Summary: Sam and Janet discuss what Sam overheard in the Med Center
At 7:30 on the dot, Sam Carter pulled up in front of Janet's house. She sat there for a moment, nervously drumming her fingers as she continued to try to figure out what she was going to tell her friend.
Finally, she shrugged and went to the door. Pressing the button, she heard the melodic chimes echo inside. Sam couldn't seem to stand still, constantly fidgetting and looking around.
'What if the colonel shows up? What if he's here?' she thought nervously. 'Okay, Sam, get a grip. Jack's off drinking or something with Daniel. And anyway, if Janet is trying to cheat on Jack, he won't be here.'
The door was pulled open and Janet stood there silhouetted by the light from inside. "He-ey! Come on in," she said.
Sam stepped into the house and saw Janet was wearing an apron over her clothing. Throwing her a puzzled look, Sam said, "So, you ready?"
"I thought we'd dine in tonight. You seem to need to talk and that'll be so much easier here than at some restaurant," Janet said in reply. "Besides, I made lasagna." She arched her eyebrows knowingly at the last sentence.
Sam had eaten Janet's lasagna before and it was, as Cassie would say, "to die for." Thinking of the teenager, Sam asked, "Where's Cassie?"
"At Cindy's. There's a study group," Janet said but her expression told Sam she knew the main topic at Cindy's house would be boys.
"Come join me in the kitchen. It's almost ready actually. Just need to put the garlic bread in," Janet led the way into her spacious kitchen. "Something to drink? Beer? Wine? Soda?"
"Beer would be good," Sam said.
Sam sat at the table after getting a bottle out of the fridge. "Need any help?"
Janet shook her head. She had her hair loose around her shoulders and it shimmered in the light whenever she moved her head. Sam felt her resolve to end this before it began faltering.
After a few minutes of idle talk about work and the people inside the Mountain, Janet announced that dinner was ready and headed for the dining room with the tray of lasagna. Sam helped by bringing the garlic bread and Janet's glass of wine.
Sitting down at the candle-lit table, Sam saw how the light sparkled in Janet's eyes. 'I shouldn't have come here. This is too hard.'
After serving Sam and herself, Janet said, "Bon appetit."
The lasagna was delicious, as usual. Janet did something to the sauce that really enhanced it, in Sam's opinion. She couldn't help but wonder, with some bitterness, if Jack appreciated Janet's cooking as much as she did.
After finishing their meal, Janet shooed Sam into the living room. "The dishes can wait. Just let me put the lasagna away. Do you want some to take home?"
Sam sat rigidly in the recliner and looked around, sadness filling her. It was just too cruel to have this offered to her only to have it snatched away. If only she and Janet had gotten together first...
"He-ey!" Janet stepped into the room and sat on the sofa. "Sam, join me, please." She held out her hand and Sam found herself taking it, the skin warm and soft against hers. She sat next to Janet and tried to relax.
"Alright, I think we need to talk, don't you?" Janet asked.
Sam nodded miserably and said, "Janet, I think we should just forget all this. I...I just don't think it'll work out."
"Wha...Why? Sam, what're you talking about? I thought you wanted this as much as I do?" Janet sat back with a stunned look on her face.
"Janet, I do want this. I want this so much! But, I'm not going to be a the other woman," Sam said. "I don't want to be responsible for destroying another relationship. No matter how much I want you."
"Sam, what the hell are you talking about?" Janet demanded.
Sam paused then reluctantly told Janet about her trip to the Med Center and what she'd accidentally heard and what she saw.
Janet sat there with another stunned look before she burst out laughing!
Sam looked at Janet, not understanding what she could find so amusing. Her heart was breaking and this woman was laughing!
Seeing the hurt on Sam's face and realizing how the blonde officer was feeling, Janet took her hand again and said, "Sam, you came in at the end of the conversation. I suppose I need to tell you but you have to promise to keep a secret. Okay?"
Sam nodded, not trusting her mouth enough to chance saying anything.
"Okay, you know Jack is divorced. Well, he was divorced before his first mission to Abydos. When he came back, leaving Daniel behind, he resigned from the service. He didn't feel like he could function in the Air Force anymore. I never fully understood what the underlying problem was.
"Anyway, at this time, I had just finished my residency and was stationed at the same airbase. We met off-base and I have to admit I fell for the big lug. We dated for a few weeks and got married." Janet paused to let that sink in.
Sam's eyes became saucers. "Married? You and the colonel? I don't believe it!"
Janet smiled, "Believe it. I was Mrs./First Lieutenant/Doctor Janet O'Neill."
Janet paused again to let Sam say something but Sam only shook her head in confusion. Finally, she said, "Look, I know you were married once. You've never talked about it except that time in the cell. And you made it sound like your ex- was some low-brow hillbilly."
Janet laughed, "I wouldn't necessarily call Jack low-brow. And he's no hillbilly. He wasn't too keen on women in the service though. Hell, he wasn't too keen on the military at all then. 'This man's army' was our little inside joke.
"Anyway, the marriage went south in about six months. We started having problems and fortunately we talked about them a lot. We both realized that the marriage was a mistake. Jack was using it as a rebound cushion and I confused infatuation with love. We decided to get a divorce and managed to do so amicably."
"That's what you two meant about seeing each other naked? Being husband and wife? Okay. I can accept that...if I have to. But what about that embrace?" Sam asked.
"I'll get to that in a second. I want to tell you that we never bothered to keep our former relationship a secret until I was assigned here. We decided to adapt the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. General Hammond knows, of course. And Jack's first wife, of course. But, as far as I know, no one else here knows about us. And we'd like to keep it that way." Janet looked at Sam searchingly.
"Okay, fine, secret. Won't tell a soul," Sam agreed.
"Now you're sounding like Jack."
"Okay, okay. But why the big secret?"
Janet thought for a moment then said, "Haven't you ever wondered why the Air Force put a lowly captain in place as CMO for one of the most highly-guarded, one of the most secret installations in history?"
Sam shrugged, then nodded. "I never really considered it. There are a lot of unorthodox things about the SGC."
"That's true. But still, a captain?" Janet smiled, "They, being Jack and the general, pulled some strings to have me assigned here. Without my knowledge, mind you. Jack was aware of the work I'd been doing in the field of virology, believe it or not, and told the general that I would be an ideal candidate for the newly vacated post. Hammond reviewed my file and the associated records and finally agreed. So, here I am."
"It must've been a surprise to come here and find your ex-husband one of the senior officers," Sam said.
"At first, yeah. Hammond told me about why I had been picked. I was honored of course, but then I was angry at Jack. I thought it was some ploy to get me back until I realized he was completely sincere in recommending me. We decided it was for the best to keep our prior relationship quiet to avoid any rumors or questions of impropriety." Janet paused and took a sip of her wine. She hadn't talked about this phase of her life in a long time. To anyone.
"And the embrace?"
"I want this between us to work. But one thing about Jack and I is that we learned to read each other. If he's happy or upset, I can see the signs before anyone else. Not so surprisingly, he can see the same in me. I knew if this relationship between us was going to work, he'd know. And I can't lie to him, never could. So I told him..."
"You told him!?! Janet, that could get us discharged! What...?"
"Wait a minute! Hold on! Sam, I told Jack as my friend and my ex-husband, not as an Air Force officer. He can keep secrets too. I knew if he saw you and I happy and knew we were in relationships, he'd figure it out sooner or later. And he'd be hurt that I didn't confide in him.
"And I have to say, Jack was pretty happy about this. He likes you, a lot. And he really wants his people, his friends, to be happy. If we are happy together, he's all for that. The hug, and that's all it was - a hug, was his way of...I don't know...showing he approves and...well, supports our choice." Janet stopped with a frown on her face, "Do you see what I mean?"
Sam nodded, "Yes. But I want to make sure I understand this. Jack and you are friends, not lovers? He's okay with us? And I completely misunderstood what I heard and jumped to the wrong conclusion?"
"Yes, yes, and yes. Sam, Jack and I are very close friends. But I don't love him. Well, I do but like a big brother, not romantically." Janet smiled and Sam felt her heart melt.
"Now, shut up and kiss me!" Janet demanded with a twinkle in her eye. "Doctor's orders!"
Sam leaned in and took the brunette in her arms and kissed her, a long, passionate kiss.
Two hours later, as the couple was still making out on the couch, they heard a car door slam.
"Uh-oh, I think Cassie's home," Janet said as she sat up. She got up, straightened her clothes and brushed her hair back.
Sam looked guilty. "Uh, what about Cassie?"
"Don't worry. I think she thinks we're already a couple..." Janet laughed.
"Oh God!" Sam laughed.
The next morning, Sam was sitting in the canteen when Jack came up. "Hey Carter, mind if I join you?"
Sam looked up and said, "Not at all, sir."
"So, how was the date last night?" Jack asked as he gazed into his coffee cup.
"Uh, well, it was fun, sir," Sam said.
"Good. Good." Jack nodded absently. Then he glanced around to see if anyone was nearby before leaning forward. In a low voice, he said, "That is a very special person you're getting involved with."
"I know, sir," Sam said with a small grin.
"Sam, I want you to know, as your friend, that all I want for you two is to be happy," Jack said.
"Thank you, Jack." Sam gently grasped his forearm, "We will be."
Next: The Affair