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No Matter the Time, II...an Alternate Love Story

Chapter 5

After breakfast, Daniel insisted on finding a jewelry store. He wanted a ring on her finger, proclaiming her as belonging to him, and him alone, as soon as possible. Again, following her directions, they went to the local mall, and visited the jewelers there.

She held his hand nervously as they entered the store. The salesman smiled at them.

"How can I help you folks today?" the gray-haired man asked.

"We need to look at your diamond rings," Daniel replied calmly. "At least a full carat, maybe two. Do you prefer white gold or yellow gold, babe?"

She shrugged. "Either is fine with me," she said softly.

"Platinum, then," Daniel decided. He led her to the counter where the engagement rings were displayed. They sat down in the chairs provided, waited for the salesman to open the case.

The man put nearly a dozen shining, sparkling rings on display for them. "Do you know what cut you prefer?" he asked her, a smile on his face.

She shook her head. "Not really."

Daniel smiled at her, his heart beating a tattoo against his ribs. "See anything you like?"

She glanced up at him, her eyes wide. Her look told him that she thought his question was totally ridiculous. She looked at all of the rings. Her glance went to the price of each one, and she couldn’t help but gasp.

Daniel watched her eyes, saw her looking at price first. He took her hand. "Excuse us for a minute," he said to the salesman. He tugged at her until she followed. He led her away from the counter a few feet, then turned her to look at him. He wreathed her beautiful face with his hands. "Don’t you dare look at the price tags. Just the rings. You let me worry about everything else. I have a couple dollars saved back, just so you know. You pick the ring you want. Understand?"

She nodded. Her parents had never even been ‘comfortable’, the bills at the end of each month straining against the income her father made as a welder. Living on her own, she had to pinch pennies to meet her own bills. To be told not to look at the price was a completely foreign concept to her. "I’ll try."

He nodded, then led her back, sat down beside her. "Now, which one of these do you like? If there isn’t anything here, we can go to another store," he said softly.

The rings were beautiful. The salesman had her try on each one, explaining the difference in cut, quality and setting.

Her mind was starting to spin from the amount of information she was receiving. Her eyes kept returning to a two-carat, emerald cut solitaire. It was nestled next to a band with three diamonds, and the salesman explained that the total carat weight for the band was also two carats. The stones seemed huge to her, they caught the light and sparkled invitingly.

Daniel was watching her, eased the emerald cut ring toward her, watched as she tried it on for the third time. He had already slid four of the rings back, she hadn’t even wanted to try on two of them. Her eyes were sparkling every bit as brightly as the diamonds were. She looked up at him, the look of wonder and love in her eyes almost knocked him off of the chair. She was holding her hand out, looking at the ring, her head cocked to the side the slightest bit. He leaned closer to her. "If you like it, just say so, babe," he whispered.

She looked at him, then slid the ring from her finger. "It’s beautiful," she said softly.

"Not nearly as beautiful as the woman who will be wearing it," he replied. "Is this the one you want?"

She studied the ring, the price tag screaming at her. She leaned over to whisper in his ear. "Daniel, that set is seventy-five hundred dollars!"

"What did I say about that, hmm? Let me worry about the price, babe. You just worry about what you want."

Once again the ring went onto her finger. She shook her head. It was so damned expensive! But it was absolutely gorgeous…she glanced over at Daniel. He was smiling that beautiful smile at her, his blue eyes full of love and laughter.

"Do you like that one?" he asked.

She looked down at the ring.

His hand was on her back, gently rubbing her slender shoulders. "Would you rather look somewhere else?"

She shook her head.

Daniel exchanged a grin with the salesman.

That man had known the minute her eyes fell on that particular ring set that she loved it. Her eyes rarely left it, and it stayed on her finger longer than any of the others. "Let me get a measurement of your finger, and then we can have this sized for you," he said, leading her where she already wanted to go. He pulled a group of metal bands, held together on a key chain ring, from beneath the counter. He took the ring from her finger, then deftly began sliding the bands on, finally nodding in satisfaction.

"How long to have it sized?" Daniel asked.

"Shouldn’t take more than an hour or so," the salesman replied.

"Can you have it ready by…" he checked his watch, subtracted one hour for the difference in time zone, "eleven?"

The salesman smiled. "Yes, sir, I certainly can."

Daniel nodded. "Great. Case, you’re okay with this, it’s the one you want?"

She was too overwhelmed to speak. She nodded.

"We’ll take it," he said, a wide grin on his face. He had never even thought about buying a ring for a woman before. He’d never even considered getting married before. On Abydos, Sha’re had been given to him, no thinking there, and rings weren’t exchanged, so he hadn’t had to worry about that. He wondered briefly what kind of ceremony Casey would want. He didn’t care. Whatever she wanted was fine with him, as long as the final result was that she was Mrs. Daniel Jackson.

When they had left the store, Casey was still stunned. But not so stunned that she wasn’t excited…and grateful. She grabbed his arm, turned him to face her, then leaned up and gently kissed his lips. "Thank you," she whispered.

"You’re welcome," he replied, smiling at the look of love in her eyes. God, he loved this woman!

They wandered in and out of the stores, doing nothing more than waiting for the jeweler to have her rings ready.

"So, big wedding or small?" he asked as they wandered through a display of crystal in Macy’s.

She started. She hadn’t really thought about it. "I…wow…I don’t know. What do you want?"

He laughed and shook his head. "Uh uh. This is your day we’re talking about. What do you want?"

She frowned. Like every other woman, as a little girl, even a teenager, she had dreamed about the wedding she might someday have. As she got older, she was convinced that she’d never find ‘Mr. Right’, and so had shoved that dream to the farthest corners of her mind. She pulled it from the back, shook it out, looked at it, and quickly discarded it. It just wasn’t…right. She looked at him, then smiled. "Something small. Very small. Intimate. I wouldn’t mind doing the white dress thing."

"Indoors or out?"

"Hmm…which do you prefer?"

"Casey," he said, his voice holding a warning tone.

"Daniel, this is your day, too!" she insisted.

"Babe, all I care about is making you my wife. The rest is totally up to you." He knew about marriage rites and ceremonies for dozens of cultures, mostly ancient. But when it came to his own, he didn’t know what he wanted, didn’t have a clue what to do. His main, and only, focus was to make Casey his. Permanently. Forever.

"No opinion on the flowers either?"

He grinned and shook his head.

"Okay, what about the reception?"

"Chocolate cake," he replied.

She giggled. "Well, we agree on that! I want dancing…lots of dancing."

"We can do that." He glanced at his watch. Five minutes to eleven. Wow. Time had gone so quickly, just walking and holding her hand and talking. "We’ll discuss the entire thing on the drive to Colorado," he said. He led her back to the jewelry store.

The salesman slid the ring on her finger. It was a perfect fit. The wedding band was as well. While Daniel took care of all of the paperwork, and signed the credit receipt, Casey looked at the platinum bands for men. She gasped slightly at the cost. "Grandma, I hope you don’t mind if I cash in those stocks you gave me. It’s a great investment, trust me," she murmured to herself. She would see about getting that done as soon as Daniel left. She didn’t know what size he wore, but they could fit his ring as they had done hers. She hurried back to where he stood, slid her arm around his waist. He smiled down at her, put the small box that contained her wedding band into his pocket, and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.

"So, when are we supposed to pick up Kelley for lunch?" he asked. He held the door open for her as they headed for the parking lot, grinned as she continued to look at the ring on her finger.

She grabbed his arm, looked at his watch. Realized it was set for Colorado time, made the proper adjustments mentally. "About forty minutes. With traffic, we should make it just in time."

He nodded. "Would it be easier for you to drive?"

"Yeah, might be, actually."

He tossed the keys to her, went to the passenger side of the car. He settled himself into the seat. And learned that she liked speed. A lot. He shook his head as she weaved in and out of traffic on the freeway. She sped down an off ramp. But at no time was he afraid. She was in total control, and he had faith in her abilities. A feeling not totally unknown to him. Something learned from working with Sam and Jack and Teal'c.

She pulled into the parking lot of a huge building, obviously a manufacturing site. She drove towards the front, where the offices were. She parked off to the side. "Kelley should be here any minute," she said as they got out and leaned against the front of the car.

Sure enough, the door opened, and a tall, thin woman with bright red hair emerged. She was followed by a short woman with dark hair and large, red-framed glasses.

"Crap. That’s Jan, my boss," Casey muttered. She grinned suddenly. "What do I care, I’m quitting anyway."

The two women approached the car, both of them staring curiously at Daniel.

"Casey, I really need you at your desk this afternoon," Jan said without preliminaries.

"I haven’t taken a day off in almost a year. I’m not coming in," Casey said stubbornly. She reached over and slid her fingers into Daniel’s hand. He could feel her trembling. He squeezed them reassuringly.

"You chose the wrong day to decide to play hooky," Jan fretted. "Wheeling and Hightower are in the office today. If you’re not at your desk-"

Casey huffed a sigh. "Okay, Jan, I’ll make it easy for you. I quit. I’ll be in Friday to clean out my desk."

Kelley’s mouth fell open. "Casey! Think about what you’re doing!" she gasped.

Casey looked up at her friend. "Kells, I was going to be giving my two week notice anyway. I’m moving to Colorado. I’m getting married."

Kelley leaned heavily against the car. She glanced at Daniel. He was good looking…but Case hadn’t even known the man twenty-four hours yet! "Casey, do you know what you’re doing?"

The young blonde smiled and nodded, pushed her hair back from her face. The sun caught the diamond, made it flash conspicuously.

"Holy cripes!" Kelley screeched, and grabbed her hand. "That thing is huge!"

Jan was also looking at the ring.

Casey grinned. "Daniel, sweetheart, I want you to meet Kelley, my roommate, for a few more days anyway, and my…uh…former boss, Jan. Ladies, this is Doctor Daniel Jackson, my…fiancé."

"Nice to meet you, Kelley, Jan," Daniel said. His heart and mind were still reeling from the endearment she had used. His mind flashed to a time in his life when that particular word had taken on such special meaning for him. He squeezed her fingers. She didn’t know what she had just given him. He did, and that was enough.

"Uh, nice to meet you too, Daniel," Kelley stammered.

Jan merely nodded, then looked hard at Casey. "I hope you know what you’re doing. There won’t be a job waiting here for you when you come crawling back," she said, her voice tinged with anger. "There isn’t a need for you to come back. Kelley will clean your desk out tonight. Your paycheck will be mailed to you." Without another word the woman turned and walked back to the building.

Kelley slid into the back seat of the car. "Okay, what kind of a doctor are you? How do you know Casey? Are you an axe murderer?"

"Kelley!" Casey protested, behind the wheel again.

Daniel chuckled. "I have a doctorate in archaeology. I also have doctorates in philology and anthropology. And if I were an axe murderer, which I’m not, I wouldn’t tell you, would I?"

Kelley giggled. "Cute and funny. Now answer the question about how you know Casey."

She didn’t miss the look exchanged between the two.

"Kells, just suffice it to say that we sort of met a couple of years ago. I made a big impression on him," Casey said, grinning at Daniel.

He grinned back at her.

"Uh huh. Sounds like a load of crap to me." She paused. "Oh, my god! Casey Renee Webster, tell me you didn’t meet this man on the Internet!"

"Now why didn’t I think of that," Casey murmured softly. "Okay, I didn’t meet him on the Internet. It doesn’t matter how we met, Kelley. Trust me when I tell you that I know in the very depths of my soul that Daniel is the man I’ve been waiting for. I love him, he loves me, and that’s just how it is." They were back on the freeway now, racing toward one of the women’s favorite lunch spots.

"Do you love her?" Kelley demanded from the man sitting beside her best friend and roommate. She didn’t miss the fact that he couldn’t seem to keep his hands off of her. Nothing sexual, more like assuring himself that she was really there. His arm was on the back of the seat, his fingers wrapped in her hair, his thumb moving against her cheek.

"With all my heart," he replied truthfully.

The skinny woman sat back and watched them. She personally believed in love at first sight. She just never figured to actually witness it happening.

The parking lot wasn’t crowded yet, but soon would be. The restaurant was small, but served the best Mexican food in Tacoma.

Kelley noticed that their arms went automatically around one another as they walked into the establishment. Casey had turned and winked at her, and never had she seen so much happiness in those green eyes. Daniel’s incredible blue eyes were filled with such love every time he looked at the blonde that there was no doubt in her mind that he was head-over-heels for the woman. She smiled. And silently wished them all the best in the world. And then sent up a prayer that her ‘Mr. Right’ would come knocking on the apartment door.

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