"Do you know what box the plates are in?" Sam called to Jack, who was doing something in the bathroom that required a lot of banging around. It sounded like he was trying to tear the pipes apart or remove them.
"Mmmm..I think they got put in the big box in the dining room." was Jack's slightly muffled reply.
Sam stepped into the dining room and stared at the veritable mountain of boxes. There were plenty of big ones. She marched over to one, wielding a knife. "Okay box, you will surrender the plates now!" she said and cut through the tape on top. In her mind, she imagined that the box was screaming and pleading for its life.
As Sam was pulling through the packing paper on top, the doorbell rang. "Can you get that?" Jack yelled from the bathroom, "I'm kind of busy right now! Ouch dammit!"
Sam left the box which had yet to produce the plates and went over to the door. It was Mr. La Grupa. Sam pasted a smile on her face and said hello.
"You must be Lisa!" said Stan.
Sam smiled and nodded, "And you are?"
"Stanley La Grupa, but you can call me Stan. Your husband and I met yesterday. I live in the brown house across the street."
"Ah, yes. It's nice to meet you Stan."
Stan smiled, showing his white teeth. Sam wanted to back away but stayed where she was. "I just thought that I'd come over and see how you folks were making out."
"We're doing fine. I was just trying to find some plates so that I could make a proper dinner tonight."
"Where is your husband, Charles is it?"
"Yes Charles. He's in the bathroom, doing something with the pipes I think."
"Your pipes leaking?" Stan asked, looking eager to help.
"Yeah, something like that. I'm sure he would appreciate some help." Sam said, trying not to sound false.
Stan nodded and stepped by Sam and headed towards the bathroom. Sam couldn't help but notice that he knew exactly where he was going. It was possible, of course, that he had known the previous occupants of the house, but it made Sam uneasy.
Sam heard Stan talking to Jack in the bathroom and decided to try and ignore the fact that a Goa'uld could be in the house with her and keep looking for those plates. She knelt down beside the box that she had opened and began rummaging through the papers again.
"Was Stan any help with the pipes?" Sam asked Jack later that day. Jack shrugged and pulled at his shirt, which Sam was trying not to notice was kind of sweaty.
"He might be a good auto mechanic, but he's no plumber. I can't believe how hot it is here! I feel like I'm swimming in the air."
"It's the humidity, we'll have to get the air conditioner running soon."
"Did you ever find the plates?"
Sam nodded and gestured to a stack of plates sitting on the counter beside the sink, "Yes, after I looked through all the boxes in the dining room. I can't believe the Air Force gave us this much stuff."
Jack shook his head, "A million teacups and saucers, but they couldn't spring for another bed."
"I told you that we could take turns sleeping on the couch."
"I think we should try to requisition another bed. They seem to be taking this whole 'married couple' thing too far. Plenty of married couples have extra beds!"
"I need to go to shopping," Sam said gazing over at the fridge, "We have no food in the house."
"Let me get changed, then we'll find a store, 'kay?"
Sam nodded and went over to the living room window. She saw Stan out in his front lawn, apparently doing some weeding. He stood up and put both hands on his back to stretch it out. A large wheelbarrow was beside him, clumps of dirt were hanging over the edge. Stan saw Sam standing in her window and waved at her. Startled, Sam waved back before turning around and leaving the window.
Goa'ulds don't normally weed their lawns, Sam thought, but this was no ordinary Goa'uld.
"Oh Carter, I meant to ask you," Jack said, walking into the living room, still tucking his shirt into his pants, "Did you get any feeling from our man Stan?"
"Yes, he is a Goa'uld, there's no doubt about it."
"Do you think it's possible that he's not a bad Goa'uld?" Jack asked as he searched his coat pocket for the car keys.
"Like the Tok'ra?"
"Yeah like the Tok'ra." Jack had found his keys and was heading out of the house. Sam followed him, still trying to tug on her sandals.
Sam shrugged, "I suppose that it's possible. It would explain why his voice isn't modified and why his eyes don't glow. The Goa'uld might be letting the host stay in charge."
"I think I saw a grocery store near that Chinese place food yesterday." Jack said under his breath.
"Oh I was just talking to myself, I said I that I think I saw a grocery store near that Chinese food place we were at yesterday."
Sam shut the car door, "That was good food, even if their iced tea left something to be desired. Have you seen anyone else on this street besides Stan?"
Jack shook his head, "I haven't really been looking for anyone. You're not thinking that Stan's killed everyone do you?"
Sam laughed, "No, the police would have arrested him long ago if that were the case. I would think that many shallow graves in his backyard would be a dead give away."
"Maybe they're just all really busy with their jobs."
Sam nodded, "Yep, they're all working real hard down at that hardware store."
"I was thinking of maybe getting a job there myself."
Sam raised an eyebrow, "Really?"
"Sure, why not? We both can't not work for too long. You don't think I could work there?"
"I guess I've just never seen you as a hardware type guy."
"Well, I don't think there's a whole lot of strategic battle planning, or black ops for me to do around here."
Sam shook her head and sighed, leaning her head against the window. Jack glanced over at her and then turned his head back towards the road as a small black pick-up pulled out in front of him. Jack slammed on the brakes, causing Sam to smack her head against the window.
"Idiot!" Jack yelled, slamming his hands on the steering wheel, "I hate it when people don't even bother to look before pulling out onto the road."
Sam sighed again and rubbed her head, "I think that's a grocery store over there." she said, "I think I should pick up some Advil while we're there."
Sam put the milk away in the fridge, then closed the door and scrunched up the plastic bag. Jack was mucking around with patio furniture on the deck. Lord knows why the Air Force felt they had to supply them with cheap patio furniture.
As Sam went to grab a glass from the cupboard, a small knock sounded at the front door. Sam prayed that it wasn't Mr. La Grupa coming over to help Jack organize that patio. She wouldn't have been surprised.
Sam looked through the small peep hole and saw a distorted image of a woman. Sam put on a smile and opened the door. The woman standing on the stoop was short, much smaller than Sam herself, with blonde hair pulled back into a loose ponytail.
"Hello," the woman said, extending her hand, "My name's Bonnie. I live just down the street from you. I'm sorry that I couldn't stop by sooner, but you know how work goes these days, it's impossible to get away sometimes."
Sam took the woman's hand and shook it, "My name's Lisa. Lisa Callaghan."
"Lisa is such a pretty name," Bonnie said, "I have a cousin named Lisa."
Sam grinned at the woman. She seemed very friendly. "My husband is out on the deck trying to perfect the patio furniture. Do you want to come in and have a drink?"
Bonnie looked a bit hesitant but soon agreed. "You have a lovely house." Bonnie said.
"Uh thanks, I guess. We're going to get the outside repainted soon. Do you happen to know who lived here before us?"
Bonnie nodded, "It was an older woman. She had three small dogs, Yorkies I think, and she kept a beautiful garden out back."
"I have some orange juice, cider and some coolers."
"I have to go out again tonight, so I'll have some orange juice, thank you."
"What happened to the lady, did she move out?"
Bonnie looked a bit nervous, she was wringing her hands. "Well, kind of. She died actually, about four months ago."
"Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't know." Sam said honestly.
"It's alright, we weren't really close or anything. I looked after the dogs sometimes if she had to go out somewhere. She'd bring over flowers from her garden occasionally."
The patio door slid open and Jack stepped into the house, wiping the sweat from his brow. He smiled at Bonnie and went over to pour himself a glass of juice.
"Charles," Sam said, "This is Bonnie, she lives down the street. Bonnie, this is my husband Charles."
Jack put down his glass and shook hands with Bonnie, "It's nice to finally meet someone Bonnie!"
Bonnie looked puzzled, "You haven't met anyone else?"
"Aside from Stan across the way, no one." Sam said.
"Stan's a good guy. He would come over and help Mrs. Hatten sometimes. She's the one that owned this house before you two."
"Have you lived here long Bonnie?" Jack asked, pouring himself another glass of juice.
Bonnie's foot began to tap on the floor, "Uhm, a couple of years. Not long really, no."
Sam and Jack exchanged glances and both looked at Bonnie's tapping foot and wringing hands. Bonnie put down her glass and stood up, "Well, I should probably be going. It was really nice to meet you Charles and Lisa!"
"I'll see you to the door." Sam said, putting down her glass. Jack just smiled.
Sam led Bonnie to the door and waved her off. Jack joined Sam as she shut the door. "Well," Jack said, "that was strange."
Sam almost laughed, "If Teal'c were here, he'd probably say indeed."
Jack raised an eyebrow in an almost perfect Teal'c-esque fashion, "Indeed." he said, trying to keep a straight face. Sam giggled.
"Seriously though sir," Sam said, sobering up, "I think that something isn't right around here. This whole neighbourhood seems a bit off."
"Stop calling me sir, what if someone heard you? And no, something definitely isn't right around here."
"I feel like I'm stuck in an episode of the Twilight Zone or the X-Files. Ah well, anyway, did you get that patio furniture set up?"
Jack nodded and flexed his muscles, "Me big man. Me conquer patio furniture."
Sam gave Jack a look and laughed again, "Good, at least we can eat outside tonight. I was thinking that I'd make potato salad for supper?"
"Just a potato salad?"
"If you feel like barbequing we could have chicken breasts too."
"Do we have any propane?"
Sam shrugged, "I don't know. What was in those boxes that were put in the shed?"
"I don't know, I guess I'll go look."
"You wanna look for a shovel while you're at it? We still have to bury that cat."
Jack nodded and stepped out the door and slipped around the side of the house.
"Do you think that we should have put a stone over the grave or something?"
Jack spat a mouthful of toothpaste into the sink, "Why?"
Sam grabbed a facecloth from the towel rack, "So that something doesn't try to dig it up."
"We can do that tomorrow, assuming that something hasn't dug it up already. Can you pass me the glass?"
Sam handed Jack the glass and set to work washing her face. "I was thinking sir, I can take the couch tonight if you want."
"I thought I told you to stop calling me sir."
"Sorry, old habits die hard. Do you want me to take the couch? You've been doing a lot of work today, your body might thank you."
Jack considered that for a moment, "Why can't we both take the bed? he said finally, "It's a king, plenty big enough for the both of us."
"Oh, well, I don't know." Sam said slowly.
"I promise that I won't try to cuddle," Jack said, "if that's what you're worried about."
Sam felt a blush spreading over her cheeks, "No, it's not that, it's just.."
"Look, if it really bothers you, take the couch then."
Sam nodded, looking at her face in the mirror. Large red spots had appeared on her cheeks, "I think I'll take the couch."
"Suit yourself. I'm going to bed now."
Sam watched Jack's retreating form in the mirror and cursed herself for being so immature. It wasn't like Jack was going to try to seduce her if they slept in the same bed. His suggestion had been harmless. She put the facecloth back on the rack, brushed her teeth and headed out to the living room.
The drapes were drawn across the large window but the boxes littering the room were still illuminated by the faint glow coming from outside. She threw a pillow down at one end of the couch and laid down, pulling a sheet up over herself. It was still too hot for anything heavier.
Sam tossed and turned for a while, trying to get comfortable on the narrow couch. Obviously the Air Force hadn't bought the couch for comfort. Outside a car door slammed. Curious, Sam got up and went over the window. She drew the curtains aside just enough so that she could peek. Another car had appeared behind Stan's red one. Two men had gotten out and were heading up along the walk. She watched as they waited outside for a minute, before the door opened and admitted them into the house.
Sam pondered this for a few minutes before her brain decided that it was too tired to come up with theories and told her to lay back down and get some sleep. Sam obliged and soon fell into a restless sleep.
"Morning Lisa, how did you sleep last night, honey?"
Sam glanced up at Jack as he entered the kitchen with a huge grin on his face.
"Mmphmm." she said, not caring if she spat toast crumbs all over the counter.
"That well huh?"
"Did you know that Mr Stan had a few visitors late last night?"
Jack picked a box of Corn Pops up from the shelf, "No, I didn't. Who do you think they were?"
Sam shrugged, "I don't know, I couldn't get a good look at them. They were driving a fairly expensive looking car though. It might have been a BMW."
Jack dumped the cereal into a bowl and then looked at the counter, "Where did you put the sugar?"
"Sugar? You want sugar on that cereal?"
Jack shrugged, "The heart wants what the heart wants."
Sam grimaced, "It's in the second cupboard to your left, top shelf. And you know, for a guy who hates cliches so much, you sure do use a lot of them."
Jack happily sprinkled sugar over his Corn Pops, "C'est la vie Lisa, c'est la vie. So what's the plan for today?"
"I was thinking that maybe you should go and apply for a few jobs. I'll stay here like the happy homemaker that I am."
"Oh, good plan!" Jack said, "I put the resumes supplied by the government somewhere. Wherever my briefcase ended up is where the resumes ended up."
"I just hope that Stan doesn't decide to drop by again today." Sam said with a shudder.
"I'll my cell with me," Jack said seriously, "If he does drop by and starts giving you trouble, call me. I'm serious Sam, call me."
"I can take care of myself." Sam muttered under her breath.
Jack either didn't hear her or chose to ignore that comment. Sam watched as he ate sugar coated Corn Pops, pretending not to feel some thrill over Jack's protective statement. Sam decided then that she was seriously in denial.