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White Lace and Promises
"We've only just begun to live,
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we're on our way.
And yes, We've just begun..."
"We've Only Just Begun" performed by the Carpenters
Written by Paul Williams and Roger Nichols
Beverly Adams, the wedding planner who had advertised in the Sunday Supplement of the Silver Springs Chronicle, ran her business out of her two story farmhouse near the edge of town. She was lucky, she knew, to be able to do what she wanted, and do it from her home. The house had remained in the family, would continue to remain in the family thanks to the will her great, great grandfather had written. At one time, most of what was now the town of Silver Springs had been ranch land that had belonged to her family. Changing times, lack of interest in the family ranch by subsequent generations, increased operating costs, rising taxes; all had contributed to the piece by piece selling of that land. But the Adams family still owned the big sandstone farmhouse.
Planning weddings seemed to come naturally for her. She'd helped plan all three of her sisters' weddings, the weddings of five cousins, four nieces, an aunt, and at least a dozen friends. It had been her mother who had pointed out that since she obviously enjoyed doing the work, she should start charging for her time and effort. It hadn't taken much to get started. Now she planned an average of seven weddings a month. Which might not sound like a lot, but the amount of work she put into each one was substantial, and kept her busy.
She glanced at the clock, then at her date book again. Casey Webster and Dr. Daniel Jackson. 2:00 p.m. Well, she'd give them a few more minutes. If he was a doctor, perhaps an emergency had come up. She frowned. Hopefully they'd have the courtesy to call if they weren't going to make it.
The sound of a car in the driveway propelled her to the door. A Jeep Liberty Renegade had just parked there. It looked brand new, and other than the color, was just like the Jeep her nephew drove. Shaking her head mentally at the odd train of thought, she watched the young man get out and hurry around the front to open the door for the young woman. Don't see that much, not any more, she thought approvingly. That single act totally obliterated the offense of their tardiness.
She patted her hair, smoothed the front of her floral skirt, waited for the doorbell. When it rang, she opened the door. "Hello," she said, smiling at the young couple.
"Mrs. Adams?" Casey said shyly.
"Ms. Adams, and yes, that's me. I presume that you are Ms. Webster and Doctor Jackson?"
"That's us," Daniel said, smiling at the woman.
Oh my! What a charmer! she thought, smiling automatically in return. A smile like that could be a woman's undoing! Her hands fluttering over her skirt, she finally had the presence of mind to open the screen door and allow her guests to enter.
"I'm so sorry we're late," Casey said softly. "I'm afraid it's my fault."
Another point in their favor. She'd had clients show up late before. Rarely did they apologize. Even if they did, it was given in such an off-hand, uncaring, and totally insincere manner that the apology was virtually worthless. "Think nothing of it," Beverly said, smiling at the young woman. "If you'll come this way, I have all of the books ready."
When they were settled side by side on a love seat beside a large round table, Beverly seated in a folding chair next to Casey, she took out a brand new spiral notebook. She'd already written 'Webster-Jackson' across the front of it. Everything that was discussed, every choice made would go into this book. After the wedding she'd give it to them, a memento of the planning aspect of their special day.
"Now, let's start by discussing just exactly when you want to get married," Beverly said.
Casey glanced at Daniel, then looked at the older woman. "To be honest, I'm not really sure."
"As soon as possible," Daniel said.
The older woman began to thumb through her ever-present date book. She couldn't live without the black leather bound book! "The soonest I can get a chapel is the 22nd of February. That's a Friday. Everything before that is booked solid due to Valentine's Day. That gives us four weeks to pull together your perfect dream wedding!"
She swallowed. Four weeks. It seemed like an eternity. It seemed too soon. She looked over at him, found his blue eyes watching her. "It's up to you; we can wait, if you want."
Daniel shook his head. "Nope. I want to get married now, not later."
Beverly studied the young man. He was so in love it was cute. And this young woman was overwhelmed by it. She smiled. She had enough experience to know that if Ms. Webster was cooperative in the planning, she really did want to get married, and all would be fine. If she wasn't, well, she'd have a little private chat with Dr. Jackson, suggest he give his fiancée a little more time. "All right, the 22nd it is. Would you like an evening ceremony? They can be so lovely, using mostly candlelight."
Once again those green eyes sought the council of the blue ones. "I guess that would be all right."
Beverly frowned. "Have you thought about your wedding at all?"
Another glance at the man beside her. "Well, a little bit."
"All right, let's talk about that."
Casey took a deep breath. "I'd like to keep it very small, simple. Nothing...extravagant."
"That's very doable," Beverly smiled. "What budget range are you comfortable with?"
"That's kind of open right now," Daniel said. He took Casey's hand, squeezed her fingers. She didn't want extravagant. But she was getting 'nice'. At the very least!
The older woman beamed. Planning a wedding on a stringent budget was time consuming and nerve wracking. Being able to offer the best always made her happy. "Marvelous! Now, do you know what kind of dress you want?" She pulled the first of the large books from the table beside her.
"I know I'm not into big and poufy," Casey replied.
Beverly turned to the middle of the book. There were several pages of sheath dresses. Again her years of experience guided her, told her when Casey had spotted something that she liked. The strapless sheaths had caught her eye. The older woman nodded approvingly. With this young woman's slender build, that particular style would look stunning on her. "These are photographs of dresses that Ellen Wilson keeps in stock in her store in Denver. I realize that's quite a drive, but she has the best selection and the best prices in the area."
Casey looked carefully at the pictures. Fell in love with one of the gowns. It was strapless and fitted. Covered with lace, beads anchored the delicate weave to the satin dress beneath. The 'fishtail' train was beaded as well, and the sweetheart neckline was sexy, she thought. Just as quickly dismissed it as a possibility when she saw the price. Fifteen hundred dollars for a dress was about a thousand more than she wanted to spend!
Daniel watched her eyes. Knew exactly which dress she liked. And knew exactly why she was so carefully examining the others. "If Casey makes an appointment, can she try several of these on?"
"Oh, absolutely. What I do is make a list of her favorites, and then call Ellen with the sku numbers. Do you know what size you wear, dear?"
"Um...two, I think."
The older woman nodded. "You look like a 2, possibly a 1. Ellen has two of the best seamstresses in the area working for her. Whatever gown you decide on, they'll make sure it fits perfectly. Now, which ones do you like?"
He watched her pick three very plain gowns. All of them were under five hundred dollars. He pointed to the first picture she'd looked at. "This is nice," he said softly.
"It's a beautiful gown," Beverly agreed.
"It's lovely," Casey said softly.
"Should I add it to the list?"
Before she had a chance to reply, Daniel answered in the affirmative. Pointed out two others that her eyes had lingered on. Winked at her when she glanced over at him.
Beverly carefully wrote down the information in the notebook, closed the large book and set it aside. "I usually tell grooms that the Men's Wearhouse is their best bet for finding a good tux. They'll tailor it to fit, and all of the accessories are included in the rental fee. I have one of their books here if you'd like to look. I can call them as well, make sure they have the tux you like in stock."
Casey nodded. She poured over those photos as well. She smiled shyly at him. "I really like this one," she said. The tux had narrow lapels, a cummerbund, and the traditional pleated shirt.
Daniel had worn a tuxedo once in his life. For his first prom. He'd been sixteen. The night had been a disaster; in fact, he'd never even made it to the dance. His date's father had laughed at him, teased his daughter about her date, and she had immediately locked herself into her room and refused to come out. The memory still stung. If Casey wanted him in sackcloth, or a suit of armor, or a buccaneer's outfit, he'd wear it. Whatever it took to make her completely, totally, legally his. In front of God and Everybody. "Whatever you want, Angel."
Beverly smiled, wrote down the numbers. "Now we need to discuss attendants, how many, and what you'd like them to wear."
Casey sat back. She'd been invited to the wedding of a co-worker once, and the affair had been simple, but absolutely beautiful. Ideas, dreams…thoughts that she had no clue were lurking in her brain…came tumbling out. She picked each one up, examined it thoroughly; kept some, tossed others aside. "I'd like to have Sam and Janet, they're my two best friends," she said softly. "Which works out great, because you'll want Jack and Teal'c to stand with you, right?"
Daniel nodded. He couldn't imagine doing anything as important as getting married without his best friends beside him. "Yeah, I do."
The older woman was busy writing. "Full names please?"
"Um...Major Samantha Carter, Doctor Janet Fraiser, Colonel Jack O'Neill, and Teal'c. He's not from around here," Casey replied.
"And will your father be escorting you down the aisle?"
She started, then shook her head. "No."
"Is there someone you'd like to have escort you?" Beverly asked.
Casey thought about General Hammond. He seemed...fatherly, and had been so very kind to her this week. "Yes, there is someone. Let me talk to him first," she said.
Daniel was pretty sure he knew whom she was thinking about. Was almost certain that the general would be thrilled to escort her.
"I'd like to have ushers to seat the guests, and if we're having an evening wedding, with candles, someone to light them," Casey said, seeing with her mind's eye what would look best.
Beverly Adams nodded. This young woman knew exactly what she wanted. She just didn't know it until it was put in front of her.
"I know a couple of guys who would be great for that," Daniel said. He'd worked with SG-6 several times, the men were good at what they did, always treated him with respect, and as 'one of the guys'. Of all the SG teams in the mountain, he knew them the best. He gave Beverly their names, telling her that he needed to check with them first, to make sure they were free on the 22nd.
The discussion turned to what she wanted her attendants to wear. When she chose the simple, but elegant black silk sheaths, the older woman was impressed. Casey may have wanted a small, simple wedding, but it was already shaping up to be very elegant. Daniel's attendants would wear tuxedos as well, and Casey was adamant that all of the cummerbunds and ties be black.
Invitations were next, with Beverly admonishing them to get the cards addressed and mailed out the day they arrived. It took nearly an hour to find an invitation style that they both liked. She put a rush on the order, which cost more, to Casey's chagrin. Daniel insisted that it wasn't a problem. Discourse on the guest list provided proof that the wedding would indeed be a small affair.
Next the books for the flowers came out; Casey nearly had heart failure at the prices. The lily and rose bouquet that she chose was nearly five hundred dollars. Smaller 'matching' bouquets would be added for Sam and Janet. Simple, single white rose boutonnieres for the men, two standing arrangements, and an altar arrangement for the Unity Candle brought the total to nearly two thousand dollars.
Casey was feeling the beginnings of a headache by the time they started to talk about the reception. As he had been all afternoon, Daniel continued to overrule her more frugal choices, cajoling her into choosing what she secretly wanted in the first place. A sit down dinner at one of the finer restaurants in Silver Springs was the final choice, utilizing their banquet room, which would allow for dancing, something that Casey truly wanted. A date was set to have a 'sample tasting' of the various menus the following Saturday afternoon. Casey didn't even look through the entire book of cakes. The third page had one that was decorated in such a way that it looked like the wedding gown she desperately wanted. When Beverly assured her that she could change her mind right up to the 18th, she agreed to it.
"Now, music. Do you have any preferences?"
Daniel chuckled. "Casey loves all types of music. This could take awhile."
She blushed, but quickly chose the songs she wanted. Right down to what she wanted played as she walked down the aisle. And Daniel agreed that a stringed quartet would be more in keeping with the elegant style of the wedding.
Beverly recommended a photographer, and the retired judge who performed over half of the ceremonies that she planned. Small items, such as the Unity candle itself, the guest book, garters, newspaper announcements, small bags of birdseed that would be used to toss at the couple as they left the reception were discussed and decided upon. Beverly sat back. She'd been right. Casey knew exactly what she wanted. She seemed disconcerted over the prices, but Daniel didn't seem concerned.
By six-thirty, the spiral notebook was half full, and the wedding had been planned. Beverly gave them a copy of the calendar she'd filled in, promising to have the list of appointment times by noon on Monday. A simple contract was signed, and Daniel wrote a check to cover the required down payment. In that moment Casey knew that it was official. She was getting married!
A A A A A A
He could see how tired she was. He bit back his grin. She wouldn't be so tired if she hadn't fought him on every detail. Not that they didn't agree on what they wanted, Casey just continued to look at the price first. She was too willing to 'settle' for what cost the least. She's done without all of her life, his brain told him. It will take time for her to understand that things are different now. In the meantime, it told him, enjoy spoiling her. Damned straight he would! "Let's go out for dinner tonight," Daniel suggested.
"Daniel Melburn Jackson, you just wrote out a check for thirty-five hundred dollars! You don't need to spend any more! By the time this thing is over, this wedding and the reception are going to cost us close to ten thousand!" Casey exclaimed. "I don't know if I can get a loan for that much!"
He stomped on the brakes, making the seatbelts that they were wearing contract, keeping them from flying into the dashboard. "Say what?"
She shook her head, folded her arms over her chest. "I am paying for this wedding. That's what the bride does. I don't have the money right now. So I'll have to get a loan. I'm going to be making enough that I should be able to get one, but I don't know if I can get that much. Which means that every paycheck between now and then has to be for the wedding!"
He pulled off to the side of the road. Turned to look at her. Even in the fading light of dusk he could see the determination in her eyes. Could see that this was important to her. "Okay, honey. If you need somebody to co-sign, I'll do it. It might be easier to get the loan if you let me do that."
She nodded, her chin still a bit higher than normal. She had no idea that Daniel found her display of stubbornness downright exhilarating.
Yep, she was cute as hell when she was this way...demanding to stand on her own, even if she was standing in quicksand. He understood that her stubborn pride was all that had been left to her after a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her adoptive mother. He'd be damned if he was going to be the one to take it from her! So, when she was ready for help, ready to be pulled out of that mucky quicksand, he'd be there for her. "If you're going to pay for the wedding, I can certainly afford to take you out to eat."
She was hungry. And too tired to want to think about cooking. How did he manage to get his way every time? She shook her head. Why did everything he wanted to do wind up being some way of spoiling her? Too perfect. He was too perfect. Something, somewhere was bound to go terribly wrong. Because she wasn't allowed 'perfect'. Or 'happy'. Or 'content'. Or, the biggest of all, 'love'. No, those things were never for her; she'd learned that at a very young age. Yet...here he was, offering her all of that and more. Telling her that she could have them. "I love you," she whispered. And she did. More than she thought she could ever love anyone. The more love she gave him, the more he gave her; it was a wonderful, incredible circle.
He smiled. "I love you too, Angel. So, where do you want to go?"
She leaned her head back against the headrest. "Any place is fine with me," she replied.
He grinned, and headed for O'Malley's. Maybe they'd get a bit of dancing in after dinner. A second date. Held after they'd spent the afternoon planning their wedding. Well, Danny, you never were one for doing things the normal way, were you? he thought, chuckling to himself.
She watched out the side window at the streets, the houses, the buildings that they passed. Two weeks ago, she hadn't even known him. Could barely remember what she'd done that day. Remembered well that she'd felt alone, and lonely. Casey glanced at the man beside her. Needed to know he was real. She reached out and put her hand on his thigh. Felt the strength of the muscle beneath her fingers, the warmth of his body. She smiled when he wrapped his fingers around hers, lifted them to his lips. Felt his tongue brush against her fingertips. The action sent sparks up her arm, down her spine. As fast as this was happening, in her heart she knew it was right. He was her Destiny. And she'd never felt safer, been happier in her entire life. So new, all of these feelings, these experiences. She might as well be in a foreign country for all that she knew about being in a relationship. Or, considering where they worked, an alien planet. But the excitement, the sheer joy of learning was worth a bit of anxiety about whether or not she was following the local customs properly.
A A A A A A
The parking lot was full, evidence that it was Saturday night at the favorite hangout for most of the Cheyenne Mountain personnel. Daniel led Casey inside. The restaurant was full, but there was one small table available in the bar.
This was where SG-1 chose to come together when they were off duty. There had been a bit of trouble that had resulted in the team being banned from the establishment for awhile. But the manager had agreed to give them a second chance. He glanced around, half expecting to see Jack sitting at the bar. Noticed that every man in the room was looking at Casey. Several of the women as well. Probably jealous of her, he thought smugly.
Gina Thompson had worked at O'Malley's every Saturday night for four years now, and she knew her regular customers. She most definitely knew Daniel Jackson. Had always enjoyed flirting with him. There had been a few times, when he'd had a couple of beers, that she thought she was going to get lucky and he was going to ask her to go home with him. It hadn't happened, but as they say, hope springs eternal. She'd never seen him here alone. Not that he was actually alone, she thought resignedly. He was with a woman. A very beautiful woman. She'd never seen that either. No, whenever he was here, he was with Jack and Sam, and sometimes that guy from Mozambique, Teal'c. She'd heard rumors that Daniel was gay, but she doubted them...he'd flirted with her, and other waitresses and women in the bar, but never paid any attention to the men. Obviously those rumors were wrong. She grabbed the drinks that were ready, delivered them to the table where they belonged, then made her way to the corner table. "Hi, Daniel! Haven't seen you in awhile!"
He smiled up at her. "Hi, Gina. Yeah, I've been kind of busy."
"What can I get for you?"
"A couple of menus. Do you want a drink, babe?" Daniel asked, turning his attention to Casey.
The waitress didn't miss the endearment. Well, this was...unusual. Daniel wasn't like most of the men who frequented the place. He didn't throw 'babe' or 'honey' or 'sugar' or 'sweet thing' around. He either called a woman by her name, or "Miss".
"A glass of Merlot," she said softly.
"Make it two," he told the waitress. He glanced at Casey again. Smiled at her when those amazing green eyes met his. He took her hand, squeezed her fingers gently, reassuringly. "Casey, this is Gina, best waitress in O'Malley's. Gina, I'd like you to meet my fiancée, Casey Webster."
Gina nearly dropped the tray she was holding. Fiancée? She hadn't even known he was seeing anyone! When the hell had this happened? She looked at the handsome man again. There was no denying the love that filled those beautiful blue eyes. She sighed. Damn the bad luck! She'd continued to hold out hope that someday she'd manage to hook up with this guy! With a smile that she certainly didn't feel, she turned to Casey. "Hello. Nice to meet you. Congratulations." Bitch, she fumed silently.
Casey smiled. "Thank you." She reached for her purse. She needed an aspirin, and Daniel would insist that she take her pill. Janet had given her a small bottle of Ranitidine to keep with her, for this very reason. "Could I get just a small glass of water, please?"
The movement of the woman's hands had caught the light from the fixture that hung just above the table. The reflection off the diamond had been enough to make Gina take notice. My god, she thought, that's an impressive piece of jewelry! She glanced at Daniel. He was watching the blonde, not even aware that anyone else was nearby. He was a goner over this woman. Bitch, she thought again, peevishly. "Yeah, I'll bring it right over."
Gina blanched at the sincere smile that the woman gave her. She took a deep breath. Okay, so she'd lost out on Dr. Daniel Jackson. There were other fish in the sea. None as good as him, but she'd find someone. She smiled, nodded, and hurried back to the bar. Disappointment flooded her. She cared more than she'd realized. She needed a drink. Would have one or two when her shift ended.
"I'll be right back," Daniel said, standing to his feet. He walked over to the jukebox, dropped several coins, made his selections. Chicago began to play. When he was close enough to the table, he held out his hand.
Her heart leapt to her throat as the notes of 'You're the Inspiration' filled the air. She put her hand in his, those long, slender fingers closing around hers, stood to her feet, and stepped into his arms.
Daniel sang softly in her ear as they danced by their table. Casey had told him that there was a song for everything; every mood, every feeling. She was right. This song, and the two that he'd chosen to play next, said everything he wanted to say to her, expressed his feelings perfectly.
Gina put a small glass of water, two glasses of Merlot and two menus on the table. Watched how tightly Daniel held his fiancée. Yep, he was in love. And damn it, it wasn't with her! Another sigh. She fought down waves of bitter disappointment.
He held Casey closely, danced with her, sang to her as two more songs played: Jeff Healey's 'Angel Eyes', and Lonestar's 'Amazed'. Love songs he'd heard, and had wished he could share with someone special. Love songs that were perfect for telling her exactly how he felt. "I love you, Angel," he whispered, as the last notes of the third song faded.
"I love you," she whispered in return, tears of love and happiness clinging to her lashes.
"Ready to eat?"
She nodded. Couldn't help but smile when he walked her back to her chair, held it for her, scooted her closer to the table. She took the two pills she'd left laying beside the paper placemat, emptying the water glass. Then picked up the menu. "So, since you seem to be a regular here, what do you suggest?"
He glanced at her. Noted the twinkle in her eyes. Smiled to see the light that always seemed to shine there. "This is where we…the team that is…hang out. Sometimes we really need a drink…to dull the edges, or ease the pain. Sometimes we really need to celebrate. Sometimes, we just need to touch a bit of...normalcy."
Understanding flooded her. She nodded again. "I hope the celebrations happen more often than the commiserations."
"I wish they did," he replied quietly. "I guess I should be grateful that we have any celebrations at all…considering."
The sadness in his eyes made her heart ache for him. "Thank you for dancing with me. And singing to me. I've never…no one has ever done that before."
How often did he hear that from her? The thought that he was the first man, possibly the first person, other than her Grandma Rose and Kelley, to treat her with any sort of kindness…gentleness, made his heart constrict painfully. He smiled. "You're welcome, Angel. Those songs said exactly what I wanted to say to you."
She thought about that for a moment, about the lyrics of the songs he'd chosen. Shivered slightly. "I love you," she said softly, reaching for his hand.
"I love you, too," he replied. "Okay, to answer your question, they serve great steaks here, and their pasta is pretty good."
Casey examined the menu. The chicken and linguine Alfredo sounded good, and came with a house salad. Her decision made, she put the menu on the table, looked around. "Seems that there are a lot of people from the base here," she said.
"Yeah, this is a pretty popular hang-out." Daniel had put his menu down as well. He'd have his usual - a New York steak, medium rare, with fries and coleslaw.
She was just looking, when a pair of eyes belonging to a man leaning against the bar caught hers. Mark Whatever-his-last-name-was. Those eyes were full of hatred. She shivered. And knew that he was going to cause serious trouble. She pulled her lip between her teeth.
The warning sign had Daniel looking around. He saw Mark White as well. "Case?"
"He's going to try and hurt us, Daniel. He hates you, and I think he hates me too," she said.
Daniel's eyes narrowed. He couldn't say that he was surprised. When White had fallen down that flight of stairs, he'd been screaming that he'd make the 'goddamned civilian' pay for what he'd done. He could see the way that the man was staring at Casey. In that instant he made a decision. Whatever he had to do to protect Casey, he would do. Even if it meant ratting out the men who'd tried to beat him. "We'll be okay, Angel, I promise," he told her, holding her hand tightly.
Gina returned, took their order, and hurried it to the kitchen. Gave a hard glare to the man who brushed roughly past her on his way out. She thought his name was Mark…
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