Father And Daughter
~ Jacob ~
She’s saluting me.
In that one moment, all of my preconceptions about the woman standing on the verandah are completely destroyed, and I’m left staring at her in shock – as is everyone else.
She’s nothing like I expected.
Ever since Sam told me about Willow, I’ve had this firm idea set in my mind, of what Willow would look and be like. I imagined my daughter’s ‘lover’ would be a sexual predator, a woman about Sam’s age… confident, strong, secure in her sexuality - someone who seduced my daughter into thinking she was gay.
But the woman standing a few feet away from me – still saluting – is the opposite of that, or at least appears to be. She’s nothing like the woman I pictured in my mind. The woman – almost girl – I’m looking at is any but.
If I couldn’t tell that just by the look of terror on her face, then I’d be able to tell by the way her hand is violently shaking.
“Oh honey,” Sam exclaims, rushing up the verandah stairs to reach her. “You don’t have to salute him.”
Willow’s face blushes a deep red, and she looks at my daughter with a loving expression I’m not sure I want to see. “Sorry,” she half whispers to Sam. “I’m kind of nervous.”
Kind of nervous?
I can understand why. I know the expression on my face isn’t exactly welcoming, and I imagine Jack’s isn’t either. With the exception of Daniel and Teal’c, we’re all convinced that there is more to this than we’ve been told. And I think our faces convey that as we study the woman my daughter has changed her entire life for…
I don’t know what’s going through Sam’s mind, but surely she can see the insanity in all of this. Can’t she see she’s making the biggest mistake of her life for something that isn’t real? I’m sure Willow has manipulated Sam into doing this.
How else would Sam willingly give up a job as important as the one she had? How else would Sam lie to all of us for years?
I’m sorry but Sam, my daughter, is not gay. She may think she is, but it just isn’t possible. Up until a few days ago, I didn’t even know Sam had looked at a woman. All of Sam’s other lovers have been men.
A daughter doesn’t usually discuss her love life with her father, but I know she has been with a few men. She was engaged to Jonas, prior to working at the SGC, after that, I know she cared deeply for Martouf, Narim… and Jack.
But there has never been any signs that she likes women.
There was even that time, about three and a half years ago, where Sam dated a series of men constantly, for about six months. How can Sam honestly expect me to believe she is gay?
Selmak is more willing to accept the possibility. My symbiote is more open to different lifestyles, and I am too, to a degree… but this is my daughter, and not some stranger. If someone had told me Janet or Daniel were gay, I doubt I’d be having the same difficulty. However, since it’s Sam… and since it came so suddenly, so out of the blue, I’m not sure I can accept it… or recover from the shock.
I don’t know what I’m – we’re – more shocked about; the fact that Sam is gay, that she gave up her career so she could be with her lover openly, or that Sam is engaged to Willow and they’re expecting a baby?
If Willow isn’t behind this, then this has to be some sort of midlife crisis. Sam has been through so much since joining the SGC, lost so many people – many of whom she has loved. Maybe this is Sam’s way of dealing with everything, maybe Sam is tired of fighting, of losing the men she loves.
There has to be a reason for this… anything but what it’s beginning to look like. I’m standing here watching Sam lead her lover towards me, and I see my daughter looking happier, and more nervous, than I’ve seen her in a long time.
Seeing her look this happy… it makes me realize that I didn’t know how unhappy she really was. It makes my heart go cold with fear. Fear that this is real, and that I won’t be able to convince Sam to change her mind.
That’s why I’m here, and it’s why I haven’t told Sam what I really think about all of this.
I wanted to meet Willow, judge for myself how far she had manipulated my daughter, and if there was a way I could get Sam to see reason. But seeing Willow has changed all of that. She doesn’t look like a sexual predator, she’s not confident, and doesn’t appear to be secure in her sexuality… and she’s so young.
I’d hazard a guess that she’s at least fifteen years younger than my daughter.
Nothing at all like I imagined. I can’t begin to say how much seeing Willow bothers me. I had honestly pictured her to be someone like Anise, but she’s poles apart from the Tok’ra woman I dislike so much.
Someone like Anise would be standing next to Sam, proud, ready to challenge me if I tried to take Sam away…Willow looks like she’s about to run from me in fear at any given moment. There’s no confidence in the girl, and I wonder what Sam sees in her. I’ve always believed that, in a life partner, Sam needs someone who is equal to her. Maybe not so much in her intelligence, but in her strength, convictions, and ideals.
Someone like Jack.
My first impression of Willow is that she isn’t any of those things. The impression I have, is one of a child… not an equal of Sam’s. I guess it could all be an act, but… Selmak and I have seen a lot in our years, and it doesn’t look like Willow is acting.
I don’t think that degree of fear can be faked. Selmak agrees with me as Willow and Sam stop right in front of us.
“Dad, I’d like you to meet my… girlfriend, Willow Rosenberg.” Sam smiles encouragingly at Willow. “Willow, I’d like you to meet my father, General Jacob Carter.”
Willow stares at me wide eyed, almost too scared to accept my proffered hand. I’m about to pull it away, when Sam nudges Willow slightly, and the young woman reluctantly reaches out to take my hand.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, General. ” Her smile falters as something, kind of like an electric charge, shoots through us as soon as our hands touch. Her eyes widen and for a split second I see something in there…
Something knowing, powerful, strong… something that makes both Selmak and I uneasy.
Then, before I can try to gauge what’s going on, the sensation and the strange look in Willow’s eyes is gone… leaving me feeling like I imagined it. It happened so fast that not even Selmak could grasp exactly what happened.
I jump slightly when I feel Jack’s hand on my shoulder, and I realize I’ve been staring at Willow for longer than I should and everyone is staring at me strangely.
“I’m sorry, it’s a pleasure to meet you too, Willow.” I tell her, silently wondering if it was just an electric shock. I look at Willow and I don’t see anything different about her… she looks just as scared now as she did when Sam introduced us.
It’s only when I look at Sam, that my doubts resurface. Not doubts that I imagined it, but doubts that it actually happened. She’s looking at Willow with an almost panicked, but knowing, expression.
When Sam was a child, our father and daughter relationship left a lot to be desired. I made a lot of mistakes, and for a long time, Sam had little or no respect for me. But since we both became involved with the SGC, our relationship is better.
I feel like I know my daughter now… and the look on her face is an expression I’ve seen.
Sam saw what happened, she saw that something happened when Willow touched me. And she knows what it is…
Suddenly, my concerns about Sam and Willow shift. I’m no longer worried about Willow seducing Sam into thinking she was gay… I’m worried about something different all together.
And when I look into Willow’s eyes once again, all of my doubts disappear.
For the look I caught a glimpse of is back, and I’m suddenly wondering just who my daughter’s lover really is.