"Hey, if I buy you a burger and a beer will you stop talking?"
"Done! You know I have a weakness for food!...Let's get a real juicy, greasy hamburger and a light beer"
They both walked down the corridor of the lab with Mac still smiling at the conversation he'd just had with Jo about becoming a father. It was something he had thought about on the odd occasion, even more so with the day's events. Ellie Danville was a very bright and outgoing young girl, just like her mum, but he had always felt like there was something missing behind her eyes. Something she had been afraid to talk to Jo about.
"So where we going?" Jo asked, pulling Mac out of his thoughts.
"Well how about that diner Harvey's you went to with Ellie? I have not been able to stop thinking about that heaven on a sesame bun ever since you went!" Mac said smiling.
"Oh my god Mac those hamburgers are awesome, you will not regret it." Jo said smiling back at him. Why was it that she found it so easy to talk to him and be herself, yes as soon as Russ was around she froze up?
"Do you want to come along with me and I'll drop you back home? There's no point us both driving, and I'll swing by in the morning and pick you up?" Mac suggested
"Yeah sounds good to me, I'll just grab Ellie's soccer boots out of my car, she will never forgive me if I don't come home with them tonight, she's got a big game after school tomorrow." Jo said running to her car before joining him back at his car, both of them getting in and setting off for the diner.
A few hours later they were the only ones left in the diner. The owner had allowed it to stay open when he saw it was for NYPD's finest.
"You know I haven't thanked you for earlier" Jo said leaning against the bar they were sitting at.
"What for Jo, I only listened?" Mac asked
"Exactly, you just listened and didn't judge! Do you know how many of my friends think it was wrong for me not to tell Ellie about her real Mom? You just helped in a way no one else has" Jo said looking into his eyes and receiving a smile from Mac.
"You're welcome, you've listened to me enough over the last few months…anyway you're an amazing mother, what you did for Ellie took a lot of courage, especially to do it on your own" he said taking a sip of his drink.
"Thanks, and I know I said I would not talk about this anymore…but you really would make a fantastic father!" Jo said cheekily moving away quickly from Mac's playful slap to her arm.
"Jo please, clearly blackmailing you with food does no good! I will have to rethink my methods next time!" he replied.
"Oh yeah, and what would those methods be exactly?" she asked. She knew she was flirting with him, Mac, her boss, but she just couldn't help herself.
"Well you'll just have to wait and see won't you!" Mac answered with a wink. What was going through his head he would never know, but it felt right talking like this again, having fun with a woman, but she was not just any ordinary woman, she was Jo Danville, his colleague, his friend and someone who he was falling more and more for every day.
"Sorry I won't mention it again!" she replied giggling.
"No it's ok…between you and me… I have thought about it before…becoming a father, but it just never happened, just time got away with me I guess." Mac said sadly.
Jo knew this was a sore spot and she could be risking completely changing the mood of the night, but she had to say it to him, let him now she was there for him.
"I know about her you know….Claire" Jo said swirling the drink around in her glass.
Mac looked up at her, a look that asked her a million questions.
"Lindsey told me…I can't even remember how it came up, but I'm glad I know, it sort of helps me see how Mac Taylor ticks…I am so sorry Mac, if anything I know what you're going through" she stated feeling the lump rise in her throat just looking into his tear threatened eyes.
"What do you mean?" Mac asked intrigued.
"I lost someone too that day…Pippa, she was my best friend." Jo said swallowing hard.
"Jo…I didn't know." Mac was quick to say.
"How would you Mac…we grew up together, knew each other since Kindergarten, we did everything together, even got braces together" she said laughing before continuing.
"When we graduated she came to New York to start an internship at an accountancy firm at the towers. She was so excited you know, couldn't wait to get there and get started. Years went by and we kept in touch, with me in Washington and her here in the city, she's even Tyler's godmother. That day came and I woke up in the morning just feeling weird you know, like something wasn't quite right! It wasn't until Russ called me and told me to turn on the tv that my fears were confirmed. That plane….that plane hit two floors below her office Mac, she had no chance of getting out, no chance at all, as soon as they said the floor numbers I knew she was gone…that I'd lost her." Jo said tears running down her face.
"I don't know what to say Jo, apart from I'm so unbelievably sorry." Mac said taking her hand and entwining their fingers together.
"Well we all have to move on don't we, I know they say it gets easier, but it doesn't not really does it? I keep expecting her to call or to see an email from her, but nothing, then it all comes flooding back." Jo said feeling the warmth spread through her as Mac brushed his thumb across her hand.
"I'm glad you told me, and no it doesn't get easier, when I lost Claire it felt like my whole world fell apart, like my heart just stopped beating, but one day I woke up and it just felt better you know, my heart didn't ache anymore, or ache as much anyway." He said wiping the tears off Jo's face.
"Well that was a different way to end an evening" Jo joked.
"Yeah well I'm glad you shared with me, come on I'll drive you home" Mac said standing up and planting a kiss on her forehead. Except it felt very different from when Russ did it, it felt right and Jo struggled to control the butterflies in her stomach as they walked out of the diner.