Okay!! FINALLY!! It's done. I'm working on a few other things right now as I said the chappie before. Expect something probably this week. :) Getting a lot of progress out of the vampie story and it will either have a sequel or be very long. ;) Thanks to Vered for the beta work!! Love ya! And special thanks to Janlaw for the lawyerly bits. Enjoy gang! JackieChapter 13 - End Of Our Craving.
Okay!! FINALLY!! It's done. I'm working on a few other things right now as I said the chappie before. Expect something probably this week. :)
Getting a lot of progress out of the vampie story and it will either have a sequel or be very long. ;)
Thanks to Vered for the beta work!! Love ya!
And special thanks to Janlaw for the lawyerly bits.
JackieChapter 13 - End Of Our Craving.Three Weeks Later
"I'm losing my mind." Mac told herself as she flipped on the windshield wipers against the rain that was pounding her vehicle. 'This is crazy' she thought, but did it anyway. Despite the long weekend, she was taking up some of the time she had on the books to find him.
It was a silly plight but something that had to be done. Things couldn't end the way that they had in the courtroom, and if Jack Keeter's impromptu phone call meant a damned thing, Mac needed to save Harm's career again. The news had arrived two days ago when Keeter had called to thank her over the verdict. "You kinda ran away there, Major. . .Didn't give me a chance to thank you for keeping my best buddy's ass out of a sling."
"It's my job." And though she'd been right on that point, it was more than just a job. Her feelings were interwoven with this one making the job difficult and then again, in some instances, easier. When she tried to get rid of Keeter, he'd hit her with something that she hadn't been prepared for. It made her feel worthless; as if the job she'd done had been all for naught. "Come again?"
Keeter had sighed heavily on the line as if his life were coming to an inappropriate end. "Yeah, Harm's not going to return to the squadron. . . The crazy son of a bitch decided to join the CIA."
"But, the review board reinstated his flight status. . .All he has to do are his carrier quals." She'd sounded desperate then and hurt, wounded even. Mac had fought so hard for him and now he was turning his wings in? "The Agency will suck the life out of him." She understood how difficult it had to be for a pilot to get behind the stick again after an accident of that caliber, but still, Harm wasn't a quitter. The thought made her sad and angry at the same time. "I need to get in touch with him."
"Yeah, well. . .He's gone up to Kerr Lake. . .I wanted to join him but he said he needed some alone time or some crap like that. . .I don't know, I think he's wallowing in his misery."
"Kerr Lake?" She swallowed hard. While that was not at the other end of the world, it may as well have been. And why was she considering that anyway? Driving after a man that she knew she shouldn't be with. And yet, the case was over, she was no longer his lawyer. They were not under the same chain of command.
"Yup. It's in Clarksville, Virginia. There's this ten acre patch of undeveloped land that belongs to my dad. Pop was going to retire and build a house there, but mom doesn't want to leave city life. . .You know how that is." He chuckled, "Anyway, once or twice a year, we'll get the guys together and have a good ol' campout." Jack remained silent for a while and then, almost as if reading her mind, the instructions fell from his lips. "Yeah, we usually fly out to Richmond and then rent a car. Head down. . ."
Keeter's words had trailed off as Mac fumbled through her purse for the AMEX card. Two hours after the conversation, the flight and car rental had been booked. Now Mac was driving up a road that seemed to be, and probably was, in the middle of no where. In the last ten minutes she'd thought about turning back twice, that she had no purpose trying to find Harm. But something pushed her to continue. There were things left to settle; words that should have been said if she weren't such a coward in the first place. And then, what was she afraid of anyway? Another failed relationship? Only a fool believes it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. And in this case, Mac loved very much though she didn't know how it had happened or why.
"Chalk it up to fate." She said softly and decided that being in love wasn't such a bad thing. Mac just hoped it wasn't too late, that she hadn't managed to push him away so far that he'd given up on her. She also hoped that the trip wasn't wasted if he'd decided to cut his down time earlier.
Using Jack's directions she came up on a little dirt road that was blocked off with a fence. She stopped in front of a gate, opening it and then closing it once she passed her Jeep onto the other side. There were clear tire tracks on what she assumed was the road up to the lake. The area was heavily wooded, blocking out most of the dim light from the skies above. The rain had stopped but the road was wet enough that she needed some fancy maneuvering to not get stuck.
Minutes later, she broke through the line of forestry and stopped behind a red Jeep that she assumed, and hoped was Harm's. Jumping out, she carefully made her way up the rest of the road. Her breath caught in her throat when she saw the magnificent beauty before her. The lake gleamed out, reflecting the trees in the distance. Not too far away from the vehicles she spotted an extremely large blue tent and a fire pit which had been created with the use of four heavy logs placed together to make a square. The ground around the lake was mostly grassy, giving the effect of a soft bedding around the area.
When she didn't see Harm, silently Mac hoped she hadn't walked into the wrong campground. The last thing she needed was to try and explain herself to some mountain man with a rifle pointed at her. A few seconds later she saw him emerge from the woods carrying firewood in his arms. Now this was a mountain man she wouldn't mind explaining herself to. With his faded blue jeans and his green lumber jack shirt, Harm made quite the mountain man indeed. She found herself staring, mouth hanging open a little and all of the pep talks she'd given herself on the drive over seemed to vanish as he walked towards his campground.
Keeter had said that Harm needed some 'alone time', something that she was positively invading. What if he wasn't happy to see her? She had been avoiding him as much as possible down to not returning the six messages he'd left in the past weeks. Hearing the last message, she recalled, Harm seemed like a man who had given up. His voice had nearly called her to action – nearly. Work had gotten in the way, or so she'd led herself to believe. Good ol' work.
After a few breaths Mac set herself to motion, walking slowly towards the camp much as a predator would to its prey. He'd heard her come and whipped around to face her.
Harm's expressional turned from concern to shock to confusion. "What are you doing here?" He spat out in anger, his eyes penetrating in such a fashion that it was almost as if laser beams were threatening to disintegrate her.
Diane knew about the place. He'd made the mistake of bringing her along on a 'romantic camping trip' only to have it last less than half a day. She'd made a big fuss about everything from the tent to the lake to the clothing she needed to wear in order to shelter her skin from the cold. It was one of the countless arguments they had shared which led to one of their more infamous and lengthy breakups. Really, what did he ever see in her? "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Harm." Mac's voice sounded small even to herself. The horror of the moment settled into the pit of her stomach. Her heart plummeted just a little. Still, she wasn't going to run, not without putting her point across and saving his flying career. "I'm sorry. . .I shouldn't have come but Keeter told me. . ."
"Keeter. . .he told you?" That was the last person he ever thought would betray him. "Son of a bitch." He dumped the firewood unceremoniously to the ground and threw his hands up in disgust. "Some friend he is!"
Christ, had she really pushed him away so hard that now the sight of her was repulsive? She would have thought, if those messages he'd left meant anything, that Harm would be willing to wait until she came to her senses. "I guess I was wrong coming here." Her frown was deep and Mac did nothing to shield it away from his glare. "For what it was worth, I forgive you. I think I forgave you the very next day but I couldn't let my feelings interfere with the case. . I guess my anger kept me from seeing that she pushed herself on you." She swallowed thickly and glanced down at the grassy surface in shame. "I shouldn't have ignored your calls and I guess I'll have to live with that now. . . But you have to know that whatever we had, it couldn't happen then. It scared me to feel so much for someone I barely knew. . ..And now I see that I was right to be scared and even more right not to have allowed myself to sleep with you. . ." She turned and slowly headed back to the Jeep throwing back at him, "Have a nice life, Commander."
As Harm stood listening to her monologue he felt the tension ease from his body. Her voice. Her skin. The look in her eyes. He wasn't dreaming and he certainly wasn't glancing at Diane. There was a truth to the words that she said, something that made him believe that the one thing he'd wanted the most was right in front of him. '. . .even more right not to have allowed myself to sleep with you.' He hadn't slept with Mac and was trying to erase from memory every bit of every night he'd ever spent in Diane's arms. 'I forgive you.'
Dear God, she'd followed him here and while it was not zillions of miles away, it was still pretty far from home. "Mac!" He wouldn't let her leave this time, if ever.
His voice was what stopped her retreat. Mac had only moved twenty feet away when she'd heard her name. Part of her wanted to turn around, to be brave enough to take his barrage. The other part needed to run and hopefully find an outlet for the pain she was starting to feel. Before she had a chance to decide, she felt his hands on her arms, turning her to face him. Once she did, her eyes searched out his own. What she found was a confused expression with a hint of fear lingering along the edges. "How do I know it's really you?"
She was angered by the question, annoyed that he still didn't know her enough to differentiate between herself and, she assumed, Diane. "Harm. . ."
"Please." He whispered in such a pained voice that it showed how much he hurt. "She tricked me before." Harm had been fooled once but he would be damned if he'd be fooled again. Nothing had hurt more than watching Mac run away from him after being discovered with Diane. He'd felt betrayed and terribly violated. "Please. . .Please. How do I know it's really you?" Fundamentally, he knew that it was Mac. Her eyes, her skin, it was different from Diane's and yet, he'd been fooled before.
At first, she had trouble believing that Harm hadn't invited the other woman into his home and opted to quench his basic human urges in the living room whilst she slept in the other room. He'd run after her that night, but in the morning, there was a hurt in his eyes, a pain that she purposely ignored as he tried to explain that Diane hadn't been invited nor wanted. Now she believed him and realized just how difficult the situation really was on him. She smoothed her hands over her belly and then hooked her thumbs onto the waist of her jeans. "I assume Diane doesn't have this." Just to the side of her left hipbone was a tattoo. It was simple, feminine – a butterfly with blue and light purple wings.
"She's afraid of needles." He said simply, taking the moment to breathe deeply against the scare he'd just received. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm in love with you." The words were said so softly, that if Harm had been more than a foot away he wouldn't have heard them. But Mac had said them and meant them. She'd wanted to come here to get that across to him to make him realize that she was wrong in turning him away. So she said it again, this time a little louder, her eyes speaking to him as well. "I'm in love with you. . .and I don't want to hide it anymore. . .Not from you. . .not from anyone." And that meant herself too.
In a rush his arms wrapped around her, holding them so close together. Harm's lips brushed against Mac, the sensation filling him with such joy. "Oh, Mac."
Instinctively, Mac pressed her lips against his, kissing him deeply, reveling in the sensations. This time around, there wouldn't be anyone or anything to stop the natural progression. Though she was sure some people would frown on her involvement with a former client, work wasn't worth her happiness. The bottom line was that he made her happy. She'd felt more alive during this whole case than she ever had in her entire life.
Mac ran her hands down his chest and slightly under his plaid shirt. She stopped at the hem of his jeans, her fingers running a delicate line around the fabric. The movement made him shiver and Harm broke the kiss long enough to see the want in her eyes. "Mac." He warned, motioning towards the tent. "I ah. . .I always thought I'd wind up making love to you in a nice, big bed."
She turned towards the tent and shrugged. "I'm very low maintenance and if I have to wait another second, I think I'll die of need." Taking his hand, she tugged him towards the tent, not stopping until they reached the inside.
The center was large enough for even Harm to stand comfortably in. There two partitions. One to the right which he was using to store a cooler, cooking equipment and a duffle bag. The other side had an inflatable bed covered with an opened sleeping bag where one pillow rested. She turned to him with a raised brow and resisted the urge to chuckle. "Not entirely 'roughing it' are you?"
Harm blushed at the comment and then waved a hand over the bed. "It's better than sleeping on the ground." He assured her and quickly drew Mac's body against his own. This time, the kiss wasn't the least bit gentle but full of want and need. He ran his tongue over her lips and then slipped inside to caress her own tongue. Mac's hand slid to the back of his head, holding him steady as she returned the kiss. A low moan escaped from the back of her throat and, without warning, she found herself suddenly missing her jacket.
Sneaky Squid! She thought with a grin and then proceeded to work on his outfit. The man was entirely too dressed for the activities she had in mind. Mac had him out of the shirt in lightening speed and was then free to run her hands unobstructed over the planes of his chest. "You're beautiful."
"I should be saying that to you." He said gently as he pushed open her shirt and let it pool with his own. "Incredibly beautiful and so sexy." Fingers were tracing the lace covering her breasts. The touch sent a shiver down her spine and Mac's back arched into the touch. "So beautiful." Harm then lowered his head, his mouth covering the area where his fingers were before.
She wouldn't be able to take too much foreplay. They'd waited enough as it was and there was always plenty of time to explore. Instead, she used his momentary distraction as an advantage and hooked an ankle around his own, sending him tumbling onto the inflatable mattress with her on top.
Before he could utter a protest, her mouth came down on his own. They kissed roughly as her hands roved over his body to find the button of his jeans which he helped her remove. Without warning, he sprung his own attack on her, rolling Mac's body under his so that he would remove her own jeans. They came off in three quick movements and soon she was laying before him in nothing more than a pair of white lace panties. They contrasted beautifully with Mac's olive complexion.
They moved together slowly at first and then with powerful movements until Harm collapsed against her body, head resting on her shoulder as her hands ran up and down his back.
It was almost a half hour later when Harm came to, his body shivering from the cold. The light of the day had begun to fade and rain was tapping at the tent. He glanced at Mac to find her awake with a smile on her face. "I'm crushing you."
Her hands caressed his face. "It feels wonderful. No complaints here."
Even so, he was cold and couldn't very well remain joined with her forever, although he really never wanted to move again. With regret, he pulled away. "You're shivering." He noted and quickly rolled out of the bed and went in search of something to cover her with.
"Not from the cold." Mac assured but welcomed the soft blanket that he wrapped her in. She watched curiously as he picked up a device that looked like a round speaker with a mini propane tank attached to it. "What is that?"
Flipping a few buttons, Harm smiled as heat radiated from the contraption. "It's called a catalytic heater." He angled the device so that it pointed towards the bed and then slipped back next to Mac who held the blanket open for him. "This boy scout comes prepared." He brought his hands around her body, pulling her closer until she was flush against him. Somehow, he didn't think he could ever get enough of her taste and scent. "I've never felt like this before." He said solemnly as he pressed a kiss to her shoulder.
Mac smiled. "I haven't either." With her back to him, Harm couldn't see the sudden frown as she thought of the future. He was a pilot for the Navy and she was with JAG. They would be apart more often than they would be together. Long distance relationships rarely worked.
Almost as if he were reading her thoughts, Harm asked the question that was hanging between them. "What are we going to do about us?"
"I don't know."
But he did. In fact, he'd already made plans that would keep him in Washington. "Would it make you happy to know that I wouldn't have to leave the Washington, Virginia area?"
It would have made her ecstatic, if it wasn't because she knew that he'd joined the CIA. "Keeter told me. . . I think it was a foolish move, Harm. . .How could you leave a job that you love for someone you barely know?"
He sighed deeply. "Because I love you, Mac. . .I don't care about anything else. Yes, I love flying for the Navy, but I'll still be flying. Maybe not off of carriers but I'll enjoy it."
"The CIA will suck your soul out. I know, I've been on the receiving end of their missions." She didn't want that for him, didn't want to see his eyes almost soulless as she had with the few agents she'd been in contact with. Harm wasn't made for the shady deeds of the CIA. He was too good for them.
Shocked, Harm turned so that he could look at her. "CIA? I'm not working for them. Why did you assume that I was?"
"Keeter. . . Jack told me that. . ." Her words trailed off for a moment and she realized, with great happiness, that Harm's oldest friend had lied to her. "That jerk! That absolutely, wonderful jerk."
Harm chuckled. "I guess I owe him a few more rounds at the pub." He held her tighter against him, his fingers splaying over Mac's hip bone. "I took a job at Andrews. . .They are starting some sort of training program and needed an instructor."
Wide eyed, Mac looked at him, wondering when the stars had aligned so correctly to give her this miracle. "You're sure about this?"
"It's done." He nodded. Though life on a carrier had been everything to him, there came a time during the duration of his case that Harm began to see that it wasn't everything. He would miss the sea but knew that the accident had served as a wake up call. It had been time to call it quits and he wasn't the least bit upset about that. "As the case went on, I started to notice that I didn't need that life. It was becoming a noose."
With her fingers Mac traced the slight stubble on his face, lingering over his lips which she leaned in and kissed. "I really do love you."
They made love one more time before the sun had finally disappeared and the moon was on the rise. That night he held her closely as she slept silently thanking a God who he once believed did not care for him. Harm glanced over Mac's sleeping form and smiled. She and Diane truly were as different as night and day. With that thought in his mind, he vowed never to think of that other woman ever again. "Mmmm." Mac moaned gently and curled against him, her back teasing his chest.
"I love you, Mac." He whispered before settling against her. The fates were shining on them tonight.
THE END…. OR…. NOT
Diane was standing on the fan deck of the Patrick Henry, glancing out with a whimsical look as the stars began to disappear and the skies grew clear. She took a deep breath, enjoying the scent of the sea. Yes, the Navy was in her blood and would always be. She didn't feel the least bit of remorse over Harm and the predicament that she'd put him into. For all she knew, he was probably drinking away his sorrows in lament over the woman who bore her face.
It was logical – she was attractive and every man wanted her. Diane grinned at the thought and sighed deeply. No matter what, she would get him back – they were destined to live with this push and pull for the rest of their lives. At least, she would see to it. And if Mac ever really came between her and Harm, well. . .maybe she'd have to take a drastic measure or two.
Or she would have, except that at the very moment that the malicious thought came to her mind, a rogue wave hit the ship and sent her flying over the railing to the frigid waters below. No one heard her screams as the propeller sliced her into bite sized morsels for the sea creatures.
RIP Diane. . . RIP.