She just stood there, starring at the door. She had been there for a good ten minutes already. Any neighbors who happened to be watching probably though she was a loon, but she knew she had to get it under control before knocking on that door. It had been over a year since she had last seen him. As it stands, their relationship is still on that professional level, and she had to honor that. She took a deep breath and decided to just go for it.
He sighed as he set his Guinness on the table beside his chair. The sun was warm, the air refreshing. It was his one day off in over two weeks, and he planned to enjoy second of it. The only thing, in his mind, that could have made this moment better was if it was Minnesota instead, fishing on his lake. Man, did he ever miss those days. The sun was beginning its decent in the sky when he heard a knock on the door.
"Ah, alas, my pizza."
He made his way carelessly into the apartment and to the door. However, he could feel the wind being metaphorically knocked out of him as he saw her face in place of the normal pizza delivery man. It was the last person he expected, but the one person he was always hoping, to be on the other side of the door. He was speechless.
It took a moment for the shock to wear off. He could sense how nervous she was standing there. The same feeling echoed through him. However, he knew that he had to keep it together for her. He had to play it as coolly as he would on base. He flashed a cocky smile.
"Come on, Carter. Loose the 'sir.' I'm not your commanding officer anymore."
She smiled back.
"Sorry. Old habits are hard to break, I guess."
He could see the color forming in her cheeks. He missed that about her.
"So…to what do I owe this unexpected visit on my day off?"
"I was visiting some old friends from my Pentagon days, and I thought that since I was in town, I might as well visit one more…"
"Hammond, that dirty rascal. He gave you my address, didn't he? I told him to not give that address to anybody.
She took a step back from the door and dropped her head in disappointment. He couldn't help but notice how her hair had grown a little longer and how the golden locks fell onto her face when she bowed her head.
"Do you not want me here? I mean, I just thought…I could leave…"
"Oh, come on, Carter….of course you are welcome here. If you would have called, I would have given you the address myself. Now, get in here. I'll get you a beer."
He ushered her in and then made his way into the kitchen to get another beer. To him, it felt just like old times back in Colorado. He couldn't help but smile as she took a look around.
"So, this is the new place, huh?"
"Yeah, well. It suits the purpose. It isn't the same as the cabin in Minnesota, though, and it sure doesn't hold a candle to Colorado. Colorado felt like home. There's something vital missing here."
He knew he was on the verge of revealing feelings that he wasn't sure should be revealed yet, so he quickly changed the subject, hoping she didn't notice.
"You might as well join me on the patio…too good of a day to just sit inside."
A couple of beers, and a few pieces of pizza later, they were still sitting together out on the patio, shooting the bull like old times. The air was getting cooler, and neither had yet worked up the courage to say what was really on their minds. Suddenly, he could feel a change in her demeanor. She turned to look at him with an all-too-familiar longing.
"Jack….we really miss you at the SGC, you know. We miss this…"
Her cheeks turned about a thousand shades of red. She didn't know how to say it properly. The feeling was foreign to her. She was always so put together, but how do you say something that you've had to hide over eight years of working side by side.
He threw his arm around her, and she laid her head on his shoulder…just as she had done countless times before. He could smell the cucumber melon in her hair. He used to love catching glimpses of that fragrance, although he could have never let her know that in the past. Now wasn't the past, though. Did he dare to take that chance?
"I miss you, Sam."
She looked up at him, with that same longing, and kind of chuckled.
"Hey, you actually called me Sam. You rarely ever do that. It's always 'Carter'."
"Yeah, well…I felt that I had to stay professional, for both our sakes. I was kind of hoping I wouldn't have to think of you in a professional manner anymore…"
She pulled back in shock that the words were actually being said. Her heart began to flutter slightly. However, he must have mistakenly thought her shock was a bad thing, because he began to stutter.
"It's not that I don't respect your work anymore, or think any less of you as a soldier…it's just…"
She put her index finger across his lips.
She started to lean in for a kiss when a bright light illuminated the area, and Sam and Jack were suddenly gone from the patio.