Cold Blast - 9
Mara tossed Sam a French Mint chocolate bar and flopped back down on his couch returning to her pre chocolate craving position. Her head rested in his lap while her legs dangled over the arm rest of the couch. She took a tiny bite of chocolate and sighed.
"So what were you going to tell me before you decided you couldn't live with out chocolate? These are really good by the way."
"Very addictive too, I was going to ask you if you realized how adored you were by the female population of the White House."
"What do you mean?"
"Well C.J didn't come right out and say it but she wanted to know why I liked you. She's my dear friend but I could tell she was making sure I wasn't going to hurt you. Donna wasn't so subtle she outright asked me if my intentions towards you were good. When I promised they were she said she was glad cause she didn't want to hate me and that you were special to her. This afternoon Abbey wanted all the details and asked me just how serious I was about you."
"Really? What did she ask you?" Sam asked a little in awe, warmed by the First Lady's concern.
"She asked me if it was a crush, a fling, the real thing or somewhere in-between."
"Don't you want to know how I answered her?"
"Only if you care to share."
"I told her that I knew it sounded improbable since I've only known you for 4 days but that when you opened your arms to hug me I felt like I was home for the first time in my life. Abbey smiled and told me she understood completely because that was exactly how she knew Jed was the real thing."
"You know the President warned me to run before it was too late. I told him it already was."
"Oh Sam, do you have any idea how happy I am right now?"
"Yeah cause I'm feeling it too." Sam leaned over and left a kiss on her forehead. "It's still early do you want to go do something?"
"No I'm quite comfortable at the moment. So Zoey beat you?"
"No Zoey pummeled me in to the ground is more like it. The girl is a card shark."
Mara laughed,"You can thank Leo for that. He taught both of us how to play that first summer I stayed at the Manchester Farm house."
"You think he would have taught his best friend to play instead."
"And give up his competitive edge are you crazy Sam? Jed beats Leo at chess Leo beats Jed at cards that's their system."
"Did Leo call him Governor then?"
"No just Jed. You know I always found that strange calling your best friend Sir or Mr. President all the time. It would drive me nuts. You've just been elected President and I assume Josh is your COS..."
"There is no way Josh would call me anything other than Sam. Actually knowing Josh he'd want me to call him Mr. President instead." Sam laughed.
"Yeah that sounds like Josh to me. I'm amazed he hasn't called once today with murder on his mind."
"I think Josh has the impression that I don't care to listen to him rant about you."
"How did he get this impression?"
"I told him that if he didn't have anything nice to say about you I didn't want to hear it."
"Ah Sam how gallant of you to protect my honour."
"I've never meet anyone who's honour needs quite so much defending." Sam teased.
"Pass me the phone Sam."
"I forgot to tell Abbey what I found in your car." Mara replied with a take that look.
"You're not funny."
"I think I'm hilarious."
"You would." Sam replied dryly.
"I wonder if C.J's headache is gone? Pass me the phone."
Sam passed the phone over to Mara and hoped she would keep her mouth shut. She started dialing the number remembering she didn't need an area code and waited for the line to be picked up.
"Hey it's me, Sam and I were wondering how you were feeling?"
"Better now, I took a heavy duty painkiller last night and spent most of the day sleeping. I kept hoping the picture in the newspaper would change but every time I looked there I was mouth wide open looking like I was auditioning for Scream 4."
"The picture's not that bad C.J. Are you up for some good news?"
"Please tell me you found the photographer and he's six feet under as we speak."
"No but I accepted and I think I'm starting sooner rather than later."
"Congratulations Madame Ambassador."
"Thanks, you wanna come over for freshly baked cookies?"
"It's getting kind of late Mara you have an early flight and I have to work."
"I'm staying for another week and bring your P.J's we'll have a sleep over."
"I think we are a little old for sleep overs Mara." C.J laughed.
"Come on it will be fun we can subject Sam to all those Cosmo quizzes."
"I'm on my way."
"Mara this isn't my idea of making this afternoon worth my while."
"Oh come on Sam trust me you'll have fun."
"I'm only agreeing to this because I want cookies."
"Fair enough. I guess this means I have to get up."
"Yup start baking Laura Secord."
Mara had just placed the first tray in the oven when there was a knock on the door. Sam opened it expecting to find C.J. instead it was Donna beaming from ear to ear.
"Hey Sam can I come in?"
"Hey Donna you're still wearing last nights clothes."
"Yeah I haven't been home yet. Mara I had the best 24 hours of my life. Thank you so much."
"You're welcome, you haven't been home yet? What the heck did you do after breakfast?"
"Jon called home and then we went for a long walk. We were standing in front of the Washington Monument so I told Jon I'd give him his White House tour. I didn't have my pass but Larry knew it was me so he let us in. I gave him the whole tour and we ended up in the press room. I got up behind C.J's podium and conducted a mock briefing. It was fun I was laughing so hard at the silly questions Jon was coming up with. We wandered around the Rose Garden and the Sculpture Garden before going in to the Oval Office. You know I think it's more awe aspiring when the President isn't in there."
"Yeah looking at Jed in that office I always think of the dorky father figure he's always been to me. I feel the power waiting in there alone."
"Donna it's 8:30 I think you still have some hours to account for."
"Why Sam you care."
"Not really Donna I just like to hear gossip." Sam teased.
Donna leaned across his body to whip the cookie Mara had just handed him away. It was in her mouth before Sam could react. She gave Sam an evil grin and playfully slapped his cheek.
"Go on Donna." Mara said rolling her eyes at both of them.
"Well we trashed Sam's office and left. I was getting hungry so we went for lunch and started talking about what he could and couldn't do anymore. He said the last movie he went to was one of his own premiers and I told him that was sad. I figured that since no one had given us so much as a second glance all day a movie was in order."
"What did you go see?" The words were no sooner out of Mara's mouth when they heard the knocking on the door. "Join the party C.J." Mara said as she swung the door open.
The first thing C.J noticed was Sam and Donna making faces at each other on the couch
and then fragrant whiff of warm chocolate chip cookies assaulted her senses. Mara took the
overnight bag and pillow from her hand and dropped them on the bed.
"Freshly baked bread." Donna added.
"Freshly cut grass." Sam and Mara said simultaneously.
"Aren't they too cute for words." C.J said dryly.
"The movie Donna?" Mara asked ignoring C.J.
"Oh first we saw Almost Famous then Chocolat."
"Chocolat was great I saw it at the Toronto Film Festival. How was Almost?"
"Really good, strange watching it with a rock star beside you."
"I bet there was more than one moment of deja vu for Jon."
"Yeah he told me about a few of them while we were waiting for Chocolat. Anytime anything happened I look over at him making him laugh."
"I can see the grin on his face. He's no choir boy but he's a good guy always has been. I've always held this personal theory that when you are good at heart, decent, caring, intelligent and kind you can go through hell and rise as the Phoenix from the ashes. Look at Leo, look at Josh. You know it amazes me that the man still cares, that he still wants to make a difference so that some other poor Joe doesn't have to go thru what he did. I have to admire him for that."
"Mara is getting philosophical, went right off topic and admitted to three witnesses that she admires Josh.. So the question must be asked: exactly how much has she had to drink Sam?" C.J. inquired.
"I haven't had a drop all day Claudia Jean so there. Oh and one admiration does not make Josh a viable human male. I think Donna's subject bouncing is wearing off on me though."
"I'm taking that as a compliment." Donna replied defensively.
"Oh Donna," Mara left the kitchen and leaned over Sam to give her a hug. "Personally it boggles my mind how you can think that fast, it shows just how smart you are. It takes some time to get use to then it starts to grow on you."
"Well I have to keep Josh on his toes."
"Speaking of Lyman I'm starting to get worried, from Donna's ensemble alone I know she hasn't been home yet. Josh was wondering why you weren't home at midnight last night I figured he must have called the National Guards by now. Yet he hasn't called me again. Has he called you Sam?"
"C.J he's not dead in a ditch somewhere clutching a picture of Donna. He hasn't called me because he'd only rant and I don't want to hear it. Donna can you check your machine remotely?"
"Yeah, he called you? Donna asked C.J.
"Uhuh woke me up just as I had dozed off . When I told him we ditched you so I could get home and left you with Jon he started yelling."
"Of course this was my fault." Sam added sarcastically before continuing, "Yet I was threatened with death if Josh called her again so I told Josh you were a big girl and could more than handle yourself."
"To which Josh said something to the effect that I couldn't, that I had no taste in men which is clearly evident in my choice of local gomers who I make time for by not working very hard."
"You got that almost verbatim Donnatella except he didn't attack your work ethic. I think I would have slugged him for that."
Donna looked at Sam and smiled. "Marry me Samuel Norman Seaborn."
"Whoa hold it right there Missy, you snoozed therefore you lose. He's mine end of story and you Mister are hereby strictly forbidden to accept any marriage proposals."
"Ah come on Mar have a heart their kids would have such beautiful eyes." C.J laughed.
"Donna check your messages." Sam ordered.
C.J handed Donna the phone and she checked her messages. There was a total of 8 hang ups which she figured at least 6 had to be Josh and three actual messages stating the time Josh wondering where she was. The last message hit a nerve and she played it for Mara, C.J. and Sam.
"So any suggestions how I make him pay for that last one?"
"He deserves something Donna but I think this would be a good time for me to go check my e-mail. I can't be in the middle of this one."
"Fair enough Sam and your ignorance could work to my advantage."
Sam took a handful of cookies and headed to the bedroom. Mara and C.J were munching on a cookie trying to figure out the best way to get Josh while Donna was pacing the room throwing out ideas.
Josh glanced at his watch, it was nine and Donna still wasn't home. He had gone out earlier in the evening to get some take out Chinese for dinner and ran into Congressmen Skinner. They started talking and he mentioned that he saw Donna twice in the last 24 hours. Josh was very interested and tried to remain calm as the details were given to him. The words echoed in his head three hours later.
"You know at first I didn't think it was Donna. I thought what would Josh's
assistant be doing in the bar of the Ritz Carlton clad in jeans. I dismissed it until
forty minutes later as I was leaving Donna walked right by me with this familiar looking
blonde and I heard him say we are going to make you feel a lot more comfortable
Donnatella. They headed to the bank of elevators.
Josh sighed, pulling on his hair in frustrations analyzing the picture in the Post for about the hundredth time. The more he looked at it the more he read in to it until he was convinced not only was his Donnatella enamored with a married man but the feeling seemed to be mutual and an affair had begun.
They girls had formulated a great plan and Donna was about to put the first step in action. She dunked her cookie in a glass of milk and smiled mischievously. "This will teach Josh Lyman to mess with me." Donna dialed Josh's number on Mara's cell phone knowing the number would be blocked. The phone ran three times before Josh picked it up.
"Hey it's me where's the fire?"
"There's no fire."
"Kay I was just wondering since I finally got a chance to check my messages and you've left a ton of them."
"I needed a piece of information I figured you'd know. I found it myself."
"Josh is everything OK you sound strange?"
"I'm fine, you ?"
"I'm fabulous, hold on a sec Josh." Donna sort of muffled the phone but knew Josh would be able to hear her. "Yum chocolate chip cookies you're spoiling me. I'm almost done here. Sorry Josh, so I guess I'll see you at work in the morning."
"Donna want me to pick you up in the morning?"
"Thanks but I'm not going home tonight. Sweet dreams Josh, night."
Josh stared at the phone before setting it back in the cradle. "She's not going home? Oh this is so bad on so many levels." Josh sunk down on the couch covering his head with his hands.
"You can come out now Sam."
Sam wandered back out in to the living room making himself comfortable on the couch.
"I'm staying over too and Mara is going to drive me home in the morning to change for work."
"Sure but Mara have you given any thought to where Donna and C.J are sleeping tonight?"
"I'm in your bed Spanky." C.J said with a grin.
"Which would leave me where exactly."
"In your bed, I've heard you make a great pillow Samuel." She teased.
Sam was waiting for a response from Mara but she wasn't in the room. She came out of the bedroom with a bottle of nail polish in her hand dressed for bed. She sat down on the other end of the couch and swung her legs up to rest on Sam's knees.
"Donna I left you a few sleep ware choices on Sam's bed. Sam make yourself useful and do my toenails please." Mara handed him the bottle of nail polish.
"In a sec, Mara we were wondering where we were all sleeping tonight. C.J. has claimed your spot with me."
"Oh has she now?"
"Yup I have."
"This couch doesn't pull out?"
"I see, hmm Donna and C.J can share our bed and we can cuddle up together here."
"I just thought of something, my next door neighbour is in Lisbon for three weeks. He's been gone for about ten days. I have his key for emergencies. Tom is cool he wouldn't mind if we use his guest bedroom."
"Is this the guy who had you bring Josh back issues of Mad Magazine while he was in the hospital?" C.J asked.
"He was cute, I 'll go stay over there and Donna can have the couch."
"Works for me. Sam my toes?"
Sam looked at the bottle in his hand and laughed when he read it's name. "Hey C.J. this should be yours it's called Flamingo Pink."
"Cute Seaborn, just for that you can do my feet next."
"Saaaaam." Donna batted her eyelashes and pouted.
"Fine I'll give you a pedicure too Donna."
Sam was gently massaging Mara's foot and she closed her eyes. "Oh you're good at this Sam."
"This is the result of betting with C.J. Donna and I would play for candy, but it wasn't good enough for C.J. so we went with personal services. I'd win and get a shoulder or neck massage. she's win and get a temple or foot massage."
"Creative gambling I like it."
"We should all wear open toed shoes tomorrow and see if anyone notices." C.J laughed.
"Margaret will notice before lunch." Donna chirped.
"I've got my black heels I wore to the state dinner. I can wear them with my black leather pants so I'm in."
"Since I'm going home to change in the morning I'm set."
"I have beige sandals in my office somewhere so I'll change in to them."
"Simple things amuse simple minds." Sam cracked.
The three women gave Sam a look and he knew sooner or later they'd find a way to get him back for teasing them. Donna filled them in on more of her day with Jon then C.J pulled out the latest issue of Cosmo. Sam got an introductory lesson in how a woman's mind works and the seemingly strange little things that turned them on. He started compiling a mental list of Mara's turn ons for future use. They joked around and listened to Mara tell stories about the Canadian Political scene and her misadventures. Donna had fallen asleep leaning against Sam's shoulder just before midnight and after settling her on the couch Sam and Mara said good night to C.J and headed off to bed.
Sam barely had time to get comfortable before Mara wrapped her body around his and sighed contentedly.
"Thanks for being such a good sport about tonight Sam. I'll make it up to you."
"I actually had fun tonight. I spent a lot of time with Donna and C.J. on the campaign trail and they are among my fondest memories of that time. Sometimes there was just too much time with Josh and those women were a breath of fresh, albeit estrogen filled air. I'm glad you're staying an extra week." Sam left a kiss on her forehead.
"Me too Sam, goodnight my sweet prince."
Sam looked down as her eyelashes fluttered closed and held her a little closer. "Good night my fire breathing dragon." He whispered and played with her hair until he drifted off to sleep.