I am honestly tired of apologizing for the delays in this story... but I'm going to apologize anyway.
Needless to say, it would appear that I am jinxed when it comes to actually getting it posted!
Let's just put it this way…
I strongly dislike Bell Sympatico… I'm a little (teensy… really…) angry with Bell at the moment. I think I have spent more time talking to their techs on the phone, and running (literally) modem troubleshooting marathons through my house, than I have doing anything else since the summer! I'm sick of it. The latest is that there was something wrong with the settings for our account on their end, and it should be fixed now.
And then… I was having issues with my account here – but I don't think I'm the only one… (I haven't been getting all of my author alerts – so I know I've missed quite a few stories that I have been following. Bear with me – I'll get them all caught up by year's end!!)
Sorry for venting.
Anyway, this chapter wasn't so fun to write. I think I say something to this effect every time. The conversation between the two (which finally happens here – yay) wasn't so easy to write. But I'm posting it anyway. If I have an epiphany about how it should sound, I will re-do it later, and re-post it then.
Hope you all are well, and as always, thank you a million times over to my wonderful reviewers! You really do make my day :)!! I know I haven't replied to any of your reviews yet, but I will, I promise. Please forgive me for not replying yet and if it takes a while until I finally get a chance to - I promise I'm not taking them for granted!
The Choice Ch. 7:
Hammond rubbed his brow and picked up the receiver of the red phone on his desk.
"Get me the President." He ordered into the phone. He didn't mean to sound brusque, but he couldn't help it.
This was not going to be an easy call. In fact, some part of him was dreading it.
While he waited for the Commander in Chief to come to the phone, the General considered how he would word his plea. He had to make it good. After all, this really was Sam's last chance.
They both started at the same time, once their friends had left the room.
If the tension earlier had been palpable, this time around it was unbearable.
"You first," Jack stated, taking a deep breath, and resuming his perch on the edge of her bed.
Sam (not missing the use of her first name) also took a deep breath, looked down at her hands and steeled herself for what she was about to say, and the reaction she would probably get for it.
It was so easy to build her determination when he wasn't around. She had a whole script in her head of what she was going to say, how she would 'save' him from the task of having to 'let her down'. But now, with him sitting in front of her, on her bed, she found it wasn't so easy.
If she had paid attention to that point alone, that she couldn't bear saying these things to him in the way she had planned, she would have realized that her heart was telling her all she needed to know. But she didn't follow her heart. She was a thinker more than a dreamer, and so went ahead and started on a butchered version of her speech.
Jack sat on the edge of her bed, waiting impatiently to hear what she had to say. He found he was holding his breath, and forced himself to breathe and appear comfortable about the conversation they were about to have.
Sam looked up and locked eyes with him.
"Sir, I understand how it must have seemed earlier. I didn't mean to let all of those emotions out – to corner you into thinking you needed to help me. I understand completely that you can't and probably don't want to help me, and I want to assure you that I would never expect you to.
"I've done a lot of thinking, and have decided that Janet is right – I shouldn't have waited this long, and the chances of me having a baby are pretty much zero. I shouldn't live my life based on dreams. I'm going to talk to her as soon as she gets back here, and set up the operation."
She looked away.
He sat there staring at her, dumbfounded by what she had just said. That was so not what he was expecting to come tumbling out of her mouth, and he couldn't believe it!
What could possibly have led her to believe that he wouldn't want to do anything in his power to help her? And how could she possibly speak as though having given up all hope – this was something that all of two hours ago she had fought so fiercely for, and now she was willing to throw it all away? What the heck had happened?
He found he couldn't bring himself to look away from her hands, which had caught his eyes, as they clenched and unclenched the edge of her hospital blanket, let alone form a coherent sentence to use as an argument.
She started to get even more anxious. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched as Jack sat there, staring at her hands, doing a pretty good fish impression.
She guessed she had hit the nail right on the head – he had had second thoughts, and she had just beat him to the punch with her speculation, and statement.
And so she rushed on.
"Fact is, Sir, I put you and myself and the rest of the team in danger by not dealing with this sooner. I should have been realistic about my chances – about my life. I don't think I was meant to be more than I am right now – a scientist on a front line Air Force team. That's dream come true enough." She was rambling again. "Besides, if I had had a baby, and then come back to work and something had happened to me, I would have been doing to that baby what happened to Mark and me, and I can't even begin to imagine putting a little someone through that."
Jack's eyes flashed as he listened to her, and something finally snapped in his head and allowed him to actually form a thought, and get it out of his mouth and into the open.
"Carter. Look, I don't know what happened in the time I left this room, and came back again, but I do know that there's something not right here. I can't believe that after fighting for so long, you would so easily give this up. I offered to help you. I wasn't joking or lying when I did. I wouldn't have done so if I didn't really want to. I don't understand where you get the impression you're pressuring me into something. What – do you not want me to help you? Am I not good enough?" He huffed out angrily, his cheeks starting to burn.
Ok. Not the reaction she had been expecting.
"God… No Sir – nothing like that," Sam stuttered out, as she looked up at him with a shocked expression. "It's just… I don't know…"
Jack realized he should probably calm down a bit, and so started more softly. "Yes Sam, you do," Looking deeply into her eyes, he tried again. "Now tell me. What's bothering you?"
His gentle tone broke something in Sam and she found she had to let everything that was nagging at her about this situation out in that exact moment.
"What if I can't do it. Be a Mum. Raise someone the way they deserve to be raised. Be the parent they deserve to have. I don't know how to be a Mum. I feel like I have so few memories of what it was like to be mothered. Where do I draw inspiration from?"
Jack, so glad that she was finally really opening up to him, found himself trying to soothe his 2IC of her worries. "Sam. You'll be a great Mum. I've seen the way you are with kids off world. Heck, look at Cassie. You were willing to die with her so she wouldn't be alone. You have all you need inside of you from your Mum – love – you'll be a great mother because of that alone. Who cares about scraped knees and diapers – love is most important, the rest can be learned. Just wait."
Sam looked away, trying to hold back tears, and realized she had never thought about it quite like that. The Colonel, who tried to convince them all of how dumb he was on quite a regular basis, had just made one of the most eloquent statements she had ever heard. That gave her pause for a moment. Then she brought up another point that had been running through her mind repeatedly.
"And what about… us," she glanced his way quickly, before averting her eyes again. "We can't just up and decide to have kids. You're my CO. The regs state we can't be together. Would we raise a child together, while being apart? And again, what about something happening on a mission – and a child being left hanging in the balance?"
Jack shook his head incredulously. He couldn't believe how many arguments she had against this happening.
Instead of calling her on it, he just looked at her profile to gauge her reaction to his next statement. "I've spoken to Hammond. About us."
Now it was Sam's turn to imitate the fish as she turned her head and stared, surprised, at him.
Jack chuckled. "He can't promise us anything, but he said he would give it a go with the president, to see if something can be done for us."
"Wow." Suddenly there were thousands of butterflies flitting through her abdomen.
"Yeah. And don't worry about the off world stuff. That can all be worked out in the future – if a baby becomes reality. Stop putting up barriers, and just let it happen."
Sam nodded, and realized, again, that what he was saying was right. She should just let go and see where things ended up.
"Is Hammond upset with me? Are you? For what happened off world?" She had to ask one more time, and get an answer once and for all.
"It happened Sam. It's done and over with. Yes, you put us all in potential danger, but we're ok. We made it back in one piece. That's what's most important. You didn't mean for it to happen. Your intent to keep it secret wasn't malicious. Write it up in your report, and then just let it go."
Sam nodded. She whispered one last sentence before the two fell into an amicable silence, as they let all that they had just brought out in the open wash over them and sink in.
He didn't need to ask what for. He understood the barriers she had tried to put up, or keep up, around her heart – and how voicing all of her doubts had been an attempt to try to push him away – give him an out – before they were locked in for the long haul, even if she herself hadn't realized it at the time.
Jack just smiled and pulled her to his side for a hug.
They might actually be doing this!
Hammond gently replaced the receiver into its cradle and sat back in his chair.
That had been one the hardest conversations he'd ever had, and he was glad it was over.
A slow grin crept over his face.
Ooooh! One more question… anyone reading this going to the SG Con in Vancouver next March?? Tell tell!! Lol :)
I am heading to Florida with my family this coming Friday, so I probably won't be posting until Christmas week - when I am off, and planning on doing nothing but reading and sleeping... lol :).