DisclaimerCharacters belong to Aaron Sorkin. I'm merely borrowing them. No copyright infringement intended. Similarity to events or persons living or dead is purely aimed at me and my experiences. The places/locations mentioned are places I've been/seen. I hope they don't get madfree advertising I suppose so... *ahem* Title comes from a song by the group Alabama, written by Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Greg Fowler. No copyright infringement there either.
Author's NotesThanks to Dad, who, while on one of our many trips to and from school on Tuesday nights, suggested this idea. And, upon chitchatting about it, it seemed like a really fun plot. So, big thanks to Daddy-o. ;)
Also, to my beloved beta readers: Dis, my wonderful (and understanding) `cuz' and the Admiral, my darling `sis.' And, of course, a deep gratitude goes to the Samurai. Thanks, ladies.
DUE TO RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WEST WING FANFIC WORLD: The title of this story is also a title of a song, one that's been played on country radio for years. There is *NO* wrongdoing in this story of any kind that the title could possibly imply. It is *not* "shagging" in the Austin Powers slang definition of the word, but rather the swing-type dance that's been around for decades. Due to recent developments in our fanfic world, I wanted to state *CLEARLY* that readers will not be stumbling blindly into something they do not want to read or would feel uncomfortable reading.
SpoilersPilot, Lord John Marbury, Take This Sabbath Day, Lies Damn Lies and Statistics, What Kind of Day it has Been, In The Shadow of Two Gunmen, Galileo, The Leadership Breakfast, The Drop-In, Somebody's Going to Jail Somebody's Going to Emergency
ArchiveIf you feel you want to. Just tell me where.
FeedbackAlways greatly appreciated.
Shaggin' on the BoulevardIt's not what you think.
C.J. Cregg allowed her posture to slump, stretching her neck and arms as she stood in the corridor.
"Ready?" asked her assistant, Carol.
"Yeah," she said with a sigh as Carol opened the door to the White House Press Room. She walked up behind the podium and smiled at the White House Press Corps. "Good morning. There has been a slight change in the itinerary."
"How slight?" asked Danny Concannon from the middle of the room.
"Totally," she said.
"What do you mean totally?" asked another reporter.
"Well, we are no longer going to Florida at all."
"The entire trip was to Florida, C.J.," said a third reporter.
"Well, that's true, Steve, so I suppose I should have said there is a complete change in itinerary."
"Where are we going?" asked Danny.
"We're still flying south, just not to the Sunshine State."
"Are you intentionally trying to not tell us where we're going tonight?"
"Of course not, Bruce. We are flying into Myrtle Beach, South Carolina."
"Why Myrtle Beach? Why are we going there and not Florida?"
"Time constraints. Plus, there is a civil rights rally at the Marriot on Friday. The Save the Sea Oats Council meeting on Saturday morning, followed by the dedication of the President Bartlet wax figure at the Wax Museum..."
"Wait, C.J. Time constraints? We're still staying four days, are we not?" asked Danny.
"We are. Just the fact that the flight is about half as long if we fly into Myrtle Beach as opposed to Miami, Florida."
"And the President has a very important meeting to attend to this coming Monday, our last day in South Carolina, and we can leave at a relatively decent hour so he can be back here and in attendance."
"When will we be leaving Monday?"
All the reporters started groaning.
"Hey, hey. It could be worse. We could have left at two AM on Monday morning to get back here in time for the meeting. Go pack your bags, remember your sunscreen, and we'll see all of you back here in two hours."
"Do you know all the fun we're going to have down there?" asked President Jed Bartlet as he slipped file folders into his briefcase.
"Well, I would imagine some hours in the sun," said Josh Lyman.
"There is the Ripley's Aquarium with a moving sidewalk *through* a large tank. Sharks actually swim over your head," Bartlet said.
"Really?" asked Sam Seaborn.
"Yes," said Bartlet with a grin. "And there's the wax museum dedication which is going to be an absolute hoot."
"In the political leaders section between Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and Castro..." Leo McGarry said.
"There's a group you would want to be associated with," added Toby Ziegler.
"You guys aren't going to spoil the fun," Bartlet said, wagging a finger at his Chief of Staff and Communications Director.
"We would never dream of it, Mr. President," Leo said.
"Josh, you're a fan of golf?" asked Bartlet as Charlie and C.J. entered "Ah, Charlie, C.J." The two new arrivals offered their greetings.
"Well, sir, I'm not necessarily a fan of golf as much as I enjoy playing it," said Josh.
"There's an excellent par three right on the Boulevard."
"What boulevard?" asked Toby.
"I'll pretend you didn't ask that," Bartlet said.
"Mr. President, seriously... What boulevard?" reiterated Toby.
"Ocean Boulevard. The road that runs along the coast all the way up and down... As I understand, there's even a song about the Boulevard." He turned to C.J. "Anyway. How'd the press take the news?"
"They weren't thrilled with the departure time on Monday, but they'll get over it. They're waiting in the busses, ready to be transferred over to Air Force One."
"Good," Bartlet said with a nod. "And every one of you are packed, right?" he asked, glancing around at his senior staff and his bodyman.
"Packed and ready," answered Sam with a nod.
"And your daughter?" Bartlet asked, turning to Leo.
"M-Mallory's going?" asked Sam nervously.
"Didn't you know?" asked Bartlet.
"No," Sam said slowly.
"Zoey's going too," Bartlet said. "She's ready?"
"And waiting in the Roosevelt Room with Mallory," Charlie confirmed.
"M-Mallory's here?" asked Sam.
"You've developed quite a stutter, there, Sam," commented Toby.
"Mr. President," Charlie said, tapping his watch.
"Let's fly," Bartlet said with a bright smile.
Josh watched Sam pace in the conference room aboard Air Force One at cruising altitude. "Tell me again why we're in here."
"We're hiding from Mallory," Sam whispered.
"Because...?" Josh asked, motioning for Sam to continue.
"Because she's still seeing that hockey player."
"Are you sure about that?"
The door to the room opened silently and a redhead appeared. Josh started to say something but Mallory O'Brien shushed him. Josh licked his lips nervously and returned his attention to his best friend.
"I mean, I think so... She told me not to worry about the whole picture thing that night... But..." He sighed. "I haven't stopped worrying about it. I haven't stopped thinking about her."
Josh slowly started sinking in his chair, watching Sam rant, completely oblivious to Leo's daughter standing at the door.
"The way she looks at me, Josh... The way she smiles and her whole face lights up. The way she gets so... mischievous when she argues with me about politics. You should see this little glint she gets in her eyes that just... It never ceases to mesmerize me, that's for certain. I mean, I'm sure she'd tell you about talking to me about school vouchers for an hour one day. I just couldn't stop arguing with her, though. I mean, I was, I don't know, addicted is the best way to describe it I suppose, to the look in her eyes. But, let me tell you, she pulls no punchespolitically or otherwise. We get to talking or arguing and we have this tendency to not stop. We just go on and on and on and on... She doesn't want to stop either. I think she really does enjoy arguing, taking me down a peg or two. But, you know how, when you're a kid, and there's a little girl who never ceases to bug you unmercifully for your milk money and your parents tell you, `Oh, it's just because she likes you'?" Josh nodded, glancing at Mallory, who was leaning against the wall, taking in Sam's speech. "That's kind of like how Mallory is. At least, I think that's kind of like how she is. I could be really quite wrong."
"You're telling me you think Mallory has the maturity level of a child?"
"Are you kidding? Some days I think she's light-years beyond me. Sometimes not, but most of the time... She's so smart, Josh. So witty, intelligent, caring, remarkable... She's got an amazingly playful personality that can, occasionally, get rather pointed. For the most part, she's perfect. She's everything in a woman I could ever want, ever love, ever need." Josh's eyebrows shot up his forehead. "What?"
"You know how you like to talk about women and their highheels and their stealth capabilities?" asked Josh.
"I don't know that I `like' talking about it as much as it's a fact of life."
"Yeah, well. I don't know if you're going to want to turn around or not."
"What are you talking about?" asked Sam, tilting his head to one side in confusion.
"He's talking about me," Mallory said.
Sam jumped and placed a hand over his heart, turning to see her. "M-Mallory."
"You know, Toby mentioned something about a stuttering problem you're developing. I didn't know it was true."
"H-how long have you been there?"
"Long enough," she said softly.
"Y'know, I think I'm going to go see if C.J. and Donna are exchanging sunscreens yet," Josh said as he slipped from the room. Sam and Mallory were oblivious to his exit.
"M-Mallory, I'm speechless."
"Didn't sound like it," she said, crossing to him. "Did you mean what you said?"
"I always mean what I say," he said quietly.
"You're a politician."
"Doesn't mean I can't tell the truth."
"I broke up with Richard."
Mallory grabbed Sam's tie and pulled him down to her, whispering in his ear. "I broke up with Richard." She released him, straightening his necktie before heading for the door. As she reached it, she glanced back and winked at him. "I have a feeling you're going to learn just how stealthy my flip-flops are." She left the room with Sam bracing his hands on the conference table and his mouth left slightly agape.
The Communications Director grabbed Josh's arm and got to his feet as he passed him in the cabin. "So, tell me. Where are we going?" Toby asked, glancing back at Donna and C.J. The two ladies were going over the differences in ingredients in their sunblocks.
"Myrtle Beach," Josh said.
"No, I mean..." He glanced at the two women seated not far from them. "Tell me where we're going to get away from the cancer prevention queens."
"Well, we could go"
"Ah, my staff, mostly congregated in one room," said Bartlet as he entered from the other direction. C.J. and Donna scrambled to their feet. "Sit, sit. Can anyone tell me the nickname of the area where we're going?"
Josh lowered himself into a chair with a sigh as Toby covered his eyes with a hand. C.J. and Donna exchanged glances as they sat down.
"Oh, come on, now. I saw it on Jeopardy last night," said Bartlet.
"You watched Jeopardy last night, Mr. President?" asked Josh.
"Did you?" countered the President.
"No, I was meeting with Gadsden about the military expenditure thing."
"Did any of you?"
"Mr. President, I think it's safe to say that we all missed it, being busy helping to, you know, run the country," said Toby.
"Split infinitive," said Sam as he entered the room. "Hello, Mr. President." Bartlet smiled.
"You survive, buddy?" asked Josh quietly, grinning at him.
"Honestly, I'm not sure," said Sam.
"What happened?" asked Donna.
"Mallory" started Josh.
"Nothing," said Sam quickly.
"Mallory is nothing?" asked C.J.
"Mallory is everything," Sam said. "I just would rather not discuss what I survived at the moment. What were you guys talking about?"
"Jeopardy," said Donna.
"Not necessarily. Here, let me ask you, Sam. Do you know what the nickname is for the area we're going to visit?"
"The Grand Strand," said Sam.
"One hundred dollars to Mr. Seaborn."
"Actually, sir, it was a two hundred dollar question."
"It was really on Jeopardy last night?" asked C.J.
"Yeah," said Sam.
"You doubted me, C.J.?"
"When do you guys find the time to watch Jeopardy?" asked Donna.
"I took my dinner break then," said Sam.
"Smart boy," said Bartlet. "Me, too. Can anyone tell me the dance of South Carolina?"
"The dance, sir?" asked Donna.
"The shag," said Sam, picking up a magazine and flipping through it.
"No, it's notwell, a horizontal dance, perhaps," Josh corrected quietly. "Just don't say *that* around Mallory."
Everyone in the room watched Sam's face turn bright red, practically a purple color. He cleared his throat and was about to speak up when the President stepped in on the poor man's behalf.
"It's an actual dance, Joshua. And I'm quite surprised you brought up that colloquial definition of the word in mixed company. It originated some decades ago. There used to be competitions down there, the best shaggers on the Grand Strand."
Josh tried to keep a straight face. He tried *really* hard. He tried thinking of war. He tried thinking of death. He tried thinking of sad pieces of music, of Bambi when his mother gets shot. He tried thinking of losing re-election and moving out of the White House and having a Republican move into his office. Nothing worked. He grinned and chuckled lightly.
"You think something's funny, Josh?" asked Bartlet.
"Oh, no sir."
"Can you tell me about sea oats?"
Josh's grin faded instantly while one simultaneously grew on Sam's face.