Feedback: Please! Alexis2100@hotmail.com
Summary: Romance, especially when you work at the White House, is never easy.
Rating: PG, for slight sexual innuendo and mild language
Disclaimer: I don't own any of it… The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin, the songs featured in the story, not any of it. This is just my humble attempt to create a story I would have liked to seen played out on screen. No infringement was intended.
Chapter 1: Beautiful
She had music playing in her office. Half for her own enjoyment, half to cover the sounds of the pipes that ran at all hours through her office. Although she had the music turned up, it couldn't possibly mask all of the noise that had unwillingly become a part of her daily existence.
She had shed her navy suit jacket and was sitting at her desk in an off-white short-sleeved blouse, the top button undone to try to relieve some of the heat. She had taken off her pantyhose hours earlier, her office particularly unbearable today, and was glad she had chosen the knee length skirt this morning.
She moved to the music, not even realizing she was doing it, the catchy rhythm of Bare Naked Ladies "Pinch Me" coming through her stereo.
"Privatization?" Sam Seaborn stormed into Ainsley Hayes' office without knocking, startling her.
"It's a good idea, Sam." Even though she was upset at being interrupted, Ainsley was always up for a good fight with Sam. She would never admit it, but she thoroughly enjoyed butting heads with him. She liked the battle of wits, but she loved the fact that more often than not, she won. And Sam's eyes and dimples… They were definitely an added bonus.
"It's a good idea to take away our retirement money?"
"It's not taking it away. It's giving people a choice to decide where they want to put their hard earned money that's deducted from their paychecks. I don't know about you, but I like the idea that my money is going to mean something once I reach the age of 62."
"Ainsley…" Sam began, but she interrupted him.
"Sam, privatization can raise the rate of return workers obtain on their retirement contributions, boost national saving and future economic growth and has practical political advantages in comparison with a Social Security rescue plan based on higher payroll taxes and a bigger accumulation of Social Security reserves.
"I don't want my children to be so worried about supporting their mother that they end up having nothing to support themselves so their children worry about them, and so on. It's a solution to the country's dwindling faith in Social Security."
Sam stood staring at Ainsley, fascinated with how the muscles in her arms tensed when she argued, how her hair hung haphazardly around her face, how intense the look was in her eyes.
Ainsley noticed him staring at her and, still caught up in the heat of battle, was unnerved.
"What?!" she said fiercely.
"Uh..." Sam jumped out of his reverie. "Nothing... I was just thinking..."
"What, Sam, spit it out!"
Sam flushed and got slightly angry. "I was just going to tell you how beautiful you look right now." He turned on his heel and headed out of the office.
Ainsley stood there, stunned. She tried to gather her thoughts, to come up with something to say, but couldn't.
"Sam! Stop!" she finally got out, but by then, Sam was halfway up the stairs.
"Hey, Sam," Donna said as she passed by him in the hallway, but Sam merely grunted in return. She looked puzzled, then shook her head and continued on to Ainsley's.
"What's with Sam?" she asked, walking into Ainsley's office, finding her leaning against her desk staring into space.
"Hellooo? Earth to Ainsley?"
"Ainsley," Donna began, "what is going on?"
Ainsley turned slowly to look at her. "I think… Sam just told me I was beautiful." A smile unwittingly made its way across her face. Donna shrieked.
"You're kidding! That's great!"
"Donna! It's not great, I mean, I guess it is, but... I'm just so confused. One minute we were fighting, well, actually, I was kicking his ass again, but…"
"Ains! Stop rambling!"
Ainsley took a deep breath. "One minute we were fighting, the next minute he was staring at me, and then he told me I was beautiful. Just like that. Completely out of nowhere."
Donna smiled. "I just knew he had a thing for you."
"Thing? Sam has a thing? For me?"
"Come on, Ainsley, you're not blind! I've seen the way he looks at you."
Ainsley immediately thought of the way Josh looked at Donna, and how she seemed blind to it, but decided to let it pass. "I don't know, Donna. Just forget about it." Ainsley wasn't quite sure how to handle the idea of Sam being interested in her. Sam and her. Sam and Ainsley. They do sort of flow together, she thought. She shook her head in a vain attempt to clear her thoughts.
"Donna, are you ready?"
"Yeah, just have to get changed and tell Josh I'm leaving."
Ainsley rolled her eyes. "You haven't told Josh yet?"
Donna glared at her. "It will be fine. I'm just going to tell him I'm going out with you and that's that."
"You and I both know that you'll end up getting the third degree before you leave this building." Ainsley sighed. "Well, let's go get changed and get on with it."