The bartender at Scott's Place had plenty of stories to help keep a conversation going with customers sitting alone at his bar. One of the best, as far as he was concerned, was thetale about Mandy and DJ, the handsome couple that had romanced each other in front of him for years. It made quite the story and he didn't even know half of it, not even their real names.
Major Samantha Carter turned sideways to the full length mirror and pouted provocatively over her shoulder at her reflection. She was wearing a black dress that was slit most of the way up her thigh and displayed a lot of cleavage in front with the help of the wonders oflingerie technology at its finest. She was pleased that the dress did live up to the hopes she had had for it when she spotted it on a bargain rack. Her lipstick was bright red, matched by long, wicked nails, and her eyes were enhanced by serious false eyelashes. An expensive fall, her one extravagance, was worked into her hair, to give her curls that were falling down in "I just got out of bed" disarray.
Sam walked effortlessly over to the dresser on thin three inch heels. It had taken a lot of practice before she had been able to manage that. She picked up the bottle of musky perfume and dabbed it at her pulse points. Sam turned back to the mirror and looked critically again at the total effect. Almost there, but something was missing. Her eyes fell on the dangly earrings lying on the dresser. Of course, that was it. She put them on and checked again. Yes, she had arrived at her look when she was Mandy: tastefully available or, in other words, as seductive as you could get without looking like a hooker.
Carla, Cathy all the rest of the year, breezed into the room just then and clapped her hands. "You've done it again, Mandy, girl friend. I'll be lucky if anyone even notices me."
Mandy–Sam wouldn't think of herself by any other name until they got home again –looked over at the willowy brunette with the huge warm brown eyes, saying, "Everyone will notice you. You look really hot."
Carla had achieved a similarly approachable effect to Mandy's with a totally different look, a gypsyish outfit with a low-cut blouse falling off one shoulder, skin tight black velvet pants, and a wide paisley scarf around her waist. Mandy put her arm around her long time friend's waist and said, "Third anniversary here we come."
As they let themselves out into the summer evening and clicked their way to their waiting cab, she relished the adventure ahead. Three years ago tonight, Cathy had come to visit and had playfully done a makeover on Sam, turning her into Mandy. The objective had been to make Sam look as unlike herself as possible. Then Sam insisted they do the same to Cathy, a no-nonsense surgeon who had to be very business like and almost unfeminine to be taken seriously in the high testosterone world of brain surgery. There they were, all dressed up with no where to go. Cathy, now Carla, suggested they go to an expensive, yuppie type bar, the sort of place they could safely flirt, but count on still being able to leave alone without difficulty. Sam had never had any luck flirting and had resisted mightily. Mandy on the other hand had been ready to go. The amazing thing was Mandy was a huge success as a flirt as was Carla.
Cathy came back for a repeat performance the next two years. What Cathy didn't know was that since Mandy and Carla had gone out the previous year, Mandy hadn't stayed packed away. Sam had been having a really low evening and had taken Mandy out for a spin to lift her spirits. Without another woman along as a chaperone, she'd had even more male attention. More outings over the next few months had provided more of the same. The best part of all those successful men paying her court had been DJ.
Ah yes, she remembered how it started. There she was, sitting on a bar stool, displaying a fair amount of thigh and laughing at Mark the stockbroker's jokes. DJ walked up behind her and stood patiently waiting for the bartender's attention. He was there long enough to hear Mark call her Mandy and the bartender ask her if she wanted her usual and how was her work as a flight attendant going? She had just nodded and shrugged in response. She had been very grateful that she hadn't spoken and given herself away when DJ asked for a Guinness and his familiar voice cut through her like a knife. She froze in embarrassment and peeped behind her through a curtain of hair hiding her face to see her friend in tight leather pants and a black silk tee, sporting an earring in one ear. There were no glasses hiding his extraordinary pair of blue eyes. There were two Mandy-esque women, one attached to each arm. One of them looked up at him, batted her eyes, and said, "DJ, you're the only private detective I've ever met in person."
It was at that precise moment that a drunk careened against her and almost knocked her off the stool. In the sorting out process, she and DJ made eye contact. Just for an instance, there was mutual recognition and dawning horror. Some mad inspiration caused her to stick her hand out and say with a completely straight face, "Hi. I'm Mandy." It was easier to stay in character than to blurt out some awkward explanation as to why she was in a bar using a false name and a false identity or hear him fumble around doing the same.
He paused only a beat before he reciprocated with, "I'm DJ." The complete attention he was giving her caused his two female friends to drift over to focus on Mark the stockbroker.
"Do you come here often, DJ?"
"Just when I feel like getting away from everything."
"Me too." She ran her finger around the top of her Marguerite glass – she didn't order hers with salt. "I'm a flight attendant. I love the travel, but sometimes you can be so over crying babies, vomit bags, and drunks who want to proposition you at 20,000 feet."
"The only part of this experience that seems noticeably different is the altitude and the lack of babies," DJ commented, settling on the stool that Mark the stockbroker had now vacated to leave with DJ's former companions.
She laughed, surprised by the quip. She waved at the door. "I can leave ANYTIME I want to. That's the best part." She pushed her hair back and leaned toward him, elbow on the bar, propping her chin on her hand. "So, DJ, what do you do?"
"I'm a private detective."
"Is that as exciting as in the movies or do you mostly wait around outside motel rooms to try to catch cheating spouses?"
"My specialty is finding missing people. Sometimes, they're hiding in plain view. They seem to be someone else altogether. You never know who anybody really is, do you?"
DJ and Mandy talked and flirted for almost an hour. Eventually Mandy had the bartender call her a cab and she blew DJ a kiss on the way out. By that time, with the help of two more Margueritas, he WAS DJ in Mandy's slightly foggy brain.
The next morning it had required all of her courage to go to the Mountain and assemble at the gate with Daniel, Teal'c, and Jack. Daniel was wearing a boonie hat and his glasses and all juiced up over the mission. They were returning to P2K98 mainly at his insistence because he wanted to follow up on some potential huge archeological find for which he thought he had seen evidence on a previous trip--Daniel had lost Sha're not that long before and Jack was still a bit disposed to humor him. Daniel's greeting was somewhat abstracted, but there was no embarrassment. She waited for days, but nothing was ever brought up about Mandy and DJ and he acted exactly the same toward her that he always had.
A month later, Mandy had suited up and gone back to the same bar. It was a test. If he showed up, it was meant to be. If he didn't, then that was what was meant to be. She was there and flirting successfully as always, but the zest was missing. She kept checking the door. Just when she was about ready to leave, the door opened and there was DJ. Tonight the leather pants had been replaced by low slung, tight jeans and the silk tee by a long sleeved blue shirt open at the throat. He smiled when he saw her and came straight to her.
They drifted over to the pool table and played a desultory game. Mandy was a pretty terrible pool player, unlike Sam. DJ found the need to assist her with her technique which required him to put his arms around her in order to show her how to hold the cue and line up her shot. She noticed that he wore some wonderful light aftershave that was faintly lemony. After pool, they shot a game of darts. This was Mandy's strength and DJ's downfall. Now Mandy had to show him a few things.
By the time she got her cab and went home, she was tingling along all the points of contact. She put the tingling away with Mandy and Sam went to work with Daniel, finding that she didn't even think of Daniel and DJ as the same person any more.
The next time she went to the bar, DJ never showed. When she thought about it, she realized that unless he was there every night, the odds of them being in the bar at the same time were very low. In fact, it was an incredible fluke they had both been there the last time. When she cross-examined the bartender, she learned that DJ had, in fact, slipped him a twenty to call him the next time Mandy came in. This very evening, the bartender said he had called and left him a message as soon as she had arrived. No fluke was involved. She got very upset, trying to figure out whether he had gotten the message and ignored it or simply never received it. The next day she found out that he had pulled an all nighter at the Mountain. They needed a better system. About two weeks later, she dropped by Daniel's lab toward the end of the day. "So, you planning on being here all night again?" she asked.
"This translation is really a challenge. I'll either be completely unable to force myself to walk away from it or I'll run screaming out of here in another hour or so."
"What about you?" He really didn't ask as if he was all that curious, but she thought she saw the tiniest narrowing of the eyes, of extra attention to the answer.
"My friend, Mandy, was talking about getting together. She's a flight attendant and sometimes it can be a bit problematic trying to meet her. Flights being delayed and cancelled and all that."
"I hope it all works out. You could use some fun." Daniel had turned back to his tablet and she had gone on her way.
That night, DJ was already there when she walked into the bar. There was a Marguerita in front of the stool next to him. She leaned over and kissed his cheek in greeting and they laughed and talked about nothing in particular. She went to the ladies' room and when she came out, he was finishing a call on the pay phone on the wall in the little hall leading to the restrooms. "I let the cell phone battery die," he said sheepishly.
"I hope everything else is still full of life," she said playfully, walking to stand a few inches away.
He slid his arms around her waist and said, almost in a whisper, "I'm fully charged," tilted his head, and kissed her. They came up for air, looked at each other, and then kissed again. DJ was a fantastic kisser. His full lips knew what they were doing and his tongue was very clever. In subsequent weeks, there had been other kisses snatched here and there. Their rendezvous bar wasn't the kind of place where patrons made out heavily in front of each other. There was always at least a couple of weeks, usually more like a month, between meetings. Still, it was clear to all the regular patrons that they were together and most of the men, all but those who couldn't resist a real challenge, stopped hitting on her.
So, here they were this evening celebrating Mandy and Carla's third anniversary or maybe birthday would have been a better term. She had talked to Daniel about how her friend, Carla, was going to be in town with Mandy. She had no idea whether DJ wanted to meet Carla or not, but wanted him to be able to make the decision and not have it made for him.
The taxi drove through the soft night and Carla looked over at her. "You've got a secret from me. I could always tell. Spill."
"I've met someone."
"Mandy met someone?" Carla, lapsing into concerned friend Cathy, asked.
"Yeah. Oh yeah. He's quite gorgeous and he kisses like poetry."
Her friend swiveled to look at her full on. "Sam Carter, please tell me you aren't going after Mr. Goodbar."
"I don't know this Sam, but Mandy always leaves alone and DJ is no Mr. Goodbar."
The other woman turned back around, her face still concerned. "This was a fun game. Now I'm beginning to wonder about both of our sanities."
"I WANT CARLA BACK NOW," Mandy said.
"Ooookay," Carla said, pulled out a mirror and focused on fluffing her hair.
When they entered the bar, Mandy spotted DJ immediately. She went to him, put her arms around his neck, and gave him a quick kiss. She could see Carla looking suitably impressed by the undeniable hotness of the man her friend had greeted. Carla said, "So how long are you guys going to keep meeting like this?"
DJ looked into Mandy's eyes, pulled her against him a little tighter and said, "I think we can keep this up for years. What do you think, Mandy?"
Mandy looked back into those beautiful blue pools and said, "Seems like a plan to me."
Sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men really do work. This one did for a long time, although there was a one-year break when Sam didn't have the heart to be Mandy without DJ. When Sam got engaged, Mandy and DJ stopped kissing, but they kept meeting. The day did come when Sam and Daniel had to confront and deal with what Mandy and DJ really meant, but that's a story told by another bartender.