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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story
Daniel had gone to the corner store and picked up the Sunday paper, and they were sitting on the sofa reading, their backs against opposite corners, their legs stretched out beside each other. Casey had the classified sections, and was busily circling job openings for which she felt qualified. She planned to call Jan first thing Monday morning about a reference, hoping that the woman would be cooperative. For the most part, Jan had been a decent boss, and she figured that she could sweet-talk her into a good one.
He watched her, hid his smile, knowing that by tomorrow afternoon she’d probably be employed by the United States Air Force, working in the top secret Stargate program. He shifted slightly, still stuffed from the stack of waffles he had eaten. One of the things that he made sure they picked up on their trip to the mall had been a waffle iron.
The telephone rang, and he reached over the back of the sofa to grab the receiver. "Hello? Oh, hi, Sam…sure, just a minute." He held the phone toward her. "For you, babe. It’s Sam."
He watched her face light up as the two women talked. He was glad to see that she had found a friend here, doubly glad that it was his own good friend Sam Carter.
She bounced across the sofa, kissed him, then jumped up and ran to the bedroom. "If Sam gets here before I’m finished, let her know I’ll be right out," she called over her shoulder.
He put the phone back on its base, got up and followed her into the bathroom. He leaned against the counter, watched her strip and get into the shower. "Need someone to wash your back?" he asked, grinning at her.
"Nope. If I let you in here, poor Sam will sit in the hall for the next hour," she replied.
His grin got wider. True. With the exception of the day Casey had started her period, they had yet to take a shower together without making love. "So what’s up?"
"Sam and I are going shopping."
"Didn’t we just do that yesterday?" he asked. He was sure that his credit card was still smoking from that trip. But he…they…now had a fully equipped and stocked kitchen. And the lasagna she had made for dinner had been worth every penny. Which reminded him, there was still some left over…he’d nuke it for his lunch today. Waffles, lasagna, yep, he was going to have to start a strenuous work-out routine!
"This is different," she insisted.
"It’s girlfriend shopping. Very different from going shopping with your man," she informed him.
"Uh huh. So how much are you going to put on the card today?" He was grinning. She didn’t know…yet…that he had called for a new card on his account in her name, well, actually her soon-to-be name. It had arrived in the mail yesterday.
"I only have a five hundred dollar credit limit so I guess I won’t be spending more than that," she replied.
The credit limit on her new card was significantly higher. "Okay. Anything special you’re going to look at?"
She giggled. "If I make a stop at Victoria’s Secrets, you won’t know about it," she said.
He had wanted to go in to that particular store while they were at the mall, but she had refused, telling him that she had three brand new teddies, and didn’t need anything else at the moment.
"You’re a cruel woman, Casey Webster," he teased.
"You didn’t think so a couple of hours ago. And you thought I was okay when I was making you chocolate waffles."
"Yeah, well, you just turned cruel," he chuckled.
"You’ll live." The water was off, she grabbed for a towel from the rack beside the glass door. She wrapped it around herself, unclipped her hair and shook it out. She hurried to ‘her’ sink, where already a large array of bottles of lotion and shampoo and perfume and makeup cluttered the counter.
"I dunno babe, I could have a heart attack thinking about you in something from Victoria’s Secrets." He watched her carefully apply her makeup, which made her already beautiful face absolutely sensational. He loved the fact that within just a few short hours she had turned this previously stark room into a profusion of feminine inhabitance. She had washed out several pairs of panties and bras, which were on hangers, hanging off of the shower curtain rod…brand new since last night, between the new shower curtains. She said it ‘softened’ the room. To him it meant that she was setting up residence, and that’s all that mattered in his mind. Her silk robe was hanging on a hook behind the door beside his. Yep, this room screamed that there was a woman living here. Which made him grin.
"I doubt it. You already know what’s under it. Intimately."
That thought sent errant ideas and images dancing through his head. He heard the doorbell, and went to answer.
Sam grinned at him, gave him a hug. "How’s it going?"
"Good. Better than good. Great," he replied with a smile.
She stepped in, glanced into the kitchen, noticed the differences, including the pot rack that now hung above the counter that opened to the dining room. There were pans and a colander and several copper baking dishes hanging from it. Two plants, also new purchases, hung on either side. "Whoa, she really moved in, didn’t she?"
"That was the plan. You should see the bathroom," he said, his grin nearly splitting his face.
Sam couldn’t help but giggle at how thrilled the man sounded. "You’re happy," she said.
"Couldn’t be happier. God, I love her, Sam. She makes me laugh, she’s had me laughing so hard…it’s been a long time since I’ve laughed tears," he said. "She fills all the empty places. She…completes me. "
The tall blonde hugged him again. "I’m so glad, Daniel. You deserve the best."
"Hey, hey, hey…get your own man, leave mine alone," Casey said, coming out of the hallway. Her green eyes were dancing.
"Just borrowing a hug," Sam said, smiling.
"Oh, well that’s different," Casey declared.
"Hang on, babe," Daniel said. He pulled the new credit card from his pocket. "I…uh…called for this just before I flew to Tacoma. It’s got your married name on it…so you don’t have to change it later. After yesterday, I figure you have about seven thousand on the limit." He held the card toward her.
"Dollars? Seven thousand…Daniel Melburn Jackson!" She threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you," she whispered. She had absolutely no intention of using the card, at least, not today. But the fact that he had done this before he had even left to get her made her heart skip.
His arms closed around her. "You’re welcome. Remember this, I didn’t have a damned thing to spend money on. When I came back from Abydos, I lived on the base for awhile. It took time for me to want to take all my stuff out of storage. So, there’s a bit saved back, okay? You get whatever you want," he said softly.
Sam looked from one face to the other, grinning. "Let’s go girlfriend, you have a valid card, and the mall is calling!"
"Hey, sign it first!" Daniel said. He handed her a pen. Watched her sign ‘Casey Jackson’ on the signature line. Felt his heart race at the sight of the two names together. He kissed her. "Have fun," he said, smiling.
"We will," Sam said, waving.
"Absolutely," Casey agreed.
A A A A A A
They were sitting in the food court, drinking large cokes and munching on nachos. Sam had made a couple of purchases, and Casey had caved in at the Bed&Bath store and bought new towels and bath mats to match the new shower curtain. She had stubbornly put them on her card, however.
"Sam, I was wondering…Daniel wants both Jack and Teal'c to stand up with him when we get married, and my best friend Kelley is flying out to be my maid of honor, would you be interested in being a bridesmaid?"
Sam smiled. "I’d be honored, Casey. Tell me what you have planned so far."
Casey frowned, pulled her lip between her teeth. "Not much. Okay, nothing. To be honest, I’m not even sure where to start!"
"Okay, let’s start with what ideas you already have," Sam suggested. She grabbed her organizer, flipped it open to the notepad.
She blew out a breath. "Okay, I know that I want a strapless sheath gown…I think they look…elegant…I’m not into big and poufy."
Sam nodded, wrote down ‘strapless sheath wedding dress’.
"I want the attendants dresses to be similar."
"What are your favorite colors?"
"Yellow and blue. Doesn’t mean I want them for the wedding. I was sort of thinking maybe black, you know, to match the guys’ tuxes."
"Oooo…classy, very classy!" Sam said, nodding.
"I want Daniel and his attendants in tuxedos, black tie, no vest, black cummerbund, those neat button covers," she continued.
"Sounds good. Flowers?"
"Excellent question. I haven’t got a clue."
Sam looked at her notes. "So far we have a very formal, classy thing going here. I’m thinking that lilies would look good…maybe with a few roses thrown in? You could do all white for your bouquet, and then why not white and yellow for Kelley and I? Simple white rose boutonnieres for the guys?"
Casey nodded. "Sounds perfect!"
"Girlfriend, you just planned most of the wedding. I would suggest a couple of nice floral arrangements like your bouquet, and really all that’s left is the reception and invitations. Here, come on, I have an idea." She led Casey to the nearby bookstore, where they found three magazines that dealt with weddings. Casey bought a copy of each one. "Now you go through these, find a picture of what you want Daniel and the guys to wear, and next weekend we’ll send them to the tux shop while we look for your dress."
"Sam, thank you so much! Now all we have to do is agree on a date, and we can get the rest done," Casey sighed. They began walking the length of the mall.
"Any ideas of when?"
"September…just no exact date yet."
Sam nodded. "Okay, we’re cutting it close, but we can do this. You and Daniel have to get your invitations ordered in the next couple of weeks…"
"It’s going to be a very small wedding, Sam. Except for Kelley, I doubt if any of my friends will be here," Casey said softly. "So I don’t know that we’ll need a lot of invitations."
"You’ll at least want to ‘announce’ it to your friends," Sam pointed out.
She nodded. "True."
"Casey, this is just an idea, …but, what about having the wedding there on the base? There’s a nice little chapel there that would be perfect."
She cocked her head to one side and thought for a moment. "Sam, that’s a great idea! Then all of the people Daniel knows and works with could be there."
"Don’t be surprised if there are a few…important guests," Sam warned with a smile.
"Okay. I’ll try not to freak out too much," Casey grinned. "Now that we’ve done this much, how about a furniture store? I need something for my stereo and cd’s, and it’s going to have to match what Daniel already has."
"I just kept hearing Daniel reminding you that what was his was yours too. So, it has to match what you already have," Sam smiled.
Casey shook her head. "It’s going to be awhile before I can feel that way about his…er…our place," she said softly.
"Why? Don’t you like it?"
"Oh, Sam, you’ve been there! It’s…it’s incredible! Right out of a decorator’s book incredible. I’ve…let’s just say I’m marrying way above my…I’m marrying way out of my league," Casey said, dropping her eyes.
"Oh, Casey! I know that you didn’t get that idea from Daniel! Most probably if he knows you feel that way he’s told you that you’re wrong. Just because you grew up under different circumstances doesn’t mean that you’re ‘out of your league’. Do you know that he’s tickled pink that you’re here, and in his life? You should have seen his face when he told me about the bathroom!"
She rolled her eyes. "I know…not even twenty-four hours and I sort of just exploded in there," she giggled.
"He’s thrilled about it. You didn’t see his face last night when you put your little figurines back in the box. I’ve seen that look in his eyes before. He was scared."
"He was afraid that you weren’t ‘moving in’. I think he was afraid that you were ready to run out the door. It was sheer relief on his face when you got out your candles and that tea jar."
She lowered her eyes, and frowned. "Those figurines…they just don’t…fit. Neither does my stereo, really, but I couldn’t live without my music," she admitted.
"Why don’t they fit, Casey?"
She shrugged. "There’s a few bucks difference between those figurines and the artifacts he has in those rooms," she said. "The stereo sort of…intrudes…on the mood of the room."
"Daniel doesn’t see it that way. All he sees are things that belong to you, that have value to you. That you don’t want them out means to him that you’re not…home," Sam said. She knew her friend well.
She pulled her lip between her teeth. "I’ll find some place for them. Just not the living room," she said softly.
"I think your idea of a display case for your bedroom is a good idea," Sam said gently.
"We’ll see," was all she would say.
"There’s a furniture store down the street. Let’s check it out," the tall blonde major suggested.
With a nod, Casey followed her to the parking lot.
A A A A A A
The search for a cabinet for her stereo became a moot point when she returned. Daniel was just finishing with the last cables when she walked in the door. Several of the artifacts sat on the floor around him. On the center shelf of the shelving unit sat her components, stacked neatly on top of one another.
He looked up and smiled at her when she walked in the door. "Hi, babe. Have fun?"
She stared at what he had done. "Why?"
"This is your home, Casey. I know how much you love music. This stereo is every bit as important to you as those ceremonial masks are to me. Probably more so. A home is about gathering around you things that are important to you, that you love and enjoy. I want you here, Case. Living here, not just staying here. Do you understand the difference?"
She nodded. She dropped the shopping bags by the dining room table. She sat down cross-legged on the floor beside him. "I’d like to get some baskets for my cds. They could just sit on the floor beside the shelves, if that’s okay," she said softly.
"That’s fine, babe, whatever you want." He finished connecting the last speaker to the amplifier. "Okay, where do you want the speakers?"
She looked around, indicated where she would put them. When he was finished, somehow the room wasn’t ‘ruined’ after all. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. It was at that moment that she saw her little figurines on the table.
"Those are really cute, babe. Where do you want them?"
"Back in the box," she said firmly, already re-wrapping one.
"Why?" He was frowning. Her stereo was out, but why was she fighting to keep these little things packed away?
She turned the question over in her head. "They don’t fit in here."
Now that was a worrisome response. "Why not?"
"I guess…because…they just don’t fit, Daniel. They’re cute and they’re fun and they’re adorable in a college dorm room, or even in a tiny apartment that two best friend share. But they don’t fit…not in a home that has this much…style…and elegance. I’ll keep them, most of them were birthday and Christmas gifts from my Grandma Rose. But I don’t want them out, not…here."
He nodded. "Okay. I’ll accept that. What about your clothes…are you going to leave them in boxes too?"
"The easier to slip out in the middle of the night with?" she asked, watching his face.
He started. He had been thinking along those very lines. Another nod…slower this time.
"Actually, smarty pants, I already looked in your closet. Not enough hangers." She grabbed one of the bags and turned it upside down. Several packages of hangers tumbled to the floor. "Now there are enough hangers. Now, about drawer space…"
He led her to the bedroom, a wide grin on his face. "Dresser is all yours babe, chest of drawers is mine."
She smiled up at him. "Daniel, I’m here to stay. I’m not going anywhere. Not without you."
"Hey, I told you I can be slow, but once I get it, I got it. What are you going to do with the things you took off of the shelves?"
"Hang them in the den," was the simple response.
She nodded. "Okay. That works. If you’ll go grab those hangers for me, I can get these boxes unpacked."
Thirty minutes later he was laying on the bed, his sides hurt from laughing, as she told him stories of her college days, her first days working at the factory. She had rolled on the floor at some of his stories. He watched her put her panties and bras into the dresser. Took note of where all the sexy little teddies went.
"Stay there, I have something I want to show you," she said. She was back a minute later with the magazines she had bought, the page from the notepad with Sam’s writing on it, and a calendar she had seen on his desk.
He grinned. "Wedding?"
"Wedding," she replied. She bounced onto the bed beside him, tossed the calendar at him. "Pick a date, sweetheart."
"Hmmm…what about the fourth?"
"Labor Day weekend?"
Why not indeed? It suddenly became difficult to breathe. It was for real now, official. She was getting married. Not just ‘someday’. Not even ‘in September’. No, it was for real. Honest to goodness going to happen. September 4th, 1999, she was going to become Mrs. Daniel Jackson.
He noted the look of panic on her face. His brain offered the perfect solution. He pulled her close and began to kiss her. Just as if he hadn’t already had that idea to begin with.
"I needed that," she said softly when he finally pulled his lips from hers.
"Good. I did, too," he replied, then kissed her again.
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