For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Lisa, having lost all hope in D.C., returns to Sam, who takes her in for the night.

Sam woke before the alarm, shocked and pleased that Lisa was with him, that he didn't dream she showed up on his doorstep the night before. He turned off the alarm and lay awake for twenty minutes, watching Lisa sleep, the gentle rising and falling of her chest with her breathing. He had missed waking up beside her, having the opportunity to just be near her, to drink in her presence. Planting a soft kiss on her cheek, he slowly rolled out of bed, hoping he wouldn't disturb her.

Lisa's sleep became troubled the moment Sam left her side. The horrific nightmares that had plagued her for over a year refused to allow her one night of rest. Normally the themes were recurring: public mortification, political suicide, the fear of being alone. The one that morning was no different, except it contained all three. Her police interrogations were played live on C-Span—public mortification. She was found guilty of all charges—political suicide. In a cruel final move, Sam was sadistically taken from her—her fear of being alone. She woke up screaming.

Sam came rushing from the bathroom only half-dressed. "Lisa?" he asked, sitting on the bed beside her, holding his open arms out to her.

"Sam!" she cried, throwing herself into his embrace. He rocked her as she bawled.

"I'm here, babe," he whispered to her hair. "I'm here. It was just a dream... Nothing here to hurt you now." She shook her head. "No?"

"No," she mumbled to his bare chest.

"What was it?" he asked. "What'd you dream?"

"God, no," she said.

"It's all right now. It's over."

"It's never over," she wailed.

"What isn't?"

"These nightmares," she said quietly. Sam was deeply concerned. He had never seen Lisa cry so much in the span of a few hours plus she had never complained of nightmares before.

"What nightmares?"

"Please, Sam. Make them go away." He held her tighter.

"I would if I knew what they were. What are they?"

"Awful," she cried. As he continued to rock her, he looked at the clock on the night stand. He had half an hour before Gary would be by with the carpool. Grabbing for the telephone with one hand while the other continued to hold Lisa to him, he dialed Gary's cellular phone number.

"Gare-meister," answered Gary.

"Gary, this is Sam."

"Sam, my man! What's up? I'm headed your way."

"You may as well drive on today," he said.

"Why? What's going on?" Gary asked seriously.

"I'm taking today off."

"Again let me ask, why? What's wrong?"

"Sick day," Sam said simply. Gary heard Lisa's cries for the first time.

"Sam, you've got a girl?" Sam sighed. "Damn, man. Since when? Why didn't you tell me?"

"Will you cover for me?"

"Yeah. What's her name? What's she look like?"

"Thanks, Gary. I owe you one."

"Tell me about her and we'll call it even."

"Talk to you tomorrow," Sam said before hanging up. That taken care of, Sam returned his full attention to Lisa, focusing on calming her down, which wound up taking a solid hour of Sam whispering encouragingly to her until her sobbing stopped. As she went to use his shower, Sam went in search of her car to retrieve her suitcase. He moved her car from its parking space on the street to inside the parking structure; he may as well paint a target on the hood with it loaded to the gills with stuff. Glancing at the seat next to him, he noticed the stuffed donkey he had given her years ago sticking out of a duffel bag. He was surprised she still had it. He knew she had every right to behead the poor defenseless stuffed animal in anger, throw out all the pictures of them together, and burn old letters and notes.

As the hot water washed over Lisa, she tried to forget about her latest nightmare but realized more and more that she was living it. Her political career was shot, her reputation as a strong politician was gone thanks to the vicious news reports that linked her "allegedly" to Wesley's illegal activities. To top that all off, she and Sam had been separated for almost six months. She wasn't exactly sure how she wound up knocking at his door. She remembered driving through the city and stumbling upon his apartment. She even remembered parking and walking up to his place. She sure as hell didn't remember lifting her fist to knock but she vividly recalled seeing him for the first time in almost a year.

Stepping out of the shower, she wrapped a towel around her and opened the bathroom door a fraction of an inch to see if Sam was still in the bedroom. He wasn't but her luggage was. She walked to the bed, where he had left her suitcase, and noticed he had brought Sam the donkey up with him. She smiled faintly before getting dressed, putting on an old pair of blue jeans, her tee shirt with the seal of the House of Representatives on it, and a long-sleeved old flannel to keep the New York chill away. She could smell coffee and his breakfast specialty—French toast—from the kitchen. Licking her lips, she slowly started walking towards him.

Sam was listening to NPR's morning edition while watching the skillet. He had changed out of his slacks and into jeans and a Princeton sweatshirt. She watched him for a while, playing with the tail of her flannel shirt. He was oblivious to her being there and she guessed it was just as well; she was used to being ignored. Sam turned and finally caught sight of her. "Good morning," he said with a smile. She shrugged.

"I'll give you that it's morning," she muttered. "Shouldn't you be at work?" she asked a bit louder. "Not that I don't... I mean it's important to you, this job. It's Gage Whitney, one of the largest law firms in New York—"

"Lisa."

"Yeah?"

"I called in sick. No big deal."

"No big deal? Sam... It isn't like you to miss work."

"It isn't like me to hurt the one person I love most in the world either but I did it," he said. Lisa turned her attention to the bottom button on her shirt. "Sit down," he said, nodding to the small breakfast nook near the picture windows overlooking New York Harbor. "Breakfast'll be done in a minute. You want orange juice or coffee or both?"

"Coffee's fine," she said softly, sitting on one of the stools, admiring his view. He set a steaming mug of coffee in front of her with cream like she liked it. She didn't notice, too caught up in looking out the window.

"Nice view, huh?" he asked, placing a plate of French toast before her.

"Yeah, it is." She had always been drawn to the city having grown up on a farm in the middle of nowhere. That was part of what had drawn her to politics; she knew she could escape her hometown and move onto bigger and better things. She wound up in the middle of a scandal, though.

Sam ate his breakfast slowly, watching Lisa pick at her plate. She had always claimed she enjoyed his French toast. He wanted to reach out to her but didn't, too afraid he might set her off. Instead, the two ate in an uneasy silence. When they were through, they both took their dishes to the kitchen sink. Lisa started to retreat to the living room when Sam barely caught her, hooking his fingers in the belt loops of her blue jeans. She reluctantly allowed herself to be reeled in by him. "Tell me," he said.

"Tell you what?"

"Tell me what you dreamed this morning." She shook her head and started to take a step away but he refused to let her go.

"Sam, please don't make me," she pleaded quietly.

"What's happened to you since I came up here?"

"I told you last night—Wesley's campaign, Save the Fruit Bat—"

"Lisa."

"What?" she asked in exasperation.

"If I knew I was going to hurt you this badly, I never would have written that letter. That was never my intention."

"You were right."

"What do you mean?"

"Us," she said. "We don't... We don't 'work' anymore."

"I think we 'work' just fine."

"I-I should go."

"Stop talking like that, Lisa."

"Like what?"

"I'm not going to let you make the same mistake I did, all right? I'm not going to let you walk out on me." She covered her face with her hands as she started to cry again.

"I just want to die, Sam."

"Why?"

"I have—I have nothing."

"You have me."

"Out of pity, I have you."

"Out of love, Lisa."

"I don't know what to do anymore. I'm out of choices, I'm out of hope." He hugged her.

"I am so sorry I left you."

"Damn it, don't you get it?" she asked, hitting his shoulder weakly.

"Obviously not," he said, thoroughly confused.

"It's not your fault. I let the campaign take over my life and I lost you because of it. I lost my career because of it. I lost everything—my apartment, my love, my life—because of one *exceedingly* dumb move."

"That's not true—"

"Sam, I have *nothing*. Nothing."

"You have me."

"I don't—"

"You don't what, baby?"

"I don't have you the way I want you."

"I don't understand."

"I don't want you because you're sorry for me. I want you but only if you want me, too."

"I've been trying to tell you I that since last night; I want you, Lisa. I've missed you; I'm glad you're here right now."

"I hate feeling like this," she said, shaking her head.

"Like what?"

"Worthless. Useless."

"God, Lisa, you aren't."

"I just take up space, waste precious air—" Sam's heart ached for her.

"No."

"Yes," she said, breaking free of his grasp and leaving him in the kitchen. Sam ran both his hands through his hair, wondering how he could reach her, get her to open up. Lisa dropped to the floor in the living room, hugging her legs to her chest and resting her chin on her knees.

Motion to Dismiss - 4

 

 

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