Spoilers: 'Washington Holiday' 'Nobody's Child'
Notes: a bit more Mac-bashing, but I'm a little nicer this time. Forgive me? *g* Harm and Loren's wedding is practically totally like DJE and NC's, even down to specific words spoken. Forgive the plagiarism. Also note that I don't know how much their wedding cost, so just fill in the blank with whatever sounds reasonable. *g*
Thanks: Mariposa, for telling me what kind of car Loren has.
Timeline: 2 months after 'The Unlikely Proposal', mid-June.
"But Harm " Loren whined.
Loren sighed as she sat down in her rocking chair, holding David as she undid her shirt with one hand. "Please? Harm, it's a part of my heritage!"
"So you wear it!" Harm retorted as he watched Loren nurse.
Loren sighed again. "Harm " she said, exasperated. "The woman does not wear the kilt. The man does."
"Loren, I wanna wear my dress whites!"
Harm sighed. "I'll make you a deal."
Loren raised her eyebrow. "I'm listening."
"If I can get my groomsmen to wear kilts, I'll wear one. Otherwise, it's the whites, okay?"
Loren considered this. "If you can't get them to wear the kilts, you wear the shirt with dress pants, okay?"
Harm sighed. "Deal."
A week later
"You want me, the Judge Advocate General, to wear a skirt?"
Harm sighed. "A kilt, sir. And I don't want you to, Loren wants you to. She's bound, set and determined that I'm going to wear her family's kilt. But I'm only wearing it if I can get my groomsmen to."
"Sorry, but I'm not going anywhere wearing a skirt."
Harm breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, sir!"
AJ chuckled at the look of relief on Harm's face. "You can't say no to her, can you?"
Harm laughed. "Well I can try, it just doesn't do me any good."
One month later
Loren groaned as she flopped down on the couch in her and Harm's apartment that used to be just hers.
Harm raised his eyebrow, looking at Loren. "Do you want me to ask, or just shut up?" he said in amusement.
Loren propped herself up on one elbow and glared at Harm for a moment before realizing that he was just trying to get her to talk. She sighed and flopped back down. "You know," she said rhetorically, "There's a damn good reason why I'm only getting married once!"
"You mean because we love each other and would never leave each other?"
Loren smiled wryly. "Other than that."
Loren sighed and propped herself up again to look at Harm. "You only have to see your family once!"
Harm laughed. "I take it you don't get along with your siblings?"
"No, I get along fine with my sisters, and Zakk is okay for a brother. It's my mother and whatever man she's married to now!"
Harm looked at Loren. "You know, you never talk about your family, Loren. Why is that?"
Loren was about to answer when David started to cry from his room. She got up and picked up the baby, changing him and taking him out into the living room. She put David down on the floor close to his toys and sat back down on the couch.
"I don't talk about my family because well, I don't see a reason to. We're not close at all. I mean, Zakk lives in Los Angeles, Melanie lives in Boston, Cristalyn lives in Chicago and my mother and Emerson live in Denver."
Harm chuckled. "Your family likes big cities!"
Loren smiled. "Yeah. But my point is, I never see them. And I can't stand my mother!"
Harm frowned. "Why not, Loren?"
"She's immature and can't think for herself. Ever see the Julia Roberts and Richard Gere movie, 'Runaway Bride'?"
"Yeah, I think so. That's the one about the woman who keeps almost getting married but can never go through with it because the guy never really knows her, right?"
Loren nodded. "That's it. My mom is like that, but instead of not actually getting married, she does, then divorces him a year later. She's on her sixteenth marriage, Harm."
"Yeah." Loren sighed. "I just don't want her messing up our wedding, Harm."
Harm got up and sat back down on the couch next to Loren, pulling her into his arms and kissing her temple lightly. "Nobody is going to mess up our wedding, Loren. We won't let them. It's going to be perfect, I promise. Loren, if you don't even want your mother there, she doesn't have to be."
Loren sighed and pulled away. "No. She can be there. I do want my family at my wedding, even if we do get on each other's nerves." Loren smiled wryly at Harm, then looked down when she felt David tugging on her pant-leg. "Oh, baby, you want up?" she cooed, picking David up and placing him half on her lap and half on Harm's.
Two weeks later
Loren looked up at the large screen announcing the flights. As she watched it, the flight she was looking at changed to say 'arrived'. "Finally," Loren muttered, standing and watching for her sister.
Loren turned at the familiar voice calling her name. She couldn't help but grin as she saw her sister, Melanie, struggling against the crowd. "Hey, Melanie!"
Melanie broke free of the people in her way and rushed over to Loren, dropping her bags and hugging her tightly. When she finally released her sister, she held her at arms' length and looked her over. "Wow, L, you look great!"
Loren blushed slightly. "Thanks. Remembering what Mother looked like almost a year and a half after Emmy?"
Melanie rolled her eyes and they both burst into laughter.
"Speaking of Mother," Melanie started. She ignored Loren's groan. "When are they getting here?"
Loren checked the large clock on the wall. "About half an hour. Zakk, Cristalyn and Mother and Emmy are all on the same flight."
Melanie made a face. "So you get hit with both Mother and Cristalyn at the same time? Yikes!"
"Hey, you're getting hit with them, too! Besides, Cristalyn is your twin! You're supposed to be nice to her!"
Melanie rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue. "She's my sister. I can be mean to her if I want to! Anyway," Melanie changed the subject. "Where's this fiance of yours? And your son?"
"Harm's with David back at the apartment. We didn't think he'd be too good here, with the loud noises and strange people and such."
Melanie nodded. "Yeah. But you should be prepared for Mother's comments. Before you know it, she'll have you convinced the he's run off with your next door neighbor who can't have children and they stole your baby because she wants a family."
Loren rolled her eyes. "Melanie, I know Harm a lot better than Mother does. He'd never leave me. Especially not for my neighbor. One neighbor is male, the other is a 90-year-old widow."
Melanie laughed. "Okay, so he won't leave for your neighbor. But you know that Mother will try to convince you to leave him, L."
Loren shrugged. "She can try all she wants. Harm and I are getting married and she'll just have to deal with it."
"Yeah, she will."
Loren and Melanie both looked up as the flight from Chicago was announced.
"Well, that's them."
They waited for a few moments before Melanie spotted them. "Loren. They're here." She pointed over to the gate.
Loren waved her arm. "Zakk! Cristalyn! Emmy!"
The small group veered toward the two sisters. Hugs were exchanged between the kids, but Loren's mother, Jackie, pointedly refrained from hugging her children, if they even wanted to hug her, which they didn't.
"Where is he?" Jackie demanded.
Loren sighed internally. "Harm is at home with David. Do you have your bags?"
Zakk put his arm around Loren's shoulders. "L, we better get out of here, fast," he whispered. "Mother's getting edgy. She's going through another divorce."
"So what else is new?" Loren shot back. "Come on," she said, louder, "I'll take you to my apartment to meet Harm and David, then we'll take you to the hotel." Loren led the group out to the parking lot and to Harm's Lexus.
"Nice car," Jackie said with a sneer.
Loren gritted her teeth. "Well, it was either this, Harm's Corvette or my Cabriolet. I don't think all of you would fit in either car." Loren opened up the back, and everybody put their bags in. Loren got into the driver's seat and nearly let her head fall onto the steering wheel in dismay when she saw Jackie get in beside her. Melanie and Emerson got in the middle and Zakk and Cristalyn in the back.
Once they were on their way, Emerson leaned forward. "L?" she said softly. "Do you have any good country stations here?"
"Emmy!" Jackie exclaimed. "You listen to that shit at home, you don't have to listen to it here!"
Loren glared at her mother and reached over to turn the dial on the radio to a local country station.
Jackie reached over and turned the radio off. Loren turned it back on. Jackie turned it off again. Loren pulled over.
"Mother! If I want to listen to country, I will. You will not interfere with it! If you're not happy with my choice of station, you can get out and walk!"
Jackie's mouth dropped open. "Loren! That is no way to talk to you mother!"
"If you want me to treat you like a mother, stop acting like a child!" Loren retorted, turning the radio back on.
The rest of the ride was in silence.
Loren opened the door and looked around. "Harm?" she called.
"Just a minute!" Not a second later, Harm walked out of David's room, the sleepy baby held tight in his arms. "He's wanting Mama."
Loren smiled and took the baby from Harm. David immediately curled into Loren's neck, falling asleep. Loren turned to face her family. "Everybody, this is my son, David Sergei Singer, and my fiance, Harmon David Rabb, Jr."
Before Loren could introduce everybody to Harm, Cristalyn let out a low whistle. "Hot-ee!" she exclaimed.
Harm blushed and Loren rolled her eyes. "Harm, that's Cristalyn."
Harm chuckled. "I figured that. So you must be Melanie?"
"And Zakk and Emerson. And, of course, Jackie."
Jackie raised her eyebrow at Harm, lifting her head to try, unsuccessfully, to look down at him. "So, Harmon, are you in the Navy?"
"Yes, ma'am. Born and bred."
"So your father was Navy?"
Harm nodded. "Yes, ma'am, and my grandfather."
"And where are they now?"
"Mother " Loren warned.
Harm held up his hand. "It's okay, Loren. Actually, ma'am, my grandfather was shot down and killed before my dad was born, and my dad was shot down when I was five."
Jackie glared at Harm. "So how do you know you won't leave Loren like that?"
"Well, ma'am, I'm not a pilot anymore. I'm a JAG lawyer, like Loren."
"Harm, I'm not JAG anymore."
Harm just shrugged.
"You ever do Child Advocacy?" Zakk asked, sitting down on the couch and watching Jackie nose around.
"Well, I helped investigate the murder of a child once and save her twin from the man who had killed her, but other than that, no."
Zakk nodded. "Too bad. Nothing makes you feel better than saving a child from a brutal situation." Zakk took out a business card. "I work with Kellan, Stevens and Callahan. They're thinking of making me a partner soon."
"Mother, what are you doing?"
Loren turned to look at Melanie, then over at Jackie. "Mother!"
Loren quickly handed David over to Harm and approached Jackie. "I don't know what you're thinking, but you have absolutely no right to come into my house and snoop in my bedroom! There are only three people allowed to go in there without permission and you aren't one of them!"
"So who is?" Jackie retorted.
"Myself, my fiance and my son. And unless and until I have more children, that number will stay at three!"
"Well! If you're going to be rude! What's so wrong with a mother being concerned about her child?"
Loren glared at Jackie. "If it was concern, I wouldn't have so much of a problem with it! But I know damn well that all you're concerned about is your own life and your own interests. Mother, don't pretend. You're trying to find something that will break up Harm and I."
"Well, it worked with Steve, didn't it?" Jackie questioned cruelly.
Loren closed her eyes in pain at the memories. Opening her eyes again, she said, "Don't you dare mention that ever again, Mother. If you do, I will be buying your ticket back to Denver."
Jackie glared angrily at Loren. "You have no right to speak to me like that, young lady!"
"Becoming an adult gave me that right, Mother. It's you who are out of your rights, invading my privacy in my own home. I'm calling you a cab."
"No need, L," Zakk said. "I already did."
"You want me to ride in a cheap taxi?"
Loren looked at her mother in disgust. "Oh, Mother, grow up! Get your head out of the clouds and your nose out of the air. You can ride the taxi or wait for the bus, take your pick. In the mean time, you can wait outside."
Zakk picked up Jackie's bags and carried them outside, Jackie following in a daze. Emerson sighed and picked up her own bags, starting to follow.
Harm put his hand on Emerson's shoulder, halting her progress. Exchanging a glance with Loren, Harm said, "Emmy, you can stay here with us. Give your mother some time to cool off."
Emerson looked sadly at Harm. "I can't. That'd just make it worse when we got back to Denver."
"Emmy, you won't always have to be with Mother," Melanie said. "You're 17. You have a choice."
Emerson looked at Loren. "I can really stay here? You don't mind." Loren shook her head and Emerson smiled, putting her bag back down just in time for Zakk to see as he came back into the apartment. "All right. I'll stay."
Later that night
"I see why you don't talk about your family," Harm said softly, holding Loren spooned up against his chest.
Loren sighed. "It's always been like that. Mother throwing her weight around, trying to control us and intimidate us. Zakk moved out when he was 18, and that made me want to leave. So I ran away. Scrimped and saved, sometimes staying with friends, sometimes sleeping on a park bench. The day I turned 17, I joined the Navy. Mainly because I had nothing else to do. Mother found me ten years ago, and tried to force me to go back to Denver. But by then the Navy was my life and I didn't want to leave. Then again, even if I had hated it, I wouldn't have gone back there.
"She tried to blackmail me into leaving the Navy, then she showed some risque photos of my twin to my CO. Ended up that she had a birthmark that I didn't, so I was let off the hook. Mother managed to avoid having charges pressed by bribing the police. Then she tried to get me stationed in Denver, but my CO didn't want to send me there, I don't know why. So finally she gave up."
Harm was silent for a moment before realizing something that Loren had said. "You have a twin?"
Loren smiled. "Yeah. But I haven't seen her since I was 5 months old. When Mother and my father divorced, my father got one twin, Megan, and Mother got me."
A memory niggled in the back of Harm's brain. "What's your father's name?"
"James O'Hara." Loren frowned. "Why?"
"So your sister is Megan O'Hara ?"
"Yes " Loren turned over to face Harm, concerned at the odd look on his face. "Harm, what's wrong?"
"Oh God "
Harm's eyes met Loren's. "I knew Megan. It had to have been, God, seven years ago, now. I was assigned as an escort to Princess Alexandra from Romania. I had a new neighbor move in below me, Megan O'Hara. She was a lifestyle columnist for the Post. She stopped by a couple times. She was really nice. Very sexy."
Loren stiffened and Harm smiled, nuzzling her neck. "But not as sexy as you," he whispered. Loren relaxed.
"Anyway, at the NATO ball, Princess Alexandra had been receiving death threats if Romania decided to join NATO. When the Princess announced that they were, I was looking around and I saw this gun peeking out from a curtain. So I yelled, 'Gun!' and started running for the balcony that it was on. I climbed up and tackled the person, who was none other than my new neighbor, Megan. She got up and picked up the gun again and held it on me, backing away. Then a Secret Service agent shot her three times in the back. She died almost instantly." Harm said the last bit about Megan's death softly, as if to soften the blow.
Loren was silent, staring into Harm's eyes, knowing he was telling the truth. "My twin sister was an assassin?" she whispered.
Harm nodded. "Yeah. Paid assassin. I'm sorry, Loren."
Loren sighed and turned her head into Harm's chest, snuggling into him. "Nothing you could do about it," she whispered sleepily.
Harm kissed the top of Loren's head. "Sleep, Love. We can talk more tomorrow."
"Love you," Loren sighed, drifting off.
"I love you too, Loren. With all my heart."
A week later
"Do you think I could get away with killing my mother if I pleaded insanity?"
Harm smiled and stood behind Loren, massaging her shoulders with one hand while he held a squirming David. "Loren, it's not that bad."
Loren turned around and gave Harm an 'are-you-the-stupidest-being-on-the-planet?' look. "It's not," she said, a question asked as a statement.
Harm shrugged. "Well, maybe it is, but I don't think insanity would work."
Loren rolled her eyes and took David from Harm, and putting him down so that he could wander around the livingroom floor. "Well, it's either I kill her and plead insanity or I buy a ticket to Denver leaving in five minutes."
Harm sighed. "What did she do today?"
"What didn't she do?" Loren retorted. "Let's see she spent about 2 hours on and off bashing you, another 2 hours on and off saying how much she wanted you," Loren made a face. "She hates my dress, thinks I'm overweight, says I should dye my hair, says I should get a nose job. Thinks you should wear a regular suit, since my Scottish side is from my father, thinks we should have the wedding indoors, because she knows this darling church, and it holds 10,000 people."
"Ten thousand? We don't even know that many people."
"I know. Harm, I don't know if I can stand her long enough to get though the wedding."
Harm wrapped his arms around Loren. "Then send her back to Denver, honey."
Loren sighed and snuggled into Harm's embrace. "I can't. It's her money that's paying for the wedding."
"I'll ask Frank to help."
Loren looked up at Harm, doubtful. "Harm. My dress alone is costing $100,000! I can't ask your step-father to pay for that! Even in part!
"Loren. Do you want your mother there?"
"No." Loren answered immediately.
"Would she pay for it if she wasn't there?" Loren shook her head and Harm continued. "We certainly can't pay for it, so the only thing to do is explain everything to Frank, and hopefully he'll volunteer. If he doesn't, we'll ask, okay?"
Loren sighed. "All right."
"Harm!" Trish exclaimed, both delighted and worried that her son was calling. "Is something wrong? The wedding is still on, right?"
Harm chuckled. "Yeah, Mom, the wedding is still on. Well..."
"Harm. What's wrong."
Harm sighed. "It's Loren's mother, Jackie. Loren can't stand her and Jackie is being really rude to Loren and me, and Loren's brother and sisters. Loren wants to send her back to Denver, and I agree. I think that if she was at the wedding, she would do something to mess it up. All ready she's tried at least a dozen times to break me and Loren up, and she's only been here a week. We still have another week to go."
"So Loren is upset about not having her mother there?"
"God no!" Harm exclaimed. "She's glad! What she is upset about is that Jackie is paying for the wedding. But only is she's there. So either we keep Jackie here for the wedding and pray that she doesn't cause a scene, or we send her back, postpone the wedding and do it on a way smaller budget."
"Well how much is it costing?"
Trish was silent for a moment. "Can I call you back, Harm? I need to talk to Frank about something."
"Sure, Mom. Everything okay?"
"I just need his input on something. It's okay, Harm. Talk to you again, soon!"
"Sure, Mom. Love you."
"I love you, too, honey. Pass my love on to Loren!"
"I will. Bye, Mom."
Harm hung up the phone and turned to Loren. "Well, the stage is set. Let's see what happens."
"Rabb," Harm answered the phone.
"Frank. Hey, what's up?"
"Trish told me about the problems with the wedding and Loren's mother."
Harm sighed. "Yeah. But, we already bought the ticket to Denver, so..."
"Harm. I know you well enough to know that you're fishing for money for the wedding, but you don't want to ask."
Harm blushed, but smiled at the humor in Frank's voice. "Caught me," he said with a grin.
"I already wired the money to your account. Oh, and Trish is coming tomorrow, I can't get away until Friday."
"Frank! The wedding's on Saturday!"
"Harm, calm down. I'll be there."
Frank chuckled. "Positive. I won't miss it for anything."
"Thank, Frank. Means a lot," Harm said simply.
"To me, too," Frank replied. "Anyway, I hate to run, but I have a few calls to make. See you Friday, Harm."
Harm's breath caught in his throat as he saw Loren ride on horseback into the park they were renting. She was so beautiful, the platinum silver dress billowing around her, the white veil hazing her features over just enough to make her appear mysterious.
Harm watched as Loren was helped off her horse by Tiner, who passed her over to Gunny to escort her to the edge of the aisle. The music, 'Only One Angel', played as Loren walked up the aisle to Harm.
Even before she got there, tears were seeping down her cheeks and the priest took one look at her and said, "We need a Kleenex for the bride."
Trish, who had a box of them sitting beside her, grabbed one and handed it to Loren. Loren smiled and wiped her eyes and the priest started the ceremony.
The ceremony continued on smoothly, with Harm and Loren exchanging vows and rings, then being pronounced husband and wife, sealing their love with a tender kiss. Before they walked down the aisle, Frank approached with David, handing him over to Loren. The priest prayed a blessing over him and baptized him with a sprinkling of water from the Nile River.
Harm held his hand over Loren's as they cut into the cake together. They loaded the piece onto a plate and Harm took a piece of it with his fingers.
"If you miss my mouth, you'll regret it," Loren warned sweetly. Their audience laughed.
Harm grinned. "I'll be careful," he promised, bringing to cake to her mouth. A smear of icing got on Loren's lower lip, and Harm wiped it off, and was about to stick it in his mouth when Loren seized his finger and cleaned it off herself.
Loren grinned mischievously at the darkening of Harm's eyes, but just picked up a piece of cake to feed him. Purposely smearing the icing across his lips, she fed him the piece, then kissed and licked the icing off him.
Harm grabbed Loren by the waist and pulled her into him, planting a hot kiss on her open lips.
"Get a room!" AJ hollered among a chorus of laughter.
Harriet glanced over at Mac, who was sitting with her arms crossed under her breasts, glaring at Harm and Loren.
"Ma'am? Try to look happy, it's a wedding."
Mac turned her glare to Harriet for a moment, before turning back to the happy couple. "That's why I'm not smiling," she bit out.
Harriet's eyes widened. "You know, ma'am," she said casually, "I really feel like a walk. How about it?"
Bud looked at Harriet. "I can take you, Sweetie," he offered. Harriet jabbed her heeled shoe down onto Bud's good foot, causing him to yelp in pain. "Then again, if you want to go with Colonel MacKenzie," he concluded weakly, cradling his injured foot.
Harriet smiled sweetly at the suspicious look on Mac's face. Mac sighed. "Fine, let's go."
The two women got up and left the large tent. When Harriet was sure they were out of ear shot, she asked, "Ma'am, what's wrong?"
"What gives you the idea something's wrong?"
Harriet stopped and turned Mac to face her. "Mac. I know you. Something's wrong. What is it?"
Mac turned back away from Harriet, kicking at the ground with her shoe. "He shouldn't have married that bitch!" Mac exclaimed, surprising Harriet at the venom in her voice.
Harriet regarded Mac carefully. "You're in love with him," she observed.
Mac glared at Harriet, then sighed, her expression loosening. "Yeah. I have been for years, ever since I met him. While he was with Annie, I started dating Dalton, as a substitute. Jordan I just had to suffer through. Mic got me through Renee. And now what? He goes and marries the one woman that I actually hate, not just dislike!"
"Mac. You have to accept it. Harm married her. That's forever."
"Really? My marriage to Chris wasn't. The Admiral's wasn't. Nothing's forever, Harriet."
Harriet tilted her head. "Bud and I are. And Harm and Loren are, too. I know it."
"Are you trying to depress me?"
"No. I'm trying to help you. Mac, what would you rather lose? The possibility of Harm's love, and really, that's all it was, or the possibility of Harm's love and his friendship? Because if you keep acting like this, you'll lose him completely." Harriet met Mac's gaze once more, then turned and walked back to the tent, leaving Mac to her thoughts.
Three weeks later
Loren opened the door, her smile fading as she saw who it was.
"You seem happy to see me," Mac said sarcastically.
"I was expecting Harriet, she's supposed to be coming by to pick up David so that Harm and I can go to a movie. Is there something you want?"
"Yeah. Can I come in? I need to talk to Harm."
Loren opened the door wide, letting Mac pass into the house.
"Thanks. Harm and I picked it out two weeks before the wedding." Loren motioned to the couch. "Take a seat. I'll get Harm."
A minute later, Harm entered the room. "Hey, Mac," he greeted cautiously. "What's up?"
Mac looked down at her fingernails. "I'm sorry, Harm," she said quickly, glancing up into his face, then back down. "I've been... such a bitch to you about your relationship and marriage to Loren, and I'm really sorry." Mac looked back up at Harm, her eyes pleading. "Please don't tell me I've lost your friendship."
Harm sat down on the couch next to Mac. He sighed. "Mac I don't know. You said a lot of stuff It might take a while."
"But we can try?"
Harm looked into Mac's eyes, seeing genuine remorse in her features. "Yeah, we can try."
Mac smiled and hugged Harm, nearly crying with relief. Out of sight in the hallway, Loren smiled. Harm had been worried about Mac, and their friendship, ever since he found out that she wasn't really happy for him, even more so when she walked out of the wedding reception. Now everything was right again.
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