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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
Casey was driving when they crossed the border from Utah into Colorado. When she saw the sign her heart began to drum against her ribs. Not much longer now. The sign just east of Grand Junction told her that she only had about three hundred and nine miles to go. Four and a half hours, give or take a minute or two. She glanced over at Daniel. He was still asleep, had been for at least an hour. She couldn’t help but smile.
With each passing mile the beating of her heart became faster. She dreaded the end of the drive - the precious time alone with him would be over. It would be time to face the real world once again. Which included friends to whom he was very close. Friends who might not like her. Creating a situation which would become unbearable for him. For the first time in years she was craving a cigarette. She hadn’t smoked since she'd quit college. That had been almost five years ago. God what she wouldn’t give for just one smoke…just a few puffs. Even better, a little bit of happy weed, just to take the edge off. She hadn’t had any of that since college either. Maybe a drink. Something, anything to help calm her nerves.
"Where are we?" Daniel asked, sitting up and yawning.
"East of Grand Junction. About four hours from Colorado Springs," she replied quietly.
He noticed the slight quaver in her voice. "Casey, what’s wrong?"
She glanced at him. "Nothing."
He shook his head, reached over and pushed her hair back behind her shoulder, let his fingers play with the long strands. When he gently rubbed her shoulders, he could feel her body trembling. "Babe, you’re shaking. What’s wrong?"
She shrugged. "What if they don’t like me?"
"What if who doesn’t like you?"
He smiled. "They’re going to love you. Probably not as much as I do, but trust me, they’ll love you."
She shook her head stubbornly. "I’m not so sure. What if they think I’m just…just a gold digger or something?"
He chuckled. "I can honestly say that that thought will never cross their minds. Babe, relax. Everything is going to be fine. I promise."
She glanced at him again. "I’ll hold you to that."
He could feel the tremors in her body increasing. "Do you want me to drive?"
"Okay, just pull over and I’ll take the wheel."
She slowed the jeep down, pulled to the shoulder and stopped. When they got out, Daniel took time to just hold her for a minute, before letting her get back into the vehicle.
They hit Denver during the five o’clock rush hour. Traffic was bumper to bumper. They decided to get off the freeway and find something to eat, allowing time for the traffic to thin out. Casey spotted a Red Lobster, and they stopped there. After the hostess had seated them, and the waitress had taken their drink orders, Casey excused herself to go to the ladies room. Daniel used that time to make a quick phone call.
When she came back to the table, her cheeks were pale, and he could see that she was still trembling. "I know this is difficult for you. Probably downright scary. But I promise, Casey, everything is going to be okay. You’ll like Silver Springs. You’ll like Sam, and Jack and Teal'c. They’ll love you."
She forced a smile. "I’m fine, really I am."
He frowned. "You’re sure?"
She nodded. She wasn’t. She had just thrown up. She hadn’t been this nervous over anything in a long time. She longed to order a drink, but with the way her stomach was feeling, it probably wasn’t a good idea. She wasn’t really hungry either, but if she didn’t eat, then Daniel would know something was wrong. She pressed her hands together in her lap. She couldn’t stop shaking. This was it! In two and a half hours, she would be in Silver Springs. She would be moving her belongings into Daniel’s apartment. Starting a new life…with him.
An older woman stopped at the table. "I just wanted to check again and make sure you’re all right," she said, patting Casey’s shoulder.
Casey almost groaned out loud. The woman had been witness to her being ill, had been kind enough to offer her a mint after she had rinsed her mouth.
Daniel’s frown deepened. "Casey?"
The woman looked at him. "She had a little upset tummy. I suggest she order something light, and nothing fried. You take care, dear," she said, then turned and walked away.
Casey looked down at her trembling hands. "I’m sorry," she said, her voice barely above a whisper.
Daniel slid out of the seat he was in and moved to sit beside her. He put his arm around her. "You don’t have anything to be sorry about. What can I do to help you?"
Green eyes met blue ones, and that simple question nearly brought tears. "I just don’t want anything to go wrong, I don’t want to be an embarrassment, or a burden…or a…mistake," she whispered the last word.
He pressed his lips to the side of her head. "You’ll never be any of those things. Never. Nothing will go wrong. I love you, Casey. All I need is you. All I want is you. As long as you’re by my side, I’ll be the happiest man alive."
She leaned against him. "All I need and ever want is you. I just want to be a good wife, Daniel. Someone you can be proud of."
"I’m already proud of you. Do you know how much courage it takes to do what you’re doing? Love you, babe."
She smiled. "Love you, sweetheart."
"Do you think you can eat something?"
"I’ll try." She ordered the Shrimp Pasta, and found that she actually had an appetite after all. She looked over to find Daniel watching her, a slight smile on his face. He winked at her, and the smile that she gave him in return was genuine and full of love.
A A A A A A
The building they stopped next to was red brick. Daniel put a magnetic card into the gate, and it opened, allowing them access to the underground parking garage.
He led her to the elevator, and up to the fifth floor. His apartment was in the southwest corner of the building. She stepped in and looked around. The entry foyer opened to the kitchen on the left, or into the dining room straight ahead. The living room was beyond that, with a wide balcony that could be reached by tall French doors. The kitchen boasted tile counters and oak cabinetry, and white appliances. The dining room had a large, round table with high-backed chairs. In the living room, a large bookcase with glass front doors lined one entire wall. It was stuffed full of books. On the opposite wall, an open oak shelving unit displayed an amazing array of artifacts. Several masks and tapestries were hanging on the walls. Serving to divide the two rooms, a light colored leather sofa sat facing the French doors. Behind it was a sofa table, a tall lamp sat on it, next to the telephone and answering machine. Two matching chairs sat across from the sofa, a square coffee table sat in the middle of the floor, more artifacts sat on its surface.
He watched her face as she took in her new home.
"Wow," she said at last.
"Wow good, or wow bad?"
"Wow as in…wow. It’s like…like something right out of Better Homes and Gardens." The rooms were tastefully decorated, if a bit on the masculine side. Which was only to be expected.
He frowned. "Is that good or bad?"
She smiled. "That’s good."
He grinned. "Ready to move in?"
The smile faded. She thought about several of the small knick-knacks that she loved so much. They would look...out of place...here. There was no visible spot for her cherished stereo. Her candles, she thought, would fit in well enough.
She forced a smile. "Yeah, let’s get my stuff up here. Then…"
"Then you can rearrange to your heart’s content," he said. He hugged her.
"Are you kidding? Everything is…perfect." More perfect than she had ever seen in her life.
He looked at her, trying to interpret this last declaration. Something told him that she wasn’t comfortable. He wrapped his arms around her. "Want to see the rest?"
He led her down a long hallway to the master bedroom. It opened onto the balcony as well. There was a queen-sized bed pushed up against more shelves. Filled with more books and artifacts. A tall chest of drawers stood at an angle in one corner, and a long dresser sat against the wall adjacent to the bed. Opposite the bed was a room-width closet. A door between the dresser and the door to the hall led to the bathroom. Across the hall was a smaller bedroom, which served as his den, and had a huge, antique desk, more shelves and books, and filing cabinets.
Again, he watched her face when she walked back into the master bedroom.
She smiled up at him. "It’s…it’s really…nice," she said. It was beautiful. Overwhelming, considering what she was used to. He must have found her little apartment with Kelley to be a…dump!
"Whatever you don’t like, you can change, babe," he said softly. "This is your home now. I want you to be happy here, comfortable here."
Some of her indomitable spirit rose to the occasion. She looked at him, then gave a quick run and jumped into the middle of the bed. She bounced a time or two. "It’s comfortable," she said, her eyes sparkling.
He laughed. He walked over to the bed, stretched out beside her. He reached up and pushed her hair back, wrapping his hand in the long silk. He tugged gently, bringing her close for a kiss.
The second that his lips touched hers, she was home. The fears, the doubts, the worries began to fade into the background. As long as he was here with her, she would be happy. She wreathed his face with her hands, taking from him the comfort she needed, returning the love that she felt.
He could feel her relax as she kissed him, her lips and tongue telling him more than her words. Whatever had been wrong wasn’t bothering her now, and with luck, wouldn’t return. He eased her to her back, his hand moving under her tee shirt to her breasts.
She ran her fingers through his hair, holding him close as he continued to arouse her with his kisses. She felt his hand on her breasts; caressing them, massaging them, the actions sending messages to that already warm and aching center between her thighs. His fingers moved down, tugged at the zipper of her jeans. She reached between them, fondled the rising bulge in his jeans. She struggled to get his belt unbuckled, the zipper of his jeans down so that she could touch him. He pushed her tee shirt up until it bunched under her arms, released the clasp of her bra and began to make love to her breasts.
He lowered his mouth to the sweet, puckered pink nipples that waited for him. He wondered again if it were possible to make love for days. He so wanted to attempt just that! He slid his fingers between her thighs, discovered she was already wet for him.
"Too many clothes," she murmured, trying to touch his skin.
He pulled away from her long enough to strip, tossing his jeans to the floor, watching as hers landed on top of them. His tee shirt went flying, hers did as well. He watched her bra land on top of an ancient Babylonian fertility statue. Her thong went flying past his head. He couldn’t help but grin, and his boxers hit the floor. Once again he stretched out beside her. His hands would not be denied, and returned to her breasts. He lowered his head and began suckling, greedy for the taste of her skin.
Her back was arching toward him, offering more of her body to his eager, hungry mouth. She had her fingers in his hair, one hand slid down to caress his shoulder. She needed more, wanted more, her body alive and humming with desire. With a boldness she didn’t know she possessed, she pushed one of his hands down between her legs, her need outweighing her shyness.
He smiled against her skin when she put his hand between her thighs. His fingers searched for, found that swelling nub. He pushed his thumb against it, moved it gently, let two fingers slide into her warm, wet well. His own body was demanding attention. As if she could sense his need, her hand moved down between them and began to caress his aching flesh.
"Please…now," she whispered, her hips rising off of the bed to meet his hand with every stroke of his fingers.
He moved over her, felt her legs go around his waist. He pushed against her, felt his cock slide into paradise. He sighed with pleasure. There was no need to think, only feel. His body was in control now, his hips moving, pulling him in and out of her with increasing speed, pushing harder and deeper each time his hips touched hers.
Her body responded to each thrust, her hips meeting his, demanding more. Her arms held him close, she felt his lips…his tongue…his teeth on her neck, marking her yet again. He was moving with more urgency, she knew that it wouldn’t be long before he would reach his climax. Her own release was building. She began to grind her hips against him, and suddenly she was there, exploding with pleasure, trembling from the sensations that washed over her, whimpering with delight.
He threw back his head and cried out seconds later, his body shuddering. He dropped down on her, whispered his love into her ear.
They laid there for a few minutes. The thought…the question…kept buzzing around in her head. "Daniel?"
"Um…how many women have you…had…in this bed?"
He grinned against the skin of her neck. "Including you?"
She tried to sit up, his body still on top of her. "You have got to be joking!"
"I was still married when I got back here. Then…there hasn’t been any woman in my life since Sha’re. Until you."
She looked up into his blue eyes. Then started giggling. "Well, your bed is broken in. We’ll worry about the sofa later."
He laughed. "Our bed, babe. Our bed."
She smiled, ran her hands over his shoulders, down his arms. It would be some time before she would be able to think of this place as belonging to her as well. She arched her back beneath him. "Shower, Dr. Jackson. Then we need to get the jeep unloaded."
The bathroom had a long marble-topped counter with twin sinks, a separate tub and shower, and a secluded toilet. She liked that, a lot! She noted the precision with which his toiletries were lined up behind one of the sinks. That funny feeling began to build in her stomach. She would have to work at keeping ‘her side’ as neat and clean, she decided. It wouldn’t be easy. She had a tendency to drop what she was using wherever she happened to finish with it. But she would try.
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