|J2 What's Next?
Author: miss37 PM
Sequel to "Mid Life". Mac is about to take that sailing trip he was thinking about. Will he find himself? Will it turn out like he hopes? Will he find what he is looking for?Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Angst - Mac T. - Chapters: 29 - Words: 80,604 - Reviews: 49 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 08-25-11 - Published: 06-14-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7081367
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
It had been three weeks. That was how long it took him to get over that sprained ankle he got when he was almost killed by a crooked cop. They had a wreck out on a dark road because a deer ran out in front of them. They guy had thought he would take him out there, kill him and leave him and no one would ever find him. He supposed that deer had saved his life. He was glad they did not hit it. He had trekked through a marsh and finally came face to face with his attacker and then was found by Don Flack and Danny Messer…
Today, Mac Taylor was about to go on that vacation he had promised himself. He had come to Los Angeles where he was about to purchase a sailboat. He was standing looking at the boat at the moment on this hot June morning. He was about to make himself a big debt. What else did he have to spend money on? He sighed. He could always sell it if he got tired of making the payments. He went on out to the boat. "Hello!" he called before he boarded.
An old man came from the cabin of the boat. "Hello!" he said cheerfully. "Come aboard!"
Mac climbed onto the boat and shook the man's hand. "Mac Taylor," he said as the man was shaking his hand vigorously.
"George Brown. Nice to meet you. So, you want to purchase a boat."
"You know anything about sailing?"
"Yes, I was in the Marines."
"Oh, I was Navy myself! Was in Nam! Can't hear too good from all those cannons I fired aboard ship!"
Mac thought he must not hear very well because he talked loud. "So, you and your wife are going to sail the ocean blue?" the man asked.
Mac frowned. "No, I don't have a wife," he said. "She died."
"Oh, so you're an old bachelor like me. I know the feeling. My wife died when I was in my forties but I just couldn't love anyone else."
Mac stared at him. "Yep," George continued. "I just sailed the world by myself and now I'm old and alone." He looked at Mac. "Is that what you're planning to do?"
Mac looked down. "I don't know," he said. "I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do."
"Better not wait too much longer. You'll wake up one day and realize you're a lonely old man."
Mac sighed. "So, how old is the boat?"
"Oh, this one is about ten years old. I'm getting a bigger one."
Mac was surprised by that. He wondered what he needed a bigger one for. "Oh, I have grandchildren," George said as he took out his wallet. "My wife and I did have two children, but they're always busy. Now, I have three grandsons who want to go sailing with me sometimes during the summer so I need a bigger boat. I guess I'm not so lonely anymore. You got any kids?"
Mac shook his head. He did not even have that to look forward to. Although, Reed still contacted him sometimes. Reed had gotten married and moved away from New York, but he visited once in a while. Mac hoped Reed would have children and make a good life for himself.
George showed Mac pictures of his three grandsons. "Good boys," he said. "And wow, are they tall!"
Mac smiled. "Well, is there anything wrong with the boat?"
"Are you kidding? I'm a Navy man. I won't let my boat go down."
Mac nodded. "So, it's well-kept."
"Yes, sir. Treated like a baby."
Mac could tell the boat had been cared for. He looked through the boat and found that it was just what he needed. It had one bed in it and a kitchen so he could do what he needed to do. Of course there was no stove, but it had a microwave because there was electricity. He supposed he could bring microwave meals with him. After all, there was a freezer in the boat. "I'll be back tomorrow," he said. "I have to get the loan in order."
George shook his hand again. "I'll see you then," he said.
Mac turned to walk away. "Young man, don't do like me and stay alone," George said.
Mac did not turn around. He just went on off the boat. He knew George was right and he was speaking from experience, but he did not want to listen. Besides, George had nothing to say. He had not married again. Mac could not see himself getting married again. He certainly could not see himself becoming a father now. He did not want to become a father at his age. He would probably never see his grandchildren, and besides he did not know if he had the patience to raise a child now anyway.
Mac went on down the pier to his red Corvette. He had gotten plenty of looks from women with this car. Today he was wearing white pants and a Hawaiian-style shirt. He supposed he looked the part of driving this car today. He had driven all the way across the country. After all, he had not been sure he would purchase the boat and if he backed out, he wanted to have his car there to drive back in. He supposed he could have taken a flight over here, but he would have to put his car into storage anyway. However, his sister lived in L.A., so he could leave it with her until he came back. He had already asked her about that. She was glad to hear from him. He supposed he did keep to himself too much. He had a brother and a sister and he hardly ever talked to them. They both had families. His sister had a child that he had never even seen. He supposed that was the way it was when two people lived on opposite sides of the country and were too busy to make the trip across. He would have to go over to his sister's house before he went on his trip because he would have to leave the car there. She was going to let him put it in her garage.
As Mac was driving, he was thinking about the trip he was about to make. He supposed he could have gone on a cruise. He could have met women there. Instead he was going on a lonely trip to Hawaii. But so what? He did not have to get married again, and he did not have to hunt a woman if he did not want to. He did not know why everyone thought it was their business how he lived. Maybe if he smiled more people would not think he was sad…he did not feel like smiling a lot. He felt depressed a lot. He had to admit they were right, but he would not admit it to them. He just wanted everyone to butt out and let him make his own decisions. At least he would not have to put up with Jo for a while and her flirtatious ways. He wondered if all Southern women were like that. Maybe he would have to go down there and see. He might find one that could tie him down. He had not spent much time in the South. He had been stationed at Pensacola, Florida when he was in the Marines and in Camp LeJeune, but he had been in love with Claire then and had not been hunting.
Maybe he would sail out to Hawaii and then sail all the way around South America and over to the other side of the United States. How long would that take? He thought he might be an old man by the time he did that. He chuckled at himself. He would just go on his sailing trip and then go driving to the South. He had heard there were a lot of friendly people down there. Maybe one of those women could slow him down. He smiled. Maybe that was just what he wanted…to be trapped. He supposed he would have to get willing to be trapped first. Was he willing? He thought he might get willing if he found the right woman.
Mac went to the bank. He used a chain bank, so there was one here in L.A. too. He went into the bank and told the loan officer that he wanted to purchase a sailboat. They drew up the papers and got everything in order. He told Mac he could pick up his check in the morning. Mac went out to his car and drove out to Beverly Hills where his sister lived. She was a lawyer and she had a big house. Her husband was a lawyer as well. They had four children and Mac had not seen the last one. He drove up to the house, which was made of brown stone. Mac had always liked houses like that. The stones looked like part of the environment, much different than brick. He pulled into the driveway and just sat there a moment. Would he ever have anything of his own? He supposed he was going to have to stop thinking like that, but that run-in he had with that guy on that rooftop before had thrown him for a loop.
Mac got out and walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. He had only been in this house a few times. He soon heard someone unlocking the door. A young girl who had a strong resemblance to his sister opened the door. She smiled when she saw him. "Uncle Mac!" she exclaimed and jumped into his arms for a hug.
"Hi," Mac said. "You certainly had grown."
Jessica put her hands on her hips. "You noticed?" she asked.
Jessica grabbed Mac's hand and pulled him into the house. "Mom! Uncle Mac is here!" she yelled.
Mac smiled. Young people got excited over things. Just then, he heard something and realized someone was coming down the stairs. Actually, it was two someones… his other niece and his nephew. They came to give him a hug too. "You need to shave," Julie, the youngest one said.
Mac smiled. "I know," he replied. He looked at his nephew, who was about sixteen now. "Looks like someone else will be needing a shave soon too."
Matthew smiled. "Yeah," he said proudly.
Jessica rolled her eyes. "You're kidding, right?" she asked. "He thinks he has a mustache."
Mac chuckled. "Well, it takes time to work it into one," he said.
"He thinks he's a man."
"So what," Matthew said. "You think you're a woman."
"I am," Jessica said. "I'm seventeen."
Mac almost rolled his eyes at that. He thought she had a lot to learn. He supposed everyone had a lot to learn, including himself. "So, where is your mother?" he asked.
"She's upstairs," Julie said. She was about 7 years old.
Mac wondered how they had skipped that far before having more children. The youngest was five years old now. He remembered her name was Amy. "She'll be down soon," Jessica said. "She's getting Amy dressed. She made a big mess and got dirty."
"Oh," Mac said.
"Come on over here and sit down," Jessica said. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Yes, please," Mac replied.
"That will do fine."
"Be right back."
Mac looked at Jessica's long, dark hair. It reminded him of when he and his sister, Martha, were young. She always wore her hair long like that, all the way down to her thighs. Jessica had hers in a braid. He thought hair like that must get hot during the summer. Julie was wearing her blond hair in a braid too. She sat down beside Mac and looked up at him with big blue eyes, much like Martha's. "You're going on a sail boat?" Julie asked.
"Yes," Mac replied.
"Are you going a long way?"
"Are you going to take food with you?"
"Don't ask silly questions," Matthew said. "You know he will have to take food."
Mac looked at him. "It's not a silly question," he said.
"Don't encourage her or you'll be sitting here all day answering questions."
Mac smiled. "Curious, huh?"
"Like you wouldn't believe."
Matthew stared at Mac a moment. "Why are you going off like that?" he asked. "Won't you be lonely out there?"
"I just want to get off by myself," Mac said.
"He always liked being by himself," someone said.
Mac looked around to see Martha at the bottom of the stairs. She put her hands on her hips. "Mac Taylor, you're running off again," she said. "First you ran off with the Marines and now you're running off with a sailboat."
Mac smiled and stood up. "Well, I could have gone on a cruise," he said.
"That would have been better. At least you might have met a woman that way."
They hugged each other. "It's good to see you," Martha said.
"Good to see you too," Mac replied.
"You were lucky that I'm of this week."
"Yes, I was."
"Okay, kids, Uncle Mac and I have to do some talking," Martha said. "You guys can go and get in the pool a while."
"Yay!" Julie exclaimed.
"Come on," Matthew said as they headed upstairs.
Jessica came back with the lemonade. "Here you go," she said.
Mac took a glass. "Thank you."
Martha got a glass too. "Come on, Mac," she said.
Mac followed her out onto the patio. He knew he was going to hear the same thing he always heard. They walked out to a lawn table and chairs that were out past the pool under a big Oak tree. There was a swing tied to a big limb in the tree. They sat down at the table. Mac sipped his lemonade. "This is good," he said.
Martha nodded and just stared at Mac a moment. "Mac, how long are you going to torture yourself like you do?" she asked.
Mac looked at her. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"You know what I mean. When are you going to find someone and get married again?"
"Maybe I don't want to. Stop trying to live my life for me."
"I'm not, but you need to find someone and be happy, Mac. I know you loved Claire, but she's gone and I don't think she would want you to be lonely like this."
"How do you know? You think she would want me to marry someone else?"
"Yes. Since she can't be here, I'm sure she would want you to be happy. Now, you're going on a lonely sailing trip by yourself. Mac, that's not good for you."
"How do you know?"
"Because no one needs to be lonely." Martha took a book from her pocket. "I have a lot of friends that would be interested in meeting you."
Mac leaned back in the chair with a sigh. "Don't start trying to fix me up," he said. "You know how that always works out."
"I just want my brother to be happy and have someone to love."
"Stop worrying about me. It looks to me like you have plenty to worry about without occupying yourself with me."
"Oh, Mac! You're my brother. I care about you! Why don't you want anyone to care about you?"
Mac looked out across the yard. It was decorated with flowerbeds and with sculpted trees and even a fountain besides the pool. "I know you care about me," he said. "I care about you too, but just don't worry about me so much."
"I can't help it. I was only eight when you ran off with the Marines. I never got to know you very well."
"You had Boyd."
"I know, but you're my brother too."
Mac frowned. "I'm sorry."
Martha laughed. "You take everything the wrong way," she said.
Mac looked at her. "What do you mean?"
"I didn't mean for you to apologize. You did what you wanted to do then. Now, you just seem to walk around doing what you think you 'have' to do."
Just then, they heard a commotion. Mac looked to see the kids coming from the house and landed in the pool. He smiled. Even the 5 year old jumped in. "I guess they have a little of their uncle in them," Martha said. "They swim like fish. Matthew even talks about joining the Marines."
"It's not a bad life," Mac said.
"I didn't say it was, but I don't want him to be like you."
Mac frowned. "What do you mean? I have a good job."
"That's all you have."
Mac stood up. "We have to have this argument every time I come over here. I guess that's why I don't come very often. It's not my fault that I don't have anything!"
Martha stood up and walked closer to Mac. "You won't let anyone close to you!"
"I tried that!" Mac turned and walked away toward the swing. He sat down in it and stared out into the forest. It reminded him of being lost in those woods. However, this forest was well-kept and had no undergrowth, and besides that, it was mostly maple trees and oak trees.
Martha sat down beside him and leaned on his shoulder. "I want you to be happy," she said.
Mac thought she was the only one in the world who could make him want to cry his eyes out. He took a deep breath and blew it out. "I've lost myself," he said. "I'm going on this trip so maybe I can find myself again."
"Well, if Mac Taylor is out there somewhere, I want you to bring him back with you."
Mac rolled his eyes. "Funny," he said. "I don't want you worrying about me. You have all those kids to take care of."
"I have room for you in my heart too, Mac. You were there first, you know."
Mac frowned. "I remember when you were born. I was ten."
"Yeah. My big brother. A girl needs her big brother even when she's married and has kids."
Mac put his arm around her. "I know," he said. "A big brother needs his sister too."
"Are you sure you want to go on that lonely trip? You could just stay here."
"And let you try to fix me up on a blind date?"
They both laughed. "I need this trip, Martha," Mac said. "I have to find myself again."
"Don't stay out there too long. You can always come back here."
"I know, but I don't want to go on any blind dates."
"Oh, Mac. Can't you have a little fun?"
Mac shook his head. "I tried that too," he said. "I don't think I want to get into anymore situations. Just stop worrying about me."
"What kind of situation have you been in?" Martha asked curiously.
"Never mind. Just stop worrying about me. I'm alright."
"No you're not. You just want everyone to think nothing bothers you."
Mac looked out into the forest again. She knew him pretty well. He did want everyone to think nothing bothered him. He did not want to admit weakness…or that was what he thought it was. He did not see it as weakness when one of his team was bothered by something. He supposed a person saw themselves different than they did anyone else. He thought he had to be the strong one. Was it so 'strong' to carry everything around and never let anyone in? To never show emotion? He was not so sure. Maybe he would find something while he was out there on the ocean. He would have time…and he would let himself go…he had to…