Thirty Seconds Part 5
By Ali


This has gotten old, rather quickly. I wonder if I called someone on Bermuda, would they go and retrieve my wayward Deputy. Three weeks without Sam has turned into an eternity in Damnation. Toby has been this crotchety old hermit. Coming out only to have secret meetings with people and to yell at me for messing up his speeches. CJ has been hitting every member of the Senior Staff with abandon. And Josh has been seen crawling on the floor after Donna trying to beg Sam's number off her. What I would pay to see that.

At least Josh stopped glaring at me. Now he just looks tired. As tired as Sam, the night he left. Let them stew for a little while longer. At least Leo didn't spill my secret. The world, besides Charlie, Abby, Zoey, Leo and Dorothy (from personnel) believes that Sam resigned and that he's holed up somewhere licking the wounds of battle. Only Charlie and I know that Sam is sunning himself in Bermuda, getting plenty of sleep, is teaching his niece and nephew to sail and fish and watches CNN and MSNBC with a fervor. He sends notes to Charlie to pass along to the rest of the Senior Staff. Charlie passes them on to me.

Mrs. Landingham knocks on my door. "Excuse me, Mr. President. You have a phone call on Line 1." I look up from the position paper I am reading.

"Who is it?" I'm in no mood today to deal with any number of issues. The new guy is a pompous idiot. I don't like him, but Leo says a few more days. My administration is going to fall apart around my ears in the next five weeks; I can feel it. Thirty Seconds, Seven days, five weeks. It's all time; time to hurt, time to heal, time in which apathy kills compassion and duty.

"It's Sam."

"Why the hell didn't you say so?" I yank up the phone and smile grandly, shooing Mrs. Landingham out of the office. "Hello Sam!"

"Hello Mr. President." He sounds down, and I wonder what torture Jeffery Radcliff has designed for him.

"How are you doing? Is the weather beautiful?"

"The weather is gorgeous, warm with a slight breeze." In the background I can hear the small crash of waves, the sound the water makes as it filters through the wet sand.

"You surviving your brother in law?"

"Yes, sir. It's easy to do when you know he has no clue what he's talking about."

I laugh. I miss Sam.

"Sir, the reason I was calling was because I was watching CSPAN last night."

"You should be going out, having fun."

"I have been, I just-- anyway you really need to fire who ever wrote that speech."

"Don't worry, I will. He's just there for torture sake."

"Sir, if you need a recommendation."

"We don't need a recommendation, Sam. We can hire people on our own."

There is silence and I wonder for a moment if my tone was too sharp. "Of course, Sir."

I hate that submissive tone. I didn't marry a trophy wife; I've hired people who have the balls to disagree with me, why do people think I like that tone? There is a deep breath on the other end.

"There's a guy on the communications staff, Aaron Minot. He's young, but good. He won't be able to do meetings but at least he won't, you know, screw up horribly."

There's my Sam. Say yes, sir, and then do whatever you want. You have to love it.

"All right, I'll look into it."

"Yes, sir."

"You never said how you are."

There's a hesitation. "I'm fine."

"No you're not!" That voice is distinctly feminine. And also distinctly angry.

Sam's voice lowers and he pulls the phone away from his ear. "Would you be quiet? I'm on the phone." I smile, Sam sounds like a twelve-year-old boy. I guess, no matter how old you are; the way you speak to your sister is always the same. I listen with amusement, as there is a scuffle on the other end of the phone. The sound of shouts and laughter remind me of Elizabeth and Eleanor fighting for the phone during their teenage years. I hear the slam of door and pounding on a door. What the heck?

"Hello, and to whom am I speaking?" The feminine voice is back, this time husky in my ear.

"This is the President of the United States, and I assume you are Sam's sister."



"My brother isn't all right."


"How could you fire him?"

"I didn't. He resigned."

"Yeah right, like you didn't ask for his resignation." The tone has calmed to belligerent tones. Wow. She must have inherited all the overt emotions. And has she never heard of respect for the leader of the free world.

"I didn't. In fact, I asked him to reconsider. To take a two month leave so he could reconsider."

"Okay. He got his heart trampled yesterday."

Do I really want to hear about Sam's love life? I'm pretty sure that it's a long and tedious list of having his heart trampled. He has never been successful in having a long and committed relationship.has he?

"Isn't that par for the course with Sam?"

"Yes. But it never makes the hurt go away."

"Of course not." I really don't want to hear about Sam's bad luck with women.

"What do you know about this girl Mallory?"

"Excuse me?"

"The only girl he ever mentioned besides the hooker was some woman named Mallory. So I was wondering if she could be bought?"

"Mallory is the Chief of Staff's daughter. And I think she's dating someone else right now."

I can tell she's pulled the phone away and cushioned it against something. But I can still hear, "The Chief of Staff's DAUGHTER? Are you insane? Are you trying to be hurt?"


"Watch your mouth, Samuel." I can hear the door swing open with a clang on the other end. "Mr. President, it was a pleasure to talk to you. Sam and I will be up in Washington by the end of the week." Oh God. I'm not sure that Washington will survive the Seaborn siblings. I rub my head in weariness.

I hear the exchange of the phone. "I'm sorry about that, Mr. President. We won't be in Washington anytime soon. I'm going to go now. Aaron Minot, sir. He's in the communication staff."

"All right, Sam. I'll talk to you later."

"Thank you, Mr. President."

Before Sam disconnects the call though I hear Sarah's voice calling out. "We are so going to Washington you big idiot." I hear the beep and then just silence.

I think that Washington is about to get a lot more interesting. Should I warn Leo and Mallory? Naw... Serves him right for knowing about my plan to keep every one in the dark about Sam's leave of absence. I wonder how much Sarah will offer Mallory to date hr brother. This could be amusing.

~~End Part 5

Thirty Seconds - 6




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