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When Destiny Calls
Kelley had assured Casey that she was more than happy to make sure that the boxes now scattered through the living room were loaded on the Air Force truck on Friday morning. The two young women had spent the evening talking, reliving memories of their time together at Western, the holidays they'd spent together, the things they'd endured and learned together.
They were saying a tearful goodbye as Casey loaded her duffel and garment bag into the black Grand Prix. She adjusted the strap of her purse over her shoulder. "You're my best friend, Kells, that won't change," Casey said softly.
"I know. It's just going to be so hard! You realize we've been together since our freshman year at Western," Kelley replied, her voice full of tears.
"I know. If it weren't for you, I don't know what I'd have done," Casey said truthfully. "You're the best friend I ever had. I'm gonna miss you like crazy!" She reached out and hugged the tall, skinny redhead.
"Me, too. Call me when you get there?"
"As soon as I land, I promise."
"I'm happy for you, Case," Kelley said, smiling through her tears.
"Thanks, Kells. Don't give up hope! Miracles happen!" Casey said, smiling in return.
The redhead nodded, glanced at her watch. "You should get going. Traffic is going to be a bitch."
Another hug, and Casey opened the car door, tossed her purse onto the passenger seat. "Thanks for everything, Kells."
"You, too, Case." Kelley stepped away from the car. Forced a smile and waved as Casey backed out of the parking space. Stood in the parking lot and watched until the red of the taillights couldn't be seen in the darkness any longer. She felt empty…alone. She heaved a sigh. Miracles happen, she thought. I'd sure like to have one!
A A A A A A
Luckily for Casey, she was too busy paying attention to traffic that was indeed heavy, watching carefully for the signs that would lead her to the SeaTac airport, to think about where she was going, what she was about to do. She followed the arrows to the car rental return area. Found the Avis section. Made sure that the paperwork that Daniel had given her was in her purse. Returning the car required little more than handing over the keys to the attendant.
She carried her luggage into the terminal. This was the first time she'd ever flown. She'd never even come to the airport to pick anyone up! She looked around uncertainly.
"May I help you, miss?" a male voice asked.
She turned and looked into the smiling face of a heavy-set man wearing a security uniform. "Yes, please! I need to check in at Alaska Airlines. There's a first class ticket waiting for me," she said softly.
"Well, I just happen to be heading that way myself," the man smiled.
She returned the smile. "Thank you," she murmured.
The security guard took her elbow lightly. Model probably, maybe an actress. No entourage, and nobody to deal with the details that were normally taken care of for her. Trying to travel incognito, he thought.
Casey wasn't comfortable with the way the man held to her, but said nothing. She could see the sign for the airline. "That's it right there," she said out loud.
He smiled. "Yes it is."
She stepped away from him, gripped the handles of her bags a bit tighter. "Thank you for your assistance," she said, giving him a small smile.
Well, that's a dismissal if I've ever heard one, the man grumped to himself. He forced a smile, nodded, and moved away, walking back the way they'd just come.
With a sigh, Casey hurried toward the counter that had a sign stating it was for first class passengers. "Hello. I'm Casey Webster. I believe there's a ticket waiting for me?"
The woman behind the large counter looked up and smiled. Her fingers flew over the keyboard in front of her. "Yes, one-way to Denver."
Casey's smile lit up the entire area. "Yes, that's it. My fiancé is there waiting for me. He works there," she said, the excitement in her voice making the woman in front of her flash a genuine smile.
"Window or aisle?"
"Excuse me?" Casey said, a frown on her face.
"Would you like to sit next to the window, or the aisle?"
"Window please," Casey replied.
"Are you checking both bags through?"
"I guess so."
The woman smiled again. "First time flying?"
Casey nodded nervously.
"We'll check both of your bags. Put them right up here," she said, pointing to the large opening beside her. "Is there any possibility that someone may have put something in your bags without your knowledge?"
"If they had, how would I know?" Casey asked, puzzled by the ridiculous question.
The woman smiled. "Have your bags been in your possession since you packed them?"
"Yes." She watched as tags were put around the handles of her duffel and garment bag.
The woman did more typing, then handed her an envelope. "This is your ticket and boarding pass. Just give it to the attendant when you get ready to walk onto the jetway."
She had no idea what a 'jetway' was, but she nodded anyway.
"You'll be boarding at D6."
Casey nodded. "Thanks." She looked around uncertainly.
"Follow the arrows to the tram. Then get off at the D concourse," the woman said with yet another smile.
Another nod. Gripping her ticket tightly, she looked for the signs. There. Okay, I can do this, she thought. She adjusted the strap of her purse on her shoulder. It was much lighter than usual, most of the contents tucked safely into her garment bag, or left with Kelley after checking online to see what was allowed and what wasn't.
Passing through security wasn't the ordeal she'd expected. The line of passengers wasn't as long as she'd anticipated, either, although the early hour might have contributed to that fact. She put her purse on the conveyor, and walked through the 'portal'. Nothing happened, other than the very bored looking security officers waving her through.
She carefully read the signs on the tram, and was ready when the doors finally opened on the 'D' concourse. She walked up the stairs; she needed the physical activity to keep from feeling panicked. She glanced at her watch. It was just now six-thirty. Things had gone smoother than she'd expected.
The presence of a bank of phones right beside the stairs made her decision for her. She'd purchased a calling card specifically for this call. She punched the numbers, followed the instructions. Listened to the sound that meant that the phone was ringing on the other end.
"Hi. You've reached Daniel Jackson. I can't come to the phone right now, so leave your name, number and a message. I'll return your call as soon as I can."
Just hearing his voice made her heart pound, even as it fell a bit. "Hi," she said shyly. "It's just me. I…I guess I'll try back in a little bit. I love you." She started to hang up.
She put the receiver back to her ear. "Daniel?"
She smiled. "Morning, Sweetheart."
"Are you at the airport?" He wondered if his heart would flutter every time she used that endearment.
"Mmmhmm. It went faster than I thought. I checked both bags through, is that okay?"
In Colorado, Daniel poured a cup of coffee and grinned. "It's fine, honey. Did you have any problems turning the car in?"
"None. The guy just took the keys and told me to have a nice day."
"Good. Did you eat breakfast?"
"No. I'm too excited. If I eat right now, I'll get sick."
"Okay. I have your pills."
She smiled. "I know. I have the rings."
He laughed. "Good. They should offer you something to eat on the flight. Try to drink as much water as you can, flying tends to dehydrate you. And their coffee sucks. Take fruit juice if they have it."
"I miss you." His voice was soft, low, full of love.
"I miss you, too." She was hugging herself, although she wasn't aware of it, or the glow of love that lit her face.
"Love you, too." She looked around. It seemed that people were starting to gather near the gate where she was to board the plane. "I guess I should go now."
"All right. I'll see you in a few hours."
Excitement raced up and down her spine. "Okay. Daniel?"
"You're my Destiny, you know."
He grinned. "I know. You're my Destiny, Angel."
"Love you, Daniel."
"Love you, Case. Bye, honey."
"Bye." She replaced the handset. Went to sit down with all of the other passengers waiting to board Alaska Airlines flight 588, destination: Denver, Colorado.
There were four men and two other women in First Class with her. She was relieved to find that she was seated next to an older woman. She watched out the window, fascinated by all that was happening on the ground outside of the plane.
The woman beside her laughed softly. "I have the feeling this is your first flight," she said.
Casey turned and smiled. "Yes, it is."
"Well, don't let anyone fool you. Boring. They're all boring."
She giggled. "Only if you've never flown before!"
The woman laughed again, the lines around her brown eyes crinkling merrily. "Sandra Collins."
"Casey Webster." She pushed her hand through her hair.
"Wow, that's a nice ring you're wearing!" Sandra said appreciatively.
Casey proudly held her hand out. "It's the most beautiful ring ever!" she declared.
"Then the glow on your face must be love," the woman teased gently.
"Must be," Casey replied, blushing slightly. She hadn't known she was 'glowing'.
"Something tells me that you're on your way to him."
"Yes. I miss him so much!"
"Well, if he's in Denver, you'll be there before you know it."
The captain came over the speakers to inform the passengers that the flight had been given permission to taxi. Casey watched, breathless, as the plane began to move faster. Then, suddenly, they were in the air. She was on her way!
A A A A A A
Daniel couldn't stop grinning. Which was making it damned difficult to shave. In three-and-a-half hours, give or take, he'd be wrapping his arms around her once again. He'd played the message that she'd left before he grabbed the phone…six times. Just to hear those three little words. Could feel the love as well as hear it in her voice. He took a deep breath, willed himself to calm down.
Jack had called not more than ten minutes after Casey had; telling Daniel that he, Sam, and Teal'c would meet him at the airport. It wouldn't be difficult to find each other near the baggage carousels, where anyone not a ticketed passenger had to wait for arrivals.
Finally finished, with only two small nicks, Daniel started brushing his teeth, swiping his underarms with deodorant at the same time. He glanced at the clock on the bedside table when he rushed into the bedroom to grab his clothes. He pulled on jeans and a blue and white checkered shirt. Shoved his feet into his sneakers. Went back into the bathroom, finished brushing his teeth, spit, and wiped his face. He glanced at the sink next to him and grinned. They wouldn't have to share a sink. It had been fun trying to push each other out of the way, though. His grin broadened at the memory. Soon her things would be here. Cluttering the counter the way they had in the hotel. God, he'd loved that tangible evidence of a woman's presence!
He grabbed his duffel, headed for the door. Glanced around the apartment as he walked through. Soon, he thought, his heart beating a tattoo against his ribs. She'd be here soon, and fill all of the dark, empty corners with her sunshine. He grinned. This was the last time he'd be alone here. He'd never wander these rooms alone and lonely again!
Daniel was grateful for the traffic. It kept him focused. Although it didn't keep him from checking his watch every five minutes. Which was exactly how often he was checking it. He just couldn't help it! Soon, he thought, his mantra for the day. Soon!
A A A A A A
Sandra had been right. After take off, the flight had been boring. She'd accepted the fruit that was offered with the light breakfast, and asked for water to drink. It had been enough to keep her stomach from hurting. Kelley had bought her a new issue of the Discover Magazine, so she spent the flight reading it, trying to do the mind boggler puzzle. She didn't complete them all of the time, but felt such a sense of accomplishment when she did that she always at least tried to work them.
She sensed the difference before the captain announced that they were entering the flight path for Denver. Her heart began to race, she felt as if she couldn't breath. She already knew that she wouldn't see Daniel until she made her way to the baggage claim area. She turned to her companion. "How long does it take to get to the baggage area after we land?"
Sandra smiled. "Not more than fifteen minutes, usually. First class passengers are allowed to disembark first, one of the perks for paying twice as much for a seat," she winked.
Twice as much? Daniel had paid twice as much as he had to? She shook her head mentally. A coach seat would have been perfectly fine, even if she did have to wait a few minutes longer. He'd said he wanted her to be comfortable…she had been. She smiled to herself. It would take time to get used to being spoiled in the manner Daniel seemed determined to spoil her!
It was difficult to keep from bouncing in her seat as the plane taxied to the terminal. As soon as the people around her began to stand, she did as well, tugging at her black skirt. Her dark blue 'oversized' sweater came to just below her hips, did nothing to hide the soft curves of her breasts. She adjusted it as well, nervously pushed up the full sleeves before pulling on her coat.
If she'd known how far she'd be expected to walk, she never would have worn her heels, she thought grumpily. Sandra was walking beside her, having told her that she flew so often she was quite familiar with the airport.
"I really should stop in the restroom," Casey said softly.
"I was thinking the same thing," Sandra confided. She led the young woman to the nearest Ladies' room.
When she'd finished and washed her hands, Casey dug out her makeup bag and hairbrush. She bent over, threw her hair over her head and brushed it vigorously, then tossed it back, fluffed it a bit with her hands.
"I'd kill for hair like that," Sandra laughed, drying her hands.
Casey blushed, but smiled. "Thank you," she murmured. "I'd like to…" she held up the little bag.
"Take your time," Sandra smiled. She opened her own purse, dug out a hairbrush and lipstick.
Casey touched up the smoky gray eye shadow that rimmed her eyes. Put on a fresh coat of lip-gloss. Stared into the mirror for a few seconds, trying to see herself as Daniel said he did. Shook her head. He's just biased in my favor, she told herself. She pulled a few strands of hair loose from her dangly, silver beaded earrings, then glanced over at Sandra.
"Ready?" the woman asked, a bright smile on her face.
Suddenly unable to speak for the lump in her throat, excitement she was sure, Casey nodded.
The baggage claim area seemed to be a hundred miles from the gate where she'd left the plane. Each step took her closer to the end of her journey, and Daniel. That thought continued to race through her brain, making her already rapid heart beat just that much faster.
Sandra touched her arm. "I won't be going any farther than this," she said, pointing to the security gates. "Just follow the signs. And good luck."
"Thank you," Casey said, her voice full of gratitude.
"You're welcome," Sandra said.
With a smile and a wave, Casey continued past the security posts, down the corridor. Followed the signs.
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