The afternoon of the dining out, Isabel had taken most of the day off to get ready for the event. From what it sounded like, the evening was going to be very formal. Daniel had pulled out his tuxedo and Jack had been complaining loudly about having to put on his ‘mess dress’, the Air Forces’ version of the tuxedo. She had to admit that she was excited about the whole thing and to be able to go with Daniel was even better.
Three days ago, she got her dress via Fed Ex from her agent and it was a perfect fit for her. Steven wanted her to have the press cover her at the event, but she refused flat out. They couldn’t have that kind of coverage in any form and she was glad that it was going to be held at a hotel, very close to the base and that there was going to be a high security presence.
She had no idea what was going on with Daniel, besides some amazing sex but had yet to spend the night together in the same bed, sleeping. In front of the fire was one thing but a real bed was way too serious for them at the moment. Isabel was hoping that tonight would be the night they would take that step.
“Isabel? Are you here?” Daniel called as he entered the house. He heard some noises from upstairs and assumed it was her. They were scheduled to leave in just over an hour and Daniel knew he had to get moving if they were going to make it. All he needed tonight was for Jack or Teal’c looking for the two of them before the party even started. He wished they could just blow off the night and spend it with her, but there was no way that would happen until late that evening.
An hour and a half later, Daniel paced the living room floor as he waited for Isabel. Now he knew how Cassie’s date felt as he waited for her last week. He heard her before he saw her coming down the stairs and his pulse picked up faster with every click of her heel until Daniel swore that his heart was going to jump out of his chest.
Finally, he saw her and his heart stopped dead. Seeing her in her slinky black dress with silver crystals made his mouth go dry. Somehow, his feet were able to help him cross the room to her.
“Wow,” was all he could say.
“Wow yourself. You clean up well Doctor Jackson,” she replied, looking like a model and not an archaeologist.
“Do we have to go? I’d rather spend the night here with you,” he said as he slipped his arms around her waist.
“If we don’t, I don’t think we would have a quiet minute if we did.”
“You look beautiful, Isabel. Simply beautiful.”
Isabel loved the way he looked at her, like he wanted to consume her. After another moment of taking her in, Daniel offered his arm to her and they set off for the evening.
The dining out was in full swing and Isabel was amazed how much fun she was actually having. Everyone looked amazing, when normally everyone was wearing bulky uniforms, it was a nice change to see everyone dressed in their finest.
Daniel had left her alone to get drinks when she was commandeered to talk to a small crowd of Generals that were in attendance. She had no clue what they were really talking about, but she had a good feeling that the only reason she was over with them was her old job and they wanted to meet her.
Utterly grateful, Jack rescued her from the gaggle of men with stars on their shoulders and pulled her onto the dance floor.
“Having fun?” he asked her.
Isabel laughed and replied, “Kind of. I’m glad that you excavated me from that mess.” And placed a kiss on his cheek. He pulled her tighter and twirled her around, bubbly laughter escaping from her.
“So how are things with you and Danny?”
“Nice, real nice. I’m glad he asked me to come with him. But Jack, were you really going to send Teal’c to drag him here if he didn’t come?”
“Yeah, probably. Danny needs to remember how to live life again and I think you are the right girl for the job.”
“I hope so,” she replied and rested her head on his shoulder, not wanting to get her hair caught in all of his medals that hung from his chest.
Daniel stood across the room, watching Isabel talking with the mob of Generals and then happily dancing with Jack. She looked so happy to be in his arms and that made his blood begin to boil with jealously. He watched her rest her head on him and couldn’t take it anymore. Without even thinking, Daniel marched right over to the two of them and tapped Jack on the shoulder a bit harder than her normally would have.
“Danny, having fun?” Jack asked, all smiles.
“I’m cutting in,” he stated.
Before Jack released Isabel, she place one more kiss on his cheek and said, “Thanks again for the rescue.”
“Any time, Doc,” Jack said and winked at her.
“What was that all about?” Daniel almost demanded as he began to dance with her.
“What?” she asked not sure why he was so upset.
“Seem awfully chummy with Jack there. Maybe he should have brought you tonight.”
“Jack and I are friends, if that’s any business of yours.”
“What about this ‘rescue’.”
“Why should I explain myself to you?”
“I guess I’m not as knowledgeable as you about how models live their lifestyles, but honestly, kissing another man while she’s another’s date seems to be more hedonistic than I am used to.”
“How dare you. You have no idea what you are talking about,” she said, and then slapped him across his cheek before storming off the dance floor and out of the ballroom. The doorman hailed her a cab and Isabel headed home, too mad and too much of her heart was broken to deal with Daniel for another minute.
“Whoa, Daniel, what the hell did you say to Isabel?” Jack asked as Daniel finally found his feet and exited the dance floor.
“What do you care? She’s all yours. I guess I was just a pit stop for her,” he replied, uncharacteristically upset.
“What do you mean? Isabel is crazy for you.”
“That’s not what it looked like from across the room.”
“Damm it Daniel, you two aren’t even officially dating and your uncontrollably jealous of any man who gets near her.”
“I’m not jealous,” Daniel protested.
“Then why did she slap you when she has always been a class act. I was dancing with her because she looked uncomfortable surrounded by Generals she didn’t know.”
Daniel looked deflated, finding out the truth. “We’re friends, that’s all and if you can’t trust her around others, then maybe you don’t deserve her,” Jack continued. “She’s a great girl and for some reason, she seems crazy about you and has been for a long time. Do you think she would look as incredible as she did tonight for me? No, Danny, she did it for you and you’ve been too wrapped up in whatever to even notice.”
Daniel ran his hand through his hair, seeing the truth in what his friend was saying. “I should go after her, shouldn’t I?” he asked.
“Ya think?” Jack replied sarcastically. “If you care about her at all, go after her and hopefully she’ll forgive you.”
“Thanks, Jack,” Daniel said and left him to go after Isabel.
Isabel got out of the cab in front of Daniel’s house, holding back the tears until she was in the safety of her room. On her way home from the hotel, she decided to call base housing first thing in the morning. After tonight, there was no way she could live under the same roof as Daniel. She hoped that she still had enough creditability to stay at the SGC or should she start looking at Universities. They would be hiring right now, getting ready for the summer and fall sessions, not that she needed to work.
Entering the house, she pulled off her shoes and went straight up to her room and closed the door. It was then that she finally that she finally let the tears fall. The last time she cried over a man was nine years ago when Daniel yelled at her back in graduate school. Back then, he just transferred his anger to her from Sara’s letter and the results of his lecture. Tonight he insulted her in front of their colleagues and basically called her a tramp.
She was in the middle of packing up a box of books when she heard the door downstairs open and close. Footsteps began to come upstairs and Isabel was getting ready for another battle with him over her virtues and professionalism. She knew who she was. She wasn’t the dumb blond that graced magazines and she had to stand her ground right here and now if she was ever going to have any respect in the field.
“Isabel?” Daniel asked from the other side of the door. “Isabel, can I come in?”
She did not answer him so he opened the door an inch and saw her with her back to him. “Isabel, I’m sorry.”
“Sorry for what?” she asked, hoping she did not sound like she had been crying.
“For what I said, for what I did and for not listening to you.”
“That’s all?” she said with her back still to him.
“What more do you want me to say?”
“I’ll be out by tomorrow afternoon.”
“Because Daniel, it’s obvious that I read you wrong for all these years. I’ll go before I ruin your good-guy image.”
“I don’t want you to go.”
“Why, you’ve already said that I’m easy. You not done with me yet?”
“Isabel, I’m sorry. I saw you with Jack, looking so happy and I got jealous.”
“So, that gives you the right to say what you said to me. I thought you were better than that,” she said, finally turning to face him.
Seeing the tears in her eyes tore his heart in two. He had made her cry and wanted to make things better. “I’m sorry Isabel,” he said softer as he crossed the room to her. She didn’t move and inch.
“Just because I was a model doesn’t mean that I slept around. I thought that you would have thought better of me by now. I guess I was wrong,” she said as she turned away from him again but he stopped her and pulled her close but not touching yet except on her arm.
“I’m sorry I got so jealous and I should have trusted you. It’s just that I’ve come to care about you very much, more than I thought I would.”
“But you don’t trust me.”
“I don’t trust myself.”
“How convenient,” she shot at him.
“Isabel, that’s not fair.”
“Who said this had to be fair,” she said, her voice sounding strong but a new wave of tears began to fall from her eyes. “We’ve had sex a few times, but that’s all it seems to be with us.”
“Is that all you want from me?” he asked, unsure of what her answer was going to be.
“It doesn’t matter. What could you want from me?”
“For starters, your friendship but I was thought we were headed for much more than that.”
“I wish I could give you everything you deserve, Daniel.”
“What couldn’t you give me, Isabel? Don’t you have feelings for me?”
“Yes, I… I care for you very much but you’re dealing with… damaged goods.”
“What do you mean? You’re practically perfect.”
Isabel broke away from Daniel’s grasp and walked over to the window. “I got real sick as a child and the high fever fried everything that matters to a woman.”
Daniel walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her waist and placed his hands on her abdomen. He could feel the hiccup of a breath when he touched her.
“Remember when I said that you didn’t have to worry about any surprises from me?” she asked as she continued to look out the window at the night’s sky.
“Yeah, I assumed that meant you were on some sort of birth control.”
“The result of the fever from my childhood left me with so much scar tissue that it is impossible for me to… to reproduce.”
Daniel pulled her tightly against him and laid his head on her bareback. “Isabel, is that the reason you’ve kept me at arm’s length all this time?”
She nodded her head. “At first, I never imagined us getting closer than colleagues so it didn’t matter. But now, well, now things are different.”
“Why would it matter?”
“Because, I cannot give you everything I should be able to.”
“Right now, all I care about is you, not what couldn’t be. If I was concerned about passing my genes along to another generation, it would have happened by now. I’ve been through so much over the years, that I have learned to be grateful for what I have now, not what I missed or can never have.”
“And, and what do you have now?” she asked, her body shaking as she waited for his answer.
“I have a beautiful woman in my arms, who is smart and knows how to have fun. What more could I ask for right now? The only thing I could ever ask of you is for your honesty.”
Isabel turned in his arms and buried her face in the crook of his neck as she let the rest of her tears fall.
Isabel and Daniel sat on the floor talking, still dressed in their formal wear in her bedroom as the sun began to peek through the windows.
“I want to show you something,” she finally said as she rose to her feet and pulled a large leather-bound book from the box she had been packing. Returning to his side, she sat on the floor and took a deep breath. “This is who I was.” She opened to the first page of the professional photo album.
“Wow, these are amazing,” he said as he looked at the photographs of Isabel from her modeling years. Some of the pictures were fairly boring, catalog layouts but others blew him away. Those were the ones that were from major advertising campaigns and her Sport Illustrated days. He could see the sadness behind her eyes in the last few photographs, at the end of her career. They sat there talking, on the floor for the rest of the night, bearing their souls to the other.
When dawn broke, both Daniel and Isabel where mentally exhausted. After stretching his body, Daniel silently led Isabel by the hand to his bedroom where they undressed each other. No words were said as they lied down together in his bed and made slow, passionate love. Finally, Isabel fell asleep in his arms in his bed, now their bed, for the first time with a smile of contentment and love on her lips. Daniel watched her for a few minutes before falling into a peaceful sleep himself.