Author's Notes: First I must explain, I'm not a man hating angry female! But the episode "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" (where Sam has his picture taken with Laurie) really got to me. I think Mr. Sorkin must have missed some of his earlier shows since he totally missed the relationship he was building between Sam and Mallory. Didn't you wonder about that, too? The pictures are taken Tuesday night, confirmed by CJ Wednesday, and probably appear in the Washington papers Thursday morning. Disclaimers: Characters belong to Aaron Sorkin… Rated: PG - language (Well she was one you know!)
Consequences by LuLu
* * * * * Thursday Late Afternoon * * * * *
"Leo?" Sam poked his head into Leo's office, "Can I talk to you a minute?"
Leo looked up from his computer, "It's really not a good time right now, Sam." Leo was still mad at Sam about the events of the previous day. Sam had put the whole Bartlet agenda in peril due to the pictures of him with Laurie.
Sam started to leave, but turned and tried again. "I just wanted to know if you had talked to Mallory today?"
"I think that's your department, Sam. CJ covered for you with the press and Toby with the President. You didn't expect me to cover your ass with my daughter did you?" Leo's anger at Sam began to build again.
"No," Sam said contritely, "but she hasn't returned any of my calls. I've left her about fifty messages on her machine and at school. I just wanted to know how she was doing."
"It doesn't surprise me that she doesn't want to talk to you. I'm kinda at a loss for words myself! Just go away, Sam, give us all some time."
Leo watched as Sam left his office and began to feel that familiar pang of guilt. He had worried about how the pictures would affect the Bartlet Administration even Sam's career, but he hadn't really thought about how all of this would affect Mallory. He picked up the phone and dialed her number.
"Mallory, it's Dad honey. Pick up the phone if you're there." He gave it another second. "I was just checking on you. Why don't you give me a call when you get home from school? I love you."
He disconnected the line and punched in another number.
"Jennifer O'Brien's office." He almost hung up the phone thinking he had the wrong number, then it hit him. Jenny was using her maiden name.
"Oh…yeah...this is Leo McGarry, is…….Jenny in?" He had almost said `my wife'.
"Ms. O'Brien is not available right now. May I take a message?"
Leo didn't recognize the receptionist's voice, and she obviously didn't know she was talking to her boss' husband. Bitterness started to creep into Leo's voice. "Would you ask MS O'Brien to call me ASAP?"
"Will she know what this is in regard to?"
"Our daughter!" Leo hung up the phone, taking his anger out on the receiver and knocking a stack of files onto the floor. "Damn it to Hell!" he yelled as he saw the mess on the floor, "MARGARET!"
Margaret was already standing in the doorway. She had heard the commotion from his office and had poked her head in the door. He was down on the floor reorganizing the files that had fallen on the floor. "Leo?" He glared up at her. Margaret saw the rage in his eyes and quietly began to clean up the papers.
The next time Leo looked up it was 7:00. He hadn't heard from either Mallory or Jenny, so he decided to drop by Mallory's and take her to dinner.
* * * * * * * * * *
There was a visitor parking space right in front of Mallory's building. "That's a good omen." he thought.
He knocked at her door. There wasn't any sound on the other side, but he was sure she was in there. He had seen her car parked in its assigned spot, and a light on in her apartment window. "Mallory, it's Dad." He continued to knock. "Let me in for just a minute."
He heard her unlock the door and begin to open it. "I'm okay, Dad." She said with a soft sigh. Leo walked in before she had a chance to close him out.
"I left you a message earlier, and was beginning to get a little worried when you didn't me call back."
Mallory suddenly stiffened and gave him an angry look. "I forgot, when the great Leo McGarry calls, we're all supposed to drop everything!"
Leo was taken aback. "Where did that come from?"
Mallory waved him off. "Well you're here now, what was so urgent?"
"I just wanted to know how you we're doing."
"You wanted to know how I was doing about what?" Her voice was beginning to rise. Like a busted dam, the anger was beginning to spew forth. "About the picture of Sam and his Hooker friend on the front pages of all the newspapers. That was yesterday's news, Dad. Maybe it would have been better to check on me then, so that this morning when I pick up my newspaper I'm not blindsided by a picture of my `supposed' boyfriend hugging his favorite Whore!" The anger was building, "How many people in your office did you have working on damage control? Don't you think you could have had one of your flunkies call me. `Don't look at the newspaper tomorrow morning Mallory, you might see something unpleasant.' But I guess you were just too busy protecting your old friend Jed Bartlet, to think about your own daughter."
It had been a long time since Leo had been at the receiving end of his daughter's anger, and like before it hurt twice as much because he knew she was right. Yesterday morning when he had heard the news, he had blown up at CJ for keeping the information from him, then he had given it to Sam. As he worked on damage control, he hadn't given one thought to how this would impact Mallory. And obviously neither had Sam. "I deserve that." He said quietly and stood to take on the rest of her anger.
"You bet you do!" She continued to give it to him, "Do you know how many other people saw that picture? Try everyone at my school. The look in their eyes, when I went in this morning, `Poor,Mallory'. I certainly was the talk of the teacher's lounge, or at least I think I was, because when I walked into the room they all shut up. I'm sure they're saying `Mallory must not be very much of a woman, her boyfriend has to get it somewhere else.'" Mallory's anger was turning into tears. "That's how I'm doing, Dad."
Leo wrapped his arms around her and the anger finally gave way to the tears and sobs of someone who had been terribly hurt by the men she loved the most. He led her to the couch where he let her cry it out.
After about 10 minutes Mallory got up to wash her face. "I had intended to take you out to dinner" Leo called out after her "but we could send out for something. Or I could try out my new cooking skills if you're game?"
She smiled at him with a fresh face, "There's soup in the cupboard."
Mallory sat at the table playing with her soup, her stomach felt like it had been hit with a hundred pound wrecking ball. She couldn't meet his eyes "I thought I had something special with Sam, and I thought he felt it too. Boy, did I read that wrong! I know Toby told him she was poison to his White House career, but he just couldn't stay away. Was I second choice, the consolation prize. Maybe if they had offered a years supply of Rice-a-Roni we wouldn't be in this mess." She sighed deeply, "I don't know if I could feel any more foolish."
Leo sat quietly letting her talk and recover her composure. He had learned long ago how everything had its consequence, tomorrow he would be sure Sam also learned the lesson.
The phone rang as Mallory and Leo were cleaning up the kitchen. "Yes, I understand. I'll see you at 7:30." The conversation was brief and she stared at the phone after hitting the off button. Slowly she began, "Mr. Thompson wants to see me in his office tomorrow morning before anyone else gets there." Again she was on the verge of tears. "I was in there before I left today. Some of the parents in my class called about the picture. Sam has been in my classroom and their children recognized his picture in the newspaper. They are questioning my judgment for allowing…this man…around their children."
She fought for control of her emotions again. Now she was feeling the betrayal of the profession she loved so much. "I think he's going to suspend me. Mr. Thompson asked me if I had known about Laurie, and of couse I couldn't lie to him. Now I'm going to pay the price for her." Again the flood gates opened and Mallory's body was racked with sobs.
Slowly she sat down next to Leo, the bitterness in her voice. "Maybe they'll fire me. Do you suppose if they do that, Dad, I could get a job with Laurie's "escort" service. I hear that pays well and since I already feel like I've been screwed over, at least I would have something to show for it."
"Mallory, please don't do this to yourself." Leo didn't like to see her beat herself up like this, he wished she would go back to yelling at him.
"I could go back to college and get my doctorate in education." She continued on, "I also hear if you're caught the President of the United States will find another job for you." She looked him square in the eye, "Is that true, Dad?"
He nodded his head, then couldn't meet her eyes. He had wondered about that too, but only because he worried that the press would get hold of the story.
"I probably sound like some kind of hypocrite because I didn't have to pay for school, you did that for me. But Dad, what about you and Mom. You were in the ROTC and had to pay the government back by risking your life in Viet Nam. Mom worked as a waitress during high school to save for college. She went to a junior college then a state school, working at odd jobs and getting student loans to pay her tuition. You were both able to get your degrees without breaking any laws."
"Doesn't anyone see the irony in this. Laurie gets a law degree by thumbing her nose at the law. She may have graduated with honors, but is she honorable?"
Again the tears and bitterness overtook her. "I never thought about it before, but I should have had Laurie come to my class for career day. Look kids, you too can get a job recommendation from the President of the United States. Forget about working hard so you can get a scholarship. Forget about flipping burgers at McDonald's saving to pay for an education that you can be proud of. Forget about morals, because those of us who may have them get dumped on by whores like her."
Sarcasm filled her voice, "Sorry Laurie, a picture of you and Sam was published around the world. Sorry Laurie, the headline called you a `high priced call girl'. Sorry Laurie, you paid for a first rate education by breaking the law. I hope this job will make up for all of your embarrassment."
Then with venom Leo had never heard from Mallory before, she spit out, "Sorry Laurie that your friend betrayed you. Learn to live with betrayal like the rest of us."
With her final words Mallory went down the hall to her bedroom and slammed the door closing out Leo and the rest of the world.
He heard her start the shower in her bathroom. Leo didn't know what more he could do for her, but if she needed him, he wanted to be there for her. He decided to spend the night on Mallory's couch.
* * * * * Friday Morning - 6:00 am * * * * *
When Mallory woke up her head felt like she'd been on a week long binge. The reflection in the mirror showed her eyes swollen from crying and her face blotchy and tear stained. She walked out of her room and found her father asleep on the couch.
"Dad wake up." She gently shook his arm. Leo awoke with a start, then remembered where he was. "I'm sorry about last night, I really let you have it."
He really wasn't much good before his coffee, but Leo managed to give her something that passed for a smile. "I deserved, part of it, but I do intend to pass your message on to the others." Stifling a yawn, "Would you like me to go with you this morning?"
That got a little smile from her. "Its been a long time since I've needed to take a parent with me to the Principal's office." She gave him a quick hug, "Thanks for spending the night, but I need to get ready for school, and you really should go home and change before you go into the office. `Image is Everything' The world may be crumbling around us, but we'll never let the suckas' see the McGarrys down" She actually laughed as she looked over her very rumpled father.
* * * * * * * * * *
By the time Leo had gone home and changed, he was late for the morning staff meeting in the Oval Office.
"I believe you're late this morning." The President greeted him with a smile. "I expect tardiness from Sam or Josh, but I believe this is a first for you, Leo. Did you bring donuts so that all of us would forgive you?"
"No sir. I had family business to attend to." His steely gaze passed over all of them, but lingered just a second longer on Sam.
After a few minutes Margaret walked in and motioned to Leo, "That phone call you were waiting for."
"Excuse me Mr. President, but I need to take this call." He slowly got out of his chair and returned to his office.
Everyone in the room exchanged looks, what could this be about? Leo looked like a man on this way to an execution.
* * * * * * * * * *
"Hi Dad" there was great sadness in her voice. "They suspended me for a week."
"Oh, no Mallory." He picked up the picture of her from his desk, but he knew there wasn't a smile on her face now. Would it ever be the same, or would she turn into another Washington cynic. "Can we appeal the decision to the school board?"
"Yeah, Dad." Sarcasm filled her voice again. "Why don't you ask Sam if he could represent me? Maybe Laurie could be a character witness. That would change their minds."
As he sank down into his chair he realized some things he couldn't fix.
Leo could hear the tears start in her voice. "I can't go back, Dad. I feel so betrayed by the parents and humiliated by Sam." She stopped and took a deep breath, "There are only a couple of weeks left of the school year…I decided to quit."
"Mom's in Europe on business and I'm going over to meet her. We're going to take a short vacation, maybe tour the wine country in France. Spring in Paris."
Leo wanted to hit someone, Mr. Thompson for not sticking up for her, the parents of her students for taking it out on Mallory when she always gave them her best, but mostly he wanted to hit Sam. How could he be so stupid to waste the love of this wonderful women for a … "It sounds like you've thought this through. Any thing I can do for you?"
"I need a ride to the airport…and I hate to ask, but could you fire Sam."
"Sure, I will be happy to do both of those things for you." Knowing that right now firing Sam would bring him great pleasure.
Mallory began to laugh. "Thanks Dad that makes me feel a lot better. On second thought, I think I'd like Sam to keep his job, but would you make it a living Hell?"
"Mallory, if never before, you can count on me now!"
"I'll call you later about the ride, and thanks again for staying with me last night." As she hung up he heard, "I love you, Dad."
* * * * * * * * * *
After the meeting Sam walked into Leo's office to find him standing, staring out the window.
Leo turned from the window and faced Sam.
"I'll be leaving later to take her to the airport."
"Where's she going? What about school?"
"She was suspended, Sam. The parents of her students questioned her judgment for allowing a man who associates with known call girls to be in the classroom with their children."
"Why would they do that! Mallory had nothing to do with this." Sam seemed sincerely shocked that Mallory would be put in the middle of this. "She loves those kids! She would never do anything to endanger them. I'm no threat to them, we played silly word games, that's all." Then the realization hit him, "They're punishing Mallory because they can't touch Laurie and they can't touch me. That's what you think isn't it Leo."
The two men just stared at each other. "I'm so sorry,Leo."
"Yeah, you and me both. Why didn't you call her after you found out about the picture, she saw it in the paper yesterday morning. Couldn't you have taken the time to call and warn her!" All of the anger and guilt he had been feeling he was now unloading on Sam. "She even found out about the President's job offer. Right now Mallory is feeling so betrayed by you, me, and even her Godfather" he points toward the Oval Office, "she's getting as far away from all of us as she can."
"I was going to fire you for her, Sam. I told her I would." He looked at Sam intently, allowing his words to sink in. "But Mallory is a lot more forgiving than I am. She decided to let you keep your job, but made me promise to make your life a living hell. When I'm done with you Sam, you'll wish I had fired you."
Sam's eyes were glued to the floor.
"Now if you will excuse me, I have to finish some work before I take my daughter to catch her plane."
"Where's she going, Leo." He asked softly
"That's no longer any of your business, Sam." Leo snapped at him, Sam's time in purgatory may as well start now.
Sam turned and began to walk out of the room.
Leo began. "Sam, you'll learn many lessons while we're in the White House. You'll learn that everything you do will be under a microscope. Don't think because you're a nice guy, bad things can't happen to you."
Sam's eyes were filled with remorse. "When you talk to her Leo, tell her how sorry I am." He knew he had not only hurt a woman who he deeply cared about, but also the man who had given him a chance at the job he loved so much.
"Most importantly remember everything you do has a consequence. It not only affects you, but everyone around you." Leo sat down at his desk, picked up a file and began to work. "Consider this lesson number one."
* * * * * EPILOG - OVAL OFFICE * * * * *
Leo hadn't returned to the Oval Office after taking that mysterious phone call and President Bartlett was beginning to get worried. With the approval ratings up and the mess with Sam and his "friend" under control, why would Leo look like he'd aged ten years overnight? He picked up the papers Leo had left and began to walk to the door that connected the offices.
As he approached he could see the door hadn't been closed all the way and he could hear Leo's raised voice.
"Yeah, you and me both. Why didn't you call her after you found out about the picture, she saw it in the paper yesterday morning. Couldn't you have taken the time to call and warn her. She even found out about the President's job offer. Right now Mallory is feeling so betrayed by you, me, and even her Godfather, that she's getting as far away from all of us as she can."
"Oh God, Mallory." The President thought. "I was so worried about Sam's friend, I forgot about his relationship with Mal. I was so caught up in the polling numbers, I didn't want to think about anything or anyone else. Asking Sam what kind of briefcase he bought? My apologies, a job offer…"
"Now if you will excuse me, I have to finish some work before I take my daughter to catch her plane."
"Poor Leo," the President leaned against the wall, "how much more is he supposed to give up for this job. First Jenny and now we've run Mallory out of town."
He heard Sam leave the office and he stepped in. "Leo…" he looked into the eyes of his old friend. "I'm sorry, too."
Leo couldn't put all of his emotions, sadness, guilt, rage…into words, and right now he was all talked out. He took his files from the President, and turned his back.