What Another Surprise
By b and Debbie
12.00 Noon at the Fraiser Residence
A delivery man stood at the door of Janet Fraiser's house, waiting impatiently for the door to be answered. Eventually, a young woman appeared.
"Janet Fraiser?" he asked.
Cassie Fraiser's eyes almost popped out of her head at the sight of a beautiful bouquet of red roses. Surprised, she enquired hopefully, "Nope. Is that for me?"
"Delivery for Janet Fraiser. Could you sign here please?" the man insisted, handing Cassie the necessary paperwork.
"Okay!" Cassie's eyes searched the record in her hand for a sender's name, but there was absolutely no clue. All the time she was thinking to herself, 'Wow! Mom has an admirer... cool! Got it bad too, by the look of these flowers'
"Here you go," Cassie returned the paper to the delivery man.
The delivery man thanked Cassie and handed the bouquet over. "Have a nice day," he intoned, with no feeling whatsoever.
Cassie stared after him, still wondering to herself, 'Wow! Hmmmm! I wonder who this Admirer of Mom's is? Mom never mentioned anyone before. Well, well, well.' She turned around and went back into the ranch-style house, going into the kitchen she thought she had better put them in some water, knowing Janet, her mom would be late home as always.
Cassie smiled to herself, 'I bet Mom spends ages chatting with Sam, bet they go for a drink too. Any one would think they were dating sometimes. Hey! I wonder if Sam sent Mom these flowers, she's got it bad enough, anyone can see that look in her eyes when she's not concentrating.'
Laughing to herself at the stupidity of that thought she continued musing, 'Yeah right, Sam send Mom flowers, no way! She's a Major in the Air Force. Women officers don't send flowers, especially not to other women, don't ask, don't tell they call it!'
As she popped them on the coffee table in the lounge, she saw a photo on the mantle-shelf that showed exactly what she was thinking. The three of them at the cabin by the lake, laughing and fooling around, Sam and Janet were staring into each other's eyes as if Cassie were not there. Chuckling to herself, she thought, 'And they tease me about Dominic, just wait till the next time Sam is around.'
Taking her time with the flowers, the astute young woman knew that her own wish would be to see 'her parents' together. Sometimes she just wished Sam could convince Janet to try having a relationship, god knows they were good together, anyone could see that. Looking at the flowers with a wry grin she thought, 'Looks like that won't happen, Mom obviously has some man or other after her charms.'
It was almost 7pm when Janet finally arrived home. She had driven in a daze, all the time thinking of that surprise email from Sam, and of the conversation they had just shared.
The doctor had been more than attracted to the dashing blond major from the moment they had first met, almost 5 years before. Who would have thought that Sam Carter shared the attraction. Janet began to think that things were finally looking up in love life, the future now beckoned.
Lost in thought, bone-tired, but happier than she had been in a long, long time, she almost ran into Cassie when her daughter hastily opened the front door.
"Hi Mom! Sam not coming?" asked Cassie, her eyes big on the diminutive woman she now called Mom. Cassie could see that Janet looked more tired than usual, but thought she knew a way to gee her mom up, the flowers.
"Uh. No Hon!" Janet said as a vision of Sam immediately crossed her mind, "She's coming tomorrow though." An involuntary smile graced her lips as she thought, 'Won't you be surprised with what we have to tell you.'
Tired and buzzed, her thoughts drifted to Cassie's reaction to the news. Good, pleased, accepting she hoped. Not daring to even consider that Cassie's reaction would be negative, she followed Cassie aimlessly into the hallway. So deep in her thoughts she failed to notice Cassie's rising excitement as they neared the lounge.
The pretty brunette dragged herself into the house. Suddenly all she wanted to do was to soak in the bathtub with some nice slow music playing in the background. "Would it be okay if we just call for a pizza or something honey?" she asked of Cassie, the last thing on earth she wanted right now was to spend time in the kitchen.
"That would be okay Mom." Cassie's said, now clearly alarmed with her Mom's unenthusiastic attitude. She thought to herself, 'I don't think tonight is the night to quiz her about this admirer, hope she just tells me, if not maybe Sam can help tomorrow.' She did however want to see Janet's reaction to the delivery, so she informed her mom lightly, "Umm... there's a delivery arrived for you this afternoon."
Cassie carefully noted her mom's exhausted form, and her slow reaction to this news. 'She has been
working too hard. I need to talk to Sam about this. Maybe we could plan some getaway for Mom. Maybe we could all go up to the cabin again.'
Cassie dragged her mom up the hallway. All the time Janet was just looking at her daughter, her mind racing, 'What would we do if Cass didn't want us? Didn't want Sam and me? I couldn't give Cassie up now, she is my daughter. Hell! She is our daughter.'
Feeling Cassie's impatient little tugs directing her to the lounge she dragged her mind back to the present. "What did you say, darling?" She smiled; Cassie was obviously excited about something. Entering the lounge she saw Cassie's face, and just asked, "What?"
The doctor pulled up short at the sight in front of her, twelve gorgeous red roses. 'Ah ha,' thought Janet, 'Dominic, Cassie's first ever love, there's no wonder she's all excited.' Turning around to beam at her daughter, she said, "Delivery?"
Pulling her mom towards the flowers, Cassie grinned, "Yeah! Beautiful aren't they?"
Passing the bouquet to Janet, Janet looked confused, asking, "From Dominic?"
Cassie blushed deep red, "MOM! They're for you!"
"For me? But? Who?" stuttering in her shock, a smile creased her face as she immediately thought of Sam, after all she had hinted, hadn't she? But then realization hit, and her smile changed to a frown, 'That was only 20 minutes ago, don't think even Sam can work that fast. Don't think she had the time or inclination earlier in the day either. So, who?'
Cassie watched all this in wry amusement. Confusion reigned on Janet's face. Suddenly, Cassie noted her mom's shoulders seemed to straighten a bit. 'Hmm! Whoever this admirer is, he knew Mom would have some reaction to the bouquet. He obviously knows Mom. I wonder why Mom doesn't appear happy. I'd have thought she'd be over the moon.'
Janet's mind suddenly clunked into gear, 12 long-stemmed roses, the colour of red wine, the arrangement of the bouquet, all reminded her of... 'But it couldn't be. It couldn't be her. Could it? She wouldn't know I'm here. Would she?' Janet picked up the bouquet, searching for the absent card.
"No card Mom," Cassie piped up from behind, "I'm sure I didn't drop it anywhere."
Janet looked up at her daughter and smiled. Thoughts came unbidden to her mind, 'Hey, she's so beautiful. My daughter. I just didn't realize she's all grown up now. Wow, this beautiful young woman is my daughter.' This sudden new insight at her daughter brought tears to Janet's eyes. 'Where have those thoughts come from?' Janet wondered.
Deep down she knew where. It was the sight of the roses. She had believed she would never have a child. She couldn't and her so called life partner just refused to even consider the subject. The arguments had raged. The heartbreak had finally got to Janet, and she had left. She'd been in love, but love couldn't beat the feeling of rejection she had at her lover's refusal to become a family. She had left, deciding that being single without child, was better that being attached without commitment.
Then Cassie had arrived, with the added attachment of a certain Samantha Carter. Janet now realized, without ever acknowledging the fact, for the past 4 years she had had all she ever desired within a fingertips reach. Surely, on today of all days, she could be happy. Yet...
Cassie looked puzzled at the strange expressions fleeting across Janet's ebony eyes. "Mom? Are you okay?" she enquired.
Cassie's question brought Janet out of her reverie. "Yeah. I'm okay honey. Tired I guess and a little shocked"
"Yeah. You've been working too hard these days Mom." Cassie stepped forward and gave her Mom a loose hug. "Why don't you go upstairs and take a long soak in the bathtub. I'll call the pizza palace and then we'll just watch some TV or something, okay?" Suddenly, feeling very grateful to this woman who had opened her heart to the young orphan she had been, Cassie tightened her hold a bit. "No excuses, okay. Go have a nice bath and I'll shout you when the pizza arrives." Cassie loosened her hold and turned the doctor around towards the stairs. Giving her a gentle push, she whispered, "Love you Mom."
Janet turned to face her daughter and hugged her back. "Right back at you, sweetie, lots. Thanks for this. Okay, okay, I'm going, and make sure I can eat whatever you're ordering." 'I might be a bit wired,' thought Janet, 'but I am a Mom, I am.' With that thought she grinned for the first time in minutes.
"Yeah...yeah... Mom, you're no fun sometimes." Cassie quirked over her shoulder, before entering the kitchen to call for their pizza take out.
Before heading upstairs to the bathroom, Janet took a long look at the roses, shaking her head a little, she murmured out loud, "Oh Anne! Why now?"
Janet, fresh from her much needed bath, stood silently at the foot of the stairs, fingering the roses she had left on the side table. A sadness Cassie had never seen was now firmly etched on the woman's face.
"Mom..?" Cassie slowly approached Janet. "Mom?" Cassie tried once again to catch Janet's attention.
"Huh? Oh Cassie. I'm sorry... I was..."
"In a galaxy far, far away. Yep! I gathered as much " Cassie smiled, hoping to get another one back at her Mom. Janet did not disappoint her.
"Yeah something like that. What did you get?" Janet smiled weakly, obviously trying very hard to hide
whatever it was that brought the sadness out from the closet, to etch itself on her face.
Cassie recognized Janet's change of topic and decided to play along. "Mild stuff," she said, hugging Janet for a moment. She then tugged her Mom towards the lounge, "You're gonna be okay. It's edible. I promise you." She couldn't however hide the grin, like the cat that had eaten the canary, splattered across her face.
Making a real effort to act as normal as possible for her daughter, Janet quipped. "Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" 'And I don't mean the food' her thought continued.
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