For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Sam shares the whole 'sailing experience' with Lisa while, back on the mainland, Hoynes takes center stage as Josh, Leo, and Bartlet watch.

Lisa felt more at ease behind the wheel after their lunch. Of course, Sam had yet to leave her side for anything, keeping a constant hand on her at the very least, which made her feel ten feet tall. They both jumped and turned when they heard a loud crack. "Oh... shit," Sam muttered.

"What?" she asked. "What was it?"

"Looks like we've got a problem," Sam said, looking up at the mast. She followed his gaze to see the sail ripping away from the mast.

"Now what?"

"Hold the wheel where she is. I'm going to drop anchor again and see what I can do."

"You can fix this?"

"I've experienced worse troubles," he said. He smiled at her. "Don't worry. Just hold her steady." She nodded as he set about tossing the anchor off the port side of the ship. As soon as the anchor was over, she sat on the floor, leaning against the wheel. Sam studied the problem for a moment before grabbing the required tools from storage under a bench along the starboard side of the boat and starting to climb the mast.

"Sam, are you, um..." She stood, watching him nervously.

"Yeah?" he asked, looking down at her from halfway up.

"Are you sure that's safe?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah. Do it all the time," he said, continuing his climb. Lisa could barely stand to watch but her eyes were glued to him nonetheless. As he reached the tear, he dropped the spare rope. He sighed and slid down the pole. Lisa felt better with him on deck and went rushing to him.

"Is it necessary?" she asked.

"What?" he asked, grabbing the rope.

"Is there anyway we can sail back without you climbing up there again?"

"I scared you?"

"No, just... Yeah."

"I'm sorry," he said, placing his hand on her shoulder. "Listen to me, though, Lisa. I'm from Los Angeles, California. I grew up sailing. I was on the rowing team at Princeton."

"What does that have to do with this?"

"It's nothing, okay? I'm going to rethread the sail, basically replace a section of the rope. It's no trouble."

"Sam..."

"Yeah?"

"Just be careful okay?"

"Don't worry," he said.

"Please."

"I'll be careful," he said. As he started scaling the mast again, Lisa walked backwards, watching him climb. He didn't make it very far when the sail moved, ripping away completely. The wind had shifted quickly, knocking him off the mast.

"Sam!" she shrieked as he started falling. He missed landing on the boat, splashing down in the water. She ran to where he fell and looked over. "Sam?"

"Hey," he said, dog-paddling.

"Are you okay?" she asked. He started laughing.

"I'm fine, Lisa."

"You fell."

"Yes, I did."

"Are you okay?"

"You asked me that already."

"Are you?"

"Seriously, babe, this is nothing."

"You *fell*."

"I know."

"You fell off the boat."

"Yes, I did."

"What now?"

"There's a life preserver below decks. Run get it."

"Are you okay?"

"Lisa, I'm fine."

"You don't look fine."

"What do I look like?"

"Soaked."

"That, too. Life preserver. There will be a rather long cord attached to it."

"It's below decks?" He nodded. "And I get it and toss it over to you."

"Yes."

"And then I'll have to pull you up?"

"Yeah, but I'll give you directions on an easier way to pull me up when you get back."

"Okay."

"Okay?"

"Okay," she said with a nod.

"Go." She nodded before disappearing. Sam shook his head, looking up at the boat, already planning what he could do to secure the sail. He ran his fingers through his hair and looked at his hand. He had cut it somehow, probably when he tried to keep his grasp on the mast. He didn't think much about it.

Lisa nearly fell down the stairs to get below deck to find the life preserver Sam spoke of. She glanced around, her eyes landing on the float. She charged across the cabin to it and tried to pull it from its spot hanging on the wall, though she didn't have much success.

Sam sighed, glancing around and wondering what was taking Lisa so long. He liked being able to look around and not see another soul or a building. Living in big cities did that to him. He longed for space every now and then. It was nice to get away from everything. Movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention. "Lisa!" he yelled.

She heard Sam call for her as she yanked as hard as she could on the life preserver, wondering if the thing was bolted to the wall. "Yeah?" she called, hoping he could hear her.

"Lisa!"

"What?" came her muffled reply.

"Where are you?"

"Working!" With a mighty tug, the preserver finally came loose.

"Lisa, I don't mean to rush you but I've got company!"

She pondered his statement, stopping for a moment on the stairs, wondering what on Earth he could be talking about. "What do you mean?" she asked as she made her way back up on deck.

Sam's throat was dry. He was doing his best to keep his hand above water, keeping the blood out of the Gulf. "Lisa?" he asked, hearing her voice a bit clearer.

"Yeah, I'm here. What do I do now?" she asked, looking down at him. He was flush against the boat, holding his hand high in the air. "What are you doing?"

"I want you to get on the—" he said.

"What now?"

"I want you to get on the CB in a minute," he said urgently. She looked at him, quite puzzled.

"What's going on?"

"In case you haven't noticed, Lisa, I'm surrounded."

"By water, yes, but I thought no man was an island."

"Lisa, I'm serious," he said, looking in fear at the fins that were forming half circles around him.

"Wh—" Her eyes widened. "Oh my God!"

Stay tuned...

  Fins Up - 6

 

 

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