Disclaimer- see Part 1

Heat Wave- Part 15

Caitlin left the Oval Office and walked to the East Wing. She walked through the empty halls until she came to the 18 foot Christmas Tree. Because of the holiday there were no tours and the area was practically deserted. She turned off all the lights in the room except for those on the tree. The tree was so bright and beautiful, it had to help her get into the Christmas spirit. Or so she had hoped. 'How could he have thought so little of me' she wondered still unable to get Sam's words out of her mind. She sat on a small settee in front of the tree staring at it, yet not really seeing anything. 'It shouldn't matter to me what he thinks. It shouldn't but it does, it means so much to me.' A tear rolled down her face as her pent up emotions assailed her and she finally admitted to herself the truth. 'This isn't a simple crush anymore. I love him. I can handle him not loving me, but he doesn't even respect me. I don't know how to deal with that.'

Sam watched her from the door. Somehow he had known exactly where she would be. Now he felt his heart breaking as he saw that she was crying. 'I did this to her. What the hell is the matter with me? I have no right to treat her like this. To be...jealous. She's not mine. I'm not even sure I want her to be.' His thoughts paused. 'Liar.'

Caitlin sat waiting. She knew he was there, she had felt him come in. She wiped the tears from her face and waited to see what he would do. 'It doesn't matter. Whatever he says or does, he'll still be an ass. That's right. He's in the wrong. I didn't do anything it was him and he's not worth my time. I don't care anymore...liar.'

Sam took a deep breath and walked over to the settee. He stood there for a moment and when she didn't look up he sat down beside her. They sat like that for what seemed an agonizing eternity, just staring at the tree, not saying anything. Finally, Sam couldn't take the silence anymore.

"I am so sorry." he said softly.

"I can't believe that you think that about me..." she stopped as her voice broke.

He turned to her, placing his hands on her waist and turning her towards him. When she didn't look at him, he ran his right hand through her hair, resting it behind her ear, gently forcing her to look at him. She saw that his eyes were glassy and his face displayed his regret, sadness, and fear. "I don't think that. Please God, Caitlin believe me, even as I was saying those things I didn't mean them." he said his voice husky.

"Then why?" she asked unable to stop a fresh tear from escaping her eye.

He used his thumb to wipe it away, trying to find the right words. "I wasn't thinking straight. All I knew is that for some inexplicable reason I hated him and couldn't stand that you were with him."

"I wasn't with him Sam. I couldn't be, not with him." She finished on a whisper.

"I know" he pulled her closer. He rested his forehead against hers. His face was just inches from hers and she could feel his ragged breath. Her mind screamed to push him away, that she wasn't going to care anymore. But even as she raised her hands to pull herself away, they found their way unto his waist and upper arm. "You are such a beautiful, incredible woman." He said softly. "It drove me crazy to think of you and him...together. So I lashed out." Sam continued.

Caitlin reached up and gently stroked the bruise under his eye. "Yeah well the thought of you and Mallory doesn't exactly warm my heart either." She whispered looking at his lips, bringing her fingers slowly down towards them, relishing the feel of his arms around her.

He closed his eyes, feeling her gentle touch on his face. "I'm not seeing her anymore."

"You're not?'

"No" he replied opening his eyes and moving his mouth towards hers.

"Why?" she asked, not really caring about the answer, focusing on Sam's impending kiss.

His lips hovered above her mouth. He couldn't think straight and said the first thing that came to mind. "It was too complicated." Wrong thing to say. Caitlin closed her eyes and dropped her hand from his face, the spell he was weaving broken.

"Right because she is the Chief of Staff's daughter" she pulled away from him. "I can only think of one thing more complicated than that." She said with a hint of self-mockery. She rose from the settee. "I have to go pack for my trip." She began walking towards the door.

Sam sat there in shock for a moment then quickly got up and went after her. "Wait" he said pulling her back to him. "Wait" he asked again softly. But he couldn't bring himself to say the words she needed to hear from him. He raised his eyes up for guidance, and caught sight of something that made him feel someone was smiling down on him for the first time in the past few days.

Caitlin followed his gaze up and saw the object of his attention, on bough of mistletoe hanging above their heads. They both brought their eyes down and he smiled slightly at her. Then his smile faded away as he slowly brought his lips down upon hers. His kiss was gentle and hesitant yet filled with emotion. "Merry Christmas" he said his voice thick. He then released her and made his way out the door. He wasn't ready to take the next step, there were still so many things to consider and so many emotions to deal with, for both of them. But he felt more alive than he had in a long time.

Caitlin stood there gnetly touching her fingers to her lips. "Merry Christmas" she whsipered after him.

The End.

Sorry for the out of season story but I hoped you all enjoyed it! -Amanda



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