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Birthday Treats   Part 1

BY: Timer

A/N: This is my first FF attempt. So I’m just closing my eyes and taking the leap. I’ve set this for Harm’s 40th, but disregarded the Season 9 angst that was going on then. More like Season 7, just the usual UST, not post-Paraguay pod people. No beta reader, so all errors are mine.

All the usual disclaimers apply: I don’t own these characters, Bellasario Productions and Paramount does. What a shame.

Rating: R for sexy thoughts

Chapter 1 - Birthday Treats

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Saturday, October 25, 2003
1100 Local

It’s Harm’s birthday today. The big four-oh-oh. I’d been hinting around for weeks about what we could do together to celebrate, or mourn the whole getting older thing. But Harm kept going into his self-protective cocoon. Well, I had other plans for him and they are just about to start. The decorations are up, the presents are arranged, the food’s on the table, the gang’s all here. All we need is Harm, and whoever he’s out with this morning, to show up. Show up, cancel the whammy he put on me and break my heart.

2 weeks earlier
0900 Local

“Really, Mac,” he implores, “I don’t want to do anything. In fact, I don’t even want to notice it myself. I’m just gonna stay home and pretend it’s not happening.” The last said with a trace of defeat.

That’s all it took to kick me into action big time. No way was this Marine letting him hunker down and pout. A flyboy needs to soar in joy during big occasions. And no matter how much he wants to ignore it, his 40th birthday is a big occasion. Marching out of his office and into the bullpen I know just what to do: Time for battle plan Harriet.

“Harriet,” I whisper conspiratorially, “I need your help on a special project.”

“Yes ma’am. Whatever you need.”

“Meet me in the conference room at 1200 today.” She nods. “Harriet, this is a ‘need to know’ mission and Harm does not need to know,” I say to her, watching her eyes go wide.

Meeting in the conference room, I lay it out for her. “Harriet, Harm’s 40th birthday is in two weeks and I’ve been trying to get him to tell me what he wants to do, but he’s doing a big turtle imitation.” Noticing her quizzical look I explain, “Pulling into his shell, shutting me out, being a hard lump, throwing himself a pity party!” I exclaim, each phrase getting a little louder as I pace around the conference table.

“Ah, ma’am. If you don’t want him to hear you, you might want to keep your voice a little lower.”

Right. Better remember that.

“OK, so I want to throw him a surprise party and I’d like your help in planning it.”

After planning her wedding and the USO Christmas show, Harriet can plan anything. Not to mention her logistical experience in dealing with two kids, a husband, a house and a job on a daily basis. How does she do it? I have trouble keeping up with myself and an apartment. I mean I even had to give Jingo to Chloe because it was too much for me to handle. Guess that dream of a husband and kids is beyond me. Wait, maybe the Marines have advanced training in logistical support that I could take. Yeah, maybe.....

“Ma’am?” Harriet’s waving her hand in front of my face. “Ma’am, are you alright?”

“What, oh, yes, I guess I just drifted off there for a second.” The look on her face said “drifted” and “second” weren’t the descriptives she’d have chosen.

Shaking my head and taking a sip of coffee (when all else fails, go for the caffeine) we start planning in earnest. As I hoped she would, Harriet basically took over and all I had to do was make sure Harm would be out of his apartment for at least an hour the Saturday morning of his birthday.

Wickedly I assure her I can handle that assignment.

1 week later
1000 Local

“Maac...what is it? You’ve been giving me strange looks for a week now.” Harm is clearly exasperated. He tried the “what’s up” look for a few days. Then the “you’re puzzling me” look for a couple. When the “I’m getting worried about this” one didn’t work he pulled out the big guns: exasperation with full body language. He’s standing in my doorway, shoulders slightly hunched, hands on his hips, chin tilted a little bit down, sending a laser beam stare at me.

I manufacture a, hopefully, realistic sounding sigh of resignation. “Harm, maybe you should come sit down... oh, and shut the door.” As his brow furrows in consternation, he does so.
I look down at my desktop for a moment, I’ve got to get this just right and it’s been a long time since I was a cat in my grade school’s play. “Harm, as chief of staff you know I have to monitor everyone’s service record to make sure all the standard requirements are met.” He nods. “Annual medical exams, flight quals for you, marksmanship tests for the Marines, continuing education for some of us...”, Harm’s looking at me like he’s wondering what the point is. Oh boy, this is gonna hit him like a -- dare I say it? -- hammer. “Physical Fitness Tests.”

“I know that Mac. What’s the problem? What does that have to do with the weird looks you’ve been giving me for the last eight days?”

Wow, he’s been counting the number of days? He noticed that much? Hhumm, maybe I should rethink this Marine/lawyer thing and go into acting.

I lean forward on my desktop a little, upping the concerned-friend sincerity level a notch. “Harm, I’m not sure how to say this diplomatically, but I’ve noticed that your fitness level has, uhumm, ‘dropped’ a bit.”

Dropped is what his jaw does as his eyes turn into saucers and a wash of red shoots up his neck to the tips of those adorable ears.

Bingo. Target acquired. Now, to make sure this goes in the right direction.

“Harm, I know we haven’t been running together lately. Are you still running?”

Nervously, he lowers his eyes and mumbles, “Not as much.”

Time to press it home. “Maybe we should start doing that again,” I offer sweetly. “I’m available Saturday mornings.”

“Uh, no Mac. No need for that. I have a running partner. I’ve just been a little lax about keeping up with my schedule. I’ll take care of it. You don’t have to worry about me failing my PFT next month. Just ‘cause I’m turning 40 doesn’t mean I’m decrepit.” He’s a trifle defensive, well, I can certainly understand. “Is there anything else Mac?”

“No Harm, that’s all. I hope you know I’m looking out for your own good.”

As he draws that gorgeous 6’4” frame out of the chair and turns with a grace few men his size possess, I get a most lovely look at his sculpted six. I intently watch for the telltale traces of muscles that ripple under his trousers as he walks out. Darn, much as I like how he looks in winter blues, the summer whites don’t hide his six under a jacket. I ought to know. I’ve spent years surreptitiously studying his body. Furthermore, I could swear under oath as an expert witness that I haven’t seen one iota of loss in fitness level. In fact, the man seems to get better every year.
What was once ‘Stickboy’ is now ‘Adonis’, or maybe Michelangelo’s David. Not that I’ve seen him in that state. I only dream about it. I really need to reconsider this acting thing if I’ve actually been able to convince him that I think he’s getting out of shape! Hoo-rah, Marines rule!

Feeling most self-satisfied I step out of my office to get a fresh cup of coffee only to be stopped dead in my tracks by the sound of Harm’s voice. “Cindy? Hi, it’s Harm. Yeah, I know, I’m sorry I haven’t called in a while. I know, I know, I’ve really been uhmm...unreliable. But can I make it up to you? I promise I won’t let you down again. OK...then, tonight? And Wednesday night? Saturday morning? Oh thanks Cindy. You don’t know how much this means to me. Yeah, I want to be back on track with you, too.”

Cindy!?! Who’s this Cindy? His running partner? Some new blond bimbo no doubt. Great. And he promised! I know how Harm feels about his promises. Damn! I’ve insured that he’s gonna be seeing this one at least three times a week. I’ll bet she wears tight t-shirts and has big bouncy boobs.

I’m furious with myself as I storm into the coffee room, almost running over Harriet.

“Oh ma’am. I was coming to see you,” she bubbles. “Everything’s all set. I’ve got the decorations, the drinks and food that can be bought in advance, the cake’s ordered -- they even said they can make an F-14 in the icing!”

“Wonderful, Harriet. Wonderful.” Where’d those acting skills go? I know I haven’t contained my distress.

“Is something wrong ma’am?” she asks, obviously seeing there is. “Are you having trouble making sure Harm’s gone Saturday morning?”

“No Harriet. If there’s one thing I’m sure of, Harm will be out running Saturday morning.”

Wednesday, October 22
0800 Local

I walk into the break room to see Harm nonchalantly leaning against the counter, long legs crossed in elegant relaxation. Waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, he’s toying with a stir stick in his mouth. Good God. Fred Astaire in top hat and tails never looked so poised. A panther in attack crouch never looked so dangerously sexy.

A slow smile spreads across his face. Not the megawatt flyboy grin. Not the sheepish little boy forgive me curled up at the ends mouth. This is a new one on me. Somewhere between a riverboat gambler and a python about to wrap itself around its next victim. Why do I get this feeling he thinks he’s getting away with something and probably will?
“Good morning Mac. Coffee?”

Nodding is my best reply. I’m mesmerized by that sly smile and his eyes. Now I’ve got the image of a mongoose and a cobra. Guess which one I am.

“You know, I really need to thank you for getting me back into my, uhumm ‘fitness’ schedule. I’ve been pounding it real hard with my new partner.”

Did he just say what I think I heard him say?

“Yeah, we’ve really been going at it. I’d forgotten how good it feels to do it so often. I might just see if she can take it even more frequently. Three times a week doesn’t seem quite enough.” I’m standing in the middle of the room dumbfounded. “You know, Mac. You might want to take your own advice. Spend some time breathing heavy, working at something hard. Certainly has improved my outlook.” With that he saunters out of the break room, leaving me speechless, mortified, turned on and unable to ignore the image of Harm pounding hard with his new partner.

I think that acting career is a nonstarter. I think I need a vacation. Maybe a permanent one.

Friday, October 24
1300 Local

OK, I can do this. I’ve successfully avoided Harm since what I’ve come to think of as ‘Harm’s sexual exploits briefing’. All I have to do now is get through the next 24 hours (surely I can leave the what-a-stupid-idea-Mac surprise birthday party after two hours) and I’m home free. Arranged for two-days leave, so I’m heading out to the shore. Maybe staring at the sea will get him out of my mind. Right. Focusing on the sea is gonna help me forget a Navy man. When is my brain going to reengage? I haven’t had a coherent thought since seeing that coffee stirrer caressing his lips. Or were his lips caressing the stirrer? Can a plastic straw caress? I’m losing it. No, I’ve lost it.

Harriet bustles into my office (do you have to be born in the South to know how to bustle? strays through my mind). “Everything and everybody is ready for ‘Operation Four-Oh-Oh’, ma’am. Bud even got this neat periscope thingy so he can watch out the window for Harm without actually being in the window.” What? If it’s a periscope what’s it doing in Harm’s apartment? And shouldn’t Sturgis be manning it? He’s the submariner. Wait, she can’t mean a real periscope. Can she? Now what is she saying?

“So everyone knows to park a block away and to be there by 1000. I guess that’s it. If that’s all, I’ll see you tomorrow morning, ma’am.” She’s positively chirping.

I realize I need to drag my thoughts away from the coffee stirrer and give her some semblance of a reply. Thanks would probably be in order too.
“Thanks, Harriet. You’ve done a great job. Yes, I’ll see you tomorrow morning.” See, that wasn’t so hard. Oh oh, ‘so hard’. Did I have to think those words?

Later that afternoon

A knock on my door frame breaks my train of thought. I was thinking about how Harm’s six looked when we used to run together. He’d get ahead, long legs and indefatigable competitive spirit had him ahead most of the time, and I’d just get to watch. Even with baggy sweatpants or gym shorts it was a most enjoyable view. Close to a national treasure I’m beginning to think.

Damn, who’s intruding on this important rumination of mine? Whoops, it’s Harm.

The look he’s giving me is even deadlier than the one from the break room two days ago. I’d swear he knows what I was thinking.

“Wow Mac, you sure were deep in that daydream. Must have been a good one.”

When did his voice get deeper, his cadence a hair slower, his volume intimate? ‘Suck it up Marine!’ I tell myself.

“I was not daydreaming. I was...” I struggle for an appropriately professional word that will imply lofty thinking. “I was cogitating. Ruminating. Reflecting.” I state emphatically.

He makes this little noise that’s somewhere between a snicker and a snort yet is maddeningly sexy. “Right. Looked more like head-in-the-clouds daydreaming or juicy fantasizing from here.”

He does know what I was thinking! Oh, I am so busted. No, he couldn’t really know. I can bluff this out.

”Harm, did you need something? If not, I’d like to get back to what I’m working on.”

“Sure Mac. I’d love for you to get at what you were just working on,” he smirks. I cringe. He most definitely busted me. “I wanted to let you know I’m leaving for the day. See you Monday. Have a good weekend.”

Leaving? What time is it? Oh my god, I don’t know what time it is! Exactly what kind of whammy did he put on me Wednesday morning? And how do I get rid of it? Who do I go to to exorcise it? A Catholic priest? I hear they’re pretty good with the devil. A voodoo priestess? Nah, I don’t want to put pins in a Harm doll. A fortune teller? But I don’t need to know my future, I need to be able to handle my present. (Oh damn, did I think ‘handle’ and ‘Harm’ in the same sentence?) Maybe I can find someone who specializes in this kind of thing on the Internet. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll get Bud to help me with an Internet search. Oops, I can see how that conversation would go: “Bud, would you help me find someone on the Internet that will help me stop thinking lascivious thoughts about Harm and let me get my brain back?” “Ma’am?”
None of those options seem viable. Well, at least I can still come up with words like “viable”.

I’m gonna die tomorrow morning when he shows up with his new partner. I’m sure he’ll bring her upstairs for a little more ‘training’ after their run. And there we’ll be, his friends and his girl-next-door best friend who he’d never think of pounding it hard with. Maybe that will break the spell. Seeing him with another blond, big-boobed (bet they’re fake), bimbo will snap me out of this whatever-it-is.

That’s it. I resolve that’s the way it’ll be. Hoo-rah!

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Saturday, October 25
1100 Local

Everything’s ready. We’re all here. Bud’s got his periscope thingy pointed out the window watching for Harm to come back from his run.

“Quiet everybody” he says excitedly. “Harm’s coming down the block.”

An expectant hush falls over the gathering. I can’t help myself. “Bud, is he running alone?”

“Oh no, ma’am. He is clearly not alone. Boy, his running partner is really something!”

Great. Precisely what I need to hear, Bud Roberts salivating over Harm’s latest conquest.

Why can’t I stop myself? “Blond?”

“Very much so. Wow, what a dog!”

“Bud!” Harriet, Stugis and I all exclaim at once. “Bud Roberts what’s gotten into you, you shouldn’t talk about someone you don’t even know like that!” Harriet lambasts him. Sturgis chimes in with “Bud, true beauty is inside a person.” All I can do is stammer, “A dog?”

“Yeah a dog, like Lassie. Well, no, not like Lassie ‘cause it’s not a collie. Maybe some sort of retriever. Not a Golden. Maybe some new breed of Afghan Hound. But why would Harm want anything remotely reminding him of Afghanistan...” while Bud babbles I grab the periscope from him.

Yep, sure enough Harm’s running partner is a huge blond dog of some kind. As he stretches the dog is running circles around him and a teenage girl comes slowly up the street, a walking cast encasing the lower half of her right leg. I watch as Harm gives the dog a few last friendly cuffs and waves goodbye to the both of them as the girl walks back up the street.
My heart soars like an eagle! He isn’t pounding it with a new blond bimbo. He’s running a huge dog ‘cause its owner’s been injured. I do a little mental jig, momentarily forgetting whammies, the need for an exorcism and my recent inability to think.

Quietly we wait for Harm to open his door.

“Surprise!” We all chorus as a magnificently sweaty Harm stands in his doorway. Everybody except me that is. There is no way I could get out a squeak, much less a shout.

Oh my god. When did he start wearing spandex running pants? They fit him like a second skin. No, a first skin. And now he’s laughing and taking his sweatshirt off over his head. Eecks. It’s his chest. Wooah. That’s very nice. But what’s really impressive is his, uhumm, package. Jeez. I’ve seen him in boxers but they hide too much. How could they hide that? I wonder. He goes out in public like that? Does an ambulance follow behind to revive all the woman who faint in his path? Hey, it’s kinda cold out today. Isn’t it supposed to shrink in cold weather? If that’s shrunken...no, no way!

I keep staring at that package, and I slowly realize it’s getting closer. “Hey Mac, are you OK?” rumbles out of the chest I’ve forced my eyes up to.

“Oh yeah, Happy Birthday Harm,” I stutter, blushing. I get my eyes up to his. Yep, I knew it. The riverboat gambler, Fred Astaire, a panther, a python and a cobra have all somehow morphed into this man standing so exquisitely close to me.

“Thanks, Mac.” It’s almost a whisper and I think I sigh. There goes my reputation. He makes a most sexy sound that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of a growl but just barely audible.

Harriet walks up sing-songing “Lordy, Lordy look who’s forty,” and pecks him on the cheek. While I don’t actually tear her limb from limb while screaming “hands off, this is mine!” I consider it. I briefly congratulate myself on my restraint, vowing to never tell her how close to death she came.

“Hey folks, I gotta take a quick shower. Be back in 10.” Harm walks up the steps to his bedroom as I stare transfixed first at his retreating form, then his path partially obscured by the glass louvers that separate his bedroom from the rest of the loft. The light goes on in his bathroom. Oh, the glass block wall!

I’m wondering if I should call the paramedics now or let someone else do it after I pass out.

No one else seems to be paying attention to the fact that Harm is stripping off his running pants and turning on the shower. They’re all standing around laughing and joking, drinking sodas and eating Harriet’s finger food.

I’m drinking in the sight of Harm through the glass blocks (damn that obscured vision thing) and imagining eating him up. Chocolate sauce a la Harm. Sounds good to me.

By the time he’s turned off the shower I’ve managed to get in the vacinity of reality and am having what I hope is a coherent conversation.

Harm returns dressed in wonderfully well-worn Levi’s and a just right-tight t-shirt. Spiky wet hair completes the picture and I know I’m a goner. I suddenly realize that while I thought I was manipulating him he’s outmaneuvered me at every step.

“Hey Mac, penny for your thoughts.”

“Just thinking about your package, I mean presents.” No, no, no I did not really say that. Oh, damn. Yes I really did.

There’s that sound again. I’ve known this man for years, how come I never heard these sounds or seen these looks before the last two weeks?

“I’m thinking about my birthday presents too. I really hope I get what I wish for.” With that he ambles over to the refrigerator for a bottle of water.

After a while Harriet brings the cake to the table, complete with 40 candles lit. “Don’t worry buddy, we have the fire department on standby,” Sturgis ribs.

“Don’t forget to make a wish, sir” Harriet says.

“Harriet, you can be sure, I know exactly what I’m wishing for.” As he leans forward to blow out the candles I swear he takes their fire into his eyes and transfers it to me. So the candles are out but we’re both ablaze.

“Way to go, sir” Bud exclaims. “Now you’ll get your wish.”

“I can only hope, Bud. I can only hope.” He looks at me and there is no doubt what his wish is, and there is no doubt that I’m going to grant it. It may be his birthday, but I think I’m going to have a most memorable time unwrapping a package.

Chapter 2 - More Birthday Treats

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Saturday, Oct. 25, 2003

“Oh Harriet, thanks but Harm and I can finish cleaning up. You and Bud go relieve your sitter,” I magnanimously assure her. Just because I can’t wait to be alone with him doesn’t mean I can’t be gracious. Especially considering I almost killed her an hour ago.

“Well, if you’re sure ma’am, sir.”

“Harriet, I’m absolutely sure this is one assignment you really can’t help with,” Harm says earnestly.

Oh wow. Does that mean he actually thinks we’re gonna....you know...do it? Gee, I’m a 36 year old woman, don’t you think I ought to at least be able to think the word. Guess not. I don’t know if that’s pathetic, endearing or a sign of a deeper psychological problem. Have to worry about that later, there’s that unbelievably sexy voice making sounds again.

“Mac, I don’t think any of this needs to get picked up right now.”

Picked up? He’s trying to pick me up? I thought we’d already covered that part.

“The food’s put away. The rest of this can wait. Why don’t we just kick back for a minute. I’ll make us some tea.”

WAIT??? He wants to wait??? I’ve been waiting for years for this. No way am I waiting any more. If I have to take this into my own hands...whoops, yes that’s exactly what I want to do. Oh my, maybe a cup of tea isn’t such a bad idea. I need to think this through. Plan my attack. He is a formidable ... enemy? Why am I thinking about this like a battle. He wants to too, doesn’t he? I thought he did. Now I don’t know. Maybe he was just joking around. No, that look over the birthday cake was no joke.

I just need to push a little and he’ll collapse like a house of cards.
“Here you go, Mac, Earl Gray, your favorite.” He hands me a steaming mug and sits down next to me on the couch.

Placing his mug on the coffee table he turns toward me. I mean he really turns toward me. Not just his body. Somehow the whole universe is being channeled through him and it’s all focused on me.

“Mac,” it’s not a riverboat gambler, Fred Astaire, a panther, a python or a cobra anymore. This is far more deadly. This is unadulterated desire. Unabashed passion. Undisguised lust.

Unbelievably scary.

I clutch my mug of tea like it’s some sort of talisman. No, no Mac. Don’t turn into a simpering schoolgirl now! For the first time you’re getting the full Harm treatment. Don’t get scared, get into it!

“You know, a man only turns 40 once.”

“Well, time is a pretty linear thing that only moves one way,” I state authoritatively (where the hell is this coming from?). Einstein theorized that it compresses as one reaches the speed of light, but it’s all relative.” What am I doing here? Harm’s making a move on me and I’m bringing up Einstein’s theory of relativity? Am I nuts? Certifiable.

“You want to discuss relativity?” Harm’s look is priceless. I’m sure he’s been shot down in the past by a woman. But never like this. His face spells it out like a neon sign: she doesn’t want me? I thought she wanted me. I know she wants me. What’s going on here?

“Well, it was one of the most important scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century, Harm. I think we should all remember Einstein at important moments, momentous moments. Moments that change the universe forever.” Come on, come on, get the hint.

“Moments that change the universe,” he says, moving a little closer. Oh good, I knew he was a smart boy.

“Yes, some moments change things forever. Like time, it’s a linear progression, and once you move past a certain point, they’re never the same.” Ok, that’s good. I’ve put my cards on the table without showing my hand. Unless his hearing has been defeated by the blood pounding in his ears, he’ll know this is not just a roll in the hay for me.

“Some moments are meant to be, Mac. Some moments have been waiting to happen for far too long.”

I actually gulp. “You think?”
“I know.”

“You know what?”

“I think you are the best birthday present I’ll ever get. And I want you every day from now on.”

I can’t help myself. I bounce on the couch. “Really?”

“Yes, really.”

“Does that mean I get to unwrap you too?” Yes, it must be said that was said with glee.

“Yes, ma’am. And I get to unwrap you.”

“Can we do that now?” I’m still bouncing on the couch. When did this 6-year-old take over my psyche? She sure is eager.

Oh my, I guess that cobra didn’t really leave, because in a blink he somehow has scooped me up into his arms and we’re headed for the bedroom.

“I just love birthdays Mac, don’t you.”

Chapter 3 -  Treating Me Right

Harm’s Apartment
North Of Union Station
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003
0800 Local

Oh, that’s what a good nights sleep feels like. Wow, I haven’t slept that well since...ever. Wait a minute, where am I. And what’s this big warm thing next to me. I gave Jingo to Chloe. Eeeck! It’s a body. Oh it’s not a body, it’s alive. It’s alive!!! It’s alive and it’s Harm!

Oh yeah. Now I remember. Oh boy do I remember. No wonder I slept well. This man could put half of the pharmaceutical companies out of business. No more insomnia, depression, anxiety. Take the Harm cure. Once a day (or more if needed). I wonder if he’d mind if I woke him up. Just to double check if the cure works. Scientific research and all that. Didn’t a discussion about Einstein’s theory of relativity get us into this?

Wow, I’m in bed with Harm, we’re both naked and we finally (THANK YOU GOD!) made love. Not that I’m given to rating my sexual partners, but Harm’s most definitely number one, at the top, cream of the crop. Can’t believe I momentarily forgot that as I woke up. Must be the residual Harm-sleep-inducing-factor.

And what a body. What I thought I saw in his spandex running pants is even better in person.

Getting a little bolder, I raise the sheets a bit. Just to check out how he looks this morning. Oh my. He’s 6’4” of play land. And he’s all mine. Mine, mine, mine, all mine. Harriet may have escaped yesterday, but that was only because she didn’t know. I’m marking this territory with my flag and no one is coming near it.

How do I do that? A tattoo on his forehead seems a little, I don’t know, outrageous? There has to be a way. No more Renee's or Annie's or anyone else. Just me.

Gee, he sure is cute.

Oh, and he has a little stubble going. Well of course he does Mac, I tell myself. Hey, I can’t help it if I’m a trifle giddy waking up next to Harm. I want to explore everything. That’s me, Christopher Columbus exploring a new world. I’m just about to touch his chest when he shifts and, was that a moan?

“Hmhumm,” scintillating morning conversation. Suddenly he launches his left arm over me and I’m trapped. Yes, as trapped goes this has to be one of the best ways to be trapped, if not the best, but still, I’m trapped.

What if I have to go to the bathroom.

Well, that just did it. Now I do have to go to the bathroom.

Maybe I can wiggle down and not wake him up. Carefully I start wiggling. Hey, this isn’t so tough. Sort of like worming under barbed wire with live fire going on overhead. I’ve done this before. Wait, did I really just compare wiggling down Harm’s body to barbed wire? Maybe that whammy has residual effects.

“Uhummoff.” Now that giant left leg has joined the arm. I’m totally pinned. And my bladder is really beginning to scream.

OK, nothing else to do. Gotta wake him up and face the music. Oh, how ackward is this gonna be? Is he going to regret it? Does he even remember it? (He has to, there wasn’t any alcohol at the party.)

Well, this is getting mission critical, so whatever...

“Harm,” I try gently. No response. “Harm,” a little louder now. No response. “Harm!” with a little nudge against his shoulder. No response.

I check his breathing. Yes, he’s still breathing. Maybe he’s in hibernation?

“Harm! I need to get up and you have me trapped.” Surely appealing to his protective instincts will work. Or maybe not.

“Attention on deck!” I scream in my best DI voice. Wow, that worked. I’ve never seen anyone come to attention asleep in bed. Oh, something else came to attention too. My, my.

“Mac.” “Harm” we both say at once.

“Harm, you have me pinned.”

“Yeah, so?”

“I need to go to the bathroom.”

“Oh, OK.” He magnanimously removes his arm and leg and I scurry out of the room, thinking ‘oh my god, he’s watching my naked ass run from his bed! How will I ever face him in court again?’

In the bathroom I realize that him watching my naked butt is nothing compared to what we did last night. How will I ever face him in court again?

How long can I stall in this bathroom? Days? Weeks? If I had a weapon, maybe years. I’m not walking out there, front wise. Oh, a towel. I could wrap myself in a towel. That’s it!

Grabbing one of Harm’s towels, gray, fluffy and very big (well it figures he’d have big towels, he’s a big guy) I wrap it around me and walk calmly back into the bedroom. Only to be confronted by a very perplexed Harm.


Oh damn. He doesn’t remember. How could he not? What do I do now? (Running as fast as possible from the scene of the crime comes to mind.)

“Mac??? Is that really you??”

OK, that tears it. Now who else looks like me? Whoops, there is that whole weird Diane thing, but surely he’s not confusing me with her. Oh, maybe he is. If he is, I think I’m gonna die.

“Harm, yes, it’s me.”

“Oh, good. Get back in bed,” he mumbles just barely coherently.

That’s it!?! We make love, sleep together finally after all these years and all he can say is ‘get back in bed’! I’m gonna kill him.


That wakes him up a bit. He blinks in this disarming way. He rubs his eyes like a little boy. I’m falling in love again. Deeper.

“Mac, come to bed, I sleep better when you’re in bed with me and I don’t want to get up yet.”

“How can you know how you sleep with me since we’ve never slept together before?”

“Sure we have. In the Appalachians, in Afghangastan, in Russia. Now get back in bed, please.”

Dropping the towel, which opens his eyes just a bit more I’m thankful to see, I get back in bed. “Well, we’ve slept together, but we’d never slept together.” I think I sounded bashful.

He draws me close. Oh, I’ve never felt this secure, this safe, this protected. These arms that have done so much for me for years...I never knew their true power. I’m never getting out of this bed. And neither is he. We won’t call it a hostage crisis. More like a need finally fulfilled.

“Yeah, that’s too bad,” he says, drawing little figure 8’s on my back. “Why didn’t we?”
Give me a break. Mr. Regulations is asking why we haven’t had sex before now? My face must have betrayed my thoughts.

“Ok, ok. I know. But remember, time’s linear. Once you pass a momentous event, it can’t be taken back.”

I nod.

“So, we’ve passed this event. I’d like to think we’ll revisit it very often. And by the way, you are never, ever going to pass this kind of event with anyone else. I’m not either. You’re mine. I’m yours. Understood?”

A declaration? A stated intention? You mean I don’t need to get him to get that tattoo?

“What exactly do you mean, Harm?” No more misunderstandings. No more Sydney's!

“Well, I don’t have a ring this morning, but I’d sure like it if you considered yourself my fiancé.”

I don’t think I’ve gulped in the last 20 years and now I’m gonna do it again for the second time in a day. “Yes.”

“Good,” he says as he throws his left arm and leg over me. “This OK?”

“Yes, I’d have to say that this is just wonderful.”

“Great, now let’s sleep a little more then I’ll make you pancakes.”

Maybe I can run to the store for some bacon, too. Humm, but then again, I may never need more than what I have right here.

Chapter 4 -  These are Treats?

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003
0930 Local

Grrr. What was that sound? GRUHUMPH. Oh, my stomach. I’m hungry. Guess that means it’s time to get out of bed. Oh, do I have to? I’ve got this really cute guy here and I’ll bet we could come up with some other things to do. GRUUHUUMP!!!! Ok, ok, I’ve got the message.

“Harm,” I try gently, knowing this won’t work.

He turns over. Well, at least he reacted.

“Harm,” with a little shake to his shoulder.


Well, it worked last time but I really hate to resort to this. “Attention on deck!” Yep, works every time.

Harm’s sitting up in bed, blinking and wondering what the hell is going on. “Mac, what are you screaming about?” he asks peevishly. He really can look a lot like a little boy when he wants to. Maybe even when he doesn’t want to.

“I’m hungry,” I announce, like that will somehow stem the discussion about us being in bed, having had sex, being a couple, declaring our undying love for each other. Hey, get your priorities straight.

“So am I,” he says as his hands start to move in areas that are clearly not designed for food.

As much as I want to play with him (ohh, do I get to play with him whenever I want to?) I’m hungry. A Marine hungry. A don’t stop me ‘til I eat hungry.

“No Harm. This is serious. I need to eat. NOW.” I hope he got that, what with the sleepiness and hormones.

All of a sudden his eyes break open. Oh, what a wonderful sight to see in the morning. “What time is it?” he asks, grabbing for his boxers even as he says it. I love this man. I’m going to love him more every day.
“0931 and 23 seconds.”

“Oh man, you must be starved. You haven’t gone this long without eating since....when? Afghanistan? I’m sorry. I’ll get you some food right away.”

Yes, I’m going to take all this in stride. Harm is jumping to take care of me and the world looks like a better place.

“Baby, I’m gonna make you a breakfast like you’ve never had before,” he exclaims as I plump the pillows behind my head.

‘Baby?’ No way Harm called me ‘baby’.

“Hey sweetheart, if you’d like after breakfast we can go for a walk. It’s a beautiful day outside.”

‘Sweetheart?’ Not in my lifetime. Not on this planet. Who has captured Harm and what have they done with him?

I carefully approach my prey. He is larger than me, and clearly not rational. He turns. “Mac, I’ve got some great orange-grapefuit juice, want some?”

Do I try to talk this impostor out of this strange facade or do I try to take him by force? I’m thinking discretion is the better part of valor.

“Harm, can we talk?” I back away a bit, just to be sure.

“Sure, Mac, but I thought you were really hungry. I think I heard your stomach growl a couple of times. So why don’t you sit down and we’ll have breakfast. You can talk while you eat.”

The lifted eyebrows, the little smile, the whole way his body is leaning toward me tells me this is Harm, not some pod-person.

“So, you really meant all that?” I’m out on a 50-foot limb here.

“Sure, sorry I don’t have bacon for you.” He smiles at me. OK if this is how it’s gonna be, I can handle it. He’ll be loving and affectionate, but won’t quite admit it. OK, I can deal with that. As long as he’s loving and affectionate.

“You know, I really like waking up next to you,” he says this with such a wistfulness it nearly breaks my heart.

I think this is going to work out just fine.

Chapter 5 - The Next Steps

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003
1100 Local

I’m stuffed. I’ve eaten more pancakes than I can count. Harm is looking at me like a satisfied grandmother. “Had enough, Mac? I could make more.”

“Oh no, I think I’ve had my fill.”

Getting up he starts to clear the table. “Harm, let me do that.”

“No, you just relax and digest. After all, you did throw me a birthday party yesterday.”

Honestly my conscious is screaming ‘Give Harriet the credit!’ but, what can I say? I’m weak today.

I watch him move through the mundane chores of putting dishes in the dishwasher, wiping countertops, dropping napkins in the trash. How does he make such routine things look like a choreographed sexual seduction? I know he mentioned a walk. Maybe I can convince him to walk back to the bedroom? Let’s see.

He’s intently scrubbing the frying pan. Seems like there’s some pancake batter stuck. His brow is a little furrowed and he’s working his whole upper body into this endeavor. I may faint before I get to seduce him. Swear to god, the man could make dusting sexy. In fact, if I could clone him and start a cleaning service I’d be able to retire a millionaire in a year or less. Oh, I digress.

Seduction. Sex. Yes, that’s what I want.

Using my best Marine Recon techniques, I creep up on him. He doesn’t have a clue I’m standing right behind him. I could take him down in an instant. What am I thinking? I don’t have to ‘take him down’, he’s a willing participant, isn’t he? Clearly I need to change my thinking parameters. He said he wants me to be his fiancé, that implies wife in the future, right? So I don’t have to stalk him. I can just walk up bold as day and say “Hey Harm, I want to have sex, how ‘bout it?”

No, that seems a little crude.

OK, maybe this approach. A slight trace of a finger up his back, and say in a real throaty voice “Harm.” Any man who’s still breathings gonna get that hint, right?

No, that seems a little contrived, hackneyed even.

How about I wrap my arms around his waist from the back and thank him for the lovely breakfast. Then give him a few little kisses on the back of his neck. Yeah, that seems right. Not too bold, not too cautious, just right. (Why am I beginning to feel like Goldilocks here?)

“Mac, are you gonna stand there behind me doing nothing forever or are you gonna make a move, because I’m going crazy here.”

Well, I guess that answers that. “Are you done scrubbing that pan?”

“I’ve been done with this pan for the last 3 minutes. I’ve been waiting for you to do something.”

“Oh, something like this?” I wrap my arms around his waist and press tightly to his back. “Or maybe this?” I rain kisses on his neck. “Perhaps you were hoping for this,” I stand on the tips of my tippytoes to reach his ear, that wonderful bent one, and nip it just a bit.

The last gets a growl. He turns and I see what I’ve unleashed. Wow, what a look he has in his eyes. Yes, I’m definitely getting sex. Really hot, good sex. Right now.

Once again he scoops me up in his arms and carries me to the bedroom. I’m beginning to think he has a latent Caveman complex, but it’s alright with me. “Maaaac,” it’s somewhere between a moan and a prayer. I’ve never heard my name sound like this before.

Oh his body, oh my body, oh how they fit together. Jeez, why did we wait so long to do this? Where we nuts or what?

A little nap later, “Harm?”, why am I always the one to wake up first? And trapped again by a large arm and leg. Well, it really doesn’t feel like being trapped, more like being held captive with my own consent. But once again I need to use the bathroom. And I’m thinking a shower might be in order.

I am NOT doing the DI routine again. Whatever it takes, I’m waking Harm up a little less violently. Nudging, tugging, poking, prodding, shaking hasn’t worked so far. No wonder he’s always late to staff meetings. What next? Oh, more devious ways will probably keep me in bed longer than I’d planned. But then again, would that be such a bad thing?

OK, I’ll start at the top, easiest to reach anyway. He really reacted to his ear before. Let’s see about that. Nibble, nibble, tiny bite, tongue swipe, hot breath. “Mmmm.” Good, a reaction. Perhaps a bit more will wake him up. Going for the full guns, it’s the tongue in the ear. “Hey!”


“Harm, I need you to release me.”

“Release you?”

“Yes, you have me trapped, your arm and leg...figure it out.”

With an adorably sheepish look, he releases me. “Sorry, Mac. I just like holding you.”

Oh my, how can I quarrel with that? “And I like holding you, too, Harm. It’s just I need to go to the bathroom. And I’m gonna take a shower. You want to join me?”

A kid at Christmas never looked so happy. “Really? You’d let me shower with you?”

Where did I get this impression that this man was a playboy? You’d think he was barely experienced. No, that can not be right. Maybe he’s just this way with me. Oh, wouldn’t that be special!

“Yes Harm, if you get out of bed right now, you can shower with me. I’ll wash your back, you can wash mine and who knows what else might happen.” So saucy, but just right.

“Yes ma’am, I’ll be right there.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of rapturous anticipation. If I can do that to him with a shower, is he gonna live through the full Mac in sexual voraciousness mode? Guess we’ll just have to see!

Chapter 6 - A Long Weekend

Harm’s Apartment
North of Union Station
Sunday, Oct. 26, 2003

If all showers were that much fun, cleanliness would become a national obsession. The only reason we finally got out was the hot water was running low.

“Gee Mac, I thought a 50 gallon water heater was more than enough. I guess I’ll have to get a bigger one.” Harm looks so adorable in towels. One around his waist, one over his shoulders, another drying his hair. I wish I was a towel.

Wait! I have to stop this. I can’t spend the rest of my life just having sex with Harm. ‘Why not?’ a little voice asks. It would be irresponsible, it would be unadult, it would be so very much fun. Uhoh, that just slipped in there.

I’m trying to find my clothes. I’m not sure I even remember what I was wearing. Harm graciously helps, “Mac, are these your, umhmm...”

“Yes,” I grab my panties from his outstretched hand. Well, at least he had the grace to blush a bit. Not that he really should blush, but it somehow seems right. We’ve only been together for 20 hours. He shouldn’t be that comfortable with my panties yet. Give it another day or two.

OK, so now I’m dressed. He’s gonna hate this part, I think.

“Hey Harm, this was really great but I’ve gotta go.”

Maybe I could have phrased that better. The poor guy looks like his dog just died, his best friend stabbed him in the back and he found out he has a terminal disease.

“Why?” Never has a word sounded so pathetic, so pleading, so don’t-leave-me-mommy.

“Oh Harm, I’m sorry, I didn’t tell you before. I have two days leave and reservations at a bed and breakfast on the shore. I’m already a day late. I had planned to leave right after your party. I even have my bag in the car. It’s not that I’m leaving you. I’m just leaving you.” Somehow that didn’t come out right.
Let me try again. “Harm, I have this leave scheduled, I have these reservations, they’re nonrefundable. I’d rather stay here with you, but fiscal sanity is saying I need to use these reservations.” ‘Fiscal sanity!?!’ What kind of sanity is it that takes me away from this man to an otherwise empty B&B room?

“On the shore? In a B&B. Just you alone?” Harm is going into investigator mode here, I can tell.

“Yes, just me.”

“No one else?”

“That’s what just me means Harm.”

“OK, fine. Wait just a minute.” He picks up the telephone. Speed dial number 5. I know who that is. The Admiral. “Admiral, sorry to call you at home.” How is it that Harm now sounds deathly ill? “Yes, woke up with it this morning. I’ve got a call into the doctor. Yes, I feel even worse than I sound. Oh, yes, I’d hate to bring this into the office. *cough, cough* Well, I’ll see what the doctor says but I’d guess it’d be at least two days. Yes sir. Thank you sir. I will sir.”

He sets the phone down and turns to me with a look that can only be described as devilish. “Give me 5 minutes to pack and we’re out of here!”

He does know that he’s broken about fifteen regulations, right?

“Harm, do you realize what you just did?”

“Yeah, I kept my fiancé from going to the shore without me, cavorting in a bikini for everyone to see without me there to protect her, and I just got us a 3 day weekend.”

“Harm, you do know that it’s October, right? Like fall, chilly weather, not bikini time?” Oh, this has bad news written all over it. I just know somehow we’re gonna get busted. Someone’s gonna find out. The words ‘court marshall’ are running through my mind like the sign in Times Square.

He comes back into the living room, carrying his duffel. “Ready?”

“You seem blithely unaware that you just committed several major infractions that could land you in Leavenworth!” What is with this man?

“Only if I get caught.” He actually winks. “Let’s go, your car or mine?”

We take mine, I figure it’d be best not to have incriminating evidence sitting outside of his apartment for longer than it already has.

Two hours later, when we get to the B&B I’m wondering how I’m going to register us. “Mr. and Mrs. Harmon Rabb,” Harm says as if he says it every day.

You know, I’m beginning to think he’s serious about this fiancé, getting married, staying together forever thing. Maybe I should check that out.

“Harm?” We’ve just walked into a most lovely room. A trifle frilly for my tastes, but still, very nice. He’s checking out the bathroom. “Hey Mac, we’ve got a really big tub in here. Might fit us both. You like bubble baths, don’t you?”

Harmon Rabb, Jr. is asking to take a bubble bath with me?

“Yeah Harm. I do like bubble baths. Could you come in here for a moment?” Oh, I am so nervous. How do I ask this without sounding stupid, pathetic, weak, needy? How do I not ask this since he keeps making these ... pronouncements.

“Did you bring any bubble bath? If not, maybe we can go out and buy some this afternoon.”

I’m simply not believing this is Harm. Where is the cocky flyboy? The hard-nosed lawyer? The fearless pilot? Was this guy hiding in there all the time and I just didn’t see it? Damn!

“Harm, I need to ask you something very serious. Really important. Perhaps the most important thing I’ll ever ask you.” I’m wringing my hands. Can’t help it.

“Mac, whatever it is, we can face it together. From now on we take on everything together. Well, we’ve been a team for a long time, but now we’re a different team. A life team. Nothing gets between us. Nothing.”

“Oh,” my most eloquent response. “Does that mean (I’m so afraid to ask this I’m trembling) you love me?”

“Oh Sarah,” how can he make my name sound like a benediction? “Yes, with all my heart.”

That 6-year-old who took over my psyche yesterday is back. “Oh boy, that’s great ‘cause I love you too! A whole bunch!” Maybe I could have left out that last sentence. Certainly heartfelt but most definitely adolescent. Well, we all get to regress occasionally, don’t we?

He smiles. He smiles a smile I’ve never seen before. And I’ve seen a lot of them. This one is pure contentment. He holds my hands and just smiles. I’ve never been happier.

If he gets busted for lying to the Admiral, I’ll defend him to the Supreme Court. No, that’s out of our chain of command. Whatever, if he goes to Leavenworth I’m going with him. Like he said, from now on we’re in this life thing together. Hoo-rah!

Chapter 7 - The Long Weekend Continues

Manly Arms Bed & Breakfast
Harm and Mac’s Room
1400 Local

Why is it that just when we’ve finally made that irrevocable pledge of undying love to one another, and are gazing with wonder and contentment into each other’s eyes, my stomach has to growl? Not just growl, more like roar.

Well, that’s OK. I don’t get embarrassed by my hunger. At least not with Harm.. maybe if I’m giving closing arguments and see the members’ look around like they’re wondering if tanks are coming up the drive. But not with Harm. He’s heard that growl for years and knows to feed it or stand back. Hey, what’s this? My face is hot and my eyes are now studying the carpet. Yes, I want our relationship to change but this is not a change I want.

“Hey Mac,” Harm’s laughing. “What do you say we go out and find some lunch?”

Oh I know this is the man I’m gonna love forever. With one understanding suggestion he just let me know he thinks the old ‘us’ and the new ‘us’ are most compatible. What a guy!

“Brilliant suggestion, Harm. What was your first clue I’m hungry? Starving in fact. You know you can’t expect a Marine to put in such an,” searching for a word here, bold but not too wanton. I got it, “’energetic’ morning and not feed her.”
“Colonel, you can rest assured I will make it my highest priority to keep your strength up at all times, so you can be as ‘energetic’ as you want as often as you want.” What started out flippant ends up so seductive I nearly decide to postpone lunch for a bit to work up an even better appetite. But there goes my stomach again.

“And as far as how I cleverly deduced you are hungry, you must remember that I’m a crack JAG investigator and as such ruled out the possibility that the previous occupants of this room had inadvertently left behind their pet lion.”

Miming a pout and a slight huff, I walk over to grab my coat, happening to glance out the window onto the boardwalk teeming with tourists.

“Harm,” I say with trepidation, “there are a lot of people outside.”

“Yes Mac, that’s often the intended result of building shore side boardwalks and lining them with restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, bed and breakfasts. It sparks a thing commonly known as ‘tourism’. Tourists come, spend money, all the shops etc. employ people, everyone pays taxes and has a good time. And that’s known as a consumer economy, which just happens to be a mainstay of the system called capitalism that we have here in the good ‘ole US of A.” He’s rattling off this what-he-no-doubt-thinks is a witty soliloquy as he’s rummaging through his bag for something.

“But Harm, we’re only two hours from DC, it’s a Sunday afternoon and the weather’s gorgeous!” I sound a little panicky even to myself.

Harm looks at me quizzically. “Hence all the people out there, Mac. Putting on my ace investigator’s hat again, I’ll bet that’s why you made reservations here. It’s close, it’s got lots of fun things to do and the weather forecast was great.”

His ace investigator’s hat? He has a hat with him? Maybe if he has big sunglasses, a trench coat and slouches a whole lot we can get away with this.

“Yeah Harm, and I’ll just bet a whole lot of those people are from DC.” I look at him meaningfully. Where’s that investigative mind now?

“Without a doubt, Mac. Is that a problem all of a sudden?” Poor boy, I think our last 24 hours’ exertions has drained that vaunted brain a bit.

“We might run into someone we know,” I explain as if to a hormone-overwhelmed, sex addled teenager, of which he is doing an Oscar-caliber imitation.

“So?”, clearly not getting it.

“Us here, together.” Come on, come on, you finally figured out the theory of relativity thing, surely you can catch on to the implications.
“Hey, no big deal, Mac. People know we do stuff together. They don’t have to know we’ve been doing stuff together since Friday night.” He makes a valiant attempt to throw me off the scent by waggling his eyebrows (how can eyebrows be sexy?) and giving me that sly riverboat gambler cum Fred Astaire mixed with dangerous animals smile. He’s very good. It almost works. Almost.

“That might work with some people we might run into. But not anyone from JAG who’s gonna find out tomorrow that I’m on two days leave and you’re home deathly ill.” Not a trump card I wanted to play, but there it is and I can see he knows it.

“Oh, yeah,” light dawns on a now-unhappy Harm. He sits down on the bed, looking dejected.

“So do you really have an investigator’s hat in there?” I gesture toward his bag.

He looks at me like I’m nuts. “Mac, that was a figure of speech!”

“Well, maybe I could run out and buy you a hat, you have some sunglasses? What kind of a coat did you bring? Does it have a big collar you could turn up?”

His mouth drops open and what was unhappy Harm is now hysterical Harm. He’s laughing so hard he rolls back on the bed, his knees coming up to his chest. He’s laughing so hard I’m seeing tears start to roll down his cheeks. He’s laughing so hard he’s starting to gulp air.

“Harm!” I admonish him (when did I turn into a schoolmarm?). “This is serious!”

He’s laying on his side gasping a little. “You want to try to disguise me?” The incredulity in his voice is at maximum volume.

“Well,” I bristle a little, “it’s one approach.”

“You think if I put on a cheap B-movie PI costume and walk around with you and we see someone we know they’re not gonna know it’s me!?!” I can tell he’s fighting it, ‘cause he doesn’t want to get me mad (mad and hungry, baaad combination and he knows it), but he can’t help himself. He starts guffawing all over again.

He struggles to get himself under control. “And are you gonna find a blond wig or just wear a scarf and big sunglasses?” He’s somehow moved toward the edge of the bed were I’m standing with my fists on my hips a microsecond away from stamping my foot.

Damn, there’s that cobra strike again. How’d I end up on the bed, in his arms?

“And just how, prey tell my lovely problem-solver, are you planning on disguising that traffic-stopping figure and face of yours?” Traffic-stopping? Oh, I like that he thinks that. “Not to mention my 6’4” body?”
I won’t surrender without at least a token fight. “Well, I don’t have anything baggy to wear but you could slouch.”

The series of looks that play over his face in a matter of 3 seconds (and I would know how long it took!) fulls my heart. He’s laughing at me, he’s worried that I’m worried, he’s touched that I’m worried, he’s resolved he doesn’t care who sees us together because he’s ready to tell the world.

“Mac,” he whispers as his lips touch mine with the barest butterfly wings of a kiss. And I know he knows that I know what he was just thinking. Each loving step of his thoughts.

“OK, Harm. But if we run into the Admiral, you better have a great sick as a dog act ready and the name of a doctor in the vicinity.”

“I promise Mac, if we run into the Admiral I will look and act so sick the CDC will evacuate the area. Now, let’s go get lunch.”

I love this man. And actually, I think it’s pretty neat that he stands out in a crowd, as long as the crowd isn’t full of blond bimbos. Maybe I should get him a Marine guard. Oh hey, that’s what I am! I giggle.

“Something else, Mac?” he asks.

“No Harm, I just think I’m getting lightheaded from hunger.”

He’s standing by the bed now and pulls another one of those cobra moves (hey, I’ll tell him how I tell time if he tells me how he keeps doing that) and there I am in his arms, full body contact with my feet about six inches off the floor.

”I’ll carry you if you want Mac.” He’s half serious. “It’s my job to make sure you’re safe and satisfied, in all ways.”

Good god, sexy flyboy meets the caped crusader. Focused exclusively on me.

I can live with that. Especially when he wants to throw in bubble baths. Oh, are we gonna have a great next 50 years.

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