Comfort through Trials - Seeking
Sam and Lisa # 18
Archive: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where it's going.
Spoilers: None that I know of.
Author's Notes: Sequel to "Comfort through Trials - Heated Words."
This is part of a series I am working on.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just borrow them to play with.
Josh is still too loud for me to think straight, and he's next door. Of
course, I'm probably being too loud for CJ. Since she's sitting with her
head on her desk, muttering something about the press and arson, I don't
think she's paying much attention to me though. I'm still sorting through
the files Josh dumped in my lap an hour ago, and trying to figure out
what words can soothe over the rift already wrought by words. Tough job.
"Why are you here?" Okay, so she does know I'm here. The question is,
does CJ mean, here, as in on earth, here, as in in the White House, or
here, as in in her office. Since I don't know, I just keep on reading and
jotting down notes for the speech. "I mean, doesn't Sam do things like
this?" See? Now what am I supposed to say to that. "Sam's.... ill." Now
that is the power of words. If I had said sick, she would be asking if he
had the flu. Instead, I say ill, and she knows exactly what I'm talking
"Wouldn't you be more comfortable in his office?" One would think so, but
since I'm writing a speech on a topic I know nothing about, I thought I
should stay near Josh. "I hate to break this to you, but Josh knows squat
about foreign relations, so if you don't know, he won't either." Well,
isn't that comforting. She doesn't ask why I moved to her couch though.
I'm sure she's seen Josh in moods like this as often as I have. I had to
relocate for my own sanity.
I cannot believe I wrote a speech that the President of the United States
is about to read on national television. I mean, I wrote speeches for Jed
Bartlett, but this is a whole new ball game. It's compulsive, I know, but
I just keep double, triple, and quadruple checking the final copy, as if
suddenly any talent I might have had with words intends to abandon me
"Lisa!" Okay, he's only a decibel quieter than when he yelled for Donna,
and CJ looks ready to strangle him for ruining her nap. At least I now
know why CJ complains about her personal life. The White House on a
Sunday afternoon is hardly my idea of fun. Gathering myself together, I
stand up, and slip my shoes back on. Josh looks half surprised that I'm
finished, because he just stares when I dump the files on the corner of
his desk. "You know, Toby and Sam are never done by the first deadline."
I could care less Josh. I'm a woman. I did it right the first time. As I
slip back into my jacket and push a few loose chunks of hair behind my
ears, he flips through it, and then, for the first time today, I actually
see Josh grin. "Hallelujah!" Now I wish I had that on tape. You know, the
day Josh discovered religion. Instead I just nod.
"One last thing though." Oh goodness Joshua! Do you really want me to
walk over there and strangle you? "Did you go see him?" Oh. Oh my. Yes,
Josh. I saw him. I pulled up just as Sarah brought him back from the
doctor's. How much do you want to know, Josh? Should I tell you about the
look on his face when I called his name? Should I tell you about the bag
of pills Sarah had? Would you rather hear about the tears in his eyes
when I asked him if he was alright? Or perhaps I should convey his
fractured apology to you? Yes, Josh, I've seen him. "He's not doing that
well." Stop biting your lip. Just say it. Come on. I know you too well.
"Did we.... I mean is it worse because of this morning?" I don't know
Josh, and even if I did, I don't know if I could stand another Josh Lyman
"Shouldn't you know? Didn't you study psychology?" My head snaps up so
quickly, I think I gave myself whiplash. "What do you mean, Joshua?" He
looks confused for a second, but plunges ahead anyway. "Your books. You
almost had more psychology books than law books, and they looked like
textbooks, so I thought...." Okay, I'm not sure whether or not to be
angry with him for sifting through my things, mindless of the fact that
we've always done things like that, or feint ignorance. Luckily, I don't
have to do either because Donna comes in, and propels Josh down the hall
towards Leo's office.
I stand in the doorway for a second before handing Donna the president's
remarks, and making my way out of the West Wing.
I stroke his cheek softly, and smile as Sarah brings me a cup of coffee,
and Meghan and Rachel trail behind her. I think they're picking up on the
general level of anxiety around here, because they refused to go visit
Michael's parents for Sunday dinner, even though I'm sure their
grandparents spoil them rotten. Instead, Meghan climbs up on the twin bed
next to her uncle and Rachel climbs up in my lap and rests her head on my
shoulder. I adore my goddaughters, but right now, I'm not sure I'm up to
babysitting. Sarah seems to understand, because after she finds another
blanket for Sam, she tries to shoo them downstairs to play. They've both
become very attached to the guest bedroom today, because they refuse to
leave. I shake my head at Sarah. If they want to stay, they can. It might
be healthy for me to not dwell on Sam and this morning too much.
Looking at Sam, I suddenly feel the urge to pray. It's been so long since
I went to church, after all, I grew up in the Church of England, and
living in the states makes that difficult to continue. Lifting Rachel off
of my lap, I kneel next to the bed, and Meghan's eyes grow wide. She
scampers down, and I know Sarah has probably drilled the bedroom prayer
routine into her head. With her on one side, and her sister on the other,
I bow my head. I've forgotten the words over time, but not the feeling.
Suddenly, I can't form words, and I can't think of anything beyond asking
for help for Sam. Then the voices of my little goddaughters fill my ears.
"Our Father, who art in heaven......" And thank heaven for little girls.
When I find the strength to rise from my knees, I pull the pair of them
into my arms. Rachel looks up at me, and with the innocence only found in
a seven year old, she asks what's the matter with her Uncle Sammy. I
don't know what to say. Does Sarah want them to know? Would this be
overstepping whatever boundaries I'm sure exist? So instead, I tell them
a story. Halfway through the story of a man named Josiah Bartlett, and
his knights of the round table, I've got two sleeping girls in my arms.
Trying to keep from waking them, I set one down on either side of Sam and
Sarah looks exhausted. I'm not too far behind her, and we don't speak as
I pull up a barstool and sit next to her at the kitchen counter. "When he
wakes up, he's going to hate himself." Okay, she's going to have to back
up on that one. I thought the drugs were supposed to help with the
depression and stuff, so why would he hate himself? "I know my brother,
and he doesn't really believe you and Josh would do that." Oh, that.
Well, I might hate him for a few minutes too, but we'll get over it. I
mean, how many men would be worthy of me going to work for them on
Sunday. Not many, I'll tell you that. I don't even like doing my own job
"I saw the President's address." She knows. I'm sure Josh called her, and
I was here when Donna called. She's a smart woman, and she can certainly
put two and two together. As if sensing I'm not willing to talk about my
small role in the international events of today, she doesn't elaborate.
Sarah, you are a saint. "You know, I fully expected you to be my
sister-in-law by now." You and me both.
"I mean, you're smart, and funny, and you adore him - I can tell. So why
haven't you two tied the knot yet? He told me there was some problem when
he started working for the White House, but why not before then, or why
not now?" She's not looking at me, instead, she's looking across the
counter to the dining room. I can see the baby in a swing there, and for
a second I envy Sarah Chandler and her children, and her husband, and her
large cozy house in Rosslyn, and her intimate understanding of laundry
stains and meat loaf recipes. "It took him forever to ask, and it will
take him forever to ask again."
She has this funny look on her face now, like I'm trying to lie to her. I
have better things to do than to lie to Sam's sister. "Why don't you ask
him?" I shrug. Maybe I'm a traditionalist at heart. She laughs at that,
joking that the only woman she's met who's more of a feminist is CJ
Cregg. No, I'm serious. I mean growing up, I learned to curtsey to my
queen, dance at my debut, and basically be nothing like my father. I
don't think those lessons took quite the way my mother would have liked,
but I am still just a bit of a traditionalist, and Sam ought to ask.
Sarah takes my explanation without question, and I have to stop myself
from listing all the ways she is better than my own family. I said that
once, and was rewarded with a withering glance. Sometimes I forget that
for all the happiness in this house, Sarah and Sam didn't grow up with
that. Then again, neither did I. Maybe that's why we're both so afraid to
take the plunge on this one, or maybe it's why we keep fearing the worst
from each other.
"Mommy! Momma! Aunt Lizzy! Aunt Lisa! Mommy!" I have never heard such a
ruckus in this house, even when Evan and Meghan were both teething. Sarah
and I leave our coffees to grow cold on the counter and bolt up the
stairs. I thought I was quick, but motherhood and panic must be great
motivators, because by the time I get to the back bedroom, Sarah has the
girls in a bear hug and manages to simultaneously rub Sam's back. Now I
love those girls like they were my own, but the only person in this room
I care about right now is Sam.
"Sam?" His eyes travel up to my face, and I can't read the emotion I see
there. After this morning, and the apologizing this afternoon that I'm
certain he won't remember, and now this. Sarah succeeds this time when
she shoos the girls out of the room, and closes the door behind her.
"Sam?" The bed squeaks a little as I sit down next to him, and I twist a
little. He's still stretched up on the bed, only now, he's sitting up,
leaning against the headboard. I can't meet his eyes knowing what he
thought of me, but I let my fingers interlace with his.
It takes me by surprise when his arms circle me from behind. "I have this
vague recollection of yelling at you for sleeping with Josh and
apologizing profusely." The voice whispering in my ear almost makes me
cry. This morning, I would have thought we'd never talk like this again.
Now it was going to be okay. I wasn't sure how, but I knew it would be
"Lisa?" Yes, Sam, yes those things happened. "You didn't." I'm not
that it's a question but I answer him anyway. Yes I slept with Josh, but
all we did was sleep. Why would I want Josh when I could have him? Or
better yet, why would I want Josh? He gets quiet for a second and tells
me that no matter how crazy things get or what he says, he loves me. I
think I knew that, but it's still good to hear. At least now, I know what
to expect when he doesn't take his drugs, although according to Sarah, I
missed all the fireworks. I'll have to pump her for details later.
I hear Michael and the boys stomping through the house, and I half rise
to go and say hello, but Sam doesn't release his hold on me. "Stanley put
me on more drugs?" Nodding I set back down on the bed, slipping off my
shoes and tucking my feet under me. "What about...." No excuses. I spent
the afternoon with CJ and she is well briefed, just in case.
He tugs a little until I lay down. I move to hold him, but he shakes his
head and holds me instead. My suit's going to look more rumpled than
Josh's tomorrow, but I don't care. Just before I fall asleep, I remember
I forgot to tell Sam about my new job, or I should say, my new old job. I
wake myself up a bit meaning to do just that, but Sam feels me stir, and
he leans forward until I can feel his breath in my ear. "Will you marry
me?" Give this man a prize. I think he and Sarah have a psychic