A Road Not Taken - Part Ten


 "Are you absolutely sure about this?" Brad Richards, Sam's latest boyfriend, asked as he pulled up in front of the house Sam had pointed out.

"Yes, Brad. You know Daniel and I are friends. It only makes sense for us to want to go to the homecoming dance together." She paused as the young man next to her narrowed his eyes. "That didn't come out right," she said, cringing.

"Go get him and let's get this over with."

Sam hopped out of the car and went up to the front door. She didn't have to wait long after she'd pressed the doorbell before Daniel answered it. She was surprised when she realized she actually had to look up at him slightly. Wasn't it just yesterday that they were eye to eye in height? "Oh, hi, Sam," he greeted her with a smile. "Rebecca's just doing a last-minute once-over of her hair and make up."

The blonde laughed. "I completely understand. You know, this is a really nice thing you're doing for her."

Daniel shrugged. "It's her first chance to go to a 'real' dance, as she put it. And since she's a freshman, the only way she can go is if a senior takes her. It's not like I had a date."

"Aren't you a little worried about the ribbing you might get for taking your foster sister?"

"Like I don't get teased as it is? Glasses, out-of-date flannel shirts, and an affinity for books are not a recipe for popularity." He gave her a rueful grin that quickly turned genuine. "But who needs popularity when I can't do any better than the friends I have?"

Before Sam could respond, Rebecca Grant, Daniel's fourteen-year-old foster sister, came bouncing up and grabbed a hold of Daniel's arm. "Thank you again, Daniel," the petite brunette said with a wide grin. "This really means a lot."

Daniel smiled down on her. "You're welcome, Rebecca. Now we should really get going. I think Sam's boyfriend is getting impatient."

Sam spun around at the comment and realized Daniel was right. Brad was leaning over on the front bench seat of his car glaring out the passenger side window. "Uh, yeah. Let's go."

Three hours later, the four of them had gone to dinner and were currently sitting in the bleachers on the western side of the gym the dance was being held in. "I'm a bit thirsty," Rebecca announced, having just gotten done dancing to a couple fast-beat songs with a large crowd of other people. "I'm going to go over to the refreshment table and grab something. Did you want anything, Daniel?"

"No thank you," Daniel replied.

"Sam?" she asked the blonde sitting next to her foster brother.

"Sure. But I think I'll go with you. Brad, can I get you something?"

He nodded. "Just a glass of punch would be fine, thanks." He watched the two girls go then turned to Daniel with a scowl. "You know, I really don't get what Sam sees in you."

Daniel blinked in surprise. "What?"

"You heard me."

"Okay, you've got me there, but that doesn't mean I understand what you mean."

"The way she's always talking about you, all the study sessions, her insisting on making this a double date when she found out you were taking your sister..."

"Foster sister," Daniel corrected him.

Brad shrugged it off. "All that tends to make a guy think there might be something else going on," he continued. "Or that another guy might be trying to get something else going on." His voice had turned cold and his gaze sharp.

Daniel sighed. "Sam is my friend. There's nothing beyond that going on between us. And I don't have any designs on changing that."

The older boy scoffed. "Oh, come on. You can't tell me you don't think Sam's hot."

"I don't believe I ever said anything like that."

"Then you do want her!"

"I didn't say that either. Sam is an attractive young woman, very much so. But she's my friend, one of my best friends. And that's all there is to that." Daniel was beginning to get irritated with the conversation.

"Sam just seems to care a lot more about you than any friend I've ever had." Suspicion was still thick in Brad's tone.

Daniel's irritation had reached its apex and he rose to his feet. "Then I guess you haven't had the right friends," he said a bit haughtily before walking off in the direction the girls had gone.

Sam and Rebecca turned around surprised when Daniel joined them in the middle of their girl talk. "Daniel, is something wrong?" Sam asked, concerned when she realized her friend's face was an emotionless mask.

"Everything's fine," Daniel replied, forcing a smile onto his face. "I just decided I wanted something to drink."

"Why don't I buy that?" Sam insisted, shifting her fists to rest on her hips.

"Really, Sam, I'm fine," Daniel repeated, sounding much more natural as his body relaxed. "You don't have to worry."

Rebecca watched with wide eyes as Sam physically backed down. She'd never seen a guy and a girl who weren't dating act this concerned about each other before. Daniel had told her it was possible for a person to have a deep, fulfilling friendship with a member of the opposite sex, but she hadn't believed him until that very moment. She'd seen Sam with Brad, and they were very obviously a couple, but yet she was just as obviously close to Daniel. It was a valuable lesson.

Sam sighed. "I'm probably going to do that anyway, but I'll let it go for now. So how about sharing the next slow song?"

Daniel shook his head. "Thanks for the offer, but I believe I owe one to Rebecca." He smiled at shorter girl. "You've only had a chance to dance to the upbeat stuff."

The petite brunette grinned. "I'd love that, thank you."

"Later then, Daniel?" Sam asked, unperturbed.

"I'll have to check my dance card," Daniel said with mock hauteur before grinning. "That and I think Brad's beginning to miss you." There was a flicker of something that flashed through the crinkled blue eyes at the other boy's name, but it was gone before it could be identified.

Sam laughed. "You may have a point. I'll go take him his punch." She grabbed a glass and headed back.

Daniel and Rebecca watched her go. Then, as the two of them stepped into the crowd of swaying couples at the start of the next song, a slow ballad, Rebecca put her arms around Daniel's neck and gave him a quizzical look. "Hey, Daniel," she began, her tone revealing her confusion as much as her expression. "There's just one question I have about that whole exchange."

"Yes?" he returned a bit stiffly, slipping his arms around her waist and beginning to lead her slowly around the dance area.

"What's a dance card?"

Daniel was caught completely off-guard by the question and began to laugh, quickly setting off his dance partner. They ended up laughing through the whole song.

* * * * * * * *

"Dear Daniel,

"Well, I have to admit your last letter was very interesting. I never would have expected you of all people to get involved in a fight, even as limited an involvement as you had. Is Brad out of the hospital yet? How's your shiner doing? Can Sam use her right hand yet? Did Rebecca get in trouble when you two got home?

"You'd think anyone who was dating Sam would realize that you guys are best friends and because of that are a package deal. Sara had to realize that with me (thanks for talking to her at my graduation by the way - I bet you thought I didn't know about that). Any girlfriend you end up with is going to have to realize you're a package deal too. And they'd been dating how long? A month and a half? Is he really that stupid? Don't answer that. I think the answer is abundantly clear.

"The one thing I have to ask is did you realize you were lighting his fuse when you danced with Sam near the end of the night? He'd already gotten in your face about how close you were to his girlfriend, and then you go and dance with her. Some guys are bound to take that as rubbing things in their face, and they usually don't take it very well. What happened that night is the perfect example. Although it was Sam who asked, so I can't really give you that hard a time.

"As incredible as the whole scenario is, I could just picture the whole thing playing out. Brad coming up to the two of you dancing and shoving you apart, swearing at you at the top of his lungs before throwing a punch that knocks you to the floor. Sam follows that up with a shove, pushing Brad away from you and the rest of the crowd, yelling at him the entire time. He shoves her back, inciting Rebecca to jump forward and grab onto his legs, making him topple over to the crowd's amusement. However, she inadvertently takes a heel to the chin, knocking her back out of the fight. Meanwhile, you manage to catch Sam before she can fall, and spend the time it takes for Brad to tussle with Rebecca and get back on his feet trying to convince her to stop fighting, that it isn't worth it. She's a bit too riled up and gets back in Brad's face once he's regained his feet, although she does restrain herself physically out of respect for you. Her words and his reluctance to hit a girl have Sam forcing him back toward the equipment storage room, reaming him out the whole way with him snapping back just as angrily. Finally, he's had enough and cocks back a fist. You and Rebecca, who have followed them out of major concern, yell out a warning, letting Sam dodge the blow, inadvertently slamming her hand into the concrete brick wall. But the punch throws Brad off balance, and when Sam jumps back to where she'd been standing, she accidentally forces him to fly into the storage room, whose door is unexpectedly unlocked. His uncontrolled tumble proceeds to bring the shelves down on him in their entirety, requiring an ambulance to take him to the hospital. Thankfully, a couple of the chaperones and a whole lot of students witnessed the event, and their statements on top of your accounts get you off with only a slight admonishment, as the administration doesn't want to do anything to tarnish the records of the daughter of an Air Force general stationed at the base that provides a whole lot of income to the area and a foster care prodigy who are both looking at enough scholarships to significantly reduce the national debt because they're both geniuses and the world knows it. All in all, an extremely eventful evening that ends with all three heroes collapsing in their beds exhausted after getting checked out by the EMTs that came for Brad. Pure entertainment, at least for me.

"Sara just told me I really should give my imagination a rest. She may be right.

"Thinking of Sara, you'll notice that this was a package instead of just a letter. She insisted on sending along a batch of her homemade carrot cake bars with cream cheese frosting and her best wishes. Share them with Sam and Rebecca; you've all earned them.

"For now, I should wrap this up. It's long enough as it is.

"Oh, and by the way, Daniel... what is a dance card?

"Your friend,


* * * * * * * *

Sam and Daniel sat on the couch in the Carter living room, both staring at the pages Daniel had just finished reading from. "I swear," he said, letting the hand that held the letter fall into his lap, "sometimes that man scares me." He pushed his glasses up his nose and flinched as the left arm touched the side of his face. The area around his eye was still a bit swollen and tender, not to mention becoming quite colorful.

"Are you sure you didn't tell him any details?" Sam asked, mindlessly fidgeting with the ace bandage on her right wrist as she failed to tear her eyes away from the ink-covered paper her friend held.

"I only gave him the sketchiest description on top of a list of our injuries. Oh, and I told him about what Rebecca and I talked about while we danced." Daniel shook his head.

"Then you're right, that man is scary."

Daniel silently nodded, and the two of them continued to stare at the eerie letter.

* * * * * * * *

The rest of the fall semester of Sam and Daniel's senior year went by uneventfully, especially in comparison to the happenings at homecoming. Jack wrote that he and Sara were no closer to deciding on where they were going to have their wedding ceremony, although they were in agreement that they would be paying for Daniel to get there. Mark wrote that things were still going well for him and his fiancé, and that he was looking forward to having Sam come to Florida for the ceremony. There was no mention of Jacob.

Daniel once again spent Christmas with the Carters, having had Christmas with his foster family on Christmas Eve. Jack had sent him an expensive fishing rod and a selection of lures, with a note that said he hoped he'd get a chance to see them in action someday. Jacob gave him a card with an IOU for a plane ride the next time they had a chance. And Sam gave him a book about the history of astronomy and the importance of it to ancient cultures. She told him she also had a copy, and they could read it together since it combined some of their interests.

As for Daniel, he sent Jack yet another pencil drawing and the myth behind it, this one of the Hindu goddess Nirrti presiding over a field of dead bodies in her office as a goddess of death, her body only partially visible as it seemed to fade into the background. Along with Jack's present was one for Sara, a drawing of Jack scowling at an unrepentant Cupid even as he held Sara close, an arrow sticking out of her shoulder and his butt. It was well-received. For Jacob, Sam had smuggled Daniel a couple of old picture albums from before her mother's accident, and the young man had used them to draw a collage of headshots showing the evolution of the Carter family. And for Sam, Daniel had drawn a picture of her riding a fast-moving comet, laughing as she headed for the center of the galaxy.

Spring semester brought along a building excitement as well as an interesting announcement as graduation day grew closer and the principal called Sam and Daniel into his office to let them know that if they finished the year at the same level of academic excellence their school records showed they'd achieved over the years they would be the co-valedictorians of their graduating class. Jacob told them he would have been more surprised if they hadn't ended up valedictorians before taking them out to a celebratory dinner. As for what was going to happen after graduation, Sam had already made her choice, but Daniel had a number of offers to choose from, and was having a difficult time of it. He could only be grateful he had time before the deadlines to do some extra research and sort out his feelings on the matter.

It was a beautiful spring night in late March when Sam had regretfully left Daniel to another list of pros and cons - he'd been narrowing down his choices slowly but surely that way - to go to a movie with her latest boyfriend. Will Glavin was the fifth one she'd had that semester, much to her chagrin, although she'd only initiated one of the breakups. She was determined that this relationship last.

"The stars are so clear tonight," Sam said wistfully as she and Will left the theater.

"Pollution's down," Will commented. "Did you want to go for a ride?"

Sam turned to him and smiled. "What do you think?"

They made their way to the Ford Mustang convertible Will's father had gotten him as an early graduation present, and soon found themselves flying along the back roads that surrounded the city. The top was down, the wind was in their hair, and Sam was overwhelmed by the feeling of glorious freedom that she always felt at times like this. She laughed, the sound being quickly left behind them as they turned a sharp corner. Only then did she realize where they were - or more appropriately, that she didn't know where they were.

"Um, Will? Where are we, anyway? We've never gone this way before."

He glanced over at her and gave her a comforting smile. "Don't worry, babe. I just thought you'd like to go somewhere you could see the stars better."

Sam flushed with delight that he'd thought of something like that. She really had made a good choice this time. "That's wonderful, thank you. But where are we?"

The car began to slow down, and Will pointed at a billboard as they passed it. "I took some back roads to get here, but this is a new subdivision they're building. Only a few houses are finished, so we'll have lots of privacy."

"And no street lights to dim the view," Sam added happily.

"There's that," Will agreed.

The Mustang came to a halt in a secluded area at the end of the subdivision's cul-de-sac, and the couple sat there for a few silent moments contemplating the surrounding area. Sam's head tilted upward, and a small smile graced her features. Will sat and watched her. "You may like looking at the stars," he commented, "but I think I've got the better view."

Sam blushed and brought her gaze back down to Earth. "Thanks," she said almost shyly.

"And I have the added benefit of being able to reach out and touch mine." His hand reached out and cupped her cheek, before gently pulling her unresisting form closer to him. Just before their lips met, he whispered, "And you can't do this with the stars."

The kiss was amazing. It went on and on, deepening as Will's tongue sought entrance to taste the inside of Sam's mouth. Both pairs of hands glided over arms and sides, gripping and kneading periodically as the mood struck them. But Sam drew back quickly when Will attempted to cup one of her breasts. "I'm sorry, Will," Sam gasped apologetically, settling back into the passenger side seat. "I'm just not ready for that."

Sam's eyes widened at the transformation she saw take place in her boyfriend. He was suddenly furious. "You God damn tease! After all your talk about liking it fast and dangerous, you're actually going to sit there and tell me you're not ready? All the guys you've gone with before bragged about how you liked your rides, and you back out on me? You fucking cock tease!"

"What?" Sam cried, flinching back against the car door in surprise. "I wasn't trying to tease you! When it comes to fast and dangerous I was talking about driving! Which head was listening?" Her hopes for a deep, long-term relationship had fallen down around her ears, leaving her hurt and angry. Will wasn't the first guy to think this about her. In fact, this was becoming a bit too common. But what had he said? All the guys she'd been with before had bragged about being with her? "I'll have you know you're information's wrong," she continued harshly before Will could respond to her question. "I never did anything with them like that. Not that they didn't want to, but I said no."

"Like I said, a God damn cock tease," Will snarled. "No wonder you can't keep a man interested. You all skinny and lanky, constantly showing off how smart you are at school, lying about your need for speed to get a guy to think about being seen with you... You want to play games? Fine. But you just lost." He leaned over, making Sam stiffen with fear, and before she realized what was happening she found herself on her back in the dirt, Will having opened the door behind her. "Have fun walking home," he sneered.

Sam barely rolled out of the way in time to avoid being hit by the car door as Will slammed it shut without consideration, then covered her head with her arms as dirt and debris flew out from rapidly spinning tires. It wasn't long before Will and his Mustang were out of sight. The blonde young woman stared after the dissipating dust cloud for a long while, unaware of the tears streaming down her cheeks. Finally she got herself to her feet, dusted herself off, and headed for the glow that marked where El Segundo was.

She'd walked for a little over half a mile before she found a paved road heading in the direction she wanted to go. Another half mile after that she came across a small two-pump gas station, closed for the night, but still with a sight she was grateful for - a pay phone just to the right of the entrance of the main building. Fortunately she hadn't bothered with a purse that night and kept most of her money and ID in the back pocket of her dress pants. Digging some change out of another pocket, she used it to call her father.

Sam sat huddled miserably next to the phone until she heard a car pull slowly into the station and come to a stop. Looking up she saw her father running toward her, not even shutting his door behind him in his rush. Jacob quickly pulled her up and into his arms and rocked her, murmuring soft words of comfort into her hair. Her arms tightened around him in return, and she rested her head against his shoulder.

That was when she noticed that her dad hadn't come alone. Daniel stood by the open passenger side door, watching the scene before him with a jumble of emotions on his face. He straightened a bit when he realized Sam had seen him, and tried to give her a small, supportive smile.

The young blonde didn't know what to think about this particular turn of events. On the one hand, she would never have wanted Daniel to see her at such a low. On the other hand, she wanted nothing more than to throw her arms around him like she had her father, holding him tight while she poured out her troubles the way she knew he would encourage her to. She was filled with such a torrent of emotions, ranging from shame and humiliation to a fierce anger, and she wasn't sure she wanted to inflict that on anyone, much less her father or her best friend. But she also knew she had to release it, or it would eat her alive. And there was only one person in the world she'd trust with her heart and soul like that.

Jacob Carter was angry. Ever since he'd received the phone call from his daughter telling him she was out in the middle of nowhere and needed a ride because her boyfriend broke up with her and abandoned her, his rage had been like a tea kettle on the stove, always getting closer and closer to blowing his top. As he had rushed to his car, he decided he had one stop to make before heading out. He knew he had a good relationship with his little girl, better than he'd ever hoped it would be after her mother died, but the person he knew she really needed was Daniel Jackson. Sam would tell him everything, and he had a feeling she'd need to before the night was through. Besides, he figured Daniel had a right to be there for her.

So he had stopped by Daniel's foster home and collected him, apologizing to Mrs. Neuman for coming by so late, even though it was a Friday night. Daniel had wisely waited until they were in the car and on their way before asking for an explanation, and had grown very quiet when he got it. They were both afraid of what they'd find when they got to Sam, and neither of them wanted to discuss the possibilities.

Now Jacob held his daughter in his arms, his anger pushed aside to allow him to be able to better comfort her. He knew when she'd registered Daniel's presence by the slight stiffening of her posture, and he worried for a moment that she'd be upset at his presumption. But then she relaxed again, and the set of her jaw told him she'd come to some kind of decision. Apparently it was time to leave.

"You ready to go, Sammy?" Jacob asked softly as he pulled away slightly to look her in the eye.

The tears he figured she hadn't even been aware of before had stopped. "Please," she whispered.

Daniel met the two Carters in front of the car. "I hope you don't mind that I'm here, Sam," he said gently, his eyes filled with sympathetic pain as he met her gaze.

Sam didn't answer with words. She merely walked up to him and slipped her arms around his waist, closing her eyes as she rested her head against his shoulder. She gave a sigh of relief when he returned the embrace and leaned his cheek against the side of her head. Daniel looked over at Jacob, his expression a bit lost, and the older man gestured for him to take Sam to the car.

It was a silent ride back to town. Only when they reached the turn to head down the four blocks to the Carter home did Sam bring her head up from its resting place in the crook of Daniel's shoulder. "Dad, could you take us to the park a block up from here?" she asked quietly.

Jacob frowned briefly with worry at the girl's tone and at the destination which would still leave her just outside of town, although he knew it was only a five-block walk from both their house and Daniel's foster home. The only thing that stopped him from saying anything was that she had said "us", suggesting she wanted Daniel to go with her. "Sure, Sammy. Just don't be out too late, all right?"

"Okay, Dad," she agreed.

"I'll make sure she gets home all right," Daniel assured him.

"I know you will, kid. I trust both of you."

Daniel decided to follow Sam's lead once they had both watched the taillights of Jacob's car drive out of sight once they were at the park. The blonde young woman gave him a tiny smile before taking his hand and leading him toward the thicket of trees on the far side away from the entrance. She didn't stop until they'd reached a small, open area in the trees, amazingly enough clear of the thick undergrowth that abounded and invisible to anyone who might casually be passing by. "Thank you for staying with me," she said quietly as she sat down and drew her knees up to her chest.

"There's nowhere else I'd rather be if you need me," Daniel replied, sitting next to her. "I have to admit, though, you've got me nervous. Your dad said Will had dumped you and left you in the middle of nowhere. He didn't... force you to do anything, did he?" The fear of such a thing having been done to one of his best friends radiated from him like rays from the sun.

Sam blinked, suddenly realizing what her silence and depression could be mistaken for. "Oh! No, no, Will didn't do anything like that. He didn't even really try. We were kissing and he tried to feel me up, but he didn't do anything more after I told him no."

Daniel gave a sigh of relief. "I'm glad it wasn't that. So what did happen?"

Tears welled up in the blue-grey eyes one more time. "Daniel," she began in a broken voice, "do you think I'm a tease?"

"What? No, of course not," Daniel immediately refuted. "Did Will tell you that you were?"

"Yeah," Sam said in a small voice, looking down at the clenched hands in her lap.

"I have a feeling something else is bothering you. You've been called a tease before. What else did he say?"

Sam couldn't bring herself to meet Daniel's gaze. "He said that my ex-boyfriends bragged about how good I was, about how much I liked it. Everyone thinks I'm a slut!"

Daniel watched her carefully, his heart breaking at the pain and humiliation in his friend's tone. "I don't," he said softly, moving closer until there was only the slightest fraction of an inch between them on the soft green grass.

Sam gave a choked, humorless laugh. "I'm beginning to think you're the exception to every rule, Daniel."

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"You would." Sam sharply broke off the banter and brought up her hands to cover her face. "I can't help but think that Will was right," she said with a sob. "Why would anyone want to be with me if they didn't think I was going to put out? I'm too skinny, my hair's too stringy, I'm always talking about things no one else is interested in and showing off how smart I am... I'm amazed anyone puts up with me at all!" Her shoulders began to shake as her crying started in earnest.

"Oh God, Sam," Daniel murmured. At the reminder of his presence so close to her, Sam leaned over to rest against his shoulder. Daniel took advantage of the opportunity to wrap his arm around her and hold her close. "I wish I knew what to say to make you realize how wrong you are."

"How... how can I be wrong?" Sam choked out as she tried to get herself under control. "Just look at my track record. It completely sucks."

"I have to admit I can't argue that. But those guys never saw you like I do. They were looking for someone they could get into bed - or the back seat I suppose - and not someone they could share themselves with." He gave a short laugh and squeezed her shoulders. "I think you'd say they were thinking with the wrong head."

Sam sniffed as she let a quick snicker escape. "But, Daniel..."

Daniel put a finger to her lips. "Hush. I'm not finished yet. What I see when I look at you is the most beautiful young woman I've ever laid eyes on. It's not just about your figure - which I happen to think is slim and shapely, by the way - it's about the soul that shines through. You're kind and giving, you stand up for what you believe in, you try to help people. You've certainly helped me over the years. As for physically... Your hair is like sunshine given physical form. Your intellect is something worth being proud of, and you are extremely capable of holding an interesting conversation with a variety of different people. You prove that every day at school in your study groups, and when you've gone with your dad to his military parties. You are a complete person, with faults and weaknesses I admit - you wouldn't be human without them. But they just enhance the package, not detract from it. Anyone who can't see that doesn't deserve you."

Sam pulled back a bit without leaving Daniel's embrace and searched his face. She had no doubt he was sincere, but the praise was so overwhelming and unexpected, not to mention delivered in the most heartfelt voice, that she couldn't help but gaze at him in wonder. She really looked at the vivid blue eyes sparkling behind the brown-framed glasses, the full lips pursed together with intensity, the longer dark blonde hair that threatened to fall into his eyes. At fifteen, Daniel Jackson still had some growing up to do, but as he had said about her, the beauty of his soul shined through with blinding brilliance.

When Sam had separated herself slightly from him, Daniel readily met her wide-eyed gaze. He hoped she could see the truth as he saw it and accept it as her own. When those blue-grey orbs began to flit across his features, he found himself doing the same in return. Her straight, shoulder-length hair was just as he'd described, framing the face he'd drawn so many times. She'd blossomed during the time they'd been apart and grown into a gorgeous young woman, one he was honored to have as a part of his life.

Blue met blue once again when their assessments and contemplative silences were over. Only a moment went by before the both of them followed the light tug they felt on their hearts, their lips meeting in a gentle physical joining that reflected the unseen and mostly unnoticed joining of their souls. As the kiss grew deeper, their lids fell shut and their arms automatically wrapped around each other.

Sam had thought the kiss she'd shared with Will earlier was something special, but it had nothing on this. Even with the slight tremors that denoted Daniel's nervousness, there was something more to this union than had ever been even possible with all of her previous boyfriends combined. The joy she felt at that knowledge let her give herself more completely to the sensations that were quickly beginning to overwhelm her.

Daniel inwardly reeled from the waves of passion that washed over him, all the time unable to stop them even if he'd wanted to. He'd never dreamed he could feel like this. Sure, he'd had a couple of crushes on teachers as he'd gone through school, and even on a few of his classmates, but nothing had prepared him for the reality of the storm of emotions he had been tossed in to. His lack of experience bothered him, but that thought was swiftly shoved out of the way as his body was becoming more and more willing to just wing it.

From there the two of them rapidly reached the edge of the cliff - and never hesitated to jump. The world outside the grove might well have not existed as soft gasps and moans filled the air. Gentle caresses, feather light kisses, and new, incredible experiences made up their existence until they touched the universe together and crashed back to Earth. They lingered for a short time when they were finished to bask in the afterglow, then separated to redress in the clothes that had been carelessly discarded previously.

Daniel was the first to cover himself, and he stood and watched as Sam buttoned up her dress pants and did the same with her blouse. As she reached the last one, he stepped forward and took a hold of her wrist, making her turn to face him, surprised at the rare example of Daniel initiating physical contact. "Did I convince you?" he asked softly, a tiny smile beginning to make an appearance.

"Convince me of what?" she retorted, a matching expression igniting a special twinkle in her eyes.

"How beautiful you are, how special, just what you mean to me."

"Is that what you were trying to say?" Sam said, her cheeks flushing and her tone turned shy. "How could I believe anything else with how eloquent you were?" she finally answered when Daniel merely stared at her. "I've never felt more precious."

Daniel's expression blossomed into a shy grin. "Then I said everything I needed to say."

"I don't think anyone could have said it better," Sam whispered. "And I hope you know I was saying something similar in return."

"I do." His eyes searched hers for a long moment, then he leaned forward and captured her lips with his own. When they finally fulled apart, he rested his forehead against hers and sighed in contentment.

They locked gazes for a long time. "I should probably be getting home," Sam said finally. "I don't want my dad to get too worried."

"I understand. I should go home, too. Your dad didn't give Mrs. Neuman too much of an explanation when he came to pick me up."

"Will you come over tomorrow?"

"You bet I will. We have a study session, remember?" Daniel smiled.

"Then I guess I'll see you then."

"See you then."

They stood in the same pose for another minute or so, then reluctantly went their separate ways. Their dreams that night were sweet and gentle and filled with visions of each other.

Back to Ship Fiction          Back to Part Nine          Go to Part Eleven

Make a Free Website with Yola.