"It's been a whole year and I'm still not rid of that foul man's mess!" Vala fumed, throwing the day's mail down on the sofa table. The assorted envelopes, postcards, and magazines slid across the polished cherry surface until coming to a stop at the base of the antique silver vanity tray Daniel used to hold his keys, change, lip balm, and other random bits that emerged from his pockets when he came home. Ordinarily, Vala was thrilled to search the tray for "treasure"—loose change went into the ceramic "Boob Job Fund" jar Sam had given her for as a joke—but today, she had more pressing issues on her mind.
"What happened this time?" Daniel asked, kicking off his shoes before carrying the groceries into the kitchen.
"Three, Daniel, three new order forms for Jacek's 'gen-u-wine' stardust! That makes over four hundred requests since we kicked his worthless hide off the planet! If I knew where to find that man, I swear to you, I would hunt him down and—"
"We'll give 'em to Debbie at the base, just like we always do," Daniel answered, placing his hands on her shoulders and looking her in the eye. "And, just like always, she'll void the checks and send them back with a lovely little note on a Federal Trade Commission letterhead explaining that Jacek was shut down for fraud. Piece of cake."
Vala shrugged out of Daniel's loose hold and flopped gracelessly on the couch. "A 'piece of cake' would finally be seeing the end of my father's ridiculous scams. You know, I should've just had all his mail forwarded to the base when Landry first offered, but no... I just had to go and have them reroute everything to me just in case there was something personal I needed to save for him."
"Well, there was that letter from Iris Kearney..." Daniel grinned, nudging Vala's left leg over so that he could sit next to her.
"Oh, ick. Leave it to my worthless father to be wooing wealthy widows to win his way into their wills. I burned that horrid picture and I still can't get it out of my mind... thank you so much for reminding me of it. I shudder to think I might look like that when I'm ninety."
Daniel grinned. "Nah, you have better taste in lingerie. Speaking of which... there's a present for you in the bedroom. Wanna go try it on so I can take it back off?"
Letting out a girlish squeal of delight, Vala bolted from the couch and into the couples' bedroom. Minutes later, she emerged wearing the slinky, silky camisole set Daniel had brought home for her. It was pewter gray and shot through with silver threads so that the abbreviated top and boy shorts shimmered and sparkled as she moved.
"This—" Daniel began, crossing the living room and sweeping his beautiful wife off her feet "—is made from 'genuine' stardust."
Vala's laughter was cut off by the closing of the bedroom door.