See Disclaimers and Information in Part One

******
Wednesday evening, 11:30p.m. The West Wing of the White House, Chief of Staff Leo McGarry's Office.

Leo pulled into his parking spot, got out his White House ID, locked his car and made his way stealthily through the back hallway towards his office. He did not want to come upon anyone by surprise. He made it to his office, shut the door quietly, took his coat off, sat down in his chair, and laid his head wearily down on his desk. He did not bother to turn his light on.

It was not even a good ten minutes before there was a knock at his door. He grumbled and muttered a few expletives and then answered gruffly in his this-better-be-an-armed-conflict-or-an-emergency-or-else voice.

"Come in but be warned, it better as hell be important. So help me God, Josh if it's you, I'll..."

"You will what, Leo?" The light from the hallway filtered into the darkened office. Jed tried to catch and hold Leo's gaze but he kept successfully evading him.

"Not tonight, please? Sorry for the ominous warning. I'm not such great company tonight." Leo sighed and then added gruffly, "Besides, of all things I got stopped."

"For?"

"I missed that stop sign over on Constitution Avenue. I was so damned mad I didn't see it until it was too late. I was talking to Mallory. No, I was not on the phone and she was not in the car. Okay? And I'm not crazy, and I did not drink anything."

"I didn't say anything. How much was the ticket?" Jed tried very hard to hold
his laughter back but ended up faking a cough to cover.

"What?"

"How much was the ticket? We'll get Tribbey on it in the morning."

"It turned out to be just a warning. Seems he liked us."

"Whew."

"He just...small world but his daughter happens to be in Mallory's class. And she wanted, or should I say he wanted my autograph for posterity."

"Shouldn't he have wanted my autograph? Sounds like favoritism to me. This won't come back and bite us, will it?"

"No, I don't think so."

"Good. That's over with. Now, on with the rest of the evening's activities?"

"Tell me what you're exactly referring to?" Leo rolled his eyes.

"Don't be coy with me Leo. You know what I'm talking about. I just wanted to make sure there's no hari kari going on in here." He grinned at him and Leo grinned weakly back at the remark but shook his head and tried to focus his dancing eyes anywhere but on his best friends face.

"I'm fine. There's no broken windows."

"No jokes my friend about windows."

"Sorry. It's been a long day. It's late. I don't want to talk about..."

"Leo, tell me what happened. I heard a little bit of it through the grapevine from a little birdie named Mallory. Seems she called Abbey and cried and cried. She's really worried about you by the way."

"Mallory or Abbey?"

"Funny Leo. Very funny. Just get it over with, confess and we can all get back to bed."

"I'm sure Mallory is fine. She's got boy wonder to worry about."

"She kept crying on the phone. It took Abbey a while to calm her down so she could even understand her. I take it this something has to do with *our Sam*?"

"Can we not talk about it? I've made enough of a jerk myself tonight." A minute later his voice raised an octave, "Our Sam?" He shakes his head laughing at Jed slyly. "Ohhhh...."

"Leo, calm down. How did you make a jerk of yourself? The story I heard was that Sam sort of, well, and that Mal...."

"I had heard the rumors but you know me, I was wishfully thinking that maybe they were wrong. I should have listened to my instincts. Hey, wait a minute, how much exactly did Mallory tell Abbey? And how much ammunition do you have in your trivia laden mind?" He tilted his head at Jed trying to read whether he was telling him the truth or totally evading the issue altogether.

"Mallory is a liberated young woman of today. She is very smart and intelligent and..." Jed not to be caught cleverly avoids answering Leo, walks over to the window and looks out into the night.

"She's in love with, with..."

"Sam. You can't even say it Leo."

"The whole situation makes me crazy. Okay?"

"Leo, what happened?"

"I can't get that picture out of my mind."

"What exactly did Sam and Mal do to cause you to almost stroke out on me?"

"Sam answered the door in my pajamas."

"Your paj...you've got to be kidding?" Jed started to laugh out loud but Leo's tone warned him he'd better shut up.

"Can I tell this without interruption, please? Since you wanted all the sordid details."

"Sorry. Go ahead, Leo." He still had a smirk on his face which Leo frowned at.

"His hair was all mussed up. He looked like he just got up from the bed he slept in with Mallory. She was dressed in less than Sam was. She had this black lace teddy thing on. She looked like one of those playboy bunny's. Her hair all tousled and they looked so warm and fuzzy from making love. Dammit to hell, Jed. Tell me that, that if Zoey and Charlie were in that picture that it wouldn't have driven you right straight over the edge? Be honest Jed. They looked like an old comfortable married couple."

Leo's voice had reached into the higher echelon of his Irish temper and Jed feared that his blood pressure was just as high. He waited a few tense minutes, making sure that Leo took a couple of breaths before continuing on and asking him, "You want me to fire him?"

His emphatic staccato "No" surprised him.

"Well, how about we send him on a long trip for a long time? Toby would love that."

"That would not solve anything. You'd have to send Mallory too. She has it bad for Sam. Now, I've said it. God, I look in Mal's face and she's so in love with him, and she's just so damned beautiful. She looks like Jenny did, all those years ago. Jed, it was all over Sam's face too. He doesn't have a good poker face either. Between him and Josh you can clean up the table. I just wish there was time. That they both would take it nice and slow. No, they had to go ahead and, and..."

"Let's make them get married. A shotgun wedding should put a cog in their wheel. I don't think either one of them is ready for that. They just might, hell you know Sam, he'll probably put his foot in his mouth before they get too far involved and wreck their relationship head on. Funny, he writes such beautiful words and speeches but when it comes to presentation, Sam sort of falls flat on his ass."

"We can't push them. Remember my track record?" Leo grimly tells Jed.

"Just trying to help."

"I know. Thanks anyway. Besides, I've tried to break them up. Not successful. Remember? Now look at them."

"You know Leo, our kids are what keeps us on our feet and keeps us young. They are there to remind us of where we've been and where we want to go."

"I know. They are supposed to be the best of us."

"You sure you don't want me to fire him?" Jed had a smile on his face but it was the twinkle in his eye which cracked Leo up, and he started to laugh devilishly. Just like the leprechauns from the Irish countryside.

"Yeah. Despite the fact, it's my only daughter, I like the guy. I really do like Sam. Is it just me or does it seem at times that Sam is so..."

"Damn klutzy?"

"That's it." Leo evilly grinned at Jed for a second.

"Never saw a man that falls over his own two feet all the time, but he does it in a way that's so funny."

"I don't think he means to be funny, it just happens to turn out that way. Sort of reminds me of you there, pal."

"Moi? Hey, should I be offended?" Jed good naturedly grinned at his best friend.

"Mallory has a predisposition for the absurdly funny at times too. They will make a great couple. That is if they make it that far. Sort of like Carole Lombard and Clark Gable. Anyway, I've got a great idea."

"Oh Lord, look out Sam."

"I know what I'll do. I'll send Rob home and he'll take care of Sam. He loves to sleep in the bed with Mallory. He'll get right between them like a bundling board. He'll be good birth control. No sex there."

"That's an idea. That's kind of a funny thought. You might have something there, Leo. Rob is named after that actor, you know Rob Lowe? You could put the word out that Rob Lowe came between Mallory and Sam? CJ could spin it."

"But would she? Sam thinks he's better looking than Rob but I'm wondering if he can compete? Mallory had a long time crush on Rob Lowe. That might just work to our advantage. We might have the perfect solution here."

"I hope we are not being taped for prosperity. Abbey would have my head. You know, back to square one here, I was thinking about comparing Sam and Mallory to Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in that movie, Bringing Up Baby. You know with that lion and all that other funny stuff? Sam even looks like Cary Grant, come to think of it even acts like him. Especially when he propositioned Jenny."

"Oh Lord. I think you hit the nail dead center. That movie was so funny. Come to think of it, they both fit David and Susan's parts well. We'll have to call them Grant and Hepburn from now on. Just don't tell Sam he looks like Cary Grant. We've got enough problem with his idea he's God's gift to the White House Female Staff idea, and if he hurts Mallory, he's dead. I don't care what you say."

"Feel better, Leo?"

"Yeah, thank you, Mr. President. Just one thing I'm curious about. Why did Mal call Abbey?"

"Uh, I guess she just needed some reassurance. Do you think she would have gotten that from Jenny?" Leo was not going to be stopped by the subterfuge this time.

"Jed, what are you not telling me?"

"Nothing."

"I will call Abbey and get her over here."

"No, that's okay."

"Well, spit it out."

"Dinner with Zoey, Charlie, Mallory and Sam was sort of pre-planned by my dear wife and her cohorts only I don't think she knew anything about the final outcome. What I mean to say is I don't think she knew about the pj's."

"And..."

"And I think she wanted to try and make up for the fiasco at the Communications Awards Banquet at the Kennedy Center."

"That was bad."

"Yeah. I'll say."

"I knew it would probably come back to haunt us. That was partly Jenny's fault, partly my fault."

"Yeah, at least Sam didn't get hurt too bad and Mallory did forgive you, eventually. She also did not run off and elope with Sam as she vowed to do that night."

"That was only because he had spend the night in the hospital. No, they just ended up in bed together tonight."

"Leo. Go home and get some rest. It does not get any easier."

"You'd better get back to Abbey before she sends a search party out."

"I will." Jed started laughing again to himself and Leo curious had to ask.

"Just what is so funny?"

"Just thinking of all the trouble Cary Grant got into in that movie. Sounds like it was written about Sam. Can't get that picture out of my head either, Sam in your pajamas and Mallory in a black lace teddy, practically nude. I hope you guys did not stand there with the door wide open, or I can see the headlines now, President's Goddaughter and Seaborn in White House Sex Scandal while Chief of Staff looks on."

"After Mallory grabbed her coat and covered herself and Sam quit starring at me like I was going to have him arrested for sexual assault or something with a heavier sentence, we closed the door. I agree, those would have been some headlines. I, we were all stunned like deer in the headlights."

"Yeah. Let's hope they break up soon."

"No, you know I think they could be the real thing. I used to think Jenny and I were the real thing and look where we're at?"

"She could be, you know, although I don't think Sam's that stupid."

"Bite your tongue. Don't you even say it or think it. He had better be using protection or else...I might have to go over there and make another jerk of myself and you'll end up with your Chief of Staff in jail and your Deputy Communications Director with a face lift."

"See you tomorrow Leo. You need some sleep."

"Goodnight, Mr. President."

"And promise me you won't go over there again, at least not tonight?"

"Don't worry, I won't. I mean I promise you. Mallory would totally disown me and then she'd probably would elope with Sam and I'd have no say so at all, not that I have much of a say anyway."

"Like you're going to have any say after tonight, right?"

"Well, goodnight."

"Sweet dreams. And no more tickets."

"Yeah."

Leo watched the President make his way out of the room back towards the residence. Leo closed his door, grabbed his coat, keys, and made his way slowly out the West Wing. It finally dawned on him what had heard, that this episode had Abbey Bartlet's matchmaking fingerprints all over it as evidence. Paybacks are hell.

The image of Sam in Leo's pajamas. This would not be soon forgotten. Not by a long shot. The President laughed himself silly all the way back to the Residence. Senior Staff meetings would never be the same. Not after today. This was definitely good blackmail material, right up there with pictures and signed documents.

Part 4

 

 

 

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