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Taylor's head snapped up as the door to her office rushed open and suddenly all of the space in front of her desk was full. She barely had time to register just who was in front of her before she got swept up into a hug and heard her secretary's belated apology. She was an inch off of the ground before everything caught up to her.

"God, Taylor, you look fantastic." Todd put her down as he spoke, only to pull her back into his arms for another too tight hug. She didn't have any choice but to hug him back. "I guess I should call you Congresswoman now. I can't believe it. I mean, I can, but..." He just shook his head in wonderment and Taylor was finally able to get in a word.

She pushed against his biceps and took a step back, not sure what to make of his sudden presence in her office. "I..." she mimicked the way he was shaking his head, "I didn't know that you were in town." If her voice was a little cool, she hoped he would just attribute it to the surprise. They had barely spoken since she had left the Navy; they hadn't seen each other in years. Despite the hug, she wasn't really sure what he thought of her.

"Only through Monday. Then I'm off on a deployment." He straightened his uniform jacket and sat his hat on her desk as he leaned against it. "I thought we could catch up before I have to leave again, maybe get something to eat if you have time."

"Yeah, sure." She checked her watch. "I can do lunch, if we do it now. I'm headed back to New York later tonight."

"Great." Todd picked his hat back up and opened the office door. "There's that new Mexican place down the street that I wanted to try before I left. We can go there."

*****

Taylor laughed as she finished the last of her taco. "Well, congratulations on the promotion, even if you did have to fall into a tub of pudding to get it." She shook her head at the story. "I'm almost sad that I wasn't there to see it." She tried not to make it personal, make it about the things that she had missed out on by leaving the Navy. Her own life was so close to perfect that she really couldn't begrudge him his own happiness.

"Hell, if you'd been there, you'd've been the one pushing me into it." Todd wiped his mouth with his napkin before grinning and leaning back in his chair. "You look damned good. Never woulda thought this type of job would agree with you so much."

"Sam had to fight me tooth and nail to get me to run, but I'm glad that I did." As she thought back to that summer, she reached out and took his hand squeezing it tightly. "I can't believe that you're still in uniform."

"Sam..." He leaned forward again, eyes wide. "Shit, are you kidding? I was pretty sure you were never going to speak to her again." He shook his head, thinking about what an odd coincidence it turned out to be that neither of them were interested in him or any other man. "But yeah...I mean...what else would I do?" He'd never dreamed of anything else.

Taylor shrugged. "I think everyone always assumed that the family business would pull you away eventually, no matter how much you loved it." The family business, of course, being to increase their already substantial fortune. She guessed that it wasn't suffering much from one son's inattention.

"Yeah...good thing the best excuse as any to stay out of it is the one thing I really love..." He toyed with his napkin, folding it and unfolding it again. It was passed the time to say the things he needed to say. "I'm sorry I haven't tried to...I'm sorry I haven't kept in touch, haven't tried to see you in so many years, Taylor. I feel pretty shitty about it."

"Yeah, well, it's a two way street." She could only shake her head. "I should have tried harder too." But she had always been too afraid to reach out. "I was scared that you would think that I betrayed you somehow, and I'm sorry I didn't give you more credit."

"You...shouldn't have. I mean...there was half a second--and I really mean half a second--where I felt like you did. But...it's who you are, and I guess I really should have seen it. God, I know I should have seen it with Sam, but I just thought she was a bitch." He laughed almost boyishly. "But I just...can't imagine what it was like knowing that that secret could destroy it all...and then it did. I shoulda been there for you."

"Well, everything seems to have worked out." Taylor squeezed his hand again. "But I'll let you pay for lunch to make for it." She stood as she waited for him to leave some cash on the table. Once he was done and they were back on the street, she wrapped an arm around his waist. "I'll buy you a beer when you get back to properly congratulate you for that promotion." She looked up at him, still slightly stuck in the past, at the Academy, yet starting to see a future. "And then I can start looking for someone for you to marry." Her eyes sparkled as she teased him.

"I'll take the beer...and maybe an introduction to your...uh, partner," he said, fumbling for the right word. Todd stopped suddenly and pulled her into another hug. "It's so damned good to see you... I'm glad I caught you before you headed back to New York--at least I assume that's where you run off to when they let you guys out of here." He winked.

"I'll be happy to make that introduction. I think you and Abbie would get along." She hugged him back much more tightly than she had earlier. "Promise me that keep your head down over there. If you have to be hero, don't be a stupid one."

"You know me," he said, smiling. "I'll see you when I get back, okay? No running away this time."

"No running away." She finally had to let go of him and step away. "Give me a call and we'll see about the beer." She squeezed his arm before she turned to go. She needed to get back to the office if she was going to be able to finish everything before her flight back to New York.