The conference downtown was finally over. His speech was now in the past. At last! All through the previous week, Daniel had been nervous about his speech. He had rewritten it too many times to count, staying up late into the night. Then, he had found it nearly impossible to sleep.
After the speech, Sam had told him to relax. That his presentation had been well-organized, rapt her attention, and was extremely informative. He wasn’t sure if she was just being nice. At least all the pent up emotions he’d balled up inside over the week agonizing about the presentation had been expelled right after it was over. Now, he just felt thoroughly exhausted.
Daniel had been looking forward to returning home for some well needed sleep, but Sam had other ideas. Apparently it was a perfect time to shop for Christmas gifts. She had said she just needed to pick-up a couple of things.
Although Daniel had never actually said whether he wished to join her or not, he was now carrying two of her store bags and being pulled quickly toward another store. She hadn’t even given him a chance to change clothes and he was still in a business suit.
His feet hurt. He was able to glance at his watch for a brief second which explained why his feet hurt. He had been shopping with Sam for almost three hours. Sam had kept him entertained the whole time by filling the hours with family holiday stories and how they related to what gifts she had planned to get. He had deduced awhile back that the stories were more likely a device to distract him from the many hours of shopping.
Karen had called her co-worker, Gabrielle over to take a look at the hunk out in the atrium. They had decided he was definitely a ten if not higher on the scale, but he was a bit too far away to get a really good look. Then they spotted the tall good-looking blonde woman next to him. “Taken, but still nice eye-candy. Oh well.” She got pulled away from her musings by a customer.
Sam was talking about a gift for her friend’s daughter when Daniel realized they were heading for another clothing store.
“Wh-whoa, Sam! Just a minute, please.”
“What’s wrong? Did you drop something?” Sam looked back the way they had come.
“No. It’s just that… you keep… I mean… I-I need a break.” Daniel looked around for a diversion. I’m just gonna sit this one out, okay. I’ll be over there.” He pointed towards a fountain and some seats.
Sam saw the deep lines across Daniel's forehead and tenseness in his shoulders. He’d been like that for days. She had thought that maybe he might enjoy a bit of window shopping, but she should have realized that Daniel was just like most guys. He just didn’t voice his difference of opinion like most guys. Sam started feeling guilty about that and decided to make this the last stop. Then she would treat Daniel to a nice meal. She was getting hungry already. “Well, okay. I’ll just be a minute.”
“Right, okay, I’ll just go over there… now.” He started walking away, his pace increasing with every other step. The last time Sam had said that they had been in a store for almost thirty minutes.
He had really intended to sit by the fountain but stalled in front of a display in a furniture store, called The Lounge Company. He stared at the lounge chair on display, The Relaxinator. It had a foot massager, built-in heated massage paddles that moved up and down the length of the back of the chair with different settings or a choice of sonic vibrations, a neck massager, adjustable seat and leg angles, palm massagers, and a selection of music that played near each ear through speakers around the top. It even had a CD selector and radio tuner. It looked really comfortable. He was transfixed until the gasp that followed when he saw the price tag.
Daniel started to move to walk away but instead found himself compelled to head into the store and back to The Relaxinator sales area. There it was, just beckoning for him to try it.
He looked around, no one was nearby. “Maybe just a small test,” he whispered as he slowly eased into the chair.
“Oh yeah, even more comfortable than I could have imagined.” He pressed buttons at his finger tips, then another set along the other arm trying everything out.
Five minutes later, he’d figured out the foot massage, back massage, neck massage, palm massage, heat therapy, and slight sonic vibration that were working his body over, quickly turning him to a happy boneless lump. The air around him was filled with a soft Handel symphony. He’d closed his eyes and was taking in the complete sense of relaxation the chair provided. One more minute and he would get up to head to the seats outside, which now seemed so uninviting, so maybe just another minute longer…
Karen came up the aisle to check on the displays and stopped in her tracks at the sight before her. The hunk she’d spotted outside was sitting in one of The Relaxinators. She was about to get her co-worker Gabrielle to come over there but then changed her mind to take a longer moment to take in the scene.
He appeared dead to the world. He was slumped to one side of the chair, which had caused his glasses to become slightly askew. His face seemed so gentle and soft. She’d love to run her fingers along his cheek. He had short wavy light brown hair you just wanted to run your hand through. His mouth was slightly open and light snoring could be heard coming from such a gorgeous mouth between two kissably full lips. He had a boyish innocence to his face but a nice body build that made her wonder about his age. He was wearing nice fitting dark gray dress pants with a sky blue button down shirt. He had taken his shoes off and his socked feet at the end of his long legs were enjoying the foot massage option. A matching dress jacket was lying across one arm on the chair. She could see a name tag on the lapel that read, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Archeologist-Civilian Consultant for US Air Force. He was also using the palm massager where she noted that there was no ring on his finger. He was a cutie. “Dan-iel Jack-son”, the name just seemed to roll off her tongue. She just had to get Gabrielle over here.
Daniel wasn’t at the benches when Sam got there. She glanced at her watch and felt guilty when she realized that she’d been held up for over forty minutes, thanks to the purchase lines. She started to head to the nearby book store when two very familiar voices were heard off to her left.
“I’m tellin’ ya Teal’c, there’s a gift that suits you in this store.”
“I do not share your optimism, since the last three times you have also assured me of that very thing. Two stores involved with fishing equipment. The third a game shop featuring a video game on sale.”
"See? That was fun. Whad'I tell ya? Video games are fun. We could spend hours playing it."
Teal'c said nothing but leered at him.
"Teal'c? Ol' buddy?"
Teal'c sighed. "The video game on sale was indeed related to… speed fishing. I am sensing a disturbing pattern, O'Neill. Very disturbing."
“Yeah, well…Spencer’s will be different. Trust me.”
“You have also said that the last three times as well.”
“You’ll see. I’m right this time. While were in here, I gotta show you this singing fish…" Jack started pulling Teal’c toward the entrance.
Jack knew he owed Teal’c big time for what he had done for him on their last mission. Teal’c had literally saved his butt, when he nearly sat on what he’d thought was a large petaled tree stump. Teal’c had grabbed him to stop his descent just inches from a razor-sharp, very toothy protrusion from the thing below, which no longer resembled a stump. Teal’c had informed him that the creature the Ammo-lapse… or something close to that… camouflaged itself with the flora and emitted a pheromone to attract a large hard-shelled lizard-like creature called a Most-teaser… or something. These weird animal names were making him wonko.
Teal'c had then informed him that had he successfully completed his decent he would have been cut to pieces. It was at that moment that he had told Teal’c he was going to buy him something to let him know how much he appreciated it. Then he followed that with “money was no object.” To which Teal’c had pointed out that dollars and coins were indeed objects. Daniel had been nearby so he passed off the explaining part of that saying to him.
Now he was regretting the “no object” part of his speech that Daniel had apparently explained maybe too well. Jack was trying to steer Teal’c to get a reasonably cheaper gift after the last three other stores they’d visited. In the first one, Teal’c had eyed a complete weight training work-out set with a price tag of $3,500. While Jack had eye-balled the price, Teal’c had turned to him and said that “judging by the sudden absence of color from your face, I will assume we have found an item that objects to your money.” This was accompanied by an expression that Jack swears looked like a classic lip-protruding pout that he was sure he'd learned from Daniel. What could he say to that? Apparently, Daniel had failed to explain that there *was* such a thing as too expensive. He’d planned to have words with Daniel the next time he saw him.
At that moment, Jack had no immediate response, so instead he turned Teal’c away from the weight equipment in the hopes of distracting him with the possibility that maybe that wasn’t the suitable gift for him and that they needed to shop longer to get a better grasp of what he really wanted. So he'd steered Teal'c toward the outdoor equipment area and ended up in familiar territory surrounded by inflatable boats and fishing gear, which despite any obvious outside expression, it was clear that Teal'c had taken an instant dislike to this idea.
At another store, Jack grimaced when he caught Teal'c running his palms along the back of wrap-around couch for $2,500. He had to entice Teal'c with ice cream to leave while he checked out the store next to it, which was stocked with sporting equipment and had a special on a nifty rod and reel set that he was inclined to purchase, when Teal'c had approached from behind and reminded him about the reason for this trip. Sadly, he put the kit back in place and saying a reluctant farewell had trudged after Teal'c.
Before they could leave the area, he found Teal'c ogling a 50-inch flat screen TV for $2,000. He pulled Teal'c into the video department at that point where he spied a game he'd wanted to try. Teal'c was less than enthused with this idea as well.
At that point, Jack decided that maybe shopping in the smaller stores in the mall was a better idea until Teal’c stopped him in front of a truck… GULP… that was on a spinning dais in the center of the mall. Before he had a chance to utter one syllable, Jack had quickly entreated him with a candy store he’d spied behind them. Spencer’s was next to the candy store and since Jack couldn’t think of anything high dollar in that store, that’s where they were going.
“Perhaps, that store over there may be more promising, O’Neill.”
Since the attempt to pull Teal’c into Spencer’s wasn’t working, Jack looked where Teal’c’s finger was pointing… Gucci. Cough! “Ah…Teal’c, tell ya what. Maybe we can hit that one after--“
Yes! Saved! A smile formed on Jack’s face when he heard Carter, but it evaporated when he spotted her heading their way carrying a ton of shopping bags. So not a good site. She was still in her business suit, so he assumed she’d just come from the conference.
“Carter, fancy meeting you here. Guess the conference is over? I’m sure you and Daniel had loads of fun and can tell us all about it later. I see you’ve been busy. About done, I assume?” More like he really hoped. The last thing he wanted to do was end up shopping with Teal’c and Carter.
“I was until I, uh, lost Daniel. He said he’d be right over there.” She said while trying to lift one of her shopping bag laden arms to point the direction. Teal’c took it upon himself to assist her with her burden.
Teal’c deeply nodded.
“Yep." Jack said irritably while surveying the area. "He’s nowhere in sight. Exactly how long ago did you last see him?” Inside, Jack was trying hard not think of worse-case scenarios, but with Daniel involved that was almost instinctive.
Sam hesitated, then gulped and answered, “uh… actually, Sir, almost an hour ago.” She quickly glanced down to try to hide the guilt on her face.
“An hour ago? You know how much trouble Daniel can get into in just an hour?” Okay, so maybe it had been harder to keep from voicing his worries than he’d thought.
“Sir! That’s not really fair, we’re not--” She quickly lowered her voice so that only they could her hear, “--we’re not off world. How much trouble could Daniel get into in an hour in a shopping ma-?“
She caught the look on the Colonel’s and Tealc’s faces and stopped mid-sentence. “Okay, so then where would he go? I’ll try calling him.”
Sam got no answer and left a message. Then, the three of them split up to search the area and she headed for the book store.
Karen didn’t know what to do. She felt reluctant to wake the man. He looked like he really needed the rest. Her boss had walked by twice already, the second time she had received a slight head tilt that that meant she needed to handle the problem before she saw him again. Gabrielle had been no help and had only said that the hunk was helping the display. A couple of customers had asked how much to which she had begun her selling spiel for the chair, when she had been corrected and asked how much for the man in the chair? She had to admit he was really nice to look at.
Slowly leaning in to jostle his arm, Karen found herself drawn closer. So close to those lips that his warm breath tickled the hairs on her face. God, you’re hot. I could almost--. She was jolted out of her trance when she heard his phone buzzing. He never stirred. Maybe he didn’t hear it because it blended with the sounds from the chair. She felt foolish for what she’d almost done. Surely, his girlfriend would be worried about him by now. If he was hers, she wouldn’t let him out of her sight. That’s when she came up with another idea.
Nearly twenty minutes later, the three had met up between the fountain and the clothing store where Sam had last seen Daniel. He still hadn’t answered his phone. They were regrouping and she could tell by the Colonel’s stance that he was strategizing a Plan B.
A speaker above which through the day had been providing soothing shopping music, locations of sales in various stores, and intermittent security/safety shopping announcements stopped the song before completion. A young woman’s voice was heard. “Excuse me shoppers, would the owner of one Dr. Daniel Jackson please come to The Lounge Company.” Sam heard a few chuckles from people in the immediate vicinity.
“O’Neill. Over there.” Teal’c pointed to the sign above a store located closer to the fountains and the three of them began to converge on The Lounge Company.
When they entered the store, Karen recognized the woman and headed over to her.
“Hi, I’m Karen, Sales Manager. Are you here for Dr. Jackson?”
“Yes, where is he?” Sam asked while her eyes scanned the room.
“Let me take you to him, please follow me.”
The three were led toward a separate display room off to the side. A neon sigh read “Welcome to The Relaxinator” as they passed under it.
Inside, there were three chairs on display. The one in the middle was occupied by their wayward friend. Daniel appeared deeply asleep and completely relaxed. Sam looked at her snoring friend and then back to the sales clerk. When she caught the bashful look in the girl’s eyes as she peered toward Daniel, Sam understood why she hadn’t just awakened him earlier. She looked closer at her slumbering friend. The crease lines that had been on his forehead were now gone. He looked content and finally relaxed.
Jack looked down at his friend who seemed a million miles away without a care in the world. Daniel had no idea what had been going through his mind in the time they had searched and couldn’t find him. He also noticed that the anxious fretful appearance that had overwhelmed his friend for the past week was nowhere on his face. Jack knew Daniel had worried himself to the brink of insomnia over his speech that he’d presented early today. Now it looked at though it had finally caught up with him.
Jack looked over his shoulder to where Teal’ was, or should have been.
“Sir?” He swung back the other way to look at Carter. “We um, need to wake him and leave.”
It was obvious Carter didn’t want to be the one to do it and had left it up to the team leader to do the tough jobs.
He looked over at the clerk, “We’ll take the lazy boy.”
“Um, I believe you mean The Relaxinator.”
Jack was about to correct her when Teal’c called his name from farther to his left. Teal’c was sitting back in one of the other chairs. A hum could be heard coming from the chair. There was a huge smile on his face.
“I have found a suitable gift.”
Jack looked down at the price tag than back up at the chair’s occupant. The look aimed his way boded no argument. Jack rolled his eyes and began pulling out his wallet as he turned back toward the clerk. “…and the chair too,” he sighed.
They let Daniel sleep through the transaction and had worked out the details of how to deliver the chair. Now they were standing back in front of him. Jack leaned over and gently shook Daniel’s shoulder. “Wake up, sleepyhead. Time to go home now so we can put you to bed.” Jack stopped for a minute and rethought the last sentence, then put it past him.
Daniel curled up further in the chair, muttering, “home… bed… sleep… mmm… Hungry.”
Jack reached down and hit the off button for the chair. Than a little louder, Jack added, “if you don’t get up, I’ll have Teal’c pick you up and carry you through the mall back to the car.”
A snort behind him had him turn to find the source. The clerk immediately stopped laughing and took an instant fascination of the other side of the room. Jack turned back to peer closer at his friend.
A slight frown had crossed Daniel’s face, but he still hadn’t stirred.
“Daniel, get up!” He hadn’t meant to speak so loud that Daniel eyes shot open as he quickly stood then promptly tripped over the foot massager, which had resulted in him supporting a sleep-wrought lanky archeologist in his arms.
“W-what, huh?” Daniel hadn’t quite figured out that he wasn’t completely upright. He was trying to rub the sleep off his face and get his feet under him. He caught Sam’s eye as he was hefted up.
“Huh?” He looked behind him which nearly caused him to fall over again. He followed the extended arm supporting his shoulder up to its owner. “Jack, where’d you come from? What are you doing here?”
Jack ignored the first question, favoring answering the second instead. “Apparently, I’m keeping you from falling on your--“
“Sir!” Cough! Carter motioned toward the young clerk nearby listening to every word.
“I’m fine, thank-you!” Daniel said as he regained his balanced and pulled his arms out of Jacks. “Sam, are you done shopping?”
“Yeah, yes, all done.”
“Good, then maybe we can go get something to eat? Hey Teal’c, what brings you here?”
Without missing a beat, Teal’c responded, “Colonel O’Neill’s car.”
Daniel stared dumbfounded for a second then shook his head. “No, I mean why are you and Jack here?”
“The Colonel stated 'he owed me big time' and to find a suitable gift. This had now been accomplished. Thank-you, O’Neill. May I also join you to eat?”
“Yeah-sure, what about you Jack?”
“You’re welcome by the way, Daniel.”
“For helping you from fall--… Oh, j-just forget it.”
“O-kaaay. You joining us for some food?”
Jack patted his wallet in his backpocket. “Nope, not for a while I would think and you’re welcome Teal’c.”
“What did Jack get you, Teal’c?”
“Oh, ‘kay. See you 'round, Jack.” Daniel steered Sam and Teal’c toward the exit. “So, where does everyone want to eat?”
The three walked out of the store leaving Jack behind. “A chair? Just a chair! You mean the frickin’ $1,500 Re-lax-i-na-tor, all-equipped lounge chair with fully opera-- Aw, never mind.”
He headed for the exit when the clerk that had helped them, Karen walked up to him.
She reached out her hand and took his shaking it heartily. “Thank-you, just thank-you. I just-just thank-you so much for this.” She walked off when he was about to say “you’re welcome.” He put his hands in his pockets, “Weird. Teal’c better enjoy that chair and the extended warranty Sam insisted was needed.”
Karen couldn’t think of what to say to the man left by the other three. She’d had an ulterior motive for the thanking him, which by the look in his eyes he hadn’t caught, thankfully. The sleeping man, Dr. Jackson had been a beautiful distraction for the long work day and she had just wanted to somehow express her gratitude.
Later that evening, as she reviewed sales purchase receipts for inventory purposes. She realized that instead of the average two to three Relaxinator sales per week. They had sold five Relaxinators that day between the times that Daniel Jackson had been asleep in one of them. The overall sales for the store were over 20% of the average for one day. Was it the handsome features or the innocent expression that had so beguiled her and a lot of the store’s customers today?
Maybe I should talk to the boss-man about hiring male models to lounge in the chairs on the sales floor. She chuckled with that thought. Thinking of the day’s beautiful sales accessory and quite a lovely distraction, Daniel Jackson kept her busy through the closing activities and fed her dreams that evening.