Love in Bloom

Author:  Orrymain
Category:  Slash, Drama, Romance, Established Relationship
Pairing:  Jack/Daniel ... and it's all J/D
Rating:  PG-13
Season:  Beyond the Series - Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Spoilers:  None
Size:  19kb, ficlet
Written:  August 7,10,13,18, 2006  Revised for consistency:  October 2, 2007
Summary:  Having returned from a vacation with his parents and sister, Jeff has a heart-to heart with Chely.
Disclaimer:  Usual disclaimers -- not mine, wish they were, especially Daniel, and Jack, too, but they aren't.  A gal can dream though!
Notes:  
1) Silent, unspoken thoughts by various characters are indicated with ~ in front and behind them, such as ~Where am I?~
2) This fic stands alone, but it does reference my past fic(s), “Red Alert 2: The Jackson-O'Neills Strike Again” and “Bahamas Bound”
3) Thanks to my betas who always make my fics better:  Linda, Claudia, QuinGem!

Love in Bloom
by Orrymain

“Jenny, stop giggling,” Jennifer groused as the Jackson-O'Neill family finished breakfast.  Suddenly, another outburst from the opposite direction drew the teen's attention.  “Ash!”

“I've never seen anyone with purple and orange hair, Jen,” Jonny stated.  “Are you on a mission?”

Jennifer rolled her eyes; then let out a grunt as she stood up and stated, “I'm going to clean up.”

Jack and Daniel chuckled.  In a fit of rebellion during their trip to the Bahamas, their oldest daughter had dyed her hair purple and orange using Kool-aid.  Everyone knew it would fade within a week or two, but, in the meantime, Jennifer was having to deal with the laughter of her siblings, all of whom thought her unique hair color was the most amusing thing they'd seen ever.

“Ah, Dad, Daddy, if it's okay, I'd like to go see Chely,” Jeff interjected amid the giggles.

“Sure, Son.  Be back by one, though,” Jack responded, wanting to make sure the teen was home in time to help Jennifer watch the younger children while he and Daniel attended to some business.

“Okay, thanks,” Jeff spoke appreciatively as he stood up.  He picked up his plate to take it to the sink, but then he paused.  Rubbing the top of Jonny's sandy-blond hair with his free hand, he urged, “Don't give Jen a hard time about her hair.  She was proving a point, and it was a good one.  Right, Dad?” the boy asked, smiling at Jack.

“I don't know that I'd go that far,” Jack replied contemplatively.

“Jack!” Daniel chastised.

“Daaaad!” Jennifer whined at the exact same time, turning at the doorway.

“I'm out of here,” Jeff said cheerfully, not wanting to be caught up in a replay of their Bahamas excursion.

Jennifer's act of rebellion had been a bit childish, but, at the same time, she'd been trying to point out the unfairness of how she was judged versus how Jeff was judged in terms of clothing and outward appearance.  The ironic part was that her parents had already realized the teenage girl was right; her dye job had been totally unnecessary.

====

Feeling good about life at the moment, Jeff left the house and headed for the home of Chely Tillison.  He'd met the girl last fall at the beginning of the school term.  She was new, and he'd liked her from the start.  They'd become very good friends, spending plenty of time together.  In fact, most of their schoolmates considered them a couple.  There was just one problem with that.  Jeff had never truly told the girl how he felt about her.  They'd dated casually, held hands, went to school events together, and spent much of their free time with each other, but he'd never kissed her.

This last fact was something that was bugging Chely a great deal.  She liked Jeff a lot and was sure that once they'd introduced themselves at the bookstore last September that things would move quickly.  While they had, it hadn't been in the direction she'd hoped for.  She couldn't understand it.  She knew Jeff liked her in that way, but, for some reason, she couldn't get him to actually talk to her and treat her like a girlfriend.  Oftentimes, she felt more like a pal or buddy.

Out of desperation, by the end of the school year, Chely had begun telling Jeff about some of their classmates who were interested in her.  Not getting much of a response other than a “Why would you want to date them?” from Jeff, she told him she'd probably start dating over the summer.  The truth was that the pretty long-haired blonde just wanted to get her 'assumed' boyfriend's attention.  She'd even threatened to go to a concert with Ben, one of Jeff's drama class buddies, while he was in the Bahamas.

~Don't mess this up, Jeff,~ the sixteen-year-old told himself as he parked his 2005 Ford truck along the curb of Chely's house.  He'd been given the brown vehicle for his birthday and loved it, even though it needed some work done to get it into shape.  ~I can't wait to see you, Chel.~

Jeff hopped out of his truck, taking the package he'd brought with him.  He sprinted up the driveway, eagerly knocking on the front door once he reached it. A minute later, he smiled, seeing the object of his affections open the door.

“Jeff, I'm so glad you're back!” Chely exclaimed, her smile as big as Jeff hoped it would be.

The teenage boy grinned as he looked into the brown eyes of the pretty girl before him and said, “Yeah, me, too.”

Chely swung the door open wider, inviting the boy in.  They hugged and made their way into the family room.

“Dad's already gone to work, and Mom is playing chauffeur for Bianca and her friends,” Chely spoke about her ten-year-old sister.

“I brought you something,” Jeff said, extending out his hand with the bag in it.

Chely's expression gave away her pleasure at having been remembered.  She took the bag and opened it, pulling out a white tank top.  Across the front was one vine-like row of blue embroidered flowers with every other flower sitting slightly above or below the ones around it so that it wasn't just a straight line .  The navy blue embroidery was the outline of the flowers, and underneath the uneven lineup was a solid line with the words, 'Go Bahamas' written in italics.

The girl held out the item, examining it.  She smiled as she looked at the tag inside the shirt.

“It's the right size!” Chely pronounced happily.  “I wasn't sure you knew it.”

“Of course, I know your size, Chel,” Jeff spoke.

“I wasn't sure,” the girl responded shyly.

“Wait until you see what it does,” Jeff stated.

“Does?  It does something?” Chely inquired with surprise.

“Yeah, come here.”  Jeff led the other teen back outside and requested, “Just hold it up so that the sun hits it.”

“Ooooookay,” Chely replied, wondering what on Earth Jeff was thinking a piece of clothing would do.  “Oh, wowie!” she expressed when she saw the row of flowers turn into bright shades of yellow and orange, along with a few solid blue ones.

“Cool, huh?  It has something to do with the UV rays of the sun.  I should ask Aunt Sam about it,” Jeff stated, shrugging at not really understanding what made the shirt react the way it did.

“Totally!”  Chely smiled brightly at Jeff, then hugged him again.  “Let's go back in the house.”

====

“Sorry about that,” Chely apologized, having returned to the family room.  She'd gotten a phone call from her mother, asking her to start the laundry since the chauffeuring duty was taking longer than expected.  “This is Mom's 'chore day', and she hates it if she gets off schedule.”  Sitting down on the sofa facing Jeff, she added, “She gets all verklempt if things don't go just right.”

Jeff chuckled, but didn't respond.

“Jeff?”

The teenager stood up and walked towards the window.  Then he turned and retraced his path, smiling as Chely stood up to face him.

“Chely, I, um ... well, I need to ... no, I don't need to, but I want to.  No, that's not true.  I mean, it's true.  I do want to, and I need to, but ...”

“Jeff, what is it?” Chely interjected, hoping to ease her friend's nervousness.

“Did you go to the concert?”

Chely looked down, shaking her head.

“You didn't?” Jeff inquired, hoping her reaction meant what he'd hoped it meant.

“No, I didn't really want to,” Chely admitted, a tiny crook at the end of her mouth, though she was trying not to smile too overtly.

“Oh, uh, well, I think ... I'm ... glad you didn't,” Jeff confided.

“You are?” Chely asked, walking a couple of steps closer to the boy.

“Um, yeah, I am.  When I was in the Bahamas, I thought about you a lot.  Chely, I want to tell you that I ... I mean, us.  We're ... I ...”

Chely shook her head, letting out a chuckle as she put her arms around the boy.

Jeff smiled, enjoying the pose and the sensations he was feeling from having the girl so close to him.

“Just say it, Jeff.  Please say it,” Chely requested.

“I like you, Chel.  I like you a lot,” the boy replied.

“I like you, too.  I liked you the first time I saw you, and I liked you that day at the bookstore.  You said you liked me then, too, remember?” Chely probed.

“I know, but as Dad says, I dropped the ball,” Jeff sighed.  “I didn't mean to, Chely.  I don't know why I haven't ... why we ...”

“Oh, Jeff ...” Chely began, a slight admonition in her tone.

Slowly, the two teenage faces inched closer together until their lips touched briefly.  They paused, Chely erupting into a grin.  Then they kissed again, more forcefully, yet with tenderness.

“I like you, Chely, like this.  I mean ... oh, for crying out loud,” Jeff whined, backing away.

“Jeff, why is it so hard for you to say what you feel?  You're not really that shy,” Chely observed gently.

“I don't know,” Jeff answered.  He gave a small smile, shrugging.  Finally, he said, “My mom died when I was five.  Dad devoted himself to the military and to me.  He, um, didn't really go out much, if he did at all.  I mean, there were a few women around sometimes, but ... they were usually Dad's colleagues and were more like friends, watching football or talking politics.  Now, with my parents ...”

Jeff trailed off, not really certain of what he was trying to say or why.

“Jeff, you know my parents are okay with your parents.  They like them.  It's not their choice for a lifestyle, and they kinda wished I didn't like you so much, but they are okay with it.  They know General Jackson-O'Neill and Doctor Jackson-O'Neill are very respectable people.  They ...”  The girl blinked, suddenly realizing she was way off the mark.  “*Ooooooh*,” she expressed with new awareness.  She moved closer to Jeff again and stated, “With your dad, the example you saw was him being friends with those women, and with your parents now, they're, uh, two men.”

Jeff cocked his head slightly, explaining, “I was an Air Force brat, Chel.  We transferred around a lot.  My aunt was divorced, and ... I don't know.  I guess I'm just a little nervous about doing the wrong thing.”

“Don't ... guys talk about that stuff?”

Jeff sighed, saying, “Yeah, all the time, but it's mostly just talk.  My friends are more ... more ...”

“Respectful?” Chely completed for the boy.

“I sound like a fifties retrofit or something,” Jeff sighed, walking by Chely to stare at a painting on the opposite wall.

Chely began to giggle, drawing the boy's attention.  She walked over to a cabinet and bade Jeff to join her by nodding her head and waving her hand.  Once he was there, she kneeled down and opened the cabinet.

“This is a highly classified secret.  Only my parents know about this,” Chely spoke in a hushed tone.

“What is it?” Jeff asked seriously.

“My collection,” Chely answered.  “Look,” she chuckled.

Jeff pulled out the first set of DVDs he saw and, looking quizzically at the girl, asked, “'Beach Blanket Bingo'?  'Palm Springs Weekend'?  'Gidget Goes Hawaiian'?”

“It gets worse,” Chely laughed, pulling out 'Tammy and the Bachelor'.  “I have the entire series of teen movies.  If it starred Annette and Frankie, Troy, Jimmy, or Tab, I have it.”  She quickly added, “And, of course, all of the 'Tammy' and 'Gidget' series.  Those are a must have.”

“Chely, you're ...”

“I know.  I'm a closet conservative,” Chely laughed.  “Jeff, to be honest, I hate that loud punk stuff some of our friends listen to.”

“That's why you didn't go to the concert,” Jeff surmised.

“No, Gaffy,” Chely said, lightly slapping Jeff on the arm as she used one of her nicknames for the boy.  “I didn't go because it would mean going out with Ben, and I don't want to go out with Ben.  I want to go out with you.”  She smiled, adding, “And, uh, I think you'd take me someplace different.”

“Yeah, I would.  I will.  We are ... I mean, we're going out, Chely.  That is, I hope we are,” Jeff spoke hopefully, rolling his eyes at his rambling speech.

The two put the DVDs back and closed up the cabinet, after which they stood up again.

“Jeff, I'm not one of those fifties moms.  You know I want to go to Stanford, and I have plans for my future, but, at the same time, I don't want a body full of tattoos or to bust my eardrums.  I don't want to have my boobs hanging out all over the place, or have green hair,” the teenage girl spoke.  When Jeff laughed, she asked, “What's so funny?”

“Green hair.  Jen's hair is purple and orange right now,” Jeff stated informatively.

“You're kidding?  Why?” Chely questioned, not being able to imagine Jeff's sister voluntarily dying her hair.

“Long story.  I'll tell you about it later.  Go on with what you were saying,” the boy requested.

“Well, I also respect my parents.  They aren't perfect, but they try.  Oh, I didn't tell you,” Chely practically gasped.

“What?”

“When I told them about your trip to the Bahamas and the reason for it, they got really quiet.  The next day they came in my room and asked me if I'd like to go on a little retreat with them, to the mountains, just us, leaving the little brats with Aunt Trudy.  Isn't that awesome?” Chely asked with a grin.

“Very,” Jeff agreed.  “That reminds me, Chely.  Does your family have any plans for the Fourth of July?” he asked about the Independence Day holiday happening the next month.

“Just the usual fireworks.  Why?”

“Next month, the whole family is going camping, and Dad and Daddy said you could come.  We were going to go for the Fourth, but they said if it interferes with your family's plans, that we could just go for the weekend or something,” Jeff explained.  “I'd really like for you to come -- a lot.”

“I'd love it.  My parents may not want me to be gone over the holiday, but I'm sure they'd let me go for the weekend,” Chely answered with a bright smile.  “I'll ask Mom and Dad about it tonight, and they can get the details from your folks.”  Then she laughed, “See, Jeff.  Most of our friends wouldn't think we're real.”

“We're real, and there are more of us out there then you'd think.  We're lucky, Chel, because we have parents around who care about us,” Jeff spoke.  “Do you know Jahindi?”

“I've seen him; not really my ...”  Chely stopped herself.  “Is he a friend of yours?”

Jeff nodded, saying, “Everyone is afraid of him.  He looks different, acts tough.  His parents don't care squat about him.  Having the parents we do does make a difference.”

“The next time I see Jahindi, I'm going to say 'hi' to him,” Chely announced.

“Don't be thrown if he ignores you,” Jeff stated.

“I won't, and I'll just keep saying 'hi' until he says 'hi' back,” the girl decided, determined to one day get a response from the boy.

“So, how about ...”  Jeff paused, kneeling down and reopening the cabinet.  He studied the selection and pulled out a DVD.  “... this one?”

Chely grinned, taking the DVD and putting it into the player.  Then the two teens sat down together on the sofa, only this time, their bodies were close.  As the movie started, the two looked at each other, grinning.  Moments later, their eyes focused on the motion picture, Jeff put his arm around his girlfriend.

“Chel?” Jeff asked quietly.

“Yes, Jeff?”

“As corny as this sounds, will you go steady with me?” Jeff inquired, his heart beating at least three times faster than normal.

“Yes, Jeff, I will, and I don't think it's corny at all.  After all, we're watching 'Beach Party' together, aren't we?”

Jeff laughed, leaning his head against Chely's slightly.  It was something he'd seen Jack and Daniel do.  Suddenly, another realization dawned on him.  His adoptive parents *were* role models in the romantic department.  Expressions of love and affection transcended gender.  The fact that the actions of love he witnessed at home were between two men didn't make a difference.  Now, he realized that those same actions worked just as well with a male and a female.

“You're my girlfriend, Chely, and I'm your boyfriend.  Okay?” Jeff asked, reaching across with his other hand to take the girl's hand in his.

“Anything you say, Jeff,” Chely responded, sighing happily and leaning her body into Jeff's a little more.

====

“How'd it go?” Daniel asked when Jeff walked in the door at 12:55 p.m.

“Chely's my girlfriend,” Jeff stated, his smile wide.

“That's good to know,” Daniel replied with a smile of his own.

Jeff headed for his room, wanting to take care of a couple of things before babysitting duty kicked in.  He stopped, though, and turned around.

“Daddy?”

“Yes?” Daniel asked, turning around to face the boy again.

“You and Dad are great role models.  I just want you to know that,” Jeff stated before heading for his room again.

“We are?” Daniel echoed to no one but the air.  “Of course, we are.  I hope we are.  What was that about?”

“Danny, who are you talking to?” Jack asked as he entered the living room from the kitchen.

“Jeff says we're good role models.”

“Good to know,” Jack replied.

“Uh, and Chely's his girlfriend now,” the archaeologist added.

“Good.  We have things to do,” Jack began, walking past Daniel.  Suddenly, he stopped and turned around.  Staring at his soulmate, he asked, “Role models for what?”

“I'm not sure,” Daniel answered.  “And, uh, I'm not so sure I want to know, either.”

Jack considered the discussion for a moment, then said, “Me, neither, Love.”

“I love you, Jack.”

“I love you, too, Angel.”

~~Finis - Finished - Done - The End - But is it ever Really?~~
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