Title:            “Realizations”         

 

Author:         Peg  

 

Email:           kempp@telus.net

 

Status:         complete - part of series                     

 

Category:        Romance                 

 

Pairings:       Jack/Janet

 

Spoilers:        none                       

 

Season:         4

 

Sequel/Series Info:          “Strength and Courage”

 

CONTENT LEVEL: 13+             

 

Content Warnings:       none    

  

Summary:     Jack and Janet make decisions about what they want     

 

Disclaimer:        Stargate SG-1 and its characters are the property of Showtime/Viacom, MGM/UA, Double Secret Productions, and Gekko Productions  This story has been written for entertainment purposes only and no money whatsoever has exchanged hands. No copyright infringement is intended.  All original characters are my own - yada yada yada - In other words - I don't own these guys. I never will....I just like to play with them now and then.

 

Feedback:        Yes Please.  Constructive Criticism to improve my craft is appreciated.  Flames are not.                

 

File Size:           62 kb             

 

Archive:                             Please ask

 

Author’s Notes:     This story takes place two weeks after "Conversation in the Infirmary" and immediately following "SGC Vignettes

 

Thanks to Wendy for Beta-reading.  The suggestions she made helped develop this story, and she has been a life-saver during this process.

 

 

 

Colonel Jack O'Neill's heart was in his throat as he walked down the hall towards the infirmary.   Jack was in an optimistic mood this Monday morning.  Two weeks earlier O'Neill had made the decision that the best course of action in dealing with his attraction to Dr. Janet Frasier was to avoid her.  It was the wrong decision.   He had tried that for two weeks.  Jack O'Neill had been miserable for the last two weeks.   

 

O'Neill knew that he had been making his team miserable too. Last night Daniel had come over to 'talk' to him about it.  O'Neill thought he had hidden his feelings for Janet pretty well, but Daniel saw right through him.  The purpose for Daniel's visit had been to persuade Jack that he needed to act on his feelings and not hide from them.  Daniel encouraged him to think about taking a chance.  Jack O'Neill tossed and turned in his bed after Daniel left.  Finally, he got upstairs and settled in his armchair to think over what Daniel had said to him. He knew that the quiet archaeologist was right

 

All O'Neill could think about as he sat in the armchair was how much he missed his friendship with the doctor.  'He missed Janet's smile.  He missed their conversations over coffee.  He missed those stupid Wednesday night dinners with her and Cassie. He even missed sitting in silence with her.'  Jack came to the decision that if he had already ruined the friendship, then there was nothing left to risk by asking Janet out.  At the very least, Jack would ask the doctor to join him for coffee. O'Neill would do whatever he could to make sure that the friendship was still intact.  These last two weeks of avoiding each other had been killing him.

 

Colonel Jack O'Neill stopped at the door of the infirmary to muster his courage and gather his thoughts.  He took a deep breath, and pushed through the doors.  Jack strode through the infirmary towards Dr. Frasier's office. He knocked on the door and leaned in.  "Janet, do you have a minute?" he asked as he entered her sanctuary.

 

Five minutes later a dejected Jack O'Neill trudged down the hall. Janet had been in the middle of a massive amount of paperwork, and was under a deadline to complete it.  She'd also had a rough morning with some new recruits on a mission that literally could not help but fall over their own feet, and come in with broken limbs.  And on top of all that she hadn't slept the night before, and was irritated that he had been avoiding her. When Jack asked her to the commissary for coffee, Janet reacted very badly.  Janet Frasier tore into the Colonel, and said that there was no way she was going to have coffee with him, today or any day.  The moment the words were out of her mouth she regretted it.  She regretted it even more when she saw the look of devastation in his eyes. He turned without another word, and left the office.

 

Jack O'Neill decided that he had been wasting his time hoping that Janet reciprocated the feelings he had for her. He was shattered as he trudged down the corridor outside the infirmary.  His anguish was evident in every step. The Colonel stopped at the elevator, and leaned one hand against the wall, looking down at the floor.  He took a deep, shuddering breath.  Jack knew that he could get through this if he used the years of self-discipline that had taken him though black-ops and worse.  O'Neill locked himself behind the 'iron Colonel' mask.  The recruits he was training had better watch their step today, because Colonel O'Neill was in a VERY bad mood.

 

Matthew Hobbs looked after him, shaking his head.  He had seen the pre-iron Colonel Jack O'Neill on the way out of the infirmary.  It hadn't been a pretty sight.  Hobbs grimaced with dismay.  Hobbs had noticed how much happier Dr. Frasier had been when the Colonel had been spending time with her.  He would never say so to the doctor, but he had often commented to his friend Dave Johnson, "Colonel O'Neill is good for her." Johnson agreed that the Colonel seemed to brighten the whole day for the doctor, but only when they were really friends.  Right now they were both wretched, and that was making Johnson and Hobb's lives pretty wretched, too.

 

Janet had managed to get through the rest of her day, and was on her way home before she had a chance to think about what Jack had said in her office that morning. She had been in the middle of something when Jack had come in, and had definitely gone over the top with her reaction. Perhaps her words had been a little harsh, too.  Jack had looked hopeful, almost happy when he had knocked on the door, but had looked awful when he left. 

 

That night after Cassie was asleep Janet Frasier sat in her kitchen. Thinking.   The same kitchen where two weeks ago she had tended the cut above Jack's eye, and given in to the possibility of the "almost kiss". She made herself a cup of tea, and gave the whole situation a lot of thought.  She came to the same conclusion that Jack did. 

 

There was a lot of concern in the military about fraternization, and rightly so.  But it really didn't apply to them.  She and the Colonel both reported directly to General Hammond.  They were not in the same direct chain of command. "Legally' the frat rules did not apply in their case.  The fraternization rules were there for a reason, as were the medical ethics about a doctor dating a patient - but she knew doctors in small towns where being the only doctor meant that their parents, wife and all their children were patients. In a case like that it was impossible NOT to date a patient. She had really been pondering her 'professional ethics' over the past few weeks, and had come to the conclusion that her concerns were unfounded.  Jack O'Neill and Janet Frasier had started spending time together not as doctor and patient, but as friends and colleagues.

 

Janet had been miserable for two weeks.  But if she didn't care about Jack, she wouldn't be miserable.  The bald truth was that she was avoiding someone she cared a lot about.  And that was a mistake.  Even if it could go no further, she should have been working to maintain the friendship.  But there was a whole lot more going on. She knew it was obvious to some people.  Daniel Jackson had been making some really pointed comments over the past couple of weeks, and her corpsmen Matthew Hobbs and Dave Johnson had actually asked if she would like to try to hitch up with the Colonel for a coffee during one really trying day.

 

Janet smiled wryly.  Truthfully, she was sure that everyone could see the sparks of attraction every time she was in the same room as the Colonel, even though she tried to hide it.  Janet sighed, and shook her head.  She had finally admitted it to herself.  Janet did like Jack - a lot.  And if she couldn't have a deeper relationship with him, then she wanted the friendship that she missed so desperately. 

 

Janet Frasier had been sitting in the kitchen until well past midnight. But she had come to a conclusion.  No matter what happened, she would work on her friendship with the Colonel.  Even if he didn't want the relationship she dreamed of, she was miserable without his friendship, and would be a fool to lose that.

 

In the morning Janet got a ride out to the base with her friend, Samantha Carter.  She needed to be there early because of a scheduled meeting with the administrative officer, and her car wouldn't start. Major Carter had no problem driving her up in the morning, but she informed Janet that she would need to find her own way home, as Sam had a seminar at the academy later in the afternoon.   Janet Frasier felt clear-headed for the first time in weeks.  She no longer had any confusion about whether a relationship with Colonel Jack O'Neill would be outside the realm of 'medical ethics', and made the decision to ask the Colonel to grab a coffee in the commissary after the meeting.

 

Doctor Frasier's meeting with Major Michaels went on longer than she had anticipated.  After the meeting ended, she dropped by the Colonel's office.  Janet knocked on the door, prepared to apologize for her brusqueness the day before.  When Jack O'Neill looked up from his desk and saw Janet standing there, he jumped up and grabbed some papers from his desk.    Janet barely had time to say  "Hi," before he was brushing past her - "Sorry, I'm on my way to a meeting.  Can't talk!"  Colonel O'Neill said harshly.

 

Janet was taken aback by his sudden departure. She walked over to Jack's desk to leave him a note inviting the Colonel to join her for a coffee later.  She was just thinking about adding an apology for yesterday's actions, when her attention was drawn by the sound of claxons, and she ran out the door.  SG21 was not expected for hours, and an early arrival often meant injuries.

 

The rest of the day went by in a blur of activity for Doctor Frasier. Two members of SG21 had been mauled by a local creature resembling a saber-tooth tiger.  Their injuries were not life-threatening, but did require cleaning, stitching, and massive doses of antibiotics.  Janet had barely begun to sort through the mountain of paperwork on her desk when there was a visiting delegation from P37-291.  The Doctor was called up to tend an injury the ruler's son had received.  The family was so grateful that they immediately agreed to allow the trade of Naquada in exchange for some basic first-aid training and medical supplies. Janet had smiled at Colonel O'Neill when the delegation arrived at the infirmary, but Jack was doing his best 'iron Colonel' routine, and did not even seem to notice.  Janet was beginning to get discouraged.

 

Dr. Janet Frasier had not touched the paperwork on her desk by day's end, and had been told by the administrative officer, Major Michaels, that it had to be in before midnight.  She was tired. It had been a very long day, but she new she needed to get this done.  Janet didn't need to worry about Cassie, because she had already arranged care with 'the Major' when she wasn't sure how long the 'mauled airmen' would take to stitch up.  Major Marjorie Graham was a retired military woman who Janet employed to stay with Cassie when she was stuck on base. But Janet still couldn't concentrate on paperwork. Her mind was fixed on the subject of Jack O'Neill.  Janet was pacing inside her office.

 

Janet Fraiser knew that she had hurt Jack by trying to avoid him.  She had never considered how her decision to avoid Colonel O'Neill would affect him. Jack always seemed so strong, but he had allowed himself to be vulnerable to her.  Janet Fraiser thought that the Colonel understood the position she was in as a doctor, and her dilemma over professional ethics - but she realized that she had never really explained it.  Frasier had thought that he would understand the reasons behind her decision to avoid him, but maybe logical reasons didn't make much sense to the heart.  Right now Janet knew that those reasons made no sense to her own heart. Her decision had been the wrong one.

 

The truth was that Janet wanted to spend more time with Jack.  She really appreciated the Colonel and his friendship.  But deep inside, she knew that there could be a good deal more than friendship between the two of them.  Janet Frasier knew she wanted 'more than friendship'.  

 

Frasier made the decision to take a chance.  She had really missed spending time with Jack O'Neill over the past two weeks.  Janet would do what it took to get Jack O'Neill to sit down and listen to her, even if she had to threaten him with bright lights and sharp needles. Janet had to know - one way or another -- whether there could be more between them. She had to find out if he was he willing to face the consequences of taking that next step. Or was this just her dream, and not his?

 

Once that decision was made, Frasier turned her attention to her desk. Right now she had to finish this paperwork.  She began to sift through the orders of pharmaceuticals, staff reviews, and medical reports. Janet worked late into the evening, focusing her attention on each document in turn.  As Janet finished one report she put it aside and reached for the next one.  One by one she managed to clear her desk of most of the paperwork, putting aside several things that she wanted to bring to the attention of the General, or to ask her staff to clarify. 

 

The next time she looked at her watch it was because her stomach was growling.  "Good Grief!"  It was 10:00 pm already.  She was starving. She organized her desk into the piles of paper to be addressed the next day, and made notes about several things that she wanted to remember. Then Janet sat back for a moment.  She sipped the lukewarm tea in her cup, grimacing as she dumped it into a potted plant in the corner. 

 

As Janet Frasier left her office she remembered the General speaking to her of his late wife one day.  Anna Hammond had been a very special lady, and they had been happily married for a long time. The General's eyes had expressed a deep love as he spoke of his beloved wife, even two years after her death.  Janet realized that was the type of relationship she wanted in her life.  She wanted a companion who would not hold her back from pursuing her career.  She wanted someone who would appreciate her intelligence and character.  She wanted someone who would love her for who she was.  George Hammond had encouraged his wife to complete University to become an accountant in a decade when women were encouraged not to work.  But that was what Anna Hammond had wanted to do, and he stood by her.  When Janet thought about it she realized that level of companionship was within arm's reach for her.  It was just a quick trip down through the corridors of Cheyenne Mountain to Jack O'Neill's office.    But for now, she needed to get home.

 

Janet was half-way to the elevator before she remembered that she hadn't driven her car this morning.   She knew she could spend the night on the cot in her office, as Cassie was already taken care of --- but it was always nice to sleep in your own bed.  Frasier decided to check Sam Carter's lab to see if she returned to work on her 'doohickeys'.  The lab was empty.  'So', Janet grumbled, 'she was staying for the night.  Man, she needed a new car!'

 

As Janet was walking down the hall towards the commissary to grab a bite to eat, she saw light spilling out through the door of Colonel Jack O'Neill's office.  Janet hesitated for only a second, and then walked briskly towards the office door.

 

Fraiser could hear voices coming from the office. Jack O'Neill was speaking in a loud firm voice to Colonel Simpson, the CO of SG21 - "I don't care what the MALP said about wildlife.  I want to know how you let two of MY airmen get mauled!" Jack barked.  "I expect a full report on my desk first thing in the morning!"  There was a pause, then Janet heard Jack growl "NO, NOTHING has gotten into me today!  I'm my plain ordinary easy-going self!"   He paused another minute, and said quietly. "I'm just tired, Eddy.  That's all.  I think I'll take a little trip soon. You know I haven't been to my cabin in four months.  Maybe I just need to get away from the mountain for a while."  Then O'Neill's voice returned to its strident level, "But I do need that report.  Jaffa are one thing, but we teach you guys how to track." He finished firmly. Jack hung up the phone.  "As if getting away would solve my problem." He muttered quietly.  "I wish." He looked up to see Janet at the door. "Oh, uh - hi." he said, flustered.

 

"Hello, Colonel."  Janet smiled nervously.  "Uh - you know it's late and I'm just quitting work. I didn't bring my car this morning.  And I haven't had dinner yet.   So, if I were to invite you to someplace like Luigi's, just for dinner." Janet was almost stuttering she was so nervous.  "Would you drive me down the mountain and eat with me?" 

 

Janet anxiously waited to hear what the Colonel had to stay.  With the way she had been acting this week, Janet knew that she was taking a chance even talking to him.  She hoped she hadn't made her decision too late. "That is, if you wanted to." She continued in a very small voice.

 

"Um", Jack said with an inscrutable look on his face. "Okay.  I could just drop you off at home, though.  If you want."

 

"No, Jack." Janet said, earnestly, "I want to eat with you.  I'm sorry about the way I've been avoiding you recently.  I just had to sort things out in my mind. I know I've been a real witch." 

 

Jack grinned hopefully, and said "I'll meet you by the elevators in 15 minutes." 

 

A look of relief rushed over Janet's face.  "I'll get my bag and coat." Janet said, and walked out the door.

 

Jack grabbed his jacket and quickly made a few notes for the morning. He turned off the light, and walked out towards the elevator.  Things had been miserable today, but life was suddenly looking a whole lot better. 

 

As Janet walked down the hall she heard Jack begin to whistle.  She stopped, amazed. 'Was it possible that the thought of a few moments alone with her would brighten Jack's outlook that much?'  She smiled herself.  That thought made her day seem a whole lot brighter.  She grabbed her belongings quickly, and hurried to catch up with him.

 

Janet and Jack drove down the mountain in relative silence.  They had both had a very long day, and Jack wanted to keep his attention on the road.  It didn't take long until they were pulling into the parking lot at Luigi's pizzeria.   They entered the restaurant and were soon seated at their usual table. 

 

Janet knew that her broad smile betrayed how glad she was that Colonel O'Neill he had taken her up on this.   Luigi brought over menus, and they took a few moments to discuss what they wanted.  O'Neill and Frasier were both hungry, and settled on the Chicken Parmesan with pasta.

 

All in all it was a nice relaxing dinner, and just what Janet needed. As they ate their chicken they both relaxed into old patterns of conversation.   It was much like their old Wednesday evening dinners. Janet found that they fell into their old conversational patterns easily. She had been afraid it might be awkward.  They laughed and joked together like good friends.  Colonel O'Neill not only understood her humour, but he gave as good as he got.  They were relaxed in each other's company.  Janet Frasier looked back over the years she had known Jack O'Neill, and thought how lucky she was to have a friend like him. She realized that the more time she spent with him, the more time she wanted to spend with him.  Janet had deliberately chosen to distance herself from Jack when she had been so confused about 'medical ethics', but she had desperately missed their friendship.

 

The evening was like water to the soul of both of them.  Jack O'Neill could not believe how much a few hours in the presence of this remarkable woman encouraged and strengthened him.

 

The evening seemed to pass much too quickly, but O'Neill and Frasier were both aware that it was getting late.  They got up to pay their bill.  Luigi smiled, and pulled Janet away for a second.  "It is good to see the two of you out without your daughter." Luigi said quietly.  "The next time you and your husband come here on a date, dinner will be on the house." Janet blushed and thanked him sweetly, walking away without correcting the assumption.

 

After the two got in Jack's truck and were driving away, Jack asked curiously "What was Luigi saying to you.  I could see you blushing, so it must have been something."  

 

Janet looked across the truck at him and chuckled, "Just that my husband and I should leave our daughter at home more often." She admitted. "Luigi thought we were a couple, and that we should come back to his restaurant on a date."

 

Jack roared in laughter for a moment, but the idea appealed to him.  It had been such a nice evening.  Jack decided to take a risk. He pulled over into a side road, and turned to look across the truck at Janet, "Actually that sounds nice." He said nervously.  "I think I would like to take you out for dinner there again.  I had a great time." Janet turned to look at him.   Her face broke out in a radiant grin.  "I had a nice time, too." She smiled.  

 

They sat there for a moment, staring across the truck at each other. Finally Jack asked  "A quarter for your thoughts, Jan?"

 

"What?" Janet said. 

 

"Well, people usually ask a penny for your thoughts, but I thought your thoughts were worth more money than that." Jack grinned.

 

Janet turned to look at him.  She took a deep breath.  This was it. "Colonel," she said quietly.  "You know I really like you, but you have to know that this could get complicated."  Janet turned and looked out the front window.  "Jack, you know the rumour mill that goes on up at the base.  People talk all the time.  I overheard people talking about us when we were just having coffee - about you and I just having a friendship."  Janet took a deep breath.  It was time to put her earlier decision to the test.  She would take the risk. She reached over and covered his hand with one of hers.  "What would happen if that friendship" Janet paused, and looked into Jack's face with longing in her eyes - "Became more than just friendship?" 

 

Jack's eyes opened wide.  He couldn't help the wide grin that broke across his face.  It was the first time that he was really aware that Janet really thought of him in the same way he had been thinking about her.  He took a deep breath, and with one thumb caressed the back of her hand. "I think we have to take that chance, Janet." He said.  "You know that it's not against the regs.  We're not in the same chain of command. I know it's risky - and I never wanted to lose our friendship - but if that friendship went deeper, I would be careful.  I would never want to hurt you, Jan." Jack said, sincerely.

 

Jack reached across the truck with his other hand and caressed her cheek as he continued.  "But I do know that if we don't give this a chance we're going to regret it.  Face it, Janet.  We fit together.  This is good for both of us.  If all you want to be is friends, I will have to live with that. But that is not how I feel. I think it's not how you feel either." 

 

Janet looked at him, and nodded.  "I know." She said, "But if we were to allow our friendship to go deeper, I would want to start tentatively. What I mean is moving slowly and carefully.  If any part of it doesn't seem like it's working, we pull back immediately and remain friends." Janet's eyes shone in the moonlight as she said "Jack. You're a good friend.  I have missed your friendship these last two weeks.  I don't want to lose you as my friend because we made a mistake."  

 

"Fair enough" Jack agreed.

 

Janet continued.  "And you know that there is a need for discretion. Both of our jobs are too complicated to risk being really obvious about this.  We'll both take it slow."

 

Jack smiled, and added, "If we can.  I seem to remember telling myself at one point not to let my feelings go beyond friendship with you.  But my heart didn't listen.  I think your heart was acting in rebellion against your mind, too.  Janet, all I can say is I love to be with you. Even one moment in your presence can brighten my whole day.  I really think we can work this out. "

 

Janet smiled, and O'Neill reached across the truck to caress her cheek again.

 

"Jack, this was a great evening," she whispered.  

 

Jack nodded.   "This night was everything I dreamed it could be." He chuckled, "and I did dream about it.  Even this part - I've been dreaming about this since that night in your kitchen."  Jack leaned across the truck and kissed Janet on the cheek.  His warm breath teased against her skin.  Jack's hand continued to caress across her cheek, then slowly caressed her neck.  Finally it slid around the back of her neck and slowly pulled her head towards his.  The hand entwined with Janet's on the seat moved lightly up her arm to rest on her shoulder. He kissed Janet's cheek again, and then made a series of slow kisses across her cheek until his mouth rested just beside her lips. Jack then pulled back a few inches, looking Janet in the eye, giving Janet the chance to make the next move.  He wanted this to be something that they both wanted. 

 

Janet moved her head towards his, and kissed his lips gently.  Jack returned the kiss.  What began as a gentle exploration of newfound commitment became an expression of a deeper level of the relationship. This kiss was an intimate melding of purpose; a symbol of a commitment to take this relationship seriously - to do whatever it took to work it out.  Janet's hand caressed Jack's arm, and shoulder until she reached the nape of his neck.  Slowly she tangled her fingers in his brushy silver hair. What began as slow and tentative quickly inflamed to become a heart-stopping expression of sensual longing and passion, deeper than either of them had ever experienced before.  Janet had been kissed before, but never like this.  It seemed as if Jack had poured his whole being into that one moment.  When they broke away they were both breathing heavily, and stared in shock at one another as they realized that this was one of the defining moments of both of their lives.

 

Jack leaned back against the door of the truck.  He gazed at Janet. His face wore an expression of deep contentment. His smile reminded Janet of the Cheshire cat.  "Well, well."  Jack said, grinning happily.   Janet looked back at Jack with shock and wonder on her face.  "Well." She agreed.  "What do we do now?"

 

Jack looked at her with a smile so bright it could light the city of Denver.  He said.  "Well, I think it's time to get you home.  I'll drive you to your house.  Tomorrow is another day."  Jack looked at Janet with a smouldering longing tinged by self-discipline before he continued.  "I do think we need to talk - so that we can define some parameters."

 

Janet nodded, "I'll be honest." She said nervously. "This scares the hell out of me.  The relationships I've had before have never worked out as well as I wanted.  But I've never tried to date a friend before." Janet smiled tremulously.  "I really think that this might be the relationship that works.  I know you respect me, and that you understand the importance my career has for me.  I know that you are dedicated to the people you care about, and will be there for me.  I want you to know that I will be there for you, too.  Whether it is friendship, or more -I will be there for you."

 

Jack nodded, and looked out the front window.  "I know." He paused for a moment, and said.  "It's a big step for both of us.  We really need to think things through."  Jack turned to look back in Janet's eyes, longing evident in every feature on his face.  He took a deep breath, and continued, "Not to think about whether or not this relationship should be.  We both know it should." He waited, and looked over at her, relieved to see her nod of agreement.  "We need to consider what and how, and where we go from here." Jack said.  "Janet, I want you to know that I think you are a truly incredible woman, and I am really looking forward to getting to know you a whole lot better."

 

Colonel Jack O'Neill turned and looked out the front window for a moment.  He placed both hands lightly on the steering wheel as he whispered, "I want to be sure we do this right."  He turned to Janet again, and grasped her hand, and spoke seriously, "I'll go talk to General Hammond tomorrow, before we move any further ahead.  I know we both thought about the fraternization regulations, and didn't see any problem.  We need to make sure that he doesn't either."  Jack took a deep breath, looking past Janet, out the window at the moon.  "All we've shared now is a kiss.  One absolutely amazing kiss" Jack admitted longingly, turning back to look hungrily at Janet, before he continued "If this relationship is something the General has a problem with, we can try to step back and be good friends --- until our job here is done. As much as we both want more. The job we have been assigned is vital to the survival of our planet."  O'Neill looked into Janet Frasier's eyes searchingly, wanting to be sure she understood."

 

Janet nodded.  "What we do at the mountain serves a greater purpose. Neither one of us can give it up just for a few dates that might not even work out.  Yeah, Colonel.  You're right. Talk to the General and let me know what he says."

 

Jack looked over and asked.  "It's been pretty miserable for the last couple of weeks.  Are you sure we can maintain our friendship even if the General says no?"

 

Janet's smile was full of love.  She said quietly, "This is weird, but yes.  Jack, I feel so comfortable around you.  I have already let you get closer than I have a lot of people.  I just feel more complete when I am with you.  Those weeks were miserable because we both cut ourselves off from that friendship.  I need you as a friend.   I'm not willing to give up that friendship, but I can put moving into anything deeper on hold." 

 

Jack nodded.  "I know," he said.  "I feel like that too.  It isn't a matter of if we will move on this - the thing we are asking is when."   He turned to look out the window.  "Coffee in the commissary tomorrow at 10:00 am?" he asked.  "I'll speak to the General first thing in the morning, and let you know then if we are going to the commissary just as friends - or as a prelude to something more."

 

Janet nodded, and looked at her watch. "It's almost 2:00 am.  We both have to be back at the base in six hours.  I think it's time to call this evening to an end."

 

Jack nodded.  He looked at their hands still entwined, reluctant to let go.  He drove Janet home, one of her hands still entangled with his on the seat beside him.  As Jack dropped Janet off, he pulled that hand to his lips.  He grazed his lips across her knuckles, and then leaned over to kiss Janet on the cheek again.  "I'll see you tomorrow at 10:00." Jack said quietly, and waited until Janet entered the house before he drove away.

 

Janet climbed into bed that night feeling more at peace than she had in years.  She had come out of this evening stronger and happier than she ever thought possible.  It had been a big step they had taken tonight, but Janet knew deep within her heart that it had been the right one

Go to part 12