Comfort through Trials - Vigilance
Archive: If you want it, take it. Just let me know where it's going.
Author's Notes: Sequel to "Comfort through Trials - Missing You". This
part of a series I am working on.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, I just borrow them to play with.
Sam's still asleep, so I crawl out of bed trying not to wake him. The
clock says 4:30 and I peek out the window deciding it means AM. I haven't
slept long enough, and I almost crawl back into bed, but then I see it on
the floor catching a shaft of light through the curtains. My ring is
still laying on the floor in from of the bedroom door, and I pick it up,
intending to put it back on, but something stops me. Instead I crack open
the door, and slide into the living room.
The phone is on the end table next to the couch and I curl up on the end
closest to it, drawing a quilt over my legs. I remember this quilt. It
used to be in our apartment. I pick up the phone and cradle the cold
plastic against my ear. His number almost escapes me, here in Sam's
apartment, wearing his shirt, but I dial and when his voice answers I
realize that it's still 4:30 in the morning. I take a deep breath, and
plunge ahead, and I think I'm halfway through the 'I don't think this is
the right decision for me' speech before Warren wakes up enough to
realize I'm breaking our engagement. I feel like the worst human being on
the face of the earth, but my resolve doesn't waver long enough for
When I hang up the phone, I sit still for a moment, and then I smile. I
know I'll go back to New York once Josh is out of the woods, but I also
know I want to keep Sam in my life. That makes this decision so much
easier. Finally, I swing my legs off the couch and cross the room to what
I think is Sam's desk. I can't really tell because it's buried under so
many papers and files that I can't actually see any part of the desk, but
it's a desk like shape and that's closer than anything else in this room.
I shift a couple piles of paper and finally produce an envelope.
Addressing it to Warren, I drop my ring inside. I can't remember ever
being this impulsive, but maybe it's time I start.
"Lisa?" He looks so rumpled and tired standing there in the doorway that
I can't help but smile. "Why are you up so early?" We ask in unison and
he grins, a full genuine grin. Then his eyes frown, and I nod. Quietly, I
ask if he'll take me to the hospital before he goes to work. I know he'll
say yes, but I suppose I'm a guest and I ought to make sure. He does say
yes, and I walk around him towards the bedroom. Claiming my overnight bag
from the bathroom, I produce a pair of jeans and a blouse and I'm
grateful for permanent press clothing. Sam stands in the doorway, playing
the cautious voyeur for just a second before pulling a fresh suit from
the closet and disappearing into the bathroom.
Josh still isn't improving and the doctors are trying to prepare us.
Dammit. I don't want them to prepare me for the worst. I want them to
make him better. How can people be so hateful? How can anyone want to
shoot at the president because of who his daughter's dating? Are people
really that delusional? The sound of Josh's respirator reminds me that
the answer to my question is yes.
Sam was so quiet when he dropped me off this morning that I hardly know
what to think. I wish.... I wish I could convince myself that Washington
would be different this time around. Glancing at Josh, I have to admit
that those early days on the hill were the most fun I had had in my life.
Better than Oxford, better than law school, and definitely better than
clerking for Dreifort. Shaking my head, I have to smile at that. I nearly
gave the poor man a heart attack the first time I went off on some
liberal tangent. That was the day I met Josh, standing in the hall of the
Supreme Court, being fired from my clerking job for being too liberal for
Dreifort. Josh took pity on me right then and there. Actually, he was
surprised that I'd lasted two days with Dreifort, and the whip's office
was certainly friendlier.
Come on Josh, wake up. I can't imagine fighting some of these battles
alone, especially battles with Sam. I need you to be on my side. Please
Josh! Wait, what's that noise. Donna's awake and pressing the call
button, but I can't seem to move. Josh, don't you dare. You're not
allowed to die, you hear me! No, no, don't make me leave. I need to stay
with him. I..... Donna, she's panicking more than I am. Who am I supposed
to call? The next thing I know I'm pushing my way through to the nurse's
station and grabbing the phone. The number, Sam made me write down his
number in case I needed to call. "Sam?" No, it's not Sam, it's his
assistant. I know how I must sound, but I must sound panicked rather than
crazy because the next thing I know, the woman has put Sam on the line.
I'm babbling and I can't stop myself. I don't know what I said, I really
don't, but he hangs up the phone after telling me he's on his way.
Donna's pulling at my arm, her eyes are the size of saucers, and when my
fingers open around the receiver she pulls me down the hallway. The
doctors are rushing Josh down the hallway. "Joshua!" Donna's keeps
calling out his name, until a nurse leads us to a waiting room. She sinks
into a chair then, and rests her head in her hands, but I can't, so I
pace the room. Just when I think I'm about to wear a hole in the floor, a
doctor comes in and sizes us up. "Which one of you is Mrs. Lyman?" Donna
looks dazed at that, and somewhere I find my voice. "There is no Mrs.
Lyman. We're it. What happened?" He apologizes for the mistake before
urging us to sit down. Sitting down never for tells good news.
Josh had a heart attack. Isn't he too young to have a heart attack? The
poor doctor's trying to explain it all to us, but Donna stopped listening
with heart attack, and I'm having trouble reconciling his words with a
picture of Josh. My God, Josh. Behind him, I see the door swing open
sharply and Sam is there, panting for breath. I try to remind myself to
show some restraint, remind myself of the girlfriend Josh said he had,
remind myself that I can't just hide in his arms, but I'm not doing a
spectacular job of it. Actually, I don't know why I bother, because as
soon as I tell him Josh had a heart attack, he blows off the doctor and
gathers me up with one arm, dialing his cell phone with the other.
Four days. Four days, and he hasn't woken up since he came out of
surgery. Just for that, I am intensely jealous of the President. I would
kill just to have him open his eyes and look at us for a moment. Instead,
Donna and I alternate between sitting at his bedside and working. She has
it easy, at least, she can work from the hospital, or even go in to work
if she has to. When I can, I've been faxing documents to the New York
offices, and when I can't, Sam loaned me one of his many phone
extensions. I never thought I'd have a pass to the White House, but I
still feel like I'm working on borrowed time.
Twice already, Leo asked me if I wanted my old spot back, and I said no.
Now he's started naming off jobs every time he sees me. I'm not sure if
it's because he liked my work, or if it's because Sam's so much happier
when I'm here, but I can't wrap my mind around working in DC. Living
here, yes. Being with Sam, yes. Working here? I'm not sold on that part
"Lisa?" My head snaps up from my laptop when Donna appears in the waiting
room. "He's awake, and he wanted to know where you were." Thank God.
Thank the stars. Thank the poor aim of a bunch of skinheads. Thank
however needs it, but Josh is awake.