Cold Blast - 8
Back in the car Sam looked over at Mara while they were stopped at a traffic light. "You can't sit perfectly still for more than five minutes can you?"
"No I'm at my most restrained during mass."
"What was with the shadow puppet show during consecration ?"
"You made a deer head, a bird, a butterfly and what looked like an elephant."
"No I'm making it all up." Sam said sarcastically.
"I don't do it on purpose. I've always fiddled with my hands when I kneel. Now I'll be watching to see what I'm making. Thanks Sam." Mara sighed.
"You know Josh fiddles a lot too."
"Oh Sam don't go there."
"I'm just saying Josh makes a better friend than an enemy."
"Josh is smart enough to know messing with me is a big no-no. We don't have to be friends for that."
"A best friend and girlfriend hating each other is not my idea of fun Mara."
"I don't hate him Sam but don't you dare tell him that. Making his life miserable is such fun and Josh enjoys calling me names."
"Both of you need to have your heads examined."
"Josh has and it hasn't helped much has it?"
"If I was Toby I'd point out how grammatically wrong that sentence was."
"If you weren't driving I'd smack you upside the head so hard you'd feel it until Christmas."
"I think when you move here looking in to anger management classes might be a good idea. You can take Toby with you for company."
The thought of Toby in an anger management class was so funny Mara ignored the jab and laughed heartily. She examined the contents of the glove compartment and extracted one item. She waited for Sam to stop at another light and held it up to his face.
"Mind explaining this?"
"It will never hold up in court Mara that is the result of an illegal search and entry. I'd know since I'm a lawyer."
"You know I think the press would find this quite interesting. C.J. could use it on a slow news day or to deflect attention from something else."
"Breathe a word of this to anyone Mara and I promise I'll surprise you with the severity of my revenge."
"Sam that's no fun."
"Deal with it."
Mara sighed and looked out the window until the car pulled up to the parking complex. They entered from the West Wing and Mara laughed when she heard an agent announce to his wrist that Secord and Princeton were heading to the residence.
"He wasn't kidding."
"Jed told me my secret service code name was Laura Secord. I thought he was pulling my leg."
"Sam had Jed started plans for his Presidential library?"
"Not that I know of. C.J. or Leo would know. Why?"
"I had an idea I thought he might like."
"Run it by him over lunch."
"I think I will. How full is your schedule this week?"
"Fairly full why?"
"If I can I might spend the week here but if you were going to be working until midnight every night I would go home."
"It's busy but not impossible. As long as a crisis doesn't pop up I should be out of here by sevenish."
"What about the weekend?"
"I'll probably have to come in for a while Saturday morning."
"I could sleep in while you work on Saturday."
Mara and Sam plunked themselves down on a living room couch. Mara kicked her shoes off curling her legs underneath her and leaned her head on Sam's shoulder to wait for their hosts.
"A wee bit tired are we Mara?" Abbey asked as she entered the room.
"What time did you get home last night young lady?" Jed asked.
"6:30 this morning."
"How bad is your hangover?"
"Fine since I don't have one. I only had two and a half drinks last night."
"Then why the sunglasses or are you just trying to be cool ?"
"That would explain why it's so dark in here." Mara laughed sliding her glasses to the top of her head. "Here I was wondering if you didn't pay your electrical bill."
"Thank heavens I don't have to pay the bills I couldn't afford to. Did you see the Post this morning Sam?
"I glanced at the front page Sir why?"
"Ah so you missed the entertainment section. Zoey bring the Post down with you." Jed yelled.
A minute later Zoey walked in to the room carrying the paper in her hand. "Hey Sam, you know these are really good pictures of them."
Jed took the paper off his daughter. "I know I've ordered a couple of prints." Jed held the paper at eye level for Sam and Mara to see.
"I'd turn off my cell phone and stay away from here tomorrow if I was you Mar."
"You think?" Mara replied using one of C.J. frequent sayings.
Underneath the caption Bon Jovi Rocks D.C. was a picture of C.J mouth opened singing It's My Life with Donna standing beside her and a picture of Jon singing to Donna who was looking mighty comfortable.
"How did you manage to elude the photographers?" Sam asked.
"I have this uncanny ability to sense a picture before it's taken and I move out of the way."
"We promoted Donna." Sam laughed as he read the article.
"Yes apparently we did." Jed laughed. "Actually I was thinking that I'd get cards printed up for Donna with her new title."
Mara grabbed the paper to see what they were talking about. She scanned the page until she found Donna's name and started laughing. "I introduced Donna as the real brains behind the Deputy Chief of Staff and Dave said "that would make you the Deputy, deputy chief then." and Donna replied that's what she always thought."
"I wonder if Josh has seen this yet?" Abbey asked.
"I don't think so Ma'am unless there has been an implosion or explosion somewhere in the vicinity of his house." Sam joked.
"How likely is it for Josh to get past the sports section?"
"Considering the comics are in the middle of it, I'd say highly."
"Damn, turn your cell off Sam cause any minute now C.J. is going to be looking..."Mara was interrupted by the ringing of Sam's phone.
Sam looked at Mara sheepishly. "Come on what are the odds...."
"It could be Josh."
"Would one of you answer the bloody thing before I stomp on it." Jed ordered.
"I'm going to kill her Sam."
"C.J. did she force you to get on stage?"
"Well then I think the person you want to kill is the photographer not Mara."
"Yeah, well I can't gain access to kill him but I know where Mara lives."
Sam chuckled, "Would you like to speak to her? We are about to have lunch with the First Family."
"Oh, never mind then I'll get her later."
"K, hey I figured the thing out."
"You know the thing about the get out of jail card thing."
"Uhuh. I'll tell you in the morning."
"K, see you in the am Spanky" C.J hung up the phone and smiled. Leave it to Sam to find a way to cheer me up she thought and went to make another cup of coffee.
"Hmm Josh and C.J gunning for me maybe I should go home in the morning."
"You were thinking of staying? Does that mean you've made a decision?"
"Yes I've decided you should find out in a letter." Mara said with a smug grin.
"Mara trust me you don't want me to be gunning for you too in the morning." Jed said with a menacing grin.
"Oh all right I'm going to accept. I think my first suggestion would be that you declare Notre Dame football in a State of Emergency and get them some help so they can win a game."
"That's it no lunch for you Brat."
"Abbey can I eat?"
"Of course you can Mara pay no attention to Jed. He doesn't' handle the truth very well." Abbey laughed.
"Sam let's go for a walk before I strangle them both."
Jed waited until they were out in the rose garden to say a word. "Sam run now, run far, run fast before it's too late."
"Sam get away from Mara before it's too late."
"Sam fifteen years from now you will be married to a blonde version of Abbey except Mara will be scarier, able to hold a grudge longer and will never let you forget she's infinitely more intelligent than you."
Sam grinned sympathetically at his boss. "Sir I'm afraid it's already too late for me. When I was listening to Josh rattle on and on about Mara leading Donna down the garden path to hell I wanted to bash him one. It dawned on me that I was falling for her. When I felt her slid in to bed with me this morning wrapping her arms around me I knew I loved her and I didn't want to wake up alone anymore. Sir do you really mean to tell me that if you could go back in time you would have run from Abbey?"
"No Sam I'm afraid we are both suckers for strong, independent, highly intelligent, beautiful women. Abbey has made my life hell on earth on many an occasion but I wouldn't trade a day with my wife for anything."
"Not even Notre Dame going undefeated?" Sam teased.
Jed seemed to stop and think about it. "It depends on how mad I am with her that day. If she's really getting on my nerves it would take a long time to choose my wife."
"Sir will the Deputy Communication Director dating the Canadian Ambassador be a blip on the radar or a big problem?"
"A blip Sam just don't do anything stupid like go skinny dipping in the reflecting pool."
"Mara was looking forward to that one." Sam laughed.
"Knowing Mara as I do some how that wouldn't surprise me. Let's go eat Sam."
They found Abbey, Zoey and Mara sitting on the floor around the coffee table looking at an old photo album. Sam sat behind Mara on the couch and she leaned back to rest against his legs. Sam looked over her shoulders at pictures of Mara's last visit to the Manchester farm house while Jed was still Governor. He played with her ponytail gently tugging it and whispering comments in to her ear. Abbey stood up to get lunch and walked over to her husband who was watching Mara and Sam with a grin on his face. Abbey placed her hands on his shoulder and whispered in his ear.
"Come help me."
"Sure." Jed followed her in to the kitchen and greeted the staff who were busy placing food on five plates.
"Is it just me Jed or do they remind you of us at that age?"
"It's not just you Abbey I was thinking the same thing myself not too long ago. I was more handsome than Sam but...."
"Darling you know I love you but no. Sam is much better looking than you."
"I love you too Abbey." Jed replied sarcastically.
"I'm glad we are going to have Mara around. She's a breath of fresh air." Abbey stated ignoring the look of righteous indignation from her husband.
"A cold blast is more accurate but I agree it will be fun having her down the street. It's obvious she likes Sam but do you know to what degree?"
"No but I intend to find out a little latter this afternoon."
"Ma'am where would you like lunch served?"
"Oh the living room is fine. Jed and I will use the TV tables and Mara, Sam and Zoey can use the table."
"Yes Ma'am I'll bring coffee and juice out first."
"Darlene did I remember to tell you the orange juice had to be pulp free?"
"Yes you did Dr. Bartlet."
"You know Sweet Knees it wouldn't kill her to drink normal orange juice."
"Why should she when I know she doesn't like it."
"You spoil her too much."
"Somebody has to make up for her childhood and that somebody is me."
"Are you sure you don't want to invite her to stay with us?"
"She'll have her own mansion she doesn't need to sleep in the White House. I bet she has a hell of a lot more living space than us."
"Maybe we should move in with her." Jed laughed.
"Ron would have a cow."
"More like mad cow disease." Jed laughed. "I should mention it on Monday just to freak him out."
Abbey laughed. "Jed leave poor Ron alone he takes enough abuse from you."
Jed and Abbey returned to the living room silently watching Sam and Mara for a moment. Sam was leaning forward with his arms around her resting his chin on her shoulder as she tuned the pages of the album. They were both smiling and talking quietly until Sam left a soft kiss on her cheek. Mara craned her neck and kissed him back on the lips. When Jed noticed they had no intention of ending the kiss he took a step forward and grinned mischievously at Abbey.
"Rent a room you two." Jed said with authority.
Mara slowly ended the kiss and turned to look at Jed. She noticed the amused glint in his eyes and smiled. "Couldn't we just use the Lincoln bedroom?"
Sam's jaw dropped while Abbey and Zoey started laughing. "Mara you are soo bad. Do you think you could keep your mouth busy eating lunch instead of my Deputy?"
"Sorry Sam but I never turn down food."
Sam smiled gratefully at Abbey who passed him a plate of food since he had no idea how to respond to the President or his insane girlfriend.
Jed sat down next to Sam and leaned over to whisper in his ear. "Lesson one Sam you have to pretend that everything she says and does is within the realm of normalcy. Nothing is unexpected, your jaw can't drop every time she opens her mouth."
"Got it Sir but it's going to take lots of practice."
"Try years Sam and just when you think you've got it perfected wham."
"They are making fun of us aren't they?" Mara asked Abbey.
"Oh yeah but they jest because they are too ignorant to get it."
Mara laughed then stole the last mushroom off Sam's plate.
"You stole my mushroom."
"So for starters it was mine, you didn't ask if you could have it, you didn't consider the fact that I may want it. You simple stole it."
"Mara sees, Mara likes so Mara takes. It's a much simpler process that works well for me."
"It doesn't work for me though."
"Frankly my dear I don't give a damn. It's a mushroom Samuel chill!"
Zoey's laughter came out as a snort which started Mara and Abbey laughing. Zoey picked up her last mushroom and held the fork to Sam's lips. He ate the mushroom and gave her a thank you peck on the cheek.
"Now that this crisis of epic proportions has ended let's have some fun. Mara did you know that Sam supports a women's right to chose?"
"No I wasn't aware of that fact. He's entitled to his own opinion even if it's wrong."
"You don't support a women's right to chose?" Sam asked trying to hide the shocked look on his face.
"No Sam I don't believe any one has the right to end a life at any time." Mara shot Jed a look that she knew he couldn't misinterpret.
"How do you like them apples Jed?" Abbey asked with a smug grin.
"So Mara have you told Jean Luc you've accepted yet?" Jed asked quickly changing the subject.
"Accepted what Mara?" Zoey asked.
"Canadian Ambassador and no I haven't called him yet."
"That is so cool Mara we can hang out."
"Uhuh and I won't be getting five word conversations from you anymore."
"Mara call your boss."
Mara pulled her cell phone out of her purse staring intently at it. "This phone holds the personal numbers of two world leaders, I'm powerful."
"Yes you are, now use your powers for good instead of evil for a change and make the call." Jed teased.
Mara got up and walked to the far end of the room so she could hear the Prime Minister. Sam tried to read her body language but decided she moved around to much to figure out what she was thinking. Her laughter floated across the room bringing a smile to his face. After finishing her call Mara tossed her cell phone high in to the air and caught it with her left hand.
"Very impressive Mara you're a woman of many talents." Sam said with a grin.
"You ain't seen nothing yet. I can stay till next Monday morning and Jean Luc wanted me to pass on his gratitude for making me an offer I couldn't refuse, Jed."
"When you want something done right you get me to do it." Jed boasted.
"He wants me to go see the ambassador on Wednesday and start a list to get my affairs in order. I think I'll be starting before the end of the year instead of in the New Year. Sam how do you feel about cats?"
"They are OK why?"
"I have one which means next time I come down we'll have one."
"Sam you think you could elaborate on that oh? Is that oh great, I don't want one in my apartment or oh a cat, hope it's declawed?"
"It's just an oh I didn't know you had a cat, oh I'm going to have a cat. What's it's name?"
"His name is Killer, he's a black cat with a long tail and an unmistakable meow. He's highly intelligent, has a major attitude, likes to drink from the sink, loves sun baths and generally just bites my ankles when I rush by him too often."
"So it will be just you, me and Killer a happy little family."
"Well there's Wanda and Winston too but I won't bring them down until I'm settled in the mansion."
"Those are you fish right?"
"Yup Wanda is my office gold fish and Winston is at home. Winston's mate Wendy died two months ago."
"Did Killer get hungry?"
"No he's actually very protective of them. They play this game where Killer puts his paw on the bowl and Winston swims right up to it sort of a marine version of follow the leader."
"Only you would have over achieving pets Mara." Jed teased.
"Mara come upstairs with me I want to show you that dress I think you'll like."
Mara knew there was no dress, that Abbey just wanted to get her alone for a chat. Mara wondered if it was about Sam or Jed. "Sure."
Jed knew his wife was on a fishing expedition and smiled at Sam. "Let's play cards while they play dress up Sam."
"Sure Sir. Zoey are you in?"
"Sure I can tell all my friends I whooped the President and his Deputy in cards."
"You and what army young lady. I'm going to wipe the floor with you kid."
"In your dreams Dad." Zoey laughed and went to get a deck of cards.
Sam knew he was in trouble when he watched Zoey professionally shuffle the deck and sat back to see if Father or Daughter would ultimately prevail.