For disclaimer and notes, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Sam gets a job at the Gage Whitney law firm in New York. Lisa starts running a gubernatorial campaign in Maryland. Sam breaks off their long relationship.

Sam, Gary, and two other Gage Whitney workers were carpooling to work that morning. Gary was behind the wheel while Sam sat in the passenger seat nursing a cappuccino. While stopped at a red light, Sam happened to glance over at the sidewalk. "Oh my God," he mumbled, nearly choking on his coffee.

"What?" Gary asked.

"Oh my God."

"C'mon, man, my driving isn't *that* bad," Gary said.

"No, I..."

"What is it, Sam?"

"Lisa."

"Who?" The light turned green and Gary sped through, leaving Sam straining to look back to see if that truly had been his ex-girlfriend or simply the product of an overactive imagination. He couldn't tell. "Sam, who's Lisa?"

"Everything." Gary looked at Sam strangely.

"You okay, man?" Sam shook his head, shrugging. "I think we ought to take you off caffeine."

Sam was preoccupied the rest of the day. He got very little done, or if anything at all, at work. His mind was too caught up with the notion that he could have seen Lisa. He wanted to believe that the woman on the sidewalk had been her so badly. Old memories of their times together flooded his brain. He remembered watching the fireworks over the monuments from the roof of her apartment complex on the Fourth of July. He remembered watching the lighting of the Christmas tree. He remembered her kisses and the way she used to make him feel, the way she still could make him feel just by thinking of her.

Returning home to his empty and cold apartment that night, he came to the conclusion that, even if it was Lisa, which he doubted, she wouldn't have wanted anything to do with him. After making a sandwich, he sat on his couch and looked out the windows overlooking New York Harbor. The one thing he missed doing with Lisa that they had talked about doing was going sailing together. She would always ask him at the start of spring, "When are you taking me on our cruise?" She never stopped until mid autumn when she assumed it would be too cold to go sailing.

A knock at his door shook him from his reverie so he started for the door. He didn't bother to look through the little fisheye lens. He unchained the door and opened it, "Ye—Lisa." She had been standing outside his door for an hour trying to get the nerve to knock. She couldn't look at his face; she couldn't look at him period. "What are you—I did see you this morning." She looked up at him slowly, into the deep cobalt blue eyes she had missed diving into so much. "What's wrong?"

She opened her mouth to say, "This was a mistake; I'm sorry," except a light squeaky sound was emitted instead. Taking a deep breath, she said, "I need you."

"Lisa?"

"I miss you." He hugged her quickly, closing his eyes as she put her arms around him, holding onto him as tightly as she could. "Sam..."

"I'm right here, Lisa. I'm right here." Her entire body shook violently, she was crying so hard. It was almost all Sam could do to hold her. He wasn't sure what was going on but he led her into his apartment, closing the door behind them, not wanting to give his neighbors anymore of a show than the one they had just seen. He led her to his couch and sat down beside her, trying to dry her tears. Looking at her tormented expression, he knew better than to start asking questions; she'd open up to him in time.

What he didn't know is that it would be twelve o'clock before her vow of silence would be broken. She gushed for two solid hours at midnight, telling Sam about quitting her job on the Hill, about the insane campaign she ran for Daniel Wesley, the humiliating interrogations she had to endure, and the Save the Fruit Bat lobby.

"Why didn't you ever call me?" he asked, stroking her hair.

"You wrote me that letter," she said. "I didn't think... You said you didn't... You didn't..."

"Lisa—"

"I shouldn't be here," she said, standing up quickly.

"Wait."

"No, I should... I should leave."

"And go where? Do you have a place up here?"

"I don't have a place anywhere," she said.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean... I should go." She started walking for the door, shaky on her feet. Sam reached out and grabbed her hand.

"I'm not going to let you go ever again," he said. Fresh tears started falling from her eyes.

"You promised me you'd never leave me once."

"I didn't want to," he said, standing up and trying to pull her to him.

"But you did." She resisted his gentle tugs.

"Lisa, believe me when I tell you that I didn't want to write that letter."

"But you did; you wrote it."

"And I've regretted it every day of my life."

"I don't... I don't understand."

"I love you. I've never stopped loving you," he said. She looked at him questioningly. "I only wrote it because I thought it would be easier on you... In the long run... I thought I was keeping you from doing so much or making you do things you didn't want to do. I didn't want to live with that guilt anymore." She covered her eyes with her free hand.

"I'm sorry," she cried. "I'm sorry I make you feel guilty. I'm sorry I ever told you that you could join me for lunch that day." Sam realized his slip.

"No, Lisa, I didn't mean it like that..." She pulled her hand from his and turned to face him.

"I shouldn't have come here. I'm sorry I came up and ruined your perfect lawyer life," she said, practically yelling at him.

"My life isn't perfect—it hasn't been since I left."

"Since you left what?" she asked.

"Since I left *you*." She shook her head. "Lisa, the first thing you said when you came to my door was that you needed me. I need you back in my life to be complete, to be perfect."

"How can you say that when I'm such screw-up? I mean, good God, I haven't had a job in over a month. I'm broke. I'm homeless. I have nowhere to go and nothing to do, no one to turn to." Sam stopped her long tirade by taking her in his arms, holding her steadfast. She tried to break free but he wouldn't let her. In fact, he held her closer the more she fought against him.

"Listen to me," he said firmly but calmly. "You aren't a 'screw-up.' Everybody has their off days—"

"Off days? Sam, I'm having an off life!"

"Everything in your life has been bad? Everything?" he pressed.

"I don't know," she whimpered.

"Yes you do."

"No, I—"

"Everything in your life has been horrible? Every last thing?"

"No," she admitted.

"Name one good thing."

"Sam, I—" He tilted her face up to look at him, holding her as close as humanly possible. Her heart sped; she stopped breathing for a moment as she realized her lips were mere inches away from his. She had never had good defenses against him.

"Name one good thing," he repeated.

"You," she whispered. "The only good thing." He smiled at her faintly but it grew into more of a smirk.

"Making Josh cry wasn't good?" Thinking back at the memory, she smiled for the first time since arriving in New York, probably the first time since she received his letter in Annapolis.

"But comparatively speaking, that was nothing," she said quietly.

"I've missed you, Lisa," he whispered before leaning down to kiss her. He felt her go limp in his arms as the tender kiss slowly continued. It was like picking up from where they had left off. When it ended, Lisa's eyes remained closed. Sam noticed she had been crying again. "What is it?" he asked as she dried her tears.

"Just thinking about all the times I..." She shook her head and opened her eyes. "I've missed you, Sam." He smiled and kissed her forehead.

"It's late. Let's get some sleep."

"What?" she asked.

"I'm not letting you go again, remember? Plus the fact you sort of confessed you were... homeless?" She closed her eyes tightly. "What's with that?"

"I left D.C. around midnight last night... I didn't have money for the rent, so I just... I just left."

"Then stay with me."

"Sam, I couldn't—"

"Just stay with me, Lisa. Stop being your 'ornery' self long enough to let me take care of you." She licked her lips. "Please." That one word sealed the deal. He loaned her an old tee shirt to sleep in and tucked her in his bed before changing into his pajamas and climbing into bed with her. She snuggled into his arms, finding it very hard to believe that they were together again.

Motion to Dismiss - 3

 

 

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