Sometimes in life, you have to do something unpleasant to keep the family peace. Mac Taylor knew this and yet the realization that he had to make peace with Shannon Gibbs pissed him off. But he'd do it, both for his family and for Jet. And because in his heart, he knew it was the right thing to do. Shannon was seventeen, newly married, pregnant. She had to be feeling overwhelmed. He knocked on the door, juggling the basket he was carrying, as he waited for her answer.
"Hold on, I'm coming." Shannon called out, putting the lid back on the ice cream. She had been having a little snack, something to get her through until dinner. It was probably a good thing she had company, or else she might finish off the mint chocolate chip and start working on the vanilla cherry. Ice cream had become one of her favorite things during her pregnancy.
Shannon looked through the peephole like Jethro wanted her to do, and was surprised to see Mac Taylor. She hadn't seen him since their discussion after the wedding. She had taken him at his word that he wouldn't try to tempt Jethro, and he hadn't come around since. She knew that her husband still saw him some, but he rarely mentioned it. Slipping the lock, she opened the door. "Hi Mac, Jethro's not here; he's on duty tonight. If you want to see him, you can catch him on base."
"I know, Shannon. I came by with dinner. Wanted to talk with you and bring you some stuff I've been collecting for you and the baby."
Pregnancy looked good on her. By his calculations, she had to be almost twenty weeks along. "Halfway there, huh? How're you feeling?"
Even though her first instinct was to shut the door and send Mac away, the smell of food had her changing her mind quickly. She opened the door wider, allowing him room to enter. "You don't have to bring us anything for the baby, but it's sweet of you. Come on in though, 'cause whatever you brought for dinner smells really good. I'm feeling better, but really hungry. Did Jethro tell you all I did was eat now? He's always teasing me that I could out eat most of the guys he knows on base."
"You guys are family," he replied, meeting her eyes. "And I've been scarce lately, not very fair." After the confrontation they'd had, he'd even avoided Jet. "But like I said, we're family. And I needed to say I was sorry."
He put the basket down. "Fruit, cheese, soup, salad, sandwiches, chocolate cake. And a baby blanket and a robe for you, and a gift certificate for a bookstore. Mom said you were doing a lot more reading, but I didn't know what you might like to read."
"Anything, I've been practicing a lot. I want to be able to read the baby stories when she's a little older." Shannon would save the gift certificate, get baby books. There was no way her child was going to have the same reading issues that she had, not if there was something Shannon could do about it. She could go to the library when she needed books.
He sat down at the kitchen table, studying it as he took everything out and started arranging it on the table. "And we needed to make peace, before the baby is born. Jet is my brother, my parents have adopted you, we're not going to be able to avoid each other so we need to learn to coexist. Don't you think?"
"All of this is really nice of you Mac, and it all looks wonderful. Especially that chocolate cake. We'll enjoy that with some of the ice cream I've been hoarding."
"Make sure you use this for yourself, okay? Mom already has a library started for the baby. Last I saw they had about a hundred books, Shannon."
"Thank you, Mac. I'll make sure to get some books for me, and maybe just one book for the baby." Mom had said she was collecting books from her friends who had older children that didn't need the books anymore, but she didn't know how many had been collected already.
"You thinking it'll be a boy or a girl, any idea yet? You said when she's older..." His folks were diving fully into the impending baby; Mom's sewing club making all sorts of stuff, blankets, booties, complete outfits for all he knew.
"I don't know for sure if it's a boy or a girl. I think it's a girl but Jethro is pretty sure it's a boy. We don't really want to know ahead of time. Takes the surprise out of things."
"Any ideas of names yet?" This was common ground. "I haven't seen Jet around much, but the guys tell me he's pretty excited. "He squeezed her hand. "You're feeling pretty good?"
"If it's a boy, I want to name him after his father. You know, Jethro's a third or fourth or something. It's a family name, but he doesn't want that." Leroy wasn't a favorite name of hers, but it was his father's and grandfather's name, and it seemed like it should be carried on. "If it's a girl, I don't know. I've got two or three names I like. I haven't settled on just one. And I'm feeling fine, thank you. The baby likes to play games at night when I should be sleeping, but other then that yeah I'm fine."
"I'm glad to hear it, Shannon," Mac said with a gentle smile. "And Leroy Jethro isn't a name with a lot of style but it suits him, it's a noble name and has a lot of class. Your son would do well to be called such a great name."
"That's what I keep trying to tell him. But he keeps insisting on no numbers after the baby's name." Shannon was trying so hard to be a traditional wife and mother, but Jethro kept fighting her on some things. "I think we'll wait until we meet the little one, before picking a name."
"He's too stubborn, but if anyone can tame him, it'd be you, Shannon. He adores you." Mac gave her a gentle smile, hoping to ease the way.
"I don't know about that. He's pretty set on this. But I keep trying." Shannon was just as stubborn as her husband and she had tears and hormones working for her.