Events take place during the last two years of the first term or the Bartlet Administration.

HEART OF THE CAMPAIGN - (2/8) 

By LuLu

 

The President's helicopter was waiting on the White House Lawn. Leo grabbed his overnight bag and briefcase, he would have to send someone in for the file box. When he joined the President he noticed Abbey and Katrina with him. "I didn't know you were coming to Camp David with us, Kat?"

"The President thought this would be a good time for us to begin planning his re-election."

"Hey! Not you too? My name is Jed!"

"It's 'Mr. President' for six more years. That's why I'm here today." She laughed at him.

"No you're here to keep Leo busy so I can have some time alone with my sweetie." He took Abbey's hand into his as they walked to the helicopter.

~O~O~O~O~O~

When they arrived at Camp David on that late Friday afternoon, the President, Leo and Katrina immediately began to strategize about the re-election until dinner. After dinner, as prearranged, Jed gave his sister a nod.

"Hey, Leo, why don't you teach me how to play pool?"

"I think I did that when you were a freshman in college, and you took me for twenty bucks. 'Beginners luck,' I think you said. Then I did it again during the Iowa Caucuses, that cost me another fifty. Beginners luck again?" He could tell by the look in her eyes he had already lost this argument. "Abbey, will you hold my wallet? I think I'm about to be taken to the cleaners, again." He allowed Katrina to lead him out of the room.

For the rest of the evening it was just the two of them, filled with laughing, teasing and as much cheating as either could get away with.

It was getting late and they had each won two games of 8-ball. "Okay, this is for the world championship." She told him.

"I feel a little guilty." He told her as he walked around the table looking for the best shot, "I know I should be working with the President on so many things. Instead I'm playing games with you."

"Don't feel bad, Leo. He gave me a quarter to keep you busy so he could neck with his girl."

"He's still doing that?"

"I guess he figured if it worked when I was five, it would still work now."

"So this is a conspiracy?" He leaned down to take the shot that would win the game for him. "8 ball, corner pocket."

She leaned along with him and whispered into his ear, "You got that right."

Her breath on his cheek caused Leo to miss his shot, and he stood helpless as the cue ball went into the pocket.

~O~O~O~O~

"Let me walk you back to your cabin." Leo offered as he opened the door of the main lodge for her and they proceeded to walk out into the night. Spring had sprung in the city, but here in the mountains, Winter was still hanging around. He watched her breath as it came out of her mouth.

"Look Leo, a full moon and all of those stars. Sometimes don't you get goose bumps knowing how many people have looked up at these same stars?"

Katrina's outlook on life always warmed his heart. Earlier in the day she was as tough as nails arguing with Jed about which cities they should open campaign offices in. Now she looked at the sky with all the enthusiasm of a young child discovering something new. They stood in silence, each to their own thoughts.

She took his hand as they continued their walk to her cabin. Casually leaning up against him her head on his shoulder; her touch was like an electrical charge up his arm.

"I'm giving you a call early tomorrow morning and we're going for a power walk. I promise, I'll take it easy on you." She laughed as she walked up the stairs of her cabin.

"Seriously, Leo, you must take better care of yourself. You spent quite a few years abusing your body with cigarettes and alcohol. Now you're trying to protect Jed from the stress of being President. We're all afraid his MS will flare up, but you need to take care of yourself too."

"God, I can't get away from the Bartlet women nagging on me! Thanks for caring, Dr. Kat."

She gave him a hug. Rocking back and forth, "Someone has to, and I guess that job is open!"

The embrace continued after their laughter, he remembered the night of the Dinner when she was this close to him dancing. How she seemed to fit into his arms so perfectly, the way she smelled. He began to have urges he thought he would never feel again.

She pulled back from him and looked into his eyes. If either moved a fraction their lips would be touching. She moved first.

He barely felt her lips on his...he could feel her breath like a caress on his chin. Leo began to respond, his lips barely touching hers...moving...tentatively exploring her mouth, until his arms began to tighten around her.

There was a sudden noise behind her as the small book Leo was carrying fell to the porch. They quickly pulled apart like two kids caught necking by their parents.

She laughed to break the tension between them. "I'll meet you at the flag pole in the morning!"

~O~O~O~O~

The next day was filled with strategy sessions determining in which Congressional districts they would need to appear. Leo spent the whole day with Katrina, but she never mentioned the kiss from the night before. It was never far from his mind.

Again after dinner she tried to talk him into a pool challenge, but he thought they should try something different. Since they had worked most of the day in the lodge, Katrina invited Leo to play cards in her cabin for a change of scenery. The fire in the fireplace kept the chill off the room. Sitting next to her on the sofa, he kept his card close to his chest so she wouldn't sneak a peek at them.

"Gin!" She laid her cards down on the table in front of them. "How much do you owe me now? Would that be 2 MILLION? You're going to have to raise your rates on the lecture circuit to pay me off."

"I think you should take that quarter the President gave you off my tab. Did you get another quarter tonight?"

"Let's see, with the quarter from last night, keeping you busy before breakfast, and cards tonight I'm up to 75 cents! You know, Jed's an economist, doesn't he understand about inflation?"

"Please," Leo groaned, "don't get him started on that."

"Well anyway, I'm not going to get rich off Jed, so I have to supplement my income somehow."

"I'll win it back next time. But right now I need to go rest up if you plan on walking me around the mountains again tomorrow." He turned to her to say goodnight but felt an overwhelming urge to kiss her again. Maybe just on the forehead this time. Leo placed his hands on each side of her face, tipped her head and kissed her gently on the forehead. He looked into her eyes and brought her face up to meet his lips. The kiss was gentle, but it was followed by another and another. Each kiss lasting a little longer. He lowered one arm and wrapped it around her waist. She wrapped her arm around his shoulder and pulled him close to her. They reclined onto the cushions of the sofa, their bodies becoming intimate in a way they never had before.

"I don't think..." he took his lips from hers, but she offered him her neck, which he quickly took.

"Stay with me tonight." Her passion was becoming intense as she began to unbutton his shirt, kissing the skin that each undone button exposed.

"Things will never be the same between us" His hands were reaching under her sweater.

Lips firmly locked upon his, she led him into the bedroom. "They will just be different."

~O~O~O~O~

Noises by the bed crept into Katrina's peaceful sleep. Leo was getting dressed. "I didn't want to disturb you, but I thought I'd better go back to my room."

"People will talk" she murmured, trying not to wake up.

"Yeah." He looked at her resting so peacefully under the comforter. Things were already different. He watched as she slept. It was a face he should be so familiar with, but he no longer saw the girl who would tag along with Jed, or the tireless campaign worker during Jed's first Governors race. He saw the woman and he wanted to crawl back into the bed, wrap his arms around her and go to sleep.

~O~O~O~O~

The ringing phone woke him up. "McGarry." He grunted.

"Hey Leo, I'm ready to go. Meet you at the flagpole in 10 minutes."

Did she always wake up this cheery? He knew he could never find out, this was one of his best friends. He remembered how they had conspired to play practical jokes on Jed and John. They had always trusted Katrina with him, and he felt he had betrayed that trust last night, by taking advantage of her vulnerability.

"Let's walk on the North trail today. I understand it's a little easier, and since I drug your sorry butt a little hard yesterday, I'll ease up on you today."

She acted like nothing had happened the night before. The images of her were so sharp in his memory, the softness of her skin. The smell of her perfume. Had it all just been a dream?

They talked about the weather, the wildflowers beginning to peek through some of the unmelted snow. Then they fell into a silent walk, each lost in their own thoughts, until they reached a spot on the mountain that overlooked a valley.

"Katrina, about last night."

"We haven't had one of these morning after talks since I went into rehab." She turned to look at him, "Leo, it happened. Don't think twice about it."

He was suddenly offended by her attitude. "The way I was raised we don't take sex casually."

She smiled. "Yeah the way I was raised I should be in the chapel lighting a candle and saying my 'Hail Mary's'. There's not a priest here to confess to, so..." she raised her arms, looked to the sky and yelled, "God, I confess I slept with Leo McGarry last night!"

"...slept with Leo McGarry...slept with Leo McGarry...last night...last night" the echo surprised both of them.

"Everything okay here, Mr. McGarry?" They were approached by a Secret Service agent patrolling the grounds.

"Ah, yeah." Caught again. "Let's hope the 'secret' in Secret Service means something." He whispered to her. They both laughed as they took in the view.

"Leo, I'm sorry about last night. I was so lonely and..."

"Any port in a storm?" His feelings were hurt.

"No." She saw the look on his face, "NO! When I've gone out on dates I play a game with myself, how long before he asks me for a favor? 'Who do you know in DC that could get me a job...help my cause? Could you ask the President if he would...?' You fill in the blanks." She laughed "I do it to you... 'Leo, can I run the re-election campaign'." She turned and put her hand on his arm, "'Leo, take away my loneliness...Leo, make love to me.' You're not a port in the storm, Leo, you're my safe harbor. You are the only one who understands what I go through, and I've come to depend on you too much. Jed still treats me like his little sister, but you treat me like a woman, and last night that's how I wanted to feel."

He put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her a little closer. "Loneliness is the hardest thing to overcome. It makes the bottle or pills so appealing, something to take the edge off. I use my job to combat the loneliness, and now you. We've become great friends, I don't want anything to change that."

"I promise." She looked at him. The twinkle in her eye returned, "We don't have do that thing where we spit in our hands and shake. EWW"

"I'll take your word for it. Now I'll race you back, I seem to have worked up an appetite! And we still have some work to do before we head back to the city." He took off at an easy jog.

"Hey you've been holding out on me, McGarry!"

"Two miles a day, baby!" He raised his hands over his head like an Olympic runner claiming his prize!

 

Heart Of The Campaign - 3

 

 

 

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