Colorado Springs, September 2005
“Teal'c, I'll be fine.” Daniel was beginning to get fustrated. Since when did his friend act like a mother hen? Wasn't that what he had Jack for? Of course, since Jack was in Washington... He should have known he wouldn't get off easy.
“Dr. Brightman said I was cleared to go home. No, you don't need to send someone to check up on me. Cassie said she'd stop by after classes while you're visiting Ryac. Teal'c, I've got to hang up. My lunch is ready to come out of the oven. I'll catch up with you later.”
It was only a broken foot. Okay, and a few cracked ribs and his third concussion this year but still, this was getting to be a bit ridiculous. First Sam, now Teal'c. Had Jack left instructions or did everyone think he was incapable of taking care of himself? Thank heaven he had had the foresight to arrange for Cassie to check up on him.
He hobbled over to the oven and turned it off. He opened it and grabbed a potholder from the counter. Reaching in, he pulled out the now slightly charred chicken breast and baked potato. He placed them on the stove top and closed the oven. He fixed his plate and sat down at the counter to eat.
How was he supposed to fill the next two weeks? He been ordered to take some time off. Security had been warned not to let him back on the base. They didn't even let him bring any work home. So, two weeks watching the History Channel? No, the last time he tried that he'd filled three notebooks with corrections. Maybe the Discovery Channel this time, if they weren't doing a special promotion for Discovery Health again. Talk about way too much information.
He was just finishing his lunch when he heard the door to his apartment open.
“Hi, Daniel.” Cassie walked though the living room and over to the kitchen. “I picked up your mail.”
“Just put it on the bookcase.”
“Which one?” A valid question.
He waved towards a short bookcase on the left. “So, how was your day? And aren't you a bit early?”
Cassie tossed the mail on top of a small stack of yesterday's junk mail. “Psych class was cancelled, so it's been a pretty good day so far.”
The top couple of pieces of mail slid off the pile and down behind the bookcase.
“Oops.” She took the remaining mail and put it on the counter next to Daniel. “I'll get the rest.”
She pulled the bookcase away from the wall just far enough to reach behind it. “Got 'em.”
She shoved the bookcase back and brought the rest of mail over. “Wow, one of these is real dusty. Guess that's not the first time that's happened.”
She placed the dusty letter on top. The postmark indicated that letter had been sent in 2003.
“Hope it wasn't anything important.”
Daniel glanced at it for a moment, noticing the foreign stamp. “I doubt it. I don't recognize the handwriting. So, class was cancelled?”
Cassie sat down on the extra stool at the counter. “Someone from the office said the professor's car broke down. She called in our assignment, extra reading for the next class. So, how are you doing? Did one of them call you?”
“I'm fine and they both did.”
“I guess they both read The Care and Feeding of Klutzy Archaeologists?”
“That book's just a vicious rumor.”
“Come on, you're talking to the daughter of the woman who wrote it.”
“I thought Jack was supposed to have written it?”
“Uncle Jack write a book? Get real.” She snickered. “He ordered mom to.”
“Of course. So would you like a soda?”
“No thanks. I really should get home and crack the books.” Cassie stood up. “I don't get out of class tomorrow until 3:30. See you then?”
“Not going anywhere. So, yeah, see you then.”
After Cassie left, Daniel cleaned up the kitchen, washing and drying his dishes. He scooped up the mail from the counter and moved in to the living room. He sat down on the couch and propped his right foot up on the coffee table. He quickly sorted through the mail, most of it was junk as usual. The bills he put aside before opening the old letter. “Let's see, do I know any one that was in Rome a couple of years ago?”
He tore open the envelope and began reading.
Five minutes later, an ashen faced man put the letter down.
The one thing he had always wanted was a family. How could they have lied to him? He had a daughter. He and Joyce had a daughter. A daughter who had tried to contact him. Oh God, a daughter that had been ignored, rejected. Like his grandfather Nick had rejected him. He began to laugh. It was a laughter tinged with a touch of hysteria.
“I have a daughter.” He looked at the letter again, quickly scanning it for the one crucial item that he needed.
He checked his watch. It was almost 1:30 which meant it should be what...9:30 in Rome? He picked up the telephone and prayed the number was still good.