Cold Blast - 17

By Cathy



"So how was your weekend?" Donna asked cheerily while sinking in to the chair opposite Sam's desk. She handed Sam one of the two Beaver Tails in her hand. "Man I forgot how good these were."

"I think Mara enjoys getting people hooked on her addiction." Sam laughed.

"Thanks for thinking of us Sam. It was very sweet of you."

"My pleasure Donna. Don't you have work to do?"

"Yeah but I want details first. How's your eye doing?"

"It feels better than it looks. What I want to know is what did you do to Josh?"

Donna laughed, "Oh I made his life more hellish than normal. After you left I went to lunch and then to the Smithsonian. It was about five when I got back here and Josh was still sitting in his office waiting for me. I read him the riot act and told him that he had to be your slave the entire week. So start thinking of menial tasks for him to do. I made him take me to dinner and I ordered the most expensive things on the menu. Then on Saturday when I wasn't telling him every little fact I ever learnt I kept commenting on how cute the player's butts were. He was suicidal by the third quarter."

"Donna you are evil."

"I know."

"Not that Josh didn't deserve it."

"So tell me was Mara surprised?"

"She forgot to approve 100 employees payroll so I'd say she was surprised."

"I don't see it myself, but it's been said that you drive women to distraction." Donna teased.

"Beats driving men with delicate systems to drink." Sam countered.

"Cute Sam, so what did you do?"

"Ottawa's a very beautiful city. Mara took me on a tour on Parliament Hill, then on a boat along the Rideau Canal and Ottawa River. We had cocktails at the Prime Minister's and then a romantic Italian dinner. Oh Mara bought this for me." Sam handed Donna the bottle of cleanser.

"She bought you this?"

"Yeah she told me to use it. It didn't sting as much as her stuff."
"But you aren't going to use it are you?"

"No but if you know, you insisted on coming in here every day and forcing it on me I wouldn't object."

Donna rolled her eyes,"Sam don't you remember what happened last time I came in here and forced it on you?"

"Donna, Josh may be a few fries short of a happy meal but even he's not that stupid."

Donna started laughing, "I love it Sam, too funny."

"Yeah it cracked me up too when Mara said it."

"If I knew how I'd needle point it on a pillow and leave it in his office."

"I bet you 50 bucks Margaret knows how."

"Think she could have it done by Friday?"

"I think we should find out if she does indeed needle point first."

"That might be a good idea. So did you have fun with the Prime Minister?"

"Yeah he's a very nice guy. He has two sons and it's pretty obvious that he thinks of Mara as the daughter he never had. Mar's got him wrapped so tightly around her little finger that I'm amazed that gangrene hasn't set in yet."

"So what did you do Sunday?"

"Mara dragged me to church. She doesn't seem to care that I'm not Catholic, she says I have to go anyway or I'll burn in hell. She took me to this crazy burger place called Lick's that blast's 50's music, the staff sings and it was one of the best burger's I've every had. We sat out by her pool talking and goofing around until we ran out of spiked hot chocolate. Then I'll have you know she spent an hour shoving as many clothes as she could in to a suitcase for you. I learnt that Mara ignores the rest of the world when she's communicating with her clothes."

Sam couldn't help chuckling as Donna's eyes lit up like a child on Christmas morning. "I have a new wardrobe? Where is it Sam?"

"At home, I figured you could buy me dinner in exchange for getting the suitcase."

"Hell you could have held out for my first born but dinner works for me. I've got new clothes. I've got to call Mara to thank her. Can I have her number at work?"

"Sure but she's not there. Her sister is in the hospital and Mara went down to see Dani.."

"Nothing serious I hope?"

"A machine fell on her leg and broke it in a few places. She'll be fine eventually."

"Yuck, well if you talk to her tell her I love her and I hope her sister feels better." Donna got up and headed to the door.

"I'll tell her. Hey when you see Josh tell him I want another tail and some coffee."

"It will be my pleasure."

Kathy stuck her head in the door, "Sam the Beaver Tails bought you a dozen stupid boss things. Use them wisely."

"Would a simple thank you have killed you?" Sam teased.

"That's the first one, you only have eleven left." Kathy gave him her so there look and left.

Half an hour later Josh slinked in to Sam's office with a grande Starbucks coffee and a Beaver Tail. "Donna said you wanted this."

"Yeah." (She sent him to Starbucks that's like ten blocks from here. Oh she's evil. Note to self don't piss Donna off.)

"So I fetched you coffee can my servitude be over now?"

"Umm no." Sam said with a big grin.

"Come on Sam! I am really sorry I gave you a shiner. I'm sorry I over reacted I swear when it comes to Donna I don't always think straight. If I hadn't been so damn jealous I might have had time to think that you would never do that to me. Come on buddy don't make me grovel."

"I don't know Josh I think your ego could use a good groveling."

"Sam! You're not suppose to be enjoying this."

"Hey my face still hurts so too bad if I'm enjoying this. Josh even if I wanted to let you out of this slave thing I wouldn't cause I'm not getting Donna mad at me."

"I won't forget this Sam."

"No I'm sure you won't. Oh bring this to C.J for me. Thanks that will be all for now."

Sam couldn't quite make out every word Josh was muttering on his way out but he caught enough of them to get his off colour message. He went back to work on the education proposal drafting his points over and over again until he was satisfied with the final product. He tried Mara's cell phone several times until it finally dawned on him that she'd have it turned off in the hospital.

Dani had sent her sister out in a light drizzle to get her a decent lunch. Mara came back with cheese burgers and chocolate shakes. Dani was tired of arguing with her sister about going down to recuperate in Washington and called Cheryl while Mara was getting lunch for some advice. Instead of advice Cheryl made her an offer she didn't want to refuse. Now all she had to do was convince Mara to go along with the game plan which was often harder than it sounded.

"So will Tina help you pack?"

"Yeah but I'm not going to DC with you."

"Danielle this isn't a discussion it's a dictatorship and I'm the dictator."

"Then I'm a break away republic. How many bedrooms does Sam have?"


"Exactly there is no room for me and I don't want to be there."

"Dani you can't stay alone and your friends will all have night shifts so you can't stay here."

"I've got a news flash for you sister dear, you are not the only Whitford daughter who is capable of taking care of herself. I've made arrangements already."

"Do you care to share those arrangements with me?"

"I'm going to stay with Cheryl. Once you are gone I'll stay in the house."

"Oh will you now?"

"Yeah I'll be a little bit more mobile by then and I can sleep in the study if I find the stairs too hard to climb. Cheryl said she'd stay with me and if I need her during the day she's five minutes away."

"When did you plan on asking me if you could stay at my house?"

"I didn't think my sister would say no especially since she will be in another country."

"You always do this Dani, I want you to ask me for a change instead of assuming that since I'd say yes you don't have to ask."

"Fine Miss Anal can I stay at your place?"
"Yes you may, now was that so difficult?"

"You know Mar one of these days you will encounter a situation where you have no control. Then the entire power structure you've carefully constructed and fortified will come a tumbling down. I want to know how you'll be able to handle that when you can't even have a house guest without prior approval?"

"Dani I think it's time you pump your morphine cause obviously you are in pain. If you insist on continuing this conversation I want morphine to get through it." Mara snapped.

"Never mind I get it, cased closed cause big sister says so. We all know how much Mara likes to say so."

Mara felt like ripping her sister's arm off and beating her senseless with it. No one could push her buttons as well as Dani. While Mara loved her sister dearly one of the reasons they got along so well was because they lived in different cities. Dani meanwhile was wondering if there was a 12 step program for power hungry addicts cause her sister was in need of one.

"Sam must be a saint to put up with you."

"No he is just smart enough to realize I'm a priceless treasure."

Dani rolled her eyes and hit the morphine pump. "See your ego is so darn big it's pressing against my leg and is causing me pain." She teased.

"Bite me Dani!"

"Someone is in a mood today. Are we missing Sam already?"

"I'm missing Sam, can't wait to see him again and I don't wanna move. So yeah you could say I'm in some kind of a mood today."

"So what did Dad say when you told him?"

"I actually haven't got a round to it yet."


"I know but Sam came down, then you scared the hell out of me and I sort of forgot."

"I suggest you tell him today before he reads about his daughter the ambassador in the paper."

"Yeah, yeah I'll call him when I get home tonight."

Dani and Mara sat there trading barbs, talking about Sam and Mara's new job for a few more hours until it was time for Mara to head back home. She kissed her sister and warned her not to do any more damage to herself.

By the time Mara made it back home all she wanted to do was crawl in to bed and fall asleep in Sam's arms. She was forced to settle for a sleeping pill and her teddy bear.. She was just about to nod off when the phone rang.


"Hey beautiful."

"Hi Sam, I took a sleeping pill and it's working."

"Oh umm how's your sister?"

"Annoying as ever."

Sam chuckled, "Well I just wanted to say goodnight but it sounds like you are already there."

"Umm hmm, nighty night Sam." Mara mumbled.

"Sweet dreams my sweet." Sam said before he heard the phone click.

The rest of the week seemed to fly by for Sam. He looked at his calendar and it dawned on him that Mara would become a DC citizen in just two days. He'd been so busy working on the education reform speech that he hardly had time to miss Mara. Sam knew she had to be beyond busy because he was lucky if she responded to his daily e-mail at all. The week before he got two or three messages a day that resembled novellas.

Mara had been moody all week long and Cheryl knew it was because Mara really wasn't sure she wanted to leave the comfort and safety of her home and job to start over again in a new country. Her boss looked miserable when she left her going away party Wednesday night and when Cheryl hadn't heard from her by noon on Thursday she decided to go check on her.

She found Mara sitting on the living room floor surrounded by unpacked garment boxes with an empty bottle of vodka in her hand.

"Sitting here wasted and wounded at this old piano." Cheryl sang the opening line of her bosses favourite song. When Mara failed to respond to Bed of Roses Cheryl knew it was going to be a long night. "What time are the mover's coming?" She asked gently.

"Nine." Mara replied flatly.

"Is anything packed?"
"I'd say the trash can should be by now."

Cheryl wandered in to the kitchen and opened the garbage can. It was empty except for a bottle of vodka, tequila, whiskey and gin. She shook her head and went back in to the living room. "Mar you don't even like gin."

"It was there so I drank it."

"You must have the hangover from hell."

"Nah I think I drank it away. I've run out of vodka though. Be a dear and go get me a few more bottles."

"Mara I think you've had more than enough already. Come on it isn't like you to attempt to drink your problems away."

"Thought I'd try something new."

"You know sometimes I think it's dangerous for you to have thoughts. Remember when you thought rowing down the canal would be fun? I almost drowned."

"Please you just got wet." Mara supplied grinning at the memory.

"Mar you've never failed at anything in your life. What makes you think all of a sudden you are going to screw this up?"

"Maybe because I've never had to deal with so many changes all at once. Maybe because I'm terrified that Sam will wake up one morning and realize that the price he pays to maintain me is just too high and not worth it anymore. Maybe because I always hated being the new girl in school. I thought High School was tough the embassy is one hell of a clique. Maybe because try as I might I can't figure out a way to have Sam and stay in my own bedroom at the same time."

"Oh honey," Cheryl wrapped her arms around Mara. "Maybe you should stop thinking about the maybes and concentrate on the fact that Sam, Jed, Abbey, C.J and Leo are anxiously counting down the seconds until you arrive. Think about how much fun it's going to be to torment Josh in person? Think about how you're going to sit stodgy conservative DC on it's ear with your short skirts and leather."

"I do have an amazing pair of legs."

"Yeah they aren't as good as mine but they are fairly attractive." Cheryl teased.

"I changed my mind come down with me."

"Do I get to sleep with Sam every night?"

"Then forgetaboutit. Mara you need alone time with Sam. You need to convert the Embassy into Mara World. I can't do that for you."

"I guess you're right."

"I know I'm right. Now why don't you go have a nap and I'll start packing for you. Hey what did your Dad say?"

"I didn't get him yet. He's at some conference and won't be back till Tuesday."

"Sometimes I just wonder how you manage to wake up in the morning." Cheryl muttered.

"I don't always." Mara chuckled before heading up to her room.

Cheryl filled every single garment box with Mara's wardrobe except for a few of her personal favourites that she was going to permanently borrow. Mara was still dead to the world which didn't surprise her considering how many bottles of alcohol she had consumed. Cheryl wrapped and packed up the two boxes of personal belongings from her office and ordered herself a pizza. She was munching the last piece when Mara wandered down.

"Wow you're done."

"Yeah thanks for all your help." Cheryl replied sarcastically.

"You should have woken me up."

"Please you were so out of it that a bomb could have gone off beside you and you wouldn't have moved."

"I guess I was tired."

"Yeah massive amounts of alcohol tend to do that to a person. I've got all your office stuff packed but you are going to have to do the rest."

"K hey could you go grab the Tale of Two Cities from the library for me."


Mara started gathering her framed pictures from the room and sat down to bubble wrap them before loading a moving box.. She brought two boxes up to her room and filled them while Cheryl washed then wrapped up Killer's bowls and packed his food.

"Well I'd say my first day went OK. I skipped out at lunch time and never returned. It's like you are still in charge."

"Is that suppose to be funny?" Mara asked with a raised eyebrow.

"You know damn well it is." Cheryl shot back with a grin.

"Why am I going to miss a smart ass like you?"

"Cause I'm your best friend and the only one who knows exactly when and where you are suppose to be. Oh and I think fast when you aren't where you are suppose to be ."

"Yeah I guess I'm going to have to remember appointments I make for longer than the time it takes to tell you."

"Yup and my assistant is going to have to deal with the fact that I keep my own schedule. It won't be long before the terrible two are back together again."

"Promise me Cheryl that if you actually like my job you won't pack up and leave cause It's March 1st.."

"I promise but the odds on that happening are slim to none. Well I'm going to go now, some of us have to work in the morning."

"Cheryl you can't, I mean I was hoping you'd stay the night. One last sleep over?"

"Oh all right I'll stay you big baby. It's a good thing I don't have pets to take care of."

"What about my sister?" Mara laughed.

"Tina picked her up yesterday they were going to some party in Montreal. she said she'd call you on Monday."

"Oh she better not over do it. So do you want brownies or cookies?"


Mara and Cheryl spent the rest of the night over indulging in cookies, ice cream and brownies until they drifted off in to a sugar coated sleep. When Mara's alarm went off the next morning she packed one more box, found Killer's carrying case and watched as the movers loaded every box in to the truck. She watched the amazed look on their faces when she gave them the exact address in DC It wasn't often 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC showed up on a moving invoice.

Cheryl had left for work at ten leaving Mara to wait for the car to take her to the airport. When the car arrived Mara took one last longing look around her house before she had to up end an uncooperative Killer in to his cage. She had lucked out on the plane as the flight attendant recognized Mara so she pretended to not notice when Mara let Killer out of his cage once they had reached cruising altitude. Killer simply curled up on Mara's jacket on the next seat so no one noticed the passenger in 2F was black cat. He wasn't too happy to go back in his cage for landing but Mara had simply pushed him in. Mara was a little disappointed to find Ron waiting for her at the airport instead of Sam.

"Ron is something wrong?"

"No Sam was in a meeting so Mrs. Bartlet asked me to come get you."

"Ah, sorry Ron I appreciate the offer I was just..."

"Hoping I'd be Sam. Personally I think I'm a better catch, after all Sam can't protect you against assassins." Ron laughed.

"Cute Ron. Did you get the e-mail I sent you the other day?"

"Yeah about appointing Jack as the head of your security detail. He'd have to under go our training since technically you are my responsibility too but I don't have a problem with that."

"Thanks Ron."

"What no luggage?"

"No it's all in the moving van."

As soon as Mara was in the car she let Killer out and he jumped in front to sit beside Ron. He had to chuckle when the cat stood up resting it's paws on the dash and watched the passing scenery.

"That cat is a character."

"Tell me about it Killer thinks he's human."

"Some how it doesn't' surprise me that your cat has attitude. Sam brought Beaver Tails in last Monday please try to limit the incident's of heart failure you give me Mara."

Mara chuckled, "I'll try Ron but you know I'm a free spirit so I can't make you any promises."

"Try real hard please. Hey are you going to the Bahamas with us?"

"The Bahamas? When?"

"The second week of November. We found out about it yesterday and the President told Sam you were invited."
"Cool I love the Bahamas. I guess Sam was going to tell me today. Of course I'll go, where are we staying?"

"Paradise Island at the Atlantis."

"My favourite hotel. Well it's not as good as my house in Anguilla but it will do."

"You have a house in Anguilla?"

"Yeah, if you ever get a vacation Ron and want to use it let me know."

Ron carried Killer's cage in to the West Wing as Mara held the cat in her arms. Ron left the cage in Sam's office and Mara put Killer in Sam's chair and closed the door.

"Kathy my cat's in there so don't let anyone open Sam's door."

"Kay Mara welcome to DC."

"Thanks Kathy, any idea where I'll find my man?"

"I think he was heading over to Josh's office."

"Cool I can kill two birds with one stone."

Mara spotted Donna coming up from the mess with a can of coke and had to smile. Donna was wearing a very familiar looking long beige leather skirt with a form fitting V neck black cashmere sweater.

"Well hello Donatella Versace." Mara said with a grin.

Donna sat her coke down and ran up to give Mara a big hug. "I'm so glad you're back and I absolutely love everything you sent me."

"I'm glad to see you too Donna and you look amazing."

"Thanks, hey do you have anything suitable for the beach?"

"Ah yes Bahamas wear, yeah I do. My clothes should be showing up tonight so maybe we can have a look Saturday."

"Thanks Mara you're the best."

"That I am. So have you seen a gorgeous deputy communications director lately?"

"Yeah he's in with Josh. Shall we interrupt them?"
"Have you worn the red dress yet?"

"Umm no maybe by the time we are on Paradise Island I'll work up the nerve to wear it."

"Josh will faint. Hey Sam told me how you got back at Josh for punching him. Nice work I was proud of you."

Donna laughed, "I enjoy making Joshua's life miserable."

"Yet another thing we have in common." Mara remarked before stepping in to Josh's office.

"Good God woman don't you ever knock." Josh sighed.

Sam stood up, turned around and walked straight in to Mara's out stretched arms giving her a passionate kiss that left Donna and Josh feeling quite awkward.

"For crying out loud rent a room." C.J said from the door.

"Miss me?" Mara asked with a grin.

"God help me but yeah Brat." C.J replied shaking her head.

"Why don't we take this back to my office Mara." Sam suggested.

"Yes kindly take the trash in to your office." Josh added.

Donna slapped him up side the head and glared at him. "See you later Mara."

Mara and Sam walked back to his office holding hands. Mara noticed the open door to Sam's office and stopped short. "Umm Kathy the door?"

"Oh your cat has been cat napped by the President."

"Great think Leo will let me borrow the 72nd Airborne to get Killer back?"

"Technically I don't think they can fire on the White House even if Leo orders them to."

"There goes my little plan to whisk you away early and go home." Mara said with a pout.

"Actually Sweetie I couldn't have left. You see Dr. Bartlet is throwing you a welcoming party tonight in the residence. The good news is she wants everyone there at 6:30 so I won't be working late."

"Ah so Jed is kidnapping cats as a delay tactic. Well I'm going to go say hello to the criminal."

"Kay I've got to be in the Mural Room in ten minutes."

Mara closed his office door, pushed him in his chair and smiled wickedly. "That gives us 8 minutes for this."

Sam couldn't think of a better way to waste 8 minutes than making out with his girl friend. He stooped thinking when Mara's tongue ran along the roof of his mouth. He decided to run his tongue in a circular pattern on the roof of her mouth and couldn't help smirking when she moaned softly. They reluctantly pulled away when Kathy knocked on the door to tell Sam he had to leave.
"Well that was fun."

"I think it's a good thing I have to leave cause you are too tall to be on my desk."

"Hmm but if I sit on your desk and you stand." Mara said in a low voice.

"Oh Geez Mara now how am I going to concentrate during this meeting? All I'll be able to think about is you on my desk."

"There are a lot worse visuals than that." Mara chuckled.

"Go rescue your cat you wicked woman you." Sam fixed his tie and rubbed at his face to make sure he got all of Mara's lipstick off. He forgot about the raspberry coloured lip prints on his neck and behind his ear. He wondered why Beth and Lucy were staring at him, looking at each other then grinning. Josh noticed that Sam was doodling and not paying a lot of attention then he noticed the lipstick on his best friend. He scribbled a quick note and tossed it across the table to Sam when everyone turned to look at the easel.

Sam opened the note and blushed immediately. Dolt you have dragon prints all over your neck.

He looked up at Josh who was simply shaking his head and making a ewe gross face. Sam tried to nonchalantly as possible rub at his neck until Josh finally nodded it was all gone from his vantage point. Sam put his serious face on and went back to doodling while images of Mara kept flashing in his head.

Mara had slowly made her way over to the Oval Office and was waiting for Charlie to get off the phone.

"Hey Mara."

"Hey Charlie have you seen a black cat yeah high..."

"Yeah the President has him. He wanted me to write a ransom note for him. Something about mint bars or you'll never see the cat again. I respectfully declined. He said he'd get Leo to go along with his scheme."
Mara laughed. "Thanks can I go make a citizens arrest?"

"Be my guest."

Mara walked in and noticed the White House official photographer putting his camera away. She noticed Killer was spread out on Jed's desk swatting at the pen as it came his way.

"You're busted Jed."

"What the cat wandered in here." Jed replied.

"Really was that before or after you walked in to Sam's closed office, picked Killer up and brought him here? Tsk, tsk, tsk you even tried to involve Charlie in your kidnapping scheme. I didn't get a note. Did Leo get greedy and demand half the chocolate bars from the ransom?"

The photographer started chuckling and asked if he wrote the note cause it would make a cute picture. Jed sighed and pulled out a Presidential Letterhead. Bill read it and started laughing and handed it to Mara.

Miss Whitford,
If you ever want to see your Cat again you will meet my demands.
Do not contact the Police and you are being carefully monitored so don't try anything.
You will place 12 unmarked Laura Secord French Mint bars on the bench outside the Oval Office in an hour or the Cat will never be seen again.

Mara shook her head and started laughing. "Today is a slow day eh?"


"Sir how about I take a shot of you putting the period after again, with the Cat in the shot?"

"Oh all right, Abbey will get a kick out of this." Jed put the page on his desk and made a happy face underneath the note.

"Bill I want a copy of these pictures."

"Sure Miss Whitford. Have a good evening Sir."

"Good night Bill. So Mara where are the bars?"

"Hello you try holding me up for ransom, get caught red handed in the act and still expect to get the ransom?"

"Hell yes."

"What you ate the ones Sam brought you already?"


"Well I brought you some but I packed them in a moving box and I don't think the movers are going to be here for a few hours still."

"Damn, Mrs. Landingham made me eat this huge awful salad for lunch and I'm hungry."

"I can't believe I'm doing this but I'll go down to the mess for you. A nice muffin should satisfy you till dinner."

"Get me the biggest chocolate chip muffin you can find."

Mara ran in to Toby in the hallway. "I knew you where here."

"What you sensed me?"

"No Sam's got lipstick behind his ear."

"Ah guess I'm going to have to inspect him before letting him go from now on."

"Good idea. I've got to run see you at your party."

"K bring me a good gift."

"Ah hell they didn't tell me I had to bring you a gift."

Mara laughed and wondered if Toby would wrap up a stapler for her or maybe one of his dreaded red sharpie pens. She never figured on Toby going back in to his office and spending twenty minutes thinking of a gift then sending Ginger out to get it.

Mara brought Jed an oatmeal raisin muffin since all the chocolate chip ones where gone and listened to Jed complaining about the state of the union when the President couldn't even get what he wanted in the White House mess. Mara jokingly suggested Senate hearing on the matter. Jed thought it was a great idea and gave his testimony to Mara. Twenty minutes later Mara was grateful a call came in for Jed and she quickly made her escape. She found out who did the ordering for the mess and strongly suggested they put aside a chocolate chip muffin for the President from now on.

"Did you rescue your Cat?" Kathy asked as Mara went to wait for Sam in his office.

"I was going to but I escaped with my life during a break in a Presidential rant on chocolate chip muffins and the American way."

"Good call it's all about self preservation. Sam went down to ask Ainsley something he should be back soon."

"Kay I'll make myself comfortable. Hey what's Charlie's extension?"



Mara dialed the extension and waited for the line to be picked up.


"Hi Charlie tell Jed he is responsible for bringing Killer up to the residence."

"Kay I'll see you up there."

Mara pulled out her Tale of Two Cities from her purse and started writing on the inside cover. She thought about writing on a note paper and simply inserting it but wanted her message to be permanent. In ten years she didn't' want to find out that it had slipped out and been lost a long time ago. Mara had just tucked the book back in her purse when Sam walked in.

"Hi ya beautiful I'm a free man until Monday morning at 6:30."

"6:30? Dear God a hideous hour. Just don't wake me up."

"Where's Killer?"

"Jed still has him. He actually wrote a ransom note demanding a dozen French mint bars."

Sam chuckled, "It was a slow day for us all I guess. Shall we make our way to your party?"

"Why don't you pack up and stow what you can in Killer's carrier and we'll just pop down before going home. I really hope Abbey doesn't want us up there forever I'm a little tired and you have no idea how eagerly I've been waiting to curl up in your arms."

"Actually I have a very good idea since every night I lied awake wishing I could hold you in my arms. Welcome home Mara."

She wrapped her arms around his back and left a tender kiss on his lips. "Thanks Sam I'm glad to be home." Mara noticed Toby standing at the door with a gift bag in his hand.

"That isn't for me is it?"

"No it's for Betsy Ross. Of course it's for you. You cant' have it until you open your gifts though."
"Gifts? We didn't' have to bring you gifts did we?" Sam asked.

Mara chuckled, "You are my gift Sam. I'm expecting presents from everyone else."

"She's just like C.J always thinking about what's in it for her and how to get what she wants. Did you see the list of acceptable birthday gifts C.J was handing out at the end of tonight's briefing?"

"She didn't?" Sam asked incredulously.

"Oh but she did and the list is Four pages long!"

"That's my girl." Mara said proudly looping one arm thru Toby's, the other thru Sam's. "Shall we gentlemen?"

"Women." Sam and Toby muttered as they headed up to the residence.

Chapter 18



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