Ice Cream Beneath the Starsby Marta
Spoilers: I don't think so.
Sam squinted at the tiny numbers on his watch realizing it was just after ten o'clock. "Ainsley, we've been doing this all day, can we call it a night?" he sighed as he rolled his head back and rubbed his eyes. His tie was loosened and his shirtsleeves rolled up in response to the stifling heat of the Steam Pipe Distribution Venue.
"You're appearing in front a Grand Jury the day after tomorrow and you want to take a break? My responsibility it is to prepare you and do it I will if it kills me! Even if I have been craving ice cream all day and cannot wait to get home to put my feet up and relax, I can't leave and neither can you. I don't want you to screw up in front of them and excuse my being so direct, knowing you, it's bound to happen," Ainsley snapped at him and rested her head in her hands. 'I shouldn't have been so harsh on him. He looks so exhausted. He should just go home and get a full nights sleep. But it's late and we have a ton of work to do yet,' she thought.
He could see how tired she was. Her eyes were heavy and appearance disheveled. Her hair was up in a messy bun and she was wearing a red sleeveless blouse with a black skirt now wrinkled from a long day at work. Her jacket had been discarded hours ago. Sam was surprised at how determined Ainsley was to get him ready. 'It's so cute how protective of me she has gotten since this whole MS mess began,' Sam thought to himself as he remembered the countless hours they had spent together talking strategy and preparing for the Grand Jury. They had become good friends while pouring over hundreds of pages of documents and law books.
His thoughts were interrupted when Ainsley asked, "Sam? Sam? You with me here?"
"Yeah, I'm here. Sorry, just got lost in my own thoughts. Can please we get out of here for an hour or so? I know we need keep working, but some fresh air and maybe some ice cream will keep me sane."
"Ice cream? You're offering to buy me ice cream?" questioned Ainsley with an intrigued look on her face. "Lets go!"
With that, she got up and dragged Sam out of her office and out of the White House into the starlit night. The air was warm and muggy, but a relief compared to Ainsley's office. They left the White House grounds on foot walking down the sidewalk towards an ice cream shop a few blocks away. Sam casually slipped his arm around her waist and Ainsley left it there enjoying the closeness.
"Sam, look at the moon," she exclaimed as she craned her head up towards the sky. "It's as big and bright as I remember from my childhood at home."
"When I was a kid, I would spend hours on my back porch with my telescope staring at the world above. The best Christmas present I ever got was an astronomy kit when I was nine."
"Where you President of the Astronomy Club in High School too?โค* Ainsley teased with a wide grin on her face.
"Hey, lay off. I'm the one buying you ice cream. Remember?"
"Sorry, but I do enjoy looking at stars also. There's nothing more relaxing than sitting on my balcony and staring at them in silence."
"Then maybe we should go up into the mountains one time together. I know a place with great views." 'Wait,' he thought to himself, 'Did I just ask Ainsley out? Not that I would mind going out with her. Nah, it would just be two friends participating in an activity of mutual enjoyment. Yeah, that's it'
'Did he just ask me out? Ainsley thought. What do I say to that? Do I want to go out with him? Sam. Stars. Alone. Okay, can't think about that.' "Yeah, we should do that some time. It would be nice," she replied as she stopped moving and looked deep into Sam's eyes. A sudden urge came over her to kiss him and she almost gave into it, but she was saved when Sam announced, "Hey, We're here."
"I guess so," she replied. "What are we waiting for? I'm hungry!"
Sam opened the door for Ainsley like a gentlemen and followed her into the small empty shop.
Ainsley walked over to the teenager with far to many piercings at the counter and ordered. "I'll have a the biggest Sunday you make with chocolate-chip ice cream, hot fudge, caramel, butterscotch, marshmallow, nuts, M&M's, gummy bears, sprinkles, and whipped cream. And don't forget the cherry! Sam, are you gonna get anything?"
"Geez, you got enough stuff on that? Yeah, I'll have a small cup of vanilla ice cream."
"Will that be all?" the kid at the counter asked.
Ainsley replied, "Umm, I'll take a dozen of those chocolate chip cookies you've got back there and a can of Fresca." Sam raised his eyebrows at her addition to the order. "I had no time for dinner and am gonna need something else to help pull me through the rest of the stuff we have to do tonight," Ainsley admitted and smiled sweetly at Sam. He shook his head with an amused look on his face and paid for the food.
"Sam, why don't we find a bench to sit on while we eat. I now have no desire to return to the White House?"
"Weren't you the one who practically had a fit just about a half hour ago when I suggested stopping for the night?"
"It was not a fit, I was just concerned about you. But anyway, I've changed my mind. Come on." She grabbed Sam's hand and led him out the door.
They walked a little ways down the road until they came to a bench in front of a fountain. Immediately upon sitting down, Ainsley began to devour her Sunday. Sam ate his slowly as he watched the beautiful woman next to him glow in the moonlight and get ice cream all over her lips. 'How come I never realized before tonight how amazing she looks?' he wondered. They sat in a comfortable silence for a couple of minutes while they ate. Somehow Ainsley's head ended up on Sam's shoulder and neither of them made any attempt to move. The reveled in the peace, tranquility, and relief they provided for one another.
Finally, the silence was broken when Sam said, "We should really be heading back now."
"Yeah, I suppose we should," Ainsley answered quietly not wanting their time together to end.
"You've got ice cream on your lips," whispered Sam as he brushed his finger across them to wipe it away. Before either of them knew it, their lips met in a gentle and all to brief kiss.
"Yeah, umm, we have a lot of work to do yet."
"Then we should start back," she agreed.
On that note, Sam and Ainsley got up and slowly walked back to the White House hand in hand beneath a bright moon and a starlit sky each knowing full well that they had far to much on their plates to take their current relationship any further, but hoped there was a chance for it in the future.