Groceries by Abby Eddey
Episode Related: 0202 In the Line of Duty, 0207 Message in a Bottle, 0211 TokRa, 0213 Spirits, 0215 A Matter of Time, 0216 The Fifth Race, 0220 1969
"Ooohh," a voice murmured, "how do you know a good one?"
Jack turned to face a petite red-head with a pug nose and freckles that her powder didn't quite hide. Her green eyes smiled up at him as he stared down at her.
"How do you pick a really good one?" she asked, her nose wrinkling.
"Smell," Jack replied, holding a partially ripe pineapple out, "They smell sweeter. This one should be ready in a couple of days."
The red-head took a tentative sniff and then smiled, "Oh! It does smell sweet!"
"Take it," Jack said, handing it over, "I'll be out of town so it will just get all ..."
"I hate that!" she declared, accepting the fruit and smiling appreciation. "I'm Glenna. I just moved into the neighborhood."
"Jack," Jack replied.
"Do you live around here, too?" Glenna asked as Jack pushed his undersized yuppie cart toward a bin of green apples. Teal'c had a fondness for Granny Smiths, particularly with a chunk of extra sharp Vermont cheddar.
"No. Across town," Jack replied, picking up an apple and turning it. The skin was dark green, no yellow tinge, and the scent was tart and fresh. Trader Joe's might cost multiples of the dingy grocery near Jack's house, but the fruit was worth it. Jack claimed a dozen apples as Glenna paused, her face thoughtful and a little disappointed, "That's too bad, Jack. I was hoping I might run into you every now and then ..."
It was an opening, an obvious invitation. Jack hesitated, tying the ends of the apple bag together, and Glenna charged ahead, covering his social stumble, "So if you don't live here, why do you shop here, Jack?"
"Oh, it's on the drive to the office," Jack lied.
The road to Cheyenne Mountain was a block from his house. Carter's place, on the other hand, was in the newer southern suburbs. Places like this Trader Joe's were common on Carter's side of town. Jack's neighborhood had all the best grungy bars and unbelievable rib joints.
"Where do you work, Jack?" Glenna asked, but Jack barely heard her. He'd caught a glimpse of a blonde beyond the stack of yam chips.
"Excuse me," he mumbled, as he maneuvered his cart to avoid being seen by the object of his 'Wednesday op.'
It had started innocently eight months before when Jack had asked Carter where she bought a particular brand of hand cream. He'd lost his and borrowed some on a mission. To his surprise, despite the pink bottle, it was unscented and not at all greasy. Jack had dropped by the Trader Joe's to pick up a bottle of the stuff a few days later - on a Wednesday evening - and, low and behold, had almost run into Carter doing her weekly shopping.
Being a professional sneaky-bastard with way too much time in special ops, Jack hadn't let her see him. Instead, he'd enjoyed at least 45 minutes of real down time observing Samantha Carter in her native environs. It had been fascinating and damned educational.
Carter, he learned, loved junk food, but denied her hedonistic side, probably because of the strict weight regulations imposed on SG team-members. Jack had watched from afar as she examined each of at least forty kinds of chips, dips, cookies, and even a bag of something that looked like fried pig skins. Being a Yuppie store, Jack guessed the chips were actually made of soy or sesame-stuff, but it spoke volumes about the clean-living Captain Carter that she would even pick up a bag of pseudo-fried-pig-skin.
'Live and learn,' Jack had thought at the time. After tracking Carter almost into the check-out line, Jack had dropped the two bags of mixed nuts onto a shelf and faded before she saw him. As he drove across town, he found himself smiling and chuckling at the experience of watching Sam without a brilliant thought in her beautiful blond head. It had been a perfectly normal hour in proximity to an extraordinary person and that made a Wednesday evening anything but ordinary.
Jack had dropped by the Trader Joe's the following Wednesday, but found no sign of Carter. They were off-world for the following three Wednesday's and so it was a month before Jack caught Carter in the act of normalcy once again. He'd timed his arrival to anticipate hers, but had felt a thrill of alarm when he saw her hot silver sports car already parked at the far side of the empty lot. Leave it to Captain Sam Carter to eke a bit more exercise out of shopping.
Jack pulled his pickup into the used car lot across the street, parked behind a massive Suburban, and killed the engine. He waited a couple of minutes, surveying the area. There was no sign of Carter, so he hopped out, crossed the highway a half block away and approached from the rear of the building. Finally, he entered, with his eyes lowered to his miniature shopping cart and began to systematically quarter the grocery store. He caught her in the junk food aisle.
Sam was lingering before a box of something that looked like chocolate. Jack smiled as she reached for the shiny brown box, her fingers hovered over the sleek package, but she pulled away at last and pushed her cart a short distance, stopped and glanced back. Jack froze.
'She really wants those ...whatever's in the box.'
He waited, hidden behind a rack of blue corn taco chips, until she turned the corner. Then he moved quickly down the aisle, snagged the box that had tempted her and doubled back.
Carter moved along the aisles in a pattern much like he'd observed the last time: Lingering through the junk food, resisting temptation, but obviously interested, and then stocking up in the fruit and veggie sections. Fresh milk, organic milk, and a teensy carton of high-octane chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream rounded out the contents of her basket. Jack took careful note of each item, including the freshness dates. He watched her check out, wheel her little red plastic coated cart out of the store and leave it, like a good little shopper, in the cart return space, before striding across the parking lot to dump her groceries in her trunk.
"May I help you?" the clerk called, jerking Jack back from his re-con of his subordinate's every move.
"Yeah," he reacted, tossing the sleek box of truffles onto the belt alongside a giant bag of fake pig-skins.
The check-out clerk eyed the items, lifted his eyes to Jack’s and grinned, "Either you're in love," he smirked, "or your cousin from Alabama is coming to visit."
Jack blushed under the scrutiny of the stranger and muttered, "Bag it."
The clerk stopped flirting, stuffed the chocolates and fried fake pig skins into the same bag and ran Jack's credit card through without further comment.
Jack was grabbing the bag when the clerk tried once more, "She's not your type you know."
Jack blinked and said, "Who?"
"The blond you bought the chocolates for," the clerk replied, "She never buys that junk. Only looks at it."
"The truffles are for me," Jack lied, "I bought her the pig-skins..."
|Genres:||Action/Adventure, Drama, Missing Scene/Episode-Related, Romance|
|Warnings:||Adult Themes, Language, Sexual Situations|
|Summary:||Between Universal disasters and world-destroying threats, the little things in life go on|
I've been told to go write a happy story. Well ... this is it.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Contains explicit sex scenes and adult themes.
Chapter End Notes:
I lost access because Yahoo closed my email account. Some of my other works appear here under my former pen name Abby Eddey.