Author: Rogue (Malia Kitechiru)

Title: Count the Ways

Rating: PG-13

Summary: From Sam's POV about Ainsley. Ainsley's doing a favor for her sister and Sam agrees to help, not knowing what he's getting himself into.

Disclaimers: Not mine! It's the all might all-powerful Aaron Sorkin's.

Dedication: To Liza, Kai, and the author at ff.net who asked around for this. It's for you, suck as it may, it's for you!

Count the Ways

I'm not the boyfriend type.

Well, I take that back.

I AM the boyfriend type, I just...don't have a girlfriend. Haven't in a while actually. Ever since my total downfall with my fiancée—how could she NOT approve of my giving up a rich and powerful job to help Governor and now President Bartlet? Well anyway, since then I haven't had much luck with women.

Okay, let me rephrase that.

I've had NO luck with women.

You'll have to bear with me, there; I'm a writer and sometimes go through editing of my own thoughts.

I realize I may have reached an all time low. But that's what happens when you become the Deputy Communications Director of the White House. All hopes of a social life go to complete hell.

Not from a lack of trying. Mallory...well that was a disaster. Just when I thought I might be attracted to a woman in regards to a long-term relationship, in waltzes the reporter with a photo of Laurie and me.

And the count is life: 2, Sam Seaborn: 0!

So when did the full realization of the fact that my love life was DOA hit me?

Easy, when my best friend suddenly became unavailable.

That sounded wrong, let me explain.

Josh has been battling with his feelings for Donna for years. Finally the two managed to come together, and I couldn't be happier! Except now I was the next young, available politician with power.

I didn't want that position! Unlike Josh I had no desire to have woman claw at my feet when I was walking with the President, trying to do my damn job. I would prefer to just meet a girl, marry her, have a couple kids, and still be able to do my work.

My job is important to me, I know that. I don't want it to consume my whole life, but it's important none the less.

But the truth is it does consume my whole life. I remember once when I was at the west wing until the wee hours in the morning rewriting a speech with what Josh called "the funny". In between the arguing, joke cracking and pen scratching I managed to wade waist deep into yet another full-blown debate with Ainsley Hayes.

I STILL can't explain what this woman does to me.

One minute we're just sharing calm hellos, the next I've started a heated argument, and afterward am in complete awe. Josh told me later the things he loved the most about his relationship with Donna was their constant bickering and banter. I think while Ainsley and I have got the whole banter thing down it has a tendency to escalate in to a full blown debate. I have to admit while I'm arguing with her I am mildly attracted to her.

Mildly, you got that, MILDLY!
I Sam Seaborn, am mildly attracted to Ainsley Hayes.

To quote CJ: "Are you out of your frickin' MIND?"

Thank you CJ.

I should tell her later she's reached her goals as a press secretary, every time I or any of the other members of the staff think of doing something we always wonder first.

What'll CJ's reaction be?

I guarantee you not as mild as the language I used before if I started to date Ainsley.

So I sit here, and pass the thoughts through my mind over and over. I tossed the ball I had in my hand on the wall and it bounced back at me. I stole it from Toby's office when he was at a meeting earlier, just for fun.

"Sam!"

Speak of the devil. I glanced over and waved my hand.

"Hey, Toby."

"Did you finish the work of the president's opening for the speech tomorrow?" he asked.

"The one on bill 323?"

"Yeah."

"Got it," I waved the papers over my head. Toby came in and grabbed it so he could glance at it.

"Sam."

"Yeah?"

"Sam, Sam, Sam."

"You trying to say something Toby? You're reminding me of that thing CJ does..."

'Punctuation is your friend."

"Maybe to you," I said and swirled in my chair.

"Is that what you've been doing all day?" Toby asked dryly, glaring at my swivel chair and me.

"You're right, I should get out of the office, stretch my legs," I announced before Toby could start complaining about my loafing. "Maybe I'll jog around the center cubicles!"

"Sam..."

"See you," I said cheerily and walked off as fast as I could.

Where to go...where to go.

I could go see Josh.

Oh...he had the meeting with Leo this after noon. Damn.

CJ? No, CJ's doing a briefing.

Hmm...Ainsley?

Ainsley, I'll go see Ainsley.

You could be walking into a death trap, Seaborn.

Do you care?

Not really.

Love does this to me, it ruins my mind.

Did I just say love?

Where's CJ when you need her, she'd be able to knock sense into me.

As I argued to myself I eventually found my way to the front of Ainsley's office. I opened the office and saw her sitting in front of her computer. She looked up from her work to give me a skeptical glance.

"Hey, Ainsley."

"Hey, Sam, usually people knock then enter."

"Yeah, well, that's me, the trend setter," I grin like a fool and put my hand on my hips. "So...what'cha doin'?"

"Work, Sam, it's called work," She sighed and stood up to move in front of me. "Speaking of which, do you ever have any?"

"Work? Me? Of course I do," I explained rapidly, hoping I didn't sound as dumb as I thought I was. "I'm just stretching my legs."

"You do that a lot," she said simply.

"It's in the job description, speech writer, aide to the president, and stretcher of legs..." I trailed off and winced. I sound so stupid! Josh would whack me on the head...or laugh. Both, he'd do both.

"Does your visit have a point?' Ainsley asked simply.

"Not really," I shrugged.

Quick, Seaborn, find a reason to hang out with her, fast!

"Although, it's almost lunch, you want to get something to eat?"

Good save!

"Sure," she said and smiled behind her blonde wavy hair.

SCORE!

And it's turned around again! Life: 2, Sam Seaborn: 1! He's catching up!

"Great, let's go," I said and smiled again, like an idiot.

We walked to the mess and I couldn't' help but glance at her. She looked great in a navy blue pants suit and her blonde hair tucked into a bun. She noticed eventually and I quickly looked the other direction.

Stupid!

Come up with a topic of conversation, fast! What do you know...?

"Hey, you weren't in yesterday," I commented as we moved into line at the mess.

"Huh? Oh...no I wasn't," She nodded. "I had a doctor's appointment. I...I'm kind of doing this favor for my sister."

"Like what?" I asked and grabbed a bagel.

"Well...it's a bit confusing," she said and took an iced tea before paying the cashier.

"C'mon, I can keep a secret."

Well...kind of.

If you ask Josh, CJ or Toby they'd start laughing. Sam? Secret? BWA HA HA!

I got great friends.

"I actually do need someone to help me," she sighed and sat down at a table. "I have to take these classes and it kind of requires I have a male partner."

Get that thought OUT of your head, Seaborn.

"Mmhmm, what class?" I asked, sipping at my soda.

"Never mind, don't help me," she scoffed.

Whoa, wait a second! What in hell did I SAY!

"No, no, sorry," I apologized too quickly. "Umm...go on."

"Well, you want to help me in my class, or not?" she asked, still a little annoyed.

"Yeah, sure, whatever," I said, shrugging. Couldn't hurt.

"Great! Thanks, Sam," Ainsley smiled.

"So, uh, what is this favor you did for your cousin?" I asked, taking another sip from my soda.

"Oh, see she can't have kids, and she really wants one. So...I'm going to have a baby for her. And I needed a partner for my birthing classes! But not anymore, thanks again Sam."

That's about when I choked on my straw.

 

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