16 – Slow Elevators

Carolyn waited impatiently for the elevator to arrive. The SGC could send teams on missions to other planets in the galaxy, yet the best transportation to the surface was a slow elevator ride. Actually it was two slow elevators. One that serviced the surface down to the 11th floor and then this second one for the rest of the floors down to the Stargate on the 28th floor. When she was just about ready to press the lit 'up' button again, the elevator dinged and the doors opened.

"Hold the elevator," she heard called after her as the doors were closing. Carolyn reached over and pressed the 'open door' button while she took a deep breath and reminded herself to be patient.

"Hi Dad."

"Leaving?" General Landry asked as he stepped onto the elevator.

"Yep," Dr. Lam acknowledged while giving her father a small smile.

"How about having dinner with me before you leave?"

"I can't right now." She saw his immediate disappointment and knew she couldn't leave it at that. "Are you free tomorrow night?"

"Yes," Landry replied, his face revealing a bit of relief and hope again.

Carolyn smiled, "How about my house around 6pm. I'll cook us dinner."

"I'll be there." The General gave her a nod, "Thanks Carolyn."

She gave him a small smile and nod before releasing the doors and pressing the button for the 11th floor. The doors slid closed and her mind drifted back to the night before when her father had lain in a bed in the isolation room with others. His body fighting a losing battle with the Prior Plague.

The General attempted a smile. "You look tired, Carolyn. You should get some sleep."

Dr. Lam looked down from the viewing area at her father's ashen face. "I can't. Not yet."

"I can make that an order," her father attempted.

"The last time you ordered me to bed, I think I was six."

Landry tried to laugh, but his body just couldn't quite muster it. "You were just as stubborn back then."

"I spoke to Mom recently."

"How is she?"

Carolyn couldn't handle the conversation any longer. Her past with her father was still a source of hurt for her. "Worried. All those years growing up, I resented the fact that you never told us anything about your work, about why you had to leave us for days, sometimes weeks at a time."

She had to pause and take a breath to hold the tears at bay and quiet her harsh voice that had risen as she'd talked. "But, now, I'm beginning to understand how hard it must have been for you. Talking to Mom the other day, I wanted to reassure her, to tell her everything, but I couldn't. It was hard."

Her father's shift to face her in the elevator pulled her out of the past.

"Are you heading out for the night?" Carolyn quickly asked, hoping to control the conversation and keep it light.

"No, just needed to drop off some requisitions on the admin level," he replied, lifting the papers he had in hand.

The elevator doors opened and the pair made their way through security and to the other elevator, neither seeming to have much to say.

"What're your plans," he asked, once the elevator doors closed.

"I have a date."

"With Colonel Mitchell?"

Carolyn studied her father's face, but saw no censorship in his expression, only curiosity. "Yes. I'm going to be at least a half hour late though," she said with a frustrated shake of her head.

"I'm sure he'll understand."

Dr. Lam sighed, "Yeah, well, it's the third time we've tried to have this first date." The statement was really just a thrown away thought said as the doors opened. She just hated that of the three missed dates, two were because something came up with her work.

As they stepped out of the elevator her father took her arm and gently guided her to the side of the hallway. "I haven't said this enough, but I'm sorry you were hurt by my frequent absences."

The doctor nodded her head reluctantly. It was hard to let go of the hurt, but she did know his regret was real. Before she could say anything her father continued.

"Although I may not have deserved it, your mother was always understanding about work and my absences."

"It always frustrated me how much she defended you when I was an angry teenager," Carolyn admitted, "and adult," she finished, but softened her words with a warm smile for him.

"Don't let my mistakes influence your actions, kiddo," he gently instructed. "Despite my mistakes you turned out to be an incredible woman. Mitchell or anyone else you might date would be lucky to have the opportunity to reschedule a date with you." He gave her a wink as he turned to go.

"Thanks, Dad."

Cameron reached into his pocket and retrieved his cell phone, smiling when he noted the incoming text was from Carolyn.

I'll be late again.

Cam could almost hear the frustrated sigh she would've huffed as she pressed send. Don't worry, Darlin.

I hate that this keeps happening.

Cam looked across the parking lot to see if Carolyn was in sight yet. For her to have cell service meant she had to have cleared the mountain and all the cement of the base. I'm hungry though, so hurry up.

Cameron almost felt bad when he saw her shoulders drop in defeat and her head lift up from the screen she was reading. Her look of surprise at seeing him leaning against her car was so worth it though.

"I thought we were meeting at your condo?" Carolyn asked with a confused quint up at him. He looked so good propped against her car. She could feel the stress of a hard day in the infirmary and a ruined date slipping away.

"SG-12 came in with injuries just as I was leaving…figured you'd probably be held up," he shrugged his shoulders. "This is closer to the restaurant."

"We'll never make our reservation," she lamented while handing over her car keys. "Ruined another date."

Cam gently took each of her shoulders in hand and squared her in front of him so he was sure she was paying attention. "First of all, none of our previous dates were 'ruined'. I don't need waiters or table cloths…"

"Or menus and wine," she grumpily added.

Cam couldn't help but smirk at her. "Repeatedly eating take-out at my house was just a change of venue."

She didn't look totally convince, so he tried a different tact. "All I need is you, for it to be a date. The rest is just packaging."

Carolyn couldn't help but smile. His earnestness was hard to resist. "Yes, but once in a while the waiters and wine would be nice." She raised herself up on tiptoe and kissed his lips briefly before opening the passenger door. "So, pizza or Chinese?" she asked before ducking into the car.

Cam shut her door before he ran around and slid into the driver's seat. "Well, the good thing is, I moved our reservation back by an hour when I was home changing."

"Seriously?" she asked, unable to keep the anticipation from her voice.

"I was looking forward to the waiters and wine too," he delivered with a wink.

She'd convinced herself for so long that she wanted nothing to do with the military, but it'd drawn her nonetheless. Now she was working on a military base, dating a Lt. Colonel, and cautiously reconciling with her father. Carolyn grinned to herself as she put on her seat belt and Cameron started the car and drove off base.

Carolyn looked at Cam, "Thank you."

Cameron glanced at her quizzically, before turning his gaze back to the road.

"For not giving up on me."

He gave her knee a slight squeeze, "Wasn't even a possibility, darlin'."

AN: Thank you all for reading my story.