Comfort through Trials - Stress

Archive: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where it's going.

Rating: PG-13 (some mild language)

Spoilers: ITWH

Author's Notes: Sequel to "Comfort through Trials - Nightmares". This
is part of a series I am working on. This piece is from the 20 Hours in
LA challenge, I'll finish the challenge in another part.

Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just borrow them to play with.

I am exhausted. This New York to DC commute is torture, but then again,
if I didn't at least see Sam on the weekends, well the weekends he's not
working, I'd go crazy. Still, my flight only landed twenty minutes ago,
and I have a phone conference with the Chicago office in ten. Man, I hate

Slipping my coat off, I toss it on the rack, and it rattles. Rattles?
What do I have in there that would shake, let alone rattle. Picking it up
again, I slide a hand into the outer pockets. No change, no candy, no
nothing, except some ticket stubs from the show last night. Turning the
wool in my hands, I reach in the inner pocket expecting my gloves and
nothing else. My fingers close around something hard, cylindrical, and
foreign. Foreign until I remember Sam's pills were in my coat. I can
already hear that voice in my head telling me how much worse today can

I yell at Caroline to get Sam on the phone. She's not used to my voice
raised in this office and seconds pass before she pokes her head inside.
"Line 3." I grab the phone, and exhale softly when I realize he still
doesn't know. "Sam?" He mumbles something, so I'm pretty sure he's not
listening to me. Shock seems to always get his attention, so I just tell
him straight out. His pills are in New York.

I hear silence as he digests this information, and then a rustling as he
digs through his coat pocket. "My pills are in New York?" No kidding.
Didn't I just say that? I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get them back to
him. Already my phone's lighting up with calls that Caroline's juggling.
Then I remember. I work at Gage-Whitney. We have couriers. Surely at
least one of them wants to make some extra money by going to DC. Right?
Through the phone, I can hear Josh hollering in the background, and I
have to wonder what's going on. Correct that. I seldom want to know
everything that goes on in the building. If I did, I'd probably decide to
move to Canada.

I can't stall any longer on the conference call. I'm on the other line
with the White House only works as an excuse so often. Hanging up,
Caroline hurries in and plays with my phone for a second. Suddenly, I can
hear the whole Harriman-West negotiation team babbling. Lawyers. Sitting
down to represent our office in the matter, I wave Caroline over.
Scribbling a note about getting a courier to DC for the pills in my hand,
I watch as she reads it, takes them, and nods. Good girl.

Now I can focus on last weeks changes to the antitrust law.


I turn on Capitol Beat just because I have nothing better to do for 20
minutes. I've seen Sam speak before, I've even seen him on this show, so
I'm not sure why I'm interested, but hey, it's something to do. That
woman, I know her. Ainsley Hayes. I think she clerked for Dreifort after
I was fired. I'm pretty sure she outlasted me, which would make her a
fairly extreme conservative. Sam ought to have fun with this.

He looks fine, he even sounded okay for a second, but I know he must be
worrying about when the courier will get there. After all, he not only
looks worried, and I base that entirely on the small crease on his
forehead, but he's not focused on what he's doing. I know, because I've
been to Kirkwood. It's not in Oregon. Unfortunately, Ainsley knows that
too, and the next thing I know, Sam's staring blankly at her.

I know it's just stress. Even without his pills, he should be fine until
tonight. At least, that's how it used to be. Maybe it's worse, or maybe
something else is wrong. I hope nothing else is wrong. I wonder if
Ainsley still agrees with Dreifort on the 2nd Amendment. After Rosslyn,
Sam's become quite a gun control attack dog, and after that spiel on
school funding, forgetting all about what Sam called the "condom
compromise", which, you know, makes it sound like the Republican's prefer
unsafe sex, he really could redeem himself on gun control.

I don't think he's going to get to live this down. You know, the part
where he gets smacked around by a girl. Sure enough, my computer beeps at
me. Josh sent me an e-mail. Subject: Sam's losing to a girl. What does
that make me? 'Cause, you know, I can out debate Sam with one eye closed
and one hand tied behind my back.


My courier's back, and he has this dazed, 'I just went to the White
House' look. Caroline sends him in to my office, and I shut the door. Now
that I'm done panicking, we need to get a few things straight. He will
not mention this to anyone. He will not talk to the press. He will make
sure no one knows about this. If he does otherwise, I will read him the
riot act, and he will be standing in the unemployment line. Clear?
Crystal apparently, and once that's out of the way, I make sure Sam
actually took his pills as soon as they got there. He did, and the boy is
halfway out the door, when he stops, turns around, closes the door again,
and asks me what Lithium is for. Just go away.

Too much stress today. I mean really. As if getting in town so late, and
dealing with irate lawyers wasn't enough, I have to worry about Sam. Pile
this on top of my usual dose of worry about Josh, and I'm almost at
capacity. Maybe I ought to talk to Leo. Maybe, just maybe, he can help
me. After all, he's friends with the Veep. I ought to call him.

For the second time today, Caroline is playing phone tag with the White
House. I have to say she's getting good at it, because within five
minutes, I'm picking up the phone. "Mr. McGarry, I have a favor to ask of
you." Wait, maybe favor is the wrong word. It has so many different
connotations. Especially with politicians. It's Leo though, and he's
listening. Honestly, I think he's be happy to get to the bottom of the
whole thing, but he'll settle for helping me out.

We talk a bit, and he agrees to feel the water for me, and I hang up.
Then my cell phone rings. What on earth? It's Sam. It's a very depressed
Sam, and he's whining about losing to a girl. Well, I suppose it's to be
expected the way today's been going. Why is it that when I want to give
him a hug and make him feel better I'm a 100 miles away? Not for the
first time, I suggest that maybe he just get accustomed to losing to
women, but he's still stuck in the 'she's a Republican' rut. We don't
actually get long to talk, because soon he's yelling back something at
Toby, and Laurence is standing at my door tapping his watch. Well, isn't
that nice. I'm late again. Have I mentioned I'm still not particularly
fond of protecting the assets of oil men? I have? Well then I'm
mentioning it again.

How I hate Mondays! Now, I just have to make it through the week again.
And another, and another. I'll see him again for Thanksgiving.



Home        What's New        Author Listings        Title Listings