Chapter II Sam found himself staring at a wall calendar. He was sitting at what appeared to be a small breakfast table, pushed up against the wall the calendar was hanging from. The table was apparently being used as a desk. Eagerly, Sam glanced at the month and year. *April 1973*. There were no indications as to the date. In several of the blocks, someone had written, in various combinations, WK, CL, VT, and a time. Sam was uncertain of their meaning, or if they even pertained to the person he leapt into. He looked down at the table in front of him. In his right hand, he held a pen poised over a blank notebook sheet; his left hand lay flat on an open textbook. Obviously, the person was about to do some homework. An engagement ring and wedding band caught his eye. Glancing down, he saw he was wearing a black skirt and a long sleeve white blouse. A woman. Again. *April Fool's.* Curious, he flipped the book over to see what she was studying. The cover revealed to Sam that the woman was studying the history of Western Civilization. A thought occurred to him, and he looked back up at the calendar. *CL must mean class, and WK could mean work.* Sam didn't hazard a guess at VT, other than `Vermont'. He stood up and took in his surroundings. It was the kitchen and it wasn't very big. The door was closed. Immediately, Sam paused to listen for other occupants. A husband or children, perhaps. It would explain why the door was closed. If she was about to do homework, it was possible the only quiet room in the home was the kitchen. The house was silent. Sam carefully pushed the door open, all the time listening for sounds that would indicate he was not alone. He was about to step out of the kitchen, when he looked up and got his first look at the rest of the house. He drew in his breath sharply. *April Fool's was right.* Sam strode through the familiar living room area, into the bedroom. He already knew who he'd see when he glanced in the mirror. Beth's brown eyes stared back at him in wonder. *I'm my best friend's wife!* Beth was still dressed in her uniform. Sam could never decipher the Navy's `bar code' insignia, so he was at a loss to her rank. On the reflected bed behind him was the uniform jacket. He picked it up, looking for her name plate. *Calavicci.* Not that he doubted for a moment it would say anything else. He carefully replaced the jacket and turned back to the woman in the mirror. Four years to the day, for Sam was convinced it was April 1st, since he first set eyes on her. He smiled at the reflection, admiring the results. He tilted his head to one side and smiled again. "Will you quit flirting with my wife?" Sam yelped in surprise. Whirling to face the other man, he gasped out, "Al?" "Who else?" he said drily, waving the handlink at him. "Don't sneak up on me like that!" "Sorry." "What happened to the Imaging Chamber Door?" "Nothing. I came in through the kitchen, Sam," he explained, tapping the handlink keys, "Had to take a peek at the calendar to get an idea of the year and month." "Let me guess. April Fool's Day?" "Uh, we're not too sure," he replied with a small frown. "But Beth normally crosses each day off, so I'd have to say yes." He looked Sam up and down, slightly amused. "You look silly in her uniform, by the way." "I should hope so." "Anyway, I did see on the calendar where she worked part of a shift. If it is the first, of course." Sam studied his partner. That term took on a different meaning on this leap. He took in Al's somewhat jovial manner. He was dressed in dark green slacks and a bright red shirt, with a tie that matched both. *Christmas* was the image the outfit brought to his mind. "You're taking this well." Al snorted. "You should have seen me a few minutes ago. When I saw who you'd leaped into, I panicked. Ziggy, however, assured me that the odds of you leaping into Beth while I was around were pretty low. I wasn't satisfied until I saw the calendar." "You went into the Waiting Room?" Sam asked, leading the way back out to the living room. "No, not yet. I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Beeks is in Phoenix, and as soon as I get a hold of her, I'll ask her what she thinks is the best thing to do." Sam was puzzled. "Then how did you know I was Beth?" "Oh, there's the Observation Room, Sam. All the monitors are set up there. You know, if Sammie Jo hadn't thought it necessary for me to observe the Visitor first, I would have barged right in. She's pretty shook up, Sam." They were back in the kitchen and Sam took the calendar off the wall before sitting. He flipped back to March and saw that every date was marked through. "It's definitely the first of April." He got down to business. "Ok. I know who, when, and where I am. The big question is why." "We're working on that." "Well, I'm assuming it has nothing to do with her personally, right?" He paused, something finally occurring to him. "Where are you, anyway?" Al gave him an odd look. Feeling foolish, Sam unbuttoned the left cuff of Beth's blouse. The MIA bracelet gleamed in the kitchen light. *Lt. Albert Calavicci.* Sam looked up. "It's 1973, Al. You said you came home in 1973." "Right. The last U.S. troops left South Vietnam on March 29, 1973. Nixon said all the POWs were on their way home." "But you were an MIA." "Yeah, I know, but thanks to your brother's persistence and Maggie's photo, they find me. In fact, by the end of this week, Beth will find out that I'm on my way." Sam grinned. "I hope she's back by then. I wouldn't want her to miss hearing the news." Al smiled. "Me, too." "How's the other Beth taking this?" "She doesn't know yet. She's still back at our place, getting ready for the girls." Sam looked over at the textbook. "Beth was about to do some homework." "Yeah, I saw that earlier. You'll have to check her notes and the syllabus, Sam. She also keeps track of when her classes are on the calendar." "What does VT stand for, Al?" "Vermont?" Sam gave him a withering look and pointed to the calendar. "Um. Oh, she volunteers at a nursing home now. Then. Whatever." Sam processed this information. "Hmm. She's taking college classes, works at a hospital, and volunteers at a nursing home," he murmured. "That covers a lot of possibilities." "Yeah, I know. Ziggy's working on it, and I'll see if Beth's memory is up to par. I mean, she does find out I'm alive and coming home, and she may have forgotten anything else that might have happened this week." He paused, studying Sam. "Do you think you can handle this?" Sam looked down at the calendar in his hand. He had leapt into women before, but this one was different. She was the adored wife of his best friend. There was an advantage to leaping into her. They had all the pertinent information about her on hand. No searching for hours to see what became of her. Of course, the disadvantages were panty hose and make-up, among other things. Sam was more concerned about her memories. He had been emotionally linked to his hosts before, and Sam wasn't too thrilled with the idea of it happening on this leap. He looked back up at Al, who was watching him with a concerned look. "I'll probably die of embarrassment," he replied ruefully, "but beyond that, I'll be all right." Understanding where he was coming from, Al gave him a small smile. "If you need Beeks, I'll figure out a way for the two of you to hear each other." "Thanks, Al." "No problem, kid." He looked around. "Do you need me to stick around? I've got to take care of a few things back at the project. I don't know if I'll be back to see you again today." "That's okay. I should be all right. I'll figure out what she was working on, and then maybe take a walk or something." "I'll come back sooner, if Ziggy figures out what you're here for," Al said, as the Imaging Chamber Door opened. "See ya later, Sam." DECEMBER 17, 2000, PROJECT QUANTUM LEAP "Any luck with Beeks and Donna?" Al asked Gushie, striding into the Control Room. "Uh, no word yet, sir." "Tina," he said, turning to the redhead, "I want you to load that Imaging Enhancer into the Observation Room's system." "But, Al --" "Tina, don't argue. When this leap is over, you can remove the program." Tina pouted, obviously reluctant to go against Donna. Sammie Jo entered the Control Room. "What are you doing here?" "She cried herself to sleep, Al." Al sighed, closing his eyes. "Ok. Let her sleep. In the meantime, work with Tina and Gushie on the Enhancer." "Admiral." Ziggy purred. "Your wife is en route to the project." *Great. Oh well, let's get this over with*. "Thanks, Zig."