BETHESDA HOSPITAL – MARYLAND
February, 14th 2000
» Breathe, Sarah, you’re almost done, be strong … »
Mac’s waters had broken four hours earlier, and the baby was still not there. She wished she had a delivery as simple and fast as Harriet’s one, but easy was not really the motto that prevailed until now in her relationship with Harm, thought Mac, and she smiled .
The baby was slowly moving down, the epidural anesthesia had been helpful to soothe the pain, and in some more minutes little Patricia Sarah Rabb would be born to the world.
Harm observed his young spouse and felt a little wrong to be so happy , so totally fulfilled and serene while it was obvious Mac found the delivery to be dragging out .
She had called four hours earlier. He was in court as Tiner hurried breathlessly in the room, interrupting the hearing to inform him. Admiral Morris, who liked the two brilliant lawyers, even if he never showed it, dismissed the session to allow the soon to be father to drive to Bethesda. Harm respected none of the speed limitations on his way, slaloming through the cars on the Beltway, arriving barely five minutes after his wife at the hospital.
How could he once have believed that flying was so important ? He had almost lost every thing during his short deployment on the Patrick Henry and wondered every day since he was back why heaven had given him so often one more chance to control and change his life, until he actually could win this happiness he would praise and protect till his death.
He remembered that day in July, when a so normal and usual mission he was flying with his wingman Tuna above Serbia almost turned to tragedy.
It was a miracle he still could not explain, but he managed to push Tuna’s damaged F14 with his own until they were flying over the Atlantic, the canopy resisted the shock and he landed safe on the carrier. Every one had considered this act to be a true heroic one, but Harm considered it sometimes as approaching the edge of insanity. As he stepped out of his Tomcat under the cheers of the crew and the CAG, he had only one thought : he had almost lost any chance to see Sarah again, to know this baby she was expecting and she had told him about one week earlier. He had realized he was no longer willing to play these games, this deployment would be his only one, even if he had to leave the Navy and work for a civilian law firm. He had now all the answers he had spent his life looking for : they were not flying somewhere around in the sky, they smiled at him in the eyes of a woman.
Just a few days after the almost mishap, Captain Pike, his CAG, explained him with diplomacy that his future was no longer flying a Tomcat, and had informed him that Captain Ingles was still in touch with Admiral Chegwidden to have him join JAG HQ again.
How many calls had Admiral Chegwidden had to make to have Harm working back for him now that the date for the wedding was set, this was a mystery Harm had been wondering about, but just as Harriet he was now assigned to the Inspector General and was TAD at JAG HQ.
After his return, as Bobbi Latham congratulated him smiling about his new assignment and his new rank as Commander, he had understood that she had probably helped the Admiral, but he could not learn anything more, and honestly he did not really care. Only one thing mattered, he was with Sarah again.
» Push now, Madam, I can see the head » requested the gynecologist, bringing Harm back into the present, in this delivery room where their first child was about to be born.
He wiped his wife’s brow , took her hand in his and kissed her, whispering
» Hold on, Sarah, you’re almost done . »
Once the contraction was over, he observed her hand, the wedding ring and the emerald ring Sarah had been so slow to accept.
Harm remembered the incredible happiness he had experienced on that day of December in the USNA chapel in Annapolis, as Sarah became his wife and how he had thought he would never be happier. But since this incredible day, the feeling was still just the same.
The two officers had let Trish, Harm’s mother, take care of the planning as soon Harm was aboard the Patrick Henry. Trish looked almost happier than Mac, and Harm had told his fiancée laughingly that it would be better not to challenge his mother, unless Trish made decisions Mac could really not agree with. So Mac had let her take care of every thing, enjoying this so new feeling of being mothered.
Harm had been back earlier than they had thought, he left the Patrick Henry in the middle of October and was soon in DC … with her. But they did not want to bring forward the wedding, they would have had to give up on Annapolis, where Harm’s parents had been married too, and Trish’s planning, who wanted a truly unforgettable party for her son and the soon to be daughter-in-law she was crazy about, could sure not be brought forward either. And honestly, they were just so happy to be together again, so sure they were of how strong their mutual love was that making their relationship official did not really matter.
On the first evening after his return, Harm could not stop staring at Mac’s figure. Maternity gave her a new fullness, she was gorgeous … and he felt almost shy, he did not dare to take her in his arms.
Sarah cuddled up against him and began to drop light kisses on his neck, slipping her hands under his shirt to touch his chest, then taking the buttons off and teasing his nipples with her tongue. He was not moving, enjoying every touch, wanting her like crazy, but so scared to hurt her. Of course, he had never made love to a pregnant woman before this night, and was afraid about the strength of his desire hurting the baby. Finally, Sarah was concerned that her fiancé did not react, except for the obvious physical reaction, and she looked up at him, questioning and unsure.
» Harm ? »
» I’m afraid I could hurt the baby and you, Sarah … »
» Harm, you can’t hurt the baby if you make its mom happy, you just have … to let me take the lead, pilot … »
And Harm let Sarah lead him to their bed and just before he forgot anything except her, he once again wondered how he had been stupid enough to take the risk of losing every thing for … the dream of a little boy.
A new stronger contraction brought Harm back near his wife , voices around Mac exhorted her to make one more effort, the last one, and he added his voice :
» I’m here, Sarah, I’m with you, just one more effort, my love, our baby is almost with us. »
Mac closed her eyes, focusing on this voice she loved so much and on the child she was giving life to. Harm was with her and gave her his strength, helped her to regain some courage.
Just as the little Patricia Sarah screamed coming out in the world, her mother, her eyes still closed, screamed too .
» Harm ! »
And Harm, tears in his eyes, kissed his wife and answered her :
» I’m with you, Sarah. I love you … »
The midwife interrupted him, asking if the new dad wanted to cut the cord.
As Harm held for the first time his daughter in his arms, before laying her on her mom’s belly, his eyes did not leave Mac’s eyes.
One hour later, Mac was taken back into her room, full of flowers and balloons. On the white dresser sat proudly a huge Teddy Bear, bigger than little AJ, dressed in a flight jacket, harboring goggles and an old helmet, seemingly ready to fly over the Atlantic aboard the Spirit of St Louis. From his arm flew another balloon, with the golden words ‘for Pat, our little princess, from Tuna, Skippy and Skates’.
But the only things really important for Mac in this room were the infant sleeping in her Plexiglas crib, surrounded by the loving protection of her grand mother and her great grand mother, and the man standing near the window, looking lovingly at them.
Their friends came into the room, silent, ready to leave in the second if they were interrupting, but Mac’s bright smile was an invitation for them to feel comfortable. AJ forgot his usual discretion and kissed the young mother on both cheeks, telling her how much little Pat was cute and beautiful, and how honored he felt that she asked him to be her godfather.
Harriet put down another flowers spray, and as Mac began to protest they were all spoiling her, Harriet added :
» No, Ma’am, these flowers were sent from Australia, from Bud, Loren and Mic. Bud wished he could be there for you today, but their investigation is quite complicated, and as I told him on phone the labor had began, Mic Brumby dragged them into a flower shop. They called three times before now to know how things are and how you feel, Ma’am. »
Mac smiled, all her friends were around her.
Just like they had all been present on their wedding day, in this intimidating chapel, while snow was hiding Annapolis under an immaculate cover.
Wearing a gorgeous white dress, a gift from Trish and Frank, especially created for her by a young and talented stylist from New York, a dress which highlighted her maternity beautiful figure while hiding some too obvious details, Sarah entered the chapel, Admiral Chegwidden near her. As she walked toward the altar, toward the handsome officer in dress whites waiting for her, she remembered the way she had teased him a couple of years earlier in Colombia : even if she would never admit it, golden wings and dress whites, and this bright and sunny smile he was so often shooting at her, had seduced her almost immediately, against her will. She still had no idea how she had been able to resist him so long, more than one full year, before running into his arms … and she had almost destroyed every thing, she had almost given up such a complete and magical happiness .
Mac looked up at Harm, now sitting on her bed, and she slipped her hand into his.
Moments later, Mac and Harm were alone with their baby and Mac fed her for the first time. As the little mouth opened voraciously, Harm put his strong hand on Mac’s shoulder, and while the baby sucked avidly, she heard him whisper again :
» I’m with you, Sarah, I love you two and I’ll always protect you. »
Slowly, Mac felt asleep, her baby on her heart, in the soft embrace of her husband, dulled by the warmth of a love she knew would last as long as eternity.
At the same time, on another continent, Bud Roberts and Loren Singer were crossing the Sydney harbor on a ferry, at night, and under the Sydney Harbor Bridge, not really knowing why, he explained to Lt Singer
» You know they wrote Eternity on this bridge in lights on New Year’s Eve … »
» So ? And do you have a lot more platitudes all the same to tell me, Lt ? »