For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Lisa wakes up and sees the ring. Josh, Hoynes, Bartlet, and Leo arrive in Florida for a convention... of sorts.

Early the next morning, Sam and Lisa set out for the pier, where a sailboat was awaiting their arrival. Lisa liked watching Sam as he loaded their gear onto the boat. He refused to let her lift a finger, carrying the cooler and a duffel bag with a map, a blanket, and his first-aid kit. She was stretched out on the port side of the boat, resting mostly in the shade. Kicking off her sandals, her bare toes danced in the sunlight as Sam prepared to set sail, explaining to her what he was doing as he went. "Ready to go?"

"Let's shove off," she said, smiling at him.

"Okay," he grinned.

They had been sailing for three hours, dreaming about their long life together. He motioned her to join him at the wheel. She padded across the deck to him, placing one hand on his shoulder and the other on his arm. "Now that you've got me here...?"

"C'mere," he said, gently moving her in front of the wheel. She glanced over her shoulder at him. "Here," he said, taking her hands and placing them on the wheel. She nearly pulled back the instant she touched it. It wasn't that she was afraid in any way or that she was intimidated—though she had to admit she was, perhaps, a little intimidated—it was that sailing was one of Sam's passions. He really did want to share the experience with her. "It's okay; it won't bite," he said.

"No, I know," she said quietly as Sam took a slight step closer to her, a more protective stance. "So, Captain," she said, hoping to get past the butterflies in her stomach, "where are we going?"

"Where do you want to go?"

"I think we should've covered that before we left the pier, don't you?" she asked. "I mean, we've been sailing for a while now."

"Well, from here we can go to Cuba..."

"I don't have a passport on me."

"Me neither."

"So maybe Cuba's out."

"Probably." She could hear the smile in his voice.

"Seriously, where are we going?" she asked.

"You tell me," Sam said as he released the wheel. Lisa suddenly became lightheaded and the wheel nearly overpowered her.

"S-Sam," she said anxiously.

"You're okay," he said reassuringly, putting one arm around her waist and helping her control the wheel with his free hand. She was torn between asking him to take over and staying in the moment with him. "Want to try again?"

"Only if you stay with me."

"I'm right here; I'm not going anywhere. I'm just asking if you want to go it alone."

"No," she said quickly.

"You okay?"

"I'm fine, I just..."

"What is it, babe?" he asked, concerned.

"Just... Just stay with me."

He held her closer, unaware of the exact problem. "I'm right here," he said. She closed her eyes, inhaling deeply. She wanted to remember everything: the salty air, the way he held her, the feel of steering the boat, the sharing of the experience. "What's wrong, Lisa?"

"Nothing," she said. "Absolutely nothing."

"Talk to me," he pleaded. She turned in his arms to look at him. He didn't see the pain he thought he was going to see. "You really are fine, aren't you?" She smiled at him.

"So long as I'm with you," she said quietly.

"I'm not going anywhere as long as we both shall live," he said. Her eyes misted over. "Want to stop for lunch?"

"Sure," she said, drying her tears quickly. "I love you."

He smiled and kissed her. "Hold onto this for me?" he asked, nodding to the wheel. "Long enough for me to drop anchor?" She nodded and turned to do as he asked as he dropped the anchor and moved the sails so they wouldn't move so they could enjoy their picnic at sea.

Lisa spread the blanket while Sam grabbed the cooler from below deck. When he reappeared, his fiancée was already lounging on a corner of the blanket, waiting for him. They dined on sandwiches and sodas in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico with no one around for miles. Lisa lay down, folding her hands behind her head and closing her eyes, enjoying the gentle sway with the waves. Sam watched her, reveling in the peaceful expression on her face. Leaving the empty soda cans and paper plates where they were, he crossed to her, moving over top of her. She smiled, knowing he was on top of her due to the sudden disappearance of sunlight.

"I love you," he whispered before kissing her neck, working his way up to her chin and around to her ear. "Ever made love in the middle of the ocean?" he said in her ear, his voice barely audible. She put her arms around him.

"Can't say that I..." He started kissing down her jaw again. "Mmm... Can't say that I have, no," she said.

"Want to?" he asked between kisses. She grinned as his lips met hers.


"They're not going to ask me to speak, are they?" Bartlet asked.

"No," Leo said. They stood in the back of the auditorium in Miami, listening to a state representative trying to introduce Hoynes. The introduction was more like a filibuster.

"This is boring."

"I know."

"Can we leave?"


"Why not?"


"That's not an adequate answer."

"I'm trying to listen to this."

"Why? Do we really want to know about the status of things in Florida?"

"Florida has twenty-five electoral votes."

"Leo, there is now way in hell that I am going to win the White House let alone the Democratic nomination."

"Stranger things have happened."

"Like what?"

"Will you hush?"

"You talk to a presidential candidate in such a way?"

"I'm talking to a friend in such a way. I'm not above decking you, Jed. Watch the speech."


Josh sat in a dressing room offstage in the auditorium, watching the speech on a closed-circuit television set. "I want to be your President," Hoynes said, his voice rattling with emotion. "I want to serve our fellow countrymen. As your President, I firmly believe in tax—" Josh switched the set off with an angry sigh. He started pacing the floor, shaking his head.

"Senator," he groaned. "You're going to bury us."

Stay tuned...


Fins Up - 5



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