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Chapter 6

 

A/N: Some music credits: “If I Could Turn Back Time” was performed by Cher and written by Diane Warren. “Harden My Heart” was performed by Quarterflash and written by Marv Ross.

 

Sam giggled as she watched Meri and her fiancé dance to “Love Shack.” Meri was really into it, while Jon just swayed uneasily. At times it seemed like he was actually looking at her and trying to copy her moves. It reminded Sam of her prom date. The young man had not been as reluctant to dance, but he did so just as terribly as Jon did. Sam wasn’t much of a dancer herself, but at least she had a bit of rhythm, while her date had tried in earnest to copy her moves and failed for the most part.

 

“Hey,” Daniel suddenly broke in softly.

 

Sam got distracted from her thoughts and turned to face him.

 

“Nice cover story there,” he said as he patted her arm and gave her a half smile.

 

Sam grinned.

 

“She can really pry when she wants to, can’t she?” she giggled slightly.

 

Daniel nodded grimly.

 

“But the whole thing about the pet name was good. You actually weren’t that far off,” he elaborated before taking a sip of his iced tea.

 

Sam looked at him intently and nearly became lost in his expressive blue eyes. She was still pleasantly surprised at how good Daniel looked. She had always thought he was cute, but this was probably the first time she noticed just how gorgeous he was.

 

Her concentration was broken when he shot her a curious look, brow creased in confusion.

 

Sam’s eyes widened slightly, and she coughed as her cheeks grew hot.

 

“Uh … sorry.”

 

Daniel edged over toward her a bit more and put his arm around her. Sam turned and smiled at him.

 

“Thanks, Daniel,” she said softly.

 

The creased brow returned.

 

“For …?” he asked.

 

“For going along with this … for keeping me company tonight,” she finished.

 

Daniel smiled sweetly at her.

 

“That’s okay, Sam. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the evening.”

 

Sam looked at him, a bit surprised.

 

“Well, maybe I could,” he said sheepishly, glancing around the club.

 

Sam giggled softly.

 

“But I couldn’t think of a better person to spend it with,” he continued as he rubbed her shoulder.

 

Sam smiled. Then her smile faded and her eyes narrowed.

 

“Uh … Daniel … Sha’re is still out there,” she reminded him.

 

Daniel nodded and swallowed hard as that reality resurfaced in his mind.

 

“Yeah. I know. But, given the circumstances right now, that she can’t be here with me, I can’t think of a better person to spend this evening with than you,” he finished softly.

 

Sam felt Daniel squeeze her shoulder, and she looked into his eyes once again. This time, she was able to see pain reflected in them … the pain of losing his wife to a parasitic enemy, compounded by the pain of being used by the same enemy to assist in her nefarious plan of dominating the world. She looked back up at him, profound sympathy in her eyes.

 

Then she leaned a bit closer to him and kissed him softly on the cheek.

 

Daniel turned to face Sam, momentarily surprised by the kiss. When he saw the sad, sympathetic look she was giving him, he realized just how much Sam cared for him. Granted, he had been aware that she cared about him before, given the numerous times she expressed concern for his well-being after witnessing his nearly constant sleepless state, right after Sha’re was taken. At that time, they had just been introduced, and already she showed that she cared a great deal for him.

 

The look of deep sympathy and understanding in her eyes revealed that she cared about him even more than she had ever previously shown, even more than a friend; more like soul mate.

 

Daniel’s eyes met hers again, and his lips edged up into the faintest of smiles. Sam returned his smile, and that confirmed to Daniel that what he was thinking was right.

 

“Sam,” he nearly whispered, still smiling.

 

He closed his eyes and leaned forward as he decided that he would kiss her, when suddenly an image of Hathor flashed in his mind. That dreaded witch with the bright red hair and the glowing eyes appeared to be grinning wickedly, and beckoning him with one hand.

 

Daniel’s eyes flew open and he jumped slightly as he moved back from Sam.

 

Sam furrowed her brow in confusion as she eyed Daniel, sitting hunched over with his hands covering his face.

 

“Daniel? Are you okay?” she asked, concerned as she bent down to look at him.

 

Daniel removed his hands from his face and nervously combed his hair back from his face with one hand. He sat back up and turned toward Sam.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine,” he sighed, nodding.

 

He picked up his glass of iced tea and eyed it strangely.

 

“Just wondering if they spiked my iced tea or something,” he said sheepishly.

 

Sam took the straw out of his glass and handed it to him before taking a sip from the glass.

 

“Nope, tastes fine to me,” she shrugged.

 

He put the straw down on the table and looked at the glass as if he wasn’t entirely convinced.

 

“Daniel, what’s wrong?” Sam persisted. “Did I say the wrong thing by bringing up Sha’re?”

 

Daniel gave her a reassuring smile and patted her on the arm. “No, Sam. I’m okay. I just had some … bad memories. But I’m okay now, honest.”

 

Sam averted her eyes and sighed.

 

“I knew it, I shouldn’t have mentioned it. God, do I have a big mouth,” she berated herself.

 

“Sam, please. You didn’t do anything wrong, okay?” Daniel insisted as he smoothed a bit of hair behind Sam’s ear.

 

Sam’s concerned look melted into a smile and she nodded slightly.

 

“Okay.”

 

Daniel smiled back and gave her a small hug. “Love Shack” had since ended, and now a song performed by the Spice Girls was being played. They turned their glances toward the dance floor, where Meri and Jon were still dancing. Sam rolled her eyes and grinned as she noticed Meri really getting into a song that was popular with teenagers. She really started to crack up when she noticed that Jon was still swaying uneasily, and looking even more awkward than he had before.

 

“He seems rather uncomfortable,” Daniel surmised.

 

Sam grinned and nodded. “He looks like he’s desperately trying to make a break for it,” she added.

 

Daniel took one last look at him and chuckled.

 

“I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but it seems that she has him by a rather short leash,” Daniel said quietly as he leaned in toward Sam.

 

Sam looked at him a bit incredulously at first, nearly stunned by Daniel’s forthright comment, before she broke out in a wide grin and started laughing. She folded her arms on top of the table and put her head down on them.

 

“What?” Daniel asked with an amused little grin on his face.

 

Sam lifted her head and calmed down for a minute. Her face was flushed and she had tears coming out of her eyes.

 

“Sorry, it’s just that you’re the first person I’ve ever heard describe her as she really is,” she blurted out before she started laughing again.

 

Daniel looked curiously down at her, cocked his head and raised an eyebrow.

 

“Well, I mean … look at him,” he said, looking back toward the dance floor. “He doesn’t look like he wants to be up there.”

 

Sam giggled a bit before finally calming down.

 

“Yeah, Meri does love to dance. Oh well, as long as they don’t do karaoke here,” she sighed.

 

Daniel nodded, and then turned toward the back wall as something caught his eye.

 

“Ah… Sam …” he started as he nudged her and pointed toward a sign on the wall which informed them that Tuesday was Karaoke Night.

 

Sam took one look at the sign and groaned inwardly.

 

“Oh, boy, I guess she’s going to drag him up there to do that, too,” she giggled.

 

Daniel nodded grimly.

 

“Well, as long as it isn’t you or me,” he sighed.

 

Sam looked back toward the dance floor, where Meri and Jon were still dancing even though the song was nearly over.

 

“Oh, God, now I have this mental image of him standing up on the stage, singing ‘I Will Survive,’ and Meri’s standing off to the side with a leash,” she said before she broke out into laughter once again.

 

Daniel smirked and started laughing himself. Suddenly, he cut himself off as he eyed Meri and Jon leaving the floor and heading back toward the booth. He elbowed Sam.

 

“Shh, here they come,” he said under his breath.

 

He and Sam plastered innocent smiles onto their faces as the couple made their way back to the booth.

 

Meri’s brow furrowed slightly in confusion.

 

“Everything okay?” she asked, her voice taking on a slightly suspicious tone.

 

“Oh, sure, everything’s fine,” Daniel chirped as he and Sam forced smiles.

 

Meri looked at them knowingly.

 

“Come on, what are you guys up to?” she asked.

 

“Who, us?” Sam answered, shrugging innocently.

 

She continued to stare at them curiously.

 

Daniel looked at her awkwardly before he turned back to Sam.

 

“Oh … it was really nothing, we were just reminiscing about old times …” he said sheepishly.

 

Meri looked at him blankly.

 

“…back at the Pentagon,” Daniel finished.

 

“Oh,” Meri finally said. She continued looking at them as if she wasn’t really falling for it.

 

The music ended abruptly, and a young woman appeared atop a small stage that was slightly set back from the dance floor. She announced that tonight was Karaoke Night, to which Sam and Daniel groaned softly. True to form, Meri’s face lit up in a big smile.

 

“All right!” she squealed. “This night just keeps getting better and better!”

 

Daniel turned to Sam and smirked.

 

“I don’t know if Sammie told you, but I love karaoke!” Meri told Daniel.

 

“I kind of figured that,” Daniel said dryly, still smirking.

 

Meri ignored his comment and turned to face the girl up on the stage. She announced that one of the waitresses would be walking around with slips of paper for people to make requests. Those who were brave enough to sing something on their own would be given a prize.

 

“Probably a free t-shirt or something,” Sam said, leaning in toward Daniel.

 

For the first few minutes, no one had any requests, so the girl decided to sing something herself, and began belting out Sade’s “Is It a Crime.”

 

“She’s pretty good, isn’t she?” Meri remarked after a while, turning back to Sam, Daniel and Jon.

 

“Yeah, she’s good,” Sam shrugged.

 

Meri grabbed her purse and edged up out of her seat.

 

“I’ll be right back,” she said.

 

Before she left, she looked straight at Jon, grinned and gave him a little wink. Jon nodded slightly and gave her a wry smile. With that, she headed off toward the back of the club, most likely where the restrooms were located.

 

Sam noticed this and furrowed her brow in confusion before shrugging it off.

 

The waitress had collected a request from the audience, and next the girl started singing “I Will Survive.”

 

“Why didn’t I see that coming?” Sam giggled.

 

Jon grinned and nodded while Daniel chuckled a bit.

 

“Do you guys like this stuff?” he asked them.

 

Daniel shrugged. “Not really.”

 

“I’m not really into that,” Sam agreed. “I did a little karaoke at a party once a few years ago, but I think I was a little drunk at the time.”

 

Daniel looked at her and raised his eyebrows.

 

Jon chuckled.

 

“Yeah, it’s weird with Meri, though. She loves to watch people sing, but when it comes to singing herself she’s not that enthusiastic. I mean, she can sing, but it depends on the song … whether she really likes it or not.”

 

He was interrupted as the waitress made her way up to their booth with slips of paper in one hand and a red loose-leaf binder in the other.

 

“Any requests?” she asked with a smile.

 

Jon looked at Sam and Daniel as a mischievous grin formed on his face. Daniel and Sam looked at each other and grinned knowingly. Jon nodded at the waitress and took the binder from her. He leafed through it, trying to find the perfect song with which to embarrass Meri.

 

“What do you think of this one?” he asked Sam and Daniel as he handed the binder to him and pointed to the last song listed on the open page.

 

Sam looked at the list and a grin crept across her face. She showed it to Daniel who furrowed his brow in confusion.

 

“Is that a bad song?” he asked her as she returned the book to Jon.

 

“Are you kidding?” Jon chuckled. “Meri hates that song! Every time she hears it in the restaurant she bolts for the Ladies room!”

 

“Ah,” Daniel nodded in understanding, a grin forming on his face.

 

“Yeah, I have a request,” Jon said to the waitress.

 

She gave him one of the slips of paper, on which he wrote “Cher: ‘If I Could Turn Back Time.’”

 

Meri couldn’t have chosen the perfect time to return. Jon grinned at the waitress and pointed to Meri.

 

“I got your songstress right here,” he said.

 

“Hon? What the hell are you talking about?” Meri asked him, her brow wrinkled in confusion.

 

“Come with me,” the waitress smiled as she took Meri by the hand and led her toward the stage.

 

“Oh my God, Jon, you rat, what have you done???” Meri said as she turned to face him.

 

Jon merely grinned and shrugged his shoulders. Sam and Daniel tried to remain as innocent-looking as possible.

 

“Okay, what have we got here?” the karaoke girl said into the microphone as the waitress handed her the slip of paper.

 

“What’s your name?” she smiled at Meri.

 

“Uh… Meredith,” Meri blurted out, still quite bewildered.

 

“Okay, Meredith is going to sing ‘If I Could Turn Back Time!” the girl announced.

 

Meri’s face turned bright red and she appeared overcome with shock.

 

“Oh my God … Jon, I am going to kill you!” she yelled to her fiancé.

 

Sam put her head down on the table so that Meri wouldn’t see her grinning widely. Meri had nearly made a career out of embarrassing her, and she was glad that she finally seemed to be getting a taste of her own medicine.

 

“Uh, I have to say that I didn’t choose this song… my rat bastard of a fiancé did,” she said to the girl, half-jokingly.

 

“That’s okay,” the girl answered.

 

“No, really, I’m not too familiar with this song,” Meri stammered. “I mean I don’t know like ninety percent of the words.”

 

“No, no, that’s okay,” the girl reassured her. “I’ll help you out, and you can follow the words on the screen.” She gestured to a small console with a monitor and handed Meri a microphone.

 

The familiar melody of the song began as Meri stood awkwardly on the stage. Her face had turned bright red, and all she could think about right now was how she wanted to kill her fiancé. She looked down at the monitor as the words began to show up on screen.

 

“If I could turn back time,” she began hesitantly.

 

“If I could find a way

 

I’d …”

 

At that moment, she drifted off as she became unfamiliar with the words. They were right there in front of her, but she didn’t know the song well enough to be able to be in sync with the music.

 

Meanwhile, back at the table, the other three watched her attentively. Every so often, Jon would turn back around to Sam and Daniel, chuckling.

 

Sam watched and listened as Meri tried to get through the song. She admitted to herself that Meri had a pretty good voice, and tried the best she could to belt out the first two lines of the chorus. She knew that Jon played a rotten trick on her, and she almost felt bad for Meri.

 

She suddenly berated herself. Why are you feeling bad for her? She didn’t seem to mind making a fool out of you. Now she knows what it feels like.

 

“She’s not that bad,” Daniel remarked softly. “I mean, apart from the fact that she’s missing most of the words.”

 

Sam nodded slightly.

 

“Yeah, whatever,” Jon commented, still laughing. “What matters the most is that she’s bombing right now!”

 

“That was mean,” Sam told him half-jokingly.

 

“Aw, come on,” Jon scoffed. “I do this to Meri all the time. It’s not like she can’t take a joke!”

 

“Well, she doesn’t seem to think it’s a joke,” Daniel said quietly, nodding over to Meri, who was looking down at the monitor. She didn’t seem as flustered as before, but she was still blushing wildly and looked as if she couldn’t wait for the song to be over.

 

“Bah!” Jon remarked, brushing the thought aside.

 

Back up on stage, Meri had finally finished the song, and was greeted by assorted claps and even some cheers from the audience.

 

“Great job!” the karaoke girl smiled.

 

“Yeah, really? I didn’t even sing that much,” Meri scoffed, her cheeks flaming once again.

 

“Hey, it takes guts to come up here and sing something you hardly know the words to!” the girl insisted.

 

“No, it just takes one conniving fiancé who will probably be sleeping on the couch tonight,” Meri said wryly as she glared over at Jon.

 

The girl laughed.

 

“Well, be that as it may, we have a little something for you,” she announced as she headed toward the end of the stage.

 

Meri groaned softly and wished she could just return to her seat. The girl made her way back over to her and handed her a white camisole t-shirt with a black “Club Rio” logo on the front. The audience clapped as Meri accepted the shirt.

 

“Thanks,” she said, as she checked the tag for the shirt size. “Oh good, it’s an XL.”

 

The karaoke girl looked at her strangely and then giggled slightly before taking hold of the microphone once again. “Okay, let’s have a round of applause for Meredith!”

 

The audience erupted in applause and cheers as Meri descended the stage and made her way back to their table. She was greeted by an amused Jon, as well as a nervously smiling Sam and Daniel.

 

“Heyyyyyy, nice parting gift you got there, Meri!” Jon commented, grinning ear to ear.

 

Meri fixed him with a deadly glare and threw the shirt in his face.

 

“No thanks to you, you sadistic bastard,” she said coldly as she sat down next to him.

 

Daniel and Sam looked at them innocently.

 

“Don’t you ever, ever, embarrass me like that again,” she whispered sharply to him.

 

“Aw, come on, babe, I was just joking around!” he said incredulously as she turned her back toward him.

 

Meri said nothing, but merely snorted.

 

“Did you really mean that about sleeping on the couch?” he asked quietly as he touched her arm lightly.

 

She finally turned back to him and noticed he was giving her puppy dog eyes. Her hardened expression melted away and she began to giggle.

 

Sam and Daniel looked at each other bewilderingly.

 

“Damn, it’s hard to stay mad at you,” she giggled softly before kissing him on the lips.

 

Meri turned toward Sam and blushed slightly.

 

“You did good, Meri,” Sam said, smiling shyly.

 

“Yeah, thanks, Hon. Now, let’s not talk about it anymore, okay?” Meri said dismissively.

 

Sam furrowed her brow in confusion and then merely shrugged.

 

“Okay,” she replied. She was actually surprised that Meri had been so embarrassed, since she seemed to take any kind of peer pressure well. Sam was just thankful that no one had forced her up on stage to sing.

 

The karaoke girl began to sing Janet Jackson’s “That’s the Way Love Goes” as Jon called the waitress over to their table again.

 

“Another request?” she asked.

 

“Yeah,” Jon smiled.

 

She handed the binder back to him, along with another slip of paper.

 

“Jon, what are you doing?” Meri asked him curiously.

 

“I want that girl up there to sing something really bad before the night is over,” he grinned widely as he leafed through the book.

 

“Oh, what, that Cher song wasn’t bad enough?” Meri scoffed as her cheeks became tinged with red.

 

“Nope,” Jon replied.

 

He searched the book until he found the perfect embarrassing song. He grinned and handed the open book to Meri.

 

“What do you think of this?” he asked.

 

Meri looked down at the list of songs and grinned.

 

“That’s good, if I know what you’re thinking,” she replied.

 

“What?” Sam asked curiously.

 

Jon grinned and turned the book over to her.

 

“Number 185.”

 

Sam’s brow furrowed in confusion as she read the entry.

 

“’Harden My Heart’ by Quarterflash? You think that song is bad?” she asked, almost in disbelief.

 

“Hell, yeah! It’s eighties schlock, right?” Jon laughed.

 

Sam shrugged. “I don’t know. I like that song,” she replied. In truth, it was one of her favorite old songs, but she wasn’t about to let them know that.

 

Jon raised an eyebrow at her before he began writing the name of the song and artist on the slip of paper.

 

“Uh, what’s your name again?” he asked as he glanced up at Sam.

 

“What’s my name?” Sam asked incredulously as Daniel’s face contorted in confusion.

 

Jon nodded. “Yeah, what’s your name?”

 

Sam sighed as she couldn’t believe that he was actually asking her that.

 

“Samantha – Sam,” she spat out.

 

Jon nodded as he wrote her name on the slip of paper on the “Requested by” line.

 

Samanth … a,” he uttered, making sure he spelled it right.

 

“What are you doing?” Sam asked as she leaned toward him.

 

“I’m just putting your name down to say that you requested the song … since you said you like it, right?”

 

“Uh … yeah,” Sam said suspiciously.

 

Jon handed the binder and the slip of paper back to the waitress, who looked it over, smiled and thanked him before heading back up to the karaoke girl.

 

The girl took one look at the paper and smiled as she grabbed the microphone.

 

“Okay, we have another request. ‘Harden My Heart’ requested by … Samantha. Samantha? Is she here?” the girl asked, looking around.

 

Sam’s eyes widened and a sick feeling began to well up within her.

 

“Can we get Samantha to come up here?” the girl asked.

 

Sam folded her arms on top of the table and put her head down.

 

“Come on, Sammie,” Meredith said jokingly.

 

Sam did not move. She could just see the huge grins plastered onto Meri and Jon’s faces.

 

“Oh, God, I am going to kill you two,” she groaned, her voice muffled by her folded arms.

 

“Where’s Samantha?” the girl on stage continued.

 

Sam sighed and finally lifted her head. She glanced at Daniel who shot a look of pity at her.

 

“I can’t do this,” she whispered.

 

She turned to Jon and Meri, her face a bright shade of crimson.

 

“Hey, I didn’t know she was gonna make you sing it,” Jon insisted. “I thought she was going to sing it herself!”

 

“Yeah, right,” Sam said bitterly.

 

She was about to get up and meet her doom up on stage when she felt Daniel squeeze her arm. She turned to face him. His eyes pierced hers, and his lips had twitched into a faint smile.

 

“Don’t worry, you’ll do fine,” he said softly.

 

For the moment, her embarrassment seemed to ebb away just slightly, and she decided to get it over with. She gave him a little smile.

 

“Thanks,” she said, almost inaudibly.

 

She got up from the table and made her way up on the stage, her cheeks flaming every step of the way.

 

“Samantha?” the girl asked her.

 

Sam nodded. “Yeah. Or Sam’s fine,” she said awkwardly.

 

The girl giggled. “Okay, Sam is going to sing ‘Harden My Heart.’”

 

Sam nodded and smiled as the girl handed her the microphone. She tried as hard as possible to avoid the faces in the audience and glanced down at the monitor, even though she was sure she didn’t need to use it.

 

The music started up, and Sam steeled herself. She felt as if she wanted to kill Meri and Jon, but the fact that it was a song she liked didn’t make it seem as bad. She didn’t think of herself as much of a singer, but if she had to make a fool of herself, now was as good a time as any.

 

Sam noticed the cue for the lyrics on screen, and began to sing:

 

“Cryin' on the corner
Waitin' in the rain
I swear I'll never ever wait again

You gave me a word
But words for you are lies

Darlin' in my wildest dreams
I never thought I'd go
But its time to let you know

I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn and leave you here.....”

 

 

Back at the table, Jon and Meri had grins plastered on their faces before Sam started to sing, but now they both looked quite impressed. As far as Daniel was concerned, he had been staring at her with his mouth gaping open, right from the first note she belted out. Daniel had never really heard her sing before, and was almost shocked to discover that she had a very nice singing voice. She didn’t seem to be very embarrassed anymore, and was really getting into the song, even rocking back and forth a bit to the rhythm.

 

“All of my life
I've been waitin' in the rain
I've been waitin' for a feelin' that never ever came

It feels so close
But always disappears

Darlin' in your wildest dreams
You never had a clue
But its time you got the news

I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn and leave you here.....”

 

As the guitar solo part of the song began, Sam took a breath and glanced quickly at her audience. Everyone seemed to be listening intently, and some were even bopping along to the rhythm. She turned slightly to her right, in the direction that her table was in. She saw Meri and Jon looking at her, stunned. She grinned slightly.

 

Her grin faded as she noticed Daniel staring at her, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. She felt her cheeks grow hot and realized that she must have been blushing wildly. It was then that she began to question what she was doing up on stage, if perhaps she really was making a fool out of herself. Before now, none of her friends at the SGC, including Daniel, had seen such a side of her. She usually presented herself as a sensible, no-nonsense astrophysics geek. Granted, there had been that time on P3X-595, where she had embarrassed herself as a result of getting drunk from an alien concoction, but that was the only exception. Daniel must think I’m nuts, she thought to herself.

 

Sam quickly turned her glance away from them, and faced forward once again. Mentally she disciplined herself to just finish up the song and then she could run away from all of them …

 

“Darlin' in my wildest dreams
I never thought I'd go
But its time to let you know

 

I'm gonna harden my heart
I'm gonna swallow my tears
I'm gonna turn and leave you here.....”

 

Sam faked her way through the ending verses as the music began to fade. She looked around awkwardly once the music stopped, and the room filled with wild applause and cheers. She turned once again toward her table, and eyed Meri and Jon standing up and clapping wildly.

 

“WOOOOOOOO!!!” they cheered. Sam looked over at them and gave a half smile.

 

Her smile faded as her eyes fixed on Daniel once again. He was sitting in his usual spot and clapping. Once he realized Sam was looking at him, he edged up out of his seat and clapped with much more enthusiasm. He broke out in a wide smile and for a moment she was locked in his gaze. He looked as if he was really proud of Sam, and for a split second it made her feel very good.

 

“Hey, awesome, awesome job there!” the karaoke girl smiled once the applause had died down. “Are you a professional singer?”

 

Sam’s voice caught in her throat, as she was not expecting such praise.

 

“Oh … uh … no, I’m not,” she croaked. She blushed madly and cleared her throat before continuing. “I just sung in the choir in high school. I’m an Air Force Captain.”

 

She was greeted by murmurs of surprise from the audience. Why did I just say that?

 

“Wow, I’m impressed!” the girl replied. “Well, Captain …?”

 

“Carter,” Sam finished tersely.

“Captain Carter,” the girl giggled. “We have something for you, too!”

 

Sam watched as the girl headed over to the back of the stage. She was still blushing madly, and wanted nothing more but to get off the stage so she couldn’t be embarrassed any further.

 

“Here you go,” the girl smiled, presenting her with a large, black t-shirt with a white “Club Rio” logo on the front. “Sorry, this is the only one we have left.”

 

“Oh, that’s … fine,” Sam said awkwardly as she accepted the shirt.

 

“Let’s have another round of applause for Captain Sam Carter!” the girl announced.

 

The room erupted into wild applause and cheers as Sam exited stage right. Several times, she turned back toward some of the crowds, smiled and muttered a weak “thanks,” as she headed back to her table.

 

“WOOOOOOO!!! Sammie! You go, girl!” Meri squealed as she applauded.

 

“Not bad!!” Jon grinned widely as he also applauded.

 

“Thanks, guys,” Sam answered weakly, not bothering to look up at them.

 

Daniel rose from his seat and made his way over to Sam.

 

“Sam, you were … I mean, wow, you were …” he trailed off, at a loss for words. His smile told her that he was impressed.

 

She looked straight at Daniel and blushed madly. She didn’t say a word, but stared at him almost like a deer caught in headlights.

 

“Sam?” Daniel asked softly as his brow wrinkled in confusion. “What’s wrong?”

 

He felt that didn’t have to ask that question, as it was quite apparent that she was very embarrassed. Daniel couldn’t understand why, though. She didn’t have any reason to be embarrassed, at least in his opinion.

 

Sam took one last look at him and then turned away, walking briskly to the back of the club where the restrooms were located.

 

“Sam!” Daniel called after her. Before he decided to pursue her, he turned back to Meri and Jon, who were staring with bewildered looks on their faces.

 

Chapter 7 =>