He had bragging rights.
He could walk right up to the man, knowing that Sam was marrying him. Sam had said yes and was wearing his ring.
He could and he wanted to. He had tried work his way into her life as best he could, get to know her friends, her family. He was welcomed, over-welcomed, but he knew, he knew Sam well enough to see the way she looked at him. A look of longing, mixed with confusion and the same love he saw when she looked at him.
He knew. He was a cop, a good one, it was his job to know.
But Sam was still marrying him and a big part of him wanted to walk right up to Jack O'Neill and say something. Anything. Part of him wanted to be childish about it. Bold, brash and almost brutish. Throw Sam in his face. Wanted him to hurt the man because he had never been so scared when Sam had asked for some time to think about his proposal. Two long weeks, he had been so sure she would say no. So sure she would end up breaking his heart. He had visions of the ring returned to him and Sam on Jacks' arm.
Jack in the position he was now. A genius blonde on his arm and the overwhelming desire to show her off to him. To the other men in her life.
He had already paraded her around Denver. Dressed up in pretty skirts and low cut blouses, showing off her body. The conversation more than mere small talk showing off her brain. She was perfect and he told everyone that. He liked to think he knew her inside and out, every part of her.
That he knew her better than her colleagues and friends. Better than Jack O'Neill.
And he wanted to tell him that.
He bit his tongue and shook the mans hand, wondering how the hell he'd managed to approach him and say hello while so lost in thought.
The other man was congratulating him. His words sounded sincere, his body language anything but. He was standing firm under the gaze of the man marrying the perfect Sam Carter and he saw something that confused him a little. Something that hadn't been there before his engagement.
There was acceptance. The other man hadn't quite given up but was moving on anyway.
"If Sam's happy then I'm happy"
He couldn't remember who had said it at the time, so many people, but he could remember the look in their eyes that was really saying I 'I'm not happy but I don't have a choice.' /I
He wished he wasn't a cop, that this stuff just passed him by without a thought, but he knew Jack O'Neill didn't have a choice, a chance, with Sam.
That's why he was moving on. That's why a brunette was now shaking his hand, smiling at him before attaching herself to Jack's arm.
No chance, no choice, no competition.
Pete didn't feel like bragging to a man that he had only been fighting in his own head. In his own heart.
The small talk was waning and he made his excuses, made his way because to his fiancée, already forgetting the name of the brunette on Jack's arm.
It didn't matter and he wouldn't be telling Sam about her. He would just dress her up and take her out. Hold her tightly so she couldn't drift away from him. Jack O'Neill had no choice but he knew Sam did. She loved him, he believed that, she really did love him but it didn't mean she couldn't walk away.
He was beside her car before he realised it and was really glad he wasn't on duty. Half of Denver's most wanted could've walked right past him and he wouldn't have noticed.
Wouldn't have cared.
"Did they have any?"
Her voice was perfect and she was smiling at him. He was scared, absolutely petrified of losing her because he was so in love with her.
"Sorry Sam. Let's try somewhere else." He got into the car and buckled up so they could continue their hunt for blue food colouring. As they pulled out of the parking lot he saw Jack and the brunette on the side walk and they drove past them without Sam noticing.
No chance, no choice, no competition and everything to be afraid of.