"Jack?" Sam's voice called from the bedroom. Jack knew that tone of voice. He'd been married once before, after all. Sam might as well have been saying, 'I know you did something, so you'd better own up to it', though not in so many words.

Jack zipped up his jacket and sighed. They were supposed to be at the reception fifteen minutes ago. Not that he was at all enthusiastic about going. Some artsy-fartsy fundraiser at that new gallery. He couldn't even remember what the charity was. Junior Scientists of Tomorrow? Save the Physicists? Something educational, he was sure. He preferred to just send a cheque in the mail. But somehow Sam had talked him into it. Something about owing her a favour, coupled with a promise whispered in his ear about how she'd make it worth his while later. He hated making nice at the required Air Force events, never mind ones he had to pay admission to. He'd been trying to come up with excuses all day to get out of it.

"Did you happen to throw that pile of laundry in the wash?" She poked her head around the corner of the bedroom door.

Jack tried to remember what load of laundry she was talking about. Maybe he had. But seeing the look on her face, his Black-Ops honed survival instincts started screaming at him that is was safer to Deny Everything.

"What laundry?" he asked instead, hoping his casually innocent tone would distract her. He looked at his watch pointedly.

"The one in the basket?" Apparently she was not so easily distracted. "That pile was hand-wash only."

Oh crap. That pile. The one with the lacy bras and that sweet pair of panties he'd bought her for her birthday. He thought he'd been doing her a favour. She'd called and said she'd be late and oh, could he please pick her up at her place instead so she could grab a quick shower and change before they left?

He'd beat her there and let himself in with his key. She'd been off-world more than she'd been on this week and seeing as how it looked like her house had puked up piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and unopened mail, he figured he'd surprise her and tidy up while he waited. Plus, she'd forgotten to pay her cable bill again so his choices for television were snow, snow, and PBS. He'd needed something to kill the time.

Finally, she emerged from the bedroom and Jack's had to remind himself to pick up his jaw from the floor. The sweater clung to her in all the right places, accentuating her curves and leaving very little to the imagination. But it was the pants that had him reaching for his jacket zipper and fumbling for an iron-clad excuse as to why they should to stay in this evening instead. He was sure he recognized them, but he didn't remember them hugging her rear so tightly. Nor did he remember the way they showed off those black boots that he knew led all the way up to her knees, dragging his dirty old mind behind them. If tonight's charity-thingy were a bachelorette auction, he'd hand over his credit card at the door.

"For future reference?" Sam tossed a scarf around her neck and slid into her long leather jacket. "Cashmere does not go in the dryer."

Jack smirked as he followed her out the door, admiring the view. Hand-wash only. Says who?