Chapter sixteen

"I need to speak to you about something," she told Jack. Janet had reminded Sam that she would need to take it easy, especially the first week, and now she had no idea what to do. She certainly couldn't be taking care of a baby!

"Look, if it's her name, I can explain…" Jack began. He hadn't even asked her before giving their baby a name, so he wouldn't be surprised if she was upset about it.

"No, it's nothing like that. In fact I like it."

"I'm glad. It was my Grandmother's name. So, what's up?"

"Janet says I'll have to stay off my feet for at least the first week, and then I'll have to take it easy until the incision heals," she said hesitantly. She didn't want him to think she was looking for some excuse to back out of their deal again, because she really wasn't!

"No problemo!" he responded cheerfully, and Sam relaxed a bit. "You can stay at my place." He figured that way he could take care of her and the baby too, at least during the day. And in the evenings Daniel and Teal'c, and maybe Janet, could take turns sitting with her until he got home from the shop. Plus, this way Sam would be able to continue nursing the baby. He thought it was the perfect solution.

Sam could think of no reason to refuse, so she said, "Thank you, Sir. I accept."

So the day before Sam was released, Jack cleaned his guest room and made sure it was ready for her stay. He even washed the curtains and bought some science magazines that he thought Sam would like. And he also bought some new bath products for the guest bathroom. In between the guest room and his room was the baby's room, and it was already set with everything the baby would need. He had even added a comfortable chair, so that Sam could sit and nurse the baby.

Now here it was! The day had come for him to bring Sam and little Mary Rose home from the hospital, and Jack was feeling very nervous. What if something went wrong? What if, once they were living under the same roof together, they didn't get along? This wasn't like being her CO, where he could order her to do whatever he wanted. This was him and the woman he loved, and he didn't want to do anything to screw things up! Jack had just worked himself into a frazzle when the telephone rang, practically scaring the life out of him.

"Yah?" he answered shortly.

"Golly, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed or something?" Daniel asked, sounding hurt.

"Sorry, Daniel, I guess I'm just a bit on edge. Sam and the baby are coming home from the hospital today."

"I know! It's exciting, isn't it? Oh, and Janet told me Sam's going to be staying with you. In fact, that's why I'm calling. Do you need any help with anything?"

"I will, but not today. We've got Kenny to work in the shop tonight, but starting tomorrow I will need to work for a few hours in the evening. I thought maybe you and Teal'c could take turns staying with Sam and the baby?"

"Of course we will!"

"Great! That takes a load off my mind, but…"

"But what, Jack? You sound nervous."

"I am nervous, Daniel. There's something I want to do, but I'm having trouble getting up the nerve."

"Oh?"

"I want to ask Sam to marry me."

"Holy buckets! That's great news, Jack!"

"I hope Sam thinks so. I gotta go now."

"Okay. Good luck with the proposal, Jack."

"Thanks, Danny. I'll let you know what happens."

Jack drove to the hospital with his stomach tied in knots. He couldn't explain why he was feeling this way. After all, it wasn't as though he'd never lived with anyone before, or asked someone to marry him before. And as far as the baby was concerned, he knew he could take care of her needs with both hands tied behind his back. So all the way there he kept trying to convince himself that he was worrying over nothing.

But when he got there, he discovered he had been right to worry.

"Janet, what are you doing here?" he asked, when he saw Sam's best friend standing in the hallway near Sam's room.

"Oh, Jack, you're just the person I need to see. Sam has changed her mind about staying with you. She says you can take the baby, but she's going home to her house," she informed him. Janet had spent the last half hour trying to get Sam to admit what she was really thinking, that she was still having doubts about her ability to be a mother and that she was still confused about her feelings for Jack. But all she kept saying was that she didn't want to impose on him. In the end Janet had given up, and now she was hoping that Jack could talk some sense into her scared friend.

"But what about feeding the baby?" he asked, trying to remain calm. But inside his cool exterior he was feeling like a pot about to boil over. Sam's behavior wasn't just confusing, it was extremely irritating! One minute she seemed interested in making a home with him and Mary Rose, and then the next minute she was doing stuff like this. The woman was driving him bonkers!

"I know! I asked her about that. She said she will express her milk and have it delivered to your house every morning."

"Like hell she will!" Unable to contain his emotions any longer, Jack exploded. "I'll take care of this," he growled, and then he turned and marched into Sam's room.

Inside her private room, the baby lay in its bassinette in a new outfit that Janet had given her, and Sam was sitting on the bed wearing a new warm up suit, also from Janet. She looked up warily as Jack entered the room, and when she saw his angry expression, she felt like crawling under the bed.

"What's this crap Janet just told me? Why won't you come home with us?" he asked brusquely.

She'd had some time to think about how she would explain herself to him. In fact she'd thought about nothing else for the past twelve hours, but now that he was here and she was faced with actually telling him, she wasn't sure her excuse was good enough. But she knew she could wait no longer, so she took a deep breath and began to speak.

"I want you to know how much I appreciate your offer, Sir, but I don't think moving in with you is the right thing to do. As a single woman I don't think it's appropriate for me to stay with you. Even though you're not my CO anymore, I'm still an officer in the Air Force."

"Did you think about that when you got pregnant with my baby?" Jack asked. He thought her excuse didn't make any sense, and he wasn't about to let her off the hook so easily. He also wasn't about to let her get away!

"That was different. We weren't living together, and not many people knew I was carrying your baby." Sam thought she'd made her point. Now she just hoped he'd back down and let her do what she needed to do, which was to keep some distance between them until she could figure things out.

"If we were engaged, would that make it acceptable for you to live with me?"

"What?" Sam had no idea what to expect when he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small box. But when he handed it to her, she knew exactly what it was. "Oh, my God!"

"Open it. Maybe it's not what you think it is," he said, smiling nervously at her. If he was wrong, if she refused to marry him, he wasn't sure what he'd do. But at least he'd know how she felt about him. And like Joe said, at least this way he would know that he had done everything he could to make her his.

The diamond engagement ring inside the box was the most beautiful thing that Sam had ever seen.

"Oh, Sir!" She knew it wasn't enough to express what she was feeling as she stared at the sparkling diamond, but she was shocked, and in more ways than one. The huge center stone was casting a rainbow of colored lights across one wall of the hospital room, and Sam thought it was the most beautiful ring she'd ever seen in her entire life. But it wasn't only shocking in its beauty. It was shocking because of what it meant.

"Here, let's see if it fits," Jack said as he took the ring out of the box. When he put it on the third finger of her left hand, it fit perfectly.

Sam looked up and smiled at Jack, but there were tears in her eyes. "I don't know what to say." She was almost choking with emotion, and she knew she was going to cry in front of him. But right now that didn't matter. What mattered was that she knew now that Jack wanted her, just as much as he wanted the baby.

"Say you'll marry me, Sam, and I'll be the happiest man on Earth."

"Yes, I'll marry you."

Neither of them heard the door opening, nor did they see someone stick their head inside the room, because they were too busy kissing.

The petite dark-haired woman watched her two friends for a few seconds, catching sight of the sparkling diamond ring on Sam's left hand before she quietly closed the door. The instant she got outside, she pulled out her cell phone.

"Daniel, it's me! I just wanted you to know that Sam accepted Jack's proposal!" She felt like squealing and jumping up and down, but she knew this wasn't the place for such things.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, she's wearing the ring and they're kissing!"

"I'm really glad. Jack has been more grumpy than usual lately."

"Well, it looks like his worries are over. Soooo, about tonight…I'll see you at my place in one hour. I want to stop at the store and buy steaks and wine for our dinner, and then I'm going to change into something special."

"I can't wait. I bought something special too."

"Something to eat?" She was thinking about dessert, like maybe a cheesecake.

"You'll just have to wait and see," he answered mysteriously.

"Okay, bye honey!" Janet dropped her phone into her purse and hurried to her car. Everything was working out perfectly for her and Daniel, and for Sam and Jack too.

Epilogue

Except for checkups at the doctor's office, this was their first time out together since before the baby was born, and both Jack and Sam were enjoying their time at the mall. They had just left the baby store, where they had bought several new outfits for little Mary Rose, and now they were headed for the car.

Jack figured two hours was enough for one day. He didn't want Sam to do too much her first time out. But Sam was excited to finally be able to get around by herself. She was also enjoying wearing normal clothing for a change. And she couldn't wait to wear the new outfit she'd just bought for Janet and Daniel's engagement party!

"Can't we go in here….just for a little while? I promise to sit down," she said, as she stopped in front of Jack's favorite bookstore.

"Oh, okay, but just for a few minutes." He found himself giving into her a lot these days, and he knew why. He was, as Joe had declared recently, well and truly smitten!

Inside the book store Sam went directly to the science section, where she asked Jack to round up a chair for her to sit on. Once he had placed the chair in front of the shelves, she sat down and began looking at the books on astronomy and astrophysics. Soon she was commenting under her breath about how stupid or how smart the writers were.

Knowing that Sam would be preoccupied for a while, Jack pushed the stroller containing his sleeping daughter over to another section of books, where he found one that interested him. He leafed through it from back to front, smiling the entire time. Then he took it to where Sam was seated.

"Look, honey! I've been so busy fixing up Mary Rose's room that I totally forgot to buy one of these!" he said, an excited grin on his face.

Sam took the book from him. Then she looked through it, beginning at the front. After a minute she looked up at him and smiled, but there was a sheen of tears in her eyes.

"We have to have it," she said simply.

Jack left the stroller beside Sam, while he took the book over to the cashier, where he laid it on the counter. On the front of the book were the words "OUR BABY".

~THE END~