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Coffee and Carrots
"Visiting the scene of the crime?" called out Alex, amused at the sight of Colonel Sarah Mackenzie crouched, in her full 'office' uniform, scrutinising carrot tops.
"Something like that..." agreed Mac, standing up and turning back towards the veranda, thankful that, with the sun now behind her, she could consider the tall blonde attorney without squinting. For some reason, naval aviators were the only officers who managed to get away with strolling around outside wearing sunglasses for no real reason - Marines were just expected to squint.
"I'm not sure...not really my field of expertise..." admitted Mac, casting a dejected glance at the vegetable patch in front of her.
"What, evidence collection?" asked Alex, coming down from the veranda, coffee mug in hand, intent on inspecting the 'scene'.
"No, slug damage as distinct from Marine..." admitted Mac, eying Alex's coffee mug with something akin to longing.
"You miss your coffee ration this morning Colonel?"
"Have you ever drunk Army coffee?"
"Apparently Bob's home brew is better than the Base..."
"And that mug?"
"I brewed myself...." explained Alex, before suddenly, impulsively, passing the mug across to Mac, "...and am willing to share..."
"What's your offer?" asked Mac, immediately recognising, with some amusement, that Alex had shifted into what all trial attorneys recognised as the openings of a plead-out deal.
"Military...Bob speaks in code...he explained at great length this morning what he was going to do the next three days, but I just didn't understand an acronym of it..." admitted Alex almost shyly, recalling the awkwardness at breakfast when it became clear General Hadley had realised she wasn't understanding what he'd said - she hadn't felt that uncomfortable since Law School.
"Supervising an exercise - he's probably going to stay out on exercise since the forecast's good..." responded Mac automatically, recalling the paper she had seen pinned to the notice board outside her room, explaining base operations for the week.
"Ah..." Alex paused to consider this new information, mischievously taking the mug to her lips, conscious of her new friend's eyes jealously tracking every movement, "...what exactly does that mean?"
"It can mean many things, but I would imagine that in this case, General Hadley's soldiers have been divided into two groups - friend and foe - and are trying to invade or overrun each other. The General will sit in a tent somewhere, with observers relaying to him what's happening. If he's really evil, he'll change the rules of the game as the exercise goes on..." explained Mac, deliberately attempting to relax her tone of speech and language into something that, whilst perhaps not entirely colloquial, was nevertheless not military either.
"Ah, thank you..." Pondering this new information, which made far more sense than the Scrabble set of acronyms that had been recited to her this morning, Alex genuinely forgot about her deal, until,
"Can I have your coffee now?" asked Mac lightly, sensing from the blonde's body language that the delayed delivery of the precious black liquid was due to distraction, not deception.
"Sure..." Smiling apologetically, Alex passed the mug across to Mac, trying not to get over-excited or overly analytical about the fact that, rather than lifting the mug by the rim, the Colonel reached for the mug handle, resulting in an awkward tangle of fingers as the mug was transferred from blonde to brunette.
"You make good coffee..." murmured Mac in appreciation, glad to discover that not only was the liquid strong and hot, but that the beans were good too.
"Is it possible to survive Law School without learning how?"
"If you've already been corrupted by the Navy, yes..." muttered Mac, mock shuddering as she remembered some of Harmon Rabb's attempts at coffee.
"Your colleagues?" guessed Alex, knowing enough about the Armed Forces to know that if Mac said Navy, she was deliberately not talking about the Marines.
"My partner mainly...he was a pilot..."
"Tall dark and thinks he's handsome?" guessed Alex, immediately developing an impression of the man - she'd met enough hot shot NYPD cops to have some idea of the ego a naval aviator might have and it didn't take much to craft it onto a typical smooth hot shot lawyer.
"He actually gets enough female attention to confirm the handsome..." mused Mac, taking another long sip of the coffee, continuing, "...actually, you're exactly his type..."
"His type?" Alex couldn't believe that, now she was having a conversation that was bordering on (ok, maybe already knee deep in) flirtation, she was asking questions about the Colonel's male partner's type. On the other hand, given the looks she was getting from Mac, maybe the conversation wasn't wasted....
"Blonde..." began Mac, cursing herself for bringing up Harm, only to then realise that, as long as she was supposed to be talking about physical types, it did give her a legitimate opportunity to openly look at all of Alexandra Cabot's spectacular features; maybe the conversation wasn't wasted...
"That's no longer a type..." reasoned Alex, as if in cross-examination.
"True, but natural redheads make useless blondes...."
"How do you know I'm not a natural redhead with a good hairdresser then?" countered Alex, beginning to enjoy herself.
"I don't...but I submit blue eyes as evidence..." countered Mac, leaning back against the veranda railing and wishing she wasn't wearing her heavy uniform, but too long in the Corps to even waste time dwelling on that for more than a second.
"Could be contacts..."
"Do you dye your eyebrows?" As non sequiturs went, it was one of Mac's more memorable.
"No, do you?"
"No, so I think I can assume you're not a natural redhead..."
"Assumption valid...in the interests of full disclosure, I am a natural blonde, but not this..." Alex paused to consider how she would succinctly explain her situation.
"Blonde?" suggested Mac lightly, her sparkling eyes and accompanying smirk communicating that she understood exactly what Alex was trying to say.
"Long legs..." continued Mac, wondering at what point in the conversation she'd stopped describing the mental picture she had of Harm's type and moved on to describing her own.
"Ditto..." Agreed Alex, not sure if she was agreeing to owing some, or agreeing to liking them...
"Naturally..." As they traded attributes as questions, the pace of their conversation increased.
"Pizza and movies?"
"On the couch..."
"I'm an alcoholic..." At Mac's admission, Alex didn't blink.
"I'm a workaholic..." she countered.
"Ditto..." Mac agreed, before asking, "A sense of humour?"
"Patience to find it?"
"I think I already have..." ventured Mac, confident now that they hadn't been talking about anyone's 'type' except their own for the last few moments.
"What happens now?" asked Alex, wanting to reach out to touch her, but, uncertain of all things military, finding the uniform holding her back.
"If this was New York, what would you want to happen?" asked Mac reasonably, sensing Alex's reluctance and wanting to try to understand what the cause was.
"Dinner...maybe a walk..."
"Sounds good..." agreed Mac, an idea suddenly forming.
"You're a guest of the General's wife, not the General?"
"She mention the Officer's Mess?"
"Yes...but said she couldn't take me, and Bob's not around..."
"Would you like to go to dinner at the Mess, tonight?" asked Mac, nervously turning the now empty mug around in her hands.
"You can take me?" asked Alex, surprised.
"Even Army Bases have to recognise Marine Colonels as Officers..." teased Mac gently.
"Sorry, I meant to ask if you could take me to the Mess, despite not being based here..."
"Yes, I can...especially when most of the Base Brass is off on exercise..."
"I'd love to..."
"We'd have to walk back here..."
"I'll take a coat..."
"I'll be in uniform..." Mac trailed off, not sure how to express her concerns, not wanting to reveal to Alex how much trust Mac was placing in her, in case she hadn't realised.
"I'm an attorney, you're an attorney, it's always interesting to hear about how one's professional brethren operate..." explained Alex, before smiling nervously and saying, "...I may not have the complexity of your situation Colonel, but I am not New York's most visible lesbian..."
"Ditto?" asked Mac shyly, suddenly immensely relieved Alex understood.
"Time and place Colonel?"
"1845, the Mess entrance?"
"It's a date, Sarah..." There was something about the way Alex said her name that did interesting things to Mac's insides, good interesting things, things that were too good...
"I think you'd better call me Mac or Colonel..." began Mac, annunciating her words carefully, enjoying the perplexed look crossing Alex' face, before arching an eyebrow and positively purring, "...Alexandra..."
"Alex..." gasped Alex, surprised to hear her full name and not immediately hate hearing it, "...I think you'd better call me Alex..."
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