I hope you all enjoy this chapter. I also hope you will send me some reviews. :) I always like your reviews and i keep them all. :) Thanks for reading. miss37


Mac stared at that headline in the paper as he was sitting in the diner for breakfast. He considered that. He was thankful for a lot of things. He had just come through a hard case. It had torn him up although he did not let anyone see, of course. He had broke down sitting on those steps after telling those people that their son had been found after twenty years. He sighed as he leaned on the table. He wished he could get that visit that they had found some trace of Claire but he did not think he ever would. It had been almost more than he could take when that man asked him if he knew what it was like to bury an empty coffin. He had thought…try not even burying that…but it would have been cruel of him to say that. It was not their fault that he lost Claire like he did and they did not know it either. He had chosen to deliver that news to them himself and he had refused to let Jo go with him. She had caused a rift between him and Christine…although that was partly his fault, he still blamed it on Jo because she had stuck her nose where it did not belong. It had embarrassed him and he had snapped at Jo.

Mac left the diner and drove out to the cemetery. He sat there in his Avalanche for a few minutes. He had not been here in quite a while but he usually came on his anniversary with Claire and on 9/11. He walked across the street to the florist shop and bought two red roses and then walked back to the cemetery. He had never buried an empty coffin but he had bought two plots in the cemetery for himself and Claire and there was a headstone. He walked across the cemetery to the spot where the plots were. He would be buried with military honors, but he would be buried here when he died. He looked at the names on the headstone and the dates. He laid the two roses in front of the headstone. "I'm thankful for you, Claire," he said. "You may not be here now but I would not trade the time I had with you for anything." He sat down in front of the gravestone. "She's mad at me," he said, referring to Christine. "I said something I shouldn't have said and I've not been completely honest with her. I should have told her. You would have known already. I have to get used to that again…somebody knowing everything about me. I blamed it on Jo but I should have been honest with her." Mac sighed and leaned on his knees. "I don't want to lose her." Mac leaned back on the gravestone. "I don't want to be alone anymore. I have to stop holding things in." He sighed. "I forget things sometimes, simple things…and it seems to be getting worse. I have to tell Christine or I'm going to lose her."

Mac stood up and looked at the gravestone. "I love you, Claire, and I always will." He turned and walked out of the cemetery. He was taking a day off so he would go and talk to Christine today.

Mac parked across the street from Christine's restaurant. He sat there a moment to get his nerve up. He looked toward the restaurant and could see that there were not many people in there. He took a deep breath and then got out of the Avalanche. He crossed the street and stopped at the door. He looked in and saw Christine looking right at him from the counter. She frowned at him and went to the back. Mac swallowed hard but he went on in. He had to resolve this or he would wind up losing her…after all, he remembered her saying that she was a catch and he was going to lose her. He did not know if that meant she had other men in mind but he did not want to lose her.

Mac cleared his throat as he went in. He walked over to the counter and then just went on to the back where Christine was busy working over the stove. She looked at him with a slight glare but inside her heart was so glad to see him, she wanted to just jump into his arms, but she wanted to know that he was going to let her into his life. "What are you doing here?" she asked.

"I need to talk to you," Mac said.

"About what? I thought you were pretty clear that day in your office."

Mac shook his head. "I'm sorry about that but I was embarrassed," he said.

Christine looked at him. "Why?"

"I want to tell you everything."

Christine could see that Mac was sincere. She walked over to him and hugged him. "You didn't have to be embarrassed with me," she said.

Mac held her close to him. "I know that now," he said. "Can you forgive me?"

"Of course." Christine looked at him. "I have to finish this meal I'm preparing." She looked at how Mac was dressed. "You're not working?"

"No. I have a day off."

Christine went back to the stove. "Why don't you take this day to relax then?" she asked.

Mac walked over to her. "I want to spend it with you."

"I wouldn't mind that but I have to work."

"I'll help you."

Christine looked at him with a smile. "You don't have to do that," she said.

"But I want to," Mac replied.

Christine turned and looked at him a moment as though she were sizing him up. "Okay. When I get this plate done, you can deliver it."

Mac smiled. "Is that a challenge?"

"Oh you know it is."

"I accept."

Christine finished the plate and gave it to Mac. "It goes to table three," she said with a smile.

Mac thought a moment. "And which table is that?" he asked.

Christine laughed and kissed him. "It's the third one from the front," she whispered.

Mac nodded. "Oh."

Christine smiled as Mac walked out of the kitchen. Her smile faded as she thought of what he came there for. She wanted to know what had been bothering him. He soon came back to the kitchen. "Well, that wasn't too hard," Mac said.

Christine smiled. "I didn't think it would be too hard for a big shot detective," she said.

Mac looked at her as he set the tray on the counter. "I haven't been completely honest with you," he said.

Christine touched his face. "Mac, I love you just the way you are and I want you to let me into your life," she said. "You don't have to be embarrassed."

"I know that now. I know I've been foolish." Mac sat down in a chair and Christine sat beside him. They could see the customers from there. "I'm having trouble remembering things. I forget simple things like…I even forgot the word…where I work…where I've worked for so many years."

"The lab?"

Mac nodded. "The lab." He covered his eyes as he folded his arms. "I've been taking brain exercises that the doctor told me to take but I'm having trouble with colors and all sorts of things. I can't remember names of places and things." Mac looked at her.

"Why would you keep that from me?" Christine asked.

"I'm trying to figure that out. I'm just not used to someone knowing everything about me." Mac looked at her. "I want that though. I want you to know everything. You have to believe that."

"I do believe you. You've been a bachelor so long I guess it's hard to let someone else in." Christine touched his face. "And the way you became a bachelor."

"Don't give up on me even when I so something stupid."

"I won't, Mac."

They kissed and Mac took a deep breath. "So, you want to go out tonight?" he asked.

"I would love to and if you have trouble remembering anything, I'll help you."

Mac held her hand. "It's a lot easier to go through something with someone else than to go through it alone."

"It's between you and me."

"I owe my team an explanation," he said. "They all know something's wrong. I've been avoiding writing reports and avoiding going to court. I don't know what they'll think. Are they going to think I'm incapable of leading them anymore?"

"Oh, Mac, you know better than that. They love you and they will help you too."

"But if other people find out they might question the integrity of the lab." Mac looked at her. "What then?"

Christine understood Mac's concern now. "It's up to you, but I know your team will stand behind you, Mac. Jo came to me because she was worried about you."

Mac nodded. "I know but she embarrassed me. I wasn't ready to admit it yet. I didn't like it because I felt like I was being pushed."

"Nobody is pushing you. You take your time but I want to help you."

Mac kissed her hand. "I feel better now that you know," he said.

"Mac you're not alone. You have people who care about you, and not just me."

"It's just hard for me to share weakness. I guess I've always tried to act like Superman. I thought I had to."

"But you're not Superman. You're a man and anyone would expect you to have problems after what happened. You had a long recovery, Mac. You were shot and lost a lot of blood, almost died. Nobody expects you not to have any problems after that. You're human."

Mac leaned back in the chair feeling relieved that he was not holding all those secrets anymore. "I was reading the paper this morning and there was a question: What are you thankful for?" he said. "I'm thankful for you. There are so many things I'm thankful for but you're at the top of the list."

"I'm thankful for you too, Mac, and I'm thankful that I got up the nerve to send you that friend request."

"It started us on a whole new road."

"It did and I want us to continue on."

"Me too."

Christine saw that some of the customers were done with their meals. "So, what are you going to do today?" she asked.

"Well, I have some errands I need to run," Mac said. "Just some things I need to do."

"I'll see you tonight then. Get some rest too, Mac."

Mac smiled and nodded. "Okay, I'll try."

Mac left the restaurant feeling much better. He would have a better day now and he had more than one errand he had to run…