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Unplanned life

By the next morning, Mary was even more annoyed. She hadn't slept well, her mind racing over what happened at the restaurant. She couldn't believe that Marshall had been married and never mentioned it to her. Okay, she may not have told him about her dumb choice about marrying Mark but she had been 17 and the marriage was over pretty much before the ink had dried on the documents. From what she saw last night, Marshall's marriage was more than that…It was real.

She entered the office and glared at her partner's empty desk as she made her way to her own.

"Good morning, Mary…" Stan greeted as he stood looking at a file in Eleanor's hands.

"What's good about it?" She muttered dropping her bag to the floor and shrugged out of her jacket.

Stan raised an eyebrow but didn't comment, used to Mary's early morning attitude.

The door buzzed and Marshall entered, with a paper bag in one hand and a tray of coffees in the other.

"Oh, nice of you to finally turn up." Mary said sarcastically, looking him up and down. "What took you so long? Had to go home to change your clothes?"

Marshall stared at her for a few seconds in surprised. "Excuse me?"

"What's going on?" Stan looked between the two of them.

"Marshall ran into an old friend last night…" Mary told everyone causing Marshall to sigh loudly. "Ditched me right in the middle of our night out…"

"I didn't ditch you…Your fiancée and family were with you…"

"To go on a date with his wife…." Mary raised her voice a little louder to be heard over his.

"What?" Eleanor questioned.

"Wife?" Stan repeated, focusing on Marshall.

"Yes, I got married when I was 19…got divorced when I was 23…" He told them then looked to Mary. "Happy now?"

"Are you kidding me?" Stan's mouth dropped open. "How come I never knew about this?"

"Oh, you weren't the only one…" Mary claimed. "I had the honor of finding out during dinner."

Marshall rolled his eyes. "We hadn't even ordered…"

"I don't understand…" Eleanor said. "Are you getting back together with her?"

"No, she's in town with her sister and niece until Friday…Last night was the first time I've seen or heard from her in 16 years." Marshall told her. "We got some ice cream and caught up with each other."

"Isn't that sweet…" Mary said sickly sweet.

"What is your problem?" Marshall glared at her.

"My problem is this woman turns up out of nowhere, saying she's your wife and you've suddenly turned into a love sick teenager." Mary shot back. "Turning your back on your friends…showing up late for work…"

"Actually, I started two hours ago…I've already seen the Thomsons and helped Marco Sanders find a job….Even stopped to get coffee and breakfast for everyone." He pushed the tray of coffee towards her and she had to grab with both hands to stop it from spilling. Before she could protest, he turned to look at Stan. "I was wondering if I could take the afternoon off…All I get left today, barring any emergencies, is paperwork."

"Sure, I don't see way not." Stan said, glancing at Mary who was still glaring at her partner. "Got anything nice planned?"

"I'm showing Tia and her family around Albuquerque then we're getting some dinner." Marshall informed him, feeling Mary's eyes burning a hole in the back of his head but he ignored it.

"Well, have fun…" Stan replied. "Maybe on Monday you can tell me all about this girl."

Marshall sighed. "Sure."

He gave another look Mary, daring her to say something but when she stayed silent, he went over to his desk.

"It must have been something bad…."

"What?" Marshall had just sat down when Mary spoke again.

"For you to keep it a secret…" Mary shrugged. "You ashamed about it or what?"

"Mary…let it go." Marshall warned.

"Or got another wife hiding out there somewhere…" She continued. "A bunch of kids…"

Marshall suddenly pushed to his feet again. "Okay, fine…You want to know the reason why I didn't tell you?"

She stared back at him, a little surprised by his reaction but determined to stand her ground.

"Because it's none of your business." He added. "Because I was someone different 16 years ago and it has nothing to do with who I am now or what I do…You have no right to my past, especially since you've never taken the time to take an interest in it before."

"Marshall…"

"You're just pissed because you didn't get your own way last night…That I didn't stay with you." He refused to let her cut him off. "Even now, I tell you to back off…To leave it alone and you still push and push…"

"We're partners…We're meant to be friends…Best friends and you never mentioned it…"

"Because it hurt!" He raised his voice slightly and then took a deep shaky breath before continuing a little more quietly. "I loved her…A lot…I was planning on spending the rest of my life with her and then…."

"Then what?" Mary prompted.

"Sometimes things happen that you have no control over…Neither of us did anything wrong but it changed us…It was hard being near each other… we were broken and there nothing we could do to fix it…I had to leave."

Mary stared at him, her mouth slightly open. She suddenly felt a mixture of guilt for pushing the issue and sadness because there was a side to him that she didn't know about.

"Marshall…" Stan broke the silence, from where he was still stood with Eleanor. He was thankful that there wasn't no else in the office to witness what had just happened.

"Yeah?" Marshall swallowed the lump that rose in his throat and forced his eyes away from Mary to their boss.

"I can't remember the last time you had a full weekend off…and that paperwork can wait until Monday…If you want to go now…."

He hesitated, a part of him wanted to escape the office and the questions that were bound to follow but then there was another part that wanted to stay and face it. He had worked hard over the last 16 years putting this all behind him; he didn't want to hide away again.

"Marshall…" Mary put the coffees down on her desk and when she turned back to face him, she saw him pulling on his jacket.

"Thanks, Stan…" The need to avoid any more questions won and he made a quick exit.

"Marshall?!" Mary called after him and when she made to follow him, Stan reached out to stop her.

"Let him go." He advised.

"But…"

"There's one thing you should never meddle in when you don't know the full story and that's matter of the heart." Stan told her. "Let him cool down and then talk to him…I don't think he'll react well if you push him on this, Mary."

"Fine." She pulled her arm free and stormed back to her desk.

Stan and Eleanor shared a look but they both knew better than to say anything.

XxXxX

"Is she still glaring at me?" Marshall whispered to Tia.

He had joined them for lunch and Jo-Anne hadn't been pleased at all. She barely spoke to him and continued to watch his every move. Marshall had suggested they'd go to one of his favorite delis and have a picnic in the park but when they had sat down at the picnic table, Jo had choose to sit on one behind them.

Tia laughed lightly and glanced over his shoulder at her sister. "Yep."

"It feels like old times."

"If we're quick and run now, we might get away…."

"Ah but what Taylor?"

"Oh yeah…We can't leave her behind." Tia conceded. "It'll be fine…If she wasn't to sulk all day then she can…I'm not going to let her ruin our day."

Marshall smiled and reached over to take her hand. After he had walked them back to the hotel the night before, Tia and he stayed in the bar for hours, just talking. He told her about how he threw himself into joining the Marshal Service after leaving Michigan and all the different cities he lived him. She told him how not much had changed for her, except six months ago her mother had passed away. Marshall was devastated, Anne had been like a mom to him and he wished he had known, so he could have been there.

He couldn't believe how easy it was to be around each other even after all this years and after everything that had happened He knew he was putting his heart on the line by getting close to her again but he couldn't help it.

"Uh, isn't that your partner?"

Marshall turned and sighed when he saw Mary heading in their direction.

"Hey…"

"Did you put a trace on my truck or something?" He questioned when she reached them.

"This was the place you took me when you give me a tour and then when we took Brandi…" She shrugged. "I took a guess…"

"Mare…"

"I just wanted to talk to you…I won't keep you long."

"I'll give you a minute." Tia smiled at him as she got up and walked over to join her sister and niece.

Marshall watched her go and when he looked back to his partner, she was waving a napkin

"White flag…"

He smirked. "Cute…You don't do cute."

"Oh yeah." She dropped it back down to the table. "Look, I'm sorry I was a bitch this morning…I just….I thought I knew everything about you."

"I didn't keep it from you because I wanted to keep it from you." He told her. "I just didn't want to talk about it."

She nodded understandingly. "I eloped when I was 17…"

"Excuse me?"

"I ran off with my boyfriend and we got married." She told him. "We got it annulled a month later…"

"You were married?"

"Yes, I didn't tell you because it was stupid and embarrassing….One of the dumbest things I've done in my life." She claimed. "I also never thought it would ever come up so…"

"Mary…"

"I guess that's why it hurt to find out I didn't know this about you…because unlike my marriage, yours was obviously real." She continued. "But you were right, I never asked and it's not like I've been completely honest about my past."

"I never meant to hurt you, Mare…" He told her. "I was just trying not to hurt me."

"I know." She gave him a small smile. "So, are we good now?"

"Of course."

"Great, Eleanor won't give me back my stapler until I apologies."

"After all these years, all I had to do to get you to apologies was to steal your stapler?"

"Well, let's be honest…Who knows what else Eleanor is capable of."

"You're scared of her…" Marshall grinned.

"Shut up…I'm not." She glared at him. "But talking of scary…Why is that woman giving you the stink eye."

"That's Tia's sister…She's not my biggest fan." Marshall replied without turning to see who she was talking about.

"Someone that doesn't like you? I've got to meet her…"

"Mary!" He tried to block her but she pushed past him and was walking to the next table.

"Hey, sorry to interrupt your lunch…"

"You don't have to go into work, do you?" Taylor looked up to Marshall in concern.

"Nope, he's all yours for the day." Mary answered for him.

"Really? If you have work to do…" Jo started.

"No, I just stopped by to clear some things up." Mary gave her a fake smile. "I'll let you get back to it…Marshall gives the best tours."

"You're not helping, you know…" He muttered loud enough for just her to hear.

"Who said I was trying to?" She shot back.

"Do you want to join us?" Tia offered.

"Mary has to go now…" Marshall cut in.

"Sorry, I have plans, thanks for the offer though." Mar smiled at her before giving Marshall a look. "But if you're still in town on Thursday, you should all come to my place…"

"What?" Marshall questioned in surprised.

"Yeah, it's my sister's birthday and we're having a little party…Be great if you could make it…You can tell us those story you didn't get chance to tell last night."

"Mary…"

"What?" She grinned at her partner. "It'll be fun."

"Uh….thanks…" Tia looked between the two of them, unsure what was going on.

"Marshall will give you the details." She patted his shoulder as passed him. "Have a fun day."

"She seems nice." Tia commented as they watched her walking back towards exit.

"Yeah…" Marshall agreed. "That's actually a little worrying…"

"What?"

"Nothing…Don't worry about it." He shook his head. "Right, so shall we get going?"

TBC

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