Cold Blast - 11
Mara felt his cool lips on her forehead and smiled keeping her eyes closed. She reached out to find his hand and held it.
"What time is it?" She asked sleepily.
"A little after seven how's my fire breathing dragon feeling?"
"Groggy, very, very groggy. The injection always makes me feel like Rip Van Winkle but my migraine is gone."
"That's all that really matters. I didn't like seeing the look of pure agony on your face."
Mara slowly opened her eyes and was grateful the room was still dark. She ran her hand up his chest playfully tugging on his tie. "You better get use to it Spanky I get at least one a month."
The door opened and Abbey walked in. "I see my patient is awake. How are you feeling Sweetie?"
"The migraine is gone I'm just very groggy."
"Do you want to stay the night?"
"Thanks but I think what I really need is to snuggle up with Mr. Seaborn ."
Abbey walked over to the bed placing her hands on Sam's shoulders gently squeezing them. "Now that sounds like a good treatment for whatever ails you."
"You know if you weren't married Doc." Sam said warmly.
"Oh I know Sam I would have pounced on you ages ago." Abbey laughed.
"I don't think you two should be left alone anymore." Mara laughed.
"Sam take her home and get her in bed."
Mara slid out of bed and gave Abbey a long hug. "Thanks Mom."
"Anytime Mara. I'm glad you're staying. I've missed spending time with you."
"Me too. Do you and Jed want to come over for lunch on Sunday?"
"I'll have to clear it with the guard dogs but sure."
"Great I have 5 days to find a better place to live." Sam mumbled.
"Sam you have a great apartment stop being silly. Besides all that matters is the food and since I'm cooking it there will be no problems."
Mara and Sam said good night to Abbey and headed back down to the West Wing so Sam could collect his things. Margaret was on her way out the door and stopped to say good night. She noticed the bright pink polish on Mara's toes and asked if they were giving samples away at the concert. Mara laughed and pretended she had no idea what Margaret meant.
Sam retrieved the enormous binders from Mara's rental car and understood how she got her migraine. "You have to know all this stuff in two weeks?"
"Please Sam I don't want to think about it I'll get another stress induced migraine. Can we stop off at an office supply place before going home?"
"Industrial strength shredder?" Sam laughed.
"Now there's an idea. No the only way I'm going to get through all of that reading is to break it apart and make it look more manageable. A dozen or so binders should do the trick."
"You could give me one, C.J, Donna and Kathy and we could summarize it for you."
"If I get desperate I might just do that. I never want to be accused of not knowing protocol, ignoring it is one thing but being ignorant of it is another."
"Did you find out when you were starting?"
"Yeah December 1st. I have to find an assistant by then too. The present one is retiring Dec.2nd."
"What about your present assistant?"
"I'm recommending Cheryl to take over the main components of my old job. I'll still do most of the advising myself. So know any good assistants?"
"Several but since they are the ones who really keep the West Wing going you can't have any of them."
"I'd love Donna but Josh simply couldn't function without her."
"No and none of us like being around a Donna less Josh he's so annoying. Donna gets sick and we all want to stay home."
"Well you might all have to cope without her for a week or two. I have to ask Jed if I can borrow her to help me get the office in order and hire an assistant. I figure a great assistant can find me one."
"Give me a heads up so I can take that time off."
"I never made it to the grocery store so there is no dinner. Not that I'm all that hungry."
"Well I am so I'll just stop and get something. I might even make it healthy just for you."
"I'm touched Sam." Mara said sarcastically.
Sam pulled out his cell phone and placed an order at an Italian bistro near his house. They stopped at an Office Depot and Mara picked up fifteen deep plum coloured 1.5 inch binders, coloured gel pens and a 500 page lined coil notebook.
"I feel like I'm back in school." She sighed at the check out counter.
"I liked school."
"Why doesn't that surprise me geek boy." Mara laughed.
"Oh and a Rhodes Scholar doesn't enjoy school?" He countered.
"I liked debating the most."
"Why doesn't that surprise me."
Mara stuck her tongue out, paid for her purchases and caught Sam off guard by kissing him on the sidewalk.
"Have I told you lately how much I enjoy your impulsive side?"
"Not since last night. so what did you order for dinner?"
"A grilled chicken Caesar salad and garlic bread sticks."
"I guess I can live with that."
Mara sat quietly in the car watching the lights and streets flash by. Sam was singing along to a U2 song on the radio and Mara tried to picture Sam at Princeton sitting in a dorm listening to Bono sing . She figured with Sam's yummy good looks,(Yummy? I just called Sam yummy. It must be the drugs. It's got to be the drugs I'm never this sappy.) intelligence and kind heart that there must have been a line all the way down the block of coeds wanting to date him.
"Penny for your thoughts."
"I was just thinking about you at Princeton and how you must have had to beat the girls away with sticks."
"I'm sorry you must have me confused with some guy who was popular."
"I'm serious Mara I went out with my friends but could rarely get a date. I meet Lisa at Duke, she was my first serious girlfriend I proposed she accepted."
"You were married Sam?"
"No Lisa wanted me to be someone else. I was about to become a partner but my heart was never in it. I was a damn good attorney, but it got to the point where I was protecting Oil Companies from litigation. I wanted them to spend a mere 11 million more to buy better boats. They didn't care and I cared too much. Josh had come back from Nashua he saw the real thing and I left."
"I believe they call them ships Sam not boats." She said with an impish grin.
"Cute, you want to hear the end of this or what?"
"Kay I'm listening."
"The first time I heard the President speak I knew two things for sure, that he was the real deal and he needed a speech writer. It's funny I spent all those years and all that money studying to be a lawyer and I become a speech writer. I loved it, being on the campaign trail living out of my suitcase working for pennies. I was helping to shape the future of the country I loved."
"And Lisa wanted to marry a nice wealthy partner from Gage Whitney."
"I bet she was kicking herself when Jed won and she saw you for the first time on Capitol Beat."
"I wouldn't know she hasn't contacted me since. What about you Miss Whitford? How many pages of panting guys were on your waiting list?"
"My little black book was the size of the New York City white pages. The thing was I'd never get a second date. I scared them all away. I intimidated professors, a few brave souls thought they could tame the shrew but I disposed of them quickly enough."
"You would have eaten me alive. Well actually I wouldn't have had the guts to ask you out for fear of being eaten alive."
"I would have asked you out Sam. The quite cutie in the corner who could debate. Oh honey I would have been on you like warm chocolate fudge on vanilla ice cream."
Sam looked over at Mara grinning, "Interesting imagery there Whitford."
"The scary part is I'm making myself hungry even though eating is the last thing I want to do."
Sam found a parking spot right in front of his brownstone, he grabbed his briefcase and one of Mara's binders that weighted a ton. Mara opened the door to the apartment, kicked of her heels and slumped on to the sofa. Sam left everything on the kitchen counter and went back downstairs to bring everything else up. Mara still hadn't moved an inch which brought a smile to his face. He kneeled down beside her pushing a wayward tendril behind her ear.
"Mara why don't you go take a long hot bath and climb in to bed."
"Will you tell me a bedtime story?"
Sam took one look at the pleading adorable face of his girlfriend and tried to hide his grin. "If you are a good girl and wash behind your ears I'll tell you a story."
"Kay, now help me up." Mara extended her hands to have Sam pull her to her feet.
"You know it's a good thing you don't weigh that much cause you didn't help me one bit."
"Too tired to help." She said impishly and gave Sam a long deep kiss.
"You seem to be recovering nicely to me."
"It's an act I'm trying to stay tough for you." She joked.
Sam held her face in his hands and kissed her softly. "Mara you never have to pretend with me, never. Kay?"
"Kay." She replied softly and headed to the bedroom.
Sam heard the water running in the bathroom a short while later and sat down with his dinner and started transferring Mara's two enormous protocol binders in to smaller more manageable volumes. He started scanning sections and wondered if Mara would slip in to a deep coma before or after volume two. An hour later Sam finished the last forkful of chicken and had about two hundred pages left and three binders. It took him about twenty minutes of scan reading to divide the remaining pages. He numbered the binders, sat them on the table and went to check on Mara. He found her asleep with his rubber ducky floating near her toes.
He gently ran his finger up and down her neck until she swatted his finger away. "Mara normal people sleep in beds not bath tubs."
"I fell asleep so sue me. Oh and Sam it's not nice to stare at my naked body." Mara said without opening her eyes.
(Ha I looked before I woke you up. I'm good.) "I can't see much from behind you but you do have a cute spine."
Mara's hearing was impeccable so she knew Sam hadn't moved and his voice was coming from behind her. She decided to give him grief any ways. "What you don't think I'm sexy enough to merit a glance?"
"I have the perfect story for you. There once was a vain little princess who thought torturing me was the bain of her existence."
Mara looked up at him and saw the look on his face that said you can't play with my mind tonight I'm more with it than you. "You know it's not nice to pick on a sick girl."
"Maybe not but something tells me that one must take every advantage when you aren't as quick on your feet and ready for verbal warfare."
"So you'd take a tainted win?"
"Baby with you I'll take any win."
"Samuel this is the beginning of a beautifully warped relationship."
"I concur, now are you trying to turn in to a prune or would you like a towel?"
Sam handed her a fluffy blue towel and left before he was tempted to whisk her away to the bedroom and spend the rest of the night making love to her. Mara padded out to the living room wrapped in Sam's robe and noticed all the binders lined up. She picked up the first one and read Sam's hand written index in bright pink ink.
"Sam you are the best."
"I know now it's bed time. Go get comfortable and I'll tuck you in."
"Aren't you going to join me?"
"I have to finish some work. I'll be done in about an hour so go."
"What about my story, you promised!" She whined.
"Get in to bed and I'll figure something out Brat."
Sam wondered how patient Mara would be and discovered that she was more impatient than Josh which he didn't think was possible. Mara had barely been alone for five minutes when she started calling out to him. He ignored her until he finished the page he was working on, saved the information and closed the computer down.
"It's about bloody time." She said with a pout as soon as she saw him at the threshold.
"Anyone ever tell you what a royal pain you are?"
"Everyone tells me all the time. Do you think I care?"
"You are a real piece of work Mara."
"Yes I am. An impressionist work of art by Monet I think."
"I beg to differ all of his paintings I've seen are very tranquil and reflective, qualities which I might add you do not represent. Nope I'd say you were more like a Picasso: out there and chaotic."
"But I don't like Picasso."
"To bad deal with it. Now do you want to hear your story or not?"
Mara gave him a look and made herself comfortable under the covers. Sam started telling her about the previous Thanksgiving when they had sent C.J, home with a high temperature and Donna had to decide which turkey would get the presidential pardon. Mara wasn't thrilled that Sam was talking and typing a the same time as she wanted his full attention but she knew he'd end the story if she complained. She figured she had frayed Sam's last nerve and she didn't want him to snap at her. She dozed off just after Sam was finished telling the story and the silence let Sam finish half an hour later. He changed for bed and climbed in carefully not to wake her wrapping one arm around her waist he closed his eyes and was asleep in minutes.