Disclaimer-They're Aaron's. I'm just borrowing them. Any similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely coincidental. No copyright infringement intended. Lyrics belong to Jimmy Buffett.
Author's Notes-To one of the "Great Minds" of our time, thank you so much, Dis, for beta-reading. And to the other "Great Mind," the Admiral for her answering my questions and for reading it, too.
Archive-Go for it, tell me where you put it.
If the Phone Doesn't Ring-What happens when Mal and Sam go home after the thing at the Kennedy?
If the phone doesn't ring You'll know that it's me I'll be out in the eye of the storm
How could I have been so dumb? Why didn't I ever pick up the phone? It wouldn't have been hard to pick it up and dial her number. The hard part would have been trying to explain my actions and to listen to her yell at me, maybe even hear her cry at how I hurt her.
It was only one date... We only went to dinner once. Is it possible, though, to fall madly in love with someone so completely after one shared meal? Just a few hours one night? She told me to call her when I took her home that night. I called her the very next night-we must've talked for six hours. Three nights in a row we just talked... About nothing and everything...
The fourth night, though, I had to work late. I missed being home to catch her call. Laurie was graduating from law school the next day, too. I went to see her once I was finally able to leave the White House. I never got Mallory's message until I got home after the flash of a camera-the one short act that ruined any chance I had at being happy... Being with Mallory.
"Sam, I know you're busy working so I won't call your office. I just... I hope you had a good night. I guess this works out because I'm behind on grading papers anyway. If you get in before midnight-listen to me... But on the off chance that you do, give me a call. If not, I'll talk to you soon. Bye."
I can't bring myself to erase the message. I played it over and over again when I got home that night. I had gotten home before midnight-about eleven thirty-but every time I started to call her, I couldn't. I felt horrible, like scum. I can't be proud of a friend for fear of how it looks. And all because of politics. Damn it.
And all because of politics, I had to go and fall in love with my boss's daughter. I was warned about that, too. Who would have thought that I, Samuel Norman Seaborn, would be daring enough to get tangled up in a high-profile sex scandal with a pricey call girl and a school teacher whose father happened to be the White House Chief of Staff and a former Cabinet member. What bothers me most, I guess, is that *nothing* happened. I've been given far too much credit.
I listened to her message again when I got home tonight. God, I miss her. But she's got someone else now, that hockey player. I'd give anything to talk *to* her, not just hear her voice but to *interact* with her. I pick up the phone and start to dial her number but hang up halfway through dialing. I take a step away from the phone before going back to try again. I get past the prefix this time but hang up again. I just *can't* do it.
If the phone doesn't ring You'll know that I'll be Where someone can make me feel warm
Damn him for being able to do this to me. He's sill mixed up with that... that... woman. I have this feeling, though, that tells me there's no way he could be seeing her still. He seemed truly interested in me those months ago. He always sounded happy to talk to me.
Sighing as I kick off my heels-torture devices that they are-I wonder if he's thinking about me, if he wants to talk to me again, to see me to just... talk-who'm I kidding on that one? Not even myself. He's always looked so handsome in his tux. I have another boyfriend now; I shouldn't be thinking of Sam like this. But, oh God, when he asked me, "Who's your boyfriend?" I wanted to ask him if he wanted the title. I don't even *like* hockey. And then... When I saw him afterwards... The way he looked at me. Richard doesn't look at me like that-like I'm the only woman in the world. Like he needs me. Like he needs me like I need him.
When did I start crying? I pick up my cordless phone as I head to my bedroom to change out of this exquisite but uncomfortable dress. I should call to make sure Richard made it home. 555-397-Wait! That's Sam's number. I can't call him but oh how I want to hear him. He could launch into a tirade on the 'advantages' of school vouchers and I wouldn't care so long as I could *hear* him.
I know I'm going to cry myself to sleep, pining over a guy I can't have because I was too stubborn to pick up the phone and call him. I could have yelled at him while he explained and then it would have been over with. A day or two of the cold shoulder treatment then... Then Sam all to myself. The phone in my hand rings and I answer it quickly, eagerly... Perhaps a bit too eagerly. It's not entirely out of the realm of possibilities that *he* is calling me. Oh please be Sam. "Hello?"
"You were expecting a call, I should-"
"No, wait... Sam?"
"Yeah, Mallory. It's me."
If it takes all our future We'll live through the past If the phone doesn't ring it's me