"You deserve so much more than this, so don't tell
me why he's never been good to you, don't tell me
why, he's never been there for you, and I'll tell
you that why is simply not good enough."
~ Sarah McLachlan, "Good Enough"
I don't know why I'm here. I don't know why I'm surprised that I'm here. I think I knew when I left the mountain that this is where I would inevitably end up: in front of Sam's.
I don't know what I was thinking, coming here. I don't know what I'm going to do, or if I'm going to do anything at all. Will I just sit here, staring across the street into her kitchen, picturing her, wondering what she's doing? Maybe reading, or watching TV... or maybe sitting, and... reconsidering? Could I be that lucky?
I don't know what I was thinking. I imagined myself bursting into her house with all the grace and drama of a theatrical production, falling to my knees and professing my undying love to her, begging that she not do what she planned on doing. Of course, I wouldn't do it. For one thing, I've got this problem with my knee...
The whole situation has an air of predestination about it, like this was how it had to end, no two ways about it. That's pretty freaky, considering that three days ago I was certain it would end in an altogether different way. With us together.
I don't know... none of it makes any sense, and yet it all fits together perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle. A puzzle I created. A puzzle I put together. A puzzle I'd like to destroy, place in its box, and never look at again. The irony is truly disgusting, and sitting there, I realize, not for the first time, that self-loathing has a taste. It's like tomato sauce, salt, and sour milk congealing in the back of my throat.
Anger - which incidentally tastes like fish and grapefruit - fills me as a car - a green, sporty thing that practically screams "Mid-life crisis" - turns down the street, and parks in front of Sam's house. I never had a midlife crisis, I think bitterly. I was too busy dealing with other crisis to worry about my age.
From the car emerges a man: blonde, thirty something... oh, who am I kidding? His name is Richard Pike; he's 37 with blonde hair and blue eyes, 6'3", 185 pounds. He lives on Ridgecastle, the Dunn building, apartment 23, which was nice and could be nicer if he'd do the laundry once in a while. His mother was dead and his father was a 60-year old ex-Marine who liked building model trains. Richard liked German Shepherds, soccer, and the color blue.
I'd first heard his name... oh, about a month ago. Has it only been a month? It seems like longer... but today's the 16th and it all started on the 13th...
I jump, startled, and glared at Danny for interrupting my train of thought. In all honesty I'd forgotten he was here. Surprising considering I'd been seeing an awful lot of him lately. He seemed to think that he was the one thing standing between me and Rick Pike's long, painful death. And he'd be mostly right. Just the fact that he hadn't reported my evening's itinerary to Hammond was either his testament as an awesome friend or just really, really stupid. I hadn't decided yet.
I shushed Danny and returned my attention to Richard Prick - er, Pike - as he hurried up the front walk and rang Sam's doorbell. Oh, God, he was wearing a suit. I pulled out a pair of binoculars.
"Jack!" Daniel said again, this time with a note of shock in his voice. I looked down at the binocs innocently. "Those are from the SGC, aren't they?" he accused, his brow furrowing.
"No one will even notice they're missing," I assured him.
Daniel sighed. I don't know about him sometimes.
I put the instrument to my eyes and adjusted the focus. "Gaa!" I exclaimed. "That is one God-awful tie..."
"Jack," said Daniel for the third time, and this time he sounded annoyed. "Why are we here?"
"Hey, no one ever said you had to come along."
He glared at me. I always felt bad when he glared at me, like a kid when he gets swatted on the rear. Guilty. "We're checking this guy out, Daniel," I explained patiently.
"You've been checking him out for the past two weeks," he reminded me. "You've memorized Rick's mother's maiden name and his social security number and... probably his mother's social security number!"
My throat tightened as the door opened. Richard smiled and then went inside.
"You're just taking this way past the point of common sense here! You just have to accept that-"
"Shut up." I said it as nicely as possible.
"I just have a bad feeling," I explained. "I can't explain it... I just don't like him."
Daniel smacked his head up against the passenger's side window. "Jack, you don't like anyone who comes within a quarter-mile radius of Sam!"
"Hey, quiet!" I hissed.
"You don't like anyone who comes within a quarter-mile radius of Sam," he repeated, this time in a whisper. "And this is her fiancée..."
"Don't say that," I demanded. "He hasn't officially asked her yet."
Okay, so I was grasping at straws. And, okay, there weren't all that many straws for me to grasp. All the more reason to hang on for dear life. "Listen," I said, placating. "Sam's smart. She's gonna see through this loser and she's going to say no. She's not... not... Daniel..." I groaned. "She doesn't love him and she isn't going to marry him. I'm sorry, but I just can't accept that."
He opened his mouth to answer, but then closed it. His gaze shifted from me to behind me, to Sam's house.
She and Rick were walking to his car. Even without the assistance of the binoculars, I could tell she looked absolutely beautiful. And very happy.
'I make her smile now and then,' I realized, feeling oddly detached, like I was watching a show on TV. 'But he makes her...'
I couldn't even finish the thought.
"I can't accept that," I repeated as the car vanished down the street.
"Is that because you think I'm wrong, or because you're in love with her?" asked Daniel in the softest voice imaginable.
Shaking my head, and turned the key in the ignition.
"I don't know."