Cold Blast - 15

By Cathy

 

 

Sam woke up with a dead arm since it had been hanging over the couch for most of the night. He swore softly as he moved it. He was sitting on the edge of the couch rubbing his eyes when he remembered he forgot to call Mara. (Well she did say I could wake her up.) A mischievous grin tugged at his lips as he picked up the phone and dialed.

"Umpf, what."

"Good morning beautiful."

"Sam?"

"Uhuh."

"It's..." Mara turned to look at her alarm clock. "Six am are you insane?"

"You said I could wake you up."

"Sam wipe that little boy, impish grin off your face."

Sam chuckled softly, "I thought you loved my smile."

"I do but it's irritating as hell when you are playing me."

"Sorry Mara but I have to have some fun without you here and Josh this early just isn't functioning enough to be fun."

"Call C.J."

"That's not fun it's a blood sport."

"Fun for me."

"Damn you're evil woman."

"It's part of my charm."

"So that's what you're calling it these days."

"Oh I'm going to slap you pretty boy."

"Just be gentle with me. Donna says I have sensitive skin."

"Do I even want to know Sam?" Mara snorted.

"Yeah you'd want to know but I can't do Donna the Dermatologist justice over the phone. I'll show you when I see you."

"Oy my poor Sammy." Mara giggled imagining what Donna must have put him through.

"Oh great speak of the devil and she appears." Sam groaned as Donna came towards him with a face cloth, a bowl of water and Mara's purple stuff.

"Donna slept over again? Sam should I be worried?" Mara asked with a teasing laugh.

"Maybe you should be since she's civil to me in the morning. She manages to say more than Umpf."

"Yeah but does she raise you core body temperature, send your head spinning and leave you panting for more?" Mara asked trying not to laugh at how silly she sounded.

"Donna doesn't come with a referral for an exorcist." He was met by silence on the other end prompting his life to slowly start passing before his eyes until he heard it. It was muffled but it was getting louder.

"Oh you are so lucky that was funny as hell." Mara said between giggles.

Sam breathed a sigh of relief and Donna took full advantage of the break in his attention to slap a warm wet face cloth on his face. Mara could hear Sam's muffled voice whining at Donna and she continued to laugh.

"Mar is it possible to be drowned by a face cloth?' Sam whined.

"No silly. I'll let you and Donna get back to whatever kinky game you've got going there. Call me tonight."

(I won't have to I'll be there.) "Sure if Donna hasn't moisturized and toned me to death. Ya think C.J could come rescue me?"

"She's there too? Got quite the little harem going there Seaborn."

"Yeah it takes two of them to replace you."

"Ah Sam you sweet talker you. Have a good day and say hi to my replacements for me."

"Will do. Luv ya."

"Luv ya too." Mara hung up the phone, pulling the covers back over her head wishing the birds would shut up and let her go back to sleep.

The commotion in the living room combined with her curiosity forced C.J to investigate what Sam and Donna were up to. She walked in to see Donna straddling Sam thus stopping movement. His head was bobbing from side to side trying to prevent her from applying face gel.(Damn where's a camera when amazing blackmail material is .. wait I think Mar's is still in the bedroom.) C.J quietly crept back in to the room found the camera and set it. Sam and Donna were so busy calling each other names they didn't even hear her. A flash going off on their faces signaled they had company.

"This little picture is going to be worth soooo much in blackmail. The best part is it's a two for one I can hold it over both of you." C.J laughed.

"Sam's the one who looks ridiculous. "Donna said matter of factly.

"Yeah but think of what Ginger could do with you on Sam's lap, in his shirt no less." C.J. said smugly.

"Umm you're wearing one of my shirts too C.J."

"Yeah but I've got the camera so try proving it Spanky."

"Fine I give up it's just easier being blackmailed by you. Trust me Donna."

"C.J I thought we were friends and you'd blackmail me?" Donna went in to full injured party mode.

"Donna I am your friend, that face might work on Josh and this one but I'm impervious to it. I have to get my kicks somehow and this is it."

"I hear paybacks are hell C.J" Donna said menacingly.

"Bring it on Baby bring it on." C.J laughed.

"Donna would you get this goo off my face it's starting to cake!"

"Wait let me get a shot of it."

"C.J try it and I will drop Donna on her pretty little behind and lunge at you."

"Fine I'm going to take a shower and I'm bringing the camera with me just in case."(You are not going to have a chance to take picture of me in the shower Donna.)

Sam sat still only so that Donna could get the gel off his face faster. Once it was all off he stood up quickly depositing Donna on her behind.

"That's my playback Blondy." Sam leaned over and pulled Donna to her feet.

"That wasn't very nice Sam."

"I'll concede to that point."

"I'm only trying to make you the best Sam Seaborn." (Kay it is fun making you squirm.)

"I'm saying I liked the old Sam Seaborn thank you very much."

"I bet you twenty bucks Mara compliments you on your skin."

"She knows you've been playing Barbie head with me."

"I still have mine you know and it's in mint condition."

"My sister's isn't. I sort of chopped Barbie's hair off to get back at her for something."

"Do you know how much it could have been worth now?"

"No and thankfully neither does my Sis or she would have sent me a bill."

"Kay I'm done. Who's next?" C.J asked a few minutes later.

"I am." Sam sprinted to the bathroom.

"And we always thought Sam was the gentleman of the bunch." C.J commented.

"I think he wants to scrub his face." Donna laughed.

"Why are you playing Dermatologist?"

"Sam is cute but he's got all these fine lines that shouldn't be there. I like making him squirm and Josh would never let me do this to him."

"You are strange Donna."

"Thank you I know."

Sam packed a carry on bag for the weekend and whined to C.J about being Donna's Barbie head. C.J. found Sam as a Barbie head so visual that she told him she was going to start calling him Barbie instead of Spanky. Sam was not amused and promised he'd call her Claudia Jean forever if she tried it. C.J agreed to a cease fire and decided to annoy him by asking "whatcha doing" every thirty seconds while he was making toast. He was ready to cause some bodily harm until he looked up and they both started laughing. Sam happily listened to Donna and C.J talk during the ride to work. After 7:30 senior staff he went back to his office to start working on an education reform proposal.

Donna realized that she was missing something and went to see if C.J. had tossed it in to her bag by mistake. She stood at the threshold of C.J.'s door listening to her yell at someone about not being able to find work writing for a grade school paper if he ever did something like that again. C.J looked up and motioned Donna in..

"Yes?" C.J asked once she hung up.

"Who the heck were you giving that amazing dressing down to? I forget how damn scary you can be."

"Why thank you Donna that's the nicest thing I've heard thus far today." C.J laughed.

"Hey can I have a piece of your muffin?"

"Take it all, I wanted it when I bought it now I don't."

Donna munched on it for a minute causing C.J to roll her eyes. "Donna I don't have all day. What can I do for you?"

"Oh sorry."

Josh needed to verify what C.J was going to say about vote 620 during the morning briefing so he stopped by her office on the way back from the mess. He was surprised to see Donna sitting in front of C.J's desk seemingly engaged in small talk with a chuckling C.J. Never wanting to miss an opportunity to have something to tease Donna about Josh took a few more steps so he could hear what they were saying.

"Donna you lost your bra?"

"I didn't lose it I misplaced it. I thought I picked it up this morning but I guess it's still sitting in Sam's bedroom somewhere. Not that I need it this second but when I noticed it wasn't in my bag...."

"Uhuh. Sam gave you his key right? Just go check at lunch. You know he'll tease you if he finds it first."

"Yeah probably in public after this morning's face episode. You know if he would have only relaxed completely and stopped squirming it would have been a much more enjoyable experience."

"Well Donna you surprised him on the couch, straddled him then went right for his face. I can see why he was jumpy."

Donna laughed, "I should have done it yesterday morning he was in a more relaxed mood."

"Both of you are spending way too much time together. To answer your question no I don't and yes I'll keep this just between us."

"Thanks. I'll get out of your face now."

"Great maybe I can get some work done. See ya later."

Josh couldn't believe his ears. The words straddled, Sam's bedroom, bra, yesterday morning and enjoyable experience kept floating through his head like a twisted mantra. He tried to rationalize what he heard but every sentence seemed to be worse than the previous. His arm touched the door, Donna jumped and C.J had her how much did you hear look on her face.

"Josh, were you umm looking for me?"

"No I need C.J."

"Well I was leaving anyway." Donna walked out of the room quickly and retreated back to her cube wondering if she had to worry about Josh teasing her instead of Sam.

"C.J?"

"Good boy Josh you remembered my name."

C.J's quip was lost on Josh. "What did Donna want?"

"Nothing really, what do you want?"

"I wanted to go over what you were going to say about 620. C.J. what's going on between Donna and Sam?"

"Josh I'm the White House's mouth piece not Donnas. If you want to know go ask her yourself."

"Fine now about 620." Josh knew he wasn't going to get any more information out of her.

Sam was just about ready to leave for the airport when Donna breezed in to his office with a small bottle in her hand.

"Sam the air on planes is very drying before you board slap some of this on you face."

"Donna give it a rest."

"Sam I'm not letting my work go to waste now take this."

"Fine but that doesn't mean I'll use it." Sam teased.

Donna popped the top on the moisturizer, squirted some out in her hand and slapped it on his face.

"Donna!"

"Now I know you'll use it. Now be a good little boy and rub it in."

"You do it, your hands are already yucky."

"You're such a baby Samuel." Donna transferred some of the cream from his cheek to his forehead and started massaging it in.

"Now this I could take on a daily basis." Sam sighed as Donna continued to massage his temples. "Don't you have work to do Donna?"

"I'm done until Josh needs something else. I'm going over to the Smithsonian this afternoon."

"Well if you ever need help or advice you know where I work."

"Thanks Sam now stop talking for a second."

Donna quickly blended the cream around Sam's mouth and was rubbing the last bit of cream in to his cheek when Josh burst through the door way.

From his vantage point Josh could only see that Donna and Sam were inches apart and Donna was cradling Sam's face in her hands. He felt hurt, betrayal and rage towards his best friend.

"Sam how could you do this to me? What Mara wasn't enough for you, you have to sleep with my Donna too?"

"Josh you are out of your mind."

"I know exactly what's going on." Josh yelled.

"Josh would you stop yelling and listen." Donna said trying to control her voice.

"What Donna? Are we missing any bra's? I suggest you look in Sam's bed where he must have tossed it last night. Some best friend you are. I can't stand the sight of you." Josh lunged forward and landed a punch just underneath Sam's right eye.

The force of the punch sent Sam back a few steps and had Donna not been between the two best friends Sam would have countered with a left jab.

"Oh God Sam are you OK? JOSHUA HAVE YOU GONE MENTAL ?"

"Josh how could you think for one second I'd sleep with Donna? I'd never do that to you and I love Donna too much as a FRIEND to do that to her. I don't know what gave you this idiotic idea so Donna slap him around a bit for me till his head is on straight again. I've got a plane to catch."

"Hey Sam shouldn't you be...my God what happened." Kathy asked.

"Kathy can you go get some ice for Sam and drive him to the airport."

"Sure Donna. Have a seat Sam I'll be right back."

"Donna I'm capable of driving myself."

"That eye of yours is going to swell and then where will you be. Now sit."

"See Donna your facial has been spoiled already."

"Sam I don't know what to say. I'm sorry." A confused Josh mumbled.

"You go sit in your office and don't move until I'm ready to speak with you Joshua Lyman." Donna ordered.

"Yes Donatella." Josh left the office with a bent head, tail tucked between his legs.

"Think any one would notice if I murdered him?"

"Leo would eventually." Sam chuckled then stopped because it hurt his face.

"Oh Sam I'm so sorry, this is all my fault."

"Don't be silly Donna it's not your fault. Tell Kathy I'll wait for her at the exit." Sam put on his sun glasses, picked up his bag, kissed Donna on the cheek and met Kathy in the hall.

By the time Sam was in the air his face was really starting to hurt so he swallowed a few pills and tried to relax by closing his eyes and concentrating on his breathing.. One of the flight attendants noticed the bruise peeking out from under his sun glasses and brought him an ice pack. He was met by a Government employee at the gate and ushered quickly thorough immigrations and customs. Sam politely answered questions about working in the White House and was grateful to see the sign announcing Parliament Hill 2 Km. The town car pulled up to a side entrance and Sam's companion brought him through a guarded entrance and told him to have a seat.

Sam noticed a few employee's wandering the halls all in jeans and wondered why. A few minutes later a tall beauty with light brown hair pulled back in to a clip, black jeans and a green sweater stopped in front of him.

"Sam?"

"Uhuh."

"Hi I'm Cheryl."

Sam stood up right away and shook her hand. "Nice to met you. You know Mara said you were her rock yet she failed to mention you were a pretty rock."

Cheryl chuckled, "Thanks I think. So how was your flight?" (Strange compliment, he's as warped as Mar no wonder she fell for him and dang it he's gorgeous.)

"Oh fine I guess. So where is my favourite fire breathing dragon?"

"I sent her upstairs about five minutes ago and the Prime Minister was going to keep her up there till he gets the signal. Let's go to her office."

Sam followed Cheryl down a small set of stairs and along a long corridor until they came across an area that resembled the bull pen to him. Approximately forty desks sat in an open area with one large office in the far left corner.

"I take it that's her holding pen."

Cheryl laughed, "Uhuh, the press calls it the lion's den, the opposition the snake pit and we call it the candy store."

"Yeah she mentioned the candy store in an e-mail."

"She brought Killer in again so don't be surprised and look before you sit down."

"Tell me Cheryl who's really in charge of the Canadian Government the Prime Minister or Mara?"

"Let's put it this way what Mara wants Mara gets. So if you can convince her to support you it's done."

"She's going to miss having that much influence."

"No she won't because she'll still have it. Mara could be sent to the Arctic Circle and she's still run the show."

"Not your cup of tea is it?"

"Nope that's why I turned down the job. Here give me your bag." Cheryl dropped it behind her desk, opened the door to Mara's office and told him to sit in her chair.

"Wow this office is three times the size of mine."

"Yeah it's almost as big as the Prime Minister's. His office is directly above on the third floor."

Killer opened his eyes and was about to close them again when he noticed Cheryl wasn't alone. He got up from his perch on top of the TV and leapt across the room landing in the center of Mara's desk. Cheryl had to laugh as Killer kept looking at her then Sam as if to say well introduce me. Which is exactly what she did. "Killer this is Sam, Sam this is Killer."

Sam slowly extended his hand out to Killer so he could sniff it. When Killer didn't snap Sam slowly raised his hand to scratch behind the cat's ears. Killer rubbed his chin against Sam's hand.

"Well you've been accepted, this one has a real attitude and isn't partial to most men. Consider yourself very luck Sam. I'll buzz you when I see Mara, just spin her chair to face the window so she doesn't' see you from the door."

"Kay, thanks Cheryl."

"You're welcome Sam and help yourself to anything."

"Hey Cheryl what's with the jeans?"

"Ah every Friday we pay for the right to wear Jeans. We collect $20 a month and all the money raised goes to six charities. Basically we donate to one every two months. It was something
I suggested and Mara jumped on and made it happen."

"That was a very good idea Cheryl I don't think we'd be able to pull it off. I can't see C.J giving Fridays press briefings in Jeans and a T-shirt."

"I guess. Most of us don't get seen by the public but on a few occasions the Prime Minister has joined us and we just say it's part of a charity fund raiser. No offense Sam but the West Wing isn't any more important than this floor. If Fortune 500 companies participate in casual Fridays or Levi's Jean Day for breast cancer fund raising which by the way is one of our six why can't the West Wing? It could work if you were willing to make it work."

"Something tells me Mara will initiate it in the Embassy maybe she can talk The President in to it."

"I think she could. Call me if you need anything else." Cheryl returned to her desk.

Sam loved Mara's office. The walls were a deep sage green with oak bookcases, three large windows let sunlight over flow in to the room. Wanda swam happily around her bowl. Sam wasn't' surprised to find an expensive portable stereo on one of the shelves with a stack of CD's. Another shelf was filled with dozens of various candies in clip jars. He pulled out a licorice stick and took a closer look at the pictures that were scattered all over the office. On her desk was a picture of Mara hugging a younger girl who Sam assumed must be her sister Dani. The other picture Sam recognized, it was taken on the porch of the Manchester farm house, Mara was sitting on the edge of Abbey's chair and Jed was standing behind her one hand on his wife's shoulder the other on Mara's. There was a picture of Mara and the Prime Minister dancing at some event. He smiled at a picture on the wall of Mara and C.J. hugging Jon and Mara playing paddy cake with a young blonde girl. He sat back down in her chair and scratched Killer's ears and chin until he heard the phone buzz. He turned the chair around and stayed as still as possible. He knew Mara had to be close because he heard her voice.

"I swear Cheryl he is getting as long winded as Jed. I still haven't quite figured out what he wanted to talk to me about."

"Mara your four o'clock called and had to cancel why don't you just call it quits for the weekend."
"I think I will only if you join me. You can buy me a few drinks so I stop thinking about how much I miss a certain Deputy."

"I might be able to help you there Miss Whitford."

Mara's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree as she turned toward the voice. Her chair swiveled around and Sam smiled sexily at her.

"Oh my God what are you doing here?"

"Surprise! I missed you and the President knew it so he gave me the weekend off."

Mara turned around to look at her grinning assistant. "You had something to do with this I'm sure."

"A little."

"Thank you now go home."

"See ya around Sam. You sure you don't have a brother?"

"I'm sure Cheryl, thanks for everything."

"Any time cutie pie."

Mara closed her office door after hugging Cheryl and leapt in to Sam's arms. "Sam what's with the glasses?" Mara pulled his glasses off and inhaled. "Sam that's one nasty shiner. Who am I murdering?"

"Josh."

"Your best friend did this to you?"

"Yeah he thought I slept with Donna."

"HE WHAT? What drug was idiot boy on at the time?"

"Eavesdropping."

"My poor, poor baby." Mara gently kissed the bruise.

"I still don't know what Donna and C.J. were talking about that Josh misheard but Donna was ready to tar and feather him which will be worse than the punch I wanted to return."

"How about I give you the grand tour then we can go back to my house. I don't know about you but I could use a nap."

"A nap? I fly all the way here and you want to take a nap?" Sam teased thinking it wasn't such a bad idea.

"Sam we have all weekend. Why settle for a 100 meter dash when you can have a marathon instead?"

"Have I mentioned I love the way your mind works lately?"

Mara gave Sam a throaty laugh, "My body hooks the guy but it's my mind that keeps him coming back for more."

Sam tilted her head up with his thumb and smiled, "Actually your sarcasm attracted me, your mind did me in and the vision of you in my shirt wakes me up with heart palpitations."

Mara gently kissed his black eye. "Come on Rocky let's get some steak on that eye. I'll give you the tour when no one is around to ask me any questions. I see you've met my baby."

Sam slowly picked Killer up and scratched his head. "Yup."

"You aren't bleeding, I'm impressed you're in."

"I figured if I could charm the mistress I could charm her cat too."

Mara picked up the phone, called the car service, packed up her bag and popped a gum ball in to her mouth. "I'd offer you one Sam but I don't think chewing is a good idea right now."

"No that licorice stick almost killed me. I still can't believe Josh would even think I'd cheat on you with Donna no less. I mean Donna is beautiful, intelligent and lots of fun but her heart has been taken for the last two and a half years."

"Sam as much as I hate to admit this Josh's behaviour was sorta, kinda cute. He wasn't commenting on your character he just warped in to primitive man mode. Jealousy isn't called the Green Eyed Monster just for fun Sam, besides Josh is a few fries short of a happy meal."

Sam started laughing heartily, "A few fries short of a happy meal! I love it, mind if I use it."

"Go right ahead. Now where is your bag?"

"Cheryl took it off me."

Mara stuck her head out the door. "Cheryl you want a lift and where is Sam's..."

"Right here and uhuh."

"Let's get this show on the road then. Killer home." Killer walked over to the edge of the desk and effortlessly leapt up to Mara's shoulder. Sam picked up her bag and Cheryl slung Sam's over her shoulder.

Sam looked up as they drove past the Parliament building and along Sussex Drive. They dropped Cheryl off at a tall condo and continued along until the car stopped in front of a large gated Colonial style red brick house with a porch running right around.. The lawn was perfectly manicured with an interlocking stones forming a pathway to the front door.

"Wow this is your house? How on earth can you afford it? Wait a second doesn't' the Prime Minister live on this street too?"

"Yes, that's rude and yes." Mara laughed before rolling her eyes.

"Sorry but as a government employee I can't comprehend how you can support your shopping habit and own a house like this."

"Miss Whitford I'll bring the bags up to the door for you."

"Thank you Craig. Come on Sam we can talk about this inside."

Mara dug her keys out of her purse while Killer sat patiently at the crack of the door. As soon as it was open Killer dashed inside. Mara told Sam to look around and headed up to drop the bags in her bedroom. The walls in the living room were painted a pale lavender with a large floral couch, love seat and two frosty green armchairs. Pictures were scattered around the room. Sam was staring at one on the bookcase of Mara in a red bikini sitting on Jon's lap stealing his drink.

Mara came up behind him, "I looked so good that day."

"I'll say. Where was this taken?"

"In the backyard. It was taken last summer Jon and Dorthea brought the kids up for a week."

"Ah you look hot. This room suits you. I like it."

"Thanks Sam. Want to see the kitchen?"

Sam thought the kitchen belonged in an issue of Architecture today. The walls were painted a deep green with dark mahogany cabinets, marble counter tops, a breakfast nook that over looked the pool and garden. Gleaming cooper pots hung from a rack and dried flower arrangements were perched on small shelves. A 19 inch TV sat on the corner of a counter with a small stereo. A glass cabinet held an impressive collection of coloured glass and crystal glasses, vases and bowls shinning like gemstones as the sunlight reflected off them. Mara opened the stainless steel fridge, pulled out a bottle of wine and poured them each a glass. Sam looked at the pale pink wine skeptically.

"Try it you'll like it."

Sam took a small sip. "Hey that's not bad it tastes like strawberries."

"It's strawberry zinfandel. A true wine connoisseur might have a fit but I like it's light taste and it's only 7% alcohol."

"In other words you can drain the bottle yourself."

"That too. Are you hungry?"

"No not really. Can I get the rest of the tour?"

Mara showed Sam her library/study that he was instantly jealous of. His eyes seemed to be drawn to the books on her shelves and he turned around to stare in disbelief at her.

"You have an original Tale of Two Cities beside a Jackie Collins novel are you insane?"

"So? I have an original Catcher in the Rye next to...a Narrative History of the United States. I have the complete set of Lucy Maud Montgomery books next to Couplehood. I play with my books, moving them around as I see fit. I know where everything is and it creates an interesting look having antique books admits best sellers."

"But couldn't you have found a better place for Charles than beside her?"

"Dickens is your favourite writer?"

"Yes."

"Personally I think he'd get a kick out of it myself." Mara giggled.

"Who is your favourite author or do I want to know."

"Edith Wharton and she's beside Jay Leno so there."

"Have you actually read all of these?"

"At one time or another. If I don't like a book on at least one level I don' t keep it."

Sam ran his hand along the teak desk and sighed. "My office is the coffee table I'd never leave this room if it was mine."

"My mansion has a great study that we can share. Actually you'll use it more than me as I tend to work and read in bed. I'll have to decorate it though it's too depressing right now."

Sam smiled at Mara, he had hoped she would want him to move in but he didn't want to make any assumptions. "Is that an invitation to change my living arrangements?"

"Oh Samuel I say my mansion but I've only ever thought of it as our home. That is if you'll move in with me."

"To steal your line:you are my home Mara."

A tear trickled down her cheek before she wrapped her arms around him and engaged him in a long slow tender kiss. "I love you Sam." She whispered

"I love you too now show me your bedroom."

"Who has the one track mind this time Seaborn?"

Sam chuckled, "I was thinking about that nap."

"Yeah, yeah tell it to the judge."

Mara lead him up the spiral stair case pointing out the guest bedrooms that housed her stuffed animal collection and the room she converted in to her private closet. Sam had envisioned what he thought her bedroom would look like and judging from what he had seen so far he wasn't prepared for the sight before his eyes.

A massive mahogany ceiling high canopy bed dominated the room with sheer white curtains falling to the hardwood floor. A white quilt covered the bed and her now familiar bear leaned against the fluffy pillows. The walls were covered with stripped white silk while the rest of the furniture was the same dark mahogany as the bed. All the pictures were in simple silver frames
"Well?" Mara asked plopping down on a white fainting couch.

"It's very nice but not what I was expecting. It seems a little minimalist and formal for you."

Mara stood up and walked around the room with a critical eye before she stopped behind him. "I guess I can sort of see why you'd say that." Mara wrapped her arms around him and playfully poked his stomach. "Try my bed out." She whispered pulling back the curtain.

Sam sat down on the edge of the bed and inched his way up to the pillows. Mara smiled when he picked up her displaced bear and held him to his chest. Sam was staring at the top of canopy and Mara sat down beside him studying his face for a few moments.

"You know the fine lines are still there but your face does look more radiant."

Sam chuckled, "That's because I'm in your company."

"True but I think Donna may have a point too. I made an appointment for a facial tomorrow morning to de-stress myself, have one with me. Well half of one that side of your face is going to be sore for a full week. Did you know more men take advantage of spa services at resorts than women these days?"

"Really? Well I guess it makes sense since resort people will never see them again. They don't have to listen to Toby, Josh, Leo and the President of the United States tease them mercilessly about being a girl."

"I just thought of the perfect way to get Josh back and pay Toby for something he's undoubtedly done to you. C.J told me The View was taping in D.C in December and she bet me $50 that they'd want the newly announced female Ambassador from Canada on the show. I didn't take the bet since I think it will happen too especially since I've met Barbara and Meredith a few times and I once sat beside Star at a Bon Jovi concert. I don't think it would be too hard to suggest they do a piece on spa treatments for men and have the President force Josh and Toby to volunteer."

"Oh that is so deliciously evil I love it. I can see Toby squirming already and Josh thinking he doesn't need improving and being told he should have done something years ago."

Mara smiled wickedly, "So you'll join me then. You can't tell me having Donna massage the gel on your face didn't feel great."

"Actually I can but just before Josh flipped out she forced moisturizer on me and I felt a cinder block of stress leave my temple. That felt really good."

"So you never would have picked this to be my bedroom?"

"Nope if you gave me five pictures I certainly wouldn't have picked this one. I actually pictured your room looking more like C.J's except bigger and more expensively furnished."

"I like C.J's bedroom a lot." Mara reached over to the bedside table picked up a remote control and the mahogany armoire across from her bed opened up to reveal a 26" TV, VCR, DVD player and a portable stereo.

"Wow that's cool."

"Yeah and other than the pictures and my belongings it's the only thing I've changed in this room. You asked me how I could afford to stay here and the answer is my Grandma. My Dad came from a very wealthy family and most of the family's money came from my Grandma's company that she ran with my Grandpa. He died when I was 3 so I don't remember too much about him other than all the stories I've heard and the love letters he wrote my Grandma that I inherited. In her own warped way my Mother loves me and wouldn't ever wish me harm but she was cold and self centered and downright mean sometimes. My Dad adores me, loves me to death and would worship the ground Dani and I walk on if we'd let him but a brilliant surgeon doesn't' t spend a lot of time at home. Grandma was the one who gave Dani and I as much quality time and love that she could."

"So this was your Grandparent's house."

"Just my Grandma's. She grew tired of the political atmosphere in Quebec in the late 60's and sold her Westmount estate and moved here. I'm from an English speaking family and Grandma spoke perfectly fluent French as do I but she didn't think she should be forced fed a culture that wasn't hers and made to feel like a second class citizen in a town she helped build. I feel the same way and never get me going on Separation or you'll be sorry. Suffice to say if I was in charge certain people and a political party would have been charged with treason and point blank told if you don't like it too bloody bad."

"I'm with you there I believe especially in French speaking provinces that both official languages are a good idea on provincial and federal documents, offices etc. but to say I can't name my store what I want is insane. I should be able to call it Vie en Rose if I want or Garden of Roses or Yo Flowers Here without having to give it a French name 60% bigger than the English."

"Exactly which is why I'll never move back. I would want my children to learn French, I think the more languages you can learn the better. I support your right to celebrate your culture but you don't have the right to infringe on my culture. I often say all this would not be tolerated for a second in the States, then I remember the state of your medical care, the guns, the public education system and I'd still rather be Canadian."

Sam laughed, "Can we get back to the house before I get totally lost and we get in to a heated debate over the fact that you still look at your country through rose coloured glasses."

"But we both debate so well." Mara laughed. "I use to spend most of the summer here with her and I loved this house as much as she did. When I was accepted in to McGill she sat me down and told me that she'd recently updated her will and left this house, all it's contents, including all her jewelry with the exception of the pieces she willed to others and enough money so that I'd never have to work a day in my life and still live in the lap of luxury. She knew of course that I was going to study politics and history and knew one way or another that I'd end up on the Hill so having the house would be perfect."

"Holy cow can I ask just how much you are worth?"

"Well I'm not 100 % sure but between what I was left and the money I invested I could almost fund my own war chest if I actually wanted to become Prime Minister."

"Oh my God that much?"

"Uhuh but Sam you are among a literal handful of people who know just how much I'm worth."

"So what do most people you are close to think?"

"That I have a few million. My Dad, Dani, Jed, Abbey and now you know."

"And an army of accountants."

"Nope. I'm my own accountant, I file my own taxes. You forget I'm a geeky economics freak like Jed I actually enjoy figuring out my taxes. When you have as much money as I do you don't mind having to pay. Well I don't anyway."

"So you pay a lot more than most people would. Ball park how much are you worth?"

"75-78 million. Lot's of it is tied up in solid business ventures. Chunks of it are in the Cayman's, some in Switzerland more to protect my privacy than anything else. My chequing account has a little over four million in it."

"Wow."

"Yeah I feel that way quite often. That's how I can shop like a fool and live here. How's your eye?"

"It's been better but the pills I took on the plane are still working. So why didn't you change this room?"

"I missed her too much when she died and coming up here always comforted me so I decided not to change it so I could feel her presence every night and morning. I'm strange I know and I don't care."

"Actually I think it's sweet. I can see how much you love this room in your eyes and now I know why. She must have been an incredible woman."

"She was Sam you would have loved her and she would have adored you. Mind you, she would never have stop flirting with you. I could hear her saying Sam you want a real woman not some young thing dump the blonde and run away with me."

Sam laughed, "With my track record I would have hit on her before I found out she was yours."

"You know Leo will never let you forget that you hit on Jenny."

"Tell me something I don't know. Hey that reminds me do you and Mal not get along?"

"Not really, I've always been very nice to her and tried to be her friend but she doesn't like me."

"Why?"

"I don't know. Abbey told me it was because she was jealous of the attention Leo pays to me. I never came in contact with drunken Leo so he was always playing the favourite Uncle role for me. Abbey said she's mad that I got the best of Leo and didn't have to put up with the worst."

"But that's not your fault."

"No but once again logic is forgotten when the green monster attacks."

"I'm nice to her and she's civil for a minute or two then she stays as far away from me as possible. What brought this up?"

"Donna and I ran in to her at the Gala and she overheard a conversation about you that sounded like I was telling Donna how much I loved her. Donna didn't want any confusion so she told Mal I'd fallen for this crazy canuck then mentioned that Mallory must know you since Leo adores you so much. Mal looked like she got hit with a two by four and wished me luck cause I was going to need it with you."

"Meow."

"Mara!"

"What it's fitting, deserving and she's not here."

"Note to self, never let you cross paths just in case the fur flies."

"Cute Sam but we both can behave. Now about that nap."

Sam laid the teddy bear across the top of the pillows, opening his arms to Mara who happily curled up in to him. He played with her hair until they both drifted off to sleep. Killer wandered in to the bedroom and made himself comfortable on the fainting couch. He dozed off until his hunger got the best of him. He jumped up on the bed walking up to Mara's back before setting his front paws on her shoulder and meowing loudly right at Sam's face. Sam heard the cat immediately and opened his eyes to see yellow staring back at him. He slid his arm out from under Mara glancing at the time.

"Hungry are we Killer? I think I can manage to find your food. Just give me a second."

Killer removed his paws but stayed on the bed until he was sure Sam was actually going to get up. Once Sam was standing he flew off the bed , dashed out and went down the stairs. Sam found him on top of the kitchen counter in front of the far left cupboard.

"You are one smart kitty." Sam remarked as he opened the cupboard and found it full of cat food and treats. "Kay what do you want there's beef, liver, turkey, fish? What the cat got your tongue?" He laughed, then counted the cans. There were two fewer fish so he figured that had to be Killer's favourite. Sam opened the can, put half of it in the bowl covering the rest in saran wrap before leaving it in the fridge. Killer jumped down to follow the bowl that was put back in place.

Sam went through Mara's stocked fridge until he decided on something he could make them both for dinner. While playing what is behind this door searching for the cooking utensils and pots and pans he need he came across a bottle of Advil and swallowed a few pills. An hour later Sam lite the candles on the table he'd set and went upstairs to wake Mara. He'd wondered where Killer disappeared to and got his answer when he saw the black cat in his place curled up against Mara's stomach. Sam gentle shook her shoulder until she opened her eyes.

"Wake up Sleeping Beauty dinner is served."

Mara looked at her alarm clock and blinked. "Ah Sam you shouldn't have let me sleep so long. You didn't come here to watch me snore."

"Don't worry I was asleep too until fuzzy here wanted dinner. I just followed him and he led me straight to his food. I figured I should make you dinner for a change so I did.."

"You're too good to me Sam Seaborn."

"I know now get up before it gets cold."

Sam had dimmed the lights in the kitchen so the candles flames flickered against the glass window of the breakfast nook. The table was elegantly set with blue glassware and Mara's mouth watered when she saw what was on the plate.

"How did you know I loved chicken teriyaki?"

"I didn't it, it's one of the few chicken recipes I know by heart. I only make Minute rice I hope that's OK."

"It's perfect Sam thank you. I want to propose a toast." Mara picked up a glass handing Sam his. "To the man of my dreams who is no longer a creation of my over active imagination but standing right before me. I hope in this low lighting you can still see how precious and beloved you are to me."

"I do and I hope you know I feel the same way. To us."

They clinked glasses and sat down to eat Sam's meal. They were still sitting at the table talking two hours later when the phone rang. Mara got up, picked up the portable receiver and sat down on Sam's lap.

"Hello."

"Speaking. Oh hi Tina of course I remember you. How are you? Oh my God no." The phone slid out of Mara's hand and clattered to the floor.

"Mara what is it?"

"D..d...Dani...accident."

Chapter 16

 

 

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