Cold Blast - 10

By Cathy

 

Mara went through Donna's closet while she was in the shower and put together an outfit that was both suitable for the White House and would make it difficult for Josh to concentrate at the same time. She wasn't particularly fond of the area Donna's apartment was in which gave her an idea she wanted to take up with Sam. She checked her phone messages, returning a few calls while sipping on a glass of cranberry juice. Mara heard the bathroom door open and Donna wandered out to the living room a moment later.

"You know I never thought about wearing that top to work. I only wear it on weekends."

"They're great Donna especially with a blazer on top, sexy but not too sexy. Josh will notice."

"I thought you looked great Friday but I could never wear a skirt that short."

"I'd never wear that shirt with panty hose but with thick tights I'm not self conscience. Would you wear what I'm wearing now?"

Donna took a good look at Mara's black leather pants, heels and baby blue silk shirt. She probably would have bought the next size up herself but she agreed Mara looked great. "Yeah."

"Go get dressed."

Mara's cell phone rang and she nearly tripped trying to get over to her purse in time. "Whitford."

"I don't think I've seen you get out of bed that quickly before. No whining, no stalling..."

"Hey Sam, when I have to be somewhere I move it. What you miss me already?"

"No just thought I'd inform you that Josh is actually here and he can't believe Donna isn't in yet."

"It's not even 8 yet."

"I know but Donna is normally in around now, Josh usually breezes in at 8:30 on late days."

"We'll be in at 8:35, I'm not going to walk in with Donna so don't expect me to see me right away."

"Kay, if you don't mind eating early we can have lunch together."

"How early is early?"

"11."

"That is a little early but I can live with it. What are you doing over lunch?"

"I have a meeting on the hill at 12:30."
"Ah well thanks for the info and don't mention to Josh that Donna was with us last night."

"He's not in a very talkative mood so that won't be a problem."

"Later gator."

"Bye."

Mara put her phone back and called out to Donna. "That was Sam, Josh is in already."

"Really he's never in this early unless we have a 7:30 staff and since Leo won't be back till this afternoon all of us get to start later. Guess I better move it."

"Nope we are sticking to the plan."

"Unless you want to move it so we can grab breakfast."

"That sounds like a plan to me. Give me five minutes."

Donna and Mara enjoyed a rushed breakfast together and Donna drew up a map for Mara to help her find the grocery store again. Mara dropped Donna off at the gate and made her way over to the Canadian Embassy.

Donna walked in with a grin on her face to match the spring in her step. She was oblivious to the appreciative looks from security and fellow employees as she made her way to her desk. She rounded the corner and nearly knocked Toby over.

"Donna watch it would you? It's too early to be smiling would you cut it out." Toby said gruffly.

"Well good morning to you too Grumpy." Donna said with a smirk.

"You're happy, Sam's happy, even C.J is sitting in her office humming. You all make me sick."

"Are you ever happy Toby?" Donna teased.

"Cute now step aside I have important things to do."

"Yes Sir." Donna mock saluted him and stepped past him bringing a grin to his face.

"You look good Donna."

"Thanks Toby and I'll pretend I didn't make you smile."

She was at the threshold of her cube when Ginger pushed her in. "I saw the paper spill it Donna."

"The concert was amazing, the guys were great and Jon is incredible. That about sums it up."

"Details Donna I want details."

"Right so my life can go from one end of the West Wing to the other in 12.8 seconds? Sorry Ginger maybe later when everyone has long forgotten about me being the in the Post. Then I'll share a few stories with you."

"You are so mean Donna."

"Yeah well Josh is starting to rub off on me."

"Oh I'd avoid him if you can he's in the foulest mood."

"Thanks for the warning, now I better get to work."

Donna had just managed to get organized and find Josh's schedule when she heard him bellow for her. She stood up and left her blazer sitting over the back of her chair and went to see what he wanted.

"Josh do you have to yell?" She asked as she walked towards him.

Josh was caught off guard and only managed to mumble incoherently. My God Donna looks incredible today how does she expect me to get any work done when I 'll be spending all day staring at her legs he thought.

"What was that Josh I didn't study gibberish in college. I hear you and Toby have switched personalities today. It's a bright beautiful day and I've had the most amazing weekend so even your mood won't affect me today."

"You're late."

"Five minutes and Toby stopped me in the hall so it's really his fault. You of all people shouldn't be chastising me for being a tiny bit late. How do you know I'm late your watch sucks I might be early." She said with a grin.

"My watch does not suck but you can get me one for Christmas if you want. I know you are late cause I beat you in."

"Whatever, here's your schedule think you can handle it?" Donna asked handing the paper
to him.

"Josh have you seen... Hey Donna nice picture in the Post."

"Thanks Sam, I had the most amazing time. Tell Mara I love her."
Sam laughed, "She'll be coming in to have lunch with me at eleven you can tell her yourself." I wonder what they are up to Sam thought.

"Cool, is C.J in her office still I have a message to pass on to her."

"I think so. You look great Donna love the toenails."

Josh noticed the look exchanged between his best friend and his assistant and wondered what was going on. "What they are pink Sam what's to love about them?"

"They are painted to perfection and such a bright cheery colour don't you think?"

"I think you've lost your mind is what I think."

"Oh ignore him Sam he's in a Toby mood. Why thank you I like them too the Pedicurist really knows his way around nail polish."

"He probably wears it himself that's why." Josh said sarcastically, "What did you want Sam?"

"Have you seen the poll results from last week, I heard they were in."

"Ask Carol she either has them or knows where they are."

"Kay thanks, see you later." Sam walked off in search of coffee leaving Donna and Josh standing there.

"Well we both have work to do. You've got the Joint Chiefs in an hour Josh don't forget."

"Yes Mom."

"I'm going to talk to C.J. I suggest you go get some more coffee Josh you need it."

Donna knew Josh was watching her walk down to C.J's office and she wished he had complimented her too. Oh well guess I have to step up operation drive Josh insane she thought.
Donna stood at C.J's open door for a minute listening to her quietly sing Blaze of Glory. Donna entered the office with applause.

"Now cut that out." C.J chastised.

"Couldn't help myself. So did you find the shoes?"

C.J got up from her desk and put her left foot out towards Donna. "Does this meet with your approval?"

"Yup, so any fall out from the concert?"
"Just Danny coming in here to ask for my autograph. He wanted to know when my debut album will be released. I told him to go jump in the Potomac."

"Ah C.J give him a break I think he's cute."

"Great do you want me to set you up?"

"No."

"Well then keep your comments to yourself. So did Josh notice how stunning you look today?"

"I think so but he hasn't said anything to me about it."

"Figures."

"Sam and Toby told me I looked great."

"Well Sam isn't quite as dense as the rest of them and Toby is in a good mood this morning. I'm trying to figure out why, think he ran over the Senate leader on his way here?"

"No he'd be singing ding dong the witch is dead if that was the case." Donna laughed.

"True, did you need anything or are you just looking for pink toenails?"

"Just checking for Flamingo Pink, guess I better go back and look busy."

"Yeah I wish I only had to look busy. See ya later."

Josh was just about to leave for his meeting when a guard came up with a large floral box and called out to Donna. Donna heard her name and was in sight in a matter of seconds.

"These came for you Donna, nothing is ticking so you can have them."

"Geez thanks." Donna accepted the box and put it down to examine the contents.

Donna opened the box and gasped. A dozen long stem pink roses sat in the box and Donna didn't even have to look at the card. She gently lifted them from the box and inhaled the sweet fragrance.

"Aren't they gorgeous Josh."

"Uhuh who are they from?'

"Jon."

"How do you know you haven't even looked at the card. They could be from me."

"Yeah right, you've never bought me flowers but I'm expected to believe out of the blue you'd send me very expensive roses? "

"Sure why not?"

"Cause I live in the realm of the real world Josh not fantasy land. I've got to find a vase for these."

"But you haven't' opened the card."

"I don't need to, Josh you open it." Donna walked off with her roses in search of a vase.

Josh opened the little card and groaned when her read it.

The pleasure was all mine Donnatella.
Thanks for everything.
Love Jon.

Josh was still staring at the card when Donna returned with her roses in a vase Margaret found for her. Sam walked by and commented on the roses. Donna pulled one out and gave it to Sam who smiled, kissed her cheek and walked away whistling..

"Josh go or you'll be late. I was right wasn't I?"

"Donna we have to talk when I get back."

"You can buy me lunch."

"How about you buy me lunch?"

"In your dreams Lyman now move." Donna shoved Josh towards the exit and returned back to her desk.

Mara had gone over to the Embassy to ask the Ambassador if she could go look at the Mansion and to find out when they wanted her to start. She nearly choked on her water when he said December first. By the time Mara left his office she had two of the largest binders she'd ever laid eyes on and a written test on the material two weeks later. She should have noticed the triggers sooner, she shouldn't have devoured the chocolate bar , she should have pulled to the side of the road and called a cab instead of stubbornly driving back to the White House. It's too late I'm here and Abbey can save me from myself she thought miserably. She flashed her passport, signed in and kept her visitors pass in her hand. She'd never noticed how noisy it was in the West Wing before but now it sounded like she was surrounded by an orchestra and it was all she could do to not run for cover. She noticed Kathy in front of Sam's office and held her hand up to stop her from speaking.
"Kathy go find C.J or Sam for me and bring them here. If you see Toby tell him if he speaks above a whisper I'll rip his vocal cords out with my bare hands." Mara requested barely above a whisper.

There was a slight desperation in her voice which sent Kathy off at double pace to find her boss. She found Sam and C.J coming out of the Roosevelt room.

"C.J., Sam something is wrong with Mara, she wouldn't let me speak to her, her sunglasses are still on, she threatened Toby and told me to find either of you."

"She threatened Toby?" Sam asked.

"Not directly, she said if I saw him to tell him if he spoke above a whisper she'd rip his vocal chords out with her bare hands."

"Where is she Kathy?"

"She went in to Sam's office."

"Kay Sam go get Abbey and tell her Mara has a severe migraine. Kathy could you go get a cold compress of some sorts and a warm coke."

"Sure, warm coke?"

"Yeah I'll explain it later. Sam go!"

Sam took off like a shot towards the East Wing and was ready to snap Lily's head off when she continued her phone conversation giving him the be with you in a minute hand gesture. After waiting not so patiently for 3 minutes Sam walked right by Lily, threw open Mrs. Bartlet's door and walked right in."

"Sorry to disturb you Mrs. Bartlet but Mara needs you now, C.J. told me to tell you Mara has a severe migraine and she's in my office."

"Do you know if she took her Imitrex Sam?" Abbey asked as they both rushed to the residence so Abbey could get her doctor's bag.

"I don't know Ma'am, she was perfectly fine this morning."

C.J carefully opened the door to Sam's office. The room was as dark as Mara could make it and she found her friend sitting in Sam's chair her head bent on the desk, resting her forehead on her arms. C.J kneeled down beside her rubbing her back soothingly and begun to speak barely above a whisper.

"Sam went to get Abbey, Sweetie how bad is it?"

"Imitrex won't work I need an injection."

"Ouch."

"Uhuh."

Kathy quietly opened the door, closing it behind her and adjusted her eyes to the darken room. She noticed C.J just before she would have tripped on her and handed her the cold compress placing a cup of coke on the desk.

"I had to nuke the coke C.J everything was ice cold." She said quietly.

"Thanks Kathy." Mara whispered.

"No problem."

"Kathy go wait for Abbey and tell her Mara doesn't think Imitrex will work."

"Kay C.J." Kathy left the room and closed the door as quietly as she could. She heard Toby down the hall and went running in the direction of his booming voice. She blocked his entrance to the bullpen with her body.

"Toby shut up."

"Excuse me?"

"Mara has a killer migraine and she said she'd rip your vocal cords out with her bare hands if you don't stay quiet."

"Oh."

"Yeah she's in Sam's office so don't toss the bloody rubber ball on the glass either or I'll break your hands."

"That reminds me Kathy half of my balls are missing you wouldn't know anything about that would you?"

"Nope but if I ever find out who has them I'll kiss their feet. Do you know how annoying that boom is?"

Toby smiled at Kathy. "Yup I do." Toby side stepped Kathy and went in to his office.

Kathy had just returned to her desk when she noticed Sam and Abbey walking towards them at a fast clip.
"Mrs. Bartlet C.J. had me bring a cold compress and warm Coke and she told me to tell you Mara doesn't think Imitrex will work."

"I sort of figured that was the reason Mara needed me. Warm Coke, C.J. is suck a fast thinker, thanks Kathy."

"Warm Coke?" Sam asked.

"Yes Sam, caffeine can be a trigger for some people but it also can help alleviate some of the pain for others. It's warm because Mara is super sensitive to hot and cold and we don't want to give her an ice cream headache on top of her migraine."

"Ah." Sam and Kathy shared an I didn't know that look.

"Kathy can you run over to the residence and ask Jacob to get a room ready for Mara."

"Sure Ma'am, Sam tell Mara I hope she's feeling better soon."

"I will Kathy thanks for everything."

Abbey opened the door and Sam stepped in behind her, noticing C.J was right beside Mara.

"Sweetie I'm going to have to put Sam's lamp on, where are your sunglasses." Abbey said quietly.

"On my face." Mara answered.

"Kay close your eyes." Abbey motioned to Sam and he turned the lamp on. "Good you drank the Coke."

"Uhuh."

"Too many bodies in here I'll get out of your way Mrs.Bartlet. Mar I'll check on you later."

"Thanks C.J."

"Anytime Sweetie." C.J squeezed Mara's arm and told Sam to let her know when Mara was settled.

"OK I'll save the lecture for later Mara. Does DHE work for you?"

"Hit and miss that's why I switched to Imitrex which usually works but this is the worst one I've had in years."

"I should have a vial of Sunatriptan in my bag." Abbey rummaged around until she found the vial, prepared a needle and ignored the stricken look on Sam's face. "Samuel don't you dare faint on me." She hissed.

"Chill Sam she's sticking me not you." Mara whispered.

She flinched slightly when the needle penetrated her skin then forced herself to relax and let the injection do it's job. She slowly opened one eye and managed to almost focus on Sam's face, it was rather blurry but she would have recognized those blue eyes anywhere. She gave Sam a small smile and tried to remember how long it took for the injection to start working. Abbey noticed Mara wrinkle her forehead and grimace.

"Mara stop trying to think you aren't capable of it at the moment. You are coming upstairs with me no arguments."

Even in her weakened state Mara knew better than to argue with Abbey. You could tease and push her pretty far in ordinary life but she stood for no nonsense as Dr. Bartlet. He word was law plain and simple.

"Yes Mom." She sighed.

"Mara do you think you can walk upstairs or do you want Sam to carry you?"

"I'll walk or I'll die trying . My mother always said I was a stubborn and willful child."

"Your mother said many things about you but for a change I think stubborn and willful does apply to you. I still can't believe she told you to suck it up."

Mara laughed softly, "I swore you were going to throttle her with your bare hands."

"I was going to Jed held me back."

"No one has ever given her a tongue thrashing like that one. Did I ever thank you for standing up for then taking care of me?"

"Yes you did. You wrote me a beautiful letter that I still cherish."

"Oh yeah."

"Throttle, tongue thrashing?" Sam asked quietly.

"The whispering isn't bothering me Abbey if you want to tell Sam."

"Well Sam, Mara's mother (and I use the term loosely she thought.) decided to met her in Manchester one summer and drive back to Montreal even though Mara had a return plane ticket and wasn't ready to go back. I think the stress of having to listening to her mother all the way back in a car was what gave her a migraine that morning. I told Mara to stay in bed but she came downstairs when she heard her. Silvie took one look at Mara told her to suck it up, get dressed and take an aspirin to get rid of her silly little headache. She said she wasn't in the mood for any of Mara's theatrics."

"Ah a mommie dearest." Sam whispered.

"Bingo." Mara replied.

"I told Silvie Mara was suffering from a hell of a lot more than a silly little headache and was not fit to travel. She went in to this I know my daughter better than you tirade so I told her that Mara was not moving period and if she didn't like it she could kiss my lily white...."

"Dr. Bartlet you didn' t?"

"Yes I did Sam then I opened the door and told her not to let it hit her on the way out."

"I was laughing so hard I almost passed out from the pain I was creating." Mara added.

"Remind me to never mess with you Dr. Bartlet."

"How you doing Mara? Are you ready to go ?"

"Yeah I think I can handle it now."

Five minutes later Abbey was tucking Mara in to bed leaving Sam sitting beside her.

"Sorry about lunch Sam you should go down to the mess and get something."

"Don't worry about me Mara I'm fine. I'll grab something on the way to the hill."

"Sam grabbing food on the run is no good. Thank goodness I'm going to be here to make sure you eat properly."

"You realize the take out food cartel will be after you for contributing to the delinquency of an orderer."

"Ooh I'm scared." Mara whispered as mockingly as she could.

"Mara go to sleep."

"Sam could you stay until I drift off?'

"So that's the kink in the fire breathing dragons amour. Migraines turn you in to a quiet little girl."
"Yeah my assistant says they shut down my bitch switch."

Sam laughed out loud causing her to wince and suck air through her teeth.

"Sorry but that was funny." Sam whispered.

"Yeah she's a regular Caroline Rhea."

"Huh the Aunt on Sabrina, oh wait Canadian I suppose."

"Uhuh."

"Would have gone with Mike Myers myself since he's a much less obscure reference."

"Much less? Sam what do you do for a living again? You're a geek Sam I knew you'd get my reference. For your information Caroline is a great stand up, a regular on Hollywood Squares and has done at least one TV movie this year."

"Kay now who is the geek?" Sam asked.

"Shut up Sam."

"You like the talking cat don't you?"

"Sam."

"Admit it you like Simon the talking cat."

"His name is Salem and yeah he cracks me up. He's sarcastic, self involved and I own a black cat."

"I knew it."

"Sam shut up."

"Mara take your own advice shut up and sleep." Sam moved over from the chair to sit on the other side of the bed.

Mara got comfortable under the covers and Sam curled up beside her stroking her hair until her breathing softened and her body relaxed. He left a soft kiss on her temple and carefully got off the bed. Abbey was standing in the doorway and gave Sam a soft smile. She waited for him to leave the room and lead him over to the couch in the family room.

"I know you have a meeting at 12:30 Sam so I won't keep you long but have lunch with me."

"What are we having?"
"Does it matter Sam?"

"No, well actually yes. If it's the President's chili I'm not hungry."

Abbey laughed, "Too spicy for you? "

"Yes Ma'am."

"Well you don't have to worry Sam I had the kitchen make us both a chicken club."

"Thanks."

"You know Sam you're good for Mara. She knows hundreds of people from all walks of life but she rarely lets them inside that bloody amour she's built up. Her childhood was far from idyllic Sam. Have you ever seen a picture where everything looks absolutely perfect and you think they must be happy? Mara's perfected the art of the glossy image. It serves her well in politics but you can't let her get away with it with you. "

"I think I know what you mean."

"Good you can eat then."

Sam and Abbey enjoyed lunch and chatting. Sam stopped by to check on Mara and then left for his meeting. While he was driving up to the hill it dawned on him how easy it was talking to the First Lady and she really did remind him of an older version of Mara.

"Hmm so if Mara is Abbey that makes me..... the geeky useless fact maintaining future President of the United States. That is bad on so many levels. " Sam said to the rear view mirror shaking his head to get the idea out of there.

Chapter 11

 

 

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