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Tank had convinced her that there was no need to go into Mexico just for a divorce. There were plenty of attorneys in Albuquerque who filled out divorce papers as quickly as any of the shysters south of the border. He just happened to have the name of a man who would fill out the necessary paperwork, and charged nothing more than the filing fee. He made his money by encouraging those seeking divorces to 'fight for their rights'. It made up for the few who just wanted a fast, non-contested divorce.
She tugged at her denim skirt, wishing she'd thought to pack a few nice clothes. She'd tucked in the dark red tank top, emphasizing her narrow waist.
"Relax," he said, smiling down at her. "You're a beautiful woman, Case. I predict you can walk out of here with a divorce for less than fifty bucks!"
"I hope so! I haven't got much more than that!" she replied. Thought about how for nearly four and a half months she hadn't had to stop and carefully consider every purchase…how much Daniel had enjoyed spoiling her…Stop it, right now! she commanded herself. It's over. That's all there is to it!
She shook her head. Took a deep breath. "Let's get this done before I fall apart," she said, her voice trembling.
Brian Kottler stood to his feet, self-consciously adjusted his tie when his secretary showed in his next appointment. Holy cripes! Women who looked like that just didn't exist in the real world! He glanced down at his notes. Casey R. Jackson. Seeking divorce from Dr. Daniel M. Jackson. "Mrs. Jackson, please, be seated," he said, flashing his most charming smile. Which faded quickly when he saw the tears in her eyes. "I understand you are seeking a divorce?"
"Yes," she replied, her voice not much more than a whisper.
"On what grounds?"
"Adultery," Tank said softly. "Her husband reconciled with an old girlfriend before seeking a divorce on his own."
Something poked the back of her brain. That small voice was whispering to her. She'd always listened to it. She'd listened to it when she'd written out the note, tucked it into her purse. She wouldn’t stop now. "I have a question," she said softly.
"I'll do my best to answer it," Mr. Kottler replied.
"If I file, what happens?"
"If it's to be uncontested, copies will be sent to your husband. When he signs the papers, they'll be returned, you'll sign, I register them at the courthouse, and it's all over."
"What if he doesn't sign them?"
He'd been an attorney for twenty years. If this woman was asking the question, then there was the possibility that Dr. Jackson might indeed refuse to sign the simple, no-contest divorce forms. "Then we'll have to go to court to have the marriage dissolved."
"But if he doesn't sign, it might mean he doesn't want the divorce, correct?" Casey asked, her heart hammering as she waited for the answer.
"That's a possibility. If you have property, money, whatever, that he wants half of, then he'll most certainly refuse to sign."
Casey laughed bitterly. "Mr. Kottler, I haven't even got two hundred dollars I can call my own! I made an appointment with you because your secretary told me that you do divorces for as little as fifty dollars. If Daniel refuses to sign the papers, there will be only one reason."
Tank studied her. She was clinging to the hope that this Daniel character still loved her. Lord knew she was still deeply in love with him. "If he doesn't sign them, how will we know?"
"The papers will be sent registered mail. Which means he'll have to sign for them. So we'll know when he receives them. I can add a cover letter instructing him to simply return the forms unsigned if that's his wish."
She nodded. "Yes, please. How soon?"
"I can have them drawn up by the end of the day. He's in Silver Springs, Colorado?" he asked, again, examining his notes. Bernice was a hell of a good secretary, she asked all of the important questions before the appointment was even written into the book! "Signed or unsigned, we'll know by the end of next week. Provided he doesn't just stick them on a shelf somewhere."
Another nod. "Let's do this." She was trembling, her heart was pounding; she was in so much pain she could barely breathe.
Mr. Kottler pulled out the required form. It took less than fifteen minutes to fill it out. She insisted on signing it. He watched her fingers tremble as she held the pen. For a minute he was afraid she was going to be ill. He'd tried to discourage her from attaching the short note. But she insisted. One look into those tear-filled green eyes and he'd given in on the matter.
She took a deep breath. He loved Sarah. Had before he'd arrived in Tacoma, whether he'd known it or not. He was happy with her now. Sarah wasn't damaged goods…an emotional cripple with scars so deep on her psyche that they'd never heal. Sarah was a degreed archaeologist. She was the type of woman that Daniel deserved. Just because she was…letting him go…freeing him to be with the one he truly loved, didn't mean she'd ever stop loving him. Because she wouldn't. She signed the papers. Let out the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Felt her world finish crashing completely around her.
A A A A A A
Jack walked into the Great Room. "Nice job," he said, looking around. The walls were a soft, pale yellow.
He shook his head. Daniel had requested, and received, a leave of absence. When any of his friends tried to talk to him, one or two word responses were all that he offered. The man was in a world of hurt, and there wasn't a goddamned thing anyone could do to ease that pain. It hadn't helped that there'd been no word yet from Agent Leigh. Although it had only been a couple of days. "I thought maybe you'd like to go grab something to eat."
The remains of a pizza sat in a box on the granite-topped island in the kitchen. Teal'c had reported that Daniel was apparently showing up in the gym in the wee hours of the morning, lifting weights until he was exhausted, then pounding the shit out of the bag until he could barely stand. Okay, so he was eating. Probably not anything healthy…not sleeping…"Want to go see a movie?"
"Damn it, Daniel! You can't go on like this!" Jack exclaimed.
Daniel looked down from the ladder. "I don’t have much of a fucking choice, do I?"
"We'll find her, Danny."
"If she wants to be found."
"We'll find her," Jack repeated firmly. He stood and watched Daniel for a few minutes. "Got another roller?"
"Over there," the young man replied, pointing with his chin.
The two men painted in silence. At least he'd put more than two words together, Jack mused. He'd certainly be glad to hear from Leigh! Anything at this point in time would help.
Daniel stared at the wall. Deep in his heart he knew that when Sarah had picked up that phone, Casey had been on the other end. If she'd hoped that she was wrong about what had happened in the infirmary, hearing Sarah's voice answering the phone in her home would have totally destroyed that hope. He could only hope it hadn't destroyed her as well. He alone knew how close to the edge Casey walked…lived. How close to shattering she'd been most of her life. He'd succeeded where Helen Webster had failed. He'd broken her completely. He'd broken her heart. And the worst thing about it was…it hadn't been intentional! God, if he could just talk to her…for just a minute! He knew that she'd be able to sense the truth …would know that he loved her more than life itself.
Sam had told him that Sarah had cried all the way back to the base. He tried to feel sorry for her. After all, she'd been a Goa'uld host for almost three years. He didn't have the energy to feel sorry for her. He was too busy feeling sorry for himself. Too busy aching for his Wife. He glanced at his watch. He hadn't been in for his shot yet. Janet wanted him taking them every day, since he'd been accustomed to making love with Casey at least once a day. So far, no one had suggested that he needed to kick his 'Casey habit'. He was certain that, as more time passed, someone would decide he needed to just move on with his life. It wasn't happening. If Agent Leigh didn't have something by the end of next week, he was quitting the SGC, and he wasn't going to stop looking until he found her.
"I said that if you're going to watch the paint dry, you should at least clean out the roller."
He smiled weakly. "Yeah, probably."
"Let's go to O'Malley's for awhile."
Daniel shook his head. "No. I can't."
Jack stared out of the window beside the open French door for a few minutes. "Look, I mentioned that I have a couple of friends. I'll make that call. The more people looking for her, the better, right?"
"I should be looking for her." One of the conditions of his leave of absence was that he remained in Silver Springs, in case his skills were needed.
"Give it a week. Leigh is certain to have something by then. If he doesn’t, I'm betting my friends will. We'll find out where she is. Go there, and you can talk to her. Explain things."
He contemplated for a minute. "Tell your friends not to frighten her, or hurt her."
"I'll make sure they understand."
The sandy blonde head nodded. "Do it."
"Okay. Don't stay here too long. Paint fumes will make you sick," Jack warned.
He smiled again. "Yeah, I know. I'm going to finish up this wall, then maybe do some more packing."
A A A A A A
He'd done exactly what he told Jack he was going to do. He'd managed to get about half of his books packed. He'd just started putting more books into the waiting boxes when the doorbell rang. Well, he'd already seen Jack today. So it had to be Sam. He opened the door. Didn't expect to see his crotchety neighbor standing there.
"Daniel, I thought maybe you'd like to come over for a nice home cooked meal," Mrs. Trumball said without preamble.
"Well, I understand that your wife left you, and I thought that you might like a nice hot meal. Nothing out of the microwave," the older woman said. Margie was already waiting downstairs, pacing anxiously.
He groaned mentally. "I don't know what you've heard, but Casey hasn't left me." Not totally, anyway. Not yet. He stepped back far enough that the woman could see all of the packing boxes.
"Daniel, are you moving?"
"Yeah, we bought a house. Finally managed to get through all of the paperwork. I really need to get back to packing…"
"But she left! I watched her get into the cab! She was crying!"
"I'm sure she was. We had a bit of a…situation…where we work. She's…staying with a friend right now. For her own safety." There. Let the battleaxe work on that little puzzle.
"Oh. I see. Well, then…are you sure you wouldn’t like to come down, just for a bit?"
Well, the old woman huffed silently, he couldn't make it any plainer than that, could he? "Well, then, good luck with your move. Give Casey my best."
"Goodbye, Mrs. Trumball." He barely waited for the woman to get to the other side of the door before he closed it. "Tell Margie to go find a man for herself," he muttered. He walked into the living room, sank down on the sofa, elbows on his knees. Rested his head in his hands. "Where are you, Angel? Why won't you let me explain?"
A A A A A A
She was shooting a game of pool with Tilly and Pete. Trying damned hard to ignore that little voice in her head. The one that told her to try calling one more time. She refused. She nearly hadn't survived the last time. Hearing that woman's voice again, answering their phone…no…his phone…she couldn’t do it…it would just hurt too damned bad. The pain was already more than she could handle most of the time. She cried herself to sleep. Cried when she woke up alone. Cried if certain songs were played on the jukebox. The little voice told her that when Daniel did find her, and he would, she had to listen to what he said. The words of the old Indian woman filled her ears.
"What your eyes see may not be the truth. Listen to your heart."
Casey stood up, finally understanding what the old woman had meant. Seeing Daniel was going to bring back every agonizing minute that she'd lived through in that infirmary. And in self-defense, something she was very good at, she'd hold him at arms' length. Refuse to speak to him, in a feeble attempt to keep from falling completely apart. Her heart began to pound. What if he was looking for her…and then he received those divorce papers? Oh, goddess, what had she done?
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