For disclaimer and notes, please see part one. Want to see the restaurant? http://www.seacaptains.com

Previously, on the West Wing: Sam and Mallory head to the amusement park, enjoying the roller coaster, Ferris Wheel, pirate ship, and bumper cars. Sam wins at the ring-toss. Mallory issues a challenge, but it'll have to wait until after their dancing lessons and dinner. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew try to enjoy their golfing games and C.J. tries to fend off a whole horde of reporters.

The press representatives swarmed the politicos as they finished their last hole of golf. "C.J.?" Bartlet asked.

"Yes, Mr. President?"

"What's going on here?" he asked over the din of the reporters' questions.

"Well... A media circus?" she asked.

"Why?"

"Because Sam isn't here."

"Sam could have, single-handedly, prevented all of this?" asked Bartlet.

"No, but he could have helped out greatly. I called the aquarium and couldn't reach him. I've paged; I've called his cellular phone... I can't get a hold of him at all."

Bartlet sighed. "Try calling him again."

"Are you sure, Mr. President?"

"I'd like to be able to rule the country without this mob permanently attached to me. I understand that some of them are required—the senior White House correspondents—but this... C.J., this is ridiculous."

"Yes, sir."

~~~

Sam and Mallory both had enough time to shower and change clothes before having to leave for their shagging lessons. With Scooby-Doo tucked away in Mallory's room, she made her way to Sam's, knocking on the door.

He stood and walked to the door—one foot in a shoe, one shoe in his hand—and opened it for her. "Hi. Do we have a minute still?"

She smiled warmly when she saw his predicament. "Of course." Sam went back to his position on the couch having gotten her approval. She remained standing, watching him. "You know, Sam, I think I'm seeing a whole new side of you on this trip."

"Oh?" he asked curiously.

"The casual side. The shorts-and-tee-shirt side. The khaki-and-polo side."

"Well, I do get to go into work in casuals sometimes," he said, tying his shoe.

"How often?"

"Depends on what I'm doing during the weekend." He stood up. "Ready?"

She nodded. "And, I have to say... Your sense of accessories is just fantastic," she said, eyeing his wrist.

"I do believe we have matching bracelets," he said, smiling at her.

She revealed her ride wristband from behind her back. "So we do."

Sam held the door open for her before stepping out and locking the door. As the two started to walk down the hall, Sam's cellular phone—sitting on the table by the couch—started to ring.

~~~

The President and his remaining staffers had very little time to return to the hotel and change for dinner after golf due to the media overload. Before leaving for diner, Josh stopped by Sam's room and knocked on the door several times before giving up. "Maybe he's going to meet us there," he said to C.J. as they climbed into the back of a limousine.

"I'm beginning to think Sam has gone AWOL," she said.

"Sam? You've got to be kidding. If he's gone, he's gone for a very good, very moral reason. He wouldn't just get up and leave. He would have told *somebody*. Normally, I would think that 'somebody' would be me. Maybe he's called Leo," said Josh.

~~~

Bartlet, Leo, Zoey, and Charlie all sat in the back of the other limousine. Leo's foot tapped nervously on the floor.

"Zoey," Leo said, "when was the last time you saw Mallory?"

"It was right after lunch. She said something about having to get ready to go do something. I forget now, exactly, what it was," said Zoey. "Why?"

"You haven't seen Sam at all, have you?"

"Not since yesterday."

"Mr. President, I'm really worried about them. Both of them," said Leo.

"Well, don't be," Bartlet said.

"Why shouldn't I be?"

"Because..." Bartlet looked at his daughter and bodyman. "What I'm about to say, you two can't repeat. And, Charlie, don't get any ideas. I won't be lenient with everyone."

"What are you talking about, Mr. President?" asked Leo.

"I told Sam he could have the afternoon off to spend with Mallory."

Zoey started laughing as Leo covered his eyes with his hand.

"What?" asked the President. "What'd I miss?"

"I told Mallory I'd give Sam the night off when we were flying in yesterday."

Bartlet started laughing along with his daughter, perplexing Leo to no end.

"I don't see how this is funny."

"You should've built a dungeon, Leo."

~~~

The dancing lessons went smoothly. Although neither were experts by the end of the night, Sam didn't step on Mallory's toes even once as he had feared. They enjoyed giving the shag a try, though, and decided that more practice was definitely in order.

Dinner was at the Sea Captain's House, a quaint restaurant overlooking the beach. As the night wore on, Sam and Mallory kept sitting closer and closer to each other, discussing everything from Bartlet's re-election campaign to the ocean and its calming influence. By the time the bill had arrived, their chairs were practically touching.

After dinner, they walked down to the rocks lining the yard of the Sea Captain's House. They sat for a while, digesting and talking about future plans: where they wanted to be in five, ten, and thirty years. When the sun had completely set, Sam and Mallory headed back to the hotel once more for another change of clothes and another trip to the amusement park. After all, Mallory had issued a challenge—the go-karts.

~~~

Dinner at Medieval Times was uneasy to say the least. Leo and Bartlet kept looking at each other, causing the President to start chuckling. Zoey and Charlie were the only ones truly enjoying the show.

"I think we should call the police," said C.J. "He's been gone *all* day long."

"Would the Secret Service do anything if we asked them to?" asked Josh.

"I doubt they'd drop everything, Josh, and start looking for Sam," said Toby.

"This just isn't like him," said C.J. "We should call the police. Or the FBI."

Leo turned and snapped at the Senior Staff members at the end of the table. "What are you talking about down there? It's been constant chatter all through dinner."

C.J., Toby, and Josh all exchanged wary, quick looks. "Are we bothering you?" asked Toby.

"I'd like to know what it is that's got the three of you so enraptured."

"We're worried about Sam," C.J. said.

"Don't worry about Sam," Bartlet said, grinning at Leo.

"With all due respect, sir, he's been gone all afternoon. It's like he just disappeared after lunch," said Josh.

"He didn't just disappear," said Bartlet. "He and Mallory had a plan."

"I still don't see how you think my baby girl had anything to do with his... his... dereliction of duty," Leo said, frustrated.

"They played both sides against the middle. You've got to give them credit," said Bartlet.

"What do you mean 'he and Mallory had a plan?'" asked Toby.

"They've been off enjoying the sun today. Nothing to worry about. I'm not going to send out the National Guard to find them. Now, eat and enjoy the show," Bartlet said.

~~~

"Hey," she said. "It's not *my* fault you can't follow the rules."

"It's not *my* fault that the car's gas pedal is malfunctioning."

"Oh, sure... You just happened to keep bumping into me because the gas pedal didn't work right."

"I didn't have my foot on the gas pedal the *entire* time. It drove itself."

"And you just steered... Steered it into me *every* chance you got."

"It's a dumb rule anyway," he muttered. "'No bumping.'"

"Hey," she said. "Just because you were thrown out of the go-karts doesn't mean that that's the end of the world."

Sam plugged his nose as they got downwind of the pony rides. "What next?" he asked in a nasally voice.

She giggled then pointed to the ride they were passing. "What's that, you suppose?"

"The Pistelero Round-Up," he read then shrugged. "The line doesn't look long."

They walked up the steps and into the zigzagging line. An anamatronic sheriff deputized them, telling them about the mean Pistelero gang and how they had stolen gold and that it was their job to get it back.

"We actually get to shoot things?" asked Sam curiously.

"Oh, yeah," said a scraggly-looking teenage boy in front of them. "It's great fun. Kinda like lazer tag," he explained. "There's this one target you shoot at—a lady playing a guitar—and her skirt goes down."

Mallory and Sam exchanged glances.

"But what you really want," said his teenage female companion, "are the gold bags. They're worth more points if you hit them."

"You've ridden this before?" asked Sam.

"Only about a thousand times," said the girl, removing her glasses to clean them on her tee shirttail. "It's always a competition—who can hit the most points. There's a little counter on the car that keeps score for you."

Mallory and Sam slowly looked at each other, both smirking. "I'm going to win this time," said Sam.

"Want to make a bet, Skipper?"

~~~

Josh shook his head for the thirtieth time. "Will you quit?" asked Toby. "So he tricked us, he fooled us. So what?"

"He's a cunning little devil," muttered C.J.

"He's Sam. Is he all *that* cunning?" asked Josh. "He was telling me how Mallory must hate him. *I* was the one who told him he should ask the President for the afternoon off."

"Then he played you, too. Happy?" asked Toby.

"I don't think he's played anybody," said Josh.

"The President thinks so. Leo thinks so. Zoey and Charlie keep snickering, too, so they must think so," said Toby.

"No, I think Zoey and Charlie's snickers are of a very different nature," said C.J., smiling in the youngsters' direction.

"Besides," said Josh. "Just because the President thinks so, does that make it best?"

C.J. and Toby both looked at him incredulously. "Yes," they answered in unison.

"If he told you to jump off a cliff, would you?" asked Josh.

"Oh, please," groaned Toby. "The President would *not* ask us to jump off a cliff."

"Do you three mind keeping it down? I'm trying to watch the show," said Bartlet.

"Sorry, sir," said Josh before continuing quietly, "He wouldn't ask; he'd tell us. That's why I said, 'If he *told* you to jump off a cliff.'"

"I'm about to throw you three down to the jousters if you aren't quiet," Bartlet said in a fierce whisper.

The three quieted instantly, though Josh sent C.J. and Toby a look saying, 'I told you so.' A cliff was different from the arena, but it was the same concept.

~~~

Sam, high off his win at the Pistelero, guided Mallory across the castle gate bridge, to the other side of the park, where more of the grown-up rides were located. "Have you ever ridden one of these?" he asked, looking at the Spaceship.

"No," she said slowly. "What does it do?"

"It spins you around and you go sliding up the wall. It's great fun. Some of them even drop the floor. Want to try?"

"Sure," she said, taking his hand. Several dizzy people climbed down from the ride as Mallory and Sam charged up the ramp to enter. "What do we do?" she asked.

"Pick a slab and lean against it," he said simply, leaning against one of the boards.

Mallory leaned back against the one beside him as more thrill-seekers climbed into the 'spaceship.'

As the worker went through his preliminary spiel about ride safety, Mallory found Sam's hand and grabbed onto it. Shortly thereafter, the room started to spin. She glanced at Sam, who smiled back at her. "Just wait," he told her.

After a moment, she could hardly lift her free hand. She started laughing until her slab was slung to the top of the wall. Sam had trouble keeping a hold of her hand until he was thrown to the ceiling as well. As the room started slowing, the weight against her was lifted slightly, and she could move with less restriction. Sam went crashing back to the ground and she followed a moment later.

"Is it over?" she asked.

Sam smiled at her. "Not quite."

The room started spinning again, in the opposite direction and Mallory soon found herself up near the ceiling again. The first time she hit the ceiling, it had scared her. The second time, much like Sam's second ride on the roller coaster, she found herself enjoying the ride more.

When the ride came to a stop, Sam was able to walk without much trouble. Mallory, on the other hand, nearly fell over. Sam steadied her before they exited the ride. "You want something to drink?" he asked. "Before we ride something else?" To him, she looked as though she could use a break.

They found one of the food vendors and bought cups of water and sat on a bench, sipping them and watching the people go by. "When was the last time you had a day off like this?"

"Like how? Like to spend with you? Well, never. To spend at an amusement park riding all the rides and feeling like a kid again... never. To thoroughly enjoy myself with a woman who seems to be enjoying herself, too..." he said, looking at her. He knew he was grasping at straws a bit, but he hoped she was having as great a time as he was.

"I'm having a wonderful time," she said, smiling at him.

He smiled back. "Good."

With their water finished, they started looking around for something else to ride. Sam was oblivious to the people around him with the lone exception of Mallory. Mallory, on the other hand, was acutely aware of the man following them, particularly Sam. She bit her tongue to keep from laughing.

Sam stopped and looked around. "There are the classics like the Tilt-a-Whirl," he said, pointing out the ride.

The man behind him mimicked his actions.

"Or the train. We haven't ridden the train," Sam said, pointing towards the station.

Again, the man behind him followed suit with the gesture.

"That looks interesting," he said. "The Thunderbolt. Kind of like a cross between a Tilt-a-Whirl and one of those caterpillar things..."

Mallory, unable to control her laughter anymore, started laughing out loud.

Sam turned to her. "What?"

She pointed behind him, to the man in the vibrant outfit: a wandering mime.

Sam was slightly mortified, but shook the man's hand all the same. The mime pushed him towards Mallory gently and pointed to the Thunderbolt and nodded vigorously.

"I guess we ride the Thunderbolt," Mallory said. The mime waved at them before moving on and finding his next victim.

Stay tuned...

~Lines from the next installment: "We've got this entire floor," said Leo. "Room seven-twenty-one is Mallory's room."

Chapter 7

 

 

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