Pulling Strings

Inspired by an innocent little comment on Gateworld by Pol.

(And, by the way, I'm still jealous that you have one.)

"So, where're you going?"

He'd stopped her in the entry way, next to the couch table that sat underneath the decorative mirror.

"Um-just to the store."

"With a camping chair?" Jack fingered the nylon that composed the carrying case for said apparatus.

Sam grimaced, her nose crinkling at the bridge. "It might come in handy. There could be a line."

"A line?" His dark eyes widened before he turned his wrist to look at his watch. "At ten-thirty at night?"

"You never know. People are weird, sometimes, with their shopping habits." She grinned-too brightly-and reached past him for the keys on the table top.

But her husband didn't play hockey for nothing. He edged over and blocked her handily. "Then why go, if there will be all these people lining up?"

"Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices when you're shopping. Good deals—stuff like that. Hot items."

"Really? Eggs are just flying off the shelves, are they? Folks far and wide lining up for produce?" Jack crossed his arms over his chest and stood his ground.

"Not groceries." Eyeing him, she snuck a hand around his body and snagged the keys. Her face wreathed in triumph, she pocketed them. "I'm not buying food."

"Then what?"



"Good stuff." Seeing that he wasn't impressed, she clarified. "One thing. One really good item."

"That you absolutely have to have tonight?"

"Yeah-and that's another thing." Lifting the chair off the wooden surface, Sam slung the strap over her shoulder. "I might not be home for a while."

"Sam," Jack frowned now, his eyebrows low. "What the sam-hill is going on?"

Pursing her lips, Sam glared at her husband. "I told you it came out tomorrow."

"What came out tomorrow?"

"That new thing I wanted."

The light dawned. "That little tablet thing? That's what this is all about?"

Perfect little teeth chewed on her bottom lip as she nodded. "It's not just a tablet thingy. It's an iPad."

"Can't you just go tomorrow and get one?"

"I can't wait." Her blond ponytail bobbled as she shook her head. "They might be gone by then."

"How many people could possibly want this thing?"

"Only everyone." Her eyes widened, and her face began to morph—gathering excitement as she spoke. "It's got sixty-four gigs of memory, supports thousands of different applications, has a nine point seven inch backlit display, and has Wi-Fi plus three-G internet capabilities. You can store all your photos, browse the internet, watch movies, read books, and calendar, and use it as a GPS unit—"

"Whoa!" Waving a flattened hand in the air in front of her, Jack's eyes rolled skyward as he blew out an exasperated breath. Refocusing on his wife, he rocked back on his heels. "Way too much information, there. That was like—"

He couldn't finish, allowing a shudder to run up his spine and tingle through his shoulders, instead.

But his wife simply stood, unaffected, glaring at him until he'd gathered himself again.

"I think we both know that thingy is way too geeky for me. But I know that you want one." The corner of his mouth tweaked upwards. "And you have to have one tonight?"

She appraised him for a moment before answering. "The store starts selling them at midnight."

"And what if I told you that I didn't want you to go?"

Slowly, a smile spread itself across her features, inching from rueful to teasing. "I'd tell you I loved you on my way out."


"Mm-hmm." She tried to look apologetic, but her face still gleamed with excitement.

"And it means that much to you?"


"And you want one that badly."

"Yes. I do."

"Oh well then." He shrugged, then turned around and headed for the coat closet. With a smug grin, he shoved aside some jackets, and then reached all the way to the back and pulled out a bag. Turning, he held it out to her. "Here."

A dimple appeared briefly in her cheek as a speculative sparkle lit her eye. "What's this?"

He handed the bag to her, then shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged. "That is your husband taking care of you."

She hesitated only for a moment before dropping the camping chair to the floor, raising the bag, and peeking inside.

And then she squealed. And hurtled herself towards him, throwing her one unladen arm around his neck. Her lips touched his throat, and ear, and cheek, before finally connecting-quite satisfactorily, he thought—on his mouth. Repetitively. And slightly moistly. And really kinda noisily.

Not that he minded.

When she finally pulled away, she stood close, gazing at him in utter adoration. She couldn't seem to come up with many words beyond a simple, "How?"

This time, it was his own dimple that made an appearance. "Strings were pulled."

"How many?"

"Many. Many many." Jack waggled his eyebrows. "You'll have to pay me back a lot, young lady."

And her smile—wonderful, wide, luminous—told him that she wouldn't mind at all.

Not one little bit.