Author's Note: Here is another installment of this lovely fic. It really is my favorite to write, even though it may not be some of your favorite to read. It came from an idea someone gave me and I like that I can keep running with it.
After a few nights on the town it is Bud and Harm who are tasked with picking up Harm's parents from the airport on Friday afternoon. They figured that Mac would definitely want to get Chloe from the airport, so he would pick up his parents, and Mac and Harriet would go pick up Chloe, wait the hour and grab some food, and then pick up the Admiral while they were there.
Mac and Harriet stayed home working on lunch for the two travelers. She had confessed again to Harm the evening before that she was very nervous about meeting Trish and Frank. She knows that his mom has been saying nice things about her for years and she knows that she has telling Harm that he needed to be with her, but she hasn't ever really spent time with Mac. Naturally, the Marine's fight or flight response was starting to kick in and she was beginning to wonder if this whole this was a good idea.
"I've never seen her like that before." Bud comments as they are driving down the interstate to get Harm's parents.
"She's really nervous about meeting my mom and stepdad. I keep telling her that my mom has been in her corner for years, but she either isn't buying it or she's convinced that Mom will hate her anyways."
"I get that… I was worried when I had to meet Harriet's parents for the first time. Don't you remember that they kept trying to put you with her instead of me? That's why I had tried to avoid the whole encounter, and then you guys had to let it slip that we were going to be in Florida during that one case." Bud reminds him and he smiles. "Why are you smiling?"
"I'm thinking about my gorgeous wife in a bikini."
"Red light sir." Bud says, blushing.
"She's my wife now, Bud… I'm allowed."
"I still can't believe how all this panned out with the two of you. I'm happy for you guys and you seem to be happy with everything here in Chicago."
Harm hesitates before talking to Bud about the issues he was having with the job he was doing, and then realizes that Bud has known him long enough to weigh in with another opinion. "Can I be honest with you Bud?"
"Of course you can, sir."
"Can you promise me that you won't call me sir while we're talking?"
"I'll try my hardest."
"I don't know if I'm cut out for this position. I mean it is a great opportunity, but I don't know if it is what I want to do right now."
Bud nods his head and then turns to Harm suddenly, "You aren't thinking of retiring, are you?"
"The thought has crossed my mind. I don't want to really toy with the idea of it because of Mac though. She gave up the Marines to come to Chicago with me. She misses it and she has told me as much. I know that she has embraced the idea of not being a Marine and using her law degree and experience to do other things, but part of me would always wonder if I cheated her out of the rest of her military career."
"Do you think that she really thinks that?"
"I don't, but I worry that it would turn to that."
"Okay, but… I don't know if Harriet was supposed to talk to me about this, but aren't the two of you trying for a baby soon?" Bud asks, thinking about what he could possibly say to encourage his old friend.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Everything. When Harriet finally quit, she had a conversation with the Colonel. She had come to the house because she was worried that Harriet would feel the way you described about giving up her Navy career. I don't think that I was supposed to hear any of their conversation, but Harriet said something that I'll never forget. She said that having a child was like conspiring with God on something. You created this tiny little being that would someday do something in the world and it was held inside you for nine months. Now I know that I didn't carry any of our children, but I can tell you this. The second that little cry came out, I was in absolute awe of how every little thing in the universe came together. The Col... Mac wants that family with you. I know that she does, and even if you can't do it on your own, I think that she is going to want that family."
"I hope that I can give that to her."
"I have a feeling that she is thinking the same thing about herself. When we lost Sarah, I know that Harriet blamed herself about the whole thing. I was convinced it was the doctors, and we went to trial about all of it. She thought for so long that it was her fault. No matter what we say, it was a part of them and it will always be more personal for them." he says, and Harm nods his head.
He knew all this, he really did. Hearing it from Bud though, a man that he looked up to where family was concerned, made his heart a little lighter.
"Bud, do you think Mac and I can handle all of this?"
"The marriage, the kids... all that."
"You're kidding, right?"
Harm shrugs his shoulder in a small gesture that proved his insecurities.
"Forgive my language, but with all the crap the two of you have survived, I feel like marriage is the least of your concerns."
"You may be right." He laughs and they finish their ride to the airport.
Just as he is making his second trip around the arrivals terminal, his cell phone rings.
"Mom! Are you guys landed?"
"We are, and we are waiting for you outside. We're by the last pole for terminal two if that helps you any."
"it does… we are just finishing the circle now, so we will be there in a bit. Stay on with me… how was your flight?"
"It was fine for the most part. There was a young child onboard who kept me occupied the entire flight. He was sitting across the aisle from us and couldn't stop babbling my way."
"So you guys didn't get any sleep on the plane?"
"No, but we are fine dear, we aren't that old."
Harm laughs for a moment, "Mom, I wasn't suggesting that, I was just making sure that you were well rested for the rest of the day. In fact, I think I see you now and you look wonderful!"
He parks the car and quickly makes his way to his mother and Frank, grabbing the bags after quick hugs. "We've got to get back in the car fairly quick, or they start yelling at you." He shrugs, opening the back door for his mother who frowns at the front seat passenger.
"She and Harriet are going to be the ones who go pick up Chloe and the Admiral later this evening, so we decided to take turns."
"How far are the two of you from the airport?"
"About 40-45 minutes. It isn't too bad though since it's a straight shot home."
"Well lead the way! I need to see this bride of yours." His mother says with a grin that makes him understand why Mac was nervous about meeting her.
They make small talk in the car, focusing mostly on how they got settled into the new house and talking about Harm's new command position. They skirted around Harm and Mac and all that came with it, which Harm found interesting. Pulling up to the house, his mother couldn't help but mention how perfect it was to raise a family in.
"We know, mom." Harm says, shaking his head and looking to Bud with a grin.
Opening the garage door, he shouts out to the girls, "Mac, Harriet, we're back!"
They don't hear anything in return, which confuses all parties involved. It isn't until Harriet comes running down the stairs in a huff that they even know someone is in the house.
"Oh!" she squeals, seeing them standing in the kitchen as she goes to grab the phone of the counter.
"Harriet, is everything okay?"
"Hmmm? Oh, yeah, it's fine."
"Honey?" Bud asks, a little concerned at her darting eyes.
"Mac is stuck."
"Stuck?" Harm asks, starting to make his way towards the stairs.
"Sir, you can't!"
"Harriet, what's going on?"
She blows the bangs out of her face and looks to her audience with a sigh before explaining the situation, "We got Mac's wedding dress today and she just wanted to try it on to doubly make sure that it was going to be okay for everything. We pulled up the zipper and got it caught on part of the dress and now she's stuck. I was going to call Jenna and see if she could help."
"I can get…" Harm starts, not wanting his wife in any undue distress after the last few months they've had.
"No, you can't see her!" Harriet says with a 'duh' expression on her face.
"Harriet, we're already married."
"I know, it's just…."
"Don't worry darling, I'll help your lovely bride. I've gotten zippers stuck on dresses plenty of times. I'm sure that we can figure it out." Trish says, patting Harm on the shoulder as she walks past him and makes her way towards the stairs like she had been coming to visit for years.
"Oh…. Okay." Harriet says, knowing that her friend had been going on and on about how nervous she was about meeting Harm's mom for the first time.
They make their way upstairs and it is Trish who walks in the door first.
Before Mac can turn around, she says "Oh my gosh, please tell me she's coming over right now… I can't meet Harm's mom looking like this!"
"I personally think you look beautiful." His mother says with a grin.
Mac turns toward the unfamiliar voice and smiles with a blush on her face.
"Oh honey, don't call me that. Call me mom or call me Trish. Now turn around so we can get you out of this dress. It is beautiful Sarah."
"Thank you." She says, turning back around and internally screaming at the circumstances.
After a few yanks and tugs on the fabric, they were able to get the zipper to start working again, much to the happiness of the bride.
"Looks like you're all set. Now I'm going to join everyone else downstairs while you get changed. I'm sure that you and I will have plenty of time to chat on our way to the airport." She says, fully aware of what Harm had said in the car about Mac and Harriet driving to pick up Chloe and the Admiral.
"Oh, you don't have to come! Harriet and I were just going to swing by."
"Well, why don't we let the couple go to dinner on their own. From what Harm has told me, she's been doing a lot to get this party together. Maybe she could use a wedding break and you and I can get better acquainted."
The internal screaming started again when she said that.
"Sounds good." Mac says with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.
When it took Mac a little longer than what he thought was normal, Harm decided to check on her upstairs while the Roberts were grilling Harm's mom for tales of his youth.
He finds her sitting on the bed, staring off at some unknown location. "What's wrong?"
"The first time I meet the woman, I'm stuck in a wedding dress." She says with a sigh.
"Mac, look at me." He says, grabbing her hands and looking her in the eye. "You are the only woman for me and have been for the better part of this decade. My mother has known that and told me that very statement for years. Don't question my love for you and my faith in us by thinking that my mother is going to think anything short of you being absolutely perfect in every way."
"Harm, I'm far from perfect." She says, shrugging it off, "Oh my gosh, does she know about everything?"
"Everything meaning what?"
"The baby and the drinking… oh my gosh does she know I'm an alcoholic?" She starts, realizing that the poor woman could know nothing about her and her past.
"Mac! Slow down! My mom does know about your past, which she said was a feat to overcome. That's one of the reasons why she thought you were perfect for me… you overcame a crappy situation and rose to the top despite everything working against you."
"She wants to drive with me to the airport…. Alone."
"You can't avoid her forever, Sarah." He says, with a smile.
She returns the smile and thinks to herself how pathetic she sounded with this complaining. "I can't believe I'm freaking out this much about this."
"You know why, don't you?"
She quirks a brow in his direction and he gives the answer quite simply, "because it's right."
"What do you mean?"
"I know that we aren't trying to bring up the past, but I remember you and your wedding to Brumby. You weren't the slightest bit phased about anything that went on in the planning of that. You just slipped in casually to it… even your engagement."
"In the back of my head, I knew it wasn't for keeps."
"Exactly." He says, and she scoots closer to him on the bed, resting her head on his shoulder.
"I love you."
"I love you too Sarah Rabb."
"You know, Harmon, it's rude to have guests and leave them downstairs by themselves. I thought I taught you better than that." Trish says, startling the pair. "Besides, I want a proper tour of this beautiful home. Mac, you did a fantastic job getting it all together while he was away. I just love all of it!"
Harm gives his wife a knowing look before the pair gets off the bed and starts the upstairs tour for his mother.