Janet put down the phone, a frown creased her face. "That was the General." she said, with a small amount of disdain in her voice. "He's ordering Daniel and I back to the base."
"What? He can't do that! We need you here!" Sam cried.
"I guess they couldn't survive another a couple of days without their chief medical officer or archaeologist/anthropologist/linguist, or whatever the hell Daniel is these days." Janet said, putting her hands on her hips. "I can't disobey a direct order Sam."
"Doesn't he know what we're possibly up against here?"
"What's going on?" Jack asked as he walked into the room, carrying a large clay something.
"Janet and Daniel have been recalled, and what is that in your arms?"
"It's a flower pot, you know, for planting flowers in? I found it on sale at the market, I thought you might like it." Jack said, trying to sound nonchalant about buying Sam a gift. "Now what's this about being recalled?" he said, addressing Janet.
Janet glared at the phone, as though it had something to do with the whole situation. "I just got off the phone with the General. Apparently they're in dire need of Daniel and I back at the base."
Jack set the flower pot down on the counter. "Is he nuts? I realize he's getting up there in years, but I didn't think he'd gone senile yet. We need backup here. Sam and I can't do this alone."
Janet sighed, "I have a feeling that his orders came from higher up."
"So he's just going to leave Sam and I alone with at least one confirmed Goa'uld and another person who is possibly trying to implant Goa'ulds into animals? If Stan or his pal find out who we really are, or how much we know; we're as good as dead."
"I can't change the orders sir, I wish I could. If you want to quibble with someone, here's the phone. Call the General." Janet said, handing the receiver to Jack.
Sam was examining the flower pot. She scratched at the clay with her fingernail and watched as tiny fragments of it tumbled down onto the counter. They collected to form a small red pile of dust. Sam blew the pile into oblivion.
"Any idea where Daniel is?" Janet asked, "I'd better give him the news and tell him to start packing."
"I told him to weed the garden." Sam replied. "He was bothering me, so I sent him outside. He should be out back."
Janet left the house through the sliding door leaving Sam and Jack alone. "Thanks for the pot." Sam said, gesturing to the clay object. "It's perfect for those flowers I bought the other day."
Jack grinned. "That's what I was thinking of when I bought it. You had mentioned that you needed a pot, and when I saw this one..."
"So, what are we supposed to do now?" Sam asked then exhaled loudly through her nose.
"Plant some flowers? Or were you talking about the Goa'uld situation?"
"I was talking about the Goa'uld situation. The General had been updated on what Janet found, it doesn't make sense for him to pull Janet and Daniel out."
"Like the doc said, I think his orders came from higher up."
"So the President wants just the two of us here? That doesn't make sense either. Do you suppose that the NID have anything to do with this?"
"Could be, I wouldn't put anything past those bastards." Jack said disdainfully. Even the slightest mention of the NID left a bad taste in Jack's mouth.
The door slid open and Janet walked in, followed by a dirt smeared Daniel. "I can't believe that the General would do anything so stupid!" Daniel said angrily, the straw hat on his head bobbing.
"Nice war paint Danny." Jack said. "What happened to you? Get attacked by the spade?"
Daniel scowled. "I'll have you know that weeding a garden is a lot harder than it looks."
"Maybe you should take a shower and then pack." Janet suggested lightly. "I have to pack up all my equipment that's in basement."
Daniel scowled at Jack one more time before turning on his heels and marching down the hall. Sam watched the dirty footprints appear on the carpet and winced. Janet headed down the steps to the basement saying that she'd yell if she needed any help.
"I think we'd better see about renting one of those carpet cleaner things at the store the next time we're there." Sam said.
"I think that might be a good idea." replied Jack.
Sam and Jack waved farewell to Janet and Daniel as they sped off down the road. Across the street, Stan had also watched the couple leave as he trimmed his hedges. Jack noticed Stan and waved hello to him. Stan flashed a blinding smile and waved back.
"You up for baseball tonight neighbour?" called Stan, waving around his hedge clippers.
Jack pretended to take a few swings with a bat and clutched his arm in mock pain. "Not sure Stan. Lisa's been working me hard in the garden!"
Sam cuffed Jack on the shoulder. "Put some ice on it." Stan called back. "It'll be as good as new!"
"Today isn't the usual baseball night!" Jack yelled.
"A few of the guys can't make it for the usual, we've had to reschedule it and tonight's the lucky night."
Jack recalled how terrible he felt after the last baseball night, which wasn't that long ago. He could always skip out on the trip to the pub. "Yeah okay, sounds good to me. I'll have to skip the pub though."
"Aw come on Charles. That's the whole point of playing baseball!" Stan called, the sun reflecting off his teeth.
Jack shook his head, pretending to be sorry. "I've got a big day planned for tomorrow. I can't be stayin' out late and drinking again!"
Sam raised her eyebrows. She knew nothing of any big plans for tomorrow. "Well, alright Charles." Stan said, snipping a large branch. "You can drive yourself over to the field tonight. You should know the way by now."
Jack nodded, "I'll be there."
Wrapping his arm around Sam's shoulders, Jack led her back into the house. "I don't think I could handle another hang over." he said to Sam once the door was closed. "I have some disturbing memories from the last time."
Sam tried to hide her grin. "What kind of memories?"
Jack felt his face grow warm. He coughed. "Let's just say they're kind of personal."
"Do they involve Janet at all?"
Jack's eyes widened. He gaped at Sam. "She told you?"
"She didn't think you'd remember doing anything. You were pretty out of it."
"Great." Jack said. "I walk in on her while she'd getting dressed once and she tells the whole world."
"I hardly think that I constitute the whole world." Sam said. "I haven't told anyone else."
"So Daniel doesn't know?"
"Not unless Janet told him."
"Good, because he'd kick my ass if he knew."
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Daniel would kick your ass? Somehow I'm not seeing that happening."
"Let's just say that Daniel feels a bit protective of the good doctor."
Sam scratched a mosquito bite on her arm. "Daniel likes Janet?"
Jack shrugged. "I'm sworn to secrecy."
"Do we have any calamine lotion?" Sam asked, as she found another mosquito bite near her ankle. "I think that the mosquitoes must have tried to eat me alive."
"They must have found you particularly tasty. " Jack said rather smugly. "I don't have any bites."
"That's because they were all feasting over at the all-you-can-eat Sam."
Jack gave Sam smug grin and went into the kitchen to pour himself a glass of juice. The sweltering weather had prevailed for much of the time they had been here. According to the weather service though, a storm front was supposed to move into the area later in the week, bringing with it heavy rains and winds. The grass in the front lawn was turning brown from lack of water and Sam's garden was barely surviving. Aside from the rain that had come during the baseball games, there had been constant sunshine.
"You think we should put the sprinkler on the lawn?" Sam called to Jack, gazing out at the fried grass.
"And run through with our gym shorts on?" Jack called back.
"What?" Sam yelled, feeling slightly confused. She wondered why Jack wanted to run through the sprinkler.
"It's from a song." Jack said laughing a bit. "It's by the Barenaked Ladies. It's called 'Pinch Me'."
"Sounds like a painful song. Seriously, should we put the sprinkler on? Is it our day to water?"
Jack wandered into the living room, with a large glass of orange juice in his hand. "It is looking sort of pitiful. Maybe we should give it some water. Look, Stan's got his sprinkler on."
"How does he get his lawn to stay so green?" Sam asked, with not the least bit of jealousy.
"Want me to ask him?"
"No, not really. That was more of a rhetorical question. I'm going to get the sprinkler."
Sam disappeared out the sliding door and went to rummage through the garden shed. The shed was a small dusty aluminum sided building. Inside were a few shovels, hoes and other assorted garden tools. The sprinkler was on the floor beside an empty garbage can. Sam picked it up and carried it around to the front of the house.
The hose was laying coiled up beside the front steps. Sam hooked the sprinkler up to it and set it in the middle of the lawn. She then went over to the tap and turned the knob. Water rose from the sprinkler and began to wave in the air. Feeling a sudden childish urge over take her, Sam went over to the sprinkler and stuck her foot in the spray.
The water was warm as it had been sitting in the hose for days. Sam smiled and stuck her hand in. From the living room window, Jack watched Sam's face blossom into a huge grin as she put her other foot into the spray. Jack snuck a glance across the street at Stan and saw that he too was watching Sam.
"Pervert." Jack muttered under his breath. "Don't look at my wife like that."
Sam had now progressed to leaping through the sprinkler, not caring if her clothes got wet. She had spent three weeks now being someone she wasn't. Three weeks living across the street from a Goa'uld. Three weeks pretending that she wasn't enjoying being married to Jack. If she wanted to run through the sprinkler, she'd damn well run through the sprinkler. With her gym shorts on.
"Bonnie's invited us over for supper."
"At her place?" Jack asked fearfully. He still couldn't look at Bonnie without blushing. He hoped that she'd forgotten about what she saw through the living room window.
Sam nodded. "She's invited some of her other friends from work too. She thinks that it will be a good way for us to meet some new people."
"Fantastic." Jack said, with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. "And when is this dinner party taking place?"
"Tomorrow night. I'm bringing a salad."
"It's nice that the temperature has cooled down somewhat." Jack said, hoping to change the subject. "Although it's too chilly to run through the sprinkler now."
"Would you let that go already?" Sam said peevishly. "What were you doing watching me anyway?"
"For the hundredth time, I wasn't watching you. I was watching Stan and I happened to catch you frolicking out of the corner of my eye."
"I wasn't frolicking."
"Whatever. So, what salad are you bringing?" Jack said, changing the subject again.
"I was thinking of doing a three bean salad."
"I don't like three bean salad."
"Oh." Jack muttered. He made a mental to himself to pick some flowers for Sam the next time he was out. A very large, expensive bouquet of flowers. Maybe some roses. Sam liked roses.
Sam adjusted Jack's shirt collar as he rang the doorbell. "Would you stop pulling around at my collar?" Jack asked with exasperation. Sam had already fixed his collar twenty times since they'd left the house.
"It's still crooked."
Sam opened her mouth to reply but was stopped by the door opening. Bonnie smiled at the two of them. "Come on in. Everyone else is already here. You can put your jackets over there and then we'll do the introductions."
Sam handed Bonnie a bowl. "I brought the salad. It's a three bean salad, I hope that's alright."
"I love three bean salad!"
Sam smirked at Jack. Jack scowled. The roses covering the dining room table hadn't been enough to discourage Sam from making her bean salad.
After discarding their jackets, Bonnie led them into her living room. There were three other couples sitting on the couch and in chairs.
"Everyone." Bonnie began. "I'd like you to meet Lisa and Charles Callaghan. They live just down the street. They moved in about a month ago."
Everyone nodded and smiled at Sam and Jack. Jack adjusted his collar and smiled back.
Bonnie gestured to a plump brown haired woman sitting in an easy chair. "This is Rosalind, she's a bank teller, like myself. And this is her husband, Ben." Rosalind and Ben smiled and Rosalind waved.
Next Bonnie pointed to a nervous looking red haired woman sitting beside a burly man on the couch. "This is Caitlin and her husband James. Caitlin is a loan officer."
"And finally." Bonnie continued. "Here is Theo and his wife Corene. Theo is our market analysis guy."
Sam and Jack exchanged hellos with all the couples. "Well now." Bonnie said happily. "Now that everyone's here, let's eat! The plates are on the counter, help yourself to whatever you would like and feel free in the living room!"
People began moving towards the kitchen area. "This was a bad idea." Jack whispered to Sam.
"Why?" Sam whispered back.
"It just was. I don't like socializing."
"I know you don't, but we have to do this, Charles. So come on, let's get some food."
Sam and Jack loaded their plates with chicken, rice, pasta and Sam took some salad. They ate in the living room where Sam got to know Rosalind while Jack exchanged sports comments with Theo. The evening passed without incident and soon the two were retrieving their jackets and bidding a farewell to Bonnie and her friends.
The night air was crisp and the clouds were hanging low. Sam and Jack walked down the deserted sidewalk, their footsteps echoing off the houses. Some of the houses had lights on in the windows, but only Stan's had the front light shining.
"That was a nice evening." Sam said quietly, afraid to shatter the silence.
Jack nodded. "It was okay."
"You and Theo seemed to be getting along well."
"He's a good guy. Reminded me of some people I once served with."
"Certainly is chilly out." Sam commented, hugging herself.
Jack slung an arm around Sam and pulled her closer to him. "We're going to have to get the heavier blankets out tonight."
They reached their house and walked up the steps. Jack dug the key out from his pocket and unlocked the door. They stepped inside and Jack shut the door. Inside, it was warm. The scent of roses hung in the air. Sam chuckled softly, remembering Jack coming through the door with his arms loaded up with roses for her. It was his way of saying sorry for teasing her about the sprinkler.
Jack yawned. Sam glanced at the clock on the stereo. "It's pretty late." she said. "You can go to bed if you want. I'm going to stay up for a while yet."
Jack nodded. "Are the blankets in the linen closet?"
"Yes, they should be there."
"Goodnight." Jack said to Sam before heading down the hall. Sam heard him stop at the closet, the door creaking softly as he opened it. The blanket was thrown on the bed and Jack went into the washroom.
Sam sat down on the sofa and pulled a plaid blanket over her shoulders. She reached for the remote beside her on the end table and the tv flickered to life. It was on TSN, a baseball game was in the last inning. Sam turned the volume down and flipped channels until she found a movie to watch.
Jack finished in the washroom and went into his room. Sam had the master bedroom and he got the guest room. He took off his shirt and hung it up in the closet. His pants were tossed to the floor. A t-shirt was taken from his drawer and put on. Jack thought about wearing his pyjama pants but decided this his boxers would do. He spread the blanket over the bed and turned off the light. Jack got into bed and pulled up the covers.
Sam woke up and worked the kinks from her neck. Her movie had long since ended. The television was now showing an old black and white sitcom that Sam didn't recognize. She shivered realizing that her blanket had fallen to the floor. She rubbed her eyes and flicked the tv off.
The room was dark save for a faint light coming through the curtains. Sam got off the sofa and opened the curtains a crack. A black car was parked in front of Stan's house, the same black BMW that she had seen weeks ago. There was no one in sight so Sam let the curtains fall back into place and padded down the hall to the bathroom.
After washing her face, brushing her teeth and using the toilet, Sam exited the washroom. She started for the linen closet but paused at the doorway to Jack's room. She could hear him snoring softly. Sam smiled and continued to the closet. It creaked as she opened it and took out a blanket. Her pyjamas were still lying on her bed and Sam picked them up and put them on.
Sam tossed the blanket over the bed and made sure that it went down to the bottom. She pulled the covers back and laid down in the cold bed. She thought about Jack, snoring softly. He was alone too. In his cold bed. Sam threw the covers back and sat up.
Carrying only a pillow Sam pushed open the door to Jack's room. She slipped into the bed, careful not to wake him. Jack shifted slightly. Sam put the pillow behind her head and closed her eyes. Jack shifted again and threw an around her, pulling her towards him.