Love and the Next Hundred Years

Harm caught up to Mac as the elevator arrived. They entered and the doors closed on the silent couple. He stood apart, not touching her, his eyes straight ahead. They had taken this ride many times through the years, but Harm knew that this time was different and after this night, for better or worse, they would probably both be different, too.

Harm allowed himself a quick glance in her direction. She winked. He immediately looked away. His heart was pounding and his fists were clenched from the effort it took to keep his hands to himself. All he wanted was to grab Mac, shove her against the elevator wall and kiss her until next Tuesday.

But he wouldn't. They needed to talk. And she could tempt him all she wanted, but he was going to be the mature one.

It had taken too many years and they had gone through too many misunderstandings to get to this moment and he wasn't going to ruin it by giving in to his raging lust. He was an adult, not a teenager, and he promised himself he would act like one.

He wouldn't kiss her even if it killed him.

They got out of the elevator and he unlocked his front door, allowing Mac to enter first. He followed her into the dark apartment and shut the door. She paused a few feet inside and as he turned from the door he brushed against her.

That small innocent touch was his undoing.

Before he could stop himself he had trapped her against the front door and his mouth collided with hers. "Mac," he breathed her name as his lips found hers again and again. He savored her whimper of pleasure as she wrapped her arms around his neck and opened her mouth for his assault. Her fingers tangled in his hair as she tried to pull him closer. He angled his head to find more of her and she pressed her body to him in surrender.

A nagging voice in his head was trying to remind him that they needed to talk before things went any further. His aching body ignored the voice as he molded himself around her, but finally it was his heart that won the battle. Mac was too important to him.

He would stop kissing her even if it killed him.

With super human effort he broke contact with her mouth and leaned his forehead against hers. Breathing hard and with his eyes closed, he groaned, "I promised myself I wouldn't do that."

"That's one promise I'm glad you didn't keep." Mac whispered.

He untangled himself from her arms and walked across the room to turn on a lamp. He needed to put some distance between them if he was going to be able to think straight. He turned back to her and the sight was one he would see in his dreams. She lounged against the door all bruised lips and liquid eyes. Her sweater was rumpled from his improper advances and she straightened it as she walked toward him.

"Why is this so hard for you, Harm?" she asked gently.

He laughed harshly. "It would be the easiest thing in the world to pick you up and carry you to bed."

"Here I am", she said playfully as she held out her arms.

"Behave, Mac," he begged. "There are things we need to talk about first."

Brushing a stray lock of hair from his forehead, she grew serious. "Okay, Harm, I'm listening."

"Let's sit down," he suggested as he guided her to the couch.

She settled into one corner of the couch and waited.

He sat beside her and studied his hands as he began talking. "When we agreed to start over I'm afraid some issues got swept under the rug, and I think we need to deal with them."

Looking at her intently he continued. "This last year has been a nightmare for us, but despite everything our friendship survived. I think it's stronger than it's ever been."

She nodded her agreement.

"I also think it's obvious that we want more than friendship from each other."

"Painfully obvious." Mac echoed with a sigh.

He smiled determined not to let her distract him. "Anyway, we can't just act like last year never happened. There are too many questions we never asked each other. I really believe if we're going to have a chance, Mac, we have to ask the questions."

"And what if we don't like the answers?" she asked hesitantly.

"Courage, Marine. I'll even let you ask the first question."

"Okay, but I have to throw my arms around you first." Launching herself at him she asked, "Harm, are you alright?"

"You've lost me." He laughed as he returned her embrace.

She nestled her head beneath his chin and said softly. "That's what I wanted to do in the hospital after you were rescued. I was so scared, Harm. You nearly died and I needed to touch you, but there were so many other people there, Rene, Mic…and I had no right.

He leaned back to see her face and said, "The first person I thought of when I woke up was you, but then I remembered your wedding and figured you were off on your honeymoon somewhere. I was so happy when you walked into my room. I needed to see you, to talk to you, but Rene was hovering and I couldn't even remember her. Mic was looming in the background. I just wanted to shout at everyone to go away and leave us alone…but I had no right."

They sat quietly sharing the painful memory, but finding comfort in each other's arms.

"My turn," Harm said. "If Mic hadn't gone back to Australia, would you have married him?"

He felt her stiffen and try to pull away.

"Yes, I would have married him."

Hearing her words, he let her go. "Do you still love him?"

"Harm..."

"Don't tell me it's a question I don't get to ask, Mac. Do you still love Mic?"

"You know what I loved? I loved the way he wanted me. I loved the way he acted like I was the only woman on earth that mattered. He gave up everything for me and that was intoxicating." She hesitated, "But, no, I don't love Mic. I'm not proud of it but I'm not sure I ever did. Grand romantic gestures aren't enough to build a life around."

Relief washed over him at her words. "Then why would you have married him?"

"I thought I loved him and I felt guilty about the way I treated him when your plane crashed. I went a little crazy, you know?" She grabbed for his hand and held on tightly. "He tried to help me but I wouldn't let him. I would have married him for all the wrong reason. Duty, obligation- because I said I would. It would have been a disaster. He did us both a favor when he left."

"I thank God everyday that you didn't marry him." He brought her hand to his face and rubbed it against his cheek.

"Next question." Mac stated suddenly. "If your plane hadn't gone down, would you have tried to stop the wedding?"

It was Harm's turn to pull away. "Ah, the ultimate grand romantic gesture."

He stood up and paced around in front of the couch. "Let's see, I burst through the church doors right as the preacher asks if anyone objects, then I throw you over my shoulder and we fly off into the sunset."

He stopped in front of her and said plainly, "You want me to be honest, right? It's not as if the idea never occurred to me, but, no, I wouldn't have stopped the wedding."

"I knew I wouldn't like all the answers," She wouldn't look at him.

He sat back down and reached for her. "I thought marrying him was what you wanted, Mac,"

"I guess I had everyone fooled, even myself." She sounded resigned and leaned her head against his shoulder.

"The night he left, I wanted to hold you so badly." Harm whispered against her hair.

"Rene needed you that night." Mac reminded him.

"I couldn't believe you were gone when I got back from the funeral."

"I needed the time to think about everything, Harm. That was the only smart decision I'd made in months."

"When you asked me if I would give up Rene, my answer was yes, but you'd already left the room."

"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked clearly surprised by the information.

"You didn't seem very pleased with my visit and I guess I was feeling a little foolish. I thought maybe I had misread what was between us."

"I'm sorry, Harm. I just wasn't ready to deal with everything yet."

"I'm sorry I pushed you before you were ready."

Harm was beginning to wonder if this had been such a good idea. Dredging up all these unresolved feelings was exhausting and it had certainly put a damper on the earlier mood.

"Any other questions we need to cover?" Mac asked gamely. She looked like she would rather have her teeth drilled.

Harm leaned his head against hers and stared straight ahead. "I have one. Do you know what Rene asked me a few weeks before your wedding?"

Mac sat up so she could see him. "I have no idea."

"She asked me if you were my dream girl."

Mac's eyes widened. "Why in the world would she ask you that?"

"I called her by your name at an inopportune moment."

"You didn't?" Mac gasped then giggled. "You did?"

"Yep," he confessed. "She told me to get you out of my dreams and I should have told her right then that that would be impossible. If I live to be one hundred, whether we are together or have gone our separate ways, I'll never stop dreaming about you, Mac."

They were cuddled together nose to nose by the time he finished his last admission.

"A hundred years is lot of time to dream, Harm. I can think of better things to do with all those hours in bed."

He kissed her on the nose before standing up and sweeping her into his arms and heading for the bedroom. "Really? Well, I'm not getting any younger, so we better get started."

"Finally," Mac sighed as she wound her arms around his neck. "I was wondering what a girl had to do to get a little action around here."

He tossed her onto the bed then followed her down. With an arm on either side of her head he gazed seriously into her eyes. " I love you, Mac."

She ran her hands down the length of his back and sighed. "I love you, too, Harm."

He bent his head to kiss her, but before his lips met hers she asked, "So, I'm your dream girl, huh?"

"I'm never going to hear the end of that, am I?"

"Not in this lifetime," she murmured as his lips captured hers.

That was enough talking for one night.



The End



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