AN: Not mine and all that stuff!

AN: Miss Molly was 3 months old this week. Can you believe how quickly that has gone? I can't.

At two in the morning, Mac sat on the fold-down seat in her shower with her knees drawn up to her chest and the heated water pounding down on her back. With Harm away in Monterey and the kids asleep, Mac gave into the tears she had been fighting all day and sobbed. While she could have put it down to the hormonal surge caused by her current, very painful, very heavy period, she knew it wasn't that at all – at least not in isolation.

Booked in to have a hysterectomy the following week, Mac was struggling with it all. It had been three years since she'd made the cross-country trip to Bethesda to see her former specialist only to be informed that she needed the surgery and the sooner the better. Yet, Mac had come up for reasons not to do so; the kids, Harm, it wasn't as bad as it was, work, vacations, holidays and a general unwillingness to take the step needed to make it happen.

Then earlier this week Mac had made the call. There had been nothing specific to propel her to take such action, just the realisation that enough was enough. She had been leafing through her diary for the next weeks and months and she noted her 50th birthday was two months away. Shaking her head she tried to comprehend that she was turning 50...50. It was one thing when Harm had celebrated the milestone. She hadn't seen it as old or anything other than a triumph for him to have reached such a milestone; especially when considering the lifestyle he had been leading for most of those 50 years.

Now it was her turn and she tried to see it as a triumph, after all she had overcome a lot of obstacles in her life but she couldn't. She tried to see it as a celebration of what she had in her life now and that had brought a smile to her face. She tried to see it as a new beginning, after all everyone said 50 was the new 40 and everyone said life began at 40, and that had gotten her thinking.

After getting her first period at 12, Mac's difficulties became apparent in her late teens but with a history of drinking to mask her pain, both physical and emotional, her abdominal pain never really registered. Upon joining the marines she had been desperate to be 'one of the guys' and therefore ignored the signs and symptoms of her endometriosis until she collapsed after an arduous training exercise when she was 24 and a provisional diagnosis was made.

Now, two and a half decades later, perhaps enough was enough she had conceded and had phoned her specialist, the booking being made there and then over the phone lest Mac change her mind. Thinking having made the decision and having her surgery date would set her mind at rest, Mac had spent the week struggling with her emotions and going through the motions with her family. Thankful Harm was away, Mac did all the mommy things she needed to during the days and waited until her children were in bed before climbing into hers and crying herself to sleep.

Having done just that Thursday night, here she was in the bathroom in the early hours of Friday breaking her heart crying. With the soft rapping at the bathroom door drowned out by the shower, Mac was surprised when Trish knocked on the glass cubicle.
"Sarah, sweetheart, what's wrong?" she asked, reaching in and turning off the water when she saw Mac's bright red, scalded skin. Mac just shook her head and sobbed some more. "Come on, sweetheart," she said, grabbing a plush blue towel from the pile and wrapping it around her daughter-in-law. "Let's get you dried."

After Trish had gently rubbed Aloe Vera gel into Mac's reddened back, she left to allow Mac to dress. Fifteen minutes later Mac appeared in the living room in a fresh nightgown and robe and sat on the sofa.
"Can I get you something to drink?" Trish asked, standing up from the armchair.
"No, thanks," she replied as Trish moved to sit alongside her. "Oh, I should be asking you..." she added.
"I helped myself," she said gesturing to the teacup on the side table.
"Okay, good," Mac said with a nod.
"Now, my darling Sarah," she said grabbing the box of Kleenex from the coffee table before wrapping her arm around Mac. "Talk to me,"

First there was just the sound of Mac's quiet sniffling and then the words came as she explained everything to Trish.
"And I don't even know why I'm crying," she said finally, using the sleeve of her robe to wipe her face. "I mean I knew it was coming. I am choosing to do it. I need to do it. It is going to change life for the better. I just can't help it."
"Oh, sweetheart," Trish said pulling Mac closer and kissing her head. "It's a combination of things. Between your work life, family life, physical health, upcoming birthday you've had a very busy time. Not to mention the fact the huge scare the accident three months ago gave us all. You're always so on top of things but you would have to admit things haven't been the same in the past three months, have they?"
Turning to look at Trish, Mac considered her words. "What do you mean?" she asked.
"After the accident, things haven't quite been the same," she said. "You haven't been the same."
"Well," she said a defensive tone creeping into her voice. "It's been a bit hectic...the girls' had all their appointments and Harm has had a couple of bigger cases and I...well, I have had a lot on my mind and ..."
"I know," Trish said taking her hand. "And you haven't been feeling well and haven't wanted help with the children and ..."
"Sorry," she said tearfully. "I didn't mean to shut you out but you had Frank to care for and I wanted the kids with me and ..."
"I understand, Sarah, I really do," she said squeezing her hand. "You haven't really let Harm help either."
Mac looked up at her. "Have you two been talking about me?" she asked and Trish nodded. "Oh."
"We spoke about you when he called me on Tuesday from Monterey to check up on Frank," she said. "He said you had seemed upset Monday when he spoke to you but you had denied it. Then on Tuesday apparently Ruby had said something to him which indicated there was a problem. He wanted to know from me if I thought there was something wrong and so we talked about it."
"Aha," Mac said with a nod.
"I tried to come over to talk to you Wednesday and yesterday but you said you couldn't," she continued.
"It wasn't you..." Mac said, her tears flowing once more. "I just didn't want to talk about it to anyone."
"I know, sweetheart," she said. "Honestly, I do."
"Can I ask why you're here now? Not that I don't appreciate it because I do, I really do," she said, taking one of Trish's hands in both of hers. "But it's just gone four."
"Ella phoned me just after two," Trish said quietly. "She said you had been really upset all evening and you had been in the shower for nearly an hour and she was too scared to go in and check."
"Oh my poor baby," Mac said, her tears falling once more.
"It's okay, Sarah," Trish soothed. "I spoke to her when you were getting dressed and she drifted back to sleep."
"What did you tell her?" Mac asked sniffling once more.
"That you were okay now," she replied. "But had been upset about some things. When she pressed me, I told her that it was something you'd have to tell her but that it wasn't too serious. Miss Ella had then said if it wasn't serious then you wouldn't have been so upset, so I explained that maybe serious wasn't the right word but that you were okay and she wasn't to worry. She then said that she does worry about you and Harm because you don't always work things out right."
"She never really got over Harm being away when she was five," Mac said shaking her head.
"I know but I reassured her that all was well and she was happy enough with that," Trish said.
"Thank you for coming over," Mac said, "I really appreciate it."
"You're welcome, sweetheart," she replied. "But I hope you don't think I'm going home now." Mac looked at her confused. "You, my darling, are going to bed and to sleep because looking at your eyes you haven't slept much all week. I will see to the children in the morning..."
"But you have to be tired yourself," Mac protested.
"Yes, I am tired but you are exhausted," she said standing and helping Mac to her feet. "Now, I will tell the children you aren't feeling well. I will drop them off at school and go home and you are to rest up and..."
"I have work at..." she began to interrupt.
"Then I will phone them and tell them you're ill," Trish countered. "You're not going in."
"But I'll be taking the next three months off and I have things to finalise," she said, but there wasn't really that much she needed to do.
"I'm sure they'll survive," she said. "After all, they are highly trained individuals."
"Okay," she conceded, not really wanting to face anyone today anyway.
"Then I will pick the children up, bring them back to see you and then we'll decide if they stay here or come home with me for the weekend," she continued.
"No, that's not necessary," Mac protested, wanting her children with her.
"Sarah, they haven't slept over since the accident," she said, "Ruby and David keep asking."
"I know," she replied. "But I'd like them to stay this weekend. Perhaps next weekend, after the surgery they could stay with you. It would give me some time to recover at home."
"Okay," Trish said, "That sounds like a good idea."

Asleep all day, Mac had woken about an hour before Trish was due to return with the children. Knowing Harm was due back at five, Mac phoned Trish and asked if she could organise dinner for them as she wanted to speak to Harm before she faced them.

Showering and dressing, Mac felt a little more like herself and set about tidying up, her housekeeping duties having been somewhat ignored this week. After starting the dishwasher and wiping down the benches, Mac swept and mopped the floor before moving to the utility room and sorting through the laundry. Once the first load was on, Mac headed to the living room and was tidying that up when Harm came home.
"Marine on a mission," he said from the doorway as he watched Mac toss another errant toy back into the box.

Spinning around, Mac didn't know whether she wanted to laugh or cry so she did the very thing she had wanted to do all week and threw herself into Harm's arms.
"Hey, hey," he soothed, holding her tightly with one arm while stroking her head with the other. "Gorgeous, hey, it's okay."
Mac nodded against his chest but didn't speak.
"Come on," he said, stepping back towards the armchair. "Let's talk."

Sitting down, Harm pulled Mac onto his lap and wrapped one hand around her waist whilst using the other to caress her face.
"Love you," Mac said, looking up at him and Harm was surprised not to see the tears he had been expecting.
"Love you too," he replied before kissing her gently. "What's going on, gorgeous?"

After a few deep breaths, Mac told Harm everything before finishing with "I'm so sorry."
"What are you sorry for?" he asked, caressing her face.
"I need to stop having these episodes where I am such a mess," she said shaking her head.
"My gorgeous wife," he said kissing her nose. "That is called being human and you don't need to apologise."
Sighing deeply, Mac settled her head against his and closed her eyes. She may have slept most of the day but she was totally drained. After a conversation about what they would tell the kids, Mac stood and pulled Harm up with her.
"I'm going to take a quick shower and change and then we'll sort something out for dinner," he said, brushing his lips across hers.
"What do you feel like?" she asked, her arms wrapped around him.
"Feel like holding onto you and never letting you go," he said, holding her.
"No objections here," she sighed before letting him go.

When Harm emerged freshly showered, Mac had the ingredients for a stir fry prepared on the bench. Little was said as they cooked their meal; it was only after they had finished and Mac went to clear the table that Harm took her hand and drew her back to him.
"You know," he said quietly. "You could have called me on Monday and I would have come home."
"You had your job to do," she replied, resting her head on his.
"You and the kids are my job," he replied. "I told them when they asked me to do this case that I was only there part time and not wanting a fulltime position and that my family would always come first. They didn't like it but it's not negotiable."
"But with the case..." she started but Harm shook his head.
"No," he said. "I was third chair and replaceable. I would like to think I'm not as replaceable here."
"You're irreplaceable to us," Mac said with a tired smile.
"Now, with your surgery booked for Tuesday, you and I will spend some quality time with the kids over the weekend and then you and I are going to do something special on Monday," he said caressing her face. "And before you tell me I have work I won't be going in, in fact I won't be returning until you're fully recovered. Now, before you protest, my commitments with the case are complete and I had discussed this matter with Sam Donald months ago."
"Wasn't going to protest," she whispered. "Was just going to say thank you."
"You're welcome," he replied before kissing her tenderly.

"Yuck! Kissing!" David announced standing at the back door.
"Daddy!" Ruby squealed running over to the pair. "Pick me up too!"
"Hello, Ruby," Harm said as the child clambered onto Mac's lap.
"Maybe I should get up," Mac said but Harm held her close.
"Plenty of room for two of my favourite girls," he replied before kissing his daughter.
Lots of hugs, kisses and 'welcome home's later, Mac took Ella aside as Harm took the younger two to be bathed and dressed for bed.
"Have I told you how much I love you today?" Mac said wrapping her arms around her daughter who was now an inch taller than her.
"No," she replied quietly. "You were asleep when we left this morning."
"I know and it's something I wanted to talk to you about," she said taking her daughter's hand and leading her to a kitchen chair. "I'm really sorry I scared you overnight and I am thankful you called grandma," she said squeezing Ella's hand.
"You're not mad at me for calling grandma at 2:00 AM?" Ella asked surprised.
"Not at all," she replied. "I'm just sorry you had to do it. I really thought you were all asleep."
"I woke up when a car siren went off then I went to check on hadn't been yourself this week and I was worried," she said, her chocolate eyes filling with tears.
"Sorry for worrying you and you're right I haven't been myself," she said and then went on to give Ella a version of events suitable for a 15 year-old girl to hear.
"So, after the surgery will you be better?" she asked tearfully.
"Not right away, it will take up to six weeks but after that I will be better than ever," Mac replied, wiping the first of Ella's tears.
"Is it going to hurt?" she asked taking her mother's hand.
"A little," she admitted. "But I'm a marine, I'm tough."
"Well, I'll look after you, mommy," she said with a sob, hating the idea that her mom was going in for major surgery.
"Oh, honey, don't cry," she said, hugging her tightly. "It will be okay, you just wait and see."
"I know," she said with a sniffle, trying to be brave. "Just wish you didn't have to have it."
"Me too," Mac replied, fighting to keep her own tears at bay. "Now," she said taking a deep breath and shaking her head. "We're going to tell David and Ruby about it in a minute but we're not going to make it a big deal because we don't want them to worry, okay?" Ella nodded. "Then over the weekend we're going to do some special family things as we won't be able to do so in the next few weeks. Is there something you'd like to do?"
Ella shrugged, still struggling with her tears. "I don't care," she said with a stifled sob. "So long as it's with you."
"Oh, baby, shh," Mac said, holding her daughter close once more.
"Mommy, we're all ready to have that chat with..." Harm started as he followed David and Ruby into the living room.
"What's wrong with Ella?" David asked, tugging on Harm's leg.
"I don't know," he replied, although he had a good idea. "Why don't you and Ruby just give ..."
"It's okay, I'll go," said Ella pulling back and quickly wiping her face, "I have homework anyway."

Looking between his wife and his rapidly departing daughter, Harm wasn't sure what to do.
"We'll be alright," Mac said, sitting in the middle of the sofa and helping Ruby settle beside her. "Why don't you..." She tilted her head towards the door and Harm nodded before following in Ella's footsteps.

While Mac gave her youngest two a brief rundown on what would be happening the following week and promised them it wasn't any more serious than Ruby's hospital stay, and set about planning the weekend, Harm ventured towards Ella's bedroom. Knocking on her open door, Harm watched his daughter as she stood looking out the window into the dwindling light.
"Can I come in, El?" he asked, still standing at the door.
"Aha," she replied, using her sleeve to wipe her face.
"Come here, baby girl," he said opening his arms and smiling as Ella turned and ran into his embrace. "It's all okay," he whispered, kissing her head. "Mommy will be just fine."
"Aha," she managed again.
"So, why the tears?" he asked, gently raising her head before caressing her face.
"Because..." she started but then had second thoughts about what she was going to say.
"Because..." he prompted. "You know you can talk to me about anything."

Ella considered his words. Yes, she knew she could go to her dad at any time. Yes, he was really her only option because, given the circumstances, she didn't want to go to her mom. Yes, he was so good when she first got her period.
Summoning up all her courage, Ella dropped her head onto his chest. "When I have my period I get all these bad cramps and pains and ...and mom's so worried about us girls getting endometriosis too I didn't say anything to her but now she has to have the operation and I'm scared I will have to have it too and I don't want it and I don't want mom to have to have it either and ...and..." And then came the sobs as Harm held her closer.
"Shh, baby, shh," he whispered. "It's okay, it will all be okay," he said as he fought his own tears. "Come on, shh, honey."
"I'm sorry for being a mess, dad," she said pulling back a little. "I'm just stressed about the whole thing and I don't want to make it worse for mom by putting all this on her."
"Okay, okay," he said, pulling her back to him. "Now, how bad are these pains?" he asked trying to work out a plan of action.
"Getting worse each month," she said with a grimace. "I mean I can handle them but I look at mom and how bad they are for her and just see my future."
"There is nothing to say it's the same thing or, even if it is, it will be as bad as mom's though," he said gently. "I think the first thing is to get you an appointment, maybe with mom's OBGYN...what do you think?"
"Yeah..." she said slowly not too sure about what she was thinking about anything. "But can we wait until mom can take me...I mean I love you and all but..."
"If you can wait then I think that's a great idea," he said, more than happy for his wife to take Ella.
"I can wait," she said, stepping back and drying her face. "Mom's gonna ask about this conversation, isn't she?" Harm nodded. "What are we going to tell her? I don't want to make her feel bad."
"We'll tell her that you're tired because you didn't sleep well last night, that you love her very much but just a little upset by it all," Harm replied with elements of the truth and Ella nodded.
"Can you tell her?" she asked, "I want to have a shower and pull myself together first."
"Sure," he replied. "But make sure you come talk to her then otherwise she'll worry about you."
"I will," she replied as Harm turned to leave. "Ah, thanks, dad, for ...well...thanks."
"You're welcome, El," he said with a warm smile before he headed back to the living room, hoping things wouldn't be as emotional there.

Upon entering the room, Harm smiled to find his youngest children kneeling at the coffee table writing and drawing on paper.
"Look, daddy!" said Ruby holding up her page. "I'm drawing flowers for mommy to take to the hospital."
"And I'm drawing us all so she can remember us," David said, holding up his half-drawn family picture.
"They are great pictures," he said sitting next to Mac and wrapping an arm around her. "They seem to have taken the news well," he whispered, kissing her head.
"Yeah, a little teary at first but excited about our plans for the weekend," she said, resting her head on his shoulder.
"And what are those plans?" he asked, his eyes still on his children.
"The movies and lunch tomorrow and a picnic at the park on Sunday," she said, glad it wasn't anything too physical.
"Sounds good," he replied, "We can..."
"Mom says we can have popcorn and chocolate for the movie tomorrow," David said, still working away.
"And we can have soda too," Ruby added before climbing up on Mac's lap.
"And we can..." David started but then paused.
"Can have what?" Harm prompted.
"No, not have, mom said we can visit her in the hospital on Wednesday and that we could have Burger King on the way home if we were good," he reported and Harm just smiled. Fast food on weekdays was a big no-no as far as he was concerned but he guessed under the circumstances it would be okay.
"Oh, did mom say that?" he asked, winking at Mac. "Then I guess that's what we'll be doing...only if you're on your best behaviour though."
"We will be," David replied as Harm looked at the clock.
"Bedtime," he said and, when Ruby went to protest, David shushed her.
"Best behaviour, Rubes," he said quietly as he packed up the pencils. Ruby looked from one parent to the other before following suit.
"Oh yeah," she said.

As the youngest two scampered out of the room, Harm stood to follow but Mac tugged him back.
"Ella?" she asked quietly. "What's happening there?"
"She's tired and really worried about you, especially finding you so upset during the night," he said, wrapping his wife in his arms. "But after talking to you and a good night's sleep, she'll be as good as gold."
"Is that the whole truth?" she asked studying him intently.
"Yes, ma'am," he said. "The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," he added, knowing that he was lying to her face.
"Okay then," Mac said, believing him.

With the youngest two tucked in and sleeping soundly, Harm headed to the bedroom to dress for bed as Mac slipped into Ella's room and into her bed.
"You're in bed very early," Mac said, wrapping her arms around her daughter and kissing her head.
"Didn't sleep much last night," she replied, rolling over to face her mother.
"Sorry about that," she replied with an apologetic smile. "I didn't mean to worry you."
"I know," Ella said with a sigh. "Now I just need to sleep," she said, fighting back tears.
"Are you sure you're okay, El?" Mac asked, caressing her face. Ella nodded.
"Yeah, mom," she said with a soft sigh. "So long as you're okay I'll be okay too."
"Love you, baby," she said, kissing her head. "Love you so much."
"Love you too, mommy."

Come the following Saturday night, Mac was sitting on the sofa, her legs stretched along it. She had soft pillows behind her, a pink, fluffy blanket on her lap and a bottle of water stood on the floor beside her. Although Toy Story was playing on the television all eyes were on her. Operated on Tuesday, things hadn't gone as they had anticipated and had only been discharged late that afternoon as opposed to Thursday morning as they had expected.

Trish had planned to have the kids overnight but they were all desperate to stay for Mac's first night back home. So, she had made sure Frank would be okay, packed an overnight bag and come to stay.
"I'm really okay," she said looking around the room at the concerned faces. "Really."
"That's right, mommy's just fine," Harm said with forced enthusiasm. He, above all of them, had the biggest reason to be concerned about his wife. Having sat in the waiting room outside the OR for what seemed forever, Harm had started pacing when the time for Mac to be out had come and long gone. An hour of pacing stopped when her doctor came out to say there had been a complication in the surgery and Mac had bled profusely requiring a blood transfusion. The blood loss had affected her vitals and, even with the transfusion and additional IV fluids, she wasn't waking from the anaesthetic as expected.

Once the doctor had left, Harm had slumped back into his chair, hoping, wishing, praying. He thought about calling his mother but didn't as she was about to do the school pick up and keep the children for the night and he didn't want to burden her with this news and then expect her to keep it to herself.

An eternity later, the doctor came out once more and informed him Mac was in recovery and he could see her for a few minutes. Stoic and steadfast as he rushed to her side, Harm only let the tears flow when he was ushered out two minutes later.
"Love you, Mac," he had whispered as he kissed his sleeping wife's forehead. "So very much."

The following day, when Mac had been more lucid, her doctor had explained the complications during the surgery. However, he had related it in such a clinical way that she hadn't really comprehended the seriousness of it. That was until she looked into the face of her husband and saw the pain still present in his eyes.

They hadn't really discussed that aspect of her hospitalisation, preferring to focus on the benefits she would feel now the surgery had been done. Harm hadn't told his parents anything more than what Mac knew and told the kids only that the surgery was done and mommy was too tired for visitors on Wednesday but they could visit Thursday if they were very good.

Now that she was home on her sofa surrounded by family, Mac felt much happier than she had been all week. Harm too was happy but above all he was just relieved. Still, for all Harm's forced enthusiasm, the children still kept watching their mother. Trish tried to distract them but that didn't work either. In the end, Harm resorted to chocolate and once he served chocolate sundaes all around, the focus moved from Mac to their iced confections and the movie.

Later that night, when everyone was tucked up in bed, Harm went for a shower and purposely took an extra long one, hoping his wife would be asleep before he finished. He was so very glad she was home, incredibly happy she looked and felt better than earlier in the week, and ecstatic she was sharing his bed once more, but, he was still very emotional about the events on Tuesday and didn't want to discuss them with his wife.

Concerned about her husband and the fact he was keeping something from her, Mac propped herself up in the bed and waited and waited. When the bathroom door slowly creaked open, she spoke.
"No need to be so quiet, I'm awake," she said, pulling the covers down and his side.
"Oh, I thought you'd be asleep," he said quietly, forcing himself to make eye contact with her.
"No such luck," she said clasping her hands together. "I'm waiting for you to join me in bed and to talk to me."
Smiling at her, Harm continued to dress before sliding in alongside his wife.
"How are you feeling?" he asked. "Anything you need?"
"I'm doing okay and I need to cuddle into my husband," she said as he turned off the lamp. "Can you help with that?"
"Sure can," he said settling into the bed and waiting for Mac to find the position most comfortable for her.
"Now, talk to me," she said as he kissed her head.
"About?" he asked, stalling.
"Harmon," she said gently. "I want you to tell me what's going on with you or me or us..." she said, not too sure what the problem was. "I get the feeling I'm missing something."
"You're not missing anything, there's nothing wrong with me, you and definitely not with us," he said adamantly before kissing her head once more.
"Then what is it?" she asked, fiddling with the button on his pyjama top.

Taking a deep breath, Harm decided to go with the truth. "I guess I'm still a little overwhelmed by the whole episode with your surgery, I know you're doing well now and you're at home and everything will be alright but ..."
"The problems during the surgery still concern you?" she offered looking up at him and Harm shook his head.
"No, concern isn't the right word," he said. "I mean, yes I was concerned...but the overriding feeling is fear."
"Oh, honey," she said grimacing as she pushed herself up. "I'm so sorry to have put you through it." Gently she caressed his face.
"Not your fault," he said, "It was out of your control...I was just so scared ...I never want to lose you...never...never...never..." he stated forcefully as his tears tumbled.
"Oh, Harm," she whispered and, ignoring the pain in her abdomen, clung to him, caressing his head and declaring her love over and over again.
"I'm sorry," he said, trying to pull himself together. "I didn't want to lay this all on you."
"It's okay," she said, pulling back and drying his tears. "I know what it's like to be waiting and thinking the worst...mine was when you ejected into the ocean...never been as scared as I was then...and as we know, that was long before we had this..." she added, gesturing between them.
"We're a right pair, aren't we?" he said with half a laugh as he shook his head.
"Yeah," she agreed. "But I wouldn't want it any other way."

The following Friday evening, with the kids in La Jolla for the weekend, Mac and Harm were curled up on the sofa. The lights were dimmed and soft jazz drifted through the living room as Harm raked his fingers through Mac's hair over and over again.
"I hope the kids aren't too much for Frank," Mac said, her eyes closed.
"They'll be fine," Harm replied. "He was looking forward to it."
"Your mom will phone if..." she started, her eyes opening.
"Gorgeous, the kids are fine, mom and dad are fine, everyone's fine," he said before kissing her head. "I know you're anxious about the kids being away but it's all okay."
"I know," she said. "Rationally, I know everything's fine. I know they stayed the Monday and Tuesday nights when I was in hospital. I guess the accident still plays on my mind."
"Yeah, mine too," he whispered. "But it's all in the past and we have to get on with the present and the future...speaking of presents...I have to get your birthday present sorted tomorrow. Will you be okay home alone?"
"Yes, I'll be okay but I thought our 10 days in the Bahamas was my present," she said craning her head to look at him.
"I know we said that but I'm getting as much out of the trip as you are so I figured I'd get something special," he said kissing her head,
"Do I get a hint?" she asked her eyes twinkling.
"Nope!" he replied with a shake of the head. "Not a one."

Mac pouted as she turned and settled against him once more but once comfortable she smiled broadly, she didn't care what he'd bought her she just loved the fact that he had.
"Not going to push?" Harm enquired, returning to his task of raking his fingers through her hair.
"Nope, not tonight," she said with a sigh. "Right now, I want you to tell me all about our upcoming vacation."

As they sat cuddled together, Harm explained the trip which Mac already knew down to the minute but wouldn't tire of hearing.
"Well, after we spend a few days with the Roberts', we'll leave the kids there and fly to Nassau and then to the Pink Sands Hotel to spend 10 amazing days..."
"And nights," Mac added, hoping she'd have the all clear to engage in a range of more intimate pursuits.
"And nights," Harm repeated with a chuckle.

And as Harm continued to talk about the things they could see or do, Mac drifted off into a peaceful sleep, her mind conjuring up images from the last time they had gotten away without the kids and had found their bliss.

Realising his wife was asleep, Harm stopped talking but his ministrations never ceased. While he was trying to do better with the scare Mac had given him, it still got to him. He had always had an intense desire to touch her but now it wasn't a sexually charged desire, it was to simply reassure himself she was still with him. Closing his eyes, he thought of the gift he would get the following day. For her, it was a gorgeous diamond encrusted ring with a sapphire setting. She had spied it when they had been at the jewellers to pick up a present for Trish's birthday and had fallen in love with it. For him, there was also something he would organise. It would be something which was a permanent reminder to them both of just how much Mac meant to him and how much he loved her.