For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Sam and Lisa's pleasure cruise is turning into a nightmare. Sam fell overboard and is surrounded by... *"Jaws" theme plays* Sharks...

"I need you to get me up but I need you to do it carefully."

"H-How?" she asked. "Wh-what do I do? Ooh, my God, Sam..."

"Listen to me—"

"Omigod omigod omigod..."

"Lisa," he said urgently. "I need your help."

"Anything."

"Slowly lower the preserver, all right? Keep a hold of the rope but lower it down to me."

"Are they going to attack?" she asked, watching the sharks menace Sam.

"I hope not," he said as the preserver was dropped down to him. "Okay, that's good," Sam said, grabbing onto it, looping his arms through the center.

One of the sharks made a sudden turn, causing Lisa to yelp and nearly let go of the rope.

"It's okay," Sam said, more to convince himself than Lisa but it worked for her just the same. "Wrap the rope around the side rail once," he said. Lisa fumbled with the rope, doing as Sam told her. "Got it?" he asked, warily watching the sharks.

"Yeah. Now what?" she asked, her voice tight.

"Pull!" The sparkling teeth came rushing at him, the jaw of the shark open wide. Lisa yanked hard, but it wasn't enough to get him completely out of the water. "Come on, Lisa, pull!"

She could hear the fear—more like terror—in his voice. With another mighty pull, he was up out of the water and kicking at the shark; his shoe connected with the shark's cartilaginous nose before Lisa grabbed Sam and helped him over the side and back onto the boat.

"Oh, Sam," she said, hugging him. She didn't care that he was positively drenched or his arm was bloody. "Sam, Sam, Sam," she mumbled to his wet shoulder. "Are you—" The boat rocked quickly, causing Lisa to hold onto him tighter, if that were even possible. They slowly eased to the edge of the boat and looked down, where three sharks continued to swim in tight circles. "What do we do now?"

"There's a back-up motor," he said. "Wait up here while I go start it."

"I'm not leaving your side," she said. He looked at her for a moment then nodded.

"Come on, then," he said, taking her hand and leading the way down the stairs to the cabin below.

She watched as he tried to start the motor. After a few minutes of silence, waiting for the engine to roar to life, she spoke. "Why isn't it starting?"

Sam frowned. "I don't know."

"Do you think the sh-sharks are still out there?"

He shrugged as he began examining the engine, having given up on starting it without some tinkering somewhere. "Here's our problem."

"Oh?" she asked.

"We're sitting on empty."

"No gas?"

"No gas."

"So we're *stuck* in the middle of nowhere?"

"I can fix the sail."

"Don't even think about it," she said. "I'm not letting you up there."

"It's that or we float out here with the sharks."

"What about—you said something about the radio. Can't we call for help?"

"We're not stuck on the beltway, where there are hundreds of cars who can stop to help us or where we could *walk* to a gas station."

"Can't we call the Coast Guard?"

"I can—"

"Sam, no!" she yelled. "I'm not going to stand by this time and watch you get hurt *again*!" She held up his bleeding arm. "Especially when there are *sharks* out there who want to *eat* you!"

"Lisa..."

"Sam..."

"I 'swim with the sharks' all the time in New York. I'm a lawyer."

"You're my fiancÚ!"

"I'll radio the Coast Guard," Sam said softly. He had thought of their relationship in vague terms for as long as he could remember. They had been together for years and their relationship had been 'serious' for nearly the entire time. Their relationship had changed; it was no longer the boyfriend/girlfriend he was used to. It was now more concrete, more permanent. He wanted to see it through to the end.

~~~

With the speaking engagements over for the night, Bartlet, Leo, Josh, Hoynes, and the rest of the candidates and their staffs retreated to the hotel. "You'd think we'd spread out, that we wouldn't all stay in one hotel," Josh grumbled as he tried to unlock his hotel room door.

"What *is* your problem, Josh? You've been in a *foul* mood since I got off the stage," Hoynes snapped back.

"No reason," Josh sighed, kicking the door.

"Now, now," Leo said as he and Bartlet waked down the hall, past the Hoynes delegation.

"Mr. Secretary," Josh said, shocked that he was caught.

"What did that door ever do to you?" Bartlet asked.

"Governor Bartlet," Josh said, still trying to get his bearings.

"How are you, Josh?" Leo asked as Bartlet walked on to his room.

"I'm fine, sir."

"We're not going to see a scandal on TV about you attacking poor, defenseless doors, are we?"

"I hope not, Mr. Secretary."

Hoynes regarded Leo warily before going into his room.

"I won't leak the story, don't worry."

"Thank you," Josh said.

"Have a good night."

"You, too, sir." Josh watched as Leo walked down the hall before returning his attention to his fight with the door.

~~~

Sam paid for the taxi as he and Lisa climbed out of the cab in front of a bar. They could both use a stiff drink after their high-seas adventure.

Sitting at the counter, the bartender approached them. "What'll it be?"

"Jack Daniels," Lisa said, leaning against Sam's arm, looking at the large bandage near his wrist.

"Make it two."

A man in a Hawaiian shirt bounded over to the jukebox, feeding the machine a dollar bill and pressed a button. The jukebox rocked to life. "She came down from Cincinnati—"

"I'm glad you're okay," Lisa whispered, closing her eyes.

"—Took her three days on a train—"

"Me, too."

"—Lookin' for some peace and quiet—"

Two glasses were placed in front of them.

"Y'know, this vacation hasn't been restful," said Sam.

"—Hopes to see the sun again—"

"Maybe the thing to do is stay *inside*."

"Maybe," Sam agreed with a nod before taking a sip. Lisa eyed her drink before downing the entire thing in one swig, garnering an amazed look from Sam. "Lisa?"

"—But now she lives down by the ocean—"

"I could have lost you," she said, her voice raspy from the fire in her throat thanks to her drink. "A widow before I was even married."

"—Taking care to look for sharks—"

They both turned instantly to the jukebox. Sam slammed his drink down on the bar and left Lisa sitting there. He stormed over to the jukebox, yanking the plug from the wall.

"Hey!" said the bartender. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" With the music off, the TV came in loud and clear.

"...survived a shark attack in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico today. We were able to interview the victims."

"All we wanted was a calming cruise," Sam said on television, holding Lisa close to him. "We came down here to celebrate and... We haven't been able to."

"That's you," the bartender said dumbly.

"Yes," said Sam angrily. "Yes it is." He finished off his drink quickly and held his hand out to Lisa, who took it without hesitation. Sam pulled out his wallet to pay.

"On the house," said the bartender, looking at the soggy bill. Sam put his money away and walked Lisa out of the bar.

"I never once thought I'd be so happy to be on dry land," Sam said. "I've always loved sailing."

"Sailing... It was amazing, Sam. Sailing with you—I'd love to do it again. It's the sharks that detract from the entire experience."

~~~

"Hey, Leo," Bartlet said as his old friend entered the room.

"Put it on six," said Leo, nodding to the television set.

"Why?"

"The report on the thing," Leo said, grabbing the remote as he settled himself onto the couch.

"Good evening, Miami. This is Belinda Rice, Channel Six news. As most of you know, the candidates for the Democratic nomination for president were in town today, offering their views. We'll get a full report from Alex Hale in a moment.

"First, terror at sea. A vacationing couple from New York..."

"What, we get second billing to scared tourists?" Bartlet asked.

"You weren't even speaking so shush."

"You're shushing me?"

"Jed." Bartlet threw his arms up in surrender.

"Lawyer Sam Seaborn fell overboard while attempting to repair the sail of a rented sailboat. Lisa Cole—an assistant to United Nations Ambassador Stephen McCallum—watched in horror as he fell and was surrounded by sharks."

"Yikes," Leo said quietly.

"Cole... That name..."

"What?"

"Never mind."

~~~

Josh was lying on the hotel bed, staring at the ceiling and waiting for the news coverage of Hoynes and Wiley's speeches. "What started as a pleasure cruise almost turned deadly. Lawyer Sam Seaborn..."

Josh sat up immediately and turned up the volume on the television, suddenly enraptured. "Can't be," he breathed.

"...fell overboard while attempting to repair the sail of a rented sailboat. Lisa Cole—assistant to United Nations ambassador Stephen McCallum—watched in horror as he fell and was surrounded by sharks."

"Oh my God!"

"Cole's heroics helped rescue Seaborn. With the sail damaged, their only hope to leave the shark-infested waters was the back-up motor. All attempts at starting it failed. Thankfully, the radio was intact and fully functioning, allowing them to contact the U.S. Coast Guard."

Footage of Sam and Lisa disembarking from the Coast Guard ship replaced the reporter. Josh watched in disbelief as his two friends from the Hill walked down to dry land on shaky legs, holding each other close.

"The couple sustained minor injuries and were treated and released from a local hospital before returning to their vacation get-away in Key West." Josh continued to watch the TV, stunned "In other news..."

Lisa and Sam (Oh, okay... and everybody) will return in "House of Cards" or "What Might Have Been." Explanation on two stories to follow.

==

 

 

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