A/N: Sigh the time has come for this chapter to come to an end. Here is the final part of HIWYLI Chapter One. But remember, it's only the beginning! As I stated in the disclaimer at the start, Chapter One won't answer all the questions, simply because I didn't want to rush it (and my name wouldn't be Michi if I did, LOL) Hope you can forgive me.
What can I say? There is so much going on that it even appears that there will be a third chapter. You have my word that Kathy and I are trying our best to finish the second chapter as soon as possible, and if the rough drafts are done and we are far enough ahead, we may even start to post. However, we both agreed not to post a WIP story that is not completely developed or properly thought out. I'm sure you can appreciate that as a reader as well. Well, enough of the blah, blah LOL. With a last heartfelt thank you... here is the final part. Enjoy! Love, Michi
Home Is Where Your Love Is – Part 22
Disclaimer - See part one for all important information
Grandma Sarah left the bedroom smiling at Little AJ's exuberant antics. She saw her grandson standing in the kitchen and walked towards him. Sarah Rabb was thinking about the conversation she had just had with Mac and knew she couldn't break her promise not to say anything to Harm, but still… she had to do or say something.
She approached Harm quietly, still deep in thought. Harm immediately picked up on her mood. "Hey, Grams, something wrong?" he asked.
She looked towards the bedroom quickly before answering. "Ah… no, dear. Why do you ask?"
"Well…," Harm continued, "you seem a bit troubled."
"I guess I am a little. That poor girl up there is so distraught and confused. This whole nightmare has really been hard on her," Grams concluded.
"Yeah, I know what you mean. She is worried about her eyesight and what will happen at the doctor's office today.She hasn't said much abouther arm, but I know it concerns her.There could be residual effects even after the therapy. She fears it could jeopardize her job and quite possibly her Marine status. It's a lot for her to deal with all at once, but she is a Marine and one tough cookie at that. She doesn't think twice about taking on the world, so she will be just fine. I'll see to that."
"She might be a Marine, but she is also a woman, Harmon. A very desirable woman, don't you think?"
Harm pointed his finger at her sheepishly. "Don't start, Grams."
"Don't start what? All I said was…."
"Yes, I know what you said and we can just end it there if you don't mind."
"Does she know that you broke up with Renee?"
Her question took Harm by surprise. "What?"
"Are you having trouble with your hearing? I asked…"
"Yes, I know. I heard you the first time. There is nothing wrong with my hearing," he continued, hoping to evade the question.
"No, Grams, I haven't told her. I just don't think that now is the right time with all that's going on and all," Harm ended with a heavy sigh.
"Do you want my voice of wisdom?"
"I don't think it's going to matter, because you are going to tell me anyway, right?"
Grandma Sarah laughed. "Got me there, kiddo. I don't think it would hurt. Personally, I think it might do some good. Might make her more at ease. You know, it won't have her worrying about what her being here is doing to your relationship with Renee. She might perceive you… er… ah things differently. You know…things like that."
"I don't know, Grams. I will definitely give it some thought."
"Good, good. You do that, dear. I think you will see I'm right." Grandma Sarah smiled and patted her grandson's cheek lovingly. "You are a good boy."
Grams turned around beaming from ear to ear. She felt she had gotten her point across without betraying Mac's confidence. 'Oohh, Sarah Rabb. You may be old and a little gray, but you still got it. You definitely know how to push the right buttons,' she proudly thought to herself. 'I do wonder though, how long I will have to wait until I can finally take Mac into my arms as my granddaughter-in-law. Not long if I have anything to say about it,' Grams mused smiling.
Harm rubbed the back of his neck nervously and sighed. He had been taken totally by surprise at what Grams just said, and was still contemplating the pros and cons when Little AJ emerged from the bedroom with Mac in tow.
"Unca Harm, Unca Harm," AJ screeched. "Auntie Mac hung'y." He was gently leading Mac by the hand as best he could.
Harm raced up the stairs to meet them, swinging AJ up over his shoulder, causing Little AJ to squeal delightfully while he put his other arm around Mac's shoulder to guide her down the remaining stairs.
"Weeeeeeeeeeeeee," AJ screeched, clapping his little hands, enjoying the ride on his uncle's shoulder.
Mac smiled, listening to Little AJ screeching happily. "Be careful, Harm," she warned. Even though she couldn't see what was happening, she had an idea that they might be playing just a little too rough.
Harm was laughing out loud at Little AJ's antics. "I got him, Mac. He's fine."
"Okay," she responded as they proceeded to the kitchen and breakfast.
"What would you like for breakfast, Mac?"
"What are my choices?" Mac asked smiling.
"Well, there is French toast, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, and toast."
"Wow, a real feast with dead animal even. I'm impressed, Flyboy. Some of each, please," she replied grinning from ear to ear.
"I should have known. I forgot I was dealing with a Marine's stomach," Harm bristled.
"No m'rine stomach… it's Auntie Mac's tummy," Little AJ quickly chimed in.
They all laughed at Little AJ's comment as they sat down to a fun-filled breakfast.
During breakfast, Harm couldn't take his eyes off Mac. He also couldn't stop thinking about what his grandmother had said. He sat there quietly, drinking his coffee, pondering his reasons for not telling Mac about his break-up with Renee.
If he were really honest with himself, none of them were really good reasons. The list was pretty much not the right time… too much on her plate… she might blame herself… the whole thing with Mic… her breakdown… his nightmare.
Then of course, there was the main reason. Their being together felt so right, so natural, so good, so perfect that he hadn't given it a second thought. It was as though his relationship with Renee had ended a long time ago, and he and Mac were in a relationship now.
If he read between his grandmother's lines correctly, then maybe he wasn't the only one with strong feelings, and maybe it was time to get those feelings out into the open once and for all.
The day was extremely windy, gray, and drizzly with threats of heavier rain predicted throughout the day. Harm had grabbed the umbrella on their way out the door, although being as windy as it was, he had doubted it would be of any use.
The three of them made it to Mac's appointment on time. Grams had stayed behind to clean up and do some much needed laundry even though Harm protested, telling her he would do it later. She wouldn't hear of it and shooed them out the door, telling them to get a move on or they would be late.
Mac had been totally silent on the way over while Little AJ babbled on and on about nothing and everything at the same time. Harm smiled as he listened to the little guy while Mac never moved a muscle. He wondered if she had even heard any of his incessant chatter.
The heavy rain was holding off so they were able to make it inside without getting drenched. The three of them walked in hand in hand. AJ insisted on holding on to Mac's hand. He had appointed himself 'her protector' and was guiding her along carefully. "It's okay, Auntie Mac, we go this way," he instructed, taking his job very seriously. Harm walked with his arm around her waist as he gave AJ instructions on which way they were headed. Mac let herself be led, appreciating all their loving care and guidance. To say she was a little tense was putting it mildly as Harm watched her constantly clench her teeth.
"Take it easy on those pearly whites, Marine. You are about to wear them out with all that clenching," he joked.
"I'm sorry, Harm. I guess I'm more nervous than I thought I'd be. I guess after yesterday and not being able to…."
"Maaccc," Harm jumped in stopping her immediately. "Today is another day. Everything is going to be okay. You'll see."
"I hope you're right. Oh do I hope you're right."
Mac was now seated on the examining table while Harm sat with AJ on his lap in a nearby chair. AJ was resting his head on his godfather's shoulder and Mac… well, she was not waiting very patiently. She was chewing on her lip and gripping the edge of the table so tightly, her knuckles were turning white. Harm wanted nothing more than to reach out to her and once again reassure her, but decided to just wait it out. They both feared the unknown. Harm was about to take hold of her hand when the door opened and Dr. Morgan accompanied by Dr. Jacobs walked in.
AJ immediately climbed off Harm's lap and went to Mac, reaching up to grab her hand. He was wise beyond his almost two years. He knew his Auntie Mac was in need of extra strength and he was going to make sure he gave it to her. Mac smiled at him, squeezing his little hand warmly. "It's okay, sweetheart. The doctors are just going to examine my eyes. Why don't you go sit with Uncle Harm, okay? Then when we're done here, maybe we can convince Uncle Harm to take us to Beltway for a nice, big burger and french fries. How does that sound, sweetie?"
Harm watched the scene in front of him and marveled at how, even with all the stress and tension Mac was feeling, she could put it aside when it came to reassuring her godson and making sure he was all right.
"Can we Unca Harm, can we?"
"Of course, buddy. Now come here so the doctors can look at your Auntie Mac."
The doctors approached the table and Mac was quickly admitted to having removed the gauze already with no success. "Well, why don't we just have a look and see, alright?" Dr. Morgan went to the window and closed the blinds, bringing the room into semi-darkness while Dr. Jacobs removed the gauze. Mac's eyelids fluttered. "Easy," she instructed her. "Open them slowly."
She continued to blink her eyes and then slowly opened them, letting them roam around the room as her audience waited as patiently as possible. She groaned softly, her head still pounding and then turned in the direction of Harm and AJ.
For a moment, the room became so eerily silent you could hear a pin drop.
"Nice shirt, AJ" Mac offered a minute later. "But I thought you wanted to be a Marine… traitor," she said smiling brightly, pointing to the over-sized t-shirt he was wearing. It was the one with the Tomcat on the front and the word 'NAVY' on the back. It was the one Mac had stolen from Harm some time ago, the one she had been sleeping in since this whole mess happened. Mac chuckled. Grams obviously had to do a quick job of pinning up the hem of the shirt so he could wear it and not trip over it. It nearly touched the floor. To Mac, he was the cutest thing she had ever laid eyes on… well except for Harm.
Harm felt the moisture form behind his eyes and AJ ran back to Mac. "You can see me… you can see me," he hollered quite boisterously. His exuberance caused everyone to laugh.
"Mac," Harm whispered, trying to swallow the lump in his throat. "You can see." He knew it wasn't the most intelligent thing to say, but that was all that made its way out.
Mac continued to look at him, smiling. "I missed seeing you, Harm. I missed looking into those beautiful eyes of yours." Yeah, he definitely was the most gorgeous thing she'd ever seen.
AJ was jumping up and down, clapping his hands wildly by this point. "See Unca Harm, tell'd you, kiss make Auntie Mac's boo-boo go'way."
Harm ruffled the blonde hair on his head sweetly. "Yeah, champ, you were right."
Dr. Jacobs cleared her throat, breaking the spell that had settled in the room. "Well, Colonel… how do things look?"
Mac sighed, steadily blinking her eyes. "A little blurry."
"Not to worry, it's normal. It should take two to three days for your vision to clear fully. You should continue to wear the gauze to protect against bright light."
Mac knew she should agree and just drop it, but she didn't. "Would it be possible to just wear dark glasses instead? I have designer shades that I am just dying to wear," she joked, grinning at Harm. They were Harm's sunglasses, the ones his doctor had given him after his own eye surgery. Mac had never seen them, but she knew they wouldn't look anything like designer glasses. She was sure they would be the run of the mill dollar specials. She didn't care as long as she didn't have to put the gauze back on - she would agree to wear anything.
The doctor paused briefly before answering. "Well, if you promise to keep them on constantly during the day and avoid looking into any bright light, I'll agree to it. That also includes the lights of passing cars, Colonel. That means if you are sitting in the front seat, you should shift your gaze to your side window and not look directly at oncoming headlights or you can simply sit with your eyes closed, which is what I would recommend. The reflection of the headlights off wet pavement could be just as troublesome to your recovery so to avoid that as well. As far as sunlight goes, the weather appears to be in your favor. The sun is not expected to shine again for several days according to the weather report."
"Done," Mac agreed instantly, smiling brightly.
Now it was Harm's turn to jump in. "Is there anything else we should know or be concerned about?" he addressed the doctor directly.
"No. The Colonel just has to make sure to keep the dark glasses on, only to be removed for sleeping for the next five days. The main thing is for her to give her eyes the time they need to heal. They need to rest, so using the gauze every now and then if necessary wouldn't hurt. After that, if she feels comfortable and her vision is completely restored, she can attempt to drive again. I would recommend she not be alone on her first attempt though. Hopefully you have an automatic, with that broken arm and all," the doctor quipped.
"Yes, I have and even if I didn't, I'm sure I could use Harm's," she answered, flirtatiously batting her eyelashes at Harm who was now standing right next to her as she sat on the examining table.
Harm was so happy at the way things turned out that he would give her the moon right now if necessary. "Sure, Mac… whatever you want."
"Uuuuhhhhhh … whatever I want?" she whispered teasingly into his ear.
Harm chuckled. "Power down, Marine. We have an audience. We will have to continue this discussion later," he whispered back playfully.
Doctor Jacobs smiled and jumped back into the conversation. "If there is continued blurriness with no improvement and any extreme pain, you are to come back immediately. You will experience some discomfort and headaches for a while still. I can prescribe something for you if you like."
"No," Mac was quick to respond. "If I need to I will just take some Ibuprofen."
"Well then, you are free to go and we would like to see you again in one week for a follow up, just to make sure everything is progressing as it should."
"Thank you, Doctor," Harm and Mac both voiced in unison.
"You're quite welcome and good luck. We will see you next week sometime," Dr. Jacobs replied, taking her leave with Dr. Morgan on her heels.
Mac donned the sunglasses Harm handed her and posed demurely for him.
"Cute, Marine… real cute."
"I know I am," was her quick response.
Harm shook his head, pointing towards the door. "Let's get out of here, shall we?"
He then picked up AJ and headed for the door with Mac following close behind.
"I think someone owes us a Beltway burger," Mac whispered to AJ.
"Yeah, Unca Harm… Bel'way burg'r."
"Okay, okay, you don't have to gang up on me. Beltway it is. My God, you might think the two of you haven't eaten for days," he said laughing.
"Harm, why… might I ask… is Little AJ wearing my shirt? It isn't exactly a good fit… not to mention I have been wearing it for several days and it could probably use a good washing."
"Are you kidding, Mac? The combination of his sweet baby powder scent and your very unique feminine scent, well it just can't get any better."
Mac smiled warmly at his sweet comment. "If you say so."
Harm then shrugged awkwardly. "He decided to wear most of his breakfast and I didn't have anything else to put on him. He insisted on wearing your shirt, ah my shirt… our shirt."
Mac laughed and Harm was deriving extreme pleasure seeing her enjoy the humor of the situation.
Harm had put Little AJ down and they each grabbed one of his hands as he walked between them. As they passed a waiting room there was a special bulletin airing, which immediately caught their attention.
It was about the explosion at Mac's apartment. It was now being treated as intentional. They caught the tail end of the bulletin. Obviously the police department didn't want to make any confirming statement yet, as the explosion could have been the result of a suicide. They especially wouldn't be forthcoming if the culprit was still at large. The second explosion was definitely deemed accidental and had nothing to do with the first attack. More news would be presented as it became available.
Harm and Mac stood there stunned at the news they had just heard. Harm looked over at Mac, her expression conveying her worry. He kissed her forehead softly, letting his lips linger there for a moment. "Don't worry, Mac. Whatever happens, it will be okay. We'll get through this together."
Mac nodded her head appreciatively, unable to say anything.
"Come on, Marine. It's time to go home," he told her gently as they continued to walk towards the door.
"Yeah, let's go home," Mac agreed quietly.
AJ had been listening intently, waiting for a chance to speak. "First we go Bel'way burg'r," he chimed in matter-of-factly, bringing a round of laughter from his godparents, who looked adoringly at their godson and immediately forgot about the news they just heard.
The End of Chapter I
Was the explosion the result of a suicide or is there an enemy seeking revenge? Will Grandma Sarah's matchmaking abilities finally bring together what belongs together?
What will the future hold for Harm and Mac? Watch for the second chapter of 'Home Is Where Your Love is'. Coming soon…