Disclaimer in part 1
Author's note: I sincerely apologize for the mutilation of these
characters.


Part 3/?

      She's leaving. I can't let her leave. I start to jog toward
her. "Ainsley!"
She's stopped moving in the direction of the door, thank God. "Where
were you going? How long was I gone?"
      "I was leaving because you're twenty minutes late. How long
does 'Goodbye Toby' take?" She's trying to sound severe but there's
mischief dancing in her eyes.
      "Toby just gave me some news. How do you feel about Vegas?"
      "How do you go from 'Toby gave me some news' to my feelings
about Vegas?"
      "Because." I have the suspicion that mischief is contagious.
      "Oh, that explains it." She said nodding her head wisely.
      I can't help but laugh at her antics, and I guess there's a
whole lot of contagious stuff in the air because before long she's
laughing with me. She has a beautiful laugh. And she's normal. Which
I've just recently found out and the other staff can't seem to get to.
To them she's just the interloper. The Republican stranger.
      She's got guts to spare though. Taking a job in a Democratic
White House because she felt a sense of duty is beyond me. And now
she's looking at me funny since I've stopped laughing. I feel a
strange need to explain myself to her. "You have a beautiful laugh. I
was just enjoying the sound." For some reason she blushes and looks
down. What did I say? I guess in my career of politics I've forgotten
the value of honesty.
      I glance around and notice that we're getting some strange
looks from staff and press alike. Okay, time to get away from the
press. "You still want to go to that pub?"
      She just looks at me and says, "Does it still have edible
food?"
      I suppress a grin and nod. I really need find out what that's
about.
      "Okay, then I'm in."
      I hold the door for her on the way out and enjoy the view as
she walks in the direction of the street.
      "Whose car are we taking?" Whose car? Good question.
      "I guess we'll take mine. If it's not a problem."
      "None. My heater doesn't work. So if you could just point me
in the general direction of your car we can get going, okay Sam?"
      "It's just up the block to the left." We walk in comfortable
silence as we make our way to my car.
      Everything goes well as we drive over to the out-of-the-way
pub and get seated. The pub is a pretty charming place with an
acceptable price for food. Ainsley is devouring the menu. I am finally
overcome with the urge to ask the all-important question.
      "What's up with you and food?" It comes out in a forceful
rush. She just gives me this look and starts to laugh. I feel mildly
affronted. It was a legitimate question.
      She calms down enough to give me her answer. "It's an
addiction." Anybody with me when I say 'Huh'? She must have seen the
confusion written clearly on my face because she elaborated. Kinda.
"My mother, since the time I was five, has cooked every kind of food
imaginable. She's a home-maker and she feels the need to cook all the
time. Cajun, Italian, Scottish. You name it she can cook it. Since
I've started eating solid food I've felt the urge to taste every food
I can in every place I come across. It started when she dared me and
my brothers to find a food that tastes better than hers. My brothers
just laughed but I took it seriously. By the time I was old enough to
figure out it was a joke it had become a habit. A habit I didn't feel
the particular need to break."
      I just stare at her. That's it? It's that simple? Well, at
least it's better than some of the theories floating around the West
Wing. Like the rumor that she was hungry all the time because she was
fasting to repent the sin of becoming a Republican. I have no idea
where that one came from because she is obviously a happy Republican.
      I honestly don't know how fast the night went by because I
was having such a great time just talking with her and joking with her
that when we pulled up beside her car I didn't want it to end. I
suddenly realize that, in a way, it didn't have to. I just don't know
where I'm going to get the nerve to say it.
      It took until we were standing at her car that I had enough
courage to say it. "I had a really great time tonight and I was
wondering if we could do it again sometime." I'm holding my breath
waiting for her answer.
      She just smiles at me and says, "Yeah, I'd like that."
      "How about tomorrow? At seven?" I feel like dancing a happy
dance. She said yes! My God, I think I could honestly fall in love
with this woman.
      "Tomorrow's great." And now the air is charged with
anticipation and strangely enough, no awkwardness that usually
accompanies the end of the date.  
      I lean down and gently brush my lips against hers in the
softest of kisses. "Goodnight," I whisper as I straighten and walk
back to my car. I can hear her soft 'goodnight' as it carries on the
wind to me. All I can think is that I get to do that again tomorrow
night. I look back and see her leaning against her car with a small
smile on her face. I'm pretty sure the same one is on mine. I think
that I'm falling in love with her and I think she feels the same way.


***************

 

 

In Love With The Other Party - 4

 

 

 

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