An Evening to Remember

by Elizabeth

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters. They're Aaron Sorkins
Category: Sam and Ainsley
Rating: PG
Feedback: Please give me feedback, but be kind. This is my first West Wing story.

As Ainsley examined herself in the mirror, she nervously tucked a strand of her long, blonde hair behind her ear. Then, she took a deep breath, and prepared herself for the coming evening. She, and most of the other White House staff, had been invited to a gala charity event, to raise money for nursing homes. Ainsley had been too busy to find a date. Luckily for her, a colleague had the same misfortune. Sam Seaborn, the handsome Deputy Communications Director, had entered her office the night before, seeming nervous. He immediately had Ainsley's attention when he came into her office, although she tried to hide it. When Sam had asked her to attend the gala with him, Ainsley had been pleasantly surprised. After all, she had publicly embarrassed him on live TV, and, more surprising, he didn't have a date. Ainsley had thought for only a second before agreeing.

So now, Sam was waiting outside Ainsley's apartment to escort her to the gala. Ainsley opened her door and smiled at Sam.

"Hi." She greeted him. Sam quickly admired her, then smiled and looked Ainsley in the eye.

"Hi, Ainsley. You look wonderful." He complimented. Ainsley blushed very lightly and let her gaze flicker over him.

"Thanks. You too." She returned. Sam pointed to a limousine that was waiting behind him.

"Shall we?" He asked. Ainsley nodded.

"We shall." She said, and followed him into the limo. Thus began their night.

After riding in peace for 15 minutes, Sam and Ainsley arrived the Adolphus Hotel, where the gala was being held. Sam quickly got out of the limo and opened the door to let Ainsley out. Ainsley smiled and followed Sam as they entered the enormous ballroom. She gasped quietly as she looked around the room in awe. Sam grinned at her.

"Isn't it beautiful?" He asked, knowing what she was thinking by the look on her face. Ainsley nodded.

"Wow." She breathed. Sam watched as she continued to look around the room, this was obviously her first gala. He glanced around the room and quickly spotted his best friend, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman. Sam gently turned Ainsley and pointed towards him.

"Would you like to sit down?" He asked, and added playfully. "There's food on the tables." Ainsley smiled.

"OK." She replied, and walked beside Sam to where Josh and his assistant, Donna Moss, were sitting. As Ainsley and Sam approached them, they smiled.

"Hey Josh." Sam greeted his friend. "You look great, Donna." He added. Donna smiled and thanked him. She smiled at Ainsley.

"So, let me guess... Neither of you had dates, so you came together?" She wondered. Ainsley nodded.

"Is that why you two are here together?" She questioned. Donna nodded.

"Is this your first gala, Ainsley?" Josh asked. Ainsley nodded.

"Yeah." She murmured, still appreciating the room. Donna smiled.

"I remember my first gala..." She mused. "I was in awe the entire night." Josh smirked.

"I can picture that." He commented. Dona rolled her eyes, and Sam and Ainsley smiled.

"Shut up, Josh." Donna said. Suddenly, Toby Ziegler and CJ Cregg paused by their table.

"Hey Toby, CJ." Sam greeted them. They smiled at everyone.

"Hi. Are you all enjoying yourselves?" CJ asked. Everyone nodded.

"How about you guys?" Josh wondered.

"We just arrived." Toby informed them.

"Oh." CJ smiled at everyone and tugged Toby's sleeve.

"Let's go mingle." She commanded. Toby sighed and obliged. Everyone watched them leave and begin talking to the senator of Texas. Once they were gone, Josh turned to Donna.

"Want to dance?" He wanted to know. Donna smiled.

"Sure." She agreed, and followed Josh onto the dance floor. Ainsley watched them dance enviously, which Sam noted. He turned to Ainsley and smiled.

"Would you like to dance?" He asked and held out his hand. Ainsley smiled and quickly accepted.

"I thought you'd never ask." She told Sam. Sam chuckled. He led Ainsley onto the dance floor, to a spot near Josh and Donna. They all smiled at each other, even though Donna had to watch out, otherwise Josh would accidentally step on her feet. Ainsley placed her arms around Sam's head, and stepped closer to him. Sam placed his arms around her slender waist, and together they swayed to the music.

After dancing together for 4 songs, Sam felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and smiled at Josh.

"Mind if I cut in?" Josh wondered. Sam glanced at Ainsley, who smiled at Josh.

"No, go ahead." Sam said. Josh smiled and began to dance with Ainsley when Sam stepped away and faced Donna. "Do you...?" He began. Donna smiled.

"Of course." She answered, knowing what he was going to ask. She put her arms around him, and danced quietly for a minute. "Don't tell Josh I said this;" She whispered. "But you are a much better dance partner, Sam." Sam grinned.

"I know." He revealed. "Josh has a case of 2 Left Feet' when he's on the dance floor." Donna nodded and gestured with her head towards Josh and Ainsley.

"Poor Ainsley." She said. "Her feet will heal in a little while." She added when she and Sam saw Josh accidentally step on Ainsley's foot. They looked at each other and laughed quietly. After a minute, they stopped, and became more serious. When the song ended, Sam thanked Donna for the dance, and went to relieve Ainsley, and her feet.

Sam tapped on Josh's shoulder. When Josh saw him, ,he quickly stepped away from Ainsley and smiled at him. Sam returned the smile and watched Josh approach Donna. Then, he turned to Ainsley.

"How are your feet?" He asked, trying to keep a steady face. Ainsley looked up at him with a curious look on her face, and he broke out into a grin. "Donna and I were talking about Josh's case of 2 Left Feet', and we saw him step on yours." He explained. Ainsley giggled.

"So you came over to save my feet?" She wondered, smiling. Sam nodded, still grinning.

"Exactly. So how are they?" Ainsley chuckled.

"Healing. They're healing." She answered. Sam smiled.

"That's good." He murmured.

Sam and Ainsley continued to dance together for 2 more songs. By the end of the second song, Ainsley had relaxed into Sam, and was comfortably resting her head on his shoulder. She lifted her head up to look at him.

"Sam; I'm going to get something to drink." She told him. Sam immediately shook his head and gestured for Ainsley not to move.

"I'll go get it." He offered politely. Ainsley smiled and watched as he strolled over to retrieve some wine. She didn't notice the appearance of someone else at her side until the person spoke up.

"Ainsley." The man said. Ainsley spun around and was astonished to see her ex-boyfriend, Peter Moor.

"Peter." She said. Peter gestured to where Sam was.

"You came with Sam Seaborn? Honestly, Ainsley, I thought you were better than that." Ainsley narrowed her eyes.

"I'll have you know Sam Seaborn is a great guy. He's sweet, polite, handsome, and a much better person than you'll ever be." Ainsley retorted. Peter rolled his eyes.

"Look how much you've changed, Ainsley. A few months ago, you couldn't even stand the guy. Now you're defending him." He remarked.

"A few months ago I didn't really know Sam." Ainsley pointed out.

"And now you do?" Peter questioned. Before Ainsley could answer, he continued to talk. "Look at yourself, Ainsley. You used to be such an outgoing Republican. Now I'm beginning to wonder if you're even Republican anymore." At this, Ainsley fumed. Her eyes widened in shock, and then glared icily at Peter. Her entire statement showed how upset Peter had just made her.

"How dare you!" Ainsley exclaimed angrily. She quickly lowered her voice, so as to not arouse stares from other people. "Just because I work with a lot of Democrats doesn't make me any less Republican." Peter scoffed.

"Are you sure about that?" He wanted to know. Ainsley was about to talk, when she felt a calming hand on her shoulder. She turned somewhat, and Sam slid a martini into her hand, and smiled at her.

"Hey. Miss me?" He asked jokingly.

"More than you know." Ainsley muttered. Sam turned to Peter and put on a fake smile.

"Peter, right?" He wondered. Peter nodded. Sam glanced quickly at Ainsley, who was glaring at Peter. "If you'll excuse us, Peter, we're just going to go and leave you to bother someone else." Sam flashed Peter a quick grin, relishing in the fact that Peter was now glaring at him. He led Ainsley out onto the balcony and glanced back to make sure Peter wasn't following them. He wasn't.

As Ainsley stepped out onto the balcony, she felt herself relax. She instantly turned to face Sam.

"Thanks, Sam. I don't know what I would have done to him if you hadn't shown up." She admitted. Sam smiled and leaned back onto the railing.

"You're welcome." He said. "Although it would have been interesting to see you beat him up." Ainsley smiled slightly. She laughed to herself. Sam looked at Ainsley with a curious statement on his face. "So who was he? An ex-friend, friend of your family...?" Sam trailed off. Ainsley sighed.

"He was an ex-boyfriend." She told Sam. "But, to be truthful, I don't know what I ever saw in him." Sam nodded.

"Oh." There was silence. "So what was he saying?"

"He was putting you down, and saying that I'm not a Republican anymore." Ainsley answered. Sam frowned when he heard this. "So I told him that you're a better person than he'll ever be, and, well... you saw me chewing him out." Sam grinned.

"You stuck up for me?" He wondered. Ainsley blushed slightly and nodded, smiling.

"Yeah, I guess. But I was just telling the truth." Ainsley said. Sam smiled and engulfed her in a hug.

"Thanks, Ainsley." He said gratefully. Ainsley smiled. She felt good in Sam's arms. When they separated, she shivered, which Sam noticed.

"Are you cold?" He asked. Ainsley shrugged.

"I'm fine." She lied, and inadvertently shivered again. Sam quickly took off his jacket and wrapped it around her. "Thanks." Ainsley whispered. Sam nodded. They stood in comfortable silence for a few minutes.

"Isn't it beautiful?" Sam asked Ainsley, pointing to something that Ainsley didn't see.

"What?" Ainsley wanted to know. Sam gestured above him.

"The sky." He answered. "Isn't it great? Especially at night with the stars, and moonlight..." Sam stopped himself. Ainsley smiled.

"It is beautiful." She agreed. She pointed to a bright constellation. "That's the Little Dipper, right?" She asked Sam. He nodded.

"I think so." He pointed to more stars. "And that's Orion's Belt." He added. Ainsley squinted her eyes and searched for what Sam was pointing to, but she couldn't tell. She moved a little closer to him.

"Where?" She wondered. Sam moved his head closer to hers, and pointed to a few stars.

"Right there." He said. Ainsley looked at where Sam was gazing and smiled when she saw the constellation.

"Oh." She murmured. She turned to face Sam, and realized that her face was only inches away from his. Sam also noticed this, and took a step away from her to calm himself. Ainsley smiled slightly. "Sorry." She apologized. Sam shrugged.

"It's OK." He downplayed it. He glanced back at the room. "Do you want to rejoin everyone?" He asked. Ainsley sighed and shook her head.

"No, not really." She admitted. "I think I'd rather go home." Sam nodded in understanding.

"OK." He replied. "I'll get the chauffeur."

"Don't, please." Ainsley requested. "I'm just going to walk home, it's not far from here."

"OK, I'll walk with you." Sam offered. Ainsley smiled and nodded.

"Sure." She agreed, and motioned for him to follow her. They quietly left the gala and began walking to Ainsley's apartment.

"Did you have fun?" Sam asked. Ainsley thought for a minute, then nodded.

"Yeah." She said. "I enjoyed myself, for the most part." She added when she thought about Peter. Sam smiled.

"Good." He said. "Hopefully the next time there's a gala, you'll have even more fun." Ainsley smiled.

"Hopefully the next time there's a gala, you'll have even more fun." Ainsley smiled.

"Hopefully the next time there's a gala, Peter won't show up." Ainsley remarked. Sam grinned. They walked for a while, enjoying each other's company, and the cool, brisk air.

After walking for nearly 5 minutes, they arrived at Ainsley's apartment. Once there, they stopped walking. Ainsley smiled and faced Sam.

"Thanks for tonight, Sam." She said gratefully. Sam smiled.

"You're welcome, but I don't know what I did to make you thank me." He admitted. Ainsley smiled.

"You were really sweet, and understanding." She told him. Sam shrugged.

"OK, if you say so." He said. They stood close together for a moment, in silence.

"Do you want a glass of water, or coffee or something?" Ainsley asked Sam. Sam shook his head.

"Thanks, but I'll pass." He said. Ainsley nodded and smiled sadly, she didn't want the night to end yet.

"OK." She replied. "Well, good night." Ainsley started to turn around to go inside, but Sam called out to her.

"Ainsley!" He hesitated momentarily as Ainsley turned and faced him. She looked straight into his piercing blue eyes and shuddered. Sam took a step forward, and gently placed his lips on hers. After a few seconds, Sam pulled back so he could gauge Ainsley's reaction. She stared at him with a mixture of surprise and happiness. Sam lowered his head and looked at the ground.

"I, I..." He stumbled, trying to think of what to say. Luckily for him, he didn't have to say anything. Ainsley placed her hand on his arm and took a step closer to him. When Sam looked at her, she smiled at him shyly. He smiled back at her, and they both leaned in towards each other and kissed again, only this time more passionately. Ainsley responded to the kiss by pushing herself harder against Sam, and running her hands through his soft hair. Sam gently ran his hands through her silky hair, playing with it gently. After a minute, they slowly separated. Sam smiled at Ainsley, and she smiled back.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Sam." She said. Sam smiled and nodded.

"I can't wait." He confided sweetly. Ainsley smiled.

"OK." She said and went up to the door of her apartment. "Bye!" She called out to Sam as she entered it. She waved to him through the window, smiling happily. Sam waved back, smiling to himself.

As he continued walking home, Sam tenderly touched his lips, savoring the memory of kissing Ainsley.

The End

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