Jane Harper

Rating: PG-13/TV-14 

Synopsis: Sarah's past comes back to haunt her; Mallory pays her dad back; Leo gets a new "guy"; and the West Wing is haunted by leprechauns. 

Archive: Be my guest but please let me know. HTML version available upon request. 

Disclaimer: I'm just a stowaway on the USS Sorkin; please don't throw me overboard. Sarah can't swim.


Pt. 5

Thursday morning Sarah and CJ had breakfast in the White House mess. "So," Sarah asked, "what'd you find out?"

"This is very interesting," CJ replied around her bagel. "Not only is there _no_ buzz whatsoever, one of my sources said he saw Mark Macmillan huddled with Lloyd Russell the other day. It's no secret that Russell wants to oppose Hoynes for the nomination -- at one point last year he was thinking of running against the President for _re_-nomination. If the Vice President has to work with Senator Russell on something, it's a have-your-guys-call-my-guys kind of thing. He wouldn't send his _Press Secretary_, that's not Mark's job. Didn't you say that he was the one sounding the call to arms over the thing you signed?"

Sarah nodded.

"Why do you suppose he'd want to make a mountain over such a molehill?" A look of puzzlement crossed CJ's face. "Or maybe _mole_-hill is a more appropriate word than we think." She got up, bent to give Sarah a hug, and swallowed the last of her bagel. "Don't worry, Sarah," she said. "I think I may have figured this thing out."

* * * * *

Leo came late to the Card Game Thursday night; Sarah didn't make it at all. As the meeting was breaking up and he was putting his jacket back on, he walked over to where the Vice President was doing the same. "Can we talk a minute, John?"

"Sure. What's on your mind?"

"Strictly personal," he went on.

"I figured. This is about Sarah?"

"Yeah. Are you _really_ expecting something to come of that? And why didn't you know before you hired her? It was in her security check..."

"Why did she _have_ a security check, Leo? Do they usually clear the First Lady's staff?"

"She wanted to come here, John. I didn't know her. I needed to be sure-"

Hoynes nodded his head. "I would have done the same thing." He buttoned his topcoat, then paused. "Wait a minute... you say it was in her file?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Mark Macmillan told me it wasn't."

McGarry turned to leave, then turned back toward the Vice President. "Speaking of Mark Macmillan, what was he doing schmoozing Lloyd Russell? Didn't he used to work for him?"

"Yeah, he did," Hoynes said as they left the room together. "It wasn't an amicable parting, either."

"Strange, then," came the reply. "Jordan Henry told CJ he saw them huddled together up on the Hill the other day."

"Really?" The taller man's face clouded fleetingly with disapproval. As the two turned to go their separate ways, he said, "Leo, that other thing?"

"The thing with Sarah?"

"Yeah. I'll fix it."

"Thank you, Mr. Vice President."

* * * * *

Friday evening Sarah sat in her apartment waiting. The sun had set, the Sabbath had begun, her candles were safely alit, the lights were on the timer. Finally she heard the sound of keys in the lock and heard Leo's voice in the hallway.

"Hey, toots, you ready?"

"Hey toots yourself."

"I know, I know, I'm late, it's after sundown, God can be mad at _me_." He picked up Sarah's weekender and turned back toward the door. "So let's go."

"She won't be the only one."

He stopped in his tracks. "What'd I do?" Rolling his eyes skyward, he continued, "Never mind. We can argue in the car. We've got a plane to catch."

Leo's new "guy" helped Sarah into the car, stowed the chair and the luggage, and started for the airport as the two passengers settled in the back.

"OK," McGarry said, "you have my full attention. Father forgive me for I have sinned, it's been thirty years since my last confession. Now, what am I confessing _to_?"

Sarah reached into her satchel and pulled out the memo she'd read at Mallory's, tossing it into his lap. "You can't be serious about this. The President can't be serious about this. Even if he could afford to spit in the eye of the Jewish vote, this is _wrong_, Leo! OK, Sharon had a hissy fit on Monday, but-"

Leo was having a hard time keeping a straight face. "Where did you get this?" he asked, waving the memo. He didn't wait for her to answer. "Let me guess, from Mallory."

"How did you know?"

"Nearly a year ago, when she and Sam were first seeing each other, I gave her an opposition prep memo that he had written about school vouchers. She thought it was really his position. We had her going for a day or so." He grinned from ear to ear. "I guess it's payback time."

"I don't understand," Sarah said.

"She played you, Sarah, like a kid's glockenspiel. She used you to get back at me. I asked Toby to write this memo so I would understand the arguments I need to be prepared to _refute_, not to support. It's ok. I'm really not a fascist anti-Semite. Honest."

Sarah smiled and shook her head. "I really _did_ just fall off the turnip truck."

"It's ok, toots," he said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "Oh by the way, I have a present for you." He reached in his briefcase and brought out a long thin box.

Sarah opened it to find a pair of bright green suspenders.

"Congratulations," Leo said. "You're an honorary leprechaun."

"Well," Sarah responded, laughing, "it's been said that the Irish are one of the Ten Lost Tribes... . "

As the car disappeared in the night, Sarah's voice rose half an octave. "Hey wait a minute! You asked _Toby_ to write this memo? Wait till I see him!"





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