For notes and disclaimer, please see part one.
Previously, on the West Wing: Saturday night, the staffers have a late-night meeting. On Sunday, Sam and Leo try to keep up with the President at a luncheon. Afterwards, everyone catches up and goes shopping with the President.
After the President's speech at the conference center, the motorcade carried everyone back to the hotel for a brief stop before dinner. Mallory took the time to change while most of the Senior Staffers were taking questions from the White House Press Corps about what was going on in the world beyond the Grand Strand.
With the press relatively satisfied, the President and his entourage piled into the motorcade and made their way up the Boulevard to the Sea Captain's House.
"How's the food?" Bartlet asked, reading over a file folder.
"I'm sorry, sir?" asked Leo.
Bartlet glanced at his Chief of Staff, then to his Deputy Communications Director. "As I understand it, some of us have been to this restaurant."
"It's, um, quite good," Sam said, warily looking at Leo.
"Good enough to stomach twice in one weekend?" asked Bartlet, going back to his file folder.
"Any suggestions as to what's good?" asked Bartlet.
"Well, the grasshopper pie is excellent, Mr. President."
Leo sighed heavily and looked out the tinted window. Mallory, sitting across from him, gently nudged his foot with her own, causing him to look at her. Clearing her throat, she smiled, indicating that he should do the same, that, technically, things could be worse. Leo went back to looking out the window.
"The view from the restaurant is excellent, too, Mr. President," Mallory commented.
The motorcade pulled into the vacant parking lot and the entourage climbed out into the salty air. Sam glanced at Mallory. "You think they're closed? The parking lot was packed when we were here. There's no one here."
"Cleared by the Service," Leo said. "C'mon."
The large party sauntered into the restaurant and was led to the main dining room, where all the tables had been arranged for the President's group. Bartlet sat in the center, with Leo on one side and his daughter on the other. Sam and Mallory had hoped for seats away from her father but wound up sitting across from him.
The food was superb, as was the service provided by the restaurant. The conversations meandered from polling data to the history of the myrtle tree. Sam was nervous all through the first course then was finally starting to relax by the time the entrées arrived. After coffee and desert, Mallory smiled at Leo and mouthed her thanks. He shrugged indifferently.
As the group started standing up and meandering slowly towards the door, Josh caught up to Zoey. "Y'know what this means, right?" Josh asked her quietly. They exchanged mischievous glances.
"Amusement park!" she said gleefully.
The line for the go-kart track was half-filled with suits. Zoey and Charlie led the pack, followed by a handful of Secret Service agents, Josh, Donna, Margaret, and Toby. Sam, Mallory, Bartlet, and Leo stood along the gate around the track, ready to watch the race.
"Don't you want to ride, too?" Bartlet asked Mallory and Sam.
"Well, the skipper, here, should stick to boats," Mallory said with a smirk, looking at Sam.
"What does that mean?" asked Leo accusatorily.
Sam cleared his throat quickly. "Nothing."
Zoey, climbing into the lead car, waved at her father, who waved back.
Before Josh slid down into his seat, he looked at Zoey. "You're going down, Zoey," he said.
Two of the Secret Service agents turned to shoot him stern, evil glances.
"In the race. I'm not... No. Just... In the race," Josh clarified.
"Good luck, Josh," Donna said, revving her engine.
"And you're going down," Josh said.
"I've seen you drive, Josh. You're going to need all the help you can get," said Toby from the car behind him.
"And you're going down," Josh said, glancing over his shoulder.
Margaret just shook her head as she buckled up.
After the obligatory pre-race spiel by the ride workers, the stoplight turned green and Zoey sped out of the starting line, followed closely by two Secret Service agents. Charlie managed to pull ahead of the third agent. Josh cackled as he sped out of the line with Toby on his heels. Donna and Margaret brought up the tail of the race.
Sam glanced at Mallory. "Do you suppose we looked that goofy when we were racing?" he asked, causing her to shrug.
Leo and Bartlet walked along the gate, trying to see the other side of the track. Mallory and Sam stayed put, waiting to see Zoey starting her second lap.
Josh left Toby in the dust and soon passed Charlie. As he rounded the corner, he saw a solid line of three carsthe Secret Service agents. He had to ride on the break or else run into them. He looked at Sam and Mallory helplessly, holding his hands up in restless frustration. He went ahead and stopped completely, waiting for them to catch up to the rest of the pack from behind. While he was waiting, Margaret zoomed ahead of him. Toby, on her heels, hit the corner of Josh's car and the two spun outone in one direction, the other in the oppositeallowing Donna and Charlie to speed between them.
Mallory and Sam cheered. Bartlet and Leo couldn't help but laugh. Each car came to an abrupt stop as workers helped get Toby and Josh headed in the right direction again.
After two more wrecks, both of which included Josh, the stoplight turned red and the drivers pulled into the starting lane. Zoey was the first back. She stood up to applause and chuckles. After the Secret Service came Charlie, followed by Margaret, Donna, and Toby. Josh came in dead last.
"I woulda been fine if not for the Secret Service!" Josh said, climbing out of his car.
"It could have been worse, Josh," Sam said, trying to stifle his laughter.
"Oh, yeah? How?"
"Well, you could have been thrown off of the track," said Sam.
"You weren't," said Josh, an impish glint appearing in his dark eyes.
"Hey, anybody want cotton candy?" Sam asked, hoping to change the subject.
Josh, exiting the ride, clapped Sam's shoulder. "I didn't know you had it in you," he said, grinning. "Where to now, Zoey?"
"The roller coaster!"
Mallory looked up at Sam. "Want to ride?"
"Well... Do you?"
She smirked, then rocked up on her toes to kiss him softly, earning a wolf whistle from Josh.
After the better part of an hour, most of the staffers piled into the motorcade with the President and First Daughter. Sam and Mallory hung back, sitting on the bench that sat in front of the carousel. Josh tried to talk Toby into a rematch on the go-karts but failed and wound up climbing into the back of one of the limousines.
Leo stood by the open door, looking back at Sam and Mallory. They were easy to spot; the public hadn't been allowed back into the park yet.
Bartlet watched his friend for a moment. "You coming?"
Leo muttered, "Uh-huh." With a deep sigh, he climbed into the back of the limousine.
"He'll bring her back," Bartlet said confidently.
"She'll be fine."
"Because Sam knows if he doesn't bring her back in one piece, you'll skewer him on the Washington monument," Bartlet said with a grin.
Leo fought the matching grin until it finally spread across his lips.
After one last ride on the carousel, Sam and Mallory started walking back for the hotel along Ocean Boulevard. With her arm linked around Sam's, Mallory detoured.
"Where are we going?" asked Sam as they crossed from a parking lot over one of the public accesses to the beach.
"Thought we'd take the scenic route," she said, stepping out of her sandals and letting them dangle on her fingers.
"I didn't figure you'd want to come back down here," he said softly.
"You going to tell me what happened yesterday?" he asked quietly.
"Maybe someday," she said, looking out over the water sadly.
Sam put his arm around her, pulling her to him as they walked along. "We can go back to the sidewalk if you want."
"No, this... I like walking with you like this."
"Okay," he said, smiling at her softly.
Sam yawned as he climbed aboard Air Force One. He felt as though his feet weighed twenty tons each, and his eyelids, ten.
"Aw," said Mallory. "It's only... four fifty in the morning."
"Mallory..." He drifted off with no obvious signs of continuing.
"I was saying something?"
Mallory smiled. "You can tell me when you wake up."
"But I am awake."
"Probably since yesterday morning. I know we got into the hotel an hour ago... That's what we get for sitting in the sand and talking again."
"Y'know, they say you need a vacation from your vacation. I think I get more sleep in Washington." He grinned sleepily at her. "Although, there was one night that was nice."
"Don't let my father hear you," she said, returning the smile.
"Don't let me hear what?" asked Leo, passing them in the corridor.
Sam's eyes grew wide.
"I'm too tired to even bother with you right now. Take a seat. The President's out there talking with God only knows who and we *have* to get this bird off the ground in the next ten minutes."
Mallory took Sam's hand and guided him to one of the nearest empty chairs and sat down beside him. He had just put his briefcase under the seat and sat down when his eyes closed and Mallory saw that he was dead asleep. Flagging down a member of the flight crew, she was able to get blankets and pillows. Gently lifting his head from the back of the seat, she set the pillow down before easing his head back against it. Standing, she covered him up, then did the same for herself, snuggling into her chair. As she was starting to drift off, the airplane roared into the early morning sky.
Sam dropped his luggage and briefcase behind his desk before falling into his chair. "Cathy, could you kindly bring me a cup of coffee, please?" he asked, only somewhat pathetically.
"Senator Hathaway called five times while you were gone," Cathy said.
Sam groaned and allowed his head to fall onto his desktop.
"So, no more midnight strolls along the sand for you," Mallory said as she appeared at his door.
"I thought you were going home."
"Well, I am. But I passed one of the White House photographers and he handed me these."
Sam looked up to see her crossing to him and holding out a black binder with the Presidential seal embossed in silver on the front with his name written in fancy calligraphy. "What is it?"
"He had a whole stack of them."
"You got one, too?" he asked, opening his.
"Yeah," she said as she fell into the seat in front of his desk and opened hers.
Looking up from their folders, their eyes met and both smiled warmly. Inside the binders were scrapbook pages of photographs from their trip with the date and location written in silver script. Each page held space to write down additional observations or memories. Sam stood slowly and crossed in front of his desk to sit beside her. They perused the books together, laughing at several pictures. She had some that he didn't havepictures of her outings with Zoey and some of her with her father. Sam had some that she didn'tones of the Senior Staff meetings and the public appearances of the President. The last two pages held pictures of them together as a couple. There was one from the moving sidewalk at the aquarium, when he held her close. There was one of the kiss at the amusement park in front of Josh the night before. There was one of them at the wax museum. The one that made them smile the most, however, was the photograph of them sleeping on Air Force One.
Cathy appeared with coffee for both Sam and Mallory before reminding the Deputy Communications Director that he had a meeting in ten minutes.
Sam and Mallory stood and looked at each other for a moment. "You... You wouldn't want to get some dinner with me tonight, would you?" asked Sam.
"If you aren't asleep by then, Skipper, sure," she said with a knowing smile.
"I'll be fine," he said, proving his point by letting a yawn escape.
"That's what I thought. If you'll call me, I'll come drive you home, put you to bed," she said.
"Sounds like a... wonderful... plan," he said softly.
Mallory fingered his tie, then pulled him to her gently, kissing him. Sam nearly dropped his binder, putting his arms around her. As the kiss ended, they both smiled.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too, Skipper." With one last brief kiss, Mallory took her binder and coffee and slipped away.
Sam leaned against his desk, watching her go before the telephone rang and he was brought back to reality.
Sam and Mallory and the rest of the gang will return in an as-yet untitled sequel. :)