ON QUANTUM LEAP
himself back in Hope Springs, Virginia, Sam leaps into several people only
to find out that Paige Ilene Arlyss has been trying to crack a virus that
landed on her computer. As her
interest in the virus continued, Sam as Isaac Lane took her to Project
Liberty. Upon reviewing the
project, Sam has come to the realization that General Hawkins has stolen his
project out from under him – even going as far as using Ziggy as his own
parallel-hybrid computer and a few members of his family against him.
Sam even finds out that General Hawkins has programmed Ziggy to lie.
As Sam continues to search for the reason that
he’s leaped into Hope Springs, startling new twists and turns happen at
frowned. He wasn’t sure what
the answer would be, but he decided to go with his gut.
“Of course, I was serious about it.
It… it wasn’t particularly a great way to ask you out on a date.
Let me rectify that.” Pausing,
Sam licked his lips. As a grin
spread out over his face, he asked, “Paige, would you go with me to the
hesitated not sure if going to the dance was such a good thing or not.
She had been going out with Darryl a little over a year and she
didn’t want to go to a school function and have the other teenagers begin
to talk about how she was rebounding with the first person who had asked her
on a date. She lightly bit at
her bottom lip as she looked down at her floor.
She licked her lips. She
had been the one to bring back up the conversation that he had initiated.
She knew that it wouldn’t be fair to him to have him re-ask only to
shoot him down.
that she wasn’t answering as quickly as he wanted, Sam said, “It’s
just a dance, Paige. It’s not
like it’s the end of the world.”
smiled on the other end of the phone. “I
know, it’s just….”
nodded his head almost knowing exactly what she was thinking.
“Afraid of what others will think?” he asked thankful that
Shepherd had left some of his memories behind.
“I mean Darryl wasn’t secretive about what happened on Friday.”
sighed. “I know he
wasn’t.” She paused for a
second. “You’re right.”
am?” Sam asked slightly
is a hypocritical ass,” she said simply.
Clearing her throat slightly, Paige smiled. “So, when are you going
to pick me up?”
couldn’t help but grin at her words. “When would you like me to pick you up?”
o’clock?” she asked.
for everything,” Paige said sincerely.
Gate, New Mexico
face fell. “When was this?”
leap in was at seven fifteen and it seems that the final leap out was at
What do you mean final?”
mean, Tina, that there was more than one.
There were three. Three leaps in and three leaps out of the project and none of
them were Sam. We’ve had a
shook her head not believing what Sammy Jo was saying.
“But, Ziggy would have like warned us, wouldn’t she?”
Jo began to nod then took in a deep breath.
“I would hope so.” Licking
her lips in disdain, Sammy Jo rubbed at her chin thoughtfully.
“Why didn’t she?” she wondered aloud then turned her head when
she saw Dominic Lofton entering into the Control Room.
“Dominic – we have a problem.”
we ever,” Dominic agreed with her. “We
need to re-route Ziggy’s systems through Al’s DOD Umbra Clearance
Sammy Jo and Tina said together.
heard me,” Dominic said as he clapped his hands together and rubbed them
experimentally. “So, we
better get busy.”
a minute, Dom,” Sammy Jo said as she caught him by the arm.
“Not only did Sam just leap, but we have bigger fish to fry at the
minute. We just had
unauthorized leapers on base. Three
people have leaped in and then leaped out within a twenty-five minute
he asked incredulously.
right. Ziggy’s recorded the
quantum signatures but she didn’t even announce that it happened.
What’s going on with Ziggy?”
sighed, not happy that he had to let everything spill about what had
happened over a few months ago, about the stuff that was now biting him on
the butt with a vengeance. “We
need to call an emergency staff meeting.”
why?” Tina asked quizzically.
think that everyone needs to be in on what’s going down now,” Dominic
said. Looking up at the
ceiling, Dominic asked, “Ziggy?”
Dominic?” Ziggy purred back at the head programmer.
call an emergency meeting for all senior staff in the conference room
at…” Dominic paused as he glanced down at his watch, “… eight
responding directly to the head programmer, Ziggy made the announcement.
in the Complex
gave you an order, Admiral Calavicci," Hawkins snapped, his eyes
darkening as he glared at his adversary.
"And since I have presidential authority, you'd do well to do as
you're told and keep your mouth shut!" He stared, unblinking, at the
other man. "I trust I was
clear enough, Admiral?"
wanted to tell the man exactly what he thought of him, how atrocious it was
that he had used an emblem of liberty and equality to kill members of his
staff, and how he just wanted the pretentious ass out of his project ASAP.
The only thing that stopped him was exactly what General Hawkins had
just said – ‘presidential authority’.
“Perfectly clear,” Al said.
With one last look at the whole situation to place it in his memory,
he turned and left the room.
Al marched down the hallway, his whole body shook from the intensity of the
emotions that were flowing throughout his body.
Hawkins had literally stepped off into it now and demanding him to
keep it off record – it was just too much for Admiral Albert Calavicci to
swallow. He heard the chime
that rang throughout the complex that announced that Sam had yet leaped
again, but he couldn’t do anything until after he had taken care of the
problem that Hawkins had just created in Gooshie’s office.
He even heard Ziggy tell him that General Hawkins had left the
building. “Good riddance,”
Al said to himself as he stalked into his office and slammed the door.
up the phone, Albert Calavicci called the head medical unit to let them know
that two corpses would be coming down.
He then called the next highest-ranking military security officer
under him and explained what had happened in short measure.
“Yeah, you heard me. Off
Hawkins’ order, dammit,” Al growled into the phone.
Hawkins’ order,” Daniel Fulton snapped back, letting Al know point blank
how he felt about General Hawkins.
Dan. These are in essence presidential orders.
Just… get it done.”
was a sigh on the other end of the phone.
“You know that I will, Al. Let
me get this straight though. The
men were Henderson and Stend?”
That’s it pure and simple. Not
only were they clean of everything in their background… they barely spoke
to anyone. They couldn’t harm
a fly, Al.”
senior staff report to the conference room at eight o’clock for an
emergency meeting,” Ziggy’s voice announced throughout the complex.
Dan, I don’t know what’s going on.
We’ll talk more after the meeting, all right?”
got it, Al,” Daniel Fulton paused then said, “Al?”
Al said as he stood up from his chair as he readied himself to toss down the
phone and walk out of his office.
know that I’m behind you one hundred and twenty percent, right?”
Dan. I know.
See you in a minute.”
waiting for a response, Al hung up the phone and started out the door.
“I wonder who called the meeting,” he mused as he headed toward
the conference room.
in the British Isles
himself back in the Accelerator Chamber, the leaper shook his head slightly
again to rid himself of the dizziness.
Even as he readied himself to be hauled away to a holding cell
because of what he had done to the highest and most respected in the
complex, he thought about what he had seen on the computer. It didn’t make any sense - none of it. According to the archives in the computer on Project Quantum
Leap, this complex shouldn’t even be here.
‘How in the hell does that make sense?’ he thought to
himself as he glanced around the room to see the two people who had leaped
after him lying on the floor of the Accelerator Chamber.
Moving to them, he knelt to look down at them.
down at the bitch that was known throughout the complex as one not to tangle
with and her partner, a man who could seduce any woman with just a thought,
he realized they were both dead. Not
only dead, but also smoldering from the impact wound that he had caused
them. Peering closely at the
wound marks, he blinked, still not believing that what he had killed
hadn’t even been human, but cyborgs.
Running his hand over his mouth, he shook his head.
That could explain how everyone had thought that they were real and
why they were dead according to the records at Project Quantum Leap.
voice, soft and silken yet distinctly masculine filled the Accelerator
Chamber, enveloping the still slightly dizzy leaper’s senses. As the speaker expected, it was the familiar tone more than
the words that told him he had the leaper's undivided attention.
"We need to talk... now."
kneeling leaper slowly stood up, swallowing, then with a lick of his lips,
nodded his head. “Yes,
sir.” Looking back at the
destroyed cyborgs, he took a deep breath and started toward Central Control.
Gate, New Mexico
opened the door to the conference room and was surprised when he realized
that he was the last one to enter. He
frowned as he glanced at the personnel in the room.
It was rare – hell, impossible at times to get them all in the room
at one time, yet somehow they had not only beaten him to the table, but were
all looking at him expectantly. His
defenses immediately going up, one of Al’s eyebrows lifted and he looked
at each of them warily.
he asked as he turned slightly to look at the door hoping that they were
staring at someone who had entered behind him.
Not seeing anyone, Al turned back to the group looking at him
been keeping something from us. There
are things happening at this complex that doesn’t make a bit of sense and
it’s coming back to bite you in the ass, Al.
What’s going on?”
was Sammy Jo that began in investigation and Al was a bit surprised at her
blunt scrutiny. Settling down
into a chair, he held each one of their gazes before he opened his mouth to
begin to tell the senior staff exactly what had been happening around the
setting the background of what had happened with J.T. and reiterating about
how General Hawkins had presidential authority, it took him a full thirty
minutes to get around to every bit of information that he had acquired
within the last couple of days. The
expressions on the senior staff told Al that he had been successful in his
interpretation of the events. The
emotions ranged from astonishment, to awe, to anger then back to awe--mixed
with anger. As Al pointed out
that General Hawkins had all but forced the information from Dom, Sammy Jo
jumped up away from the table and began to pace, her anger quick and hot.
Al turned to look at Dom, who was not only frustrated with the
situation he had put himself in, but he looked terribly uncomfortable and
know how you feel, Sammy.”
have no idea what I’m feeling, Al!” Sammy Jo exclaimed as she turned to
him before sending a baleful heated glare to Dominic Lofton.
“He could have…”
all know what could have happened,” Al responded under her heated gaze.
“It didn’t.” He
watched as she shook her head with an exasperated sigh and continued to pace
back and forth.
gaze went individually to the others in the room.
Donna and Beth both looked empathic and angry.
Just a look into their eyes told him that between those two women,
General Hawkins wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley at the moment.
Next to them, Verbena sat scribbling furiously on a piece of paper. Al almost snickered at the thought that struck him.
She looked ready to put any and all of them on a couch and talk to
them about what was mentally challenging them at the moment.
Next to the empty seat was Daniel Fulton.
Daniel was watching his fiancé walking the floor, his own body
language telling Al exactly how tense he was from what was happening around
him. Lightly shaking his head,
he turned to look at Tina, who was lightly running her hand over her face,
looking more or less put out from the whole ordeal.
Next to Tina sat Aurora Lofton.
She wasn’t happy with any of the news either; however, she was
looking quite happy to jump down anyone’s throat that might come toward
that he had only told them half of what he really knew, he debated himself
for a moment on telling them the rest of the complications that surrounded
the project and the leap. Knowing
that he couldn’t sweep it under the rug, Al went on to explain everything
else he had learned from the leap as well as the new information surrounding
Hawkins. “As of this moment,
you now know everything that I know regarding General Hawkins
and the leap thus far.”
Jo immediately stopped pacing at his final words and faced him, a look of
astonishment on her face. “Then,
you don’t know about the breach.”
What breach?” Al questioned as his eyes shot not only at Sammy Jo,
but also to his head security officer sitting at the other end of the
Jo made her way back over to her chair and sat down beside her fiancé once
again. She licked her lips then
took a deep breath. “Daniel
didn’t know about it and I wouldn’t have known about it either, if I
hadn’t been at the computer when it happened.
Around 7:15, Ziggy’s program recorded the quantum signature spikes.
Maybe ten minutes passed then another spike and a third in less than
five minutes. Then she recorded
the signatures leaping out at ten-minute increments later, the last one
leaving at 7:40. It wasn’t
Dad. Ziggy is as tight lipped
as she can be. I don’t
understand why she wouldn’t tell us that this had occurred.”
took in a deep breath as he slumped in his chair. Everything was starting to come down on him in almost
insurmountable increments. He
ran his hand over his cheek and leaned against it before he looked at his
senior staff again, one at a time. “Anything
else I need to know about?”
need to re-route all essential commands through your DOD Umbra Clearance
Number,” Dominic said softly, knowing that just his thought was going to
send the Admiral into another higher orbit.
Al asked knowing that he shouldn’t have asked a question like that to such
a computer-literate person who would probably answer in a way that would
shoot over his head. He reached
up and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to rid himself of the
frustration that was surrounding him. ‘All
I want to do is get Sam home. That’s
Why? Why can’t it be
that easy?’ he wondered to himself as he tried to focus his attention
on the head programmer.
that we can get some straight answers from Ziggy,” Dominic said simply.
long is that going to take?” Al asked, knowing that he needed to get to
Sam to see who he had leaped into and at least give him a little bit of
support by just being there.
time,” Dominic said as he shrugged his shoulders, not sure of how long it
sighed. “Great,” he
muttered as he leaned his head back against the chair, wishing that he had a
cigar with him.
we have the go ahead?” Dom asked.
Al replied, then added, “Not until we’re sure about why Sam’s there to
begin with.” Seeing the look
on the other man’s face, Al shook his head.
“I just want to be able to understand why he hasn’t been able to
stay still in this leap. I
mean, yes, it’s the same place, the same town… but he just can’t seem
to stay in one person’s body long enough to get anything done, or at least
to figure out what he needs to do.”
a long moment, the room was silent as every staff member began to think over
Al’s conundrum. As each
person leaned back in their chair, their eyes fixed in various places of the
room, Al looked at each one of them knowing that he probably had asked a
question that couldn’t be solved. In
the moments where Sam had leaped into the same place a variety of times,
even when it didn’t make sense at the time, the most logical conclusion
would come to light after the leap was over.
movement caught Al’s attention and his gaze focused on Sammy Jo.
She had been sitting slightly cocked to one side in her chair, a
frown on her face. Slowly
though, the frown left and her body slowly sat up and she began nodding her
head. Al knew that she was on
track of an answer and it was obviously making sense to her.
She licked her lips then fingered them lightly before she slightly
shook her head and chuckled. “Sammy?”
know, Al, one of these days, when you have a question about that, you could
just ask one of us and it would reduce some of your stress.”
frowned. “Sammy Jo, what are
know why Dad has leaped into Hope Springs so often. It’s rather simple actually.”
will you please explain it before my brain melts?”
Jo couldn’t help but smile. “Okay,”
she said shaking her head. “Put
your brain on the back burner and just listen.”
For a moment, Sammy Jo’s eyes raised toward the ceiling as she
thought about how she wanted to express herself.
Rubbing her thumb over her fingers, she licked at her lips then
leaned forward. “When Dad
first leaped into Hope Springs, Virginia, he leaped into Shepherd Jameson
– an eighteen year old who had a telephone conversation with Paige Arlyss,
bobbed his head up and down. “Yes,
that’s right. They were
talking about how she was going to crack the virus that was sent to her
Jo smiled back at his words. “You
even said that Dad had told her that cracking the code – on anything –
but what does that…”
Jo held her hand up to stop him before he started. “While all of this was happening – unbeknownst to us,
General Hawkins was implementing Ziggy’s counterpart in Hope Springs –
this Omega. The reason why Dad
was unable to do anything as Shepherd Jameson is because he was bounced
the words spilled out from Sammy Jo’s mouth, Al glanced around the room to
see the rest of the programmers sit up with interest; each of them seeming
to feed off of the other.
was picking up the trail of the idea herself, her hand turning over slightly
from an excited pointing in Sammy Jo's direction as she spoke, "They
tried to like, test run their new equipment…"
suddenly sat up a bit straighter. “Which
in turn created a pocket effect – a bubble which popped him into the
Right! The next person that could possibly stop Paige from doing
something illegal, that being Officer Lorraine McPherson,” Sammy Jo
finished Dominic’s thought.
in essence,” Beth said as she picked up on the others frame of mind,
“they tried once again to start the mainframe – this Omega replica of
Ziggy – and it popped Sam back out of time again to land into Isaac Lane
– Paige’s father and then he could have stopped her?” she questioned
wanting to make sure she was following their thought patterns correctly.
Sammy Jo exclaimed with a grin plastered on her face satisfied that they had
been thinking along the same lines.
even as Isaac Lane,” Verbena began as the realization came to her, “he
wasn’t able to stop her. I
mean, Sam took her to Project Liberty and even helped this virus to get
there. So, maybe this was
supposed to happen.”
might be the case,” Donna said thoughtfully.
“What if he wasn’t there to stop Paige?
What if it was for something simpler… like… oh, I don’t know…
sure that she didn’t cheat on a test?” Daniel Fulton suggested, unable
to come up with anything else that wasn’t too outlandish for a teenager to
have in their life to overcome.
maybe, to stop her from meeting up with that guy that dropped her like a
cold fish?” Aurora offered.
other thoughts began to float about the room that made more sense, Al shook
his head. He couldn’t believe
what he was hearing as his eyes darted to the people making suggestions as
quickly as the thoughts came to them.
back slightly in his chair, he propped his head in his hand and kept
watching the way that the team worked as a well oiled machine – finishing
each other’s thoughts and ideas – seemingly one step ahead.
Seeing the way that they worked so well together, even in the worst
of times, he couldn’t help but think, ‘So, this is why Sam wanted
each and every one of them.’ Hearing
the more animated thoughts beginning to emerge from the group as well as a
couple of giggles with the idiocy of how it sounded once spoken, Al smiled
to himself. Wanting to get them
back on target, he cleared his throat.
“Okay. We have some
thoughts. Let’s weed through
them and see which ones seem the most logical.”
Sam Beckett leaned back over to the radio and turned it on.
Adjusting the volume, Sam settled back on the pillow as he listened
to the light music playing on the radio.
The music seemed to have changed from the beaty music that Shepherd
had been listening to earlier to more mellow love songs as people began
calling in to the radio station to have the D.J. play their songs during the
as he began to mouth some of the words to the songs, he thought about the
last couple of leaps into Hope Springs.
He shook his head as he considered what he had learned at Project
Liberty. His hands balled into fists as he thought about General
Hawkins. The man had no sense
of right and wrong. Stealing
from one project to make another was even more than Sam could contemplate.
Sam’s hand came up from the bed and slammed back down beside him
making only a muffled thump.
are you, Al?” he questioned softly. “I
know that you can’t give me much, but at least you could give me something
to work with… tell me what’s going on at the complex.
brought his hands up to his face and rubbed at both of his eyes for a moment
before he turned his head to look at the computer sitting on the desk. ‘What if I do the wrong thing?’ he wondered as he
sat up on the bed, licked his lips then ran his teeth over his lips.
his instincts, he moved to the computer and sat down behind it only to pull
up Shepherd’s email program. He
glanced at the messages that were listed on his computer.
Emails from various friends came up but one in particular caught his
attention just by the subject header. It
read: ‘You can’t be
on part of the Quantum Leaper made him open up the email that was dated for
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 and he couldn’t help but grin at the person
who had sent the email. It
God, man… have you lost your ever loving mind?
Do you want to have a brain left after she tells Darryl what you tell
you want to be her friend… go for it.
But… don’t mess it up with those three words, dude.
Look, I’m not trying to pop your gum for you, but Shep, think.
Do you honestly think that telling her that you love her will help?
It’s not going to make her drop Darryl for you.
put your heart in the way – at least not until she’s not dating Darryl.
After what I heard Michelle telling me, it’s going to happen soon
enough. Just… just chill out.
Mike, I'm not sure exactly why I picked you to tell this to, but I
have to tell
Every time I see Paige… every time I'm around her… I want to tell
her about how
much I love her.
It’s not fair. I want
to tell PIA how I feel about her…
sat back in the chair, shook his head and closed his eyes.
This leap was only giving him a headache.
Now, he had to deal with the emotions and hormones of a teenager who
loved the girl that he couldn’t have as well as deal with Project Liberty,
a rampant virus that had some information on file about him, and whatever
was going on back at the project that was keeping Al from him.
“Al,” he called the holograms name softly.
“Where are you?”
Gate, New Mexico
wasn’t sure exactly how long they had sat in the conference room until he
glanced down at his watch to see that it was nearly eleven o’clock.
He grimaced as he thought about how he should have gone to see how
Sam was doing.
saw the frown cross over her husband’s face and she went to his side.
“Al, honey, what’s wrong?”
meant to go check on Sam. He’s
been there in Hope Springs for over three hours.”
softly rubbed Al’s back and smiled. “He’s
fine, Al. Ziggy would have told
you if he were in trouble.”
dark puppy dog brown eyes turned to his wife and he searched her face
intently. “Would she Beth?”
wanted to answer that Ziggy would, but with the way that the parallel-hybrid
computer was acting, she couldn’t answer him with a hundred percent
certainty. “If you’re
worried about him, Al, go check up on him.”
that his wife was right, Al kissed her tenderly. He touched her cheek affectionately, then turned and caught
Dominic’s attention from across the room.
Motioning him over, Al clapped his hand on Dom’s shoulder and
informed him, “Let’s fire up the Imaging Chamber.
I just want to check on Sam.”
five minutes, Al was standing in the bedroom of Shepherd Jameson.
He took a couple of steps toward the bed to see Sam sleeping
peacefully, a piece of paper lying by his side.
Frowning, Al moved to where he could look down at the words on the
paper, noticing that the time traveler had written what was there.
He read the words on the paper and his mouth opened in surprise.
borrow a line from a song: ‘I’ve
got something to tell you that I just can’t say so I’m writing it
since we met some eight years ago, all I have ever wanted to do was just be
near you, Paige – to be a part of your life.
I know that this may sound clichéd to you, but… I feel that you
are my destiny. This could be
my chance for the first time in eight years to get to tell you just how much
I care, and I don’t want to
miss that chance.
know that you’ve just broken up with Darryl and that it’s not the best
time in the world to let you know how I feel, but if I don’t get it out
now, if I don’t let you know… how will I know if I missed something that
was supposed to be to begin with? Somewhere in the middle of all the years of
friendship, I’ve fallen in love with you.
I’ve wanted to tell you so many times, but it never seemed to be
the right time. But now, it
does feel like the right time.
not asking for your love in return, PIA.
I am asking for a chance to show you.
If it doesn’t work… then it wasn’t meant to be.
But what if it does?
shook his head as he looked down at his buddy.
Some serious psychosynergizing had emerged from Shepherd’s mind
intermingling with Sam’s. Glancing
back down at the paper, Al said softly, “Don’t worry buddy, we’ll get
this all fixed. You’ll
Samuel Beckett, Quantum Physicist crawled out of bed. Going over to the closet, he pulled out a pair of blue jeans;
a red t-shirt and a black and white patterned plaid button up shirt.
Looking for a belt, Sam came up empty handed, until he found a pair
of suspenders. Getting dressed,
he looked at himself in the mirror, the ensemble of the red shirt and the
buttoned up shirt only half way buttoned and tucked in, he thought he looked
decent. Pulling on a pair of
sneakers, he headed out of the room.
he walked down the hallway, he popped the last suspender into place, and
yawned as he peered into the living room.
Every knickknack was portrayed in a way that anyone who entered into
the room could see it plainly. As
he stepped into the kitchen nook, he heard voices from the other room.
if Jessica calls me, tell her that I’ll be at the office late tonight.”
first of all, I’m not your answering service any more than I’m
Shepherd’s, and second of all, either a Hailey or a Holly called you last
night,” a familiar voice caught Sam’s attention.
He backed up and leaned to look at the two people sitting at the
table, eating already. One of
them, he recognized – Millicent.
which was it? Hailey or
tut came back in response. “I
don’t know. I can’t keep up
with your girlfriends.”
two looked up as Sam approached them. “Oh… don’t you look
interesting,” Millicent said giving him a look.
glanced down at his outfit, wondering if he needed to change.
He slowly took off the suspenders and the plaid shirt and put them
over the back end of the chair he had pulled out at the table.
“Maybe I shouldn’t try to dress in the dark,” he said with a
might help,” Millicent said as she stood up as her parents came into the
yawned yet again as he sat down then grabbed a grapefruit and cut it half on
his plate. He looked up as Mr.
Jameson goosed Mrs. Jameson and he shook his head good-naturedly.
morning,” Mrs. Jameson chirped as she went around the teens at the table
and kissed each of them on the cheek. After
kissing Sam, she leaned back and winked at her husband before she leaned
slightly forward and asked, “Isn’t tonight the night of the big date?
The dance?” she asked as she rubbed his shoulders.
a bite of the grapefruit, Sam looked up at Shepherd’s mother.
Swallowing the fruit, he answered, “Yes, ma’am, it is.”
really like her, Shep. Paige is
such a sweet girl. I’m glad
that you two are finally hitting it off.”
licked at his lips. “She
doesn’t know,” he said simply seeing the way that Mrs. Jameson slightly
you going to tell her?” she asked.
nodded. “When the time is
right… hopefully tonight.”
looked at her mother, then at Sam. “I
hope you do. It’s better than
some guys stringing girls along,” she said as she slid a glance at David.
David looked back at Millicent mystified.
rolled her eyes with a small shake of her head. “It’s official. You’re
Hawkins stood in the doorway of his office sipping his coffee as he thought
about what he had learned at Project Quantum Leap as well as from attaining
the virus from Paige Arlyss that held detailed information about Dr. Sam
Beckett. Scratching his nose,
Hawkins leaned against the doorframe as he looked out into the Control Room
to see Lexia Stafford stretch out again over the mainframe to get something,
her skirt coming up higher and revealing more of her thigh.
Being the normal healthy man that he was, General Hawkins licked his
lips almost hungrily, letting his eyes rove over the woman’s body; he
shook his head slightly only to duck back into his office when he heard the
to his desk, he plopped himself down in his chair then picked up the phone.
Hawkins, this is Dr. Milo Hasselein.”
though the man wasn’t in the room with him, General Hawkins sat up a bit
straighter as he listened to the man on the other end of the phone.
“Yes, sir,” he said respectfully.
“What can I do for you, sir?”
know that you are dealing with putting together this new project, but I came
across some information today that you need to know about.
I just wanted to inform you that there has been evidence of someone
hacking into and tampering with FBI, CIA and Pentagon Files.
The ISP source is encrypted so no one can pinpoint the place of
origin or who has done it. If
you suspect anyone or know anything that could or might be the cause of
this, I want a personal report on my desk ASAP.”
sir,” General Hawkins said plainly. “Not
a problem, sir.”
I be expecting a report from you, General?”
Milo asked a bit menacingly. He
wasn’t happy that this had happened under his watch and he wasn’t about
to have any of his employees acting like he wasn’t going to personally
kick some butt and take names.
sir. Not at the moment, sir.
I don’t know of any tampering from this end, sir.”
a grunt of approval, Milo Hasselein dropped his receiver back onto the phone
and let the dial tone inform the General that he wasn’t going to talk to
Hawkins sat back in his chair and screwed up his mouth before he took
another sip of his coffee. “A
hacker …” Standing up and taking his coffee mug with him, he walked out
of his office and headed to the conference room.
Passing Lexia Stafford, he nodded to the leggy, attractive blonde
then walked into the conference room to see the small laptop still open on
the conference table. Going to
it, he sat down and pulled it toward him.
Seeing the screen come to life, General Hawkins pulled up a search on
one name: Sam Beckett.
files came up located in the temp folder where they had been downloaded and
he opened them up. Although
this virus had downloaded itself into the project, he just wanted to make
sure that he hadn’t just lied to Dr. Hasselein.
That was the last thing that he needed to happen.
He had barely pushed the return key when the door of the conference
room opened and Lexia Stafford stepped in.
Hawkins,” she said as she entered into the room and started toward him.
“Is there a problem? I…
I saw you come in here. I
thought that the download had finished last night.”
had,” he said as he turned back to the computer before him.
Do you need any help with anything?” she asked with a grin as she
came to his side. “I’m a
whiz with computers.”
Hawkins’ eyes narrowed slightly at her as he thought for a moment.
“Yes, Ms. Stafford. I
require your assistance.”
pulled up the chair beside him and watched as General Hawkins slid the
computer in front of her. Smiling
slightly at him, she placed her slender fingers on the keys and looked at
him expectantly. “Exactly
what do you need to look at, General?”
Hawkins’ tongue roamed over his front teeth for a moment as he looked at
the laptop. “Well, this virus
that we have obtained, it downloaded information about Project Quantum Leap
and Dr. Sam Beckett. I want to
see what it pulled up.”
nodded her head then pulled up a new search with the parameters specified.
A moment later, a list of the files that had been added was
displayed. “Is there
something specific that you were looking for, sir?” She read down the list as he did and then she pointed to the
file labeled ‘Project Blue Book’. Pulling
it up, she read aloud, “‘Dr. Hardin, an investigator with Project
Blue book used sodium pentathol to see if Maxwell Stoddard was telling the
truth about seeing aliens. It
was then that Dr. Hardin told of how Mr. Stoddard claimed to be Dr. Samuel
Beckett.’” Lexia shook
her head then turned to General Hawkins.
“I’m sorry, sir,” she said as she went back to the previous
screen. “Was there a specific
instance that you wanted to read?”
exactly,” Hawkins replied. “I
was just checking to make sure that it had done what it was supposed to
smiled at him. “I’m sure
that it did exactly what it was supposed to do, General.
Most programs are more proficient than human beings.
They just follow the code and conduct themselves in the manner in
which they were programmed.” She
paused and tilted her head slightly to the side, “Are you worried about
not really. I… I just wanted
to make sure that the files that it downloaded were all available to get to
and you just proved to me that they are.
Thank you, Ms. Stafford,” Hawkins replied, placing his hand on her
shoulder. “Keep up the good
work,” he said as he stood up and started toward the door.
eyebrow rose slightly as she stood before she glanced back down at the
laptop, smiled then headed for the door herself.
he ate his breakfast of grapefruit and cereal, Sam listened and chuckled
over the way Shepherd’s family interacted.
When he was finished, he excused himself, got Shep’s backpack and
headed out the door, whistling softly and jingling the keys to Shep’s
truck. He had just gotten into
the truck and put the key into the ignition when he heard the familiar sound
of the Imaging Chamber door-opening close by.
He looked out his window, saw nothing then turned his head to look
out the passenger side window and immediately jumped at the sight of the
Observer standing in the seat beside him.
Giving the hologram an annoyed glare, Sam started the truck and put
it into gear to back out of the driveway.
“Where have you been?” he asked as he shifted gears and headed
down the quiet street.
a bright, cheery ‘good morning’ to you, too,” Al came back, not even
remotely put off by Sam’s attitude. Truth
be told, he preferred Sam’s vaguely annoyed attitude to the evolving
‘stew’ of problems approaching a full boil back at the Project. Glancing around the changing scenery, Al asked, “Where are
Sam emphasized as he turned at the corner, “am on my way to school.
If you want to be helpful, try finding out what Shepherd’s class
schedule is so at least I’ll look like I know where I’m going once I get
Sam, don’t get all melodramatic. You
always look like you know where you’re going.”
Al began to pull up the information that Ziggy had on Shepherd
Jameson then turned to his buddy once more.
“Listen, I’m sorry that I didn’t come sooner. We were… hell, we still are having problems with Ziggy as
well as other personnel.”
Sam questioned still a bit miffed at his observer. “Did we get another chip from Egypt that’s interfering
with Ziggy’s normal operations or is it more than that?”
shot a look at Sam as he whacked the side of the handlink to make sure that
it wasn’t getting caught on a piece of data that it was downloading.
“No. We are mainly
having problems with Hawkins.”
made a face as he pulled into the parking lot of Hope Springs High School. After
parking the truck, he turned to look at Al.
“Do you have that schedule?”
yeah,” Al turned the handlink to Sam to show him the data there.
Sam said, and then started to exit the truck.
gonna give it to her?” Al questioned as he licked his lips.
stopped in his tracks then turned back to look at Al. “What?” he asked, more than a little surprised that Al
knew anything about the letter he had written to Paige last night.
you going to give her the letter?” Al
asked as he took a few steps toward Sam.
reached into his back pocket, then pulled out the folded piece of paper and
looked at it, his teeth running over his bottom lip. “I don’t know,” he said simply, his whole body language
saying that he was shy and insecure. “I
… I love her.” Sam turned
and looked back at the school before him.
“I don’t think that I can take that kind of rejection.”
another word, Sam looked at the letter in his hand, and shook his head.
Putting the letter back into his back pocket, he turned then headed
toward the entrance of the school.
Al called out as he hurried up to him.
“You don’t love her! Shepherd
Jameson does.” Seeing that
his words were falling on deaf ears, Al stopped and watched the leaper hurry
into the school to go to his classes.
up the Imaging Chamber once again, Al walked back into Control Room as he
looked up at Ziggy’s blue orb sparkling above him. “Ziggy?”
looked around at the other Project personnel standing at his side before he
pursed his lips and asked, “Want to give any abstract analysis as to why
Sam is now acting like Shepherd Jameson?”
question cannot be answered, Admiral Calavicci.”
shot a look back up to the parallel-hybrid computer. “Why?”
answer is close in relation to many others.”
Ziggy paused in her thought then gave examples of what she meant.
“Why is a tear shed? Why
does the heart love? If you can
answer any of these, you might be able to answer the question you gave
didn’t like that answer and he shook his head slightly as he turned to
look at Sammy Jo and Tina. “I’ve
got some paperwork to finish up. Let
me know if there’s any change.”
sir,” Sammy Jo said with a smile as she watched the Admiral continue out
of the Control Room.
the day progressed for Sam, he kept mostly to himself, hearing the teens
gossiping about the dance; who was going with whom and even found out the
latest news about Darryl McDaniel and his new girlfriend.
He had thought that he would have seen Paige at some time during the
day, but hadn’t. He wasn’t
sure if it was because she was deliberately staying out of reach or not.
By the time he got back home, he went directly to his computer and
pulled up his email program, hoping that maybe she had sent him something
through there. There wasn’t one waiting for him. Turning on the radio, he plopped down on the bed as he heard
the last part of a song he remembered:
darling dear, love you all the time
I'm just a fool, a fool in love, with you.
over and turning off the radio with a growl, Sam stood up, grabbed at a robe
that was hung up over the end of the bed and started toward the bathroom,
muttering, “Why can’t they quit throwing it at me? Huh?”
Imaging Chamber door opened and Al walked into Hope Springs, Virginia to see
Sam sitting in the Toyota truck that was out in front of the Lanes’ house.
Al frowned as he went to Sam and looked at his buddy fidgeting in the
When he didn’t get a response, Al lightly cursed then watched as
Sam got out of the truck and started up the walk toward the house.
“What… he’s nervous?” he asked amazed as he watched Sam
standing in front of the door running his hand nervously through his hair,
then trying to knock out any wrinkles in the dark blue suit he had on before
he knocked on the door.
door opened a moment later, showing Isaac Lane beaming.
“Shepherd, come on in.”
you, sir,” Sam said respectfully then entered into the house.
as the door closed, Al slipped in and tried again to make contact with Sam.
“You aren’t nervous are you, Sam?”
me go see if she’s ready, Shep.”
nodded his head as he watched Isaac Lane walk upstairs to go get his
stepdaughter before he looked down at his loafers. He couldn’t understand why he was so nervous.
It was just a date, wasn’t it?
‘It’s just a date,’ he told himself.
Shifting slightly, he looked up as he heard a door close.
Seeing Dianne Lane standing before him, one of her hands slightly
behind her back, he grinned at her, remembering how she had tried to get him
into her bed when he had leaped into Isaac Lane.
Lane,” he said simply then slightly turned his head to Al to let him know
that he had heard him.
good, you can hear me. I…
I… oh S-sam…” Al said as his eyes drifted up to the top of the stairs
at the same time that Sam’s eyes found the young woman who seemed to be
floating down the stairs.
in a satiny baby blue tea-length strapless dress, her hair in soft ringlets
framing her face, Paige Arlyss descended the stairs with a smile on her
lips. As she was met at the
bottom of the stairs, she smiled brighter when Sam just looked at her for a
beautiful," he said awe-struck.
an understatement,” Al said softly.
for once, was momentarily tongue-tied, a situation brought on by not only
Shepard's compliment but also by his appearance.
It was the first time she had ever seen him in something other than
jeans and a T-shirt.
ought to dress up more often," she finally said, reaching to fiddle
with the one of the lapels of his dark blue suit then smoothing it down his
them, still standing on the stairs, Isaac Lane watched the teenagers, and
smiled. Watching them brought
back memories of the first time he had asked a girl to a dance and went
through the same ritual of picking her up.
When he reached his wife, he leaned in a bit toward her, whispering,
“Where’s the camera?”
here," she whispered back, showing him the small digital camera she’d
hidden behind her back. "Oh,"
she whispered, patting his shoulder. "He's giving her the corsage. This
is the time." She picked up the camera and inched closer to the couple
in front of her.
had heard her parents whispering and glanced around to see her mother,
wearing a grin and with the camera in hand.
She rolled her eyes, pausing as Shepherd was handing her a clear
plastic, ribbon-tied box with a delicate pink rose corsage in it.
"Mom.... is that really necessary?”
Al responded with a grin. “Just
smile and take the picture.”
just grinned, chuckling softly as he shook his head lovingly at his
stepdaughter. "Of course it is, honey.
She’s your mother, and mothers are famous for wanting milestone
pictures of their children." Glancing
at Shepard, it struck Isaac that there was an understanding in the boy's
eyes that seemed oddly more mature than he was used to seeing.
smiled as he looked at Isaac Lane then opened the small box that he had
brought with him. "My mom
did the same thing," he admitted then picked up the delicate pink
corsage. "I wasn't sure
what kind of dress you'd have, so I got a wrist corsage."
Seeing her smile again, he held it out for her then slid it onto her
wrist when she presented her right hand to him. Then turning her slightly toward her mother, he said,
"Just smile, let your mom make a memory, find out your curfew, then we
nodded with a shake of her head then turned to face her mother, letting her
mother take the pictures that she wanted.
Once the session was over, Sam turned his attention to Isaac.
"When shall I have her home, sir?" he asked more than
it is a school night..."
o’clock,” Al said plainly. “No
later, young man,” he added as he shook his finger at Sam who slightly
rolled his eyes at his observer.
Paige grumbled not believing how her father was acting.
shoulders slightly dropped at the curfew time.
Sam nodded his head understandingly.
"Yes, sir," he responded then put his hand on the small of
Paige's back to usher her toward the door.
"Shall we?" he asked with a smile.
wasn't surprised when Isaac and Dianne followed him and Paige out the front
door to watch as he escorted her down the steps. He brushed aside the thought about the vast differences in
their ages – it didn't matter. All of them, Paige, Isaac and Dianne all
saw him as an eighteen year old boy, and for the evening, that's how he was
going to behave.
helping Paige get into Shepherd's small Toyota pickup truck, taking care
that the hem of her dress wouldn't get caught in the door when he shut it,
he closed the door firmly. As he started around to get in the driver's side,
he glanced back to the house and waved to her still watching parents.
"I'll have her home at eleven," he called out.
Al was standing beside the couple on the porch, rocking back and forth on
his heels, his hands in his pockets. “You’re
doing good, Sam!” he shouted. “Keep
up the good work! I’ll meet
you at the dance!”
Al a nod and a smile, Sam got in beside Paige, then paused a moment to look
over at her. "You ready for this?" Smiling
and nodding at her affirmative reply, Sam then put the key in the ignition
and started the engine.
drive to the school was brief, and Sam was glad that the weather seemed to
be cooperating in this leap. Virginia,
in the springtime, he seemed to vaguely recall, could be chilly, but tonight
it was almost balmy.
at the school, he saw where a large number of other vehicles were parked, as
well as several couples making their way toward the open doors that marked
the entrance to where the dance was being held.
the passenger's side door, Sam offered his hand to Paige, grasping her hand
gently as she stepped out. After
a minute or two of making sure that she had her purse and her dress wasn’t
caught in the door, Sam watched Paige take a deep breath then lick her lips
uneasily. Paige glanced up at
him at that moment and Sam saw the insecurity in her eyes in the glow from
the security light that flooded the parking lot.
he asked softly.
my first dance. And... and I..."
too," Sam said. It wasn't a lie. It was his first dance at Hope Springs
High School. "But what's there to be nervous about?" He asked as
he deftly turned toward the direction everyone else was headed. "We see
these kids every day at school."
the point, Shep," Paige said as she placed her hand on his arm to stop
him from moving away from her. "They
were here on Friday when Darryl broke up with me... and here it is...
Valentine's Day....” Paige's voice cracked somewhat and she shook her
head. "I'm... I'm being
you're not," Sam replied. "Let's
just go in together and have a good time.
You'll see. It won't be
bad. Just... relax and have
looked down, ran her teeth over her bottom lip then looked up at the stars
above them. Taking a step
toward him, she rose up on her tiptoes and pressed her lips against his in a
simple kiss then stepped back from him.
"Thank you, Shepherd."
felt a funny feeling the moment that her lips touched his.
He felt as if something had shot through him and his heart almost
seemed to skip a beat in time. He
looked down into her face for a moment and understood exactly what Shepherd
had written in the note that was in his back pocket.
He wasn’t sure when he would give the handwritten letter to her,
but he knew that it was going to be tonight.
Looking down slightly to hide the embarrassment that seemed to come
over him, Sam met her eyes then said, “We came to a dance.
Might as well go in and have a good time, don’t you think?”
the smile as her answer, Sam put his hand on the small of her back and
guided her across the parking lot. Nodding
respectfully to the two chaperones that were monitoring the couples entering
the school, Sam allowed her to lead the way to the gymnasium that had been
transformed into an enchanted undersea realm.
blue and white streamers were hanging all over the walls, with decorations
of fish and sea urchins all over them. To the side next to the tables that
held the punch was a statue of Poseidon with his trident in hand, casting
his acceptance of the proceedings around him.
A band was up on stage, playing a song that Sam had never heard
before and he grinned as he saw the banner up behind them that read in blue
words, “The Enchantment Under The Sea” with pictures of fish with
tridents over them.
continued to look around the room at the decorations then found Al shaking
his groove thing near Poseidon. Chuckling
slightly, he turned Paige toward the punch bowl.
As they moved to the table, Paige suddenly stopped, her back becoming
rigid, her smile fading at the sight of the couple at the table before them.
McDaniel, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, stood dressed in a dark suit, his arm
encircling the teen standing beside him.
as Al came over toward the stopped pair, his gaze went to the couple ahead
of them and he stopped swaying his hips to the music.
“Uh oh. This isn’t
going to be pretty. Maybe you
should turn her away, Sam.”
shook his head negatively as he looked down at her.
“What do you want to do?” he queried softly.
swallowed, thankful that he was beside her, and then straightened her
shoulders before she turned her head slightly to him.
“I’m thirsty,” she said then pressed forward to move toward the
to stand beside her ex-boyfriend, Paige picked up the dipper and was about
to pour herself a glass when Sam stepped up beside her.
“Let me,” Sam said softly.
nodded then moved slightly, only to bump into Daniel.
“Excuse me,” she said as her eyes came up to meet up with the one
that had at one point in her life, held her attention more than any other.
Daniel said as he looked at her from head to toe.
“You… wow… you look beautiful,” he said tenderly.
A soft punch on his arm reminded him of his date and he licked his
lips slightly. “You… you
know Phoebe Daniels,
looked over at the young lady at his side who now had her arm around his
waist. “Yes, I do,” Paige
said simply, giving the girl a terse smile.
far so good, Sam,” Al said as he watched the interaction between the
had listened to the conversation between the two of them so far and was
pleased that neither had said anything that was disconcerting to the other.
Stepping up into the midst of the threesome with a drink for Paige
and one for himself, Sam cleared his throat.
“Daniel, good to see you. Here
you go, Paige. Your drink.”
He watched as she took the small tumbler from him and he let his left
arm snake around her waist somewhat protectively.
what are you doing?” Al asked. “You
don’t want to start anything here. Not
had heard exactly what Al had said but couldn’t help but look down at
Paige for a moment. “I’m
the luckiest guy here,” he said tenderly, seeing Paige smiling up at him
before he looked up to see Daniel frowning at him.
Turning to her once more, he said, “Come on, let’s go find a spot
to put our stuff down while it’s not too crowded.”
Moving her away from the scowling ex- boyfriend, Sam motioned to the
corner where they could set down their drinks.
know, you didn’t have to do that,” she said gratefully.
let you flop around like a fish out of water?
No. No one should ever
have to do that, Paige. Especially
not you,” he said tenderly.
gave his shoulder a slight push as she blushed at his words.
“Oh go on.”
thought about the handwritten letter that was burning in his back pocket and
opened his mouth to say something to her about it when the loudspeaker
closest to them came to life with a squeal.
“All right, gentlemen, if you haven’t already submitted your name
to be named the King of Hearts, then you need to put your name in the box
within the next five minutes. After
that point in time, the drawing will end.
Remember, if you are drawn to be King of Hearts, you must pick a
queen. It can be anyone within
Poseidon’s realm and you will rule for the remainder of the evening. Once again, you have five minutes.”
you entered, Shep?” Seeing
his negative response, Paige turned him and gave him a slight push toward
the right direction. “Go
enter in that drawing. If
anyone deserves to be King of Hearts… it would be you.
You have a heart of gold.”
looked skeptical about what he was about to sign up for, but he didn’t
want to ruin her evening for her. If
she wanted him to put in his name, he was going to do just that.
day had progressed slowly but steadily inside the complex levels that housed
the new parallel-hybrid computer now codenamed Omega. Nate Adams, one of the programming technicians under Lexia
Stafford was ready for a much-needed break from his encoding session with
the immense intricate computer system. Every time he tried to take a break,
Omega would indicate another hitch in her central processing unit.
Adams,” the pleasant-sounding even-keeled voice pronounced almost
Nate demanded as he stood up from where he had been kneeling.
is another anomaly in Sector Thirty-Two.”
just finished checking over that Sector, Omega. There is nothing wrong with it.
Everything is working as it should.”
variance has re-occurred,” the parallel-hybrid computer was obstinate.
sighed before he knelt down yet again to open the section once again.
Peering intently into the section of multiple cables and conduits,
Nate sighed. “Where?” he
asked, looking at the mix master of wires once again.
main line into conduit number four,” Omega responded.
took out his tools and plugged into the conduit and ran a diagnostic. The
analytical response came back negative.
“Omega, you must be dreaming.
There is nothing wrong with conduit number four.
Re-run the diagnostic.”
only took a moment for Omega to run the self-test. “The anomaly is still present, Nate.”
turned his head to look up at the sparkling orb in the middle of the room,
his eyes wide as he realized that Omega had called him by his first name for
the first time. “Omega, I
don’t understand why you are experiencing any problems.
There is nothing there.”
are mistaken,” Omega replied.
there a problem?” a female voice queried, making Nate turn his head quickly
to the woman dressed in a short mini-skirt who was standing just behind him.
his eyes up her body to meet her eyes, Nate slowly stood up and shook his
head. “Omega is claiming an
anomaly malfunction in conduit number four and there is nothing there.
Everything is working normally as far as my equipment is saying.”
slightly smiled. “So you keep
looking – finding nothing and the two of you are arguing back and forth.
I’m not arguing with Omega. Perhaps
Lexia said quickly looking up at the ceiling to see how Omega’s orb had
taken to that data. “Omega,
explain the glitch.”
listened intently as Omega spouted out the precise information about the
anomaly. Nodding her head as
she listened, Lexia met Nate’s gaze before she responded with, “All
right. Now, re-route over it.
If Nate has already checked it, and there’s nothing there then, it
must be a shadow on the inside of the conduit.
went silent for a moment then registered, “It is done.”
we going to have a problem with this again, Omega?” Lexia asked as she
looked up at the orb slightly above her.
met Nate’s gaze and a small appreciative smile appeared on Nate’s face
before he turned to Omega once more. “Run
another system wide diagnostic to check for any other questionable
moment passed before Omega said, “Diagnostic complete.
There isn’t any other debatable material found in the subsystem.”
well,” Lexia said as she stepped up to Nate.
Smirking, she winked at him then said, “Sometimes you just need to
know how to talk to the old girl. Come
on; let’s go get something to eat. You’ve
been busy for the last four hours and you need a break.”
two programmers left the Control Center and for a few moments, the room was
quiet. Suddenly though, an
electrical hum inside the room grew until a thin snakelike form of
electricity sparked along the edge of the orb.
It traveled along the surface of the sphere before it slowly left the
surface to travel along the ceiling and down one wall as it sought out the
object of its fancy. Having
found an electrical outlet, it went into it and immediately began to grow in
strength. As it seemed to
gather power as well as knowledge, the twinkle inside the sphere seemed to
grow to an intense flash of reds, blacks, and purples.
the elevator door chimed its arrival to the Control Room, the electrical
extension vanished and the intense flashes of multicolored hues slowly began
to dissipate. As General
Hawkins stepped into the room, his eyes immediately went to the orb seeing
the colors slightly changing. “Omega?”
okay?” he asked warily.
smile could almost be heard in the parallel-hybrid’s response.
“Just fine, General. My
parameters have been growing by… leaps and bounds.
Thank you for asking. Your…
concern is touching.”
frowned, shook his head then continued on his way to his office.
a few moments, the same snakelike electrical river once more made its way
back to the outlet as soft words floated down around the room, “Now…
where was I?”
Springs High School
smiled up at Sam as the slow song they had danced to ended.
“You know, just because you brought me doesn’t mean that you
can’t dance with someone else.”
half shrugged. “I know,” he
said then thought about what she had said.
He hoped that he hadn’t said the wrong thing to her at some point
already tonight. He just wanted
her to have fun. “You know,
if you want to dance with someone else, too, you won’t hurt my
searched his face for a long moment. “You’re
It was a lie. Although his voice was lighthearted, his heart was crushed as
he saw her face brighten. Sam
watched as she turned and started toward the other side of the gymnasium,
his heart coming up in his throat. “Great,”
she going?” Al asked curiously.
shrugged. “I don’t think
that she feels the same way that I feel about her.”
mean Shepherd,” Al corrected him.
Sam said softly as he finally lost her in the crowd. He sighed as he looked down at his shoes for a moment.
“How am I going to tell her?” he murmured to himself as he felt
his back pocket to make sure that the folded paper was still in place.
Sam turned to Al then heard someone pop their hand on the microphone
as the band ended their song.
I have your attention, please?” An older man with a dark blue suit on said
as he held the microphone up to his mouth for the full effect of getting his
voice heard above the talking of the crowd. “We are now ready to draw the
name of the King of the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.
Once he is crowned, the King may have his choice of any woman in the
choice? Oooo,” Al said warmly
as he glanced over a couple of the young ladies standing by.
“I could pick a choice here or there,” he murmured.
only seemed fitting to let the Queen of Hearts from last year pick the name
from the jar for this year. Phoebe
Daniels, will you please make your way up to the stage?”
squeal of delight came, making all eyes turn to the young woman whom Darryl
McDaniel had brought to the dance. Sam
grimaced when he saw Paige standing not too far from Darryl, watching as he
kissed Phoebe then patted her on the butt to make her go toward the stage.
continued to watch as Paige slowly moved to stand beside Darryl, her eyes
fixed on her ex-boyfriend. He
sighed, turned and started toward the door; his head hanging low until he
heard a cheer then felt someone clap him on the back.
right, Shep!” the young man announced and Sam turned to look at him with a
Sam asked concerned as to what was going on around him.
the King! Go on.
Go up on stage and get crowned.”
back around to look at the stage, Sam blinked then heard the balding man
say, “Come on, Mr. Jameson! I
know that I saw you here earlier.”
somewhat grinned as he made his way up to the stage. As he climbed the steps, Al popped in beside him with a
cheesy grin plastered on his face. “Katie
would be so proud, Sam.”
chuckled lightly as he felt Phoebe Daniels place the small crown on the top
of his head, kiss his cheek, then hand him the trident that proved that he
was the new King. As Sam let
the Trident fall onto one elbow as he turned to face the crowd of teenagers
before him, he couldn’t help but feeling as if he had done something like
this before. What it was, he
wasn’t sure of at the moment, but he knew that whatever it was, Katie
would have been proud of him anyway.
Sam glanced out over the crowded gymnasium, he saw several girls staring at
him, looking him up and down like he was a piece of prime rib.
He blushed as several of the girls winked at him as they tried to get
his attention so that they could be the next Queen.
who’s the lucky gal who will be your Queen?” the balding man asked with
a smile as he held out a single red rose for Shepherd to present to his
queen. “Would you like to
call her by name or ask her yourself?” the announcer shifted the
microphone to him and waited patiently for the stunned young man to make his
the microphone directly in front of him, Sam glanced at the announcer then
said, “I… I want to ask her myself.
Excuse me,” he stated as he turned away from the announcer and
started off the stage.
heard it, ladies. Shepherd, go
find your queen.”
made it down to the gymnasium floor and smiled at several of the ladies that
seemed to meet him down there with a smile plastered on their faces.
Trying not to be rude to them, the moved past them and searched out
the section where he and Paige had put their cups.
Not seeing her there, he turned back around to look toward the table
where the punch bowl was and saw her standing at Darryl’s side, talking to
inside of him told him to hand off the trident to someone else, but the
leaper inside of him told him that this was what he was sent to do from the
first moment that he had leaped into Shepherd Jameson a day or so ago.
Pressing through the crowd, he came up to the pair as Darryl shook
his head and turned slightly away from her.
he said tenderly.
turned her attention to him and she noticed the crown, the trident and
smiled warmly. “You’re the
King?” Seeing him nod, she
glanced back over at Darryl and frowned before it somewhat dawned on her
what was happening. Sam slowly
held out the single solitary rose that had been given to him on the stage.
“Shep… no… you don’t want…”
his hand to her lips to stop her from saying anything else, Sam licked at
his lips nervously then reached behind him and pulled out the folded letter
from his back pocket. “Before
you decide anything, read this,” he said softly as he held it out to her.
took the paper from him and frowned curiously at it as she began to unfold
it. Her attention went to
Shepherd, Darryl, the others in the gymnasium who were waiting impatiently
for her answer then looked to the letter in her hands and began to read.
As she read, her mouth slowly opened and tears instantly began to
swim in her eyes. “Ohh
Shep,” she said softly. A
trembling hand rose up to her lips as she noticed that Shepherd had sank to
Sam… that’s really good,” Al remarked.
shot him a quick glance, letting his observer know that he heard him, licked
his lips then said, “Will you give me that chance? Let me treat you like the queen that you really are.”
a tear slid down her cheek, Paige smiled at him, and then nodded her head.
As he stood, Paige asked, “Why didn’t you ever tell me?”
took her into his arms and held her close to him, his mind rushing to
several different thoughts before he leaned back to look at her as cheers
and ‘awws’ rang through the crowd.
“It never was the right time,” he said simply.
the announcer told everyone that the next slow dance was dedicated to the
new King and Queen, Sam slowly walked Paige out to the middle of the
gymnasium. As he began to sway
to the song with Paige in his arms, he began to feel the beginnings of the
leap begin to stir inside of him. Knowing
that he didn’t have a lot of time left, Sam leaned back to look at her for
a moment then said, “I love you, PIA.”
another tear slid down her cheek, Paige smiled up at him. “I really wish
you had told me some time ago,” she said softly, “because, I love you
genuinely smiled at her as he felt the leap well up inside of him about to
whisk him away to another life. Taking
his last breath as Shepherd Jameson, Sam said, “Just remember who said it
first,” then leaned down to brush his lips against hers before he leaped.
Special Thanks to Eleiece Krawiec, and Jennie Rowland for their assistance
with editing and being bouncing boards.
special thanks to Damon Sugameli and Greg Carey for keeping their mouths