By Heidi H. and Lisa
Disclaimers-These are not my characters and I am making no money off of them.
Ratings Info-Sequel to "Back To School", Sam/Donna,
Special Thanks-Lisa for encouraging me to write this and for being a co-author and coming up with the ideas for this story.
Donna carried the class books in her bag. She had been making A's in all of her classes so far, except for Communications. The professor had given the speech she had written back to her with a note to see him after class. When Donna went to see Dr. Rossen, it had not been good. Dr. Rossen had told her that the speech was horrendous and that she could rewrite it for a better grade than the F that was slashed across the top. Donna was upset that she had earned an F. She had never gotten an F on anything before and it hurt. The speech she had written was not her best work, but she didn't think that it was worthy of an F.
Donna knew that Sam would help her out, if she asked. Sam had supported her when she started school. She was glad for her friends and the support that they had given her as she pursued her degree in political science and communications. She was embarrassed that she had to ask for help. Asking wasn't her strong suit, but she knew that she had asked for help because this was an important class to pass towards her degree.
Sam was in his office working on a speech when he saw Donna walking towards his office. He knew that she had a class tonight and that she usually didn't come back to work unless there was a crisis or something big going on.
"Sam, can I talk to you?" Donna asked, timidly.
"Sure. What are you doing here?" Sam asked.
"I knew that you would still be here and I needed to ask you a big favor." Donna said.
"What do you need?" Sam asked, knowing that Donna didn't ask for favors, except in special situations.
"I wrote a speech for my communications class and it wasn't good. The professor gave me an F, but said I could get a better grade if I rewrote it." Donna said, pulling the speech out of her bag.
"Okay, so you need my help with a class. That isn't a problem." Sam said.
"I know that this was supposed to be a non working weekend for you guys, but would you please help me with it this weekend." Donna asked, handing the speech to Sam.
"Okay, I can see several problems with the speech and of course, I will help you with it this weekend." Sam said flipping through the pages of the speech.
"Thanks a lot." Donna said.
"What time do you want me to come over?" Sam asked.
"How long do you think it will take?" Donna asked.
"It has to be 4 pages, so probably a couple of hours." Sam said, still flipping through the speech and circling things.
"Thank you so much for helping me." Donna said.
"It isn't a problem. You are a friend and need some help. See you in the morning about 10 am?" Sam said.
"10 a.m. is fine. See you then." Donna said and left the office.
Donna was glad that Sam was going to help her. He was a great speechwriter and she had faith that the speech would blow her professor away. Dr. Rossen didn't know that she worked in the White House. It was something that she kept private because she didn't want people bugging her for tours or autographs or other information that she couldn't give to them.
Sam was happy that Donna had come to him for help. He was going to make sure that she passed the class with an A. He would make sure that Donna knew that he was here for her whenever she needed for whatever she needed.
Donna was up by 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Three years of working for Josh had integrated her system to being up early, even on weekends. She was happy that this was a non-working weekend and that Josh had gone to Connecticut to see his mother, otherwise he would have called her at 7 to see what she was doing. Donna didn't want any of her other co-workers to know that she was having Sam help her out of a jam.
She got a bagel out and started the coffee. After a quick breakfast and shower, Donna stood in front of the closet deciding what to wear. She finally picked out a pair of worn and comfortable jeans and a gray mock turtleneck shirt. She quickly dressed, did her hair in a messy ponytail, and put on some jewelry-mainly her watch and necklace and earrings.
Donna picked up the apartment a little before Sam was supposed to arrive. She then got her original speech assignment sheet, notebook, and textbook out and put them on the kitchen table. She wanted to be ready to go when Sam got there, so she didn't monopolize his whole day.
Sam was having the same dilemma at his own place. He didn't really want to dress for working, but didn't want to be too casual. He finally settled on comfortable jeans and a gray polo shirt. He found his watch and wallet and got ready to go. He had gone over Donna's speech and found the problems and he hoped that he could convince her to totally change the premise of the speech.
Donna saw Sam's suburban tank pull into the lot behind the building and buzzed him in. He was carrying her speech and his notebook.
"Hey." Donna said as she opened up the apartment door.
"Hey yourself." Sam said walking in.
"I have the dining room table set up with my stuff from class. I thought that you might want to look at it before we jump into writing this speech." Donna said.
"Where's your roommate and the demon cats that I keep hearing about from Josh?" Sam asked.
"The roommate and the cats moved out about 3 weeks ago because she couldn't deal with me coming and going at all hours and I haven't been able to find a new roommate yet." Donna said.
"So, we can make as much noise as we want then?" Sam asked with a smile and trying to get Donna to at least smile or laugh.
"Just as long as it doesn't disturb the neighbors." Donna said smiling.
Sam and Donna sat down next to each other at the table and got to work.
"Here's the original assignment sheet and the choices we could pick from." Donna said, handing Sam a piece of paper.
Sam looked over the guidelines and the options to write about.
"You chose to write about persuading the public to vote to study about underground agriculture?" Sam asked incredulously.
"Yes, I didn't have a lot of time to write the speech because of the whole Haiti mess and this seemed like a topic I could easily bs through, but I guess I really couldn't." Donna said.
"The other topics here were to persuade people seeking divorces through one partner having an affair to seek counseling before starting the legal proceedings or persuading people to get more involved with the political process. Fun topics here." Sam said glancing at Donna.
"Yeah, Dr. Rossen wants us to expand our horizons." Donna said.
"Well, I can tell you that the topic I know the most about is the one about infidelity. Getting involved in the political process one has too many angles and you can not address all of them in four pages." Sam said.
"So, we write about infidelity." Donna said.
"We aren't writing about anything. You are the one who is writing. I am here to offer support and help you with wording." Sam said to Donna.
"Where should we start first?" Donna asked.
"You need to make an outline of all of the things you want and have to cover in the speech. Then I will help you to weed out the stuff that you can't cover or don't have the space to cover. Next, you write another outline that includes all of the subtopics that you want to cover and we go through the weeding out process again. We get a final outline and then you research the points and write." Sam said.
"I have to do all that for a four page speech?" Donna asked, surprised at all of the work she was going to have to do.
"Yes." Sam said firmly.
"Is this what you guys do all day at work?" Donna asked.
"I don't go through the process step by step, but I know the limits and work within them. Something that you are going to learn by the end of this class, I'm sure." Sam said.
"Then let's get to work because I have a feeling that this is going to take more than a few hours." Donna said, picking up her notebook.
Donna and Sam worked very intently over the next few hours. Donna looked up a few times and saw Sam looking at her for no particular reason. She bumped hands with him a few times and felt something. She wasn't sure what she felt, but there was definitely something there.
Donna finally finished her outline at about 3 p.m.
"I'm finally done with the outline." Donna said, jumping out of her chair and dancing around the kitchen.
Sam stood up and caught Donna when she tripped over scrunched up paper balls on the floor.
"Thanks." Donna said with a shy smile and scrambled out of his arms.
"Let me see this final outline and we will see if that part is done. Remember, we have to research and then you have to actually write the thing." Sam said.
"If we get the outline done and the research done today, I can work on it after work this week. It isn't due until Friday." Donna said.
"It may not be due until Friday, but anything could come up between now and then." Sam said in a knowing voice that the best laid plans had a tendency to come undone.
"So, I should probably work on it later tonight and tomorrow." Donna said.
"Yeah. This looks great for an outline. Now let's get to the researching part." Sam said.
"So, it's off to my neighborhood library?" Donna asked.
"Do you actually want to go out in this weather?" Sam asked looking out the window.
"Well, according to the weather station, there is a tropical storm headed right for us and this is only the beginning, so no I don't want to go out in this weather, but I need to get the research from the library." Donna said.
"We aren't going to the library, provided that you have a computer with the internet." Sam said.
"Yeah, my computer is in the bedroom. Follow me." Donna said, walking out of the kitchen.
Sam had no choice but to follow. He stood in the doorway to her bedroom, but didn't go in. Donna booted up the computer and turned around to face Sam.
"You can come in." Donna said with a smile on her face.
"I......." Sam trailed off.
"It's okay." Donna said as she grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the computer.
"We will do a general search that will bring back huge resources. After that, we will narrow things down. When we find what you need, we'll print that out and you will find a way to work it into the speech." Sam said looking at Donna who was perched on the edge of the desk.
"Okay, let's get to work then." Donna said.
Sam and Donna searched and researched many times to find what she needed for her speech. By the time that they found all of the information that she needed, it was already past 6 p.m.
"I'm sorry that I monopolized your whole Saturday." Donna said.
"It's okay. I don't mind helping a friend who needs it. Now all you have to do is write this thing." Sam said with a smile.
"Yeah, I do have to do that, don't I." Donna said.
"It won't be that bad. Trust me. I can come over tomorrow, if you would like and help you write and edit the speech." Sam said.
"I would love it if you could do that for me." Donna said.
"So same time, same place tomorrow then?" Sam asked.
"You betcha." Donna said.
Sam and Donna walked down to the main doors of the building. Donna was first to speak.
"Sam, why don't you stay here tonight. It is much too nasty for you to be out driving in this weather." Donna said.
"I am a man. I think that I can handle a little wind and rain." Sam said as he prepared to open the door.
Donna put her hand on his arm and he turned to face her.
"I don't want to be responsible if you get hurt out there." Donna said.
"I am not going to get hurt. It is just a little weather." Sam said and opened the doors.
He got his first taste of the tropical storm that was bearing down on them. The rain was cold and pelting, almost like hail. He couldn't even see his car from the doors. The wind was whipping the rain in every direction. Sam knew in that instant that he wouldn't be able to drive home. He turned around and saw a smiling Donna. She knew that she had won the argument and he turned around to follow her.
"I am going to start dinner and clean up a little. Make yourself comfortable on the couch." Donna said as she grabbed a stack of mail off the table.
"Thanks for letting me stay." Sam said as he picked up the tv remote.
"You're quite welcome." Donna said and went into the kitchen
Donna went into the kitchen and cleaned up all of the paper that was laying on the floor. She was so happy that Sam had helped her with the speech and she couldn't believe that he was giving up his Sunday to help her write a speech that would blow the professor away. Donna got back on task and looked through the stack of bills on the table. She divided the ones that she really had to pay-heat, electricity, and phones into one pile and then the others-book collection, and credit cards into another. She really had to find a roommate soon because she was using her savings up.
Sam was watching a repeat of "Capitol Beat" but not really paying much attention to it. He was thinking about his own living arrangements. He hated going home these days because of what he usually came home to find.
Dinner was simple soup and sandwiches because Donna hadn't been expecting company. She and Sam were both quiet and in their own worlds during dinner. After she cleaned up the kitchen, she joined him on the couch.
"Sam, what's wrong? You were awfully quiet during dinner." Donna gently asked.
"Oh, it's just my current living arrangements." Sam said glibly.
"What's wrong with you living arrangements?" Donna asked.
Sam told her the whole story about his new neighbors and how
he didn't mind parties, but that these people had a tendency to way over do it with noise and booze. Sam also told her that his lease was coming up for a 6 month renewal and he really didn't want to stay in the building. He had started looking, but everything was either too expensive, too far from work, or in horrible neighborhoods.
"I know what a pain looking for apartments can be. I hope that I find a roommate soon or I will be looking for a new apartment." Donna said.
They both got interested in a program and didn't talk anymore.
Sam knew that Donna was having a tough time managing without a roommate because he saw the stack of bills that she had grabbed from the table and then separated into piles. He would love to move in with her, as one friend helping out another friend, but that probably wasn't the wisest idea. It would not look good to the public if they found out that the Deputy Communications Director and the assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff were living together. Sam put that thought out of his mind and turned back to the tv program that was on.
Donna was surprised that his apartment was that bad. She knew that she wouldn't be able to stay there another minute with all of that partying and wondered how he did it. She loved her apartment and didn't want to move. Donna had already seen several apartments in her price range and nothing had come close to what she had. The neighbors left her alone and didn't bother her, the neighborhood wasn't too bad, and it was close enough that she could walk to work on nice days. Donna thought about offering to let Sam move in with her, but she immediately put the thought of her head because she figured that it wouldn't work and the scandal that might come up if the two of them were living together.
After the tv program was over, Donna got a blanket and pillow for Sam and headed off into her own room.
Sunday morning dawned bright and early. The tropical storm that had deluged them yesterday was gone and in its place was a sunny, dry day. Donna headed for the kitchen to start the coffee and make breakfast. She was mindful to keep quiet because Sam was still sleeping. Helping her out with the speech on infidelity had to be hard for him because she knew that it still stung him with what his father had done.
Sam woke up to the smell of coffee and scrambled eggs. He slowly got acclimated to his surroundings and saw Donna sitting at the table reading the newspaper.
"Hey, good morning." Sam said.
"Hey yourself." Donna said.
"It looks like the tropical storm blew over from last night." Sam said looking out of the window.
"Yeah, it did. Sam, if you want to take a shower...there are towels in the cabinet." Donna said.
"Thanks. I think that I will take a shower, eat, and then we can get down to work on that speech of yours." Sam said.
"I was hoping that you would forget about that." Donna said.
"No chance of that." Sam said with a smile as he headed off for the bathroom.
Sam and Donna ate breakfast and then got down to work.
Donna was writing the speech and just happened to look up and see Sam, who was tense as could be.
"Sam, what's wrong?" Donna asked.
"This research that we did. This article from Values For America states that infidelity is the woman's fault because she couldn't keep her man around. This is complete crap." Sam said angrily.
Donna knew that he was hurting and moved over to the couch to sit next to him.
"Hey, ignore the article. There is no way that I would use something that ignorant in my speech because it is just wrong." Donna said.
"It's just that I know my mom blames herself for what happened. She thinks that she should have caught it sooner and not 28 years after the fact." Sam said.
"Sam, I'm sorry that this speech is bringing up bad feelings for you. You know I never meant to do that." Donna said as she put her arm around his shoulders.
"Donna, I know that you didn't mean to do this and I would never blame you." Sam said giving her a hug.
"I am glad that you feel comfortable talking to me, but I got get back to writing this speech." Donna said, trying to lighten the mood.
"Okay, start writing." Sam said with a smile.
Donna wrote and rewrote all afternoon until they were both satisfied with what she had.
"See, I told you that you could write this. All you needed was a little direction and then you took off." Sam said with a smile, looking up from the final written copy of her speech.
"I don't know how to thank you, Sam. You have been such a great help and given me support through everything." Donna said.
"You don't have to thank me. I like knowing that I can use my skills to help and guide you while you get your education. At least the 80,000 I spent on an education can help someone else out too." Sam said with a smile.
After helping her clean up the paper strewn about the room, Sam headed for his own place.
After parking the car, he made his way up the stairs through the garbage and broken beer bottles that littered the hallway to his door. This was how it always looked after the weekend party that started on Friday and lasted through Sunday evening.
Next Friday..........................................................late evening
Sam was sitting at his desk, writing a memo on the latest Environment Bill. He just wanted to get it finished and go home. Then he remembered that it was Friday and the neighbors party would just be getting underway by the time he got to the apartment. He sighed softy to himself and tried to concentrate on the memo. Sam thought about sleeping on Toby's couch, but Leo would probably catch him again and get the whole story out of him. He thought about asking Donna if he could crash at her place, but that would be kinda rude. He turned back to working on the speech, he could worry about sleeping arrangements once the speech was done.
Donna was on cloud nine and practically floating. She hurried out of class and drove over to the White House, knowing full well that Sam was still there working. She walked through the lobby and into the Communications Bullpen. Donna saw the light on in his office, but the door was closed. She decided to take a chance and knocked on the door.
"Come in." a tired voice said from the other side.
"Hi there." Donna said.
"Hi Donna, what are you doing here so late?" Sam asked, motioning for her to come into the office.
"I wanted to come by and tell you about the grade I got on my speech." Donna said smiling brightly.
"It was a good grade, right?" Sam asked, knowing full well that it was, but wanting to give her a chance to share the good nice.
"I got an A! I don't know how I would have done this without you" Donna practically shouted.
"Hey, no problem. I'm glad that I could help you." Sam said getting up and giving her a hug.
Donna hugged Sam back because he had helped her so much.
"Well, you need to get back to work." Donna said.
"Yeah, I gotta finish this memo before I can go home." Sam said.
"Well, then I should go to. It has been a really long week." Donna said.
"Okay. See ya later." Sam said as he watched her walk out.
Sam sat back down and was glad that he could help her out. Donna was a close friend that he loved dearly and wanted to see her succeed with her education.