Author's Notes: For those that panicked when they saw that I had posted a post-ep that wasn't JAM, don't worry. Here is the weekly installment of my JAM take on the episode. The italicized portion at the beginning are events that take place during the episode. Things that are in regular type happen after the episode is over. Hope you enjoy it. I'd love it if you left a review and told me what you think. It's discouraging when you put a lot of thought and effort into a story and get only one review. It makes me wonder what was lacking in the story or what people didn't like.
Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.
Is There a Loser Here?
"There we were, forty out, 3 o'clock crosswind and Ed nails it. Sweet shot. That's one time I didn't really mind losing a wager."
Jules grinned as she sat down at the briefing table opposite her boyfriend. He hadn't stopped talking about his target practice with Ed since he'd gotten to work. Actually, he hadn't stopped talking about it since the Tac Leader had asked him if he wanted to join him for a round a golf. He'd been like a kid at Christmas and while she might tease him about it mercilessly, she loved watching him this way.
She picked up her pen and tapped it against the table. "So back up a moment, I want to hear more about this shot you missed. Did I hear you correctly? The great Sam Braddock actually missed a shot? Did someone record this moment for prosperity? I mean this is huge. Beyond huge."
The glare Sam shot her was only part feigned. "Did I mention the cross wind and that this was a golf ball? Less than 50 mm diameter space to work with at a forty yard distance?"
Jules shrugged. "Excuses, excuses. Never thought I'd see the day that Sam Braddock would resort to excuses."
Sarge cleared his throat indicating he was ready to begin the briefing. He'd been amused at the banter flying across the table by the young couple but at the same time Ed's lack of enthusiasm about his own success concerned him. He made a mental note to talk to his Tac leader about it once they were on patrol.
The briefing fit its name and was brief. Sarge dismissed them with the order that they were going to patrol until or unless something came up. The team gathered their gear and made their way to the vehicles. Sam waited until they were on the road before glancing at her.
"Be honest with me, are you upset that Ed and I went out shooting this morning?"
Jules opened her mouth ready to offer a smart ass comment but caught the earnestness in his voice and closed it again. She frowned; had he totally misinterpreted her banter earlier? "Sam, why would I be upset?"
He sighed. "Answering a question with a question; guess that says it all."
"If by says it all, you mean that I'm as confused as hell, then yeah. No, Sam, I wasn't upset that you and Ed had fun this morning. I'm still not upset. Did I upset you with my joking earlier?"
Sam shook his head. "I know you Jules, maybe even better than I know myself. You might have been joking up there but I could see something else lurking in your eyes. Something that wasn't quite as amused as you seemed to be. So what's wrong?"
Jules shifted uncomfortably inwardly cursing his ability to see through her. "It's nothing; forget about it."
"Like that's going to happen." Sam did the half eye roll. "Come on Jules. What did I do? I can't make it up to you if I don't know what I did."
"You didn't do anything, Sam. It's stupid really."
Sam reached over and took her hand in his. Even though they were in the vehicle alone and no one was around to see them, Sam still looked around before bringing her hand up to his lips for a quick kiss. "How about letting me be the judge of that. We've got a long day together riding around if we don't get a call. You really want me bugging you all day about it?"
She sighed. "When Ed called and invited you for golf, I thought he really meant golf."
"So did I. It wasn't until we left this morning that I discovered he had a different form of the game in mind. Was I glad I didn't wear my plaid golf pants." Realization slowly dawned on him. "You're mad we went shooting without you. Is that it?"
"No," Jules was quick to deny it but her tone said otherwise. "Okay, not mad. That would be pointless. It's not like I have to be included in everything. I love that we are both free to do our own things. It's just…I don't know. I can't explain it. I'm glad you and Ed had a great time. Really. It's just a thing and I'll get over it. Nothing to worry about."
He opened his mouth to protest when Winnie's voice interrupted over the radio. "Team, 9-1-1 on a possible home invasion…"
- FP - FP - FP -
The call had taken up most of the rest of the day and he didn't get an opportunity to question her about it again. Then, after Ed was safe, Sam had been escorted away by SIU for the mandatory post-shooting interview. Seeing how the take-down had been pretty straight forward, the meeting wasn't bad and didn't take long. He emerged from the interview room and went in search of Jules. When he couldn't find her in any of the usual places she waited for him, he admitted defeat and asked Winnie if she'd seen her. When the female dispatcher reported that Jules had headed for the gun range, Sam remembered their conversation for the first time.
He found her there, just as Winnie had said. He didn't announce himself but watched as Jules lined up shot after shot with perfect aim. He loved watching her shoot. She totally lost herself in the moment. Nothing at all mattered to her or distracted her from lining up her shot with an accuracy that sometimes made him question his own shooting skills. She would have made that shot today.
He waited until she lowered her weapon and called the target forward to check what he was sure was 100% accuracy before he approached. "You aren't pretending that target is either me or Ed, are you?"
She just turned to look at him. "I think Ed's been shot at enough today. As for you, are you going to remember to put the seat down on the toilet from now on?"
He grinned. "I forget one time and you won't let me live it down will you? Still, whatever was bothering you earlier wasn't about me leaving the toilet seat up. You ready to tell me what was bothering you?"
She slapped at the button sending the target back to its position and shouldered the Remy. She glanced around. "Not here. Can't it just please wait until we're at home."
Sam nodded, as much as she had wanted to say she wasn't really upset, her hesitancy to answer him told him it was bigger than she wanted to admit. Without even knowing what had bothered her, he felt bad to think anything he might have done could cause any of the storm clouds he could see just behind her eyes. "Sure, but we are going to talk about this."
He let the matter drop until they were sitting at the table eating steaks he'd put on the grill as soon as they'd arrived home. Jules was adding sour cream and shredded cheese to her baked potato and looked up at him as she realized he was watching her intently. She knew her time of putting off the conversation from earlier was over and it could no longer be avoided. She sighed and sat back.
"Okay, so I was a little jealous. Okay. I'm not proud to admit it but there you have it. Happy?"
Sam shook his head. "Not even a little. Jealous? Why? Because Ed asked me and didn't include you? I'm sure it wasn't personal. He probably just didn't think…"
"Think what?" Jules interrupted, her frown deepening. "That I wouldn't be interested? See that's the real problem, isn't it? Going for a round of golf? No brainer cause everyone knows I'm not that crazy about the game. But taking target practice against helpless golf balls with the Remys? That's my wheelhouse just as much as it both of yours. Or at least it used to be. Just seems like everyone has forgotten that lately."
Sam reached over and squeezed her hand. She tried hard not to show it but he knew there were times she grew frustrated at her lack of sniper time lately. He guessed he hadn't realized just how much it weighed on her. "We haven't forgotten that and you're still a sniper as much as Ed and me. It's just that your wheelhouse is a lot bigger than ours. Yeah, we cross train so we're capable whatever the situation calls for but we've all got our specialties. While I can handle a negotiation if I have to, we all know I'm better suited to looking down the scope of that Remy. So is Ed. But you -hell, I think you could probably negotiate world peace if given the chance. And lately it seems that expertise has been needed more than your ability to shoot a fly off a cow's back. You'll get your chance at Sierra again, maybe sooner rather than later with everything that's going on with Ed right now. Don't think any of us question your interest or ability there."
- FP - FP - FP -
Sam's assurances had seemed to put the matter to rest. Nothing more was said and the hurt in Jules's eyes seemed to fade. But her words and fears continued to bother Sam long after they'd gone to bed. His words might have momentarily worked to make her feel better but was there more that he could do? For the next several days, he tried to think of something he could do that wouldn't betray her confidence in him. An idea came to him at last and he made the arrangements for Saturday when they were both off shift.
Both Sam and Jules were usually early risers. Military life for him and farm life for her had instilled them both with the habit of facing the day not long after the sun had risen. However, as a couple they had discovered the pleasure and benefits of sleeping in on occasion. So, they had developed the tradition of staying in bed on the Saturdays they had off until morning had almost given way to afternoon. They wouldn't necessarily sleep that long but would enjoy the morning lazing in each other's arms or enjoying more energetic activities that they didn't always get to indulge in when they had to rush to get ready for work.
This particular Saturday morning, though, Sam woke even earlier than his usual time. He nuzzled Jules awake with kisses that trailed from her ear to her mouth. She smiled as she opened her eyes, blinking back the sleep. "Something on your mind there?"
"Always." He kissed her again, pulling her body close to his. It was tempting to give in to his body's desire to take the kissing further. But he really wanted to do this for her so after a couple more kisses, he sat up and turned on the lamp. "But later. Time to get up. We've got plans. Dress warmly."
Jules adjusted the pillows so she was propped up against the headboard. "Plans? What plans? I thought we were just going to laze around like we usually do."
Sam shook his head. "I'm taking you to breakfast and then I have a surprise."
She knew better than to push for hints. There was no way Sam would offer any details until he was ready no matter how persuasive she could be. But while the idea that he had something up his sleeve thrilled her, the bed was warm as was his body next to hers. She wasn't sure she wanted to leave the comfort of it, especially as she could tell the sun hadn't even started to break the horizon yet. "As intriguing as that sounds, are you sure it can't wait just a little bit? Cause I got a hint of a promise in those kisses and I'm not sure I can face getting out this bed unless you warm me up a bit."
Sam grinned and threw the covers off of her. "Nice try, and normally I'd be more than willing to comply but we're on a time table this morning. We're leaving in thirty minutes so we've got to get a move on."
Jules frowned as he slipped out of bed. If she hadn't seen the twinkle in his eyes that said he was super excited about his surprise, she might have gotten her feelings hurt that he was turning her down. Almost as if he could read her thoughts, he leaned down and kissed her again before almost bodily picking her up and setting her on her feet.
"Just so you know, when we get home, I'm all for us spending the rest of the day and the night right here in bed doing whatever you want to do."
Jules wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on her tiptoes to kiss him. Then she pulled back. "I'm going to hold you to that."
"That's the idea. Now get dressed. Time's a wasting."
After they were both dressed, he drove to her favorite little diner for breakfast. The early rays of sunshine were cutting through the darkness as they once more climbed into the jeep. Though Jules was dying with curiosity, she didn't ask any questions. That is, until he pulled up in front of the SRU building. Then she simply raised her eyebrow in question. He shrugged and grinned. "I'll only be a minute. I have a few forms I have to fill out real quick and then I'll be back out. Wait for me?"
"Always." Jules assured him and gave his hand, which was snug in hers, a squeeze. After he'd disappeared, she fiddled with the dial on the radio until she found a song she liked and leaned back in her seat with her eyes closed. Cryptic Sam was always both amusing and exhilarating but at the same almost exhausting to watch in his boyish enthusiasm. Whatever he had planned would be worth the agony of suspense he would put her through until he was ready to reveal what he was up to. While part of her couldn't wait to see what it was, she could at the same time enjoy the wait.
After the third consecutive song, the DJ came on, and Jules opened her eyes to once again change the channel. It was then she saw Sam returning and seeing him made any her willingness to wait fly out the window. He had two familiar soft gun cases slung on his shoulder and a boyish grin on his face. As he deposited them in the back of the jeep, she shook her head. "Sam, what are you up to?"
He didn't answer but his grin broadened. He reclaimed his spot behind the wheel and in a few seconds had pulled back out on the still mostly deserted streets. Jules twisted in her seat so she could look at him. "Sam, seriously, where are we going that we need Remys?"
He didn't see any reason to keep their destination a secret any longer. "We've got an early morning tee-off. I asked if Ed if I could bring you out to his dad's land for some target practice. He was more than happy to grant permission."
Jules's heart hammered in her chest. "You didn't tell him I was upset…"
Sam scoffed. "Do I look like I have stupid etched on my forehead? I have no desire to sleep in the doghouse or the couch. I simply told him you'd been giving me a hard time about missing the shot and I wanted you to have to put your money where your mouth is. He probably would have come to watch if he hadn't already had something planned with the family for today."
Relieved that Sam hadn't revealed her fight with the green eyed monster to anyone, Jules relaxed. "So did we really have to get out here so early or did you just enjoy pulling me from the warmth of our bed so early?"
Sam waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively. "Do you really think I ever enjoy pulling you out of bed? Yeah, we actually did have to come early. Team 4 has something big going this afternoon and I have to have the Remys back before then. You okay with this? I mean we are talking about killing helpless little golf balls here."
She reached out and punched his arm good naturedly. "Well, except for the ones who survive because you can't make the shot. Yeah, of course I'm okay with this. I can't believe you planned this."
Once they reached the land, Sam parked the jeep and they got out. They each grabbed a Remy and Sam also grabbed the bucket of golf balls Ed had given him for the outing that had already had been drilled out and fixed with a string. The couple headed toward the tree that would served as the target holder. Sam grinned at her as she started to shimmy the tree in order to tie on the strings.
"You need your big girl box?"
"You remember that dog house you mentioned earlier?" Jules quipped back.
Once the balls were swinging in the slight breeze, they made their way twenty yards away. At that range with their scopes, the golf balls didn't stand a chance. Another six balls were hung and they moved out an extra ten yards so they were 30 yards away. Again there was no doubt that they would hit their targets. Once more they made their way to the tree and reloaded their targets. As Jules hopped down from the tree again, Sam handed her back her rifle.
"Twenty and thirty yards is just a warm up. The real test comes at 40 yards. Ed and I made our wager of loser buys the winner coffee at this point. Somehow, I think the stakes should be higher this time."
Jules raised an eyebrow. "Higher, huh? Okay, what did you have in mine?"
Sam looked around even though it was obvious they were all alone in the field. "Remember the other night when we were flipping channels and somehow stopped on that rather explicit movie?"
Jules remembered it well. Explicit probably wasn't strong enough to cover what was showing on the screen. The woman lying naked on the bed as her lover covered her liberally with various foods like whipped cream and ice cream and different fruits. Once her body was practically covered it was clear that the man was going to proceed to "clean his plate." She'd wrenched the remote control from Sam and changed the channel. A warm flush crept into her cheeks. "Yeah."
Sam leaned in closer, even though no one was around to hear it. "When I win, I get to re-enact that scene complete with what we didn't get to see."
Jules felt her heart skip a couple of beats. A shiver ran up her spine. After a long moment she nodded. "Okay."
He grinned. He hadn't been completely sure she'd go along with it. "Not that you'll need it but I guess you've got to come up with a counter bet."
"Cocky today are we? You do remember you only made two out of three shots the last time you faced down the menace of golf balls at forty yards." Jules gave it some thought. "Okay I got it. When I win, then you…" She stood up on her tiptoes and whispered her request in his ear. His Adam's apple played hide and seek with the collar of his shirt as he listened to her wager. He wondered when it had gotten so hot in the still very chilly morning. He'd never heard Jules talk in such a way. He could feel his own face growing as red as hers.
She grinned satisfactorily as she stepped back and he caught his breath. "And that's supposed to be because I lose? Hell yeah, I'll agree to that. If that's your idea of a wager, I'm going to play poker with you more often."
Jules shrugged. "You'd lose at that, just like you are going to lose today. Come on Braddock. We've got to give our subjects a forty yard fighting chance."
They got into position and Jules took her first shot. It was perfect. So was Sam's. Both made their second shot look completely easy. Sam looked over at Jules wondering if Ed had felt the same kind of impending victory when it had been their challenge. Jules fired and the shot was once again perfect. Not it was Sam's turn. This was the shot that had ruined his chances of winning the bet against Ed. He lined it up and breathed evenly. He fired and held his breath. The golf ball blew apart.
They exchanged a look and quietly went back to hang new targets. Now they moved out to fifty yards. And again another perfect six shots. After hanging the next set of targets, Jules looked at Sam. "You know this could go on for a long while don't you?"
He nodded. "Yeah, going beyond fifty yards is just ridiculous. I saw if we're still tied at the end of this round, we stay at fifty yards and go for a shoot out. Speed and accuracy."
Jules nodded. "Sounds good to me."
Sam grinned. "You're not allergic to any foods, right? Just got to make sure for when I win."
"Whatever." Jules replied rolling her eyes.
The fifty yard round wasn't perfect but they both missed one target so they were still tied. A shootout would have to determine the window. They set up six more rounds but in the middle of them, they attached a yellow ball to a white ball with a two inch margin. Whichever one of them hit that one would knock the other ball down making the final shot impossible for the slower shooter. Once in position, Sam set up his timer on his cell phone for the buzzer. Just before he started the countdown, he glanced over at her.
"You realize that we both win no matter the outcome."
Jules grinned. "Yeah, but if you want to give up now and save yourself the embarrassment, that would be okay."
He shook his head. "Not a chance. Ready?"
Sam started the countdown and set the timer. When the buzzer sounded, they started to fire. The first six shots weren't exactly synchronized but were so close that their fingers closed on the trigger for their final shots at exactly the same time.
When the outcome was clear, Sam and Jules looked at each other, their disbelief clear. Then Sam slowly grinned. "Well, I guess we have our answer."
- FP -
Author's notes: I can hear at least once scream from here. Yes, I ended it there but offer them to your imagination as to what the outcome was and how the wager was paid out. I'm quite certain your imagination can do a much better job that I could ever hope of doing the payout. Again, I'd love to hear what you through after you are threw throwing tomatoes at me.
On another note, I have created a community called No Place I'd Rather Be in the community section. I plan to put the fics that I really enjoy and like to go back and read time and time again. If you are looking for good fics to read, check out my recommendations. When I see a story I really like and want to add, I'll PM the author for permission.