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Negotiating Relationships - Part 4


Chapter 19

Harms apartment
Union Station
Same time

Waiting patiently for a lull in the chatter, Bobby finally gave up and approached Jen. 

Excuse me, I hate to break this up, but Harm and Macs breakfast is getting cold, and we still need to go tell my sister, he shrugged apologetically.

Right, Jen sighed, Wed better go.  Congratulations again, sir, maam. Jen reached out accepting Bobbys proffered hand.  The two really made a lovely couple.

Harm slid his arm around Macs waist as they walked the newly engaged couple to the door.  Do you want us to tell Mattie? Harm asked as an after thought.

No, sir.  Well be home soon.  Id like to tell her myself, Jen smiled brightly.

Aye, aye. Harm nodded his head watching the two enter the elevator.

Interesting day isnt it? Mac smirked, following Harm to the food.

Have I mentioned today that I love you? Harm asked casually, already spooning the eggs onto a plate.

Wrapping her arms around him. Yes, but feel free to remind me as often as you like. Mac wasnt completely convinced she wouldnt wake up and find the last couple of months had all been a dream.

Sitting down at the table, Mac picked up her fork.  You know, the admiral is going to just love this.  Tomorrow is the first time you and I are scheduled to go up against each other in court since we announced were dating, and we show up engaged.

I dont think the engaged is the problem so much as the to each other part, Harm snickered.

Brilliant, counselor. Mac shook her head.

We wont have time to tell him before court. Harm pointed out.

Its not a very high profile case, we could wait till recess, Mac suggested, taking another bite of food.

Maybe wed better go in early and see if Jen can squeeze us in to see him first thing, Harm countered.

That might be better.

Harm took a minute to think.  He wasnt sure he should bring this up.

The admiral is only the first hurdle, he stated, almost timidly.

I know. Mac set her fork down. Im willing to do whatever it takes to make this happen, she announced pointedly.

Me too. Harm reached out to gently caress her cheek.  Me too.

Finishing their breakfast in relative silence, Mac took her last bite.   Standing, she began clearing the breakfast table.

There is one other person we should probably tell sooner than later, Mac mentioned.

Well tell Mattie as soon as she comes home, Harm added, carrying his plate to the sink.

I meant your mother. Mac turned to look at Harm, one eyebrow raised.

Right, Mom. Harm took a deep breath, and reached for her hand. You up to this now?

Mac nodded her head yes and followed him over to the phone.

Sitting down on the arm of the chair, Harm dialed the number. Mac stood supportively at his side. Anxiously, they waited for someone to answer the phone.

Mac could see the change in Harms expression the moment his mom answered.

Hi mom.  Harm smiled nervously.

I know, I dont call often enough.

Yes, mom, I promise Ill make more of an effort.

Mac leaned against Harm impatiently listening to the one sided conversation.

Well, actually there is something new you might like to hear about. Harms eyebrows inched up slightly as the corners of his mouth curled upwards.

Mac and I are engaged.

Macs grip tightened painfully as they waited for his mothers response.


Mom?  Maybe, theyd been disconnected.

Suddenly, Harms eyes flew open wide as his arm shot out waving the receiver in the air like a bellowing speaker.

FFFFRRRRAAAANNNNKKKK!!!!!!!  Trishs voice filled the room.

Do you think thats a good Frank or a bad Frank? Macs shoulders heaved in refrained laughter.

Hearing a lower voice resounding from the phone, Harm returned the phone to his ear.

Hi, Frank.

No, Im not kidding.  Were really getting married.

Yes, I agree its about time. Harm looked over at Mac biting back her laughter.

Yes, I should have done this long ago.


I promise we will do our best.

No, I wouldnt lie to you.  Noticing Mac frowning curiously at him, Harm silently mouthed grandchildren.

Macs shoulders quaked as she choked back another laugh.

We havent made any plans yet.

Yes, I know were not getting any younger.

Mac had to put her hands over her mouth to muffle the laughter.

No, weve only been engaged for Harm looked up at Mac, she took a calming breath and mouthed.

Three hours and 18 minutes. Harm repeated into the phone.

Unable to hold back a small chuckle, Yes I know thats pretty precise.

Forty minutes later, Harm had explained all he could to Frank.  His mom had finally calmed down enough to talk to both Harm and Mac without screaming in anyones ear. Much to Macs relief, Trish appeared honestly happy, not just that Harm was getting married, but that Harm was marrying her.

Watching Harm hang up the phone, Mac couldnt help but smile.  Everything was just perfect.

Do you think your ears will be able to handle telling Mattie, then Harriet? Mac asked, rubbing her hand along his shoulder.

Squeezing his eyes tightly, Do we really have to tell Harriet today? Harm groaned.

It depends on how you feel about her shrieking in the middle of the bullpen. Mac tilted her head inquisitively.

Point taken counselor.  When my ears stop ringing we can tell Harriet. Harm pulled Mac down so she fell in his lap.

You realize if Coates is going to be getting married, youll have to make other living arrangements for Mattie. Mac began playing with the buttons on his shirt.

That depends on what she considers a long engagement and IF the courts extend my guardianship. Harms fingers played along the edge of Macs jeans.

With you and me married, and if we had a hoouuse, she practically sang that last word for emphasis, The courts would probably look more favorably on you. Mac had unbuttoned his top button.

Could be. Harm hesitated, anticipation sending fiery chills through his veins.  Of course, if weve fulfilled our deal, Harm passed his hand lovingly over Macs tummy, we could use a house even if the courts dont extend custody.

So, flyboy... Unconsciously, she licked her lips.  We tell our friends, find a house and plan a wedding. She undid another button.

You dont want a long engagement do you? Harms hand was still caressing her tummy, his breath more labored.

No, way. She undid two more buttons. Eight years was long enough. She tugged lightly on his shirttails.

In that case, is there anyone else we need to tell today? Harm asked, impatiently nibbling on her neck.

Might be nice to tell Sturgis. She swallowed hard, her fingers swirling against his exposed chest.

Anyone else? He left a trail of delicate kisses to her collarbone.

Finding it harder to breathe, she mumbled, Mattie of course. Her fingers moving more slowly.

Harm smiled inwardly, at her increasing heart rate.  Mattie wont be home for hours yet. He slid a hand up along her back, doodling around her bra strap.

Gripping Harms shoulder for balance, Mac gasped when his tongue dipped down along the top of her cleavage.

Hours sounds good, Mac moaned before leaning down and capturing his lips in her own. 

Their passions erupted, encouraged by the vivid memories of love already shared.  With the grace of a much younger man, Harm easily scooped Mac up against his chest and carried her as he had the night before to their room.

Walking towards the bedroom in a fogged haze of growing desire, Harm somehow made a mental note to himself; he really needed to pay more attention to fortune cookies.

Your unspoken desire is the road not taken.
Take it.

May 23, 2029

Harm and Mac sat holding hands in the audience surrounded by an ocean of proud parents and family.  There was something so entrancing about a graduation ceremony at Annapolis. All the officers in their dress whites were an impressive sight.  No matter how many ceremonies youve attended, it was always an invigorating experience.

Jen and Bobby sat next to them, Jen nervously shredding a tissue in her hand.  Bobby just kept rubbing her shoulder and smiling.

It was a proud day for the Calvo family.  Elizabeth Marie Calvo was graduating from Annapolis. 

Shortly after their second child, Christopher James, had been born, Jen chose not to continue in the Navy.  None of their four children had ever shown much interest in the Navy, other than an occasional sense of awe at their Uncle Harms escapades, so it had totally surprised Jen when her eldest daughter announced her intentions of attending the prestigious military institution.

The close relationship between the two families had proved helpful when the time came for Liz to make her application.   Lots of people submitted letters of recommendation from admirals, but not many from one with as colorful a history, or as stellar a reputation as that of Admiral Harmon Rabb, the Judge Advocate General.

The familys close ties through the years had other benefits.  Lt. Harmon Rabb III sat patiently at his mothers side.  Like his father, he was a man who caught most peoples attention.  Standing evenly with his dad at 64, the handsome, dark haired, dark eyed naval aviator was valiantly hiding his own anxiousness and pride at the sight of his fiances graduation.

Of course, neither of their parents was aware of this little tidbit of information yet.  He had proposed just a few weeks ago, but they had decided for the sake of sanity to wait until after graduation to fill their parents in.

Rabb Home
Falls Church Virginia
Later that evening

Harm, it was so nice of you and Mac to hold this little get together for Liz, Jen smiled, her normal sense of calm finally in place.  Youd think she was getting married, the way my nerves were shot. Her smile grew a little stronger, almost laughing at herself.

No problem.  You know as far as Mac and I are concerned your kids are like ours anyway.

What was that? Mac asked as she approached her husband, slipping her arm around his waist and kissing him softly on the cheek.

Now what kind of a greeting is that for the godfather of the graduate? Harm turned his face and kissed his wife soundly on the lips.

Shaking her head, Jen chuckled.  How old are you two again? These two had never in all the years theyd been married stopped acting like a couple of newlyweds.   She suspected having struggled nine years to finally get together gave them an extraordinary appreciation for each other.

Their attention was diverted at the sound of HR, as the younger Rabb was affectionately known, tapping his glass with a spoon.  Lizs blushing glow led everyone to believe she was embarrassed by the congratulatory toast he was about to make.

All the guests did their best to gather closer to the young man and the graduate, some overflowing into the hall or dining room.  The Rabb house had a wonderful circular layout that made it an ideal home for parties and large family gatherings. 

As you all know Liz and I have known each other since we were kids.  I still remember the little brat who whenever she could, paid my sister Pat a dollar to hide in the back seat of my car during a date.  I also remember the great kid who noticed my kid brother, David, floating in the pool and saved his life using the CPR shed learned watching a TV show.  But most of all, I remember the beautiful woman who two weeks ago, standing under the moonlight, agreed to be my wife.  Raising his glass, he reached over for her hand. To Liz Calvo.

Here, here. The voices cheered as one by one all the guests descended upon the young couple.

Jen flew to her daughters side, shock and joy both beaming from her tear filled eyes.

Harm pulled his wife in closer, kissing the top of her head, I guess he followed his old mans advice.

What was that? Mac looked up, tears quickly building.

When you find the love of your life, dont let lifes complications stop you. He smiled at her, placing a kiss on her wet cheek.  I had a feeling this was why he wanted to talk about us.

You too? Mac wiped away some of the tears. She should have realized.

Three weeks before, HR had come over to hang out with his mom.  All the Rabb children were pretty close and made it a point to stop home whenever they could.  Twenty four year old HR visited the least for the obvious reasons, but twenty one year old Pat was going into her last year at Georgetown and stopped home often for a home cooked meal or to do laundry.  David, the baby of the family, who hated it when Mac referred to him that way, was eighteen and preferred inviting friends to hangout with him at home rather than traipsing around town.  Fortunately for Mac, most of his friends preferred hanging out at the Rabbs too.  She always thanked her Marine appetite and a well-stocked fridge for that blessing.

She hadnt recognized why HR had come by that day.  She noticed him looking through all the photo albums, especially asking questions about the years of photos before she and Harm were married.  His favorites seemed to be the ones with his parents and AJ Roberts.  They seemed so happy in those photos.  He asked about the gaps in photos the two years before the wedding, and listened intently as Mac tried to explain about the stupid choices theyd made. 

When they came to the wedding album Macs eyes beamed brightly at the memories.  It had been a beautiful warm day.  Close to three months after Harm's proposal they were married in a small, but formal, military wedding in the same church they attended Christmas services every year.  They had briefly discussed getting married at Annapolis, as all graduates were entitled to, but had immediately discarded the idea due to the waiting period involved.

Jennifer Coates and her little sister Chloe were bridesmaids.  Harriet Roberts was her matron of honor.   Sergei and his fiance flew in.  Harm had been a little surprised to be getting married before Sergei, but he was used to life being unpredictable.

It was great for Mac to look over the photos of all their old friends and how much fun they were all having at the reception.  The thing that probably surprised them the most was how well Jack Keeter and Terri Coulter hit it off.  If they had to pick two friends of theirs who would make a great couple, those would never have been the two theyd have picked.  They never did get married, but they had a few good years together.

I guess everyone looks happy on their honeymoon, HR commented, flipping through the pages of the next album.

Yeah, thats probably a safe assumption, Mac laughed.  She had almost forgotten what a lovely place Barbados was.  She and Harm spent most of their time on the beach or in the bedroom.  Of course, they spent a lot of time, on the sofa, on the floor, in the shower, in the ocean.  It was a busy time.

You realize you look like the cat that swallowed the canary, HR said, smiling at his mothers Cheshire grin.  It was pretty special for you two wasnt it?

Yeah, it took us an awful long time, and an awful lot of wasted years to get there.  Besides, that's how we got you!!  She reached over and pulled her son into a warm embrace.

They had indeed been right.  The odds of conceiving on that first unplanned encounter were not in their favor, yet somehow they fell into those fortunate statistics of honeymoon babies.

Have you ever regretted marrying dad or giving up the Marines? He honestly could not remember a single time that his mom or dad gave the impression theyd wished theyd made other choices.  Sure, hed seen them argue a time or two, some were pretty down right nasty fights, but it was always obvious they were deeply in love.

Not a single minute.  I always thought my good career was one of my main goals. And I did have a good career. Maybe thats why it was so easy to give up.  Nothing would ever be as important as you kids.  It was an easy choice.

If you had it to do over again, you and Dad both being military, would you have done it any differently?

Id like to think all the things we went through made our relationship stronger and our marriage better, but if I had to do it over again.  Id have married your father the minute he asked permission to come aboard.

She and HR laughed.  Everyone knew what she was referring to.  There wasnt anyone in the family, or the neighborhood for that matter, who didnt know the famous Declaration of Independence story.

Thanks, Mom. Youve been a big help.  He hugged his mom, took his cover, and headed for the door. Id love to stay longer, but Ive got to get going. One last kiss on the cheek and he was gone.

Mac sat looking through the albums, the photos of all the kids births, their birthdays, Matties graduation from Annapolis, and people who had long since passed, her mother in law, Admiral Chegwidden.  Theyd led a good life.  She continued flipping the pages without a clue as to what her son had been contemplating.

Feeling Harms grip tighten around her waist. You still with me, Marine? Harm asked trying to get his wifes attention.

Sorry, just thinking. Weve had a good life.  Thank you. She leaned her head against his chest.

That we have, I love you.  Taking his wifes hand the two walked over to congratulate their first born son.

Should we say anything about grandchildren yet? Harm teased his wife.

Nah, give them a couple of weeks, she laughed. 

Raising his arm around his wifes shoulder as they approached their son, Harm joined her in laughter. 

God, life has been good!

The end

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