The Shipper's Manifesto
Feeling the trembling begin in her left hand and a light fire run across her nerves, she braced herself for the coming memories. The shade became a movie screen. Her back burned as she relived Murrick's knife attack. Silent tears slid down her face as she felt the memories switch to her childhood and her father's relentless words.
The memories she had kept buried for so long refused to remain that way. The scene switched again. You were in love. She moaned softly before clasping her hands over her eyes. This episode was lasting longer then any she had for the past four days. She had prayed for them to stop and they kept acting like they were going away only to come back with a vengeance. She endured another ten minutes of torment before it finally released her from its grip. She breathed deeply trying to regain her equilibrium. Simmons had said they should be gone by now. He had arrived earlier this week and examined her thoroughly.
He was pleased with her progress physically, however, the continuing episodes worried him. He had denied her request to return to active duty. He had promised to reconsider tomorrow when she went in for her appointment. This was the first episode in over twenty hours and they were coming less often. It will be fine. Harm entered the apartment quietly having received the message from the Admiral. He headed towards the dark bedroom at the end of the hall.
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Mac lay on her side facing away from him. Harm noticed the tracks from the tears she had recently shed. He wondered where she had gone this morning and what had triggered the tears. Watching her sleep, he felt a sense of peace knowing how much she meant to him. Now all he had to do was wait for her to be well enough to consider a relationship. Part 50 Harm placed the last of the pasta and vegetables into his meatless lasagna, covered it with cheese, and slid the pan into the hot oven. He pulled a loaf of Italian bread from the breadbox and sliced it into half inch slices and coated them in garlic butter, laid them on a pan and set them aside to be put into the oven.
He hummed softly to the music playing on the radio. Harm let his mind drift to the woman who lay sleeping in the bedroom.
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She had not stirred since he got home. He was trying so hard to make her life easier, yet if anything she seemed to be determined to stand on her own.
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He hated to admit it but he hoped Dr. Simmons wouldn't allow her to return to work tomorrow.
She needed the rest. It had been less then four weeks since they had rescued her from Murrick.
Mac had made huge strides in her recovery. Her emotional control was firmly in place in public, however he knew she hid the worst of her pain. She always had. Harm also knew that the new walls she was constructing around her emotions and her heart would be impossible to break down if they were not stopped soon. He was very glad that he had invited the Admiral, Harriett, Bud, and Sturgis to dinner.
Glancing at the clock, he headed for the bedroom to wake Mac up before everyone arrived in about thirty minutes. Checking the lasagna once more, he headed out of the kitchen. Entering the bedroom he found Mac curled up in the fetal position sleeping soundly. Hating to wake her but feeling the undeniable urge to touch her, Harm reached out and gently brushed the hair from her face. Mac felt the unexpected touch and reacted instinctively. She brushed his hand away from her and jumped out of the bed on the opposite side quickly pulling out the gun from under her pillow.
Turning quickly she brought the gun to bear on a very startled Commander.
Realization of where she was and who stood before her came to her quickly. Damn it Harm, I'm sorry. Staring into the mirror, Mac looked at the circles under her eyes and the lingering pallor of her features. She quickly pulled out her make-up and comb and set to work. Eleven minutes later Mac exited the bathroom looking much better.
She crossed to the closet and dressed in a black turtleneck and black slacks. Looking objectively in the mirror, Mac saw a woman who looked like the world had knocked her down once too often. Her eyes held the sadness and fear that she fought so strongly. The thought of seeing Keeter and Clay gave her pause. She had not seen them much since she left the hospital. They had seen her at her worst and now she was almost ashamed to see them.
Pulling a delicate gold chain out of her jewelry box, she slipped it on. It fell gently across her chest and glistened against the light. Wanting to present the picture of wellness, Mac forced a smile all the way to her eyes, knowing her friends would see through it if she didn't. Just as she was finishing the doorbell rang. Moving into the living room, she called out to Harm. It was nice to hear Mac sound so sure of herself. She had expected the Roberts to arrive first. He knew that she needed time with Clay and Keeter.
He leans over and kisses her gently on the cheek. Mac blinks away the quick rush of tears. I'm all right.