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White Lace and Promises
Daniel let Casey off at the front door of the building. She'd check the mail while he parked the car. He didn't want to be too over protective, or that stubborn pride would rear its head. So, he agreed to meet her upstairs.
"Hi, Jerry." She smiled at the doorman. "Any mail for us today?"
"I have no idea," he replied, looking hurt that she'd insinuate that he was…nosy.
"Not even a hint?"
"Well, there might be something there, I don't know," he allowed, grinning at her.
There was. Two bills, three advertisements, and a letter from Catherine Langford. The woman responsible for bringing Daniel into the Stargate Program. And a woman, an archaeologist, of whom he thought very highly.
She waved at the still grinning doorman, and headed for the elevator. Closed her eyes. Opened them again as images danced in her brain. She hoped that she'd be able to sleep without nightmares. When the elevator stopped on the third floor, Mrs. Trumball stepped into the car. "Good afternoon," Casey murmured politely.
"Hmmph!" the older woman sniffed indignantly.
"Is there a problem Mrs. Trumball?" she asked wearily.
"I'll have you know that Daniel was interested in my niece…very interested in my niece, until you came along and stuck your nose into things! No man can resist a slut, especially one who can cook!" the woman said bitingly.
She'd backed up against the wall of the elevator car. Had Daniel been interested in Margie? Had his trip to Tacoma been spurred only because of what had happened in that alternate universe? Was his interest in her only for her 'gift'?
She was still standing there, stunned, when the elevator stopped at the garage level. Daniel frowned as Mrs. Trumball brushed passed him abruptly. He looked at Casey's ashen face, and then at the back of the old woman as she hurried to her car. "Casey?"
Casey shook her head. Stepped toward the corner of the car when he got in. Refused to look at him, her imagination working overtime, creating scenario after scenario where Daniel had been coerced…forced…pushed into the relationship with her. The back of her mind continued to echo the old woman's angry words. Slut. Other hateful, hurtful names began to join in the chorus. Little Whore. Tramp. Good for nothing little slut.
When the elevator stopped on the fourth floor, Daniel waited for her to step out first, just as he always did. She was staring at the floor. He reached out to touch her, shocked when she jumped away from him, batted his hand away. She fled down the hallway to the apartment door. Searched frantically for her keys. He shook his head. That old battleaxe had said something, and now he had to figure out what, try to repair the damage, and clean up the mess.
She looked around, carefully put the mail on the table. Tried to fight back the panic. When she had been a child, and Helen Webster was angry, hiding had kept her from being screamed at…shaken…slapped. She'd learned quickly how and where to hide. "I left something in the Jeep," she murmured, hurried back out the door, onto the elevator before Daniel had time to react.
Son-of-a-bitch! Of all the nights for this to happen! Janet had been adamant that Casey have a quiet evening, and not get physically worked up! Daniel dashed after her, only to see the doors of the elevator slide closed. He watched…she was going to the garage. He ran toward the stairs.
Shadows were wonderful for hiding in. No one looked in the shadows. She sank down to the cold concrete floor, her back wedged into the corner. She pulled her legs up, wrapped her arms around them. Was it true? Had Daniel cared for the niece …Margie? She shook her head, pulled his words of love around herself. He loved her. He'd made a trip to Tacoma specifically to find her. He was her Destiny, she was his. She'd felt the connection the first time she'd looked into those incredible blue eyes.
Slut. Little Whore. Tramp.
If other people called her those names, it must mean that she really was…bad. That she really was…that. Even though she'd never been with a man, until Daniel. She examined the definitions of each word, could see the dictionary in front of her when she closed her eyes. Did she want to sleep with other men? Have numerous men look at her, touch her…hold her? She shuddered. No, she wanted…craved…only Daniel's touch. So why did women keep calling her those names? The girls in junior high, and high school; several of the young women in the university dormitory where she'd lived for two years; women at Hightower Containers. Why? Why do so many women think that about me?
Daniel shoved the door open, glanced around. Didn't see her. "Casey?"
She looked up, beginning to shiver; the icy cold of the concrete seeping through to her bones.
He ran his hand through his hair, jogging through the garage, toward the opening that led to the street. "Casey?"
Her nose was running, her face was wet with tears. She sniffed softly.
His ears heard the sound, though it took a few seconds for his brain to identify it. The corner. He thought he could make out the faint outline of a shape there. He moved closer. Saw the tears. Anger and fear and relief flooded his senses. He dropped down beside her. As much as he wanted to touch her, hold her, he resisted. He pulled his long legs up, mirrored her position.
"I'm a slut," she whispered, after several long, cold minutes.
"No, you're not."
"I've been called that all of my life. Not just by her, by…everyone."
He frowned. "Who else called you that?" She recited at least a dozen names. All feminine. He immediately understood that these women had been jealous of her. Casey was too unaware of her looks, her engaging personality; her self-esteem too battered to understand that those women were reacting to her, perceiving her as a threat.
Damn it's cold, she thought, trying to curl into a tighter ball. "I don't understand how I can be that," she whispered. "I've never...I've never done what those names imply. How can I be a slut?"
The pain in her voice broke his heart. "You're not, Angel. Those girls, those women, were jealous of you. You're so beautiful, and so sweet, and you have a caring heart, and a great sense of humor-"
She shook her head. "You see me differently," she insisted.
"Janet and Sam don't think you're a slut," he said softly.
"Maybe not. Maybe they do, and they're being friendly only because they don't want to hurt you," she replied.
"If they didn't like you, it wouldn't matter to them if it upset me. In fact, if they didn't like you, I'd hear about it long and loud," he told her.
She smiled. Could well see the two women doing just that. "Tell me about Margie," she said softly.
That goddamned, interfering old biddy! "I met her at Mrs. Trumball's when I had dinner there. Twice. Found a book for her and dropped it by the office where she works because it was on my way to another appointment. That was it," he replied.
"She said that you were very interested in Margie," Casey admitted.
"She's lying. Seeing what she wants to see. I was never interested in Margie. We had nothing in common, I never even sought friendship with her. Believe me, Angel, until I went to Tacoma to find you, there wasn't any woman I was interested in. When I found you, I fell head-over-heels in love with you. I love you, Casey." He reached for her hand, thankful when she let him take it, wrap his fingers around it. Her fingers were like ice. "I think my ass is frozen. Let's go upstairs."
The comment elicited a soft giggle. "I'm sorry," she whispered as she allowed him to pull her to her feet.
"Freaking out. I just…hiding always…hiding kept me safe," she said softly.
"You don't have to hide from me, ever," he replied just as softly. He pulled her into his arms. She was shaking from the cold. "Let's get upstairs. I'll call and have some Chinese delivered. You can get in the tub and take a nice, warm bath."
She managed to nod. That sounded wonderful. "We'll finish that chess game."
"Anxious to lose again?"
"I might win, you know."
"We'll see," he chuckled. He led her to the elevator. The warmth was more than welcome.
Daniel insisted that she get into the bathtub immediately, turning the heat in the room up a few degrees. He carefully lit the candles that she had scattered throughout the room, and when he closed the door, she was leaning back with a contented smile on her face.
He called Li's China Garden, and ordered dinner. Made one more phone call before putting the phone back in the cradle. Coffee would be good about now, he thought, still a bit chilled. He started a pot. He'd take a cup to Casey when it was ready. He leaned back against the counter, hands in his pockets, staring at the floor. He had a pretty good idea what Mrs. Trumball had said to her. He hated to make an enemy out of the woman. After all, they would continue to be neighbors. But he would not stand by and watch the woman he loved more than life be further traumatized, victimized. Her reaction showed him just how close to the edge she lived, survived. She'd only been here a week and a half. Too soon for her to be completely comfortable, settled in…sure of herself, the situation…his love for her. Hopefully he could pull her away from the edge, offer her the comfort and support she needed, so that she wouldn't feel a need to hide in the shadows to be safe. Just one chance, he thought angrily. Just one chance to tell the people who had adopted her what monsters they were.
The coffee was ready. He poured two cups, put milk and sugar in one, carried both into the bathroom. The room was steamy and warm, and he thought for a minute she was asleep.
"Please tell me I'm not dreaming, that there's really coffee in here," she said softly.
He grinned. "You're not dreaming, there's really coffee in here," he said.
"And you call me a smartass!"
She sounded…normal. Her eyes were full of love when she reached up and took the mug from him. "Warming up?"
"Mmmhmm. If you get in with me, you'll get warmer too," she said, giving him a shy smile.
"Angel, I 'd love nothing more than to do that. But Janet says nothing strenuous tonight. You went into shock today; your body, and your mind, need time to just…relax."
"No buts. I'll hold you tight when we go to bed, I promise."
She frowned slightly. "I don't like that you have to suffer because of me."
"Suffer? Casey, I think I can manage going a day without jumping your bones!" It wouldn't be easy. In the twelve days since she'd arrived in Colorado, he'd become quite accustomed to making love to her whenever the mood struck. Which it did, quite often. But he'd managed to survive for five years without sex. Okay, there were a couple of times. Maybe three. Possibly four. He frowned. Those…encounters…had been nothing more than sex. Never making love, not like he did with Casey.
She was watching his face. "Daniel?"
His eyes smiled at her. She cocked her head sideways. "Sex?"
"You're thinking about sex."
He began to laugh. "Well, sort of."
"Daniel, just because I'm riding the cotton pony doesn't mean I can't…um…meet your needs," she said softly.
"Not tonight," he replied firmly. "As much as I'd enjoy making love to you, with you, I want you to be okay more."
She studied him for a minute. "I love you," she said softly.
"I love you too, Angel." The doorbell echoed down the hallway. "Dinner's here. Be sure to put on something warm before you come out," he instructed.
He grinned when she came out of the bathroom ten minutes later, flannel pajamas visible beneath his heavy blue robe, thick white socks on her feet, her hands wrapped around the mug of coffee. "Hungry?"
They ate in the living room, watching the History Channel, quietly commenting on the program. When Casey yawned, Daniel sat up, took the container of pork chow mien from her hand. "Okay, time for bed, Annie."
"I'm never going to live that down, am I?" she grumped, too tired to argue with him. She followed him to the bedroom.
"Probably not." He watched her strip, fought the urge to run his hands over that creamy skin, that supple body. Tucked her in. "I have some work to do. I'll be in after while."
Another yawn, and a nod. "Love you."
"Love you, too, babe," he replied softly. He kissed her. Ran his hand over her cheek, then turned out the light. He sat down in his office, carefully going over exactly what he intended to say. When he checked on her twenty minutes later, she was sound asleep.
The call he'd been waiting for finally came. He was almost out the door when he decided to leave a note. Just in case she woke up before he returned...
Daniel could hear the television through the door. Hoped that it meant that she was still awake. He rang the doorbell.
The door opened, and watery brown eyes went wide when they focused on him. "Daniel, what are you doing here?"
"I just wanted to talk to you for a minute," he replied quietly.
"About what?" she asked suspiciously. Had an idea why the young archaeologist was standing at her door at nearly ten-thirty at night. She'd thought about what she'd said in the elevator all evening. She'd never been one to keep her opinions to herself. She'd never been so rude before, either.
"I don't want you to ever speak to Casey again the way that you did today," he said carefully.
"She told you what I said?"
He shook his dark blonde head. "No, she didn't. But she asked a question that let me know the gist of it. I don't know what Margie told you, Mrs. Trumball. But there was never anything there. I've seen her three times, twice at dinner here, once when I dropped of a book off where she works. I wasn't there longer than five minutes."
"That girl is crazy about you," Mrs. Trumball complained.
"Of course Margie!" the old woman snapped. "She's been waiting by the telephone for months now, you know."
"I'm sorry. Tell Margie I'm sorry. But it never would have happened," Daniel said softly. "I'm in love with Casey. I love her more than life itself. I'll do whatever I have to do in order to protect her. From any and all hurts."
Mrs. Trumball studied his face. "I shouldn't have called her a slut. But I stand by my opinion that if she hadn't shown up, you and Margie might have finally made a go of things."
Daniel shook his head, felt the frustration rise. "No, Mrs. Trumball. It never would have happened. I was never attracted to Margie. To be honest, I don't particularly care for her."
A small gasp left the woman's throat. "Why not, for pity's sake?"
He took a deep breath. Blew it out slowly. "She's too much like you."
Watery brown eyes went wide. "Well!"
"I think it would be better if we restrict ourselves to civil greetings if we run into one another in the halls or on the elevator. Other than that, I'm going to ask you to leave Casey and I alone. We'll do the same." Without another word, he turned around and walked back to the elevator.
The old woman watched him, noted how he shoved his hands into his pockets, studied the floor. He hadn't liked saying what he had, she'd seen that in his eyes. But she'd also seen determination. And the love that flared when he said that hussy's name. She had to admit, it took guts to confront her like he had. She would not admit, however, that the fact that he was defending his fiancée, was so protective of her, did garner her grudging respect. Old Simon Applebee at the Senior Center had a grandson. Maybe she should get to know the old coot, find out about the boy. Yes, that sounded like an excellent idea. She closed the door.
When Daniel slid into bed beside her, Casey snuggled up to his side, put her head on his shoulder, wrapped her arm around his waist. He smiled. He had read once that a person's true nature came out during sleep. It had to be a good sign that she reached for him, clung to him, while she was sleeping.
A A A A A A
Noise. Very annoying noise. She opened one eye. Smiled. He was wrapped around her like a blanket. She managed to reach above her head to the shelf where the alarm clock sat. She wiggled back down into his arms. Felt his erection. Okay, Janet had said nothing strenuous last night. She'd gone to bed early, hadn't even had any nightmares that she was aware of. She felt absolutely fine. With a wicked little grin, she slid down on the bed, wrapped her hands around the base of his shaft and his balls, and began to gently lick and suck that throbbing flesh. It didn’t take her long before she had him awake and moaning. A few minutes more, and he was crying out her name. She licked and kissed her way up his body. Kissed him thoroughly and then went in to take her shower.
Her actions the night before embarrassed her now that she viewed them in the light of day. It had been a long time…years, actually…since she'd felt a need to hide like that. She remained quiet as they showered together, as was their habit. She washed him carefully, lovingly; closed her eyes as his hands moved over her, caressed her shoulders and back.
"How are you feeling this morning?" he asked softly.
"I'm fine, really. Well, I could use a Midol, but other than that I'm fine," she replied. When that warm, strong hand moved over her belly, those long slender fingers massaging gently, she sighed and leaned back against him.
"Does that help?"
He smiled, continued to caress her, trying to reduce the discomfort she felt. He'd read the brochure about the Depo-Provera injection she'd received. There was the possibility that her menstrual cycles would be shorter, or stop all together. If it meant she didn't have cramps, he was all for no cycles at all. Sure, his brain scoffed at him. The fact that no period means sex whenever you want it never occurred to you. He blatantly ignored that thought.
"Daniel, we have to get out, or we'll be late," she said, still leaning back against his hard, warm body.
"I know." He smiled when neither of them moved. "I could always call in sick."
"I happen to know for a fact there are three translations that have to be done by the end of this week," she told him. "Besides, we have a briefing, remember?"
She turned around, locked her arms around his neck. "Maybe we can take a few days off for a honeymoon," she said.
"Now that's an interesting idea," he grinned. "Anywhere particular you'd like to go for a few days?" He turned the water off, reached for the towels, handed one of them to her.
Her grin matched his. "Let's see…alone, with you, for a few days. Bed comes to mind."
His grin widened. He had most definitely awakened a very passionate woman in Casey when he made love to her the very first time. "Okay, let me rephrase that. Anywhere particular you'd like that bed to be?"
She smiled, wrapped a towel around her slender frame. "Anywhere in the world, in the universe is all right with me, as long as I'm with you," she said softly.
"Me, too, Angel," he replied. He kissed the tip of her nose.
They continued through their morning routine. She dried her hair while he shaved. When she took the time to gather the clothes from the bedroom floor to toss into the hamper, Daniel caught her by the arm.
"I have a question for you," he said.
"I have an answer. Let's see if they match," she retorted playfully. Giggled when he snapped his towel at her jean-clad fanny.
"You don't wear those jeans…out…do you?"
"The ones you wore for me Sunday night."
Her face turned pink. "Goddess, no! The only reason I wore them was because they helped set the mood!"
"Good. You can wear them here, for me, anytime," he told her.
She smiled. "I'll remember that."
They had just enough time to grab a cup of coffee, Daniel insisted that she drink the protein shake. She'd discovered that the chocolate wasn't quite as disgusting as the strawberry. She downed it, finished her coffee, and dashed to the bathroom to brush her teeth, while Daniel went downstairs to warm up the Jeep.
A A A A A A
Traffic near the base was stop and go, as it was every morning. Daniel used the time to teach her more Latin. They stopped in the locker room to don the obligatory BDUs, a quick stop in the cafeteria for coffee, then on to the conference room.
Jack and Teal'c were already seated, Sam arrived just minutes behind Daniel and Casey. When General Hammond came in, he was carrying a folder. He handed it to Casey, smiling warmly at her.
"Doctor Jackson, I've read your report on P7X 388. I agree that the possibility of a weapon hidden in these ruins warrants further investigation. Ms. Webster, would you please tell us if you can sense any possible danger on this mission?"
Casey smiled, opened the folder and began examining the photographs. Read the notes, both those in familiar handwriting, and the carefully typed summary. She cocked her head sideways.
"Antenna is working," Jack said quietly. His companions all smiled.
"Okay, this sounds strange, but we need to get there, now. It's not going to be easy, I can feel …not exactly danger…but certainly some trouble. We have to get it here before…I can't see who it is. Just that someone else is after this thing too. I'm not so sure it's a weapon, but whatever it is, it feels important."
General Hammond nodded. "I want you leaving as soon as possible."
"On our way, sir," Jack replied. "With your permission, sir."
"I want to see you in the 'gate room in less than thirty. Dismissed," the general replied.
"Come on, Casey, I'll help you pack," Sam said. She led the young blonde from the room.
"Gentlemen, before you leave," General Hammond said quietly. "Sergeant White has retained an attorney. Chances are I'm not going to be able to hold him much longer. However, four men have voluntarily stepped forward in return for reduced charges against them. They tell me that they were the only men in the warehouse that night."
Daniel nodded. "There were only five of them, including White."
"Good. Right now they're restricted to base, and to quarters. I just thought you should be aware that by the time you return, Sergeant White may not be in the holding cell."
"Thank you, sir," Daniel said. "I appreciate the heads up."
"We'll keep them both safe," Jack said quietly.
"Indeed." Teal'c's voice was firm.
"As I expected. Carry on."
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