The Major comes in, shaking the raindrops of
her umbrella. She greets me with a smile and takes her jacket off. Yeah, this
is not my favorite weather either. "Hey, Joe."
"Evening, Major. Haven't seen you in a while."
She smiles again. "I know. Harm and I have been a little busy."
True, I haven't seen the Commander in a while either. Where have they been the past two months? Something bad happened? "Everything all right?" I ask, drying of some glasses.
Wow, now there's a smile I haven't seen in my life before. Something must be working out. "Couldn't be better, Joe. The rest of the gang here, yet?"
I nod towards their regular booths. "Over there, Major. Three new additions to the crew? I believe I saw some new faces."
"Yep, Harm and I got a little overworked, so we have a new officer from an exchange program from Australia and two new ones from different duty stations." She winks. "Harm should be here in a couple of minutes."
With that, she makes it to her co-workers. I start to prep their drinks. They've been coming in here for over two years, and they have a pattern. The Commander will get their drinks, whether or not he comes in before the Major. And they will have the usual. A tonic with lime for her and diet coke for him. Sometimes he has a beer at first, but switches to a non-alcoholic drink after that.
As the Major said, the Commander comes in only a few minutes after her. "Evening, Joe." He, too, has a huge grin on his face. There has to be something going on. I haven't seen the two of them like this before.
"Hello, Commander." I put the drinks on the bar. "How have you been? It's been a while."
He puts some money on the bar and picks the glasses up. "What shall I say, Joe? Mac and I have been busy?"
I smirk. "Yeah, that's what she said."
"Let's leave it at that." He winks and makes his way over to the rest. It's quite a group if you ask me. There's Lt. Roberts and his lovely but curious wife Harriet, the Gunny, Tiner, the Admiral and Harm and Mac. And the three newest additions, but I have yet to learn their names. It'll come though.
The other couple sitting in the booth with Bud and Harriet, look surprised when Harm hands Mac her drink. Yeah, right. They better get used to this. This is how it has been and by the looks of it, how it will be.
The evening slowly progresses, and sometimes I hear them laughing over something. They must be telling stories again. It's what they usually do. Harm comes up to get another round for him and Mac. "Have you seen Zach?" he asks. "He's supposed to meet us here, but I haven't seen him yet."
I shake my head and get him a refill. "Sorry. No sign of Zach just yet. Is Terry coming with him?" Terry is about the same height as Harm, and thus easily to find, even in a crowd.
Harm shrugs. "Not sure. Maybe, yeah. But Zach is posing as Mac's boyfriend tonight, so…"
Now I'm at a loss for words. "Why would Zach be posing as Mac's boyfriend? The guy is gay."
The Commander starts to laugh. "Joe, you know that, I know that and Mac knows that, but the guy who's been bugging Mac for the better part of two months now, doesn't know that. We like to keep it that way."
Still, it doesn't really make any sense. If they need someone to pose as Mac's boyfriend, why isn't he doing so himself? "Why don't you do it yourself? That's easier than to let Zach come over."
Again, Harm laughs. "Because that would mean that I would be cheating on my fiancée, and that's not a nice thing to do Joe, especially because she just had my baby."
Okay, now you really lost me here. First of all, since when is he engaged, and second, why haven't I ever seen the lady? "I guess congratulations are in order, then." That's the only thing that I can come up with.
"If any of it were true, I'd thank you."
Mac comes up next to him. "What is taking you guys so long?" she asks, leaning her forearms on the bar.
"Joe just congratulated me on my engagement and the baby," Harm grins.
Mac rolls her eyes. "Don't mind him. There's a whole story behind that." She looks up to Harm. "Will you please come and dance with me? Mic has been bugging me for the past five minutes."
"Who's Mic?" Must be one of the new guys. There is this one guy who's been trying to get closer to her for the entire evening.
The look in Harm's eyes tells me that he doesn't like the guy. "That new Australian officer? Mic Bugme."
Bugme? Now that's a last name I wouldn't want to be stuck with. Mac slaps his arm. "It's Brumby, Harm," she corrects her partner. "Although Bugme suits him better."
I hand them their new glasses. "So, what's the story behind Flyboy here having a baby?"
Halfway through the story, Zach finally comes in. Immediately drawing the attention from the female population in the bar to him. Nope, the men are not going to be happy that he came in. "Hey, honeybee," he says, wrapping his arms around Mac's waist.
Rolling her eyes, Mac turns around and kisses him on his lips. She hates it when he calls her that. "Seriously, am I every gonna lose the 'honeybee'?"
Zach shakes his head and looks at Harm. "Probably not, no." He shakes Harm's hand. "Good to see you, buddy."
Luckily for Mac, Harm is not really the type of guy that gets jealous easily. There isn't really a reason for him too. Zach will never be interested in Mac the way most guys are. "So," Zach says, after he ordered a beer, "where is the annoying guy?"
All three of us look in the direction of the group. Mic has the trouble of looking our way and start a conversation with the Admiral. Zach laughs and only pulls Mac closer to him. "So, what's our plan of action, tonight? We dance, have drinks and fun and I drop you off at home?"
"Sorta, yeah," Mac answers. "But when Harm goes, we go, so you don't have to drive all the way up to Rosslyn just for me."
Zach raises his eyebrow in question. "And let you take a cab home? Honeybee, I don't think so."
Harm shakes his head. "Nah, I'll be waiting in the car and take her home with me."
Taking a sip of his beer, Zach nods. "Of course, you will. I should've known that."
They make their way back to the rest of the group. Mic looks rather disappointed that Zach appears to be Mac's 'boyfriend'. I smile and get one of the regulars a new round. Zach and Terry are two old friends of Mac; that's what I learned the first time they came in here. You should've seen the look on Harm's face! It was priceless, really.
The two of them come in, greet Mac with breathtaking kisses on the lips and neither of the three act like anything is out of the ordinary. Harm looked as if his eyeballs were going to pop out of his head. At first, he couldn't believe it. To me, it seemed a little weird, too, but I'm just the bartender, so what can I say? Nothing, really.Finally, Mac introduces the guys to Harm, saying that they're two very old friends of hers. Then they start to talk about this apartment the guys obviously bought somewhere, and I figured it out pretty quickly. I mean, you just had to notice the looks the guys threw each other and you'd see. Much like with Harm and Mac. It still took Harm the whole evening to figure it out. The guy can be so dense sometimes.
"Hey mate, can I have another beer?"
Ah, the Australian officer they were talking about. Mic Bug… eh, Brumby. "No problem," I nod and get him his beer. "You're with the group military folks, right?"
He nods and let's the liquid find a way down this throat. "Yep."
I have to say, he looks pretty devastated. Like someone just shattered his entire world. Maybe that is what just happened. "Hey mate, you okay?" I almost pity him.
Mic looks down into his glass and gives me a weak smile. "I've been better, but I'll live."
"What'd you find out? The pretty girl you were courting involved with someone else?"
Ah, I hit the nail on its head. That's exactly what happened. "Yeah," he murmurs. "Should've listened to her, but my stupid pride…"
Mic Brumby is not the first heartbroken guy I've seen in my life, and I doubt that he will be the last. About two hours later, the group starts to split up. Bud and Harriet leave, then Harm starts to get his jacket and eventually Mac and Zach leave too. They wink at me. "See you, Joe."
Oh, that I definitely will. I absolutely will.