When the phone rang, Sam was ankle deep in her disaster of a laundry room. She managed to trip to the receiver right before the answering machine would have picked up, distracted and out of breath.
“Carter,” she said by way of greeting, quite forgetting that this was her home line and thus, that was probably not the best way to begin a conversation.
“Hey Sam,” an amused male voice rang in her ears.
She smiled in spite of herself, taking the cordless phone and returning to the laundry room to continue her search. “Mark! How are you?”
“Good, good. You?”
Sticking her head in the dryer, Sam sighed. “Oh, you know. The usual. How are Abby and the kids?” Damnit, where had they gotten to?
Her brother proceeded to tell her about Abby’s promotion at work and his son’s Little League win, and Sam listened with half an ear because really, she did care. It’s just that she couldn’t find her shorts and it was beginning to get on her nerves. They were special shorts, damnit. Bought nearly seven months ago on clearance and set aside for when it would be warm enough to wear them without being really obvious. Though the fact that they were designed for someone at least fifteen years younger than she was probably a tip off. But she couldn’t resist. They were cotton (thin fabric was good) and low-slung (his wonderfully long fingers could get further) and had daisies embroidered on the back pockets (he’d so be fascinated by that, and she had a sadistic side) and they were so short that wearing them could probably be construed as public indecency (Skin. Lots and lots of skin).
She told herself that they were special occasion shorts. And hey, it was finally summer and the world hadn’t nearly ended in almost three weeks, so in her mind, that constituted a perfectly reasonable special occasion.
Except she had put them someplace safe, where they wouldn’t be lost (which was a viable concern considering how little they really were). And now, she couldn’t remember where that someplace safe was and it was frustrating because there was a temperamental barbeque and a rope hammock and a bare-footed Jack O’Neill waiting for her.
After ten minutes of small talk and searching, Sam had to concede that they definitely weren’t in the laundry room. Back to her room then. She heaved herself off the floor from where she had been searching the dry cleaning (hey, weirder things had happened) and started down the hall.
“So, Sam, listen. I’ve got this friend, Pete, from Denver. A cop. Anyway, he’s going to be in Colorado Springs investigating a case this week.”
“That’s nice,” Sam allowed absently, diving into her dresser for the third time. Still all winter clothes. Stupid bulky clothing.
“…Yeah. I was thinking it might be nice if you would, I don’t know, show him around a little or something…”
Frowning, she pawed through her underwear drawer, which had gotten a lot more colorful over the past few months. “This week? I don’t really think I have time.” Which was true—there was an X-Files marathon on Wednesday, and she had promised to go grill shopping at some point, because they had come to the conclusion that they had been eating way too much pizza. Plus, you know, work and stuff.
“You sure? Because Pete’s a really good guy…”
“I’m sure he is,” Sam managed while she was dragging a box of summer clothing that hadn’t quite been unpacked yet out from her closet. “I’m just really busy right now.” There was that meteor shower on Friday, too. And they had talked about repainting her kitchen.
“Oh. Well, if you’re sure…”
She sat back, frowning. Nothing! This didn’t make any sense. She had bought them and folded them and put them in the dresser…“Yeah. Tell him to buy one of those guidebook things. I’ve heard they have a lot of good stuff in them.” Teal’c was always paging through them and marking things he wanted to see.
“Sure, I’ll do that.” Mark sounded funny, but Sam was too caught up in the problem of the missing shorts to be horribly concerned. They should be in the dresser…but not this dresser! Of course! They were at the Colonel’s house, in the dresser in his spare room where she kept her clothes. (It wasn’t her dresser because he still kept some flannel sheets and an old sweater in the bottom drawer, her mind rationalized.) She had gone straight to his house after buying them, and had figured since she would be wearing them there, it only made sense….
Jumping up, she fumbled for her sandals and her keys. “Listen Mark, I’m really sorry, but I’ve got to go. I’m running late.”
It wasn’t until much later, when she was sprawled on the hammock with the ropes pressing into the skin of her back and Jack warm and wonderfully occupied on top of her that it all clicked into place.
Breaking away from his mouth, she exclaimed, “He was setting me up!”
“Hrm?” Jack managed while his mouth traveled down her neck and his hands drifted further up her legs, tracing patterns on her inner thighs. These shorts? Best buy ever.
“My brother,” she said when she could breathe again. “He was trying to set me up with some guy. Paul or Pat or something.”
He was nibbling on her collarbone now and damnit, his shirt needed to come off. Now.
When it was properly disposed of and her brain was well on its way to dribbling out of her ears, he asked, “What did you say?”
“Huh?” she queried, having completely lost track of the conversation. “Oh. I told him I was busy.”
And suddenly, it occurred to her that she shouldn’t have, that maybe she shouldn’t be too busy to turn down dates. Because this wasn’t dating. But…”Is that okay?”
He stopped what he was doing, which was regrettable, but when his brown eyes looked at her all warm and smiling like that, it made up for the stopping a little. Gently, he kissed her nose. “Sure. I mean, we have to go grill shopping.”
They really did. His old, moody grill had burned half of their steaks and barely cooked the other half. “Right,” she agreed. “And paint the kitchen.”
He rolled his eyes and sighed melodramatically before an evil grin spread across his face. “Will you wear these shorts when we paint?”
She grinned back. “I could be persuaded.”
After all, painting was a special occasion too.