In Love With the Other Party 6/?

Author's note: Sorry it's been so long since the last part. Had some personal
issues to take care of.
Thanks for all the encouragement.
NOTE: Ley is pronounced like Lee. And there's a homage to Aaron Sorkin here :)
Not much Sam in this part! Sorry. :) There will be more of him in the next
part. As well as an appearance by Danny Concannon. Stay tuned.

The phone call from Sam went great. I can't help but smile to myself as I walk
down to my office. Leo's okay with it. Well he's okay with Sam dating someone in
general. But he'd probably draw the line at a Republican. But I will have no
worries today because Sam's happy, I'm happy and Leo's happy-well at least as
happy as Leo gets.
I smile again as I pass by the posters on the walls. How easy it is to see how
kind these people are. Well, most of them. The senior staff in particular.
That's why Bartlet was voted in. 'Normal people for the people'. That could have
been their campaign slogan. Even I could see that my party got so defensive that
we came off in the election, and still do, as a bunch of cutthroats who want to
sell guns on every street corner. Hell, we'd probably hand them out for free. I
agree with the Republican platform but trying to shove it down their throats
isn't going to get you far with people who fought a *war* for the right to
choose their own government and the people who run it. Telling people 'this is
the way it *has* to be is the kiss of death in politics.
I walk through the door and shut it behind me. My office isn't nearly as
dungeon-like as it was yesterday. Not surprising really, since this entire White
House isn't nearly as forbidding as it was when I first started walking here.
Now it's a routine. Sit down, get comfortable, turn on the computer, check
phone messages. One new message. Great, it's probably Mr. Tribbey calling to
give me more useless work. No, it's from Donna. "Mac's here." Mac's here? Why
didn't she tell me?
Realization dawns. She must have tried to call my cell when I'd been talking to
Sam. I check the time of the message. 1:04. That was only a few minutes ago. I
have to get to Donna. I leave my office at a brisk pace. I'm going to see Mac! I
unconsciously speed up my pace.
I'm basically running through the halls at this point and people are staring.
Who the hell cares? Mac's here! I rush into the bullpen and get to Donna's desk.
She's mumbling something about 'never going to bring him coffee' so she didn't
notice my stampede through the bullpen. Well she'd better notice now.
I lean down and say very loudly, "DONNA!"
She gives a satisfying little 'eep' and a jump. She looks up at me and says, "I
take it you got my message."
"Where is she? I really want to see the boys." I'm grinning again. So is she. I
think I'm giddy. Donna got to 'giddy' a while ago and is now working on
'bouncing on the walls'.
"She's in the Mess. Sam told me she was looking for me. I just got the message
to you. I didn't want to go without you. This is a friend thing. That means the
three of us." As she was talking she had gathered up her memos and other
assorted work and shoved it a desk drawer. "Okay, I'm done my work. Let's go."
On the way to the Mess I was struck by a sudden thought. That thought stopped
me dead in my tracks.
"What's wrong 'Ley?" She hasn't called me by that nickname for years.
"I guess it's time to let people know about our friendship, huh?"
"Well once we start shrieking and hugging each other I think the cat's going to
be out of the bag."
I grin. "Well at least it will shake up this place a little. Everyone has been
a little bit stressed lately."
"Okay then. Keep moving."
I'm going to see Mac. I'm going to see Mac. I think that's a pretty damn good
mantra. My life keeps getting better and better.
We walk into the Mess and see her sitting at a table in the corner by herself
with only two adorable twin boys in the stroller for company. I've never met
them.
I've gotten pictures, of course. And letters, but it's never the same. Donna
hasn't seen them either.
She suddenly looks up. She glances around until her eyes settle on us. Her face
breaks into a huge grin and she rushes over to us. "Donna, Ley!" We stand around
hugging and laughing until a baby's cry pierces the air. Mac immediately becomes
the embodiment of concern, as only a mother can be, and picks up the squalling
boy. "It's okay Aaron, it's okay." He calms down almost instantly and just gazes
at her.
I feel a pang in my heart and realize that I want to be a mother. Oh, well.
Maybe someday.
She motions us over and we sit down for some serious girl talk. If girl talk is
ever serious. It has been too long. Me and Donna are studiously ignoring all the
stares our little group is getting. Mac's just oblivious. Josh Lyman's
assistant, the Republican, and a striking stranger. All sitting around being
very, very chummy with each other. I realize that I don't really care. Oh, yes,
I am definitely giddy. Something on her jacket catches my eye.
"Why do you need a visitors pass?" Her eyes are twinkling with mischief.
"I sneaked away from the tour. Those guides are almost as bored as the
tourists. It wasn't hard to get away." She's just sitting there smirking at us.
I've forgotten how deadly her sense of humor can be. Something's nagging at the
back of my brain, though.
"Why did you need to sneak away in the first place? Why were you even on the
tour? Don't these people know who you are?" She looks mildly surprised by the
question.
"Actually they don't. It's like they say, 'Out of sight, out of mind.' Plus I'm
married and have been living in a small town for the past year and a bit. I'm
left in peace and everyone can concentrate on Zoe. I don't even have a Secret
Service detail. I'm kinda like Lizzy in that respect. I mean, she's the
President's eldest daughter but most people wouldn't know her if they saw her on
the streets. Zoe's just more interesting. Me and Lizzy have already grown up;
Zoe's still getting there. But to sum it up: I got married, got a degree, took
his name and disappeared. I'm not out of the game yet though. I'm here for the
new job."
Um, what? "What new job?"
"The Senior Staff Counsel. Basically I help the senior staff with whatever they
need. Research, meetings, observations, etc., etc. If I get the job of course."
Donna's about to explode. You always know when Donna gets like that, you have
to let her ask the question. It's one of our unwritten rules. Mac and I just sit
there watching her.
Three. Two. One.
"What about Ryan?"
"He wanted to sleep. I made him answer the baby monitor for the twins last
night."
"The poor man. You just run him ragged Mac."
"Well that's one of the joys of being Mrs. Ryan Jacobs. He lives with me, he's
legally bound to me, he has to listen to me. It's a perk." She suddenly looks
around as if something's not quite right. She looks around again. "Donna,
Ley-why's everyone staring at us?"
She's obviously shut down her political brain today. "Think about it Mac.
You're a stranger, sitting here with the Deputy Chief of Staff's assistant, and
the resident Republican. And we're obviously friends. They're wondering about
two things. a) when did the Republican and the staunch Democrat Donna Moss get
chummy, and b) who's crazy enough to be friend with both of them. Face it Mac,
we're going to be gossip news in under an hour. Or did you not notice that the
secretaries all left about five minutes ago?"
She let out a barely audible groan. "I was hoping to keep a low profile. Oh,
well." Her face suddenly becomes wistful. "Tell me what's going on with you
two. You never seem to write."
I should probably tell them now. They really deserve to know. Plus the look on
her face-both of their faces-will be priceless. But I can't do it without
talking to Sam first. This has to be a mutual decision. If one of them lets a
word slip, then the whole thing blows up in our faces. I can't tell them. I need
Sam. Okay then, since that's decided I have to redirect conversation.
"All in good time Mac. First I want to know about these adorable boys. Or have
you forgotten that me and Donna have only gotten pictures?"
She puts on a look of mock suffering. "Okay, okay. I bow to superior logic.
But I'll have my answers, don't you doubt it," she warns. She reaches into the
stroller, removes a child, and cradles him in her arms. "This is Aaron Thomas
Jacobs. He's the oldest of the two and the least fussy. Here." She hands me the
child. Oh, he's so beautiful. All those tiny fingers and toes and a perfect
little nose. I think I'm finally starting to understand why new mothers are so
filled with awe. They helped create this tiny creature. This beautiful baby. Oh
god, I want kids. I'll even settle for one. He's just so, so...there aren't words
to describe this feeling of inarticulate joy I feel just holding and looking at
this tiny baby.
Mac's talking to Donna and handing her the second baby. Benjamin David Jacobs.
He's adorable too. I was thinking about asking to hold him too when Charlie
walked into the Mess and called Mac's name.
"Mrs. Jacobs! There you are. I've been looking for you. Your interview has been
moved up from tomorrow to fifteen minutes from now. Can you make it to the oval
office in that time?" He's looking at the babies and thinking about what would
happen trying to conduct a job interview with two babies in tow. Ouch. Not a
pretty image. I think I'm going to help out a little. I open my mouth but
Charlie beats me to it. He had been looking at her again and recognition had
dawned in his eyes.
"MacKenzie?" Mac's head snapped up and looked at him. "MacKenzie *Jacobs*?"
He's putting her on silent notice that he knows who she is. Zoe probably showed
him the family photo albums. He's waiting for her to make the next move.
"Yes that's right. You must be Charlie Young. The young man who's dating Zoe."
He's starting to look like a deer caught in headlights. I had forgotten just how
good Mac was at this game. "We'll have a talk about that later. But since I've
never been in the White House before, do you think you could give me a short
look around in the next few minutes?" Ah, so that's how it's going to be. Scare
the boyfriend, the family's staying quiet, and anonymity is ensured. The senior
staff would know, of course, but other than that, no one. Well at least until
one of the people here, or in the press puts it together. And then the White
House can issue a statement before a tabloid breaks the story. Brilliant.
I open my mouth again after I had gotten my mind back on track.
"Do you want me to take the twins? Donna's office space is too out in the open
and would draw stares, but my office is safe from prying eyes."
Mac's eyes are all but shouting how grateful she is and Charlie's mouth is
hanging open, obviously wondering what's going on. Well, too bad. Let him figure
it out by himself. It doesn't matter that he's seen us together, the secretaries
have too. Well, there is one little kink in that plan because he knows who she
is but her promised talk should keep his lips sealed.
Mac's already collected her things and is on her feet. "Bye, we'll talk later
you guys." The 'and that's a promise' was quite obvious in the silence she left
before speaking again. "Just give the boys their bottles at around two. They're
in the carry-all. Wish me luck."
We just smile at her as she and Charlie head toward the oval office. "Well, I
guess we'll see each other again very soon," I say with a rueful smile, to
Donna.
She just laughs and rolls her eyes. "Yeah, gotta get back to work. Bye Ley."
"Bye."
I gather up the boys things and push the stroller out of the Mess and into the
halls. At least I'm walking through them this time. I'm trying my hardest to
ignore the stares. Ainsley Hayes, with babies? I square my shoulders and walk
serenely to my office.
I finally get there only to find Sam waiting for me.
He smiles and does a double take as he sees the babies. His eyes are asking
silent questions.
"A friends kids. I'm watching them for her."
"Ah, I see. MacKenzie's kids." How does he know that?
"How do you Mac?" I ask a little too sharply.
He looks mildly taken aback by my tone.
"I ran into her in the hall and pointed her to the Mess to wait for Donna. How
do *you* know MacKenzie?" I'd better just tell him. He's going to find out
anyway since she's obviously going to get the job. I don't know anyone more
qualified.
"Her name is MacKenzie Jacobs. She's here for the Senior Staff Counsel job..."
I proceeded to tell him about my past with Donna and Mac. I'm silently asking
them to forgive me from telling him but I don't want to keep secrets from him.
He can keep a secret too though.
He's basically slack-jawed through the entire thing. Then he smiles. "I *knew*
you weren't the everyday Republican. At least now I know the reason for it. And
for why the President's been more upbeat lately. He must have known that she was
coming in. From what you've told me about her credentials she's bound to get the
job. I wonder why I didn't know who she was."
I just smile at him. "Out of sight, out of mind." He thinks it over and finally
nods. "Yeah, probably. I wouldn't know Elizabeth if I passed her on the street.
Well enough about that. Why don't I take you to a late lunch?" He gallantly
offers his arm.
I smile again. It's becoming a habit. "Why, thank you sir. I would be
honored." I frown slightly as a thought comes to me. "Do you mind taking the
babies?"
His eyes soften as he looks at them. "No I wouldn't mind." His next sentence is
almost a whisper. "I've always wanted kids."
He quickly glances at face, on which my eyebrows are raised in surprise and my
eyes are wide. Then he blushes. Swear to god. The man blushed. How cute, but now
he's just embarrassed. Well, I can get rid of that.
"Me too."
Now he's blushing even more. "Well I guess we have a lot to talk about over
lunch, don't we."
"Yes we do."
With that, we were out the door and onto the streets to take in a small café
near the White House. We held the twins, toasted to the future and chatted like
any other ordinary couple. We went back to work and everything went as usual. He
wrote speeches, and I looked up elusive laws. Mac had come to get the kids,
happy because she had gotten the job and I went home after a satisfying day at
work.
Neither Sam nor I had noticed the tabloid photographer that had watched us have
lunch.

TBC

 

 

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