Cold Blast - 13

By Cathy

 

The rest of Mara's week went by far too quickly. She blinked and it was Saturday evening. She blinked and Jed, Abbey and Donna were leaving to give Sam and her the rest of the day together. She blinked again as the plane was descending in to Ottawa International Airport. Time really does fly when you're having fun she thought as she fished her house keys out of her purse. As soon as he heard the door opening Killer ran towards it and seeing his mistress started yammering.

"Yeah I know I was gone a long time Killer, no I didn't clear it with you, no I won't be doing it again soon." She replied to her cat knowing what his meows meant. She bent down to pick him up putting him in his favourite place half way over her shoulder. She said hello to Winston giving him a little bit of fish food before going up to her room. She quickly sifted thorough the mail, found her Parliamentary ID, splashed her face with water and left Killer on her bed. She grabbed one of the two last protocol binders from her carry on bag and was met by Killer at the door.

"OK I'll bring you but you have to behave this time. No jumping at Karen's head."

The limo was still waiting for Mara to take her in to work. She breezed passed security no one ever dared to tell her pets were not allowed in the building. She headed straight up to the third floor to let Jean Luc know she was back.

"Welcome back Mara, hi Killer. I'm going to miss you my little irritant."

"I'm going to miss you too Sir."

"Cheryl wants your head on a platter."

"I'm well aware of that Sir. I think she'll forgive me when she finds out why I stayed behind."

"No I think she'll forgive you when you mention that you recommended her as your replacement and I agreed."

"Yeah that should do it."

"Mara I want you down there permanently by next Saturday."

"No offense Sir but are you out of your freaking mind?"

Jean laughed, "No Mara you work well under pressure. I suggest you talk to Cheryl before the end of the day."

"I will Sir but I'm taking three weeks. I can handle the office stuff in three days my personal life is a little more complicated. I haven't' even told my parents yet."

"Fine, oh by the way I got your little missal. You still are my international policy advisor."

"Of course, you need me Sir. You're the beauty I'm the brains. Well actually I'm both which leaves me with this question what exactly is your function in this operation?" Mara teased.

"Mara go bug your own staff before I change my mind and send you to LA."

"I'm going, I'm going." Mara laughed. She picked up Killer who had settled on top of the Prime Minister's desk to be petted.

"See you later Killer I'll save you some chicken from my lunch. "

Mara tried not to laugh when Karen jumped out of her way muttering about the devil cat. Cheryl looked straight at her and promptly went back to work.(Wow it's the arctic in here, hasn't been like this since I couldn't let her go to Paris with me.)

Mara quickly went through the memos on her desk, caught up on the press briefings and put her seal of approval on Quebec City's offer to host the Summit of the Americas that April. She checked her e-mail and smiled when she noticed it half way down the list.

From: SSeaborn@whitehouse.gov.
To: MWhitford@cdngovt.ca
Subject: How's my fire breathing dragon?

Hi Sweetie,
Are you done yet?
Hey I guy can hope can't he?
I think Donna feels sorry for me. It could be that she's just sick of me moping around too but knowing Donna she feels sorry for me. She's planned my entire week. Tonight she's taking me out to dinner, tomorrow is the Smithsonian thing, Wednesday she's renting a movie and making me dinner, Thursday I believe I'm taking her out for dinner, Friday we are going drinking with C.J, Saturday Donna got Josh and I 50 yard line seats for the Redskins game. I didn't have the heart to tell her I hated the skins. I guess I better get going Toby is summoning me with that bloody rubber ball. I was kind of hoping Kathy would have hid them all by now.
TTYL
Love Sam.

Mara laughed and hit reply.

From: MWhitford@cdngovt.ca
To: SSeaborn@whitehouse.gov.
Subject Re: How's my fire breathing dragon?

Hi Sweetie,
No I'm not done yet. I'm trying to survive the arctic blast coming from my assistant. She is beyond pissed at me. I noticed a memo that she was doing at 11:40 Thursday night. We were in bed and she was still here doing both of our jobs. I'm going to call her in here to let her know why I was gone in a few minutes. I won't be mentioning that I spent most of the week making out with you. Even I'm not that brave. VBEG. Donna is such a Sweetie don't give her a hard time and don't you dare tell her you hate the Redskins!!! Just two more protocol binders to go. I finished the other one on the plane. While you are socializing with Donna think of me slaving away trying to get everything done so I can be gone for good in three weeks. Think you can make it that long? Well I've got to get going Killer is eating one of my reports. Yes I bring my cat to work sometimes.
I love ya and I miss ya already.
Queen Mara of Canada.

Killer was tired of being at the office, he'd just left the cleaning lady who gave him a nice long vacuuming and a Kraft caramel one of his favourite treats. He carried the opened candy in his teeth, ran back to Mara's office, jumped on the desk and dropped the caramel on the paper Mara was reading.

"Killer I'm almost finished eat this somewhere else." Mara dropped the caramel on the other side
of her desk and sneezed as his tail ran under her nose when he followed it.

She glanced at the clock which read 11:52. Nothing had gone smoothly after she sent Sam the e-mail. A newbie MP likened the opposition leader's intense questioning as being an SS investigation. Mara had to call him in, threaten him with in an inch of his life, draft his apology and send him out to hand deliver it. The photocopier decided to blow up before making the hundred copies of a policy change she enacted could be done. Cheryl was accidentally on purpose hanging up on people holding for her, Killer knocked her favourite coffee mug off the desk shattering it in to a million pieces and leaving orange juice all over the floor. Cheryl stuck her head in the office while she was cleaning it up and said she had a migraine and was going home. Mara lifted her head to tell her to wait and didn't clear the desk, cracking the top of her head. While she was tossing the broken pieces in to the garbage she managed to cut her hand and bleed all over a report she was proofing which meant she had to re print it. No one bothered to ask if she wanted lunch or dinner so she was starving. Her sister called to remind her that she was going to get the Prime Minister to sign a letter of recommendation for her residency and she needed it by the end of the next day.

The highlight of her evening was the Prime Minister's reaction when she interrupted a meeting handed him the paper and said I swear it's not declaring war on anyone just sign it. Jean took one look at her face and quickly signed it. He looked at his guest and said as long as we do what she says no one gets hurt.

Mara had moved on to the next report setting it down on the desk to rub her tired eyes. Killer got up and flopped on the paper making it impossible for her to read. She tried to pull it out from under him but he bit her every time.

"Fine I give up I'll call the car service." Mara muttered and sighed when Killer still wouldn't move.

Fifteen minutes later security called to inform her the car was waiting. She turned off her light, hung Killer over her shoulder and was half way upstairs when she remembered her briefcase and keys were still in the office. She dashed back downstairs and Killer leapt off her shoulder to chase something that was moving down at the other end of the hall. Her scream of frustration echoed through out the empty office. She picked up her briefcase and then spent fifteen minutes searching for Killer who had just pounced on a dust bunny the size of a quarter. She called him a few choice names held on to him tightly and hurried upstairs. By the time she got home it was close to one. She locked the house up and just flopped down on the bed falling asleep before she could even kick her shoes off.

The shrill ringing of the phone woke her up and she reached over to grab it.

"What?"

"Mara what the hell are you still doing there your nine o'clock meeting is here waiting for you."

"Huh? Cheryl?"

"No it's the Easter Bunny! Get your butt in here now. I've dispatched a car."

"Yeah, yeah I'm on my way." Mara hung up the phone and tried to look at the clock. It read 9:10 and she swore loud enough to wake Killer up. She had fallen asleep with her contacts in so her eyes were tired and gooey. She quickly took them out, stored them in their case and dug around in her luggage until she found her glasses. She tossed her thyroid pill down her throat with some water, grabbed her briefcase and went running out the door.

"Nice outfit, I liked it yesterday too." Cheryl cracked.

"Cheryl shut up I'm not in the mood and I'm not too thrilled with you at the moment. When whoever I'm meeting with leaves you are my next appointment." She blew past her assistant in to her office.

She apologized and explained her lateness as a phone conference. Mara nodded replying umm hmm frequently not really paying any attention to what was being said. She happily accepted a report reiterating the main points since she could read it and figure out what the meeting was about. Cheryl still hadn't made her way in to the office so Mara stuck her head out the door.

"Are you waiting for an engraved invitation? Get in here!"

Cheryl closed the door behind her, sat down facing her boss with arms and legs crossed . "Well?"

"Cheryl do you realize I had every right to fire your butt yesterday for sabotaging phone conversations and skipping out early? If you had a migraine yesterday I was giving birth. You could have been fired on a day when you were going to be promoted. I want an apology."

"Sorry."

"Thanks for calling me this morning."

"You're welcome. Did I hear promotion?"

"Yes we both got them. That was why I was away from the office I wasn't on vacation. I was being ambushed."

"Oh."

"Yeah that about sums it up. Effective December 1st I'll be the Canadian Ambassador to the United States and you....."

"Wow congratulations! Ambassador? Did you ask them if they had the right Mara Whitford?" Cheryl teased.

"Yeah I asked Jed if he was out of his mind. Jean figured I'd find it harder to say no to him."

"Obviously it worked. Cool I like DC and being the Ambassador's... what do they call it aide.. will be tres interesting."

"Actually Cheryl you aren't coming with me. I wish you were but they need you here to take over for me."

"What? No I don't accept. I had more than enough of your job the last two weeks and leaving here at eleven or later every night is not my idea of a promotion. I'm going with you or I'm quitting."

"Cheryl I'm too tired to argue with you. You are taking over for me that's an order. You'll have your own assistant so you will only be doing one job not two. Your salary will basically double. I'm still going to be doing the advising so you don't have to worry about that. What keeps me here late is usually catching up on the briefings that I'm expected to advise on the next day. On an average day you'd get out of here the same time as now. You'll get to go to Paris, London, Rome and all the other places you normally complain you don't get to go to. So please just make my life easier and say OK. If you really hate it quit after three months."

"I rather be in DC with you. I like being an assistant. I know you never take me for granted. I know you think I'm brilliant. I have power over you and that's all the power I need. You thrive on power Mara I like dabbling with it. I will say yes with two conditions. The first is that you understand that on March 1st I'm resigning and you won't say a single word. The second is that by the end of March I take over as your assistant. I'll say yes if you accept these conditions. I don't want your last three weeks to be one long migraine that's why I'll give you the three months."

"Are you sure Cheryl? It really is an incredible opportunity look where it has taken me."
"I know and you'll never know how flattered and proud I am that you have so much faith in me that I was the first and only natural choice in your mind and the Prime Minister's. I know what it takes to do your job so I'll find your replacement. Do we have a deal?"

"Yeah with one condition of my own: that you tell Jean once I'm safely ensconced in Sam's arms in DC."

"Kay, whoa wait one cotton picking second who is Sam?"

(Phone ring, please ring so I can...yes!) "Hold that thought. Whitford."

"Who is it?"

"Jean" Mara mouthed. "Sir you are joking right, just trying to make me go a little insane for my comment yesterday."

"Do you realize I'm still wearing Monday's clothes or that I haven't even unpacked yet?"

"So you want me to spend more time in an airport than at the event. Have I mentioned wanting to quit lately?"

"Oh you better believe I'll go buy something to wear, in Yorkville too and I'm bringing Cheryl with me so that means two outfits. I'm not suffering this alone."

Cheryl started laughing as Mara was making faces at the phone. "Fine I'll go but I'm leaving right now since I left my purse at home. Oh I'll have a safe flight Sir for no other reason than to maim you when I get back." Mara hung up the phone and looked at Cheryl. "You're right my job sucks."

Cheryl laughed again "So we are going to Toronto for the day?"

"Uhuh I'm speaking at a Liberal Fund Raiser since the Prime Minister can't get away. So we have a speech to write too." (Sam I could use your talents right about now you could do this in half an hour. Hey Cheryl forgot about her question.) "So let's get a move on if we miss the 11 we are stuck until 1 and I'll go stir crazy."

"I'm right behind you there is not enough booze in the lounge for me to sit around with you in an airport until one."

Mara laughed and started tossing things in to her briefcase including her computer. One of the assistant secretaries to the Prime Minister handed Mara an envelope with the travel details and a note from Jean. Mara kept it in her hand so she wouldn't loose it and walked out at double time with Cheryl. I wonder what Sam is doing now Mara thought as she slid in to the car.

"Sam?" Ginger called out just before poking her head around the door way.

"Yeah Ginger."

"Mrs. L. wanted me to tell you the President doesn't need the speech for the Georgia thing anymore he's not going and Donna wants to know if you think Gold or Platinum will look better on her tonight."

"The Georgia thing? I can not picture Mrs. Landingham calling it the Georgia thing." Sam teased.

"Bite me Sam. I figured even with your limited intelligence you'd know what she meant." Ginger teased back.

"Stay away from Mara you are starting to sound like her. Just for future reference Ginger what you should have said was I wasn't paying much attention Sam but Mrs. Landingham wanted me to tell you that a speech you were writing for the President for someplace in Georgia....."

Before Sam could finish having his fun Ginger was behind him pushing him in to his desk. "Apologize Sam before I make you a permanent feature in this desk."

"OK, OK, dang it Ginger you are hurting me."

"No kidding Sherlock."

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry oh great and powerful OZ I mean Ginger."

"That's better you geek. You'll buy lunch for me today Sam how sweet."

"Hey I didn' t..." Ginger gave him a look "Sure whatever."

"Well?"

"Well what?"

"Platinum or Gold what should I tell Donna."

"Tell Donna I don't care since I'm not wearing it she should just pick what she wants. No tell her to let Josh decide. Tell her to expose her neck and describe the pieces she was thinking of in intricate detail and let him pick." Sam snickered.

"You're bad Sam. I like your bad side you should let it come out and play more often."

"You should let your good side come out to play Ginger or at least your less violent side."

"Funny Sam. I've got work to do I'm sure you do to."
"When don' t I have work to do? You know I'd love to come in just once and have nothing to do. I could spend my day cleaning up in here, bugging C.J, join the White House tour you get the drift."

"Gossip with Donna, file my nails, bug Toby yeah I get it. See ya for lunch Samuel."

"See ya Ginger." Sam waited for her to be out of ear shot and called Mara at work. He was surprised to find out she was sent to Toronto. He checked if she brought her laptop and said good-bye. He had just started the e-mail when C.J. walked in.

"Whatcha doing Sammy?"

"Trying to send an e-mail."

"Could you postpone the love letter to Mara and give me a hand?"

Sam put his hands together and clapped three times. C.J was not amused. "How did you know?"

"You were grinning like the mad hatter you romantic geek."

"You're not going to go away until I help you right?"

"Right Spanky."

"What do you need?"

She tossed a report on his desk. "I need you to explain this in clear concise English. I swear Leo's eyes glazed over half way through his explanation. I think he just memorizes what the President tells him and repeats it verbatim."

Sam laughed and picked up the report. He scanned the title and quickly flipped through it.

"Mara was talking about this the other day. She explained it to me. Kay C.J. here's all you need to know about this report. It's long and boring and ripe with statistics and equations that merely confuse all concerned except for geeks with a passion for economics like Mara and the President. They see it as a challenge to follow it's tedious mathematical examples, logic and not get confused."

"Oh that much I figured out for myself by the time I gave up reading on page twenty."

"Yeah it's dense to put it mildly. The principal of it is dead on though. Basically it shows that the amount of money the government spends on touting a proposal i.e.. advertising combined with all the money that gets spent on polls, bringing in "experts" to gage public perception and reaction etc. can to varying degrees diminish or negate the social program an administration works so damn hard to get out there. Mara's example was deciding to set up a homeless shelter with a ten thousand dollar grant. You obviously go with an existing building. The money you spend schmoozing the right people to get you it for a great price, then the feelers you have to put out to see if anyone in the community will object, what they object to etc. means that if you don't give up in sheer frustration or get strangled by god dammed red tape as she calls it you have maybe 3 thousand dollars to run a shelter. "

"Sixty percent of the money is gone."

"Exactly, see you can do math C.J."

C.J leaned over and whacked Sam in the shoulder. "I get that now so what's all this stuff about proportionally yielding expenditures verses something or other?

"You spend forty thousand dollars each to build ten temporary shelters that resemble a school portable on land that will be turned in to a shopping complex or something else in five years. So in five years ten families are homeless again and more money has to be spent. No one stops to think that three blocks down an six story office building is about to be demolished merely to make room for a parking lot or a green space. That 400 thou could have been used to make upgrades in the building that could house say 60 familles. Yeah it might cost you 600 thou in the end but you get a higher yield from a proportionally smaller capital expenditure."

"So in plain English you have five friends craving chocolate and instead of giving each a little bit of your imported bar that doesn't' satisfy anyone you make a pan of brownies and get to bring some in your lunch the next day."

"That's exactly what you tell the press when they ask you about it. Damn are you craving brownies now too?"

"I'll race you to the mess." C.J laughed and shot out of his office.

Three brownies and a cup of coffee later Sam was settled back at his desk and started his e-mail. It only took 15 interruptions, five hours and one change of clothes for Sam to finally be able to hit send. He was wondering what Mara was doing at that moment when a shadow crossed his door. He looked up and smiled at Donna who looked elegant and polished in a seemingly simple little black silk shift dress.

"Donna you look fabulous I'll be the envy of every man in attendance. Josh actually went with pearls?"

"Thanks Sam you look very handsome too. More than one woman will be salivating over you tonight. No Josh went for this showy faux diamond number. Mrs. Bartlet and I had a good laugh in private and decided on this. It's a loner from her."

"Shall we go Cinderella?" Sam extended his hand towards the door.
"Sure just let me go grab my wrap and say good night to Josh."

Donna turned on her strappy black heels and Sam's jaw dropped. Donna's dress fell in to a very low, very sexy cowl exposing nearly all of her sensitive alabaster skin. The pearl necklace's clasp was a gold and diamond sphere that rested just about where her bra should end. (I don't think I've ever appreciated opera length pearls quite so much before. Sam snap out of it, this is Donna you are drooling over. Sweet, wonderful Donna who you think of as your sister. Sweet wonderful sexy as hell Donna. Oh I've got to see Josh's reaction.)

Sam slid across the hall and got there just in time to see Donna turn away from Josh heading back to Sam's office. Josh's jaw dropped, his face flushed and his coffee mug to hit the floor. Donna smiled evilly at Sam knowing full well what type of reaction she'd elicit from Josh. She didn't even have to look back to know Josh was lusting after her.

"You know Josh it would have been easier and less messy to simply say Wow Donna you look incredibly beautiful and sexy. Sam is a lucky, lucky man to be escorting you out tonight." Sam said glibly.

Josh scowled at his best friend suddenly feeling green with envy and irritated that Sam found Donna sexy.(Am I mad any man in his right mind would find her sexy. Hell I want to take her in to my office get that dress off of her and...Don't even finish that thought self we are only going to get in trouble if you do. Forget how ravishing she looks forget how you'd love to be kissing all that creamy alabaster skin. She's looking at me now have to say something.) "You look great Donna. Did you steal that dress too?" (I couldn't have just complimented her no I have to insult her too.)

(It's only a little white lie and hell you deserve it Josh.) "No I did not steal this dress and for your information I borrowed the red dress Kay! I bought this dress last weekend. I was out with Jon and I passed it in the store window. I tried it on for Jon and he told me I simply had to have it." (So Jon was already gone and I was with Mara but you don't know that.)

"You bought a dress you probably couldn't afford because a married rock star tells you too?"

"Actually I could afford it and I bought it because I'm updating my wardrobe. Having a married rock star tell me how sexy I looked in it only confirmed it was the right choice so there."(You want me bad don't you? Good.)

(Time to go before Josh says something he'll regret.) "Night Josh don't worry I'll have her back here in time for work in the morning. Donnatella shall we?" Sam reached out to hold her hand then leaned over to whisper in her ear."You know you didn't leave much material for me to hold you platonically. I can't exactly put my hand on the small of your back in this dress."

Donna's throaty giggle echoed in the bull pen. "Don't be silly Sam you can put your hands anywhere you want I won't mind one bit." She said just quietly enough so Josh could still hear her."Night Josh."

Sam took that has his que to move and escorted Donna out to the waiting limousine. Having gotten the reaction from Josh she didn't even notice the folders being dropped, the gaping jaws and lustful stares she was getting from every male in the west wing they passed. Donna settled in beside him in the car and once they were moving smiled.

"That went perfectly don't you think?" She asked Sam.

"Oh yeah if you consider Josh probably wants to hurt me about now and you gave about fifteen staffers heart failure or the inability to move successful." Sam replied wryly.

"Really? Fifteen wow I'm good."

"No Donna you are bad. A very bad little girl." Sam chuckled.

"Never forget Sam that bad can be oh so good." Donna purred.

"Dear God Mara what have you done to my Sweet Donna."

Donna started laughing heartily and playfully hit Sam in the arm."Ah Sam don't worry the Donna you adore is still there."

"Good cause I can only handle one sexy kitten in my life at a time and I can barely handle Mara."

"You've got it bad Sam."

"Yep and so do you Donna. Don't even try to deny it."

"Sam I don't have any idea what you are referring too."

"Face it sexy you are in love with your boss."

"Am not!"

"Are to!"

"Am not!"

"Are to!"

"I am so not in love with Joshua Lyman."

"You can say it all you want Donna but I still won't believe you."

"Josh is my boss. Josh is my friend. Well he's more than a friend but he's more of ...oh it's too complicated to explain what he is but I am not in love with him. I love him. I love you. I love Leo. Some days I love Toby get it."

"I get it Donna."(I apparently get it better than you do. You two are gaga over each other and are the only two people on earth who can't see it.)

"Good. Do you think they'll be serving us an actually meal tonight or just hors d'ouevers?"

"My guess is that this is more of a cocktail party so hors d'ouevers."

"They better have a lot I'm starving."

"Me too. Donna you really do clean up nice as my mother would say."

Donna laughed. "You too Sam. So what was Mara doing tonight?"

"I don't know they just said she had been sent to Toronto when I called earlier."

"Ah. Well we are here are you ready to be shining representatives of the current administration?"

"No but I'm ready to have fun."

"I think that's what got Josh and Toby in so much trouble last time."

"No Josh and Toby got in to trouble because they decided to have fun by getting drunk."

"Will Josh ever learn that he can't drink because of his...."

"Sensitive system and the answer is no." Sam said with a grin.

The Smithsonian Institution known as the Castle was decorated with thousands of tiny white lights that turned the Norman style administrative building in to a glittering fantasy land. Long elegantly decorated tables were placed around the room with various hors d'ouevers in addition to the white gloved servers that floated around the room. Sam and Donna accepted a glass of champagne and headed straight for the food tables. They decided to divide and conquer and meet back near the information center in ten minutes to share their booty. Men jumped out of the way to let Donna in line and Sam found several women eager to recommend what he should try. Both of them were charming and witty until the plates were full and they excused themselves to go find their dates.

Mallory noticed them from across the room standing by a video display machine laughing and joking around in between forcing food on each other. It took a few minutes for Mallory to realize that the beautiful blonde in the drop dead sexy black dress was Donna. She'd heard earlier in the evening that Sam had spent the entire later part of the State Dinner dancing with a gorgeous blonde in a backless slit up to there red dress and she started to wonder if something was going on between Donna and Sam. He always had a soft spot in his heart for Donna she thought. Curiosity got the better of her and she made her way over once they were finished eating.

"Well I'm not hungry anymore how about you Sam?"

"I'm fine for now. I didn't mention it in the car but you know I love you too."

Mallory had only heard: you know I love you too and had to quickly reset her jaw. She was about to turn around and go back to her date when she caught Donna's eye.

"Hi Mal. Sam was just declaring his undying love for me. Personally I think it's this dress that made him say that."

"Hey Mal you look very pretty. I think it's actually the champagne Donna." Sam laughed.

Donna laughed, rolled her eyes and playfully pinched his nose. "You look great Mallory."

"Thanks Donna you look spectacular Every guy in here including my own date wants to know what Sam did to deserve you as his date."

"Thanks, you can tell them he accepted my invitation. I'm not stupid. I asked one of the capitals most handsome and charming eligible bachelors to be my date. Well he's not eligible anymore but still."

"Wait so the President didn't order me here with you?"

"No he ordered me and well you clean up the best Sam. You are also the most fun."

"You really have to stop spending so much time with her. You are picking up all her bad habits."

"What? I think what ever Donna wants Donna gets is a great rule to live by." Donna laughed.

"Excuse me for a moment while I mourn the loss of the old Donna." Sam deadpanned.

Donna laughed and looked over at Mallory who looked utterly confused. "Sorry I should explain. Sam's girlfriend and I hit it off immediately and because she can whip Sam and Josh's butts with out breaking a sweat they are getting nervous. Actually I'm sure you must know her since your Dad adores her so much. Her name is Mara Whitford."

(Mara! Sam's dating that pain in the butt? Hell he thought I was difficult to date. What is it with that girl that makes men like my Dad and Uncle Jed love her so much?) "Oh, good luck Sam you are going to need it with her. I better be getting back to my date. Nice seeing you both."

Sam and Donna looked at each other trying to figure out why Mallory said what she did. They said good bye and watched her walk away.

"Mara? What is it with everyone? Am I the only one who hasn't fallen under her spell. I swear the girl has to be a witch."

"What was that Mallory?" Her date asked.

"Oh nothing I'm just thinking out loud."

"Did you find your friends?"

"Yeah, you want to get out of here and go get a real drink?"

"Sure."

Sam and Donna gave up trying to figure Mallory out and mingled with the rest of the guests until Sam noticed Donna swaying to the music being played. She had just finished a glass of champagne so Sam quickly downed the remaining sip in his glass and moved his hand from where it had been comfortably hooked around her back to take her hand.

"Dance with me."

"Sam no one else is dancing." She whispered.

"So? I bet they all want to but they are too uptight to be the first. Come on Donna I know you like this Song."

"Saaam."

"Come on Donna humour me."

"Fine but if we get in trouble I'm blaming this all on you."

"Be my guest." Sam lead Donna over to an unoccupied area of the floor, pulled her in close and started moving them both to the music.

There's an old saying that says love is blind
Still we're often told, seek and ye shall find
So I'm going to seek a certain lad I've had in mind
Looking everywhere, haven't found him yet

He's the big affair I cannot forget
Only man I ever think of with regret
I'd like to add his initial to my monogram
Tell me, where is the shepherd for this lost little lamb

There's a somebody I'm longing to see
I hope that he turns out to be
Someone who'll watch over me
I'm a little lamb who's lost in the wood
I know I could always be good
To one who'll watch over me

Although he may not be the man
Some girls think of as handsome
To my heart he carries the key
Won't you tell him please to put on some speed
Follow my lead, oh how I need
Someone to watch over me
Someone to watch over me

By the time Sam had gently dipped Donna twenty other couples had joined them on the dance floor and Sam smiled at Donna.

"See I told you they wanted to dance."

"So you were right for once Sam don't let it give you a Josh sized ego."

"To think I was just going to suggest we have dinner and then go dancing on Thursday night."

"Can we Sam? I love dancing and I never get to go. All my dates just take me to dinner. That's why I like State Dinners so much I get to dance. Please Sammy I'll be good I promise."

Sam glanced at the adorable sad little puppy dog pout on her face and couldn't' have said no if he tried. "Oh all right."

Donna wrapped her arms around Sam and gave him a long hug. "Thanks Sam."

"Anytime Donna. Shall we keep dancing?"

"Uhuh lead on Fred."

"Then let's show the folks how to waltz Ginger."

Sam and Donna had left the fund raiser a little after eleven. The driver dropped Donna off first and Sam insisted on walking her up to her apartment. Donna opened her door and Sam stepped in to make sure she was alone. Donna thought Sam was paranoid but if it would make him sleep easier she didn't care. Once Sam was satisfied she was safe he headed back to the door.

"Night Donna I had fun tonight."

"So did I Sam. You know it's too bad we didn't start hanging out earlier we could have spent many a lonely night having fun."

"Well better late then never. Promise me even when Mara's back that if you get home and just feel blue that you'll call and we'll do something."

"I promise." Donna leaned in to give Sam a soft kiss. "You're a good man Samuel Norman Seaborn don't ever forget it."

Sam smiled softly. "You are a bright beautiful woman and a wonderful friend Donnatella Moss don't you ever forget it." Sam kissed her on the cheek and headed back down to the car.

There was no message from Mara on the answering machine and the countless glasses of champagne Sam drank had finally gone to his head. He changed for bed, swallowed a few pills with lots of water and climbed in to bed. Sleep came easily for a change and he was peacefully slumbering before midnight.

Mara and Cheryl were sitting in the Air Canada lounge at Pearson International Airport in Toronto waiting for the rain to let up long enough for their flight to be boarded. Mara was checking her e-mail's and Cheryl figured one more hot chocolate spiked with Bailey's would be enough to get her boss to finally answer her question from earlier.

From: SSeaborn@whitehouse.gov
To: MWhitford@cdngovt.ca
Subject: Hello beautiful.

I tried calling you but they said you'd been sent to Toronto. I would have thought you'd had enough traveling lately. You take your cat to work? I bet nobody is stupid or brave enough to tell you that you can't. I got stuck here last night until ten but Donna went out to get us Mexican and she stayed to help me. In a way it worked out well since I'm doing longer hours when you aren't waiting for me at home. I miss you. It was really hard getting to sleep last night even thou I was tired. Ginger was being evil earlier and tried to make me a permanent fixture in my desk. I sent her away to give Donna an idea to drive Josh batty. It's only taken me five hours to finish this e-mail. C.J came in and asked me to explain that economic brief you explained to me. She knew I was trying to write you. She said I was smiling like the mad hatter. If I've saved this e-mail to draft once I've done it a hundred times. So how did Cheryl take her promotion? I bet she doesn't hate you anymore.

Have you ever been to Williamsburg? It's quite quaint and very pretty. There is this great restaurant called the Trellis right in Merchant Square. The food is phenomenal and the desserts are out of this world. I bet the chocolate loving girl you are that you've heard about one of the chefs Marcel Desaulniers and his death by chocolate cake. I thought if you've never been maybe we could go up there for a weekend it's only about 150 miles from here. I can't wait for you to be here permanently. I know you'll miss Ottawa but I'll do my best to make sure DC feels like home to you. Well I better get going Donna should be by any minute so we can go to this gala. I'm dressed like a penguin and my tie is crooked since you aren't here to fix it. I love you.
Sam

To: SSeaborn@whitehouse.gov
From: MWhitford@cdngovt.ca
Subject: Oh Sam!

All I need for DC to feel like home is you. I'm sitting here in this infernal airport waiting for the rain to stop and all I'm thinking about is I can't wait to get home. The home I mean is your apartment. Yesterday was such a disaster after I hit the send button on your e-mail. I had to clear up a mess a rookie MP made and draft his letter of apology. Cheryl was hanging up every other call I got and she left at one. I cracked my head on my desk and cut my hand on the broken remains of my favourite mug. If I hadn't been so dang busy I would have just started crying and booked a one way plane ticket back to you. By the time I got home last night it was after one and I just crashed fully clothed on my bed. I didn't set the alarm so Cheryl called me at ten after nine to tell me my nine o'clock appointment was waiting for me. I went in wearing Mondays clothes and gave Cheryl shit for her behaviour yesterday. Then I promoted her and she didn't accept! I wanted to murder her but I look horrible in prison orange and I'd never get to see you. She finally agreed to take the job for 3 months then quit and come down to be my assistant. As happy as I'll be to have her back I'm sorry she doesn't want this killer opportunity she's been given.

Then Jean calls and tells me I have to speak in his place at this Liberal fund rasing dinner. Sharing a bed with a speech writer will be a great thing but it didn't help much today. It took Cheryl and I two hours to do something that might have taken you half an hour tops. The food sucked, it wasn't an open bar and I had no money on me. Thankfully Cheryl had like $40 but that didn't buy us much to drink. So I'm sitting here in this lounge getting drunk on hot chocolate and Bailey's Irish Cream. I slipped up earlier this morning and told Cheryl she had to tell Jean she was only staying for 3 months once I was safely in your arms in DC. Of course it only took her a second to ask me who Sam was. The phone rang and I thought she'd forgotten all about my slip but she's got that cat who ate the canary look on her face and the alcohol is starting to get to me so I'll be singing like a canary very soon. Hope you don't mind.

I've never actually been to Williamsburg so yes I'd love to go with you. I've actually made that death by chocolate cake twice myself and oh is it ever good. I'll make it for you to celebrate my home coming. I better go my eyes are getting heavy. I love you Sam and I'm missing you like crazy.
Mar

She hit send and closed down her computer slidding it back in to it's carrying case. Mara got up and walked back over to the hot chocolate machine half filled her cup and filled the rest with Bailey's. She slumped back down in the plump leather chair and looked at Cheryl who had this spill it look on her face.

Mara took a long sip of the creamy chocolate mixture and sighed deeply. "Cheryl I'm tired and I miss the man I love. I'll tell you all about Sam over lunch tomorrow. Wake me up if our flight ever decides to leave."

Mara looked so exhusted and sad that Cheryl didn't even say a word. She put her own jacket over her boss and friend, pulled out the book she was reading and wondered if this Sam had a brother for her.

Chapter 14

 

 

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