Cold Blast - part 19

By Cathy

 

To the untrained eye, Sam Seaborn looked very busy. His svelte frame was bent over his lap top computer while a sea of balled up yellow papers were scattered around the floor, Sam's head was down making only the top of his shiny black hair visible. He looked at his watch and figured he only had to pretend to be hard at work for another ten minutes or so before he could make his escape. He'd finally handed his final draft of the education proposal to the President an hour ago and he didn't want to start working on anything that would keep him in the office past seven.

He sent his mom a long overdue e-mail updating her on what he'd been up to and told her he'd finally met the mother of his children and the love of his life. He knew a short missal would be waiting for him in the morning chewing him out for ending the e-mail on that note and demanding more information about the woman who stole her son's heart. Sam could almost see the look on her face and grinned. It wasn't nice to mess with one's mother but it could be such fun sometimes. He was presently listing names he liked for his future son or daughter. The blue screen from solitaire reflected in his window and would be a dead giveaway that he was free to help someone. C.J always looked for a reflection to figure out what the guys were up to, only Sam had clued in to her little trick and relished the opportunity to turn the tables on her as he had the day before. He wished he could have taken a picture of the look on C.J's face when in parting he said enjoy the rest of that Cosmo article.

At three minutes to seven Sam started packing up and was almost home free when he heard Leo calling his name. He debated continuing to the exit for a second before turning around.

"Yeah Leo?"

"I'm glad I caught you. This won't take long, I promise Mara won't get mad at you for being late tonight."

"She doesn't get mad Leo, she knows what it's like all to well. What can I do for you?"

"I need you to go up to Boston tomorrow and take a meeting with Bob Pritchard. He's the chairman of the Catholic School Trustees. Two of the schools in his district are running pilot projects that we want to know more about. Margaret is just finishing up gathering the information and has booked you on the nine o'clock shuttle tomorrow, you'll be back here by two. You'll brief the President and I at four and we want your input on the feasibility of taking it national."

"Kay." (There goes lunch with Mara.) Sam watched Margaret dodging people as she quickly made her way in their direction.

"Hey Sam, here's everything you'll need and your flight itinerary and locator. You're going out of Dulles not National."

"Thanks beautiful." Sam said with a big grin that put a tiny blush on her face. "See you tomorrow afternoon then Leo."

"What was that about?" Leo asked.

"I'm not sure but it was sweet and it's put me in a much better mood. Any chance I'll get out of here before ten tonight?"

"Yeah, get out of here Margaret I'm heading home soon. I still haven't shaken that headache from this morning."

"I've got just enough of Mara's spinach and cheese stuffed pasta shells left for dinner Leo."

"Is that an invitation Margaret?"

"Yeah, I know I never feel like heating anything up when I've got a headache. This way I'll know you've eaten and you won't be getting sick and all grumpier than usual on me." She replied with a grin.

"I'm not grumpy Margaret." Leo chuckled.

"Leo you are the original grumpy old man." Margaret laughed.

Sam found Mara and Killer curled up and fast asleep on the couch. Killer looked up when he heard the door close and jumped down to greet Sam. Killer didn't like most men but Sam never ignored him, always played with him and snuck him treats when Mara had cut him off. Sam also didn't kick him in his sleep like Mara did so Killer spent most nights curled up behind Sam's knees.

"Hey fuzzy how was your day?" Sam asked affectionately as he bent down to give Killer a good neck scratch. He went over to the kitchen and pulled out the tube of cat malt to prevent hair balls and squeezed some out for Killer to devour. After a few good squeezes Sam put the tube away and washed his hands to get rid of the smell. Killer wandered off and he went over to kneel beside Mara.

Sam pushed the hair out of her face and left a soft kiss on her lips. Mara's eyes fluttered open and she smiled sleepily. "Hey you."

"Hey yourself, you got a headache or were you just tired?"

"A little bit of both. No one likes me in the Embassy Sam. I want to send C.J over to beat them all up."

Sam chuckled, "Maybe if you didn't yell at all of them they'd like you."

"I hadn't yelled at any one yet. The Ambassador's assistant is a bitch. She waited until a dozen of the junior and the senior staffers were in the room to suggest that I hire a stylist because an Ambassador simply does not wear a long black leather skirt, high heeled boots and cashmere sweater."

"Is she nuts you look amazing ."

"Thank you Sam. I tried biting my tongue Sam I really did but she muttered something about why would I dye my hair blonde of all colours if I wanted to be taken seriously."

"To which you responded?"

"I believe I said Look Lady, this is my natural hair colour and last time I checked I was a Rhodes Scholar, taught at the London School of Economics, had the ear of the Prime Minister and President, knew a hell of a lot more about style than her and as her superior if she so much as glanced at me the wrong way from this moment on I'd fire her ass so fast her head would spin."

"What did she say?"

"Nothing so I told her we'd all wait for her to get off her high horse and apologize to me."

"Did she?"

"Reluctantly yes."

"So you did yell at someone, not that she didn't deserve it. You taught at London?"

"Yeah just the first semester after I finished at Oxford. I taught the intro to the North American Consumer Market. It was fun but I'm not professor material."

"Sorry you had such a crappy day. I'm sure things will get better when you are in charge and they get to know you. I'm not going to make lunch tomorrow. Leo is sending me to Boston for the day."

"Oh that's too bad, I'm still going to hang out in the West Wing where they seem to like me at least. I'd rather read in C.J's office than be in that ugly modern building. The only thing I like about that entire building is the view from the top."

"You haven't' met anyone you like in that entire building?"

"Nope."

"Why don't you wander around to the working floors where everyone is just putting in their time. Staffers are all thinking about their seniority and trying to maneuver their way up the ladder. The worker bees probably don't have a clue who you are."

"Maybe I'll try that later this week. I took a nap instead of making dinner."

"Oh I'll order something then."

"Nah, there's cooked ground beef in the pink container, open a can of sloppy joe stuff and grate some cheddar. I'll be out in a minute I'm going to change."

Sam dumped the beef and the can of sloppy joe mix into a pan and started heating it. He finished grating the cheese and looked for but couldn't find hamburger buns. Mara came out of the bed room wearing tight faded jeans and a tiny white top that just barely covered her breasts.

Sam looked up and smiled mischievously, "Dear Penthouse my girlfriend is by far the sexiest woman on the planet and brilliant to boot. Please confirm I'm the luckiest man alive. Yours truly, Sam Seaborn."

Mara chuckled, "God you're good for my battered ego."

"And you're good for my libido." Sam laughed, "We don't have hamburger buns."

"That's OK we are having my lazy nachos." Mara dumped the meat mix in a bowl added the cheese on top and grabbed a bag of tortilla chips. She dug in to the mixture, popping a loaded chip in to her mouth.

"Cheryl said to say hello and wants you to bank roll a room at the Ritz for her."

"What was she doing calling you?"

"She wanted a phone number for someone."

"Skipping the red tape, good girl. When does she plan on visiting?"

"I don't know she said I should just tell you she's using your card and she'll let you know."

"Fine whatever. She knows I don't care but I guess it's nice that she informs me what I'm paying for."

"C.J asked me to remind you that you'll be expected to throw a party once you take over. She was going to get the Social Secretary to make up a list for you."

"Tell her thanks but no thanks. She knows how much I hate big parties. I have a small casual affair in mind for people I like."

"Care to share?"

"I was thinking jeans, my catering and no more than 30 people. I've got to find out exactly when Jon will be in town doing the Special Olympics Fund Raiser and plan it for the next day."

"You going to make him sing for his supper?" Sam laughed.

"No I never do that to him. He normally makes me sing for him. He knows exactly how many drinks it takes for me to agree. He always joins me though."

"Sounds like fun."

"Uhuh my parties are legendary. Everyone always has a great time. Did you bring work home?"

"Yeah."

"Well I snagged two dozen personnel records to read so I won't be feeling ignored."

"You know I love the fact that you just come out and say you're bored or feeling neglected."

"I don't believe in mincing words and I learnt a long time ago that waiting for a man to figure out what you want takes too damn long. It's so much easier to just tell you what I want."

"It works for me. I particularly liked last nights, hello gorgeous the only work you'll be doing tonight is making love to me."

"Yeah I thought you'd like that one. I forgot to tell you, my Dad finally returned my call today."

"So he knows you've moved?"

"He didn't say much except that he hoped I was happy. I've given up trying to figure him out. Most Fathers would be thrilled that their daughter was an Ambassador not mine. I don't think he really cares what I do."

"I don't know about that I think if you would have announced you were the feature stripper for some club he'd have reacted. It's all just politics to your Dad."

"I guess. Are your parents proud of you?"

"I think so. I know my Mom is and I think my Dad doesn't get why I'm not in the counsel's office instead but he's proud of me."

"And your sister?"

"Beth is just happy I'm not interfering in her life. I still don't get why she wants to be a director."

"She likes ordering people around and she's obviously creative."

"I guess, it's just such a tough competitive career choice."

"Well if she has half her big brother's brains she'll make it."

"So when do I get to meet Dani?"

"Oh she'll make an unscheduled visit at the least opportune time. Her timing is uncannily bad."

"You tease her constantly but you love her to pieces I bet."

"Yeah she's a pain in the ass but she's my lovable pain in the ass." Mara replied with a grin.

"Runs in the family does it?" Sam teased.

"Ha ha very funny Seaborn."

"Oh I almost forgot I told my Mom about you."

"Really what did she say?"

"Nothing I mentioned that I met this amazing girl that I'm totally in love with and said got to go talk to you later."

"You hung up after that and you are still living?" Mara chuckled.

"No I sent her an e-mail."

"Oh Sam this is bad on so many levels."

"Hey that's my line."

"I like it so I've adopted it. I would so kill you if I was your mother."

"Yeah I'm probably going to get a Dear Son instead of Dear John e-mail in the morning."

"I bet Beth always wanted to be an only child now she'll get her wish. Sam that was incredibly...stup.....cruel......man like of you. It's like Josh saying Sam you'll never guess who I ran in to last night. I never thought in my wildest dreams.... well got to go."

"It's Mom she'll vent and forgive me, she always does."

"Don't you ever do anything like that to me or I will hurt you." Mara said with a grin.

"You leave bruises so rest assured I won't do that to you."

Mara shook her head and grabbed her files and settled in for the night with Sam. As usually Mara fell asleep reading and Sam carried her to bed when he was finished.
Sam's day had gone well and he was a little early for his return flight. He checked the departure board in Logan Airport and watched his flight status change from on time to delayed. He walked over to the desk to see what the hold up was.

"My flight 342 is delayed?"

"Yes Sir I'm afraid a big storm is about to hit D.C and until it's passed we won't be leaving."

Sam walked in to the first class lounge and dialed Josh on his cell phone.

"Josh Lyman's office."

"Hey Donna it's me is Josh around?"

"Hi Sam, umm yeah I'll tell him you're on the line."

"Josh line one and you forgot my drink."

"Lyman."

"Is Mara still there?"

"Yes the black plague is still in the air."

"Where is she Josh?"

"She's in the mural room."

"Has the storm started yet?"

"No but it's getting very dark out there. What are you standing in for Willard Scott?"

"Not funny Josh, I need you to do me a favour. Find Mara and keep her company until the storm is over."

"Sam I'm the Deputy Chief of Staff I have better things to do than baby-sit your girlfriend whom I might add I don't like."

"Josh just do it, Mara is terrified of thunder and lightening for a good reason."

The sound of desperation in Sam's voice moved Josh. "Kay I'll do it but you owe me."

"Thanks Josh."

"Donna I'm in the mural room if you need me."

Josh was at the door to the mural room when he heard the first crack of thunder and saw Mara jump an inch. He recognized the look of terror in her eyes and stepped in to the room.

"Don't you have an office of your own?"

"Don't you have small children to scare?" Mara retorted.

"I believe that is your job not mine Dragon Lady."

"I guess your limited intellect would make conversing with small children very difficult."

"Is the Washington Zoo aware that you've escaped from the snake exhibit?"

"I'm not considered a dangerous predator. Is the CDC aware that a particularly nasty strain of the plague has escaped disguised as Josh Lyman?"

"Hey black plague is my nickname for you. Go find your own name for me. I'd suggest Magnificent Josh."

Mara was laughing so hard she didn't hear the thunder boom. "Oh that is lame even for you Josh."

"Well we are all not blessed with your sardonic wit."

"Hmm how about one fry short Lyman?"

"Oh Donna is so dead for telling you about that! Did you know she had Margaret stitch Josh Lyman one fry short of a happy meal on a pillow?"

Mara started laughing again, "No but as much as Donna loves that little saying she didn't create it. Sam gave her it."

"Sam? Some best friend he is!" Josh snorted.

"The saying didn't originate with Sam though."

"I sort of thought it was a little mean spirited for Sam. It's right up your alley though."

"I can not tell a lie 'twas I." Mara giggled.

"Obviously the Prime Minister hides you when the press is around or Canada would not have a reputation for being a nice polite non violent country."

"Cute Josh but don't you have work to do? I mean we all know Donna runs the show but shouldn't you be there just for appearance sake?"

Josh kept Mara engaged in verbal warfare until the rain had stopped. Sparring with Mara wasn't easy but it was a task Josh was well up for and he got in a few zinger's that made her jaw drop.

"K the rain is over my job here is done. I'd say see you later but I really hope I don't." Josh quipped on the way out.

"Whoa wait a sec Josh. What do you mean your job is over?"

"Sam asked me to distract you until the storm was over."

"He what?"

"He said storms terrified you and he didn't want you to be alone."

"Sam's got a big mouth."

"Yeah."

"I suppose you think I'm a big baby being afraid of a storm."

"I've always thought you were a spoiled rotten baby."

Mara smiled, "Why Josh ? I'm not exactly your favourite person."

"No that would be Donna. Sam is my best friend and he asked me to do him a favour. It's that simple."

"You could have said no."

"I did but Sammy wouldn't take no for an answer."

"I guess he told you why they freak me out."

"Nope I don't care either. I'm fairly sure the less I know about you Lady the better."

"You let me wipe the floor with you for over an hour Josh, why?"

"Let's just say I know what it's like to be terrorized and I wouldn't wish it upon even you."

"Ah Josh that's so sweet it almost makes me want to kiss you."

"Perish that thought I don't want to get your evil germs you demonic witch." Josh said with a grin.

Josh turned his back just long enough for Mara to grab him from behind and plant a soft kiss on his cheek. "Thanks Josh, I really am glad that bullet didn't kill you." She whispered in his ear.

Josh pushed her off him and made a face. "Oh God now I have to go decontaminate myself."
Mara didn't catch the soft smile on Josh's face as he walked back to his office.(I still can't stand her.) Josh said trying to convince himself but even he knew he was fighting a loosing battle. Mara was growing on him like a bad weed he thought chuckling to himself.

The next two weeks past quickly and Mara had found herself a new assistant when she followed Sam's advice and visited the other floors. Leslie was sarcastic and capable of multi tasking. Mara loved her southern accent and most importantly she accepted the position. She had advised the Ambassador's butler and chef that they would not be needed when she took over and started ordering what she wanted to redecorate the study.

After assembling Donnas and Abbey's wardrobe for Paradise Island and packing for Sam it dawned on her that she neglected to take care of herself. Mara quickly threw some stuff in a thin garment bag and slid underneath the covers. Sam wrapped his arms around her and mumbled good night. Mara wondered why Jed insisted they leave so damn early and decided she'd just have to find a good place to sleep on board Air Force One.

Other than the tired grumpy scowl on Mara's face the next morning at 5:30 Donna thought she looked like a million bucks. Mara had thrown on black Capri pants and a mid-drif bearing deep purple top. The gold bracelet Jon had given her as an early birthday present shone in the plane lights and Donna noticed an amazing diamond and tanzanite tennis bracelet next to it. Her hair was pulled up in a high ponytail showing off the matching tanzanite earrings. Donna wondered what Sam thought about the tattoo circling her ankle that they had done at the mall the day before.

"Hey Donna you look all set for Paradise." Sam said with a grin.

"Thanks Mara picked this out for me." Donna said and spun around in the yellow floral chiffon dress with a thin baby blue sweater that really brought out her pale blue eyes.

"Donnatella you look amazing."

"Thanks Joshua you look....rumpled. Come here you walking disaster." Donna swiped, swatted, pulled and stretched Josh's clothes until they looked more presentable before straightening his tie.

"Hey if Sam doesn't have to wear a tie neither do I." Josh whined.

Donna rolled her eyes and pulled Josh towards the stairs with his tie. After they were all settled on the plane Mara unbuckled her belt, turned in her seat and hoisted her legs up on Sam's lap. He playfully pinched her deep purple painted toe and finally noticed the tattoo.

"Interesting addition to your ankle Mar."

"I thought so. You like it? I always wanted one but Jon would never take me."

"Why? He's got a few of them."

"He figured Dorothea would kill him for letting me get one when my judgment was highly impaired by vodka."

"Ah you only want one when you're drunk."

"Yeah when you're feeling no pain it's a good time to have a needle going in and out of your skin."

"Well you weren't drunk last night so this isn't permanent right."

"Nah it's a black henna tattoo it lasts about six weeks."

"Cool, I like it."

"Donna got one too." Mara felt her ponytail being tugged. "Yeah C.J?"

"Why didn't you two call me? I want one too."

"Really?"

"Yeah I want: I hate the press kill them now. Think they could wrap that around my ankle?"

"Hey I liked: set fire to the room do it now, better myself." Mara laughed.

"You're going with me when we get back."

"Yes Mom. Don't you have a section full of reporters to baby sit?"

"I left Carol with them, I get tired of being with the toddlers all the time."

"So you want to hang with Josh and Sam instead? Where's the logic in that? They are worse than toddlers."

"I'd resent that remark if I didn't resemble it." Sam chuckled.

"Well I'm going to take a closer look at Donna's tattoo. I'll see you two goof balls later."

"When did C.J become the Mom?"

"I don't know but I think pushing her in to one of the hotel's numerous pools should cure her."

Half an hour in to the flight Mara was getting sleepy so she changed positions and reclined in to Sam sleeping until the plane was making it's final descent. Sam hoped the picture Donna snapped earlier would come out. Sam and Mara shared a limo with Donna, Josh and C.J for the short ride from the airport to Paradise Island. Sam and C.J were busy studying the itinerary figuring out exactly how much free time they'd have each day. Mara and Donna were deciding what tropical drink to order while Josh happily watched Donna and wondered if she brought a bikini or a one piece bathing suit. When the limo came to a stop Mara was the first out and strode in to the impressive Great Hall of Waters lobby with it's golden shelled dome soaring 70 feet in the air.

"Look at her, she walks as if she owns the place." Donna remarked.

"Mara has never lacked confidence when she walks. I think she said her theory is enter as if you belong there and you will." C.J answered.

"Well the bell boy just hopped to attention and the concierge practically leapt across the desk just now to get to her." Josh added.

The group of three approached and heard the tail end of the concierge's conversation. "I'm afraid it will be very busy this week Miss Whitford but we are happy to have you back."

"Thank you Jason, I'm actually part of the President's entourage. Would you mind checking us in?"

"Certainly if you'd all have a seat and hand me your passports. "

Five minutes latter Jason had returned with card keys. "You are all in the new Royal Towers. Miss Moss and Miss Cregg Imperial Club room 1510. Mr. Lyman Imperial Club room 1515. Mr. Seaborn and Miss Whitford Imperial Club grand suite room 2210."

"Hey how come they get the grand suite?" Josh whined.

"Cause I paid for it Joshua." Mara said with a take that look.

"Jason I'll need to know where everyone on the President's staff is staying." C.J said.

"Yes Miss Cregg we are printing up the list for you now. I understand Mr. McGarry is the only other person to receive this list."

"That is correct Jason."

A moment latter the list was brought over and seeing the President enter C.J suggested they all move towards the elevator and beat the President up so they didn't have to wait twenty minutes to go upstairs.

"Did I hear right you are all free till 2?" Mara asked.

"Yup. Bathing suit time and I'll meet you at the pool Mara." C.J replied.

"Donna you want to walk around the grounds with me?" Josh asked.

"I'd love to later Josh right now I want in one of those pools. Come with us."

"Then I'll be wet."

"That's the point Einstein. They've manufactured these wonderful plush things called towels to help one dry off." Mara teased.

"Come on Josh you know the three of them will gang up on me and attempt a drowning." Sam pleaded.

"Oh please you love your little Sam Seaborn Fan Club especially the nasty one."

"No one is drowning my Sammy the Seal, got it?" Mara said giving a pointed look to C.J and Donna.

Both of them pouted and told Mara she was no fun while Josh teased Sam about being Mara's trained seal. The express elevator stopped on the fifteenth floor and they all went to find the Imperial Club reception room. Mara poured herself a tall glass of lemonade and suggested they bring a pitcher with glasses down to the pool. Sam and Mara left C.J and Donna at their hotel door and went to find their own room.

"Oh this is a great room, look at that view. Hey we could hold a dinner party in here."

Mara loved the exuberance in Sam's voice. He reminded her of a seven year old and it made her fall even deeper in love with him. "Yeah go check out the bathroom." Mara said with a grin.

"There's a Jacuzzi tub in there!"

"Uhuh we'll have to try it out later tonight. Bathing suit Sam, time's a wasting."

By the time Sam came out of the bathroom Mara was tying a knot in her sarong and was looking rather impatient.

"Wow you look amazing Mara, I was wondering if you were going to bring the little red bikini."

"Thanks but it looks even better wet. Would you change or I'm leaving you up here."

"Kay I just wanted to look at the view from the balcony."

Mara slid her sunglasses down just enough so she could peer over them to give Sam the evil eye.

"Samuel Norman clothes off, bathing suit on NOW!"

"Geez Louise if looks could kill." Sam muttered as he went to find his suitcase.

"You'd be a dead man. Your point is?" Mara replied sarcastically.

"You know I think I'm going to call you Princess Snark from now on."

"If you'd get your butt in a bathing suit you could call me whatever the hell you want." Mara muttered on her way to get two bath sheets from the bathroom. She fixed her ponytail, applied some SPF 15 lipstick and grabbed her camera. "K ten seconds and I'm leaving without you."

Sam shook his head in disbelief when he heard Mara start counting. He waited until she was at nine then walked out of the bedroom area. Sam was wearing blue print surfer style bathing shorts and a matching blue T shirt. Mara thought he looked adorable but she figured she'd hold her compliments until they were actually pool side just in case Sam decided to waste more time modeling his surfer dude look. When the elevator reached the ground floor they stepped off and almost ran right in to Toby.

"Gonna join us pool side Tobias?" Mara asked.

"Nah maybe later. So are you trying to be the Goddess of Atlantis Mar cause I've got to tell you that you've succeeded. I might just come out to watch Sam react as every man in the place drools at you and tries to start a conversation. That should be some first class entertainment. I wonder if I could get some popcorn?"

"Probably." Mara laughed

"Mara!"

"What? I'm sure Toby could get some popcorn. Even if it has to be that Smart Food bagged stuff."

"Like you didn't catch my drift Princess Snark."

"Samuel I suggest you quickly get use to the fact that you are dating a total babe. Be confident in the knowledge that for some unknown bizarre reason the bunny of the year has fallen for you."

"Aah thanks Tobs." Mara said sweetly and gave him a peck on the cheek.

"Don't call me that Brat. I'll see you two later." Toby marched in to the elevator swiftly closing it.

"You've never had to pay for a drink have you?" Sam asked.

"Only when there are no men around."

"I guess I should be grateful it's not fleet week."

Mara cracked up and gave Sam a sultry kiss. "Just remember it's your bed I'm sleeping in." She whispered.

"More importantly you remember that." Sam laughed.

"Like a woman has never bought you a drink or twenty handsome."

Sam slipped his arm around Mara's back and followed her since she seemed to know where she was going. On the way to the pool they ran in to Danny.

"Hey Sam, hey Mara what are you doing here?"

"Donna needed a playmate so I hitched a ride on Air Force One. Want to join us at the pool?"

"I don't think so."

"C.J will be there in a bathing suit." Sam said with a smirk.

"Hmm maybe I'll stop by, which pool?"

Mara laughed, "The one to the right of the Mayan Temple."

"Kay see ya later."

Mara put a baseball cap on Sam's head and a wide brimmed hat on her own head that really made her look like some Hollywood starlet Sam thought.

"I'll have hat head Mara."

"Hat head I can fix I don't want you to have a a burnt scalp."

"I'll be done by five how about we go for a nice long walk on the beach?"

"That depends can we frolic in the surf?" Mara asked with one perfectly raised eye brow.

"I think I could manage to frolic with you. I always wanted to reenact the beach scene in From Here to Eternity."

"Sam as appealing as that sounds it was shot in Hawaii and C.J would murder me cause you know some photographer would catch us."

"So I should flirt like crazy with Donna and ignore you in public to keep C.J happy?"

"Oh yeah I'm sure C.J would rather explain to the press why the Deputy Chief of Staff beat the crap out of his supposed best friend the Deputy Communications Director because he's madly in love with his assistant but won't admit it. Then after fielding questions about the implications of employer employee lust she'd have to explain it was a ruse to distract attention from your relationship with the not yet named Canadian Ambassador to the United States. Yeah I think that would work."

Every word was dripping with the sarcasm Sam had grown to love even though it was often aimed in his direction. She had the same look on her face that C.J did before she said hello stupid. Sam wondered if that look came to women naturally or if they learnt it in Kindergarten.

"Sam think fast." Donna called out as she launched a beach ball at his head.

Sam grabbed it and tossed it back at Donna. "Where's C.J?"

"Right here Spanky." C.J replied as she came up behind Sam and hung her arm over his shoulder.

"Shouldn't you be fully dressed to go in the pool?' Sam teased.

"Do you want to die Samuel? Cause if you keep it up I will hurt you and Blondy here won't be able to stop me. Woman you need to gain like forty pounds so you look normal not like a damn super model."

Mara laughed, "Hey you look good Stretch."

"Yeah when you aren't hanging around I look damn fine. It's too much to hope that you brought a one piece with you isn't it."

"Ceeg I didn't even own a one piece as a child. Sam likes this one."

"Of course Sam likes it barely exists. Some guy just walked in to a palm tree cause he was looking at you."

"Is it my fault I lucked out and got brains, beauty and a bod ? I think not. You know as a member of the Sisterhood you should feel sorry for me."

"Oh this I've got to hear." Sam chuckled.

"Feel sorry for you Mara? Yeah right. " C.J snorted.

"You know Sam women can be so damn bitchy and evil to each other. If I had a dollar for every time some total stranger called me a bitch or uttered a death threat at me simply because I happen to be good looking there would be no third world debt cause I could pay it off single handily. Hey call me a bitch to your hearts content after I've wiped a floor with you but don't call me one because your boyfriend can't stop staring at my boobs. Insecure white trash women are the worst like I really want their trailer park, beer bellied hubby in the first place."

They all started laughing but Mara had made her point. "Sorry C.J but I am what I am and apparently that's a brilliant babe."

"You look great C.J. " Donna added.

"You look hot C.J." Sam concurred.

"Fine then I'll submerge myself in the water." C.J let her sarong fall to the chair and quickly jumped in to the water beside Donna.

Mara untied her sarong and placed it underneath her hat and the towel on the lounge chair. She wrapped her arms around Sam's neck and grinned.

"Come on gorgeous take the shirt off and let's get wet."

Sam ignored the cat calls from Donna and C.J's loud humming of a striptease tune and folded his shirt before placing it on the chair and turned around to look for Mara who was gone. He heard a splash and watched her head emerge from the water. Mara swum over to the edge of the pool to put her sunglasses back on.

"You just couldn't' wait another second could you?"

"Nope, you should know by now that I'm in to immediate gratification. Here give me your glasses and take the plunge."

Sam jumped cannon ball style in to the pool before getting his sun glasses off Mara and leaning his back against the pool.

"You know I really love this place but it could use a swim up bar." C.J sighed.

"I know I'm always telling them to put one in." Mara concurred.

"You've been here before?" Donna asked C.J

"Yeah twice actually. I was here five years ago for a studio press junket and I meet Mara down here last year."

"It's a quick direct charter flight from Toronto for me. I'm normally here 6 times a year for 3 or 4 nights. Cheryl and I come down when we are sick of the snow and cold in Ottawa. I invite C.J and she finally took me up on the offer last year."

"We thought you went back home for that week." Sam said.

"I know." C.J laughed. "I didn't feel like correcting your assumptions. Carol knew how to get a hold of me if Josh got anywhere near the press room."

"Hey anyone want to race?" Donna asked with a grin.

"Sure." Sam agreed.

"I'll call the race." Mara said.

"To the end Donna?"

"End and back here Sam."

Sam and Donna got ready and waited for Mara. "On your marks, get set, go!"

"Can't race in that suit now can you." C.J laughed.

"No, what's your excuse?"

"Donna's ten years younger than me so what's the point?."

They watched Sam and Donna battle it out with the slight lead passing back and forth between them until Donna finally touched the wall an arm stroke before Sam.

"Once again Sam gets his butt whipped by a girl." Josh laughed.

Sam ignored him, "Wow great race Donna. Why do I have the feeling you never told us about being a state swimming champ?"

"I was just the girls 16 and under champ three years running. Hey Josh that's a funny looking bathing suit."

"I don't want to get wet until after the meeting."

"You're a wuss Joshua, now go get me a drink." C.J ordered.

"Yeah I want something tropical." Donna said with a smile. "Sam, Mara?"

"I'll have a Strawberry Margarita." Sam said.

"Make that two." Mara added.

"Do I look like a waiter to you people?"

"If you won't get wet Josh you have to wait on us. It's the rule." Donna replied.

"Come with me Sam I only have two hands."

"They'll give you a tray Josh. I don't want to drip in there."

Josh walked off muttering under his breath while Sam pulled Mara in to his arms and gave her a long kiss. When Mara wrapped her legs around his waist C.J splashed water at both of them and reminded them that they had to behave. No sooner were the words out of her mouth when Danny walked by and stopped in front of them.

"Hey C.J you look great in a bathing suit you should wear one more often."

"Yeah cause you know a bathing suit is proper attire for the Press Secretary to be wearing in the White House." She replied sarcastically.

"You know what I mean."

"So are you going swimming fish boy because those who don't swim have to buy and get the drinks."

"She's serious Danny we've already sent Josh to get us drinks." Sam added.

"I've got a story to file in twenty minutes or I'd join you. Will sitting on the edge of the pool dangling my legs in work?"

"Under the circumstances yes." Donna said.

When Josh returned a few minutes later he found Danny sitting on the edge of the pool entertaining Donna and C.J. He greeted Danny and handed the girl's there drinks.

"C.J your Cosmo and Donna this sounded good it's called a Bikini Martini. It's vodka, peach liquor, blue curacao and a splash of cranberry juice. Where's Sam and the Black Plague?"

"They went for a walk on the beach."

"Kay, Danny this is off record. Where are they?"

Donna laughed and took a sip of her drink. "Oh this is good Josh and they really headed in the direction of the beach."

Danny took one of the Margarita's and Donna and C.J split the other one. When Danny left C.J climbed out of the pool and laid back in a lounge chair to catch some sun while Donna convinced Josh to at least put his legs in the water.

Danny took one of the Margarita's and Donna and C.J split the other one. When Danny left C.J climbed out of the pool and laid back in a lounge chair to catch some sun while Donna convinced Josh to at least put his legs in the water.

 

Sam and Mara had wandered down as far as they could down the beach and found a semi secluded set of lounge chairs. Mara turned to face Sam and brushed some sand off his knees.

"Sweetie?"

"Yeah Mara."

"Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"

"You mean ditch the gang?"

"Uhuh I thought we could go over to the Coral Tower and dine at Villa d' Este. They serve amazing Italian."

"Do I have to dress up?"

"Sort of the dress code is dress casual but no jackets required."

"I can handle that you have yourself a date Miss Whitford."

Mara walked back with Sam and found Donna lounging by the pool while Josh slept beside her on the next chair. Sam woke him up and they headed off to meet Leo for a meeting.

"So Donna you ever go down a water slide with sharks on either side of you?"

"Umm no."

"Wanna?"

"Sure why not you only live once right?"

"Right let's go."

Chapter 20

 

 

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