Cold Blast - 16
Sam pushed Mara off his lap, retrieved the phone from the floor and hoped the caller was still on the line.
"Tina was it? This is Sam, Mara's boyfriend would you mind repeating what you just told her?"
"She didn't let me finish but her sister Dani was involved in a freak accident in radiology and a machine landed on her."
"A heavy machine?"
"Some what, could I just finish imparting the information without getting interrupted?" She sighed.
"Tina I don't think you have enough caffeine in you."
"I just finished a double expresso."
"Tina I think you have too much caffeine in you." Sam chuckled.
"Which medical school did you graduate from?"
"I didn't ."
"Then you are not in a position to determine the necessary level of caffeine in my blood Kay?"
"Kay, now about Dani?"
"Her leg is busted in a few places, they put in a few pins and she's on a self administering morphine drip. She'll live which is the important part Mara didn't let me get to. However, given the recovery period the doctors suggests Dani drops her rotations until the first of the year and has someone to stay with for at least a month. Dani wanted me to call Mara."
"Kay, incidentally how far did Mar let you get?"
"Freak accident. Kingston General Room 520."
"Thanks Tina bye." Sam hung up the phone. "Mara I didn't realize you prevented people from getting a word in on the phone too. If you would have taken a deep breath and listened you would have found out that Dani is fine. She's in some pain but they are giving her the good stuff."
"Oh thank God. What happened?"
"Geez I'm glad you're enjoying my sister's pain." Mara replied sarcastically.
"Mara you know that's not what I'm doing. So how far is Kingston from here?
"Too long to drive. I'll order a plane for the morning. Sorry Sam looks like our weekend is ruined. My sister's timing really sucks."
"Why don't you call her, room 520."
"That's a good idea." Mara hit 411 on the phone and got the number for Kingston General and dialed. As she punched in numerical choices she sighed,"Is it impossible to get a real live person anywhere these days?"
"I think so."
"I hear you've been abusing equipment again. Didn't that computer monitor teach you anything?"
"I didn't do anything to the stupid machine it had it out for me."
"Sure Dani, so how do you feel?"
"Great now, this morphine stuff is way cool. Hold on a sec."
A few minutes later Dani came back on the line. "Tina just left so when were you going to tell me you found a victim to date?"
"I'm going to tell your doctor you are allergic to morphine if you don't watch it Missy."
"Ooh she avoids the question, she likes him. So who is Sam, where did you find him and has he under gone a background check?"
"He's mine, the White House and no since Abbey and Jed verbally vouched for him."
"Yours? Dear God woman you're in love."
"Well I think a press conference needs to be held since the elusive Mara Whitford has finally fallen for someone. Imagine it only took you 36 years." She laughed.
"Dani how bout I break the other leg."
"I always knew you'd have to go outside the country to find someone who didn't know about your reputation."
"Hey! I'll have you know he fell for me after I reamed him out so there. Tell me Danielle how is your love life?"
"Ah so he's got a few screws loose. Is he cute?
"Yes and yes." Mara laughed at her sister's predictable avoidance of the question.
"So what is he doing there?"
"He got Jed to give him the weekend off to surprise me."
"What the heck were you doing in DC?"
"Accepting a job offer. From now on you will address me as your excellency the Ambassador of Canada."
"In your dreams Blondy, doesn't an Ambassador have to have this little thing called diplomacy?"
"Hey I have loads of diplomacy." Sam started cracking up while Dani was laughing so hard she started snorting. "I DO I just don't choose to employ it very often."
"I'll say." Dani and Sam said simultaneously.
Mara reached over swatting Sam in the arm. "Your slap Missy will come in the morning."
"What? You are not coming down in the morning are you?"
"Of course I am."
"It will ruin your weekend with Sam."
"Yes it will, but you see my kid sister wasn't considerate enough to hurt herself on Monday instead."
Dani laughed, "I'm serious Mara don't come. Well actually if you really feel the need to torture me with a visit do it on Monday when all my friends are back in class. I won't be bored this weekend but come Monday afternoon I'll be so bored I'll be happy to see you."
"Oh I can just feel the love over the phone line sister dear." Mara chuckled. "Are you sure?"
"I'm positive go have fun with young Samuel and don't even give my pain another thought."
"Hey I have to get my kicks some how."
"Good bye brat, hope you feel better and I'll see you Monday."
"Bye, I'll let my secretary know you may drop in, not that I'm guaranteeing you an audience."
Mara rolled her eyes at her sister and hung up the phone. She turned to face Sam taking a long sip of her wine.
"Sounds like someone is feeling no pain."
"Yeah she must have given the pump a real good squeeze. She told me to stay put."
"So I have your undivided attention?"
"Uhuh I'm all yours baby."
"Hmm... how about you model that dress you were talking about for me."
"Sam there isn't much to it."
"Precisely the reason I want to see it." Sam said with a raise of one perfectly arched eyebrow.
Mara smiled seductively at Sam. "I don't know Sam. When was your last physical?"
"About six months ago and the doctor told me I was perfectly healthy."
"Are you sure your heart is strong enough?"
"Yes I'm positive my heart can withstand seeing you in a dress."
"Ah but this is no ordinary dress Sam remember my little story. I'm afraid I'll have to insist you sign a waiver releasing me of all blame when your heart fails."
"Mara just go put on the dress and I'll sign whatever you want me to."
Mara downed the last bit of her wine and headed towards the door. (Sam you have no idea
what you are in store for. You couldn't resist me in this dress if you tried.) She was
standing at the top of the stairs when a thought occurred to her.
"What?" came the reply.
"Go wait for me in the living room."
It took Mara several minutes to locate the flimsy beige dress. She took a long look at it and smiled. It was not her usual style as Mara preferred dresses that teased a man. Her favourite dresses showed enough skin to create an illusion of sexiness and let a man's imagination do the rest. This dress however was chosen to make a painful point. To remind a certain egotistical actor what a fool he was to underestimate and cheat on her. Mara knew all his friend's would be at the party thus guaranteeing that he'd hear "Were you out of your freaking mind treating her like that." all night long. She slid out of her clothes and in to the flimsy dress that led to eight men taking unscheduled trips in to the pool. Mara pulled her hair out of it's ponytail allowing it to flow freely around her shoulders. She spritzed on a little bit of perfume, glanced at her reflection and decided a change in venues was in order. While the couch was much more comfortable than the kitchen table or floor she'd be infinitely more comfortable making love to Sam in her bed.
"Sam can you come up here please." She called down.
She heard him making his way up the stairs so she threw on her robe. "What you need help?" Sam asked with a sexy grin.
"Nope just have a seat." Mara had pulled back the curtains at the bottom of her bed. "Now close your eyes."
Mara hung up her robe, walked across the room from Sam and smiled. "Kay open."
She strutted towards him spinning once so he could see the back view. Mara stood in front of Sam and smiled sexily.
"Holy cow that's not a dress it's the seven veils."
Mara laughed, "Close five layers of beige chiffon."
"And little else." Sam said with an appreciative grin.
The dress was a low cleavage baring cowl held up halter style by a gold ring. The dress seemed to just sit on top of her breasts more than actually covering them. The back was none existent. The material finally picked up and ended a few inches later barely skimming the bottom of her derriere. The look was all legs, all back and all cleavage. Sam brushed his hand across the full roundness of the side of her breast.
"Wow Mara you look like the ultimate sex goddess."
"Thanks." Mara purred.
Sam reached out, pulling her closer to him. "Do you have any idea how alluring you are right now?"
"That was kinda the point Sherlock."
Sam rolled his eyes, "So you wouldn't object if I did this?" He ran his hands along the silky expanse of her back.
"How about this?" Sam leaned over leaving tiny kisses on the back of her neck and the sides of each breast.
Mara unbuttoned his shirt, kissing her way along his collar bone as her hands roamed the taught muscles of his chest and stomach.
"Why Miss Whitford are you trying to seduce me?" Sam asked feigning innocence.
Mara gave him the sexiest smile he'd ever seen, reached around to her neck unfastening the gold hoop letting the dress fall to the floor in a nearly silent swish. She gently pushed Sam on to his back and straddled his hips.
"Do you have a problem with my plans for the rest of the evening Mr. Seaborn?"
"I can't think of one." Sam replied before getting lost in her touch.
Sam felt her body relax as she drifted off to sleep in his arms. He glanced down in wonderment at her exquisite naked body and tried to find the words to describe their evening.(I'm a speech writer I should be able to come up with something better that oh my God wow. Let's see the ultimate erotic journey? Nah sounds like the opening of a Dear Penthouse letter. Beyond my wildest dreams? Better but still not all that great. Mind numbing, earth shattering, indescribable passion that redefined the meaning of immense pleasure. Yup that will do.) Sam looked down at her again and grinned. He was just about to doze off when an enormous clap of thunder jolted him awake. It woke Mara up from a deep sleep and she was clinging to him so tightly that her nails were drawing blood.
"Shh Mara relax it's just thunder."
Mara lifted her nails but still clung to him. Sam was about to ask her what was wrong when another loud clap broke the silence. He could feel her trembling in his arms and felt tears sliding down his back. Another clap was quickly followed by a flash of lightening that illuminated the night and the room. Sam saw the look of sheer terror in her eyes and it frightened him. He pulled the quilt up around her and held her tightly as she quietly sobbed. Every clap of thunder made her flinch and broke his heart since he couldn't do anything to soothe her. An hour later the rain stopped and a blurry eyed Mara looked up at Sam, wiped the tears away and exhaled a large sigh of relief.
"Mara?" He questioned gently.
"You've discovered the fire breathing dragons fear."
"Fear? No Mara I'd say thunder terrorized you and I want to know why."
"It's a long story Sam."
"He kissed her tenderly, "That's OK I'm not going anywhere."
"It's silly Sam."
"Mara I haven't seen a look of such pure terror since Toby told Donna that Josh was shot and fighting for his life. How can I try to help you next time if I don't know what I'm dealing with?"
"You held me Sam that's all you can do since the demons are in my head."
"Mara tell me. Please?"
Mara took a deep breath, she didn't want to go back to that night but she felt she owed it to Sam considering his body would be covered by finger mark bruises by morning.
"I was six and it was late spring. Dad had taken me to see Swan Lake the night before. I'd spent most of the day out by the pool pirouetting and trying to stand on my toes. My mother was furious that Dad had kept a three month promise to take me to the ballet instead of bringing her to some costume party they were invited to the week before. Anyway the sky got really dark very quickly so I ran out to the deck to get the program before it blew away or got drenched. Mom locked the door behind me."
"Yup I told you she was a bitch. There was a loud thunder crack and a lightening flash. I ran to the patio door and started banging on it. Mommy dearest came along mouthed shut up, grinned evilly and drew the blinds across. The skies opened up drenching me. A strong gust of wind blew the program out of my hand and over the neighbours fence. The thunder boomed louder and the lightening seemed to be in the next yard. The wind blew a chaise lounge chair across the deck and knocked me down. I scrapped the hell out of my leg and the metal thingy put a gash in my leg. I picked myself up and tried to stop the blood that was flowing down my leg from the puncture with my hand. I looked up and saw her watching from the window with a satisfied grin on her face."
"Oh my God you should have had her arrested for child endangerment."
"If I had known I could I would have. You can't get out to the street or in to our neighbours yard from ours so I couldn't get out to get help. I screamed for our neighbour but with the storm raging she never heard me. The only shelter I could find was the dog house so I crawled inside and listened to things blow around and the thunder booming over and over again. One of our trees came crashing down and I was positive a tree was going to fall on the dog house and kill me. I thought every clap of thunder was going to be the last thing I ever heard."
"My God Mara your poor thing, no wonder it still terrifies you."
"My Dad found me the next morning by fluke. He was surveying the damage when I crawled out with dried blood all over my legs and hands. My mother had told him I'd gone to a friend's sleep over so he wouldn't look for me."
"What did your Dad do?"
"He cleaned me up, put me to bed and gave me a shot of brandy since I couldn't stop shaking. Then he told her to pack her bags and go stay with her parents until her was ready to talk to her. He had Grandma stay with Dani and I until school was over then we spent the entire summer with her in Newport Beach."
"Ah the playground of the rich and famous." Sam said wanting to lighten the mood.
"Yup I sat on the beach covered in sun block reading. I earned my first nickname that year."
"What was it, beautiful?"
"Ha, try Ice Princess."
"Ah we bossed all the other little 6 and 7 year olds around did we?" Sam laughed easily picturing it.
"Nope I was pretty withdrawn that summer and I wouldn't play with any of them. I thought their games were stupid. Victor Hugo was far more interesting to me at the time."
"You were reading Hugo at six? I was still struggling with Dr. Suess!"
"It was the English version not the French." Mara said as if that explained it all.
"Oh now it all makes sense!" Sam rolled his eyes, "You were a total geek." Sam laughed.
"Nah I just bored easily, always have. That's why I like a challenge. "
"Well we've had some pretty inane conversations and you don't seem to be bored."
"That's because I'm madly in love with you and you look so darn cute when you try to get all serious on me."
"Here I thought you were actually listening to me."
"Oh I listen to you Sam but it's just that my mind wanders occasionally and you get me distracted so easily."
"Distract you how?"
"Oh I start focussing on your lips and start thinking about how soft your kisses are. I stare in to your eyes and remember how playful they looked that first morning when I was...."
"Trying to convince me to play hooky and stay in bed with you?"
"One of these days you'll succeed."
"I doubt that you're too good."
"True but you keep showing me how much fun bad can be. Eventually you'll bring me over to the dark side."
"The dark side?" Mara squirmed out of his arms and knelt beside him. "You think of me as being from the dark side?"
Sam watched her chest rise with each breath and her nipples harden. He knew she was teasing him more than she was offended. "It's just a figure of speech Mara and for the record all I can think about right now is closing my soft lips around your hardened nipples."
Even in the dark Mara could see the lust in his eyes and she decided she was no longer interested in messing with his mind. Mara wanted to mess with his body instead. Whatever Mara wants Mara gets Sam thought with a grin.
Sam was surprised to find himself alone in bed that morning. He looked over at Mara's clock and blinked when he noticed it read 8:30. Mara up before nine on a Saturday something must be wrong he thought. He grabbed her robe and padded down the stairs. He found Mara sitting with her legs crossed on the couch. She'd changed in to black leggings and a white shirt. Cheryl was slumped down in the armchair, her long jean clad legs hanging over the arm. Cheryl looked up first and grinned at Sam.
"Morning Sam, hey Mara, Sam was my reward right?"
"In your dreams I was thinking more along the lines of taking you shopping."
Cheryl pouted, "Ah but Sam is just so cute, I love that rumpled sleepy look he's got going."
Mara followed Cheryl's gaze and smiled at Sam. "Morning Handsome. Sorry did we wake you up?"
"Morning, no I reached out for you and you weren't there so I woke up. I saw the time and figured something bad must have happened to get you up this early."
Mara laughed, "No Cheryl and I just forgot to do something rather important Friday that has to get done before ten."
"What could be that important?"
"One hundred employees payroll approval. I saw you and sort of forgot. If this doesn't get done they don't get their pay cheques direct deposited after three today."
"Yeah I can see that being important to them." Sam laughed.
"Uhuh it was a good thing I was up early and went to the ATM to withdraw money. I noticed my pay was in there and the light went off." Cheryl said.
"We've got about 40 more employees to do Sam, we should be done by 9:30."
"Kay I'll take a shower and maybe work on that speech I didn't do on the plane."
"Need anyone to scrub your back?" Cheryl asked.
"You know she reminds me of a feistier version of Donna which is really quite scary." Sam laughed.
"That's Sam's polite way of telling you he doesn't need help. Maybe that's why I liked Donna so much."
"Sam I'll have you know that before I started working for this one I was sweet and innocent."
Mara snorted, "Please you were corrupt as they come the day I met you. Why do you think I hired you? I noticed your eyes follow that clerk and thought this is a girl I want to work with."
Cheryl and Mara exchanged a knowing look and Sam fled to the bathroom. He decided hanging around with someone who knew Mara that well might not be as much fun as he thought. He could barely handle Mara on a good day , he couldn't handle her flirty best friend/assistant too.
"Seems we scared him away." Cheryl commented.
"Yeah our dynamic is new to him, give him some time and by the spring he'll be playing right along."
"We are an acquired taste, especially you." Cheryl added.
Mara glared at Cheryl and started laughing. When Sam was finished showering and had changed he headed back downstairs to the study to work. Mara and Cheryl were too busy debating to notice him. Sam went in to the kitchen, smiling when he saw a fresh pot of coffee. He poured himself a large mug and went in to the study. He tapped his fingers on the teak desk as he thought and looked up at the bookcase. He looked away but five minutes later he couldn't stand it any more. He got up and moved the Tale of Two Cities to the next shelf placing it between J.D. Salinger and Modern European History. Mara walked Cheryl out to her car, gave Killer some more food and headed straight for the study knowing Sam would be in there. She found him bent over the computer working and her eyes immediately went to the bookshelf. She just knew Sam wouldn't be able to work until he found a more suitable companion for Dickens. She quietly put the book back where she had it and tapped Sam on the shoulder.
"Hey you." He said not looking up from the screen.
"You on a roll?"
"Yeah can you give me half an hour."
"I guess I really should start calling moving companies. We have to be out of here at 11:30 ish or my plans for you will be ruined."
Mara wandered back in to the kitchen slid a Bon Jovi CD in the player and danced around the kitchen while trying to find that list of recommended moving companies. She found her home insurance that she was looking for the other day, a fifty dollar bill and a set of reprints she forgot she even had but no list. She checked the other drawer she tossed important stuff in and still didn't find the list. She tucked the $50 in her pocket and went up to check her room. Twenty minutes later she called Cheryl out of sheer frustration.
"What do you want?"
"Hey am I interrupting you?"
"No what's up doc."
"You don't happen to know what I did with that list of moving companies do you?"
"No but before I passed it on to you I scanned it in to my hard drive. I'll e-mail it to you in a minute. I knew you were going to lose it."
Mara laughed, "I found those pictures from the Cabot Trail you wanted."
"That was like two months ago you dweeb."
"I told you I'd find them I don't recall telling you when I'd find them." Mara laughed.
"You'd be so lost if it wasn't for me."
"Yeah, yeah just send me the e-mail brat."
"Kay then I'm out of here. I'm going to go visit Tanya so I might be a little late Monday."
"Try to hurry it up I was going to go check on Dani."
"Shoot I forgot about that. I'll make sure I'm back Sunday night."
"Thank Hon, have fun and drive safe not like a bat out of hell."
"I will and that's your driving style not mine."
Mara mumbled at the phone and got her laptop on line to wait for the list. She ignored Cheryl's you are a loser comment and dialed the first number. Half an hour later she had spoken to all the companies and called back the company she decided on to make the arrangements. Mara could tell by the gasp on the other line that he was astonished at how many wardrobe boxes Mara wanted. She then realized that she'd need to bring quite a few clothes down with her for the month plus she'd be in DC before the mansion was hers. She put the man on hold and made another call.
"Hi is Abbey there please it's Mara."
"Hi Sweetie, were you surprised?"
"Yes and thrilled to pieces, give Jed a big hug and kiss for me."
"I'll consider it. Why are you calling me instead of kissing Sam?"
Mara laughed, "He has some work to finish up and I told him he had until 11:30. I need to ask you for a favour."
"If I can do it I will Mara, what do you need?"
"How much storage space does the White House have? I wanted to bring down my winter clothes when I move but Sam's apartment is way to small. I think the mansion is only mine November 29th."
"What day do you officially become a resident?"
"Two weeks Friday."
"You know the address Sweetie, I'll find you the space. Is it all clothes?"
"Yeah I'm having my bedroom set moved to go right in to the mansion. A few boxes of personal items but mostly wardrobe boxes."
"I wish all requests made on me were this easy to fulfill. Now go enjoy the weekend with Sam."
"I'm about to do that. I'll see you soon, bye."
Mara went back to the line, confirmed her box order and said she'd have the exact address the day before the move. She changed in to her jeans, picked up Sam's sunglasses and both their jackets. she fished her purse out of her briefcase and went down to get Sam.
The first thing she checked was the books and she snickered when she noticed Sam had once again moved it. She sighed loudly replacing the book and shook her head at Sam who simply grinned.
"It's time to go you delinquent."
"Kay, Just let me save this and is there anywhere I can leave it?"
"Sam I've got excellent security, if you insist underneath the ottoman is a a drop box. My computer is just on the table in my room."
Sam closed his computer and slid it underneath the armchair while Mara rolled her eyes
at him. "So where are we going?"
"The Prime Minister's? We aren't dressed for that Mara."
"It's informal Sam don't worry. Now get that cute butt in gear we've got a full day." (He asks about Sussex, I would have been asking about the dinner menu.)
Mara quickly pointed out 24 Sussex as they drove by it and laughed when Sam said he couldn't see a thing through the trees. "That's the point Sam." She pulled up to the gate at 1 Sussex To show him Rideau Hall; the Governor- General's residence. The guard at the gate recognized Mara's car and went over to talk to her.
"Hey Miss Whitford do you have an appointment or are you just dropping in?"
"Actually I was passing by so I thought I'd give my boyfriend a quick look through the gate."
"Can't see much from here, go in and drive up at least."
"Anytime Miss Whitford."
"We are the only car on this road."
"Yeah Rideau is open to the public till dusk most of the time but tourists can't drive up they have to park elsewhere and walk in at the gate. I get to drive up. Where were you when Jed and Abbey made their first State visit up here?"
"I was battling a 103 temperature wishing I was dead."
"Flu? We would have met then I actually stayed with them."
"The flu from hell and I guess it was obliviously not meant to be. We met when we were destined to."
"You believe in destiny Sam?"
"Yeah whole heartily, I find men are more reluctant to think about destiny and things being written in the stars so to speak."
"You might be surprised even Toby was talking about the fact that destiny had to have something to do with him working for Bartlet. Toby had never won an election, the first choice for his job was unavailable so he became Director."
"Toby is the perfect example which is why I am surprised he'd recognize it."
"I've given up trying to figure Toby out, it's too taxing."
"Sam do you think Toby likes you?"
"Yes I think Toby would like to murder me on a daily basis." Sam chuckled.
"You know what I mean smart ass."
"Yeah I think he likes me, he likes all of us, deep down anyway."
"Do you think he loves you?"
"Umm love might be too strong for Toby."
"Sam Mr. Sunshine loves you like you were his own little brother. He doesn't' see his own family much but never under estimate just how much you and Josh mean to him. Toby likes me, he may even adore me but Toby doesn't love me. He'd hang me out to dry in a second if he had to. He'd protect you at all costs."
"Really. Of course you'd have to be on your death bed for him to admit it which is sort of sad but that's Toby for you."
"Jed and Abbey love you."
"Oh yeah I'm the fourth Bartlet daughter. Jed loves all of you too. He thinks of you as his kids too. Abbey might just adopt you yet Sam."
"She still scares the hell out of me."
Mara laughed, "What is it with you and women Sam, why do we scare you so much?"
"If I knew that Mar you wouldn't be scaring me now, would you?"
"Can I remind you of those words when you bully me in to doing something?"
"Sure not that it will change my mind." Mara laughed.
"No I don't suppose it would work but hey I'll still try."
Mara and Sam continued talking while she quickly showed him the Governor General's residence and pointed out the rooms the Bartlets stayed in and the one she occupied. Twenty minutes later Mara had pulled in to her parking place at Parliament Hill. She flashed her ID badge and brought Sam down to her office. She yanked her closet open and came out seconds later to give Sam a cold Coke and took one for herself.
"Yup, I have to have my morning orange juice before I can face the day and I don't
like it warm. It was the only place I could fit it. Come on I'll show you Jean's office
then I'll give you the tour."
"Hey wait I recognize this stairwell, it's always behind the Prime Minister when member's of the press stop him."
"Actually it's the next landing you recognize but they do look just the same. Our press gets to ambush MP's on the go. I like it that way, even though it makes work for me. At least once a week I have to haul some MP's butt down to my office for a little chat about remarks made. Most politician's can't handle walking, thinking and speaking at the same time."
"I could teach them, Professor Seaborn at your service.. We are always walking and talking. Josh and I came up with a strategy to put Harris on a leash on our way from his office to the Mural room earlier in the week."
"If I wasn't leaving I might take you up on that offer. Come on I'll show you the Senate Chambers."
Sam was use to coming and going behind the scenes at the White House, the novelty of
working in a tourist attraction had long worn off. He supposed people would like to see
what really went on behind closed doors but never gave it much thought. He found himself
asking what was behind doors with Mara which she quickly opened for him giving him a tour
inside. Mara hadn't expected Sam to be quite so interested and they hadn't even seen her
favourite places in Parliament Hill yet.
"The speaker recognizes the Right Honourable Sam Seaborn." Mara said with a grin.
"Madam speaker I would like to publicly state that Mara Whitford is a babe." Sam said seriously in to the microphone.
Mara started to laugh and told Sam to toss a pen at the Leader of the Oppositions desk across the floor. "I always wanted to do that myself."
Sam did as he was asked. "Not the same when there isn't anyone to take the direct hit."
"Nope my dream will never be realized." Mara sighed." Mara started to tell Sam a joke and stopped mid sentence when she realized they had company. "Hi folks, welcome to Comedy in the Commons." Mara said quickly with an impish grin.
Sam looked around to see 20 tourists and a guide standing at the entrance to the Commons. The guide didn't look amused in his opinion.
"Excuse me but who let you in here? Visitors are not allowed unescorted and please get down from the throne." The thin red head said tersely.
Sam quickly moved from his spot and stood in front of Mara who hadn't budged. Mara squinted her eyes but still didn't recognize the guide.
"You must be new or you'd know that I can go anywhere I damn well please in this building. Mara Whitford, Director-General and you are?"
"So that's your title I never knew what it was." Sam said.
"Is that suppose to mean something to me?" The guide replied.
(Ooh a sarcastic little thing, if she didn't remind me of me I'd fire her now.) "You tell me? Do you wish to keep your job? You are giving a tour and my title doesn't ring a bell?
"No." The guide stuck her head out the door and called for security.
Mara rolled her eyes and sat down in the speaker's chair. "So folks where are you all from and do any of you know what I do here?"
"No Ma'am but I recognize your cohort from the White House, Sam something or other right?" A man with a deep Texan twang replied.
"It's Sam Seaborn, Deputy Communications Director. No Canadian's in the crowd?" Mara asked.
"I'm from Halifax." A women in her late 60's said.
"I was just there this week, I love your city so much. I'll give you a hint I'm very important."
"Nah folks she just thinks she is." quipped Sam.
"Samuel Norman Seaborn care to try to find my house when I ditch you at Dow Lake?"
The Texan couple started laughing. "She's giving you grief like that little blonde on Capitol Beat."
"Yes Sir she lives to give me grief and fool I am I put up with her."
"Well she's a beauty Son, they are always trouble. I should know." The man joked before his wife swatted him.
A security guard walked in and saluted Mara. "Hey Mara I heard you were causing trouble all over the place."
"Hey Jack what are you doing working today? For the record I've caused no trouble."
"I find that hard to believe." Jack replied with a hearty chuckle.
"Jack would you keep your comments to yourself and kindly tell this newbie with attitude I've got carte blanc." Mara said with a smirk.
"She's got carte blanc, big time carte blanc."
"So she really works here?"
"Yeah she's the Prime Minister's Pet Project." Jack laughed.
"No candy for you on Monday Jack. Tell me do you like it over here cause I can arrange to have you transferred?" Mara teased.
"Then who would you abuse? Who would figure out where your cat is hiding or let him back in after he's gone to visit upstairs?"
"All right your job is safe."
"Not for long Judy was transferred to Baltimore. We're leaving the first of the year."
"Really? Jack we need to have a little talk say Wednesday at 11."
"Sure. Laura, Miss Whitford is very important she's the Director-General of the Canadian Government. She's not elected, she's appointed and wields an amazing amount of power. If she says jump you ask how high. Got it?"
"Sorry Miss Whitford." Laura mumbled.
"So Miss Whitford are you like the Chief of Staff?" The Texan woman asked.
"Sort of but I actually do more little things than Mr. McGarry. I do a lot of work with the press, I keep the MP's in line in terms of conduct, I'm an international policy advisor, I stand in for the Prime Minister at Liberal events when he's had a schedule change. Mr. McGarry does a lot of work on securing votes, I've only been called on to change someone's mind 8 times in 10 years. He can't tell a Republican Congressman to watch his language or else. I can tell a Conservative MP if he values his tenure in office he'll clean up his act or he'll be barred."
"Seems like you have more power than his boss." Her husband commented referring to Sam.
"I'd say it's a different type of power. My first priority is the smooth running of Parliament Hill not the country. My sister says I'm the Principal of Parliament Hill High which is pretty accurate. I enjoy the running a country part the most. I'll gladly be at my desk past midnight reading security briefings for an advising session the next morning."
Sam wanted to hug the Texan couple because he finally understood what Mara did for a living. He all so understood why everyone said her job was too hard to describe since she did it all. Mara had finally removed herself from the speaker's throne and wrapped an arm around his back.
"It was nice talking to all of you. I hope you enjoy the rest of the tour and your time in my city."
Mara took Sam up to the Peace Tower for the incredible view of the city as well to view the Memorial Chamber that honours Canada's war dead. Sam found the Memorial Chamber more moving than the Vietnam Memorial because of it's remarkable design. The Chamber was designed in the Gothic Revival style to fit in with the main building. However it's high, stained glass windows, cusped arches and fan shaped vaulted ceiling created an atmosphere more in keeping with a memorial chapel of a cathedral. A central altar and similar alters in the Chamber contain the Books of Remembrance listing the names of the Canadian men and woman who gave their lives in the service of their country.
Mara pointed out the rich symbolism of the Memorial Chamber. The floor was constructed using stones taken from the World War One battlegrounds where Canadians fought. The walls and columns are faced with stones from France and Belgium, the countries Canadian saw the most combat in. The central altar was carved from a block of Hopton Wood which was the same British stone used for the tombstones in military cemeteries.
"It's so beautiful and so sad at the same time." Sam remarked.
"The first 6 years of so I couldn't never leave here without crying now I feel incredibly grateful to these men and woman and blessed that I haven't had to live through a great war. I find myself praying that names never have to be added again."
"I really like this Chamber. What's next?"
"My favourite place of all the Parliamentary Library. When I'm about to murder someone I practically run there to take a deep breath and cool down."
Mara lead Sam down the tower and out of the center block to the Library. Over looking the bluffs of the Ottawa River the circular Library was modeled on the Reading Room in the British Museum and built in 1876. Decorative window's helped keep damaging sun rays out of the library. Row after row of curved mahogany bookshelves gave the room an impressive scholarly feel. The general public was never allowed to go beyond the blue velvet rope near the entrance. Mara always felt privileged when she unclipped the brass loop and got to step inside. She showed Sam her favourite spot on the Second floor that looked down to the floor below and up to the spectacular spiral ceiling.
"To think I loved your Library, you've got money buy this for me." Sam whispered.
"Ah if I only could I would have bought it years ago for myself." Mara whispered back.
She pulled Sam back just out of view of tourists who would be congregating near the door and wrapped her arms around him. "So what do you think?"
"Aesthetically I think I'd rather work here. The combination of all the stone, the Peace Tower, the location on top of the bluff with the River behind gives the Hill as you call it an old European flavour and deeper sense of History than the White House. It looks old and important. The White House looks new and important."
"I know what you mean the White House looks more like a mansion complete with iron gate than a government building. I knew you'd love the Library." Mara rested her forehead against his and slowly engaged him in a long tender kiss.
"Are we done here?"
"Yeah you were more interested than I thought you'd be so we have no time left. We've got to boot it over to the Mint."
"What about lunch?"
"McDonald's drive through window. I wanted to take you to the best burger place on earth but we don't have time. It will be lunch tomorrow instead."
After the Mint tour Mara just managed to get them to the facial appointment in time and she couldn't stop laughing when Sam said maybe he should give Donna's Spa another chance. His bruised eye wasn't hurting quite so much so his entire face was lightly massaged. Mara bought a bottle of the cleanser the facials used on Sam for him to take home. Sam's intentions were to give it to Donna so she could use it on him.
Mara was too close to the Byward Market to not stop and the car almost steered itself to a parking spot right near the shack.
"Come on Sam you are about to experience one of the best tastes on earth and one of the reason's I still might change my mind about leaving here."
Mara lead him over to the Beaver Tail shack and waited for his reaction. Mara had nearly given Ron heart failure by telling Jed he just had to stop and try one on his first visit. Jed hadn't cared that the area hadn't been swept, he demanded the car be stopped and to the surprise of locals the motorcade stopped and Jed, Abbey, Mara and 10 Secret Service agents took the short walk to the shack for sweet Beaver Tails. One bite and they were all hooked.
"I remember C.J talking about this place. The President made an unscheduled stop to try one and Mandy was so mad that they missed a perfect photo opp. that she scheduled a stop for the press without telling C.J first."
"Yup Mandy had no trouble getting Jed to agree to come back." Mara laughed.
"It was you that put the idea in his head in the first place I'm sure."
"Yup Ron didn't like me the first time he met me because I was the instigator of the Beaver Tail incident." Mara stepped up to the window and smiled at the clerk. "Sam the classic Cinnamon Sugar is the best."
Mara heard her name and turned around to greet the manager of the location. "Hey Philip."
"Hey Mara you paying your tab or adding to it today?"
"You have a tab here Mara?" Sam asked.
"Yeah she never has small bills so it's easier to give her a tab. We only do it for true addicts like Mara."
"How many of these things do you eat?"
"Probably 12 a week." Mara laughed.
Mara handed him $180 and ordered four Cinnamon and Sugar Beaver Tails. "Keep the change Philip."
Mara handed Sam a soft sugary beaver tail shaped pastry and waited for his reaction.
The warm pastry melted on Sam's tongue and he took another large bit. "Oh this is heaven."
Mara eagerly attacked her tail stopping to savour the last bite. "See that's why I get two I inhale the first one and savour the second."
"Do these travel well? I'd bring Kathy a few."
"Well they are much better fresh but slightly soggy Beaver Tails are better than no Beaver tails. Sam you should know that you can't just bring Kathy some you'd have to bring down a few dozen or Jed would have you executed."
"Oh yeah you'll give her a few and I guarantee you Leo, C.J and Jed will be at her desk in a minute flat with Ron."
"Oh well I can't carry that many with the suitcase you want me to bring Donna."
"Philip can you have 60 Beaver Tails ready for shipping tomorrow night?"
"By what time?"
"Sure I can drop them off at your house if you want."
"Perfect they won't be consumed till Monday morning and they have to be on a plane."
"I'll pack them as securely as I can."
"Thanks Philip see you tomorrow."
Mara tossed her napkins out and Sam was still working on his second one in the car. Mara drove the car down to Dow Lake and parked before they boarded a boat to take them up the Rideau Canal. Mara showed him where the Beaver Tail shacks sat on the ice during Winterlude and had him picture how beautiful it was to walk along the Canal when the flowers were in bloom in spring and summer. The boat stopped at the lock leading in to the Ottawa River and they climbed up the stairs to the road, crossed the street and went down to another dock where a larger ferry boat was waiting. The boat cruised up the river and the guide pointed out the back of the Prime Minster's House which made Sam wonder if they really worried about security in Ottawa since it didn't even seem to be fenced off in the back. Mara pointed out her own house's roof that was barely visible from the river. Sam wasn't surprised to hear that Sussex drive and the Rockcliffe area was the wealthiest section of Ottawa. The tour lasted an hour and it was a relaxing visually stimulating trip and a good excuse to wrap his arms around Mara when the wind started to blow. The boat docked and Sam questioned Mara's logic for parking at the other end of the Canal when they were expected at the Prime Minister's in half an hour. His question was son answered when Mara climbed in a black town car that was waiting for them.
Fifteen minutes later the car pulled up to a high iron gate and proceeded inside. It wasn't until they were almost past all the trees that the Stone Mansion came in to view. Sam was impressed with the Architecture and the size. He knew the Prime Minister had a lot more living space than the President did but he never realized how much more space. He knew the President would have loved to live here instead of the White House from the grounds alone. Mara took Sam around the back to show him the pool, garden and rattan chairs that were hidden among the trees on the side allowing a unseen look down at the river.
"I'm amazed there's no fence back here."
"There are fences on the side preventing the neighbours from wandering in and there are camera's trained on the cliff with sensors so it can't be scaled. It was designed this way so that the Prime Minister's never felt like caged birds."
"Dr. Bartlet must have loved this place she's always complaining about being stuck in the residence. No wonder she escapes to the Farm House."
"Yeah Abbey loved it here. She teased Jed all night long that she was leaving him to become the Prime Minister's mistress. I love it too but it's too big for me. I think my house is the perfect sized estate. I don't need a household staff to run the place."
"You're really going to miss this place aren't you."
"Terribly, you know the only reason I'm actually willing to give this all up is because I'll have you in Washington. Living in the mansion and being able to go over for dinner with Abbey or go drinking with C.J. wouldn't have been enough. I would have become too lonely too quickly and once I'm homesick there is no cure I just have to get back."
"Oh the pressure on my head." Sam half teased.
"Yup you have to make sure that I never regret my decision Mr. Seaborn."
"Well as long as you never regret loving me we'll make it."
Mara reached out and squeezed Sam's hand. "You could dump me tomorrow Samuel and I'd never regret loving you for one second."
Sam looked at Mara and smiled. He didn't need words Mara already knew he'd never regret loving her and she knew he'd be the glue that kept them together through whatever dared to come after them.
"We better get inside before Jean sends security to come look for us." Mara lead Sam back to the house and in to the glass sun room that over looked the back yard. Mara headed towards the sitting room and stopped to look at Sam. "You ready?"
"Ready as I'll ever be and I still think we are underdressed."
Mara rolled her eyes and moved forward with Sam's hand still comfortably resting in hers.