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A cramp in his left side finally made Evan stop. He leaned against the wall of a pier in the south west part of the city.

 

/What I get for not warming up more./Evan berated himself as he breathed through the pain waiting for it to pass.

 

Evan stared out at the dark waves. Some days he wished he had invested in his cousin Michael’s seaplane site-seeing business in the Keys.

No lost friends.

No funerals.

No ugly aliens.

Just sand,surf and rich tourists.

 

Evan shook his head…../I’d be bored within a week./

 

As the pain lessened in his side a memory worked its way into Evan’s consciousness.  

It was when he and Jen’s friendship had really strengthened. One of the first times he’d gotten her to trust him.

 

He’d just returned from a mission. It was late and he’d been taking a short cut to his quarters.

 

/Evan had just rounded a corner when a noise stopped him. He stopped in the middle of the corridor and listened.

A muffled sob.

Followed by a choked hiccup.

Something fell to the ground and a familiar ‘Oh crap.’ reached Evan’s ears.

 

Worried Evan had crossed the corridor and passed through another small hallway and into another.

There he’d found Jennifer standing in a small alcove staring out the window.

 

‘Doc?’Evan asked with concern as he approached.

 

Startled Jennifer had turned to face him quickly wiping the tears away. ‘Evan, when did you get back?’

 

‘Just now.’Evan replied as he set his backpack down and closed the space between them. ‘You okay?’

 

Jennifer smiled weakly. ‘Yeah.’

 

‘Doc….’

 

Jennifer turned back to the window. ‘It’s silly, really. Nothing for you to worry about.’

 

Evan gently placed a hand under her chin forcing her to look at him. ‘Anything that makes you cry isn’t silly. Talk to me, Jen. What’s going on? Something back home?’

 

Jennifer shook her head.

 

Evan released his hand and stepped back letting her take her time.

 

‘I’m sure you have more to do than listen to my problems.’

 

‘Nope…..talk to me. You can trust me.’

 

Jennifer’s gaze flickered to him. ‘Trusting you isn’t the problem, Evan.’

 

‘What is?’

 

Jennifer sighed. ‘Had a fight with my boyfriend.’

 

Evan raised an eyebrow. ‘Didn’t realize you were seeing anyone.’

 

‘Nobody knows.’

 

‘Why?’

 

‘It’s complicated.’Jennifer replied quietly leaning back against the wall and folding her arms across her chest.

 

‘He married?’

 

‘No.’

 

‘Jen…..’

 

Jennifer met his gaze. ‘It’d ruin his career if our relationship came out.’

 

Evan blinked. ‘And yours.’

 

‘And mine.’Jennifer finished softly. ‘Don’t press me, Evan. I can’t tell you more than that.’

 

‘What was the fight about?’Evan asked having a sudden urge to find this guy and knock him out.

 

Jennifer sniffled. ‘I wanted things to be more serious than he did.’

 

Evan closed the space between them. ‘Sounds like he’s a jerk that doesn’t deserve you.’

 

‘He’s a good man.’

 

‘Not if he’s hurting you.’Evan countered.

 

Jennifer turned back to the window. ‘You should go get some rest, Evan. It’s late.’

 

Evan reached and gently took her right hand tugging her away from the window. ‘Come on, I know how to cheer you up.’

 

‘How?’

 

‘When was the last time you ate?’

 

‘Yesterday morning…..maybe.’

 

‘I’m starved….let’s go.’

 

‘It’s nearly two in the morning.’Jennifer protested as she followed along behind him.

 

‘Since when do we follow normal eating times?’

 

‘Point.’

 

*********

 

The mess was dark and deserted when they arrived. Evan led the way to the kitchen and flipped the lights on.

 

‘You do this often?’

 

Evan caught her brief smile as he headed to the large refrigerator. ‘You going to report me, Doc?’

 

‘I’m sure you’re not the only one.’Jennifer replied as she moved behind him to the fridge and opened the top freezer.

 

Evan looked up from the microwave where he’d been defrosting some ground meat. ‘Ice cream does not count as a meal.’

 

‘At two in the morning it does.’

 

‘I’m fixing you a burger. You want cheese?’

 

‘Evan….’

 

‘I’ll take that as a yes. Fries?’Evan replied as he placed two small amounts of meat on the grill.

 

Jennifer laughed as she sat on part of the empty counter by the sink. ‘Alright, alright. Yes on both. Where’d you learn your way around a kitchen?’

 

Evan grabbed a spatula as he turned to face her. ‘Being a short order cook paid my way through college.’

 

Fifteen minutes later they sat in the mess munching quietly on burgers and fries.

 

‘Really good, Evan. Thank you.’

 

‘Anytime.’

 

‘Jen?’Evan asked having figured out her secret and wondered if she’d trust him.

 

‘Yeah?’

 

‘How long have you and Sheppard been involved?’

 

‘Knew I said too much.’

 

‘Jen….’

 

‘Don’t tell him that you know.’

 

‘I want to knock him out for being an idiot.’

 

‘That won’t help anything.’

 

‘Jen….’

 

‘Three months on and off.’

 

‘If you need to talk you know where to find me.’

 

‘Thanks.’

 

Evan pushed himself away from the railing and slowly made his way back to his quarters.