Intellectual Foreplayby Trish
Sam, Ainsley, Josh, Oliver and some other staffers were seated around a small conference table, just off the bullpen.
"Why are we doing this again?" Josh whined, wiping his hand across his forehead in an effort to soothe his headache.
"Because," boomed Oliver, "we need to make sure that this education reform bill you are so adamant doesn't violate the Constitution. You remember the Constitution, don't you Mr. Lyman? I do seem to remember that there is a year long course on it in law school and you went to law school, right?"
"You know, " Josh began slowly, striving for some measure of control, "this isn't about *my* education. It's about your ability to do your job, Mr. White House Counsel."
"If you would simply write a law that made sense, and maybe checked with someone first before making these ludicrous promises, we might not be having this problem," Oliver rejoined.
"Hey," Sam interjected, "I drafted this."
"I wouldn't be so proud of that, if I were you, Seaborne," Oliver sneered. Rising from his chair, he offered, "I'm going to get some more coffee. Anyone want anything while I'm up?" Although his words were generous, the look on the husky lawyer's face warned anyone against actually requesting anything.
Slightly offended, Sam tried to defend the idea, "It's democratic. We're requiring all school districts across the country to spend equal amounts of money on each child, no matter where they live. It's more fair than the regressive system of funding education with property taxes, where the wealthy get all the benefits and the poor districts who really need the money get screwed."
"It may be a noble idea, Sam, but it won't work. You can't improve the problem simply by throwing more money at it and you certainly won't accomplish anything by taking money away from the programs that do work." Ainsley explained.
"How can you sit there and tell me that spending the exact same amount of money on educating every single child in this nation is a bad idea?" Sam asked, incredulous that she could disparage the whole idea.
"Land values for one. The cost of living for another and the whole idea that equal means identical is ridiculous. If it costs more to build a building in New York City than it does in Arkansas, then the exact amount of money being spent on the actual education of the child will be vastly different," Ainsley asserted.
Shaking his head, Josh interjected, "Isn't this where you two started?"
"What?" the two combatants, asked at the same time.
"You know, Capital Beat, Kirkwood, Oregon - - oh right, California," Josh couldn't resist the dig at his best friend. "Ringing any bells?"
Ainsley and Sam looked at each other and smiled. People thought they hated each other after that first auspicious meeting, but they didn't. Sam had been embarrassed; he wasn't often wrong and certainly not on national television. Even before she came to work at the White House, his dreams had been filled with vague thoughts of the beautiful blonde Republican. For her part, Ainsley wasn't mean spirited. She hadn't been trying to humiliate anybody, but Sam had been smug and Mark Godfrey's comments about not overreaching because "Sam usually wiped the floor with whoever was sitting in her seat" had brought out her old competitiveness fueled by her resentment of anybody who thought that simply because she was blonde she must be stupid. As she got to know the Deputy Communications Director better, Ainsley was pleasantly surprised to find out that he really was an genuinely nice guy. Those dimples didn't hurt either.
Responding to his friend's teasing, Sam offered, "We're past that now."
"Yes, we are," Ainsley echoed. "We have, together, we have, if you will permit me," she looked at Sam for permission to continue. He nodded and she did, "Together, we have move to a . . . a new phase in . . . ah . . . our . . . "
As she hesitated Ainsley turned to Sam for help and he completed her sentence, "relationship. In our relationship," he stated more bolding looking at Ainsley and smiling.
Trying to suppress a grin and not get knocked over by all the sexual tension in the room, Josh played devil's advocate, "I wasn't aware that you two had a *relationship*."
Sam immediately shut him down, "Yes we do. We have an intellectual relationship. An intellectually stimulating relationship." Sam affirmed.
Just then Oliver bounded back into the room, "Alright what progress have you people made since I've been gone?"
A few days later Sam entered his office and sat down to put the finishing touches on some remarks the President would be making later that night. Opening his lap top, he found a sealed card in between the monitor and the keyboard. It was addressed in distinctive feminine handwriting with his name on the outside.
Tearing it open, Sam extracted the simple cream colored card from the envelope. There was a plain gold border surround the words, "Ours is an intellectually stimulating relationship . . . "
Smiling Sam opened the card and read the rest of the message, "Come let me blow your mind!" the card was unsigned.
As he regained his composure after nearly falling out of his seat, he willed the blush he could feel hotly across his skin to subside, Toby walked into his office. "Do you have the draft yet, Sam?"
Getting no response, Toby tried again, "Sam. Sam? Are you alright?"
Giving his head a mental shake and trying unsuccessfully to wipe a stupid grin off his face, Sam closed the card, arose from his chair and distractedly responded to Toby, "Not yet."
"I need it in the next hour," Toby admonished.
"You'll get it," Sam promised brushing past his boss on his way out of his office, "But right now I got gotta see a lady about some intellectual exercises!"