If I'm being honest with myself, I was expecting the knock on my door to happen. Even though part of me was dreading it, another part of me was looking forward to it. He didn't disappoint. When I looked through the peephole I saw six feet and four inches of Navy whites.
"How did you know I was back?" I ask him as I open the door and gesture for him to come in.
"I got it out of the Admiral that you were back yesterday, but I figured you wanted at least a whole day to yourself before visitors."
I had been gone for a little over a month on the Guadalcanal. I needed every day to get myself out of the wreck that was my life. I let the man I was supposed to marry leave because the man I… well, because another man was almost killed. I put myself out there for another, to have my heart broken yet again. He came out to see me, which both infuriated me and elated me. But he couldn't deliver what was needed and he left without saying goodbye. That was my fault as I hid around the ship until I could watch his helicopter leave from some small deck where he couldn't see.
"Do you still hate me?" he asks, which causes my eyebrows to skyrocket and my lips to turn into a smile.
"Harm, I never hated you."
He wags his finger in my general direction after that comment, "I doubt that."
We sit for a few minutes without saying anything in a comfortable silence that we had mastered once before. Before Mic. Before Renee. Before things got complicated.
"Why are you here, Harm?"
"I have a proposition for you."
"Yes, but I don't know how you're going to react to it, based on how you were when I came to see you on the Guadalcanal."
"Please don't start all this again Harm. I told you there that I'm sick of the dance. Yes, I've had time to cool off after everything that went crazy, but the dance still makes me mad."
"That's what I'm proposing. The dance is over."
My heart jumps into my throat then. I can't read the look on his face, and what he just said could have a million different meanings both positive and negative. God, please don't tell me that he proposed to Renee or anything like that.
"Mac, the way I see it, you and I could never be halfway. It's not in either of our natures, which would mean that the two of us together is either all or nothing."
"So, you're here to tell me you're leaving again?" I say, thinking that the only logical option was that he was going to go back off on a carrier and leave me again.
"No, I'm proposing that we go all in."
I know that my mouth drops open with that, but I can't think of any other reaction that would be suitable in this situation.
"What exactly do you mean?" I say with a stutter that would make any of my previous commanding officers shutter. Marines don't quiver and shake.
"The only way that you and I will ever know if we can work is to try it. We go all in for two weeks. Then we'd know."
"And what happens at the end of two weeks?"
"If we know that we want to be with each other for… well for the rest of our lives… then so be it. If we realize that it wasn't meant to be, at least we won't have the regret of never trying."
"Mac, I know how I feel about you, and I have a feeling that you feel the same way. There are always going to be reasons to talk ourselves out of jumping in the deep end. Then the dance continues. At least this way we know. We could end up being horrible together, always trying to one up eachother, not having the same ideas and wants, any of that."
"You think that is what's going to happen?"
The way he says it, so simply makes me love him even more than I want to admit to myself. Yes, I love him. I've known it for a while now, but wasn't able to really admit it.
"What about Renee?"
"Not an issue." He says, until I quirk my brow and he continues, "We're through as of the day before I came out to the Guadalcanal."
"Because I want you a hell of a lot more than I have ever wanted Renee. When her father died, it was the absolute worst timing in the history of the universe, but I dropped it the second I knew I was going after you."
"Of the breakup?"
"No. I want details of the proposition before I agree or disagree."
"We are all in. I've got a bag packed in my car for the weekend. This weekend and week, I'll stay here with you. Next weekend and week, you come stay with me. We do what we want, which includes me taking you out tomorrow evening on an honest to God date. The rest of the week, we just are who we are, but we're together. We do what comes natural and see what happens."
"You packed a bag?"
"I was trying to be optimistic. It also doubled as an emergency room bag in case you tried to kill me for the suggestion."
That earns him a chuckle as I think through his idea and all that comes with it. It seems innocent enough, but on some level I feel like one of us is going to get hurt.
"When you say stay, what exactly are the sleeping arrangements?" I ask and am met with a blush from Harm.
"We sleep together, but there are no strings."
"And if strings enter into the picture?" I say, causing the blush to creep even further up his face.
"We climb every hill as we reach it, but know that the expectation is not there."
"Sarah, you mean a lot more to me than that. You tell me we're abstinent until our wedding day, and I would agree to it."
"I said that the two weeks could lead to forever. You didn't believe me?"
He looks around the room for a few minutes, looking nervous before rubbing his palms on his pants and standing up to pace the room.
"I didn't have the guts to tell you that you shouldn't marry Brumby. I skirted around the whole thing. Then at your engagement party, I tried to get you to realize that he wasn't it for you. You couldn't even tell me that you were really in love with him. Then when you asked me who was in love with you, I froze. Part of me wants to know what would have happened if I would have just flat out said it was me then and there. I could have told you and said that there was a ring in my sock drawer with your name on it if you left with me right then and there. Brumby was an idiot and I was given a second chance."
"Oh." I say, trying to wrap my head around everything that he just said. My mind focused on one thing though…"There's a ring?"
"Go figure that since you're a woman, you'd pick out that statement, but Yes."
"We've got two weeks to talk about all of that, and I need to go get my bag." He says, grabbing my hand and kissing my knuckles before walking to the door.
"I never said that I agreed."
"Were you going to say no?" he says with all the cockiness of the fighter pilot he used to be and still is.