Partners in all things
Outside of the meeting room, Sam turned to face Mic and said, "Mic what are they," indicating Harm and Mac, "doing here?"
"I requested that they come. They are working on a case similar to ours and I thought it would be better to work together on this," said Mic.
"That still doesn't explain what they are doing here. So what are they doing here?" said Sam.
At this point Harm walked out of the room to help Mic explain why he and Mac were there. "Commander maybe I can help with .." said Harm before he was interrupted.
"Commander Rabb, this conversation is between my partner and myself. So if you wouldn't mind .." said Sam. As Harm walked back into the meeting room she turned back to Mic as Harm walked back into the meeting room and said, "Mic I'm your partner, in fact I'm the senior partner. I would appreciate that you consulted with me about this before you requested JAG's presence."
"Commander, you were in East Timor while this was going on, we couldn't wait for you to get back," said Mic.
"Commander, all you had to do is call, e-mail, fax, any of those would have worked!" Sam sighed. "Well there isn't anything that can be done now about it. They're here, so let's work together on this. But Mic if you do something like this again "
"I know, I promise it won't happen again," said Mic.
Sam smiled and then looked at Mac and said, "So that's Mac, the woman who has somehow managed to capture your heart."
With a big smile on his face, Mic said, "Yes. She is an incredible person. I know that the two of you will get along really well. I really want the two of you to like each other, it would mean a lot to me."
"Well let's get back in there and solve this case," said Sam and they both entered and the conference room again.
Mac looked at Harm when he walked back into the conference room. She could tell that Harm wasn't happy about something and asked him what was wrong.
"Nothing really, but unless that Commander Collins changes her attitude, I don't think this case going to be solved all that soon. She was quite blunt that I should stay away when I offered to help," said Harm.
"Did you think that it might not have anything to do with us, whatever they're discussing?" said Mac.
"Did you see the look on her face when she looked at us? Trust me, whatever is going on out there has everything to do with us. As much as Brumby bugs me, there's no way I was going to leave him on his own."
Mac smiled and thought to herself, 'It sounds to me like Harm has met his female equivalent. This should be very interesting.'
Just then Mic and Sam walked back into the room and Mac noticed that the problem, whatever it was, had been sorted out. She also noticed just how comfortable they were with each other, Mic had his hand on Sam's lower back, guiding her back into the room. Then Mic pulled out the chair for Sam to sit in. 'Yes they are very comfortable with each other,' thought Mac.
It was decided that the first thing that they needed to do was to contact a friend of Sam and Mic, who was a policeman of Asian descent, Tom Chang, who was currently stationed at Cabramatta detective division. They hoped that Tom would be able to lead them to someone who could be the key to what was behind these killings.
Just as Sam picked up the phone, there was a knock at the door. Ensign James walked in and said, "Commander Collins, there's a Clayton Webb here to see Colonel MacKenzie and Commander Rabb."
Sam looked at both Harm and Mac, "Do either of you know this gentleman?" she asked.
"Actually all three of us do," said Mic. "Sam, all I will say is, be nice!"
Meg heard this comment and thought to herself, 'Memo to myself ..start up betting pool in office again.'
Sam was even more curious as to who this person was after the comment from Mic. She turned to Meg and said, "Show him in." She then turned to Mic and asked, "What did you mean by 'be nice'?"
Before Mic had a chance to answer, Webb had walked into the room. He had heard Sam's question and asked, "More importantly, whom did you say it to, Commander?"
Everyone's attention was focused on Webb for a moment and then both Mic and Meg turned their attention to Sam. Sam took one look at Webb and said, "What the hell is the CIA doing here?"
Harm, Mac and Webb were shocked that Sam, without being told, knew Webb was CIA. "I'm sorry Commander but I'm with the US State department," said Webb.
"Typical cover story. Look Mr Webb, I have enough spooks in my family to sink a ship. My father was one before he retired, that is if you ever do retire from that line of work," said Sam.
"I mean no disrespected to ASIO but I think that the CIA is somewhat different," said Webb.
"I agree with you Mr Webb. But I wasn't inferring that they were in ASIO. I think you will find my Grandfather, Edward Collins III is one of your superiors," said Sam.
The conversation that was going on between Webb and Sam was a familiar one to both Mic and Meg. They had heard it every time a CIA agent made their presence known and wanted the RAN personnel to help with a case. Each time the agent would refuse give them details as to what it was about. And each time Sam would call one of her family members in the CIA and find out about the case through them. This had saved many Australian butts over the years.
Webb slowly realised who he was dealing with and wasn't happy. No CIA agent liked it when an outsider had access to the agency's information. Deciding to play it like he just wanted to help out with the investigation and that he had no hidden agenda, he said, "Okay, you're right. I am CIA but at this moment I'm a friend who wants to help."
It was at this point that Mac, Harm and Mic either coughed or sighed in response to the comment. Sam smiled and turned to Ensign James and said, "That will be all Ensign."
"Aye Aye Commander," said Meg and she left the room muttering, 'dammit' under her breath.
"So do we let him in on the investigation?" asked Harm to the others.
They all nodded their heads realising they needed any help they could get. They brought Webb up to date with what they already knew and what their next move was going to be.
The meeting with Tom Chang didn't reveal any new information but Tom had heard something on the streets about a new group with a hidden agenda but didn't know any more than that. Tom said that he would see what else he could find out about it and get back to them.
By this time, it was getting late so Sam invited everyone back to her place for dinner. As Mic drove to the Collins' house, Sam started acting as a tour guide, pointing out different landmarks throughout Sydney. Some were the standard tourist sights, some weren't.
They arrived at Sam's family home, which was located at Point Piper, looking over the Sydney Harbour. As Mic pulled into the driveway, Mac, Webb and Harm noticed Meg getting out of her car as well.
"Hey everyone. How's the investigation going?" asked Meg.
"Tom thinks he has a possible lead and is looking into it for us," said Sam. "Are Mum and Dad home?"
"Well, the cars are not here yet, so probably not," said Meg.
"Hang on," said Harm. "Your name is James," he said pointed to Meg, "And yours Collins." He turned back to Sam. "Mum, Dad? What's going on here?"
Mic walked up to Harm and patted him on the back. "Everyone calls Sam's parents Mum and Dad. That's the way things are." Mic started to walk towards the front door and said over his shoulder, "Just like every time you're invited to dinner, nobody declines. Not when Anita's cooking."
Sam opened the door and everyone walked in. Sam called out, "Anita, you home?"
The three Americans had puzzled looks on their faces. Thinking that Anita must be Sam's mother, they couldn't understand why 'everyone' called Sam's mother Mum and she called her Anita.
A voice called back, "I'm in the kitchen."
Everyone followed Sam towards the kitchen, except for Meg who said, " I'll go to my place and get changed. Be back soon."
Walking into the kitchen, Anita walked up to both Mic and Sam and gave them a hug and kiss. She then turned to the others. "Who are your friends?" she asked.
"Anita, may I introduce Lt Colonel Sarah MacKenzie," said Mic.
"Ah. I've heard so much about you," said Anita.
Before anything else could be said, Mic continued, "Her partner, Commander Harmon Rabb and Mr Clayton Webb who works for the US state department."
Anita looked at Clay and said, "CIA right?"
Sam smiled and said, "Yep!"
"Hmp," said Anita. "What's he doing here?"
Clay looked put out by Anita's reaction to him and said, "What's the matter with being CIA? Your father was CIA."
"That's the point," said Sam. "They never leave him alone."
"Everyone," said Mic quickly, "This is Anita, who is the Collins' housekeeper. And also one of the best cooks in the whole of Australia." Anita blushed.
The front door opened and Sam's parents walked in with curious expressions on their faces. "Hello darling. Welcome home," said Mr Collins. "Good to see you again Mic. Who are the freeloaders?"
Sam introduced the three Americans to her parents, stating that Webb worked for the state department.
"CIA?" asked John Collins.
"CIA!" said Meg walking into the kitchen.
"So what's the case?" asked John.
"How about we tell you after dinner," said Sam. She then turned to Anita and asked, "Is there enough eat to go around?"
"Sam, I always have enough food to feed an army."
After dinner, everyone moved to the lounge room where they started telling the Collins' about the case.
John, despite having retired from the CIA and currently lecturing at Sydney University in political science, had never lost the urge to solve a case. He found the current case very interesting, and having worked for the CIA during the Vietnam conflict, he had a little knowledge of Asian rituals and promised to investigate it from his end. "I might also talk to Dr Nguyen at the Uni," said John. "He might be able to help out."
It was a beautiful summer evening, not too hot with just a whisper of a breeze. Mic had invited Mac out for a walk through the gardens to the Collins' private beach. Sam was standing on the balcony watching. Harm walked out to join her with an extra glass in his hand.
"Thanks," said Sam as she took the offered glass. "Where's Webb?"
Harm indicated the house, "He and your father are talking about the 'good old days' at the CIA, I believe." Sam rolled her eyes.
Indicating Harm's gold wings, Sam asked, "So what's your preferred mode of transport?"
"How long has it been since you were a pilot?" asked Sam.
"Six months ago; I just returned to JAG recently. I was stationed on the USS Patrick Henry," replied Harm.
"So you're Pappy!" said Sam.
"How did you know that that was my call sign?" asked Harm.
"The USS Patrick Henry was in Australia about one month ago. A group of us went out for drinks and I heard some interesting tales," said Sam.
Anita, Meg and Ann Collins, Sam's mother, had moved towards the kitchen and were cleaning up for the evening.
Ann looked at Meg and asked, "So, have you reopened the book yet?"
"You bet. Like I'm going to miss an opportunity like this?" Meg replied.
Anita turned around from the sink and asked, "So what's the current situation?"
"Well, in regards to this lot, you can have a bet one of four ways. You can go for Sam and Mic, Mic and Mac, Mac and Harm or Harm and Sam. Odds are definitely in favour of Mic and Mac, as he was seen leaving a jewellery store. But I should say that this one has neither been confirmed or denied!" said Meg.
"What can't be confirmed or denied?" asked Webb as he and John entered into the kitchen. Meg looked at Webb and quickly decided to bring him up to date.
"What about Mic and Sam, what's going on there?" asked Webb.
"Well, Mic and Sam have known each other for years," said John. "They know instinctively what the other is thinking. When Mic was transferred to the US, everyone thought that that was it, but when he returned, they seemed to pick up where they left off in the friendship."
"Well as far as I'm concern, they belong together," said Anita. "Besides, Mic is like a son to me."
"Okay," said Webb. "Let me get this straight. Nothing is happening, but everyone believes there should be?"
"That's about right on," answered Meg.
"Sounds like the situation in DC," said Webb.
"Oh, I know that," said Meg.
"How?" asked Webb.
"Harriet Simms, a really nice person, you know I'm actually sending over my family pavlova recipe for her to try at her next dinner party. You never know, Mr Webb, if you're really nice, you might get to try a bit," said Meg.
"We know the situation between Sam and Mic," said Anita, "and we know the situation between Mic and Mac and Mac and Harm. So why are you taking bets on Harm and Sam?"
"Look at it this way. Both are lawyers and the best in their respective offices. And if you saw the sparks that flew between the two of them when they met, you would know that you have something pretty damn good or one hell of a blue!" replied Meg. Everyone laughed.
"Meg, all I can say is that you watch yourself in regards to the DC office," said John. "You don't want Admiral Chegwidden finding out."
"Oh, that isn't a problem," said Meg. "I received an email from Jason Tiner, Admiral Chegwidden's Petty Officer. He's in charge of the book in the DC office. Anyway he email me to let me know that the first bet placed was placed by Admiral Chegwidden."
John laughed and said, "Okay Meg. Just be careful."
Webb turned to Meg and asked, "By the way, what are you doing here?"
"I live here," said Meg.
"You live here?"
"Well, I'm from the country originally and I have no family in the city. So when I was transferred to Garden Island, Sam's parents were kind enough to take me in. They're kinda like my city parents."
"Okay, I think," said Webb to himself.
Mac and Mic were walking hand in hand across the sand. Mac looked out over the habour. "This is beautiful. You have a beautiful country Mic. I don't know how you could leave this place to come to the US."
"It is beautiful Mac but the US has just as many beautiful sites, just different. Like you," said Mic.
Mac stopped and turned to look at Mic, blushing. "That's sweet Mic." She then turned away and started walking again. "So Mic. What is it between you and Sam?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well you know her family really well. Her parents without a doubt see you as the son they never had. Anita obviously adores you. You feel comfortable here. I've watched you and Sam together. It's almost as if you know what the other is thinking," said Mac.
"Sam and I are just friends, that's it," said Mic. "In fact, we probably more like brother and sister, we've known each other so long."
"Sister. You see her as a sister. Mic do you have any idea how much it hurts a women to hear that?" said Mac.
Mic stopped and turned to face her. "It's not like that Mac. Before I came to the US, Sam and I tried to take our relationship past the friendship stage. It didn't work. But we do love each other. I want only the best for her and vice versa."
"So there's not a chance that anything will happen between the two of you?" asked Mac.
"No Mac. Not a chance."
Feedback is always welcome. Let me know what you think.
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