For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.

Previously, on the West Wing: Sam tries to reconnect with Lisa the next morning only to fail.

After a week, the only thing Sam had been successful in doing was convincing Lisa to stay in his Manhattan apartment. She refused to sleep in his bedroom with him, sleeping instead on the couch or occasionally the floor. He offered to sleep on the couch so she could take the bed but she refused. As much as he wanted to, he couldn't take off from Gage Whitney continually to stay home with her. He'd carpool into work with Gary but would usually take the subway home, not wanting to wait on everyone else.

Lisa's nightmares continued, waking up at least once a night. She would sit bolt upright and cry out, waking Sam instantly. He'd rush to her side and hold her until she fell back to a fitful sleep.

A week to the night since Lisa's arrival on his doorstep, Sam turned off his computer, removing his glasses and rubbing his tired eyes seeing as how he had spent four hours working on a court brief. Standing and yawning, he saw that Lisa was already asleep on the couch. The newspaper she had been looking at was folded on her chest. Walking to her, he placed the paper on the coffee table and covered her up with the afghan from the back of the couch. He touched the side of her face gently, knowing her peaceful sleep would only last so long. "Talk to me, Lisa," he whispered. "Let me in, let me love you again." Kissing her forehead, he reluctantly left for his bed.

Three o'clock in the morning brought the worst scream yet, a blood-curdling sound from the living room. Sam nearly fell as he tried to get to her, finding himself tangled up in the covers. Lisa was hysterical, shaking all over. Her eyes were wide open in fear. As Sam fell onto the couch behind her, to hold her, she recoiled. When she realized who was there—Sam and not an apparition—she reached out to touch him, to make absolutely sure he was real. When her hand touched his warm skin, her eyes closed involuntarily. "Oh, thank God," she muttered.

"Lisa?" She buried herself in his arms, sobbing. Sam sighed lightly, wishing he knew what demons plagued her so he could chase them away. Stroking her hair and rocking her gently, she fell asleep like she had done for the past eight nights. This time, though, Sam didn't leave her on the couch by herself. He picked her up gingerly and carried her into his bedroom, laying her down on the mattress. Looking at the clock, he climbed into bed with her. After all, he still had two and a half hours before the alarm would go off.

When the alarm did sound, he slapped it off quickly, hoping it wouldn't disturb Lisa, who had found her way into his arms during the night. When he realized she was still sleeping, he slowly got out of bed to get ready for the day. 'She always could sleep through World War III,' he mused, wandering into his bathroom.

As he poured water into the coffee pot, having showered, shaved and dressed save for his shoes and jacket—his tie was at least around his neck though not tied, someone knocked on the door. Rubbing the back of his neck, he walked to the door and opened it without bothering with the fish-eye lens or the chain. Gary was standing in the hall. "Ready to go?" Sam thought for a moment.

"Ready to go where?" Carpool was an hour early if that was the reason Gary was at his door.

"Aw, c'mon, man. I promised you breakfast with goddesses two weeks ago, remember?" Sam vaguely remembered making the "date."

"I'm really not interested, Gary."

"No, no, no, no, no. I promised Becky I'd bring a guy for her sister Terri." Sam shook his head.

"I can't, okay?"

"Why the hell n—"

"Sam?" Both Gary and Sam turned to see Lisa walk out of Sam's bedroom wearing her pajamas. Gary's jaw dropped open.

"Good morning," Sam said. Lisa suddenly felt self-conscious, especially under the watch of Gary's questioning eyes.

"I thought it was the TV..." Her words drifted off as Gary turned back to Sam.

"Stud!" Gary said. "All right, all right. I'll let you be with your lady-friend. See you at work."

"Yeah," Sam said, smiling at Lisa as Gary saw himself out.

"I-I'm sorry, I—"

"No, it's okay."

"Who was he?"

"A coworker of mine. He always tries to set me up."

"You never took him up on any of them?"

"Once," Sam admitted.

"Did anything ever, y'know, become of it?" Lisa asked awkwardly.

"Yeah." Lisa felt her heart stop beating. "It made me realize just how much I missed you and what a huge mistake I had made by letting you go." Her eyes started to water. "Lisa?" he asked, crossing to her

"I-I just..."

"What is it, sweetheart?" Concern was an understatement. Lisa couldn't bring herself to look him in the eyes though she knew he was nearing her. His hands went to her waist and hers went to his shoulders and around to the back of his neck.

"I, um... I want to... I should probably let you finish getting ready for work," she said, smoothing his collar.

"No, wait—you want what?" She started to tie his necktie when she looked into his deep blue eyes. He could see the tortured expression locked in her eyes, the fear. "Tell me, Lisa."

"I don't want to make you late. I mean, that guy already thinks that we—and it's not like we've never... But, I mean—"

"Relax, Lisa. Really."

"You should get ready."

"I want to stay with you. Gary'll cover for me if I'm a little late."

"Sam..."

"Yes?" She opened her mouth but closed it, considering her response for a moment.

"Get ready for work. We'll talk tonight."

"Promise?" She nodded. "Because I'm going to hold you to that."

"I promise," she said quietly, hugging him and leaning her head on his chest.

~~~

Sam worked hard to try to get everything done so he could go home on time. He worked straight through his lunch break. "Sam." Sam glanced at his watch; it was only a quarter after four.

"Not now, Gary; I want to finish this and get out of here before I'm old and gray."

"So you can go home to that girl?"

"She's having a hard time right now," Sam said slowly, realizing Gary probably wasn't going to let him be.

"Since when? How long you been seeing that babe?"

"Gary..."

"Seriously, man. I thought we were friends."

"We are."

"But you kept this big of a secret from me?"

"It's... It's complicated."

"I'll say. What's her name?"

"Lisa."

"Lisa what?"

"What does it matter?"

"Is she a wanted criminal?"

"No."

"She's not related to you, is she?"

"No." Gary closed Sam's door.

"'Cause you can tell me. I won't go blabbing the news that your kid sister's in trouble or nothin'."

"She's not my sister. We're not related in any way."

"Who is she?"

"Gary, she..." Gary motioned for Sam to continue. Sam pulled a framed photograph from his desk drawer and looked at it. "I never displayed this because I knew you'd ask about her and probably tell me I should move on or something," he said, looking at the picture. With a sigh, he handed it to Gary. The photo was of Lisa in Sam's arms at a black tie fund-raiser. The love and bliss in the picture was more than obvious.

"When was this taken?"

"Two years ago."

"Where'd you meet her?"

"Washington when I was fresh out of law school. It took me almost a year to ask her out on a date. We had been friends—well, we still are friends..."

"What happened?"

"I quit working on Capitol Hill to come up here; she quit the Hill to run a gubernatorial campaign. I let her go six months ago," Sam said, giving Gary the Readers' Digest Condensed version of events.

"You let her go?"

"Believe me, I'm kicking myself over that."

"You'd been with her how long?"

"Almost four years."

"What the hell were you thinking?"

"Yeah, I know."

"So what's going on now? You two reconciled?"

"Not yet."

"Not *yet*? Walking out of your bedroom in pj's this morning?"

"Gary—"

"All right, all right. What's she going through? What 'trouble' does she have?"

"She was pretty much crucified in the papers in D.C. and Maryland. Her political career down there is shot."

"She's going to get into politics up here?" Sam shrugged.

"I can't get her to talk to me."

"Huh?"

"I don't know, Gary. Like I said—it's complicated." Gary handed Sam back the photograph.

"Come on."

"What?"

"Come on."

"Where are we going?"

"I'm taking you home."

"Why?"

"So you can talk to your girl."

"I've still got things I have to do here."

"Which is more important?" Sam closed the file folder he had been looking at and slipped the framed photo into his briefcase. "That's what I thought, man."

Motion to Dismiss - 5

 

 

 

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