Part Four

"Jack," she whispered, far too quietly for him to hear. He didn't even acknowledge her. Becoming bolder, she tried again, desperately hoping that her voice didn't sound as pathetic to him, as it sounded to her. "Jack," she was practically begging him. "Please…" she didn't know how to finish that sentence; please, don't take me home; please, don't shut me out; please, I need you to understand; she wasn't quite sure what she had wanted to say.

She heard him sigh and turned to focus on his face. He looked tired. "Tell me why I shouldn't just take you home?" He was asking her in a tone that suggested he wanted a very, very good reason.

"I… I-I don't want to lose you." She stammered, scared witless at how vulnerable she was making herself. "I need you, as a friend," she took a deep breath, trying to clam herself before continuing. "And I need you as more than just a friend."

It was out. And surprisingly, instead of feeling exposed and unprotected, she felt oddly relieved. While not quite a declaration of love, it was enough to let him know she still had feelings for him. As cathartic as it was to admit it, she still needed to retain some defense against any hurt he could inflict on her.

Jack opened his mouth to say something, then shut it again and pulled over to the side of the road. "You realise that if we continue this conversation, there's no going back. If you're serious about this, I mean really serious, then I'll turn around and take you to the cabin. Just say the words. But, Sam, only if you really want this. You know what's at stake as well as I do. As much as I don't like the idea of lying to our friends and to General Hammond, we can't tell anyone."

Letting the information sink in, she debated the options.

One, she could tell him to take her home and they would become no more than work colleagues.

Two, she could tell him she needed more time to think it over, but she doubted he would be happy with that response.

And thirdly, well, thirdly, she decided was the only option she would be happy with. "Take me fishing, Jack."