that he will recommend her for every post that will advance her career.”

Trish looked over at Mac, who seemed to be humouring Harm. Okay, let him have his say, but it was her decision, so she didn’t really care what the general would offer.

“Oh,” Trish said, glancing at Harm, then back again. “I guess this changes things, right?”

“Yes,” came from Harm.

“No,” Mac said adamantly. “It doesn’t change anything.”

“But Harm said you only have three days.”

“That’s Harm’s version of it, but I have another one. I’ll let you know later, but for now, the wedding plans continue, although we may have to up the date a little.”

Mac felt three pairs of eyes on her.

“What?”

“Why would we up the date,” Harm asked.

“So the general will know he is not going to separate us, Harmon Rabb. You know, for a brilliant man, you can be quite dense at times,” Mac said, softening the comment with a soft kiss.

“How was Mattie last night,” Harm asked, changing the topic of their conversation.

“We didn’t go. We called, and Tom and Eugenie said that we should all come today.”

“Is anything wrong?”

“She said Mattie wanted to surprise you.”

“Since both Mac and I have a lot to do in the next few hours, we should get going now,” Harm said, avoiding Mac’s eyes. “Mac, are you going?”

“Of course,” Mac said.

 

ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
BLACKSBURG, VA
MATTIE JOHNSON’S ROOM

 

It was almost dark by the time Harm and Mac and Frank and Trish arrived. Harm had avoided discussing his promotion, or his new assignment, instead concentrating on the news that Mattie might have. Trish, of course, talked to Mac about changing the wedding date, knowing this would ruin the surprise she had for them.

Harm was in the lead as they walked into Mattie’s room. He stopped so abruptly that Mac ran into him, and Trish ran into her. They didn’t see the smile on Mattie’s face as she looked at Harm. Sliding his arm around Mac, he brought her beside him.

Mattie Grace Johnson was sitting in a wheelchair. It was quite obvious she was in pain, but just sitting up made up for it.

“You can say something now, Harm, I won’t break.”

Harm remembered similar words that Christmas night so long ago when the judge had ruled against him when he requested temporary custody. Thanks to Mac, who had talked to Tom Johnson and the judge, Mattie went to find him at the Viet Nam Memorial. Harm didn’t know what was going on, until Mattie walked up to him.

“What are you doing here,” Harm had asked.

“I’m yours, Mattie had replied.

Mac had explained that Tom had agreed to give Harm temporary custody of Mattie until he could sober up. Mattie had put her arms around Harm.

“You can hug me, you know. I won’t break.” Harm’s heart had been filled with pain, different kinds of pain. One of them had been losing Mattie, so he had put his arms around her, holding her close against him. The Wall behind him reminded him of the loss of his father so many years ago, but it was the pain of losing Mac that was so deep inside his heart, he wondered how he would survive without her.

All those thoughts went through Harm’s mind as he finally rushed over to Mattie, bending down to hug her. Mac gently put her arms around her, followed by Trish and then Frank.

After visiting for over an hour, Harm knew that Mattie would not be a problem in him accepting his new assignment in London. Mac, with pride in her eyes, told them of Harm’s promotion to captain, and his new post.

“Wow, Harm, London! Maybe you’ll get to see Prince William and give him my picture,” Mattie said, making everyone laugh. “And when I’m walking again, I’ll come visit you and Mac. Wow, Captain Rabb. And here you were out of a job when I took pity on you and hired you. I must say, Harm, I taught you well.” The laughter filled the room.

When Harm tired to tell Mattie about Mac’s own good news, Mac took his hand, squeezed it, and spoke before giving him a chance.

“That means that Harm and I will have to get married sooner, but I don’t mind that at all.”

“Harm, you’re being very quiet,” Mattie said.

“I…well…”

“You made me a promise and you don’t want to break it. Look, Harm, as long as Dad knows you’re around to pick up the pieces when he falls off the wagon, he will do it again, so perhaps not having you around will make him face his responsibilities. Besides, with Aunt Genie here, he wouldn’t dare fall of the wagon. Besides, now I really have something to look forward to, Harm. I want to visit you and Mac in London, and I promise you that I will, but I will be walking. Promise me something, Harm, okay?”

“What?”

“How about making a promise to yourself to be happy and to stop worrying about all of us. Mac and you are together, and that is more important than anything else. Dad, Aunt Genie, and my new grandparents will be here for me. Oh, and just because I have them in my life doesn’t mean I don’t need you. I’ll always need you, Captain Harmon Rabb, because I love you.”

The room grew extremely quiet with Mattie’s last words. One by one, they began to leave the room, giving Harm and Mattie some time alone. When Mac made a move to leave, Harm reached out to take her hand, keeping her by his side.

“I always knew you could do it, Mattie,” Harm said, his voice a little shaky. “I never stopped believing in you and I can’t tell you how proud I am of you. Thank you.”

“How can you thank me when I’ve been a pain in your butt from the time you first met me? If you believe in me, Harm, then believe that I will make it because of you, and that you will always be a very important part of my life.”

Mac smiled at both of them. Mattie had come into Harm’s life when things were at their worst, and she had given him back the determination and passion for life that was part of him. Harm had obviously helped Mattie through a very rough period in her own life, and now, both of them were willing to let go. It was an amazing thing to witness. Harm hugged Mattie, holding back the tears, just as Mattie did.

“I love you, Mattie,” Harm said.

“I love you, too, Harm, but now it’s Mac’s turn. She made it possible for us to be together. Can I do the same now? I’ve been very lucky. Mac, I asked you once to take good care of Harm, but now I am asking you to love him for the rest of your lives, and get out of here and go plan your wedding. Harm, I’ll always need you, but not the way I did once, and it’s all thanks to you.”

With her love and those words, Mattie Grace Johnson released Harm from the obligation he had felt to her, thus enabling him to take the promotion he had been offered. More importantly, he was free to love Mac without reservation. Mattie would always be a part of their lives, just as Chloe still was, but the time for Harm and Mac was now.

 

CHAPTER 12

DECISIONS MADE

THE DRIVE BACK FROM BLACKSBURG

 

“You’re very quiet,” Mac said when they were about half way home

“Just thinking,” Harm said, reaching over to grab Mac’s hand. He brought it up to his lips and kissed it before releasing.

“You know, Harm, that can be dangerous,” Mac tried to laugh.

“Ha, ha, Col. MacKenzie. Is that supposed to be funny?”

“Well, depends on what you were thinking of, Harmon Rabb,” Mac teased, her hand going to his leg.

“Be good, Col. MacKenzie. I’m driving, so I can’t ravage you right now like I’m going to do later.”

“Oh, is that what you were thinking about? I like that very much.”

Harm grew quiet again, turning to look at Mac whenever he had a chance. The weather was good, and the traffic was light, but he wasn’t about to take any chances.

“Mac, are you serious about going with me to London?”

“I don’t care if it’s London, D.C., San Diego, or Timbuktu, as long as we’re together, but yes, I am very serious about going with you. Why?”

“I just want you to know that I am equally serious about resigning my commission if it becomes necessary. Both of us have worked hard for our careers, and I don’t think either one of us should have to make such a sacrifice in order to be together.”

Mac looked at Harm. He was doing some serious thinking, wasn’t he? She wanted to hear him out, so she kept quiet. When he didn’t say anything else, she encouraged him to continue.

“So, what are you thinking?”

“I don’t really know, Mac. I’m just so afraid that you will resent me after a few years when you see other women generals when you know you could have been one yourself.”

“But would those women generals have you for a husband? Harm, this is a closed matter.”

“I know it is, but I just think we should consider letting me retire instead of you.”

“No! You’ve just achieved something you’ve dreamed about. You’re Captain Harmon Rabb now, and I won’t take that away from you. Besides, I am so proud of you, I could just…well, never mind, I’m going to do it as soon as we get home anyway. Seriously, Harm, I know you are proud of me, but we will have a lot of things to keep my mind off the military, and I won’t have anyone telling me I can’t love you ever again.”

“That brings up General Cresswell. I think we need to make some decisions very soon. They want you in San Diego in three days, and me in London in the same amount of time. We should inform the general that one of us is not going to accept their post.”

“Hmmmm. You’re right. Perhaps we should tell all our friends at the same time. Maybe even your Mom and Frank can be there as well. Where do you suggest we tell them?”

Mac felt giddy. Harm was finally excepting the fact that they were going to be together, and they were going to be man and wife, and nothing was ever going to separate them again. She saw the smile on his face and felt his hand on her leg, squeezing it, his fingers caressing her higher and higher. She shivered.

“Why not tell them in the bullpen? That way, everyone will be there, and since we are supposed to be going our separate ways, we can tell Bud to bring Harriet in since our time is so limited. The general will be there, so that won’t be a problem.”

“Sounds good to me. When are you being presented your captain’s bars?”

“I don’t know,” Harm said, glancing at Mac. “I hadn’t thought about it.”

“Maybe General Cresswell can do the honours and I can be there to kiss you, and then everyone will know. No, that won’t work. The SECNAV is doing the honours, isn’t he?”

“Yes. I’m glad you remembered, Mac. You’re going to be there, aren’t you?”

“I don’t think the SECNAV will have any objections since we have worked together for nine years. Yes, I’ll be there, and I am not going to be in uniform. Your Mom and Dad can be there also, can’t they?”

“Yes, they can. Okay, let’s plan on telling the general and everyone else right after the ceremony. That way, Mom and Dad can be with us and we’ll just drive over. Hmmm. Not in uniform, huh? Are you doing to drive me wild while I’m taking my oath?”

“You better believe it, Captain Rabb. But your reward will come later.”

“Oh, no. I’ll get my reward in just a few minutes, Mrs. Rabb-to-be. We’re home, and I’m not waiting until tomorrow evening.”

 

HARM AND MAC’S APARTMENT

 

By the time Harm and Mac got home, they were both fully aroused. As they got closer to home, Mac got bolder and bolder, so that when he pulled up into their garage, she had his zipper down and her fingers were wrapped around his hard as steel and burning arousal.

Harm had managed to do his own damage as his fingers had found their way to Mac’s moist heat. Mac would moan every so often for him to hurry.

Now, they were home, and they were on fire as the elevator finally opened on their floor. Harm barely managed to get the door open before they were both reaching for each other. Clothes were strewn from the door to their bed. As it was, they barely made it there. Mac had captured Harm’s lips the second they entered the door, struggling with his belt buckle. Harm had her bra undone and her sweater off within seconds, their lips separating long enough to take off both Harm and Mac’s tops. Taking in a deep breath, Harm ravaged her lips, her mouth and her tongue. Mac had his pants off by then and pulled his boxers off just as they got to the bed. Shoes and all other encumbrances were thrown off as they landed on the bed, their hands exploring their bodies as if for the very first time.

Mac’s soft, yet sultry moans drove Harm into a wild frenzy. His sensuous caresses make Mac tremble with desire, a desire so intense, the rest of the world ceased to exist for her. She could only feel the heat of Harm’s kisses, the wet trail of his tongue, the delicious warmth of his mouth all over her. Putting his hands on her rear, he pulled her up to him, tasting the nectar of her throbbing nub. Mac cried out, her body thrashing against Harm’s, swamped by the burning heat of his body. She exploded, seeing shooting stars, fireworks, and brilliant colours. Every nerve ending was filled with the flames that Harm had created in her. Pulling his face up to hers, Mac devoured him with her kisses, her tongue dueling with his, then taking it into her mouth and sucking on it even as her body continued to thrust against Harm’s hands. She needed him in her now.

Harm felt Mac propel herself into him, her hands all over his body. She bent down to wrap her fingers around his pulsating arousal, causing him to groan loudly. Mac was still floating in the aftermath of her first orgasm, and Harm joined her. Settling himself between her legs, he caressed her folds with his erection, her moist core waiting for him. Harm plunged in, gasping as the emotions enveloped them. Mac’s arms went around his neck, her legs around his rear, pushing him into her.

It didn’t take long. Their foreplay had begun while they were driving home, and now, they plunged, thrashed and burned into one another until the wave of sensations and emotions lifted them to wondrous heights. Their heat became one. Harm plunged in one last time, both of them crying out as their love exploded. Their bodies trembled even as they continued to pummel into the other. The glorious euphoria wrapped them in a cocoon of love, ecstasy, passion, and the union of their souls.

It was to be several minutes before Harm or Mac could speak again. The afterglow continued to fill with pleasure upon pleasure, for their lips sought each other as if they could not exist apart from the other.

Mac buried her face against Harm’s chest, playing the hairs that were wet with perspiration. As their bodies cooled, Harm drew Mac closer to him, if that was possible, continuing to kiss the top of her head and forehead. Putting his fingers under her chin, he lifted her face so he could see her.

“I love you so much, Mac. You are incredible. You made me feel weak, complete, strong, and like I own the world.”

“Hmmm. That’s good, Harm, because I love you even more.”

“You were wild tonight,” Harm teased Mac, bending down to kiss her lightly.

“You drive me wild, Harmon Rabb. Besides, every time I look at you, I can feel your hands on me. When I look into your eyes, I want you inside of me. I’ve became a Harmaholic,” Mac said, her fingers grazing his chest.

Harm laughed, pulling her closer. “A Harmaholic? Don’t you mean a sexaholic?”

“Nope. I don’t want sex with anyone. I want you to make love to me. This isn’t sex, Harm. This is the most incredible lovemaking I’ve ever known. Don’t get comfortable. This night is just beginning.”

Harm laughed again, then groaned.

“Mac, I’m getting old. I’m going to die the happiest man in the world, but it may be before our wedding.”

“Don’t give me that, Harmon Rabb,” Mac sat up, looking down at the man she loved so much. “I’ll make a deal with you, okay?”

“I’m afraid of your deals, Sarah MacKenzie, but what is it?”

“Well, why don’t I go in and take a shower, all by myself. The deal is that you stay out here. You can’t join me.”

“It’s a deal. We’ll see which one of us gives in first.”

Harm surrendered willingly within a few minutes of listening to Mac singing in the shower. She was making up words that were quite provocative.

“What do I get if I lose the deal,” Harm said, grinning at her.

“You get me and I get you.” They did. It was a glorious night for them.

 

JAG HEADQUARTERS
FALLS CHURCH, VA
MONDAY

 

The weekend had been a busy one for Harm and Mac. The wedding date was changed, which meant a disappointment to several people. Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, brought into the conspiracy by Trish Burnett, had arranged for their wedding to be held at Annapolis. Now, they were scrambling around, trying to find a church to hold the wedding within two weeks. By Monday, they had a church and the wedding was to be held on the 14th of May at 2:00 PM.

Harm and Mac were asked to be in General Cresswell’s office very early Monday morning. It was to be their last day at JAG. A farewell party was planned for them. Harm and Mac were not aware yet that the SECNAV had agreed to postpone Harm’s arrival in London for at least three weeks.

The SECNAV, along with General Cresswell, and most of Harm and Mac’s friends were already waiting for them when they arrived on Monday morning along with a rather the large crowd. When they walked into the bullpen, they saw not only their friends, but General Cresswell and the SECNAV waiting for Harm. Harriet and Bud, Varese and Sturgis, were but a few waiting for them. Next to the General, Harm saw his mother and Frank standing there, looking as proud as they could be. Mac saw Lt. Vukovic standing outside her office. She was well aware of exactly what he wanted to discuss with her. He was in for a surprise.

Walking through to stand before General Cresswell and the SECNAV, Mac could see the big smiles on their friends’ faces. Bud was beaming, as was Harriet. They were the only two who knew about their wedding so far.

“Good morning, Captain, Colonel. As you can see, you are about to get quite a sendoff.”

“We should have known,” Mac said. “It isn’t easy leaving all of you behind.”

“Captain Rabb, front and centre,” General Cresswell ordered in his authoritative tone.

“Well, Captain Rabb, despite all our differences, I can truly say you deserve this promotion as well as your new post. Will you raise your right hand, please?” The SECNAV stood before Harm.

The room grew silent as the SECNAV swore Harm in as Captain Harmon Rabb. It was solemn moment for everyone, but Harm knew he was ready to give up his promotion rather than lose Mac. Harm concentrated on Trish as he repeated the vows. He knew his mother was thinking of her late husband, Harmon Rabb, Sr. and how proud he would be of their son. Harm was also thinking of his father. Harmon Rabb, Sr. had been everything Harm had ever wanted to be, and now, as he took the oath, he saw his Mom nod at him. He could also feel Mac beside him, wishing he could turn to her and claim her for all to see. That would come later.

After the brief ceremony ended, the general asked his mother if she would do the honours.

“I think Col. MacKenzie deserves that honour, General Cresswell. She has worked with my son for nine years, and no one knows him better than she does.”

General Cresswell raised an eyebrow. However, he had had ulterior motives in attempting to separate Harm and Mac. He was now waiting to see what their decision would be. Nodding his head at Mac, she stepped up to Harm.

“Gently, Marine,” Harm whispered softly.

Mac remembered those very same words when Harm had received his second Distinguished Flying Cross. Now, this was changing their worlds forever. She reached up and put her hands on either side of his face, then reached up and kissed him on the cheek. She looked at Trish and gestured for her to join her. Trish then did the same thing Mac had done, leaving a bright pink blush on Harm’s face.

The room burst out with applause. Even the SECNAV broke down and congratulated Harm and Mac on their new posts.

“You will be missed here in Washington, Colonel, Captain. If I ever get in trouble again, you may just have to take a leave of absence from your new posts to come bail me out.”

The bullpen was filled with laughter, congratulations, best wishes, and sad thoughts of JAG without Harm and Mac.

“JAG just won’t be the same here, Captain Rabb,” Bud said, loving the sound of Harm’s new rank. “You and the colonel have been there for all of us. We are going to miss you both very much.”

“I feel like crying,” Harriet said, hugging Mac, then Harm. “I was just an Ensign when I first arrived, and both of you have always been there for Bud and I. What would we have done without you?”

“You would have been as happy and as successful as you are now,” Harm said. He so wanted to hug Mac and feel her against him.

The only grim face in the crowd was that of Lt. Gregory Vukovic. He had a sullen look on his face. Even when Sturgis and Bud tried to include him, Vukovic declined.

Sturgis came up to Harm and asked to talk to him privately. They walked into Harm’s office, which would now belong to Sturgis once again.

Harm led the way, knowing that he and Mac would have to talk to the general very soon. Looking at his watch, he realized their appointment with him was in five minutes.

“Am I keeping you from something,” Sturgis asked.

“Mac and I have an appointment with Cresswell in five minutes. I…”

“Harm, give me a minute of your time. I just want you to know that I am very happy for your promotion. I’m sure you would be just as happy if it were the other way around, but then again, that’s you. I’ve made a royal mess of our friendship in the last couple of years, haven’t I? I don’t even know what happened to me. When the CIA offered you a job, for some reason, that made me resent you. No matter what you did, you always seem to land on your feet, and you always came out the hero.”

“Sturgis…”

“Let me finish, Harm, please. You never did anything to me to deserve my attitude. After you left, I thought…well, make that I hoped that Admiral Chegwidden would accept me in your place, but of course, he turned to Mac. None of this has been your fault, and I wanted you to know that before you leave. We’ve been friends for way too long to let it end this way. I’m proud to be your friend, and even prouder of having been a part of your life for so long. Can I ask something?”

“Thank you, Sturgis. You are right. I would be every bit as proud of you if you had gotten this post, and you will someday. Forget the past two years, okay? We have too many good memories to allow a few bad ones ruin something special. By the way, you wouldn’t be interested in renting my apartment, would you? Now what was your question?”

“How is Mac taking all of this? Harm, I know you love her, and it’s obvious she feels the same way about you, yet you two are going…what are you smiling about? Harmon Rabb, you’ve been…”

“I’m smiling because I’m very happy, not just about my professional life, but my personal one as well. As for Mac, well, why don’t I let you hear it with the rest of them, but that ring on her finger…”

“You gave it to her,” Sturgis said, rather loudly. Several heads from the bullpen turned around. “You two have been sneaking around, making us believe that…”

“No, you assumed,” Harm grinned happily. “Now, what about my apartment?”

Within minutes, Sturgis agreed to move into Harm’s old apartment until he and Varese made their own very important decision. Harm could see Mac looking at him. She smiled when she saw Sturgis punch Harm in the shoulder. The two old friends walked out of Harm’s office as they had so long ago.

Harm walked up to Mac, leaned over and whispered in her ear.

“I think it’s time for us to talk to General Cresswell, and I am having a very difficult time keeping my hands off of you.”

Mac moved closer to him until their bodies touched. She knew she was playing with fire, but within a few minutes, everyone would know. Mac excused herself from Bud and Harriet and followed Harm to the general’s office.

Walking into General Cresswell’s office, Harm and Mac had the same thought. They wished Admiral Chegwidden were present. He deserved to be here. Eight years of working under him earned him the right to be there.

“Sit down, Colonel. Captain Rabb, I understand that the SECNAV has spoken to you already about delaying your leave. Is this about your ward, Mattie, Captain Rabb?”

 

GENERAL CRESSWELL’S OFFICE

JAG HEADQUARTERS
FALLS CHURCH, VA

 

“In a way, Sir, but there’s more to it than just Mattie.”

“You do know that the Navy will be more than happy to transfer her to London as soon as she is ready to travel. I’m sure you may want to wait so that you can be with her, but this new post of yours is much too important for you to keep delaying it.”

“I know, Sir,” Harm said, turning to look at Mac. “The Colonel and I have something to discuss with you.”

“I’m not going to like this, am I,” General Cresswell said, trying to look very stern.

“I guess it depends, General,” Mac said. “I’ve met your family, and I know that you are a happily married man.”

“True, Mac, but I didn’t fall in love with my partner,” the general’s words shocked them.
Looking from one to the other, Cresswell waited, wondering which one of them would be the first one to tell him.

“Unfortunately, we weren’t as wise as you, General,” Harm said, reaching out for Mac’s hand. “We certainly didn’t plan it this way, but Mac and I have been in love with one another for a very long time. Our careers have kept us apart for nine years, and the thought of being so far apart, well…let’s just say we’ve made our decision.”

“What’s your decision,” the general asked, a little wary.

“We’re getting married, and it will affect one or both of us.”

“No, just one of us,” Mac interrupted.

“Wait, before you tell me which one of you is going to retire, may I remind you, Captain Rabb, that your position could lead to your sitting in this chair. As for your, Colonel MacKenzie, I’m sure your position will lead to a promotion for you in a very short time. I know how you feel, damn it, everyone here knows how you feel about each other, but don’t throw away your careers.”

“Mac and I have put off acting upon our feelings for nine long years. Once we get married, I don’t want my wife to be almost six thousand miles away from me. I’m not interested in a long-distance marriage. I’m more than willing to give up my career, even if it means giving up the rank I have held for all of a few minutes. We’ve already wasted too much time…”

“What about you, Colonel,” the general interrupted Harm. “Are you also willing to give up the career you have fought so hard to achieve? Are both of you willing to let the other one resign, because if you do, it could cause resentment later on, and guilt for the one who does not resign. Have you given that any thought?”

“We have, Sir,” Mac replied, stepping closer to Harm. “He’s right, General. Once we’re married, we don’t want to be separated. Our careers have kept us apart for much too long. I have given a lot of thought to feeling resentful, or guilty, but I believe that our love, which has remained strong all these years, will more than make up for it. The idea of spending the rest of my life without him is not even an option for me anymore.”

“So, have you determined which one of you is going to resign,” Cresswell asked, stalling for time.

“Yes, Sir,” Mac replied.

“May I make a suggestion before you give me your answers, Colonel, Captain? It could be very important to you.”

“Only if you don’t try to talk us out of getting married,” Harm said, his arm now around Mac’s waist. “It wasn’t an easy decision for us to make, but now that we have, we refuse to be talked out of it. So, Sir, whatever your suggestion may be, it will not change our minds about our marriage.”

“I won’t do that. As I said, it’s obvious to everyone that you two are very much in love. I tried separating you, but when you were together again, we could all see the difference. I haven’t been here that long, but I’ve heard enough about the incomparable team of Rabb and MacKenzie that it wasn’t difficult to see the connection between the two of you. Since you are both willing to give up your careers, would you consider leaving the decision up to a toss of a coin?” General Cresswell was never very good at acting.

Harm looked at Mac. Somehow, he suspected something was going on and when he saw the look in her eyes, he knew she did too.

“No. We’re getting married, and a toss of a coin isn’t going to change anything. Besides, what would be decided by a coin toss anyway? Our wedding date is already set. We would like to go out and announce it to our friends as well, what with the farewell party about to start. I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you, General, but I refuse to give Mac up now.” Harm felt Mac squeezing his hand, letting him know she supported him.

There was a knock at the door and General Cresswell knew it was time. He shrugged his shoulders, as if in defeat, but Harm and Mac weren’t buying it. The door opened and Coates announced that the farewell party was underway.

“Congratulations on your upcoming marriage, and your promotion, Captain Rabb. I am still hoping you will reconsider the post in San Diego, Colonel MacKenzie. Shall we join the party?” The general was eager to see Harm and Mac’s reaction to their surprise.

Harm and Mac breathed a sigh of relief. They had told their commanding officer, and now, all Mac had to worry about was their wedding and preparing for the trip to London. Harm whispered ‘I love you’ to Mac before heading out of the general’s office. They were about to be very pleasantly surprised.

Standing in the centre of the bullpen was none other than Ret. Admiral A.J. Chegwidden with a big smile on his face. Harm and Mac were stunned, but very happy to see him. Mac ran to her former commanding officer and gave him a hug, which he returned with genuine affection. A.J. then turned to Harm and shook his hands.

“Well, Captain Rabb, you made it. You know it’s thanks to me that you were offered this post, don’t you?”

Laughter was heard throughout the crowded room.

“If I hadn’t kept you under control for nine years, General Cresswell wouldn’t have been able to recommend you for the post. Congratulations, Captain Rabb. Congratulations to you as well, Colonel MacKenzie. You’ll make full colonel in no time.”

The nice surprise of seeing Chegwidden postponed Harm and Mac’s announcement for several minutes as old friends caught up. Trish and Frank walked up to the man who had played such an important part in their son’s life. General Cresswell saw the closeness and sincere respect between Chegwidden and all those who had worked under him. He smiled, hoping that someday he would earn their respect and admiration as well. The general had noticed that Lt. Vukovic was not joining in on the festivities, instead staying close by Mac’s office door.

Just then, Cresswell heard Chegwidden trying to get his attention.

“Well, did they go for it?”

“No. Captain Rabb said the toss of a coin will not change their plans, so he refused.”

“Humph. That’s going to spoil our plans.”

“Maybe they will listen to you, Admiral.”

“They don’t know that I’m aware of their impending wedding. Trish, Frank and I have been keeping very quiet about knowing each other. Do you have any idea which one of them is going to retire?”

“Not for sure, but I suspect it’s the colonel. Those two have stars in their eyes. How did you manage to keep them apart so long?”

“Believe me, Cresswell, it wasn’t me. They both have a healthy respect for their careers, and Harm’s integrity and honour would never allow him to risk hurting Mac’s career. Of course, she felt the same way about Harm’s career, so it’s good to see them together at last. Well, I guess our plans are spoiled, unless I can come up with something. Let me go talk to them.”

Harm and Mac were standing with Bud and Harriet. Seeing the four of them together, A.J. got an idea.

“So, Captain Rabb, are you taking Commander Roberts with you as your assistant?”

“I tried, Sir, but he and Harriet have a family here, their home, and well, it just wasn’t in the cards. The move would have been difficult with four small children.”

“I see. So, Bud, did Harriet make your mind up for you?” The admiral’s gruff question shocked everyone.

Harriet’s mouth opened in shock, and then the blush came over her face. She could see Bud’s uneasiness as well. Chegwidden was right. She had not wanted to go to London, and although Bud had been excited about it, she had managed to let him think he had changed his mind.

“Admiral, I did no such thing,” Harriet said, trying unsuccessful to sound indignant.

“Now, Harriet, we all know you too well. Now, if Harm and Mac would have ever gotten together, there was no way Mac was going to order Harm around.”

It was then that Harriet realized that the admiral was up to something. She decided to go along with him, wondering if he knew about the wedding. Trish had kept most of the details secret from everyone except Admiral Chegwidden, and of course, Frank. Even Mac was not aware of the full details of their plans.

“Maybe that’s why they aren’t together, A.J. I can’t see Harm allowing Mac to make his mind up about anything. Besides, Mac’s…” Cresswell decided to lend a helping hand.

“Yes, I noticed. Mac’s engaged. And just who is the lucky man, Colonel?”

Mac looked over at Harm, knowing it was time for them to make their announcement. Somehow, there wouldn’t be that many shocked looks, except for one.

“You may be wrong about that one, Admiral. Harm, are you ready?”

Harm had been by her side most of the morning, so when he put his arm around her waist and pulled her to him, no one was too surprised, no one, that is, except Lt. Vukovic. Oh, he had suspected, but he couldn’t believe it until he heard the words.

“Gather around everyone. Mac and I have an announcement to make.” They looked around waiting, and then Harm pulled Mac to him, and kissed her on the lips. It wasn’t a goodbye kiss - that much was clear as her arms went around his neck. They broke apart before their kiss got out of hand and looked at their friends.

“Harm and I are getting married,” Mac said, leaning her head on his shoulder. He bent down to kiss her on the forehead.

The roar of the their friends was deafening as congratulations were yelled out once again. Everyone was trying to hug and kiss Mac and Harm, separating them from each other. Harm didn’t notice the look that passed between Cresswell and Chegwidden. He was too busy being kissed, hugged and congratulated yet again. No one noticed that Lt. Vukovic left the room, heading for the stairs.

“So, Colonel MacKenzie, that rock on your finger came from Captain Rabb,” A.J. teased a little.

“And you didn’t even notice it,” Mac said, somehow remembering how observant he had been when she was wearing Mic’s ring.

“Oh, I noticed, Mac. How could I miss it? You finally got it right this time, huh? As for you, Harm, you finally decided to do something about it before some other man came along and took her away again.”

“They would have to get through me first,” Harm said, grinning and finally reaching Mac.

“So, Captain Rabb, how is this going to affect your careers, or has Mac already told you what you are going to do.” A.J. knew he was pushing it, but he so wanted to surprise them.

“Mac is allowing him to do what he wants,” Mac said, making everyone laugh. “As for our jobs, there’s no question about what we are going to do.”

“Just like that? I can’t believe that one of your is willing to give up your career for love.”

“You’ve known us long enough to appreciate how difficult it’s been for both of us. Yes, we did honour our commitment to our careers, but now, well, we don’t want to put our lives on hold any longer.”

“I can understand that, but can I suggest something? I know how devoted and loyal you two are to your careers, so why not let me toss a coin to decide which one of you is going to resign their commission? That way Mac can’t say later that you asked her to resign, or you can’t blame Mac either. It will be up to fate.”

“No, it’s already been decided,” Mac insisted, looking at Harm, then at Cresswell. What were they up to? Harm smiled at Mac, nodding slightly. “Okay, do it your way. What’s the point of the coin toss?”

“Well, I know that you are very proud of your new status, Captain Rabb. And I also know that you are equally as proud of your new command, Colonel MacKenzie. If you two are so sure of your love for one another, why not let a coin toss decide your future? Bud, do you happen to have my JAG coin with you, by any chance?”

“Yes, Sir. I always carry it with me for luck,” Bud said. Harriet smiled, relieved in the knowledge that A.J. had had a good reason to tease her about being Bud’s bossy wife.

“I don’t know about this, Admiral,” Harm said, his arm tightening around Mac. “I offered to resign, but…”

“No, don’t tell us. Let the toss of a coin decide,” General Cresswell said, stepping up next to Mac. “With Admiral Chegwidden here, it would be special for both of you. I’ve heard you don’t take ‘no’ for an answer, Captain Rabb.”

“Be careful, or he’ll shoot a gun into a courtroom ceiling,” A.J. said, making everyone laugh.

“How about it? If you don’t like the way the coin lands, we’ll just ignore it, or you can shoot it,” A.J. said.

In order to humour them, Harm looked at Mac, knowing that their life would not be decided by the toss of a coin. They agreed just to put an end to their teasing.

“Bud, you’re on. Who wants to call it?” A.J. and Cresswell were now standing opposite each other.

“The bride-to-be will call it,” Harriet said, making everyone laugh when A.J. said that she had spoken for Bud.

Bud tossed the coin, after showing them both sides of it, and everyone watched as it kept climbing up higher and higher. When it started to make its descent, no one noticed that A.J. had moved in closer. As the coin came tumbling down, both Cresswell and A.J. reached for it, but being so much taller, A. J. was the one to catch it.

“What…” Harm looked at A.J. So this was what he had been up to. He had just wanted to tease both of them by getting them to agree. Catching it triumphantly, the admiral turned to a surprised Harm and Mac.

“Now we’ll never know who goes and who stays, but Cresswell, since I had the advantage because of my height, I’ll let you tell them.” A.J. had a huge grin on his face as he clutched the coin tightly.

“Well, since the admiral filled me in on the long relationship between you two, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Oh, the posts are real, and your promotion is just as valid, except for one small detail. Colonel MacKenzie, the San Diego post is already filled, and has been for quite sometime now. You’ve been chosen to command the prototype program in no other than London, England. The SECNAV, who regretfully could not stay to enjoy this part of our conspiracy, Admiral Chegwidden and I worked on this plan for several weeks. San Diego might have been a great location, but the London post is a career boost for both of you. It will indeed prepare you for my job, Harm. As for you Colonel, you can follow Harm when he retires or moves up. Colonel, you will be doing the same thing in London that you would have done in San Diego, but you and Captain Rabb will not be under the same command, thereby making your marriage legal. Otherwise, we’d have to court martial you for breaking all the rules in the UCMJ when it comes to relationships. Any objections?”

Speechless, and stunned, Harm and Mac could only nod in agreement. Applause broke out this time, bringing tears to Mac and Trish’s eyes. Even Trish had not known about this scheme. It was nearly 1100 hours before the office settled down enough in order for them to get back to work.

Cresswell, Chegwidden, Trish, Frank, Harm and Mac went out to lunch. It had been quite an exciting day, and Harm felt such a relief when he realized that Mac would not have to give up her career. Fate had indeed kept them apart for a very long time, but somehow, fate seemed to be shining down upon them now.

 

CHAPTER 13

LOTS OF SURPRISES!

JAG HEADQUARTERS
FALLS CHURCH, VA

 

Mac had asked Coates to go with her, but as much as Jen had looked forward to going to San Diego, she didn’t care to go to London. Harm had thought about asking Sturgis to go with him, but when he heard about Varese, and saw them together, he knew that separating them would be as difficult for them as it would have been for him to be to separated from Mac.

Thus had begun the urgent job of going over existing files of personnel that were stationed in London. Lt. Vukovic had made his plea one more time, but Mac would not listen to him.

“You need to learn how to be a lawyer with honour and integrity, Lt. Vukovic, before anyone would consider taking you with them. If Admiral Chegwidden had been here, you would have been kicked out after your very first case.”

Lt. Vukovic had argued, angering Mac even more, until Harm had walked up to help her out.

“Is anything wrong,” Harm asked, looking at Mac. He recognized the look in her eyes.

“Just wondering why neither you nor the colonel will consider taking me with you,” Vukovic replied.

“Did the colonel tell you why?”

“I don’t think her reasons are valid ones, especially since I’ve heard about some of the things you’ve done, Captain Rabb.” Lt. Vukovic should have never uttered those words.

“Just what have you heard about me? I’d like to know.”

“I…well…you take matters into your hands, and…”

“I don’t hire actors to act as witnesses to win my case. Being a JAG lawyer means not only representing this office, but the military and our country as well. From the little knowledge I have of you, and from the way you handled our case, I would say you’re not the kind of officer our country needs. You can’t get to the top with your looks, Vukovic. To succeed in this office you need to put your selfish needs behind you and think about the men and women you represent. You need to learn that the truth is the most important part of being here at JAG. You should also look up the meaning of the words ‘integrity’ and ‘honour’, as you will be needing them.”

“You may think that of me because you’ve already gotten away with all your misguided…”

“Don’t even say it, Vukovic. I got where I am the hard way. I made mistakes and paid for every one of them, but I never cheated the system, even if it isn’t perfect.”

“Yeah, well, is that why the general is sending you to London, so he can get you out of here, while I will be…”

“Transferred as soon as possible,” came General Cresswell’s voice. Only Mac had seen the general approaching them. She didn’t warn either Harm or Vukovic. Perhaps it was time for the general to know what kind of man the young lieutenant was. Now, they all turned to look at him.

“Sir, I didn’t mean…”

“No, you didn’t, did you? You will be out of here by morning, and I will recommend to your next commanding officer that he watch you very closely. Captain Rabb is right. We, our country and this office, don’t need a man like you to make matters worse. As for your attempts at trying to get Colonel MacKenzie to take you with her, you will answer for your actions. Dismissed, Lt. Vukovic.”

“Sir, I didn’t mean for Vuko…”

“I know you didn’t, Captain Rabb. I’m not quite as blind as I seem to be at times. I let certain things go, but when I learned about some of Vukovic’s indiscretions, I began to investigate him a little closer. I doubt he will remain in the Navy for long unless he changes his ways. I was hoping that either you or Mac could help him, but unfortunately for him, he doesn’t learn easily. How are the wedding plans coming?”

“Everything is set,” Mac said, seeing the look of guilt on Harm’s face. Despite the young officer’s insubordinate behaviour, she knew that Harm did not want to hurt his career.

“Captain Rabb, it wasn’t your fault,” General Cresswell said, also aware of Harm’s feelings regarding Vukovic. “I gave him several chances. He surprised me a couple of times, but he went too far with his behaviour towards the colonel. If he learns anything from either one of you, perhaps he will make it. Well, good luck on your wedding plans, and we’ll see you there.”

This conversation had taken place just a couple of days after Harm and Mac had announced their engagement.

 

A FUN EVENING
WITH OLD FRIENDS

 

The past week had been a rather special one for Harm and Mac. After seeing Admiral Chegwidden at the farewell party for them, they went to visit their former commanding officer. It had turned into an all day celebration, especially when they decided to call the Roberts and invite them over. Harriet had gotten a babysitter and joined the party. Sturgis and Varese showed up as well. Harm could see that Sturgis was finally a man very much in love. He could only hope that Sturgis wouldn’t make his mistakes and wait too long. Trish and Frank had returned to their home in La Jolla for a few days before the wedding.

“So, Captain Rabb, how does it feel to finally be with the woman you love,” A.J. asked Harm, clapping his hand on his shoulder.

“It makes me wonder what kind of fool I’ve been all these years.”

“Well, I could agree with that, but knowing you, and Mac as well, I know that your careers are very important to you. Neither one of you would have done anything to damage the other one. Now, you won’t have to.”

“You and General Cresswell had it all planned out, didn’t you,” Mac asked.

“Biff and I have talked…”

“Biff?” Harm, Mac, Bud and Harriet said in unison.

“Oh, I forgot. That’s a nickname he’s had for years, but only very close and old friends can call him that, so whatever you do, don’t call him ‘Biff.’ He just might take away your captain’s bars and forget about transferring you out.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Damn it, Harm, you can call me A.J. I’m not your commanding officer anymore. Do your want to hear about our scheme or not.”

They all nodded as they got comfortable. Harm and Mac were sitting close together. As much as they were enjoying this impromptu party, they were also looking forward to being alone. For the next ten minutes, A.J. entertained them on how he had talked to ‘Biff’ to inquire about Mattie. It was only then that Harm learned that A.J. had been to visit Mattie several times.

“She never told me,” Harm said, surprised.

“She was still in a coma, so she had no idea. I didn’t want to intrude when I heard that you were taking it pretty hard. You know, Harm, you’ve surprised me with the manner in which you have handled this matter with Mattie.”

“Thank you, A.J.”

“Biff called me about two months ago. He wanted to know more about you and Mac. I wondered if the two of you had done anything that would land you in trouble.”

Harm and Mac looked at each other, knowing they had broken certain rules. Harm squeezed Mac’s hand, in essence telling her that he was not sorry. She repaid the gesture.

“After I told him what a brilliant team you were in the field, Biff asked me about your personal lives. He wanted to know if I had ever had to discipline either one of you.”

“I hope you didn’t tell him about my shooting the gun…”

“He already knew, Harm. When your mother called me to tell me that you two were getting married, I didn’t know what to do. If I told General Cresswell, he might file charges against one, or both of you. At best, he would separate you. Needless to say, I kept quiet. Biff called me a week ago. He told me about the possibilities of the two of you being transferred. When I heard all the details, we conspired to get the two of you together. If you thought you were going to be separated in this manner, one of you would do something. I still didn’t tell him that I knew you were planning on getting married. I’m sure Biff will be calling me about that soon. Good thing I’m retired.”

“Whose idea was it to toss a coin,” Mac asked.

“We didn’t really think of it until we both realized that neither one of you was going to give the other one up. We figured that Harm would retire since he has twenty years in, but then again, we wondered if you would give up the Marines, Mac. After all, they do say that love is the most powerful emotion in the world.”

“It is,” Harm said, glancing at Mac, seeing the same look in her eyes. “And you’re right. Mac had finally convinced me to let her give up her post since it was a prototype and might not get future funding if it did not meet the SECNAV’s expectations. I know that with Mac commanding it, it would not only meet their expectations, but surpass them.”

“How did you get him to agree to that,” Harriet asked.

“It wasn’t easy. We argued, discussed it, but in the end, he finally agreed. After all, he had just gotten not only a prestigious assignment, but a promotion as well. I didn’t want him to give it up for me, for us.”

“So when did you come up with the coin toss,” Harm asked.

“Actually, it was Bud’s idea, or something he said,” A.J. answered. “We ran into each other about five days ago. He thanked me again for the coin I had given him when I left. He said he kept it with him all the time for good luck. I’ll have to admit that it wasn’t until I was talking to Biff, and he told me your reactions to your new assignments that the idea came to me. He thought it was a great idea, but putting it into action was a little more difficult since you two are so damn stubborn. Anyway, it worked, didn’t it?”

Everyone laughed, asking questions about what he would have done if they hadn’t agreed to it. A.J. had said that they didn’t know what they were going if they hadn’t gone along with it, but he knew that Cresswell would have come up with something.

“You know, A.J.,” Mac said, “I was quite content with not working, at least not at first, I mean, not after we got married. I wanted to be at home. I do appreciate all that you and ‘Biff’…”

“Mac, don’t you dare,” A.J. warned.

“Okay, General Cresswell then. I do appreciate what both of you did for us.”

After dinner, all Harm and Mac could do was think of excuses to leave. A.J. was really enjoying watching Harm and Mac. He wondered how they had managed to stay away from each other for so long. Sturgis and Varese were also anxious to leave.

“Commander Turner,” A.J. said. “When will we be getting an invitation to your wedding?”

“I…we…well…”

“We haven’t discussed marriage yet,” Varese bailed Sturgis out, but she would have been surprised at his thoughts.

 

HARM AND MAC’S APARTMENT
EIGHT DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING

 

It was now eight days until their wedding. Now that everyone knew about it, the wedding plans just seemed to get bigger and bigger although Mac was trying desperately to keep everything small. Once the word had gotten out, everyone had insisted on helping. Varese would be singing the songs Harm and Mac had selected.

The visits to Mattie had become less and less, even though they were keeping her up to date on all the wedding plans. Mac had tried on her wedding dress and had Harriet tape her in it so that Mattie could feel she was part of it all. By then, Mattie was in a private room that had both a television set, and a recorder. Mattie had the biggest smile on her face when she saw Mac looking so beautiful in her bridal gown. Harm had tried to get Mattie to show him the tape, but she had given it to nurses so that he wouldn’t get his hands on it. Mattie continued to make progress every day, as did Tom.

Harm had been dreading this night. Trish had insisted that Mac should stay with her until after the wedding, and that Frank would stay with Harm. It was going to be the longest week of his life, Harm realized.

 

YET ANOTHER SURPRISE

 

However, tonight belonged to them. Harm and Mac had gotten their wedding license. Their pre-marital physicals had been taken care of, and both of them were pronounced fit for marriage. All the plans were finalized. No official invitations had been sent out due to the lack of time, but the phones had been busy. Everyone would be present at their wedding that were special to Harm and Mac, and that was all that mattered. They would be married in the presence of their close friends.

Mac had ordered a special dinner for them that evening and was waiting for Harm to arrive. He had been in meetings with the SECNAV and the officer he was replacing in London. At 1830, Mac began lighting all the candles. It would be their last night together in this apartment, so she wanted it to be a memorable night. She smiled as she lit the candles, knowing that any night with Harm would be memorable, but tonight, it would be even more so.

At 1852, Mac heard the key in the lock. She knew Harm was home. She had selected one of his favourite outfits to wear, knowing it would not stay on for very long. It was a long, flowing hostess gown in blue-green silk. Deciding to make things easier for them, Mac opted not to wear anything underneath it.

Looking towards the door, Mac stood by the table. The apartment was pretty much dismantled by now, but they still had the table and chairs, which Coates was taking after they left, and their bed, which was going to Lt. Graves.

Harm walked in and immediately inhaled the sensual scent of the candles. The apartment was lit only by their soft glow, but all Harm could see was his beloved Mac. Harm tossed his briefcase on a box, staring at Mac. She was a vision of perfection. His heart seemed to stop for several seconds, before it began to race. It was only when his lungs begged for oxygen that he realized he had been holding his breath. She was so beautiful.

“God, Mac, how I love you. You are so beautiful. You’re my every dream,” Harm’s voice wavered, then trembled as he watched her walk towards him.

“And I love you, Harm, so much I ache all over. I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be loved by you.” By then, Harm had taken several steps and they were standing face to face, their breathing ragged.

“Can dinner wait,” Harm asked as he dipped his head down to capture her lips, but stopped before kissing her. He loved looking at her face, knowing he would feel and taste them soon enough.

Mac didn’t answer. They stood facing each other, enjoying every second of what they knew was the beginning of a wondrous night for them. No, Mac didn’t answer Harm. Her eyes answered for her.

With the most delicious slowness, Mac watched as Harm made love to her with his eyes. They traveled from the top of her head, to her prominent breasts, down to her long legs, and to her fingers. He picked one hand up and drew it to him, kissing each finger before taking it into his mouth and savoring its taste. Mac shivered from his touch. Harm then took her other hand, and did the same thing, driving her wild with desire. They had not kissed yet, but their bodies were already on fire.

Mac unbuttoned Harm’s shirt, slowly, looking up at him each time she succeeded in getting rid of one more button. She would then lean in and kiss the hot flesh that showed beneath his shirt. Harm realized he was holding his breath again when he felt her lips on his stomach. He gasped when he felt the heat of her wet tongue. Harm’s fingers gently danced across Mac’s breasts, his thumbs caressed her nipples.

During all this time, Harm and Mac never broke eye contact, even as they walked, ever so slowly to the bedroom. When he had touched her nipples over the fabric of her caftan, he knew she was not wearing underwear, arousing him even more. He allowed his imagination to feel the silkiness of her skin, even though her caftan was still between them. The reason Harm loved this particular caftan so much was because all he had to do was pull the zipper down a little, and it would fall to the floor. He waited, wanting her to know how he felt about her.

“No woman has ever made me feel this way, Mac. All the sensations that you bring out in me during our lovemaking is still so new to me. Every day I think I love you more than it’s possible, but the next day, I realize I love you even more. Your smile makes my heart beat faster. I don’t want just your body. I want your heart, your soul, and most importantly, I want to be a part of you for the rest of our lives. I am yours forever, Mac.” Harm bent down to kiss Mac, but she drew away. She was shaking so much, she knew that if Harm hadn’t been holding her up, she would surely fall. Looking into his beautiful eyes, Mac told Harm how she felt about him.

“Sometimes I wish I were a poet so I could tell you make me feel,” Mac said, her fingers caressing his face. “Every time I look at you, I wonder how I got to be this lucky. You make me feel like a woman for the first time in my life. I didn’t know I could feel this way, and when you touch me, you bring out emotions and feelings in me that I never even knew existed. I love the way you make love to me, but I love you just as much when we are at work and I look at you across a crowded room. When you turn to me, the earth seems to tremble and everyone else disappears. I am yours so completely, I feel as if I am part of you, even when we are apart. I love you, Harmon Rabb, my soon to be husband, and I will love you more every day for the rest of our lives.”

The softly spoken words of love only made their passion more intense as finally, Harm bent down to capture Mac’s lips in a devastatingly hungry kiss. His hands went to the back of her dress. He pulled the zipper down slowly and her dress fell to the floor like a whisper. She stood before him as naked as the day she was born. When he gazed at her, it almost brought tears to his eyes. Her eyes were filled with so much love, he could not swallow or take a breath. He could just drink in her beauty.

Mac pulled his shirt off as he unbuckled his belt and quickly began to dispense of his pants. His shoes had been left in the living area, along with the rest of his clothes. Like Mac had done, Harm began to caress her exposed skin, first with his fingers, then with open-mouthed kisses as he left a wet trial with his tongue, tasting her shoulders. Unable to stand any longer, they fell on the bed. Mac grabbed Harm’s boxers and pulled them off as she felt the warmth of his mouth envelop one of her breasts. The sensation of his gentle suckling was almost unbearable, but she wanted so much more as she pushed her breast into his mouth, murmuring for him to nurse from her. Harm barely heard her through the fog that was beginning to fill his entire being. He went from one breast to the other one as one of his hands traveled down her body.

Her moans becoming louder, Mac wrapped her fingers around Harm’s beautiful arousal. She felt it pulsating in her hand as her fingers traveled up and down. She heard Harm growl, adding to the already intense heat. She needed to taste him, but just then, Harm had reached her throbbing nub, his thumb encircling it. With the pressure from his suckling, which now matched the pressure on her nub, Mac’s body went still. The flames erupted all around her, filling every tiny nerve in her body, leaving her shaking, calling out Harm’s name repeatedly. She thrashed under him, around him, and beside him as she soared to a heaven only Harm could create for her. She felt the tears burn her eyes at the beauty of their love.

Harm finally moved up and captured Mac’s lips once again. Their tongues collided and danced together, building the fire once again. Mac moaned softly as Harm’s burning arousal caressed her folds, then settled against her still aching nub. The touch of him in such an intimate way made Mac go wild. She released Harm’s lips and turned him over on his back.

“I…I…I…nee…need…to…ta…taste you,” Mac said, as she made her way down.

Trying to stop her, Harm grabbed her arms, but she would not let him. She saw him throbbing and kissed the tip of his arousal, then ran her tongue across it. Harm knew he couldn’t take this much longer. Reaching for her again, he gasped as he felt her swallow him, the walls of her mouth burning him. Instinct made him push into her, but his love for her stopped him. He reached down and grabbed her arms, lifting her up to him, turning her over, then taking her lips hostage once again. He knew they couldn’t wait much longer.

“Now…pl…please,” Mac whimpered. “Oooooohhhhhh,” she cried out as Harm plunged into her.

Harm stopped breathing once again. She immediately pulled him in, holding him in a tight vise as the sensations swamped over them, leaving them weak. Nothing existed but Harm and Mac and their love. He began to throb inside of her, making her wet walls tighten around him, and their dance of lovers commenced. Their bodies propelled into and against each other, overwhelming them with even more unknown sensations they were just now discovering. Harm was in so deep in Mac, there was no separation between them. No ending and no beginning, for they were completely, wholly, and forever one. The warm, dancing ripples turned into a torrent of flaming waves spilling over them, filling them with the wondrous, but so welcomed euphoria. They went higher and higher until there was no place else to go and their passion erupted with a force that was ecstatically intimate and blissfully magical. Their dance had taken them to the very gates of Heaven, where they floated through as Harm’s love poured into Mac, and hers washed over him. Their bodies shuddered, and their lips sought each other again.

It has been written that making love takes only seven minutes from the beginning of foreplay, to the actual orgasm. Harm and Mac had never read that. They had been making love for almost an hour, and every single second of it had been a mystical wonder. Their journey through the stars, through the blinding light, and to the soft clouds that carried them gently back to their bed had lasted much longer than seven minutes.

The tremours continued to fill their bodies, and their kisses seemed neverending. It had been not only magical, but exquisitely intimate, bringing Harm and Mac even closer to the other. Harm held himself up, then rolled over, gathering Mac close to him. It was several minutes before their breathing became almost normal and their voices stopped trembling enough to allow them to talk.

Mac was so happy, and now she had to tell Harm about the results of her physical. She waited until she could speak normally, or at least more coherent than a few minutes earlier.

“You keep surprising me, Harm. It just keeps getting better all the time.”

“You make it better, Mac,” Harm said, kissing the top of her head. “You make me better.”

“Hmmmm. I agree. You make me better too. Harm, I have something to tell you.” Mac repositioned herself so that her elbow was on the pillow and her head was resting on the palm of her hand.

“Don’t tell me you’ve decided not to marry me,” Harm teased.

“Not a chance, Sailor. You aren’t going anywhere without me. No, this is about the physical I had last week. I was supposed to see my gynecologist for a checkup, and when I told her I was getting married, she said to wait until I was ready, as long as it was before the wedding.”

Harm sat up, fear filling his heart. He looked into Mac’s eyes, trying to read them, but she was looking down. He pulled her to him. Please, God, he couldn’t lose her now. He couldn’t talk from the fear that made his mouth dry.

“The endometriosis,” Harm asked, when Mac finally looked at him.

“Well, there was something unusual, so she ran several tests.”

“Mac, you’re killing me. Forget about our trip to London. I want you to have…”

“Harm, wait until you hear me out. Do you remember that I was going to ask the doctor for birth control pills so that we could take care of Mattie and wait until later to have our own baby?”

“Yes, although I had forgotten about it. Is something wrong?”

“Well, I can’t go on birth control pills,” Mac said, burying her head in his chest and kissing him.

“Is it the endome…”

“No, it’s something else,” Mac said. Looking up into Harm’s eyes, she smiled at him.

“What?”

“I’m pregnant. That’s why I can’t go…”

“You’re pregnant? I mean, you’re…we’re…you’re going to have a baby, our baby?”

“Yes, my love, I’m going to have our baby. From the date I gave her, and from the tests she ran, I am about six, maybe even seven weeks pregnant.”

“Oh, Mac,” Harm said, taking her in his arms again, his lips seeking hers. A thought came to him. “Is there a possibility I hurt the baby?”

“How could you hurt our baby,” Mac asked, her fingers stroking the hairs on his chest.

“What if I hurt the baby, Mac? I can’t keep my hands off of you, and well, you’re pregnant. You should be…”

“Making love with my wonderful husband to be. Don’t worry, Harm, I talked to her. She laughed when I told her that we were very sexually active, saying that she knew why I had conceived so quickly.”

“What about you? How are you feeling? I’ve heard that women get very tired in the early stages of their pregnancy. Also, what about being nauseous? Are you okay, Mac?”

“I’m perfectly healthy, as the doctor has pronounced me so. Stop worrying. I’m almost reluctant to tell you the only change I’ve felt…”

“Tell me,” Harm said, the concern on his face making Mac smile.

“Well, my breasts are a little tender…”

“Then I’ll have to keep my hands and mou…”

“I’ll tell you when it’s time for that, Harmon Rabb. You know, tonight, when you took them in your mouth, it felt so good, better than usual. I know that’s my most sensitive area, well, second most sensitive…”

“Sarah MacKenzie, you are incorrigible.”

“I’m also a woman very much in love with you, and now I’m carrying your child, our child, the one we promised each other a long time ago.”

“We’ll just have to make sacrifices, Mac.”

“Not when it comes to that, Harm. You know how you make me feel when your mouth is around them, when you nurse from them. It’s an incredible feeling, and tonight it was even more…”

“We’re going to have to change our…” Harm was getting aroused just listening to Mac talk. He had to restrain himself. Mac’s next words and actions were not going to make it easy for him.

“Oh, no we don’t,” Mac said, getting on top of Harm and straddling him. “I told her that I have this gorgeous, sexy, hunky lover that I can’t get enough of, and she said it won’t hurt the baby. She even said that there are some men who seem to desire their wives more when they are pregnant, and there are women who become more, shall we say, needy, when they are pregnant. Guess what, I’m one of them.” Mac grinned happily.

“Mac…”

Harm was lost in the wonder of Mac’s kisses, his words stilled by her lips on his, her tongue seeking his. No matter how much Harm tried to get Mac to stop, she wouldn’t let him. Oh, truth be told, Harm could have put a stop to it, but by then, Mac had him so aroused it would have taken ten men to get him away from Mac, and he wasn’t about to let ten men see his beloved Mac without any clothes!

Harm and Mac were eating dinner at midnight. They had talked and decided not to tell anyone about the pregnancy. They had an appointment to see the doctor the following week to so that Harm could hear the news from the doctor and get his own reassurances that the trip would not be harmful to Mac or their baby.

Learning very quickly that Mac had been right, Harm kept looking at her body in a much different way, touching her still flat stomach, then bending down to kiss it. He would talk to the baby, then look up to see Mac smiling at him. Somehow, her body seemed more sensuous, more desirable, and with Mac being one of the “needy” ones, their last night together before they got married was a very good “rehearsal” for their wedding night.

 

CHAPTER 14

HARM AND MAC'S BIG DAY

 

Letting Mac go after learning that she was carrying their child was excruciating for Harm. He would call her every day. He greeted her with words that would make Mac feel warm all over.

“How are my two loves,” Harm would ask. It was his greeting for their daily calls.

Sometimes Mac could not talk about their baby because Trish or someone else was in the room with her, but at night, when she retired to her bedroom, one that she now found empty and cold, he would call her and they would talk until they were falling asleep.

“Your two loves need to get some rest,” Mac would say, wishing she was with him.

“Tell my big love how much I love her and tell my little love that Daddy is thinking about him or her.” Harm’s voice would tremble with the emotions filling him.

On Tuesday, after visiting Dr. Lee, Harm and Mac decided to share their very special secret with one person, so they drove out to Blacksburg. Trish had not been too happy about letting them go alone, but Harm promised her that he would be ‘good’, which had made Mac laugh hysterically for several minutes. With a solemn vow from both of them, Harm and Mac, like two teenagers, were finally given permission to make the trip to Blacksburg. It would be the first time that they would be alone in several days. Harm knew it was going to be very difficult for him to keep his hands off Mac, but a promise was a promise to him, and the anticipation of their wedding gave him strength.

Leaving the doctor’s office, Harm and Mac had allowed themselves to share one kiss, which threatened to get out of control. Sitting in the car, Harm wanted Mac so desperately, but he had given his promise, which he now regretted.

 

ST. VINCENT’S HOSPITAL
BLACKBURG, VA
MATTIE’S ROOM

 

Walking into Mattie’s room holding hands, Harm and Mac were surprised to see Mattie sitting on the edge of her bed, trying to put her feet down on the floor.

“Mattie, what are you doing,” Harm yelled.

“Darn it, Harm, you scared me half to death. Don’t do that again.”

“Are you supposed to be doing that,” Mac asked, walking to Mattie’s side.

Mattie shrugged her shoulders, then looked at them and smiled. She decided she would get back at Harm.

“Oh, Mac, you look so beautiful in your wedding dress.”

“What? You’ve already seen Mac in her wedding dress? Am I the only one who hasn’t seen her in it?” Harm knew what Mattie was doing, but he would talk to the nurses as they left. He didn’t want Mattie to have a setback.

“Well, you’re the groom, Harm! You can’t see her in her bridal gown until the wedding, but she’s reeaaaalllllyyyy beautiful. I bet she won’t look that beautiful on your wedding day,” Mattie said, sticking her tongue out at Harm.

“Okay, Brat, if you want to play that way, we just won’t tell you our surprise, will we, Mac?”

“Ha..r..m,” Mac said.

“Are you an admiral now, Captain Rabb,” Mattie teased, loving the look on Harm’s face.

“Shall we leave this insolent young lady here all by herself, Mac. I can think of better things to do with my time,” Harm said, turning around as if to leave.

“I’m just teasing you,” Mattie whined. “Do you really have some news or are you just getting even?”

Harm looked at Mac and went to stand by her side, taking her hand in his.

“Okay, guys, I already know you are in love, and getting married, so let’s cut it out with all the mush.”

“Do you want to know or not,” Harm said, trying unsuccessfully to sound very firm.

Mattie took the mischievous look off her face, looked down at her hands, then looked up at Harm.

“I promise to be nice, and yes, I want to hear the news.”

“Well, how would you like being an older sister? I mean…”

“He means we’re going to have a baby.”

“A BABY!” Mattie’s scream made Harm and Mac cover their ears.

“Yes, a baby, and quiet down before they come in here and throw us out,” Harm said, laughing.

“You and Mac are having a baby,” Mattie said, wide-eyed and smiling happily. “Oh, my God, I have to get well now. You are going to need a babysitter. Is it a boy or a girl? When will it be born?”

Harm and Mac were watching Mattie’s glowing face. He wrapped his arms around Mac’s waist and pulled her against him, suddenly feeling like the luckiest man in the entire world.

They visited with Mattie for about an hour, and told her that she was the only who knew about their baby. This made her feel quite important.

“I can hardly wait. By the time Harm, Jr., or Mac, Jr. arrives, I’ll be walking and visiting you in London. I promise that, Harm, and like you, I intend to keep my promises.

 

DRIVING BACK TO D.C.
TUESDAY

 

The trip back home was made more difficult by the fact that they had not been together in several days, and except for today, had not even seen each other. Harm kept glancing at Mac, asking her how she felt.

“Don’t ask,” Mac grumbled.

“I’m sorry, Mac. Are you feeling…”

“I’m doing just fine, Harm. I just hate being apart from you. I want to hold you. I want to feel you next to me. Harm, can we stop at some hotel? No, forget I said that. What would your mother think of me? On the other hand, we don’t have to tell her…what’s so funny, Harmon Rabb?”

“I never thought I would hear my Marine rambling like a schoolgirl. Seriously, how are you feeling? Are you tired?”

“No. I just need you,” Mac whimpered, putting her head on Harm’s shoulder. “Your mother should be recruited to torture the truth out of terrorists, because she is making me suffer.”

“Honey, I can talk to her. What is she doing?”

“Oh, I’m just being silly, and I just miss you so much. You haven’t said you miss me yet. Have you found someone else?” Mac looked up at Harm. She looked so absolutely adorable, Harm almost forgot he was driving.

“Do I miss you? I think I’d rather stop breathing than be without you, but that wouldn’t be a good idea, would it?” His attempt was to make Mac laugh, and it worked. “Yes, Mac, I miss you so much, there are times I just want to go over to your apartment and tear the door down, and Mom and Dad can either watch us make love, or they can leave us alone. But I miss more than just our lovemaking. I miss waking up in the morning and not seeing your face next to mine. I miss not being able to hold you in my arms, and if I keep talking this way, I am going to break a solemn promise and stop at the nearest hotel and make love to you until you beg me to stop.”

“Could we,” Mac said, lifting her head. She had an impish grin on her face.

“You would, wouldn’t you,” Harm said, his hand stroking her legs. “Just think about how special our wedding night will be after being apart all this time. Once we get home, the time will pass much faster. I understand the girls are having a girl’s night out tomorrow?”

“I don’t care about that,” Mac said, then straightened up. “Wait. I’m being childish. Your Mom and Dad are going out of their way to make our wedding so special. And, Harm, Mattie is right. I do look beautiful in my wedding dress, but I want to see your eyes light up when you see me walking down the aisle to you. Okay, do you have a chastity belt I can wear for the next few days?”

Harm laughed heartily over that one. He could just imagine Mac wearing a cumbersome, leather or worse yet, metal chastity belt, and his mother wearing the key around her neck. When he told Mac how cute she would look, she scrunched her face up at him and stuck her tongue out much like Mattie had done earlier.

“I just may have to buy one of those just in case you make me angry.”

“Hmmm. I bet I can get the key,” Harm laughed, relieved to see that they were close to Mac’s apartment. He didn’t want to tell Mac, but he had almost stopped at a hotel along the way. He could feel Mac’s body heat rolling onto his as they sat in the car.

“Depends on what you have to offer,” Mac played coy.

“Oh, I think I know what I can offer you,” Harm said. “Ouch. Are you going to beat me up for the rest of our lives? What will our little one think of you?”

“Yes, I am, and twice on Sunday. As for our little one, if it’s a boy, he may grow up to be as tall, or maybe taller than his Daddy, so I can teach him to beat you up too.” She reached up and put her arm around his shoulder.

Leaving Mac with his Mom once again was one of the most difficult things Harm had ever done. Trish did leave them alone so that they could kiss goodnight, but she didn’t give them too much time, recognizing that look in Harm’s eyes.

So Harm and Mac made it through the week. Harm had gotten all the reassurances from Dr. Lee that he needed, and had already spoken to the OB/GYN who would be taking care of Mac in London. Harm had endured the bachelor party on Wednesday, trying to enjoy himself. It turned out to be rather nice since A.J. was there, along with Bud, Frank, Sturgis and several of the other male co-workers from JAG. Mac had also endured her ‘girl’s night out’ which turned out to be a bridal shower. Mac blushed at some of the flimsy nightgowns she was given, along with a cookbook from Harriet and a plaque on ’Love and Marriage’ from Trish, who had also given Mac a beautiful negligee for her wedding night.

Harm and Mac talked every night until his mother would insist they get off the phone. The rehearsal dinner was to be in two days, but it seemed like an eternity to both Harm and Mac, especially after seeing each other on Tuesday. Not only did Harm want to be with Mac because he missed her, but he was also worried about her being pregnant and doing too much. There were several times that he almost told his mother so that she would make Mac take it easy. Somehow, talking to her every night helped just a little, but not much.

 

THEIR REHEARSAL DINNER
WYNDHAM HOTEL

 

The rehearsal for their wedding was on Friday. Harm was stunned by the elegance and size of the church. It seemed like a cathedral to him. Although neither he nor Mac participated in the actual rehearsal, with Frank standing in for Harm, and Trish standing in for Mac, it was the first time they had seen each other since Tuesday, and by now, both of them were emotionally drained. From the church, they went to the Wyndham Hotel, where the dinner was being held in one of the party rooms. Harm and Mac had been apart for most of the evening, but the glances they gave each other were undeniable. They missed being together.

Mac looked so beautiful in a soft, peach coloured dress that accented her breasts and all her seductive curves. Harm kept looking at her stomach, just to see if she had gotten bigger. He was a little disappointed that she wasn’t showing yet. Speeches were made all the way around, but it was A.J.’s that made everyone laugh.

“I was foolish enough to introduce these two in the Rose Garden of the White House nine years ago. Harm had received the Distinguished Flying Cross and it had been presented by none other than the President himself. I will never forget the look on Harm’s when he saw Mac for the first time. I think I knew then that I had just witnessed history in the making. I even warned them not to get too familiar because they were going to be working together. Evidently, they didn’t listen to me very well.

“However, this day has been long in coming. I saw their friendship grow into a very special relationship, then into love. This is to Harm, a man who put honour and Navy discipline before the love he tried to hide from everyone, the love he had for Mac. Harm truly is an officer and a gentleman, and the kind of man, not only JAG but our country needs to represent us. He has loved Mac for as long as I can remember, but has honoured his commitment to the Navy and obeyed the rules, I think! Now, he has finally decided that loving Mac is more important than anything in his world. So, this is to Harmon Rabb, Jr., a man I am proud to call a friend and a colleague.

“Lt. Colonel Sarah MacKenzie has struggled hard, as all women in the military do, to get to where she is today, but like Harm, she honoured her commitment to the Marine Corp. She, like Harm, was forced to deny their love all these years. Mac is an officer and a gentle woman who had finally decided that sometimes the military is not the only thing in this world. Both of them were ready to give up their careers in order to be together. That says so much for Mac. She is one tough Marine. She can make even me shake when she loses her temper, but she is understanding, caring, loving, and very deserving of the happiness she will find with Harm.

“To Harm and Mac, two people who belong together. Actually, they were fated to be together, because, as I already stated, I was witness to their meeting, and I saw two lost souls finally finding their destined loves. Be happy, Harm. Be happy, Mac. No one deserves it more than you do. TO HARM AND MAC,” A.J. finished his toast by raising his glass of champagne up as everyone echoed A.J.’s words.

General Cresswell, Commander Turner, P.O. Coates and Frank and Trish also toasted to them, all of them telling something funny about them that would make them all laugh. Harm’s eyes were on Mac and their ‘little one’, holding her hand as they listened to their friends.

Mac laughed happily when General Cresswell made Harm an ‘Honorary Marine’ for life during his toast, adding that he would have to get used to being ordered around by the best Marine of them all. Harm put his arms around Mac, saying that he would be more than happy to take orders from her.

Jennifer Coates’ toast was a poignant one.

“I was doing everything I could to get kicked out of the Navy. I won’t go into all the details here, because it isn’t really important. My Navy career was in jeopardy, and I really didn’t care. And then, the White Knight came into my life wearing the navy blue suit of a Commander Harmon Rabb. I know he will be embarrassed for my saying this, but it is because of him that I am here today. He made me realize that I had a choice, and more importantly, he was going to make very sure I made the right one. It wasn’t easy, but I am very glad that I met Commander Harmon Rabb, so General Cresswell, if I get on your nerves, you can blame the commander. If it weren’t for him, I have no idea where I would be today.” Her closing words brought added laughter.

“So, Captain Rabb, are you everyone’s White Knight,” General Cresswell asked good-naturedly. “Between all I’ve heard of you and Mac tonight, JAG may just fall apart with you two gone.”

Both Harm and Mac had related some of their stories briefly, mainly to explain how they had always been there for each other. The words “I don’t know where I’d be without Harm and/or Mac” had been repeated several times by different guests. General Cresswell kept looking over at A.J. wondering how he had put up with them.

“Harm, have you ever done anything the easy way,” General Cresswell asked, repeating the same question asked of him by the former SECNAV when he was promoted to commander.

“No, not always, as A.J. can tell you. I think I added twenty years to his age, right?”

“Well, not quite twenty, but yes, there were times I was almost afraid to send Harm out on his own, but I have to admit, he never failed me. I usually sent Mac with him to keep an eye on him. I guess she watched too closely.”

“So, Ret. Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, this is all your fault, huh,” General Cresswell asked.

It had been a glorious evening for them, but it ended early since there was much to do in the morning. Harm managed to get Mac alone for a few minutes.

“How are my two loves,” Harm asked Mac, whispering the words in her ear.

“Missing you so much,” Mac said, a wispy smile on her face. “I told him that his Mommy and Daddy were getting married tomorrow.”

“What if it’s a her? Did you tell her?”

“No, I thought I would let her Daddy tell her,” Mac murmured softly, looking around to make sure no one was close enough to hear them. She pulled Harm aside and reached up to make it appear as if they were kissing.

“Little Sarah, this is your Daddy. I just wanted to let you know that I am marrying your Mommy tomorrow, and then we can all be together.”

“Sarah?”

“That’s what I call her, but there will be no Harmon.”

“Harm, it’s time for Mac to get home and rest. She has a big day ahead of her,” Trish’s voice interrupted them. Harm wondered if she had heard them, but she was too far away, and was surrounded by people, so he hoped she had been unable to listen to any of their conversation.

Bending down, Harm told Mac, “Tomorrow, my love, we will be one, and no one will ever keep us apart again. Take care of our little one. I’ll call you later.”

 

MAC’S APARTMENT

 

It hadn’t taken long to get home from the rehearsal festivities, and true to his word, Harm was now talking to Mac on the phone. He knew it was only a few more hours, but it was the worst torture he had ever endured. Trish walked in after about fifteen minutes and pulled the phone from Mac, deciding it was time to fuss at Harm again.

“Harmon Rabb, let your bride get some sleep. You can keep her up all night tomorrow, but she needs her sleep tonight. Now, be nice, tell her you love her, and then hang up.” Trish handed the phone back to Mac, who couldn’t stop laughing. Trish was also trying not to let Harm hear her laughing. She walked out, giving them a three-minute limit, making both of them feel like children.

“I’m looking forward to you keeping me up all night tomorrow, Harmon Rabb. I love you, husband to be. I can hardly wait for you to see me in my wedding dress.”

“Good thing this wedding is in the morning. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I can’t believe my mother is treating me like I’m sixteen years old. I love you, wife to be, seeing you in your bridal gown can’t come soon enough to suit me. This is the last night we have to be separated.”

“Good! I can’t take too much more of this either. Goodnight, Harm. I love you.”

“Goodnight, Ninja Girl. Goodnight my Marine. Goodnight my beloved Mac. I love you. Give our little one a hug.”

 

HARM’S APARTMENT
HARM AND MAC’S WEDDING DAY

 

The wedding day for Harmon Rabb, Jr., and Sarah MacKenzie dawned bright and beautiful. The air was just right, not too chilly, yet not too warm. It would be a sunny day, but neither Harm nor Mac cared about the weather. Harm had insisted on having his say on only one part of the wedding, no matter how much his mother argued with him. He stood firm. It was his gift to Mac – her bridal bouquet.

Harm was staring at the ceiling. This was his wedding day. In a few hours, Sarah MacKenzie would be his wife, and he would be hers forever. There was a perpetual grin on his face. Suddenly, he smelled the coffee. Looking up, he saw Frank puttering in the kitchen. Harm stretched his arms above his head, seeing Mac’s face wherever he looked. She was a part of him already. Then he remembered their baby. He was going to be a father finally, but the most important thing was that this baby belonged to him and Mac.

“Want some coffee, Son,” Frank’s soft voice startled Harm. He had not heard him walk up to the bed. Sitting up, he reached out and took the cup that Frank was offering him.

“I’ve never seen you look so happy, Harm.”

“I’ve never been this happy, Dad. I didn’t think happiness like this existed. Thank you and Mom for putting up with me all these years. You know, when I see you and Mom together, I realize how you feel about each other.”

“Marriage isn’t always easy, Son. I have always loved your mother far more than she loved me. She has always been haunted by your father’s memory, much like you were, but I felt my love would be enough for both of us.”

“Dad, you know that Mom loves you, don’t you?”

“Of course I do. I’m just very happy that you and Mac don’t have unfinished business behind you anymore. I know that you have hurt each other over the years, but it’s quite obvious you have put it behind you and realized that you belong together. The thing about love is that sometimes things don’t always turn out the way you want them to, but if you have faith in your love, it will work out.”

“Have things worked out for you and Mom,” Harm asked, leaning forward. He suddenly realized that his mother had been unable to let go of his late father much in the same way he had been unable to do so.

“Yes, they have. Since you learned about your father’s fate, it’s been easier for her. She belongs to me now, and there is no longer a ghost between us. I hope you don’t mind my saying that, Harm.”

“How could I? I don’t know if I would have the strength to love someone for so many years knowing that she…”

“I didn’t blame her. Now, come on, Harm. You have to start getting ready. I want to thank you for asking me to be your best man. It means a lot to me. I’ll go get some breakfast going.”

“It means a lot to me too, Dad. I better go take a shower.”

 

MAC’S APARTMENT
HARM AND MAC’S WEDDING DAY

 

Mac didn’t think she would be able to sleep, but somehow, perhaps because she was in the early stages of her pregnancy, she fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow. Her last thoughts were that she would be in Harm’s arms the following night, and they would be husband and wife. She did not wake up until 0615, which was not only unusual, but unheard of for Mac. When she opened her eyes, she smelled the coffee. It had been difficult to explain to Trish that she didn’t want coffee without telling her about the baby, but she had managed to stick to water or juice. She stretched her arms above her head, smiling happily as she realized it was her wedding day. Today she would become Harm’s wife for all eternity, and he would belong to her. What a glorious day it would be.

“Are you awake, Mac,” Trish said softly, in case Mac was still asleep.

“Yes, come in, Trish,” Mac said, sitting up against the headboard. As she sat up, she felt lightheaded for the first time. Oh, no, not today. This couldn’t happen to her today.

“Are you alright?”

“Just felt a little dizzy, that’s all. All the excitement, I guess.”

“And you aren’t eating like you should either. You are much too thin. Would you like for me to make you some breakfast?”

“That does sound good. Would you mind? I can take my shower while you fix breakfast, and then we can sit down and relax for a few minutes before everyone arrives.”

“What would you like?”

“Bacon, eggs, maybe from French toast, no, make that pancakes. Do I have any sausage? That sounds good too.”

Trish laughed at Mac’s request. She had spent the last week with her about to be daughter-in-law, and although Mac was very thin, she did eat a lot.

“I’m sorry. Just make it toast.”

“Go take your shower and your breakfast will be ready as soon as you get out.”

Mac hummed in the shower, then she decided to fill the tub and soak. She had plenty of time. This was her wedding day. Better yet, she was finally marrying the one man she loved more than life itself. She looked down at her stomach, wishing that it wasn’t so flat. She wanted to see proof of their child, but then she remembered her wedding dress. It was best that she wasn’t showing yet. Her first sonogram would be in London, and she could hardly wait for Harm and her to see their baby growing inside of her. They had created a child with their love. Mac missed Harm so much, but tonight she would be in his arms forever.

Dreaming about the baby that was growing within her and her marriage to Harm in a few hours made Mac lose track of time. She was startled when she heard Trish’s voice call out.

“Mac, your breakfast will get cold. Besides, the others will be arriving soon.”

“I’ll be right out,” Mac called out in answer. She couldn’t believe she had totally lost track of what time it was, especially on this, her wedding, Harm’s and her wedding day.

Looking at the tray on the bed, Mac was startled to see everything she had asked for, and more. Trish had put a red rose in a vase for her, along with pictures taken the night before at the rehearsal dinner. Mac called Trish to come in so they could share their breakfast. Trish sat and watched Mac eat most of her breakfast. Just as she was finishing, there was a knock at the door. Trish went to greet their guests.

 

MAC IN HER WEDDING DRESS

 

Even Mac was awed by the way she looked in her bridal gown. It was made of a soft ivory satin, not heavy, but more like silk. It had a rounded collar, until it reached her breasts, where there was a soft ‘vee’. It was embellished with the same colour crepe fabric with an intricate latticework of lace, embroidery, and tiny roses with tiny seed pears in the centre of each rose, which was the top layer of the bodice. Her breasts were beautifully accented then tapered to her still tiny waist. As she had put the dress on, she noticed that it was a little snugger than it had been two weeks earlier, when the last alterations had been done. It was snug, but not uncomfortable. The delicate lace with the same tiny roses and a tiny seed pearl in the middle of each one adorned the long sleeves as they tapered to form a vee at her wrist. At the waist, her gown fell in soft folds, the waistline once again trimmed with the same lace with roses and seed pearls. It was not flared, but gave the gown the illusion of yards of satin fabric. It flowed in the back into a train of about two feet. The same lace also trimmed the hem of her gown.

Mac had wanted a dress completely different from the one she had bought for her wedding to Mic, the wedding that had never taken place. She did not want to be reminded of anything in her past, but to be honest, even if she had picked the same identical dress, her thoughts would only have been of Harm and the little one that was sharing their wedding day.

Her veil only went down to below her waist, double tiered. It was attached to a small hat that went across her head, and was also trimmed with the same delicate roses and pearls that adorned her dress. She could hardly wait to see Harm’s reaction when he finally saw her. He had given her a locket for their wedding day. It had his picture on one side and hers on the other. When he learned about their baby, he said that once the baby was born, the locket would be for their son or daughter. The locked was heart shaped, yellow gold, and hung beautifully and perfectly between her collar bone and the ‘vee’ of her gown.

When Mac turned around to face Trish, Harriet, Jennifer, Chloe, Eugenie and Mattie, in a wheelchair (which was to be a big surprise for Harm), they all had tears in their eyes. Mattie was even wearing her bridesmaid dress, the one that matched Chloe’s. Because they wanted to surprise Harm, Tom was also present, as was A.J. Chegwidden, who was there to give the bride away, also a surprise for Harm. However, Harm had an even bigger surprise for Mac.

Mac’s hair, which cascaded around her in curls, and make-up had been done before she had slipped her bridal gown on, so she was ready. Try as she might, she could not tell the time the way she was usually able to, but it didn’t surprise her. Sarah MacKenzie, Lt. Colonel in the Marines, had not given a single thought to her career, her new post in London, or anything else except that today she would become Harm’s wife.

She felt the tears sting her eyes, but she didn’t want to ruin her make-up.

“Please stop crying, or you are going to make me cry and that will ruin my face. Has anyone heard from Harm?”

“Nothing could ruin your face today, Mac. You are radiant,” Trish said. “As for Harm, yes, he has called at least three times, but I told him that he could not talk to you. He may not speak to me, but I think he’ll forgive me when he sees you. A.J.?”

“I’ll call,” A.J. said, already knowing Trish’s commands quite well.

Frank picked up the phone when it rang.

“We’ll be leaving here in the next ten minutes. Is Harm ready?”

“He’s been ready all week. We’ll see you there.”

 

HARM’S APARTMENT

 

After having had breakfast, or what passed for breakfast since he could not even taste the food, Harm was surrounded by his friends. Uncle Matt, whom Admiral Chegwidden and General Cresswell, along with the SECNAV, had helped to ensure that he would be with them, was quite anxious to see Mac. He had talked to Harm, telling him that he knew Mac would someday belong to him. Both men were beaming.

Harm had put his uniform on, sporting the four bars that announced to everyone that he was now Captain Harmon Rabb. He kept asking for the time every five minutes. When he was finally completely dressed, he walked out to see all his friends there. Frank, Bud, Sturgis, and of course, Uncle Matt, since he was to be Mac’s surprise from Harm.

“You look extremely handsome, Son,” Frank said.

“You look so happy,” Bud smiled happily.

“You look as if you’ve finally stopped searching for love, Harm, and found what you’ve been looking for all these years,” Sturgis said.

“You look like the man my niece loves very much,” Uncle Matt said.

Harm looked at the men around him, with flashes going off everytime someone took a picture.

“I am a very lucky man today,” Harm said. “In a few hours, I will be married to the only woman I could ever love, and I…well…thank you all so much.”

Frank could see that Harm was quite emotional. Looking at his watch, he told Harm that they should be leaving within the next fifteen minutes.

“Are the cars here,” Harm asked, suddenly worried that they wouldn’t be able to get to the church on time.

“They’re here. Actually, we needed only one. When…”

The phone rang just then and Frank picked it up. It was A.J. After a few words spoken, Frank turned to Harm.

“It’s almost time. The ladies are leaving in ten minutes. Since we are a little further away, it’s best that we leave now. I think that General Cresswell will be waiting at the church to make sure that you and Mac don’t arrive at the same time and see each other before the ceremony. The church does have two separate entrances especially for weddings. So, do you have the wedding ring, Harm?”

“I do,” Harm said, making everyone laugh.

“You’ll say that later, Harm,” Sturgis said.

“Frank, I’m giving the ring to you. I hope that Harriet remembers to get Mac’s engagement ring from her. It fits into this ring, and when…”

“Don’t worry, Harm, we’ll make sure everything is taken care of, and that you will have the right ring to put on her finger.”

“I think we should leave,” Bud said.

Harm took one last look around his apartment. He and Mac had found so much happiness here, and now, they were leaving it, but not just yet. No one, not even Mac, knew they would be spending their wedding night in this apartment. It was, after all, where they had professed their love to one another, and it was where they had first shared that love, so it was only right that they spend their wedding night here.

“It’s time.”

 

HARM AND MAC’S WEDDING
ST. MATTHEWS CHURCH

 

The chauffer began to upset Harm very much, because he kept getting lost, which is pretty hard to do in Washington, D.C. All the men, except for Frank, who knew about Mattie, kept trying to calm Harm down. Frank had taken his cell phone away from him, so Harm could not even call Mac. He knew that Frank was trying to be thoughtful, but right now, Harm needed to hear Mac’s voice.

“I think I have it now, Sir,” George, the chauffer said.

“You better,” Harm snarled, “or you will explain to my wife…”

“Harm, take it easy. We still have plenty of time.”

Bud, Sturgis and Uncle Matt were a little puzzled by what seemed a very inept driver, especially for a chauffer. Still, they tried to get Harm’s mind off how long it was taking to get to the church.

By now, Mac and her bridesmaids had arrived, and were safely ensconced where Harm would not see any of them. General Cresswell had made sure that their timing was perfect. Mac began to have butterflies in her stomach. She kept looking upward, saying inwardly, “Please, not today.” She was terrified that she would ruin her wedding by getting sick, but everyone there, except for Mattie, who tried to be as close to her as possible, kept telling her it was just nerves. Trish placed a call to Frank.

“Yes, Trish, we’re about two minutes away from the church. Is everyone there?”

“Yes, and we are in the vestibule, so be sure…”

“Trish, I know where to go. I see the church up ahead.”

“Tell Mom to tell Mac that I’m on the way,” Harm tried to interfere.

“Did you hear that, Trish?”

“I take it my son is as nervous as his bride is, right?”

“Yes, perhaps even more so. I’m going to hang up because we’re very close now.”

 

SURPRISES FOR HARM AND MAC

 

Bud and Sturgis had already seated the guests. General Cresswell was there with his family. He had not been needed to run interference between the bride and the groom, but had been there to help with Mattie. He finally met Tom Johnson as well.

The music began. Varese sang the first song they had picked out, which was a very old but special song entitled “Because of You.” Varese’s voice was beautiful, singing the words of love that fit Harm and Mac so well.

“Mac, I love you,” Mattie said, noticing that Chloe did not like her at all. She didn’t care.

“I love you too, Mattie, and you too, Chloe. I’m just glad you could both be here to share this day with us. I’m going to wait until Harm gets over the shock of seeing Mattie here. Is everyone ready.”

“Mac, I can push Mattie,” Chloe said, trying hard to accept this new girl in Mac’s life.

“But that will ruin your dress, Chloe,” Mattie said. “Let Dad push me. That way Harm can see both of us at the same time.”

“Okay,” Chloe returned Mattie’s smile. “That’s our cue.”

 

IN HARM’S ROOM

 

“Okay, son, I think it’s time for you and I to go out there. I think that A.J. is going to step back part of the way, and then have Uncle Matt take his place. Are you ready?”

“I’ve been ready for a lifetime, Dad. Let’s go. Uncle Matt, you know where to sit, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do,” Uncle Matt responded, smiling. He was actually going to be halfway down the aisle, A.J. would stop, and Uncle Matt would then take his place.

 

IN MAC’S ROOM

 

It was at this time that Mac’s bridal bouquet was brought in to her. Harm had insisted on picking it out. He had also insisted on the church being decorated with nothing but roses of all different colours, except red. He saved those for Mac. Mac’s bouquet was made up of the most beautiful red roses she had ever seen. Everyone was awed by the beauty of the contrast of the red roses against the ivory satin. Of course, the roses brought one single memory to Mac – the day she met the man she was about to marry.

“Harm and I met in the White House Rose Garden.” She couldn’t go on.

“I guess my son is a romantic after all,” Trish said. She had argued against the red roses as a bridal bouquet, but Harm never backed down. Now, as she saw Mac holding them against her dress, Trish realized that Harm knew exactly what he was doing.

Trish, Jennifer, Harriet, Chloe and Mattie all crowded around her, just wanting to share in this moment of glory. The music was getting louder.

Chloe kissed Mac before leaving, then began her march down the aisle. Although she had not been present for the rehearsal, she knew exactly what to do. She walked out slowly, then saw the big smile on Harm as he and his best man walked up. Chloe knew it was Harm’s Dad, but she had never met him. Harm looked so handsome in his uniform. He winked at Chloe as she finally reached the altar.

Next came Harm’s big surprise from Mac and Mattie. Mattie had begged, pleaded, cajoled, and made all kinds of promises in order to get the doctor to allow her to attend the wedding. Now, her father took the handles of the wheelchair and they rounded the corner. Tears filled her eyes as she watched the shocked look on Harm’s face, followed by a big smile. She knew he was crying also. Despite her pain, Mattie sat in the wheelchair straight and tall, a smile to equal Harm’s on her face. Her hair spilled around her shoulders. When she reached Chloe’s side, she saw that Harm was indeed crying. Looking at the two young girls in his and Mac’s life, he realized they already had two daughters.

Next came Jennifer who beamed at Harm. She knew how he must be feeling having Mattie here. Jennifer was followed by Harriet. Harm felt his heart do a flip-flop. He knew the next person he would see would be his beloved Mac, the mother of his child. As Harriet finally arrived at the altar, the music announcing the arrival of the bride began. Everyone stood up to see the bride pass.

A.J. held on to Mac. She was shaking, but she was so incredibly happy. Turning to Mac, A.J. looked at her.

“Are you ready, Mac?”

“For nine years, A.J. Yes, I’m ready.”

A.J. and Mac made their way to the entryway, and as the music announced her, Mac made her entrance into the church, immediately seeking out Harm.

“Don’t forget to breathe,” Frank leaned in and told Harm.

Harm’s heart was racing as he finally saw Mac. She was the most beautiful illusion he had ever seen, but she wasn’t an illusion. She was about to become his wife. He took in every bit of her dress, smiled when he saw the roses and then met her eyes. His eyes were as shiny as hers were, but he gave her a big smile and mouthed the words ‘I love you’ to her. She did the same. Her eyes were on Harm, never seeing anyone else, so when A.J. stopped halfway up the aisle, Mac turned and looked at him.

Uncle Matt stood up from the pew in which he had been sitting. A.J. took one step backwards. The look on Mac’s face was priceless and had been worth everything they had gone through to get Uncle Matt to be present. Harm watched as her Uncle Matt kissed Mac on the cheeks; then put his arm out for her to hold. Mac turned her eyes back to Harm, knowing he had done this to surprise her. Their love was indeed not only destined, but very pure and strong. She had wanted to surprise Harm by having Mattie present, and he had repaid her by having her Uncle Matt here to give her away. Mac and Uncle Matt finally started the last few steps on Mac’s journey to be joined to Harm forever.

Tears blurred Harm’s eyes as Mac finally reached him. He had forgotten to breathe several times, and had been forced to take deep breaths to calm down, but his heart was racing within him.

Mac was by Harm’s side as Uncle Matt stepped back.

 

HARM AND MAC BECOME MAN AND WIFE

 

As happy as Mac was to see her Uncle Matt, when she reached Harm, she had eyes only for him.

“Who gives this woman to be united in marriage?”

“I do,” Uncle Matt said, then walked back to the second pew, where a place had been saved for him.

Harm took Mac’s hand in his and stepped up to hear the words that would make them man and wife. Tearing his eyes away from hers, they both looked at the priest.

Listening to the priest tell them about the sanctity of marriage, of fidelity, and of their love being strong in days like this day, when their love was at its most powerful, yet fragile, Harm kept glancing at Mac just as she did to him. Finally, it was time for them to repeat their own vows, written from their hearts and of the love they had found.

“It is said that special love, like ours, are destined by a Higher Power. I believe it. We met in a rose garden, surrounded by the beauty of their myriad of colour. Out of all the roses, you were the most beautiful, Mac. Yet even the most perfect rose has its’ thorns, thorns which, like obstacles in our lives, can make our marriage difficult. I have faith in the love we share this day and I promise to be there in days when our love becomes filled with thorns, causing us pain. I will hold you when you need to be comforted. I will love you regardless of what our lives may become, for you own my heart and my future. Take me for your husband, to love and to cherish, to share the good and bad, the times when one of us becomes ill, for I will only grow to love you more each day of my life. Take me for your husband, Sarah MacKenzie, to be yours for all eternity. My love belongs to only you. I give myself to you until death us do part.” Harm’s voice was shaking by the time he finished speaking. He had written his vows two weeks earlier, but he kept changing them, and now, as he said the last words, he added to himself, “and I promise to be there for you and our little one until death us do part.”

Mac smiled at Harm, her eyes filling with tears. She wondered if she could say the words she had written. Somehow, she had sensed Harm’s last words to her, even though she had not heard them. Now, she looked into his eyes, those eyes that seemed to take her back nine years, to a sunny day in a rose garden where they had first met. Gazing up at him, Mac began to speak.

“Our love was definitely meant to be, and I also believe that a Higher Power brought us together. Our lives have been intertwined from the day we met, and somehow, even when we hurt one another, I knew you would always be a part of my life. Now, standing here before you and God, I place my life in your hands. My heart had never been complete until the day we met. I didn’t know it then, but you did have the other half of my heart. You have been there for me when I needed you so much, just as I have shared your grief and joy with you. If ever a love was destined to be, it was ours, for fate has truly tried to keep us apart. I am yours, Harmon Rabb, in the past, in our present and in our future. If we are given any children, it will be a sign that He has truly blessed our love, our union, and our future. Take me for your wife, for I would be lost without you. I promise to be there for you when you need me, to share the joys of life as well as the sorrows, and to be yours until death us do part. I love you, Harmon Rabb.” Mac felt a glow all around her as Harm looked down at her adoringly. Her heart was finally calming down, for she knew that in but a few minutes they would be pronounced man and wife.

The priest asked for the rings. Mac had selected a yellow gold band with seven diamonds going across the top. It had been engraved with the words – ‘Harm and Mac Forever’.

Harm had also engraved the ring he was giving to Mac. He had put their initials, followed by ‘Our Eternal Love.’ He placed the ring on the priest’s book. Handing Mac’s ring to Harm, the priest said, “Repeat after me.”

“With this ring, I, Harmon Rabb, take you, Sarah MacKenzie, to be my lawfully wedded wife. As this ring has no beginning and no ending, so is our love.” Harm slipped the ring on Mac’s finger and that’s when she saw that her engagement ring rested in the most beautiful setting of diamonds, which surrounded it. It matched the wedding ring she was giving him, for there were two bands with diamonds across the top, making room for her engagement ring in the centre.

Giving Harm’s ring to Mac, she repeated the same words.

“With this ring, I, Sarah MacKenzie, take you, Harmon Rabb, to be my lawfully wedded husband. As this ring has no beginning and no ending, so is our love.” Slipping the ring on his finger, Mac suddenly shivered. She was finally marrying the one and only man she had ever loved.

The priest continued, giving them a blessing on their marriage, asking God to guide them, and make their love strong throughout their lives. Turning to Harm and Mac, he repeated the words they had been longing to hear.

“I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

Harm had taken Mac in his arms the moment they had been pronounced man and wife. He could taste the saltiness of their tears. It was only the gentle reminder of the priest, and his Dad, and the catcalls and applause coming from their friends, that Harm finally let Mac’s lips go, but his arm was around her all the time. As they turned to face their family and friends, the priest introduced them. At that time, Harm and Mac were no longer listening. All they heard were the beautiful words that proclaimed them“Captain and Mrs. Harmon Rabb.” Oh, how Harm wanted to kiss his bride.

It was a full half hour before Harm and Mac were allowed to leave the altar. Pictures were taken of Harm and Mac alone, then of Uncle Matt and the Burnett’s. That picture was followed by more of the entire wedding party. Harm had gone over to kiss Chloe and Mattie. Now, he went over to wheel her to the altar so that she could be in the pictures. Mac thought they would never stop, but finally, after deciding to take more pictures of just her and Harm, the guests began to leave the church. Mac looked up at Harm, a look of sheer happiness on her face.

“I can hardly wait until tonight,” Mac whispered in Harm’s ear. As she drew back, her eyes filled with love and Harm gazed down at her, a picture was taken. It would become their favourite one, for their love seemed to jump out for everyone to touch and feel.

General Cresswell came in to tell them they would be ready in five minutes. Harm and Mac gave little thought to his words.

Finally, it was over and Harm and Mac began to make their way outside. Tom had taken Mattie out first, followed by Chloe, who was fast becoming friends with her. Harriet and Jennifer had left much earlier. When Harm saw that they were alone, he leaned down and asked.

“How are my two loves?”

“Very happy,” Mac said, “and very anxious to get you alone. I’ve missed you so much.”

“How long is the reception going to last,” Harm asked, wanting to leave ASAP.

“Well, we can always leave early. Somehow, I think your Mom has something of a surprise waiting for us. She and A.J. have been acting very strange.”

“I guess we better go out before they come looking for us, which reminds me, where did everyone go?”

As they reached the outer door of the church, Harm saw what Mac had meant. Standing in two rows were Uncle Matt, A.J. Chegwidden, Bud Roberts, Sturgis Turner, Jennifer Coates, now in uniform, and Harriet Simms Roberts, also in uniform. Mike Roberts and General Cresswell were also part of the line. Harm just stared, wondering what was going on. A.J. turned to them.

“Captain and Mrs. Rabb, you ruined our plans to have a wedding at Annapolis and the guard that you so richly deserve. This may not be official, but we are your guards.”

Turning back to take his place, he then called for the swords to be drawn, raised, turned away from the bride and groom, and the arch was formed for Harm and Mac to walk through. They were both deeply touched. Bud Roberts was at the end, so he had the honour of giving Mac the little swat on her rear when they completed their walk through the arch.

 

THE RECEPTION
PLAZA HOTEL

 

Since his mother had made all the plans, Harm had no way of knowing where they were going now. However, Trish did allow for them to travel alone in their own limosine to the hotel.

Two hours into the reception, Harm wanted to leave. He had asked George, the chauffer, to go back to his apartment and light all the candles, which he had managed to put in place, covering them with his clothes. Food was to be delivered to them later. They had listened to everyone joke about their wedding night. Even Trish surprised her son when she came up to them and told him, “Now, Harm, do you think you will be able to keep UP with your wife?” Harm blushed, everyone else laughed. It was time for Varese to sing the song they had requested as a sign that they would be leaving soon.

Listening to the beautiful, Varese sang “Tonight We Celebrate Our Love” as Harm and Mac danced around the floor. Harm kept kissing Mac, whispering in her ear. She would reach her arms up around his neck, kissing him with open-mouthed kisses. As the song ended, Harm and Mac were definitely ready to leave.

Trish handed Mac the small corsage to throw as the ladies lined up to catch it. Jennifer Coates was the lucky one.

Mac blushed like a bride should as Harm took her garter off, with the men whistling as he succeeded. He threw it over his shoulder and Mike Roberts caught it.

The rose petals landed on them as they ran out the door. Mac had long ago changed into her ‘going away’ dress, and left her wedding dress with Trish, who would take it to the cleaners and have it sealed to save for Harm and Mac’s children, or at least, it was what Trish hoped. Now, as they made their way to the limo, Harm called her and Frank to the car. He asked his Mom to sit down inside, knowing what her reaction would be.

“Don’t worry about…”

“Mom, Dad, this isn’t about our belongings. I’m sure they will get there eventually. We have something to tell you before we leave. The reason I’ve been so worried about Mac is because we just found out she’s pregnant. You’re going to be grandparents, but we are going to ask you to keep it quiet until after we leave and are settled in.”

“A baby,” Trish yelled, as Harm put his hand over her mouth gently. “Mac, why didn’t you tell me?”

“We just found out about two weeks ago, and what with the wedding and Mattie’s surgery, we wanted to keep this secret to ourselves. However, we did want you two to know before we left.”

Trish reached over and hugged both Harm and Mac, her face beaming. Frank also hugged Mac and shook Harm’s hand.

“We may have to move to London, Son. You know how long we have waited for this, and now you are going to be so far away. I hope you will let us…”

“Of course. Just give us time to find an apartment or a house and then you can come visit us. Now, remember, no one knows about this. Well, Mattie knows. We felt it might make her feel better.”

Harm and Mac were finally on their way to their honeymoon. Mac had no idea where they were going, but her words pleased Harm.

“I wish we could spend our wedding night at your apartment. That’s where we admitted our love and that’s we where we first shared our lovemaking.” Mac was about to be surprised yet again.

Harm took her in his arms, kissing her softly, but their kisses soon became much more demanding. They had been separated for one week, but it had seemed like an eternity to both of them even though they had seen each other two or three times. It was not being able to be alone, it was not being able to share their kisses as they were now, that was such torture.

 

HARM AND MAC’S APARTMENT
THEIR WEDDING NIGHT

 

Mac was completely lost in their kisses, as was Harm. They heard George speak to them through the intercom.

“We’re here, Mr. and Mrs. Rabb.”

Harm felt a little dazed. He was glad he had already given George the tip, because all he wanted was to go upstairs and hold Mac in his arms.

They would never remember making it upstairs. Mac hadn’t even noticed where they were until they got into the elevator. Their kisses had become the prelude to their wedding night and their hands and fingers were all over each other. By the time they got off the elevator, Mac had Harm’s shirt totally unbuttoned. She looked around, lost in the same daze that Harm was, created by their kisses.

“Where are we,” Mac whispered.

“Where our love began,” Harm said, capturing her lips once again.

It did not take them long to get the door open, shut it, lock it, and turn to each other, although their lips had never parted. Harm had made sure to carry Mac over the threshold, along with their Little One.

“I’m your wife,” Mac murmured in a soft voice.

“And I’m your husband,” Harm said, unable to say anything else because Mac was devouring him with her hot and hungry kisses.

“Ma…make….love to…your wife.”

Harm picked Mac up, their lips still as one. He stumbled on a couple of boxes, but it didn’t stop him. All the candles had been lit. Some were almost burned out, but neither Harm nor Mac saw the candles or the dozens of roses throughout the room. Mac saw the rose petals all over the bed, making this night even more special. Finally reaching the bed, Harm put Mac down right in front of him. He looked down at her, her lips swollen from their kisses, her eyes soft and yielding, her body swaying against his.

“I love you, wife,” Harm said as he reached behind Mac and lowered the zipper on her dress. Mac had given him specifics of how to take it off of her when the time came, and now, the dress fell to floor, making a soft, almost whispering sound.

Mac was tearing Harm’s shirt off. Their shoes had come off at the door, as had Harm’s jacket and cummerbund. The matching coat to Mac’s dress had also been left somewhere in the living area, most likely on a box.

Falling on the bed, their lips sought each other out again. Their moans became louder, more intense, and their caresses became more demanding. Harm kissed his way over to Mac’s ear, kissing and taking the lobe in his mouth, sucking on it, then following the trail to the soft spot beneath her ear. Mac’s nails dug into him. She kept straining to get closer to him, until her fingers reached his burning erection and she wrapped them around him. Harm growled against Mac’s neck as he planted open-mouthed kisses along her collarbone, to her throat, then down to her waiting nipples. He kissed them, then tasted them with his tongue, as he encircled the nipple. His other hand was busy with the other breast. Mac pressed against him, softly asking for more, telling him that she needed him.

As fervent and intense as their passion had become, Harm suddenly realized that Mac was pregnant. He had been lavishing kisses on her breasts, squeezing them gently with his fingers, then kissing them and running his tongue over them. That mystical mist that always filled Harm whenever he was with Mac consumed him now, but he pulled back, leaving Mac missing his touch.

“Ma…c…Mac…we can’t…I can’t,” Harm said, resting his head against her breasts, loving them without tasting them.

“I need you, Harm,” Mac said breathlessly, pulling him back to her.

“I’m afraid of hurting you or the baby,” Harm whispered.

“Mr. Rabb, Mrs. Rabb wants you to make love to her right now. Don’t torture me this way, Harm. Please.”

“Mac…” Harm’s words were stilled by Mac’s kisses, then without a second passing, his mouth surrounded one of her breasts.

Harm groaned as he tasted them. This was what he had been dreaming of all week long, and now, Mac was his wife. But what about the baby? What if he hurt their baby? Mac didn’t give him much choice. Pulling him against her, she filled his mouth with her, her body thrashing against him. Her fingers were busy massaging his erection, faster and faster, and as she did, she could feel him began taste her breasts, then taking them into the heat of his mouth, his motions matching hers. Harmon Rabb was a man consumed by the woman he loved more than life itself, his bride and mother to be of their child. Mac gave herself to Harm, as she had never done with any other man, for this was the man she was born to love, her husband and the father of their child.

Lost in the wondrous mist of their love, Harm and Mac made love for the first time as man and wife. Their bodies were trembling and aching from their need until Harm plunged into her and for several seconds, neither one of them could move or breathe. They surrendered themselves unto one another, totally, completely, without reservation.

It was the wedding night that both Harm and Mac had been dreaming of, and now it was real. As Harm’s body stiffened against hers, she was already soaring over the edge, then she felt his hot love pouring into her. The sensations and magic that filled them, their bodies, their hearts, and their souls, was like none other they had experienced until now. Mac’s legs were wrapped around Harm, refusing to let him go. Their lips joined as completely as their bodies were joined, and their souls became exquisitely woven as one.

Their lovemaking became spiritual in that the bond that they had felt for years now bonded them to the God that had brought them together. Their passion was also emotional, in the fact that they were now man and wife, and were expecting a child of their own, the child they had promised each other years ago. And their love was physical, as only Harm and Mac could make it physical. There were no more barriers between them as they succumbed to their hunger on this, their wedding night. Harm made Mac promise that if he hurt her, she had to tell him. She promised, and then felt the warmth of his mouth around her breasts, making her shudder with ecstasy.

And their love was eternal, for like their wedding rings that had no beginning and no ending, as were their bodies as they became one over and over again during their wedding night.

They were oblivious to the outside world or how many times they made love on their wedding night. No matter how much Harm tried to get Mac to rest, she would not let him. She tasted him, taking him in her mouth, feeling him throbbing in her warmth before he reached down and pulled her back up, uniting their bodies once again just as they began yet another journey across the heavens. Harm explored Mac’s body as if for the first time, adoring every part of her. The thing he loved most was tasting her, for he loved feeling her shudder and hearing her call out to him. It also made his own body ache with his need for her, but it was a haunting ache, one that he knew would always be present in his life, for he would never stop wanting, loving, or needing Mac.

Harm and Mac had no concept of time. They got up sometime in the middle of the night to bathe the other one, the foreplay to more of their magical lovemaking. They ate, with Harm feeding Mac, and her feeding him. Then they would kiss, sharing their food, their love and their passion over and over again.

They had gone back to bed after eating, and Harm did something that made Mac love him ever more, if that was possible. After taking the sweet taste of her breasts in his mouth, he slowly drove her mad, but then, he did something that only Harm would do. Releasing her breasts, Harm’s mouth made it’s way down, resting on her stomach.

“Hi, Little One,” Harm whispered, as he kissed Mac’s stomach. “I hope you’ll forgive your Daddy for bouncing you around all night, but I love your Mommy so much, I will never get enough of her. If I’m hurting you, let me know.” Harm had rested his head on her stomach, stroking it, bringing tears of happiness to Mac’s eyes.

“He better get used to it,” Mac murmured. “You see, his Mommy loves his Daddy very much also, and I can’t ever get enough of you. I am totally addicted to you, Harmon Rabb, to your kisses, to your soft caresses, oh….yes, like that. So, Little One, as your Daddy calls you, you will be bounced around a lot tonight, and all the nights to come.”

Harm looked up her, a dazed look on his face. Mac seemed to have the same look on her face as she smiled at him.

“Maybe that’s were the term “bouncing baby” comes from,” Harm said, his hand making its way down, his fingers feeling the softness of the hair on her mound. “Of course, I could do this…”

“Oooooooooohhhhh, Harm,” Mac whimpered as he took her in his mouth, arousing her even more. He didn’t let go of her until his own body was screaming for the mystical sensation of being one with her.

Settling himself between her legs, Harm bent down to kiss her stomach, then claimed her lips at the same time he plunged into her, leaving both of them unable to move, or breathe, and so much in love, they ached within each other. When their dance of lovers began, it kept time to the wondrous music that came from their hearts and souls, to become one, always one. The gates of Heaven opened for them, leading them through a world of blinding light, waves of fire rushing through them, and the delicious euphoria that they welcomed. Harm’s love poured into Mac.

Still lost in their love, Harm and Mac had no idea that it was after 0500 before they finally fell asleep, so close together, there was no separation between them. There was no ending to one, and no beginning to the other one, for they were truly one. The miracle of Harm and Mac transcended anything they had ever dreamed of, but they welcomed each new sensation, each new emotion, each new minute, for it was another minute to share with one another.

 

EPILOGUE

 

Harm and Mac’s move to London proved to be a new beginning for them. There were no ghosts to haunt them. As Mac grew bigger, Harm desired her even more. They became more creative in their lovemaking, because as Dr. Lee had told Mac, she was indeed one of the ‘needy’ ones during her pregnancy.

On the 18th of December, Sarah Anne was born. She weighed almost eight pounds, and it was obvious from the beginning that she was going to look just like her Mommy.

The following December, Harmon Rabb, III was born. Like his older sister, it was obvious from the day he was born that he looked just like his Daddy.

Trish and Frank were there for the birth of both children. Mattie made good on her word, and visited the family Rabb without a wheelchair. She loved taking care of little Sarah. Mac had been pregnant with little Harm when Mattie visited the first time, but she returned for the birth of little Harm. Chloe came with her, accompanied by their doting ‘grandparents’, Trish and Frank.

Surprisingly, Tom Johnson and Eugenie had gotten married one year after she came to live with them, so Mattie had two families now. Coates was still at JAG, although she, like the Roberts, had made more than one trip to London. A.J. had also paid them a visit.

Mike Roberts was now engaged to Cammie Cresswell, against her father’s wishes. Sturgis and Varese were still together, but not married yet.

After the birth of their son, Mac decided that she was missing out too much of her children’s first years. She hated the fact that the nanny would tell her that Sarah had said her first word, or that little Harm had smiled for the first time. Mac talked to Harm, saying she wanted to stay home with her children. She remembered Harriet, and knew why she had quit working. Mac would always be active in an advisory capacity, but her first commitment was to her beloved Harm, whom she loved more every day, and to their son and daughter.

As for Harm, he hated every day of his job. He hated playing politics, and making compromises when he knew it was wrong. He was committed to his post for at least five years, but as soon as they were up, Harm, after talking to Mac, had already decided that they would return to the United States.

“Whatever you want, Harm, you know it’s okay with me,” Mac smiled from the bed as she had waited for Harm to join her.

“Whatever I want,” Harm had said, putting an even bigger smile on Mac’s face.

“Anything,” she said.

Harm reached the bed and looked down at his wife.

“I love you, Mrs. Rabb.”

“I love you, Mr. Rabb, and now, I want my husband to make love to me.”

“Is that an order, Ma’am.”

“It definitely is,” Mac said, her hands exploring the body she loved so much.

“Then I can’t disobey,” Harm said, capturing her lips.

Harm and Mac had been married over three years, but their passion was as intense, if not more so, than it had been on that long ago New Year’s Eve when they had first made love. HARM AND MAC WERE INCOMPARABLE. HARM AND MAC WERE DESTINED TO BE. HARM AND MAC WOULD ALWAYS BE ONE.

 

 

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

 
 
   

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