By: chipmunk and Imp
Pairing: Leo and Margaret
Characters: Leo, Margaret and the Sisterhood
Rating: TEEN (see chart below
Beta By: Lynn
Thanks to Lynn (leosimpishgrin) for the brainstorming, to find the little extras! She so loves the romance!
Thanks to Bev (adoreleo) for encouraging me everyday to just write!
I think I surprised them with another one!
Without Prejudice, the names of all characters& contained here-in are the property of NBC, WB, Bravo, A John Wells Prod., from TV show, The West Wing. They are the creation of Aaron Sorkin. No infringement of these or any copyrights is intended, and are used here without permission. No monetary benefit is received or anticipated.They own them; therefore, they do not belong to me. I only borrowed them , with my humble thanks to them. Any resemblance, herein, to any person living or dead, is just a coincidence.&Any Original Characters developed by me and found in this or any of my fics, belongs solely to me.
Acknowledgement: A 'grateful' and 'enormous' thanks, to the actors and actresses, who portray these characters 'brilliantly' and bring them to life in my head.
Fluff Warning: It's a valentine fic, so get out your box of chocolates and rose-colored glasses and enjoy the fluff!
It's Monday morning, and Leo comes breezing through Margaret's office, barley hesitating while taking his notes from her desk. "Morning, Margaret," Leo greets, as he continues walking and starts reading the first one on top.
Speaking to Leo's disappearing back, Margaret gives him a warning, "Don't touch the cake in your office."
"What cake?" Leo asks automatically, without ever raising his head from reading the papers in his hand.
"The one on your conference table, Leo. It's for the Sisterhood meeting today at lunch." Margaret seriously adds the fair warning.
"Is it a holiday or something that you gals are having a meeting?"
Margaret sighs and instructs, "Leo, check the date at the top of your messages. F.Y.I., it's Valentine's Day." That man is so lost without me to tell him the day of the week.
Leo's head pops up, as he focuses on what she's saying and halts his stride. Looking with interest at his table, he views a large, white box covered in clear plastic.
His interest is now peaked. Leo steps over to peer down into the box that is taking up a good portion of the table. He can see that inside is a large heart-shaped cake.
"Margaret, it's pink!"
"Yes, Leo," she sounds like 'that should be obvious'.
"It's big enough isn't it?" He's glancing around the edges of the box with some curiosity.
"Yes, Leo," Margaret again replies, with some slight sarcasm in her voice, at his wonderful powers of observation.
"You covered it totally with plastic!" Leo makes it sound like that's a bad thing.
"Yes, Leo, and it better stay that way!" She knows that he'll be tempted to taste the icing. "So remember who it's for, Leo."
"Gotcha," he agrees with some disappointment, but with certain understanding, after only an instant of thinking of how the Sisterhood can make his life miserable when provoked, especially with it being Valentine's Day, which can be good or bad for the men of the West Wing.
Leo knows not to push his luck, but then again, he has always been a risk taker. His eyes twinkle with amusement, knowing that Margaret can't see him and he asks. "You say that the Sisterhood is to have a lunch meeting today?"
He moves to place himself safely behind his desk, just in case! Since he's banned from the cake, he can't resist provoking her just a touch, as he again tries to read his messages, "You ladies comparing your plans or your hopes for romance today?"
He masks his face and sits down in his chair, with his eyes still on the papers in his hands, as she strides into his office.
Margaret lays his schedule down in front of him as usual, "Yeah right, Leo, like we have time for a life at all, let alone a love life."
He looks at her seriously and feeling safe on the other side of his desk, he 'innocently' states, "You'd think that all you lovely ladies would have better lunch 'dates' than to meet together to compare Valentine cards in the mess."
Margaret pins him with a long pointed look to convey that he's really pushing it. She's also impressed that he never cracks a hint of his charming smile, to save himself, at his backhanded dig to the sisterhood, with risking his safety like that. He's not fooling her for a moment. She knows that he's just being daring. She's smiling a touch on the inside, at his boldness.
He drops his eyes back to his phone messages, before she comes over the desk to kill him in defending her Sisterhood. He's brave, but not stupid.
Deciding that she doesn't have the time in this administration to break in a new boss, if she damages Leo for besmirching the Sisterhood, Margaret tries to get them back on track. "Leo, what do you need first today?"
She's definitely not giving Leo an answer to his question about lunch dates. She has 'no' answer for him, as she has 'no' plans for today or tonight. So much for the holiday today for celebrating love!
He inwardly grins at her evasive maneuver, also that he's still in one piece and replies "Get me Senator Blake on the phone. He's going to be a real 'sweetheart' today, when I tell him the President said no, to backing his last minute rider to the bill."
"Very funny, Leo, at least one of us will have a 'sweetheart' today," she mocks him right back for his digs at the Sisterhood. "Maybe he'll send you a Valentine card, for you being so 'sweet' to him," she smarts back at him, as she makes a hasty retreat to her office.
Leo squints one eye at the doorway that she just whisked through, after her parting remark. She just had to get in the last dig.
His mouth again curves up at one side, as he glances to the Valentine cake across the room. If he has his way, maybe her lunch won't be, as boring, as she thinks it'll be, with the Sisterhood commiserating amongst themselves over pink cake.
His face breaks into a full smile for just a moment, but he quickly refocuses on work. His surprise can wait for the perfect time, first he needs to prepare for his call with the senator, and it's not going to be pretty.
After a long morning meeting with a boring committee that ended exactly where it started, Leo returns thankfully, and with some anticipation, to his office, just before lunchtime.
He stops just as he gets to Margaret's desk, where she's typing away, immersed in her task.
Margaret's awareness is not to the point that she doesn't sense that he's standing there, but she never breaks the speed in her typing.
"Margaret," Leo speaks in a normal tone, as to not startle her.
Knowing that he has nothing pressing till later today, she breaks a split second to hold up her index finger, before she returns to finish the page.
Waiting and watching her flying talented fingers with the familiar rhythm, Leo slips his hand into his pocket for the item that he put there early this morning at his hotel room.
Leo reflects back to his shopping trip this last weekend, when he stepped into the jeweler's shop to pick out a nice little gift to give to his favorite girl, Mallory.
He selects a nice delicate necklace with a ruby centered in a heart shaped band of tiny diamonds.
While waiting for the salesclerk to return with the boxed necklace, he reflects that she's the only female he'll be buying for this year for Valentine's Day, she's the only woman left in his life.
He suddenly grins, as he quickly remembers another female that is 'totally' in his life and this just might be the time for him to include her more in his personal life.
He finds the perfect item to get for her. Small and elegant, but not 'too much' or she would fuss.
Still watching her type and with a soft crooked grin on his face, Leo places a small gift-wrapped box in the middle of Margaret's keyboard, to effectively get her full attention.
Margaret's hands freeze their motion and she stares at the petite box a moment. With disbelief on her face, she then glances to his warm smiling face and back to the small gift in front of her. Her voice almost cracks with surprise, "What…?" Another moment passes in silence, as she tries to derive an explanation in her mind for him to have set it there. Neither of them moves as if time is standing still, till she speaks again, "Leo…?"
Leo leans closer, with his hand resting on the edge of Margaret's desk to glimpse her face. He gives the slightest nod to the side, with a tiny crooked grin and answers, "I thought you might like a little something for today!" He straightens up with satisfaction at the soft happy glow slowly lighting up her face.
She flashes him a smile, with gratitude shining in her eyes, as they follow his.
Leo is pleased with her happy acceptance, and he gives her a cocky grin and a wink, before walking on into his office, leaving her to enjoy her gift.
Margaret glances to Leo's back and then at the box, before tentatively picking it up with one hand from her keyboard. It is small enough to fit in her other palm and holding it gingerly, she softly touches the red bow with a fingertip, savoring the moment.
She again glances to Leo's office doorway, before she returns her attention to the small, flat, square box resting in her hand. She carefully pulls on the tail of the ribbon tied around it. The ribbon falls away, and she easily pulls the paper off of the soft velvet covered box.
"Oh my," escapes softly from her lips and she again looks to his office, now a little confused by the gift and has a quick question or two running in her head, now that she has it unwrapped.
Her eyes can't resist the desire to return to the jewelry box, making the decision for her. Like any good Sisterhood member, she now doesn't hesitate to carefully lift the hinged lid.
Inside she finds a small gold sweater pin, about one and a half inches square. It's designed as a flat gold ribbon that's looped into the shape of a heart, with the ends slightly overlapping at the bottom tip.
The gold has a wonderful luster, and there are three diamonds, as she's positive that they're diamonds knowing the giver, placed at the top of one side of the heart.
The simple elegance of the small sweater pin makes her forget to breath for a moment and then as she runs a fingertip over the sparkling diamonds, she sighs at the sweetness of the gift and the giver.
On occasions, over the years, when appropriate, he has given her small gifts, but he has never given her a diamond before, let alone three and this is Valentine's Day. This may take some more thinking, but for now, she intends to wear it and she may or may not tell the Sisterhood whom it is from.
She nods to herself at her decision and pulling the pin from its bed in the box, she discovers a small slip of paper. She must have missed seeing it in the lid. Unfolding the note she reads, 'M., Just for you, for being your wonderful you! Happy Valentine's Day, L.'
She smiles and sighs again happily, as she pins the gold heart to her sweater, so glad that Leo has made her Valentine's Day brighter and not just another workday.
She checks the time and sees that the others of the Sisterhood will be arriving at the mess soon, so she pats the pin to make sure it's laying straight.
She immediately goes in to thank Leo for the lovely gift and confess that she's going to make the others guess whom the giver is. He'll like being in on the joke to drive them all crazy.
Arriving in his office, after a few short steps, she's disappointed to find that Leo's missing and probably in the Oval Office.
Margaret knows that he could be right back or it could be awhile, so she leaves him a quick note on his desk, 'L. Thanks for the lovely gift! Gone to lunch, ergo the missing cake box. M.'
Margaret carefully lifts the cake box and returns to her office for her billfold. She continues on to the mess to deliver a little Valentine's Day fun, and the indulgence of some comfort food in the form of the pink heart cake among her friends.
As Margaret walks, she keeps checking on the condition of the large cake in the box. From the bemoaning she heard from the others last week about today, she hopes the cake is large enough to soothe their 'love life' sorrows.
Margaret sets the cake in the middle of the table at the back of the mess, where the Sisterhood is gathering. She heads to the mess line to grab a salad, hoping to offset the sweet cake that she'll be sharing in sympathy with the others, who, from all indications, are dateless as well, again this year.
CJ walks with Margaret back to the table with their salads and as they join the others already there, still standing CJ asks, "All right, since everyone is in attendance that can mean only one thing, we all need a life. So, anyone have any good news on this auspicious holiday?"
Her question is met with both groans and chuckles. They just knew she would get to the 'heart' of today's meeting in record time. This is their annual 'do I have a life outside this building' meeting.
CJ continues, "Since this is the White House and our time belongs to the American Public, lets get started around the table and see just how bad it is this year. I'll start, and Carol you're next.
I can accurately report that my love life is not happening today or any day soon. I may have to dig an escape tunnel to get out of my office, in time to see daylight, let alone go on a date with a male. Yes, I did receive a few valentines in my mail… from my nephews."
The group smiles and sighs at the sweetness of CJ getting valentines from little kids. They are always so adorable.
Carol is next, "Today is not going to be a big 'date' day for me either, but there might still be a glimmer of hope." She pauses just to tease them. "I have a nice bouquet of flowers on my desk from a certain tall man… a dark suited man… that wears an ear piece."
She laughs as she gets razzed for withholding the name of her admirer, but the best is Donna's tease, "That's wonderful, Carol, as long as it is not a hearing aid that he's wearing in his ear!"
They all laugh, as Carol defends that he's definitely 'not' hard of hearing and she hopes to test that someday, by whispering in his ear. Carol is not fooling them at all. They all know whom she got the flowers from.
Ginger's turn is next, "I have to admit that the only flowers that I received today are from my boss Toby and they're the same flowers that are on Bonnie's desk."
Bonnie adds, "Well, we do agree that the flowers are better than last year's gift."
Ginger reminds them, "When he gave each of us a bag of conversation hearts candy from him."
Bonnie takes over the telling, "So his hard shell must be softening with time." She then reveals, "The sad part is that, the flowers are the only thing this year that we've received from any men, what so ever."
Ginger props her elbow on the table and holds her forehead in the palm of her hand and then seriously admits, "We really need to lock Toby in his office more, so we can sneak away and have a life once a while."
CJ pipes in, "I admit that I got flowers from Toby as well. I'll have to stop in and see if we all got the same arrangement. He probably got a discount for multiple orders.
That cracks up the Sisterhood, as they all know that Toby is as tight as bark on a tree, but his heart is in the right place. He just doesn't want anyone to see that he's actually a softy.
Donna's turn is next, "Well, I did 'not' get flowers from Toby." She waits till the snickers cease, before she continues, "Well, to be truthful, my boss did get me a 'good size' box of fancy chocolates."
Donna waits till the others stop with the 'oohs and ahhs' that they tease her with, before she adds, "Josh said that since I got smart and dropped that last 'gomer' that 'he' preferred to get me chocolates for Valentines Day." Seeing the surprised looks that the others are giving her, she hurries to explain why, "He didn't want me to jump at the next gomer I see, just to get sweets today."
The women around her now are sighing loudly and commenting in overly sweet tones, about Josh actually being so considerate. They also exchange knowing looks among themselves.
Donna tries to deter their assumptions about Josh's motives. "Don't get any ideas! I have Josh all figured out!" Donna has to stop again, as the teasing starts again, about how she better try again.
She protests, "I'll have you know that Josh got me the chocolates for only one reason. He just wanted an excuse to eat candy at work all day."
"He has raided my box of chocolates three times already and has taken all the ones with nuts in them." She pouts a little. "He knows that I like the ones with nuts. He just wants to make me crazy."
She stabs her salad with a look on her face that tells them that she's already planning revenge. They just hope that she gives them all the juicy details later.
Margaret's turn is next, and she keeps her eyes on her salad, as she tries to sound natural. "I don't have any plans for today either. I did get a few cards from my family, but no flowers." She just smiles softly with her little secret.
Donna gives Margaret a strange look, "Something is different with you. I just can't figure it out."
"Yeah, she has that 'cat that ate the canary' look on her face," Bonnie comments, as the others all look at Margaret and are met with only an innocent smile from her.
CJ pins her with a look, "OK, Margaret, give. What has you wearing a smile today, when the rest of us are moaning and groaning?"
Margaret loves having a secret on Valentine's Day and sits back a little and plays with the bottom of her sweater, pulling it straight.
Donna pops up, as it dawns on her, "That's it! Margaret, where did you get that new pin on your sweater? I know you didn't have it on earlier." Donna now nails her with a look.
Nancy had escaped from her national security office today to join her fellow sisters, and she now adds her own observation. "From the looks of it, I'd say someone very special gave it to her. Those look like real diamonds sparkling from it, if you ask me."
Donna falls back in her chair in disbelief, "Diamonds, she got diamonds." She sits back up and demands, "Spill it girlfriend."
Margaret sweetly answers, "I've got nothing to tell. You all know that I don't have a boyfriend to get any gifts from."
She blinks at them, still looking innocent, but the fact that she's wearing a crooked little smile that mirrors the one she was given along with her Valentine's Day gift, makes the others wonder if she has a man hidden in her life.
Actually, when Margaret thinks about her new pin, it's a better gift than any she's received from a boyfriend on Valentine's Day.
Nancy gives her a break from the interrogation that the others were warming up for. "Well, I guess I'm last and my day is not any better than the rest of your sad stories. Save Margaret and she's not telling," she teases and gives Margaret a knowing glance.
Nancy then gets on with her review in a grand manner like only she can, "I'm here to tell ya how bad, bad can be. You girls just try being in my job and getting a date."
Her voice gets a sarcastically sweet tone, as she pretends a phone call, "Oh, I'm sorry, Sweetie, I can't make it to dinner with you tonight. I have to go advise the President of the United States to bomb someone, before they bomb us. Then I have to go nose-to-nose with the Joint Chief of the armed forces."
She looks around the table, "The poor man is gone so fast from my life that his shadow has trouble keeping up with him."
The others laugh at the dry wit way Nancy is telling her misery. "You girls go ahead and laugh. You try being the only woman in the room with a dozen big, brave men in uniforms and none of them want to jump ya!" She slaps her hand on the table, "Talk about depressing."
That has the Sisterhood practically in tears with laughter. They just love how she can tell a story.
CJ is laughing, as she rises from her chair and wipes a tear from under her lashes. "I think we better stop now and go for the comfort food. We really need it this year!" They all agree heartedly and to hell with the calories today. This is what the Sisterhood is all about. Comfort and support!
Later that afternoon, Margaret hears Leo return to his office, after one of his pops into the Oval office, and with the gleam from the pin on her sweater catching the corner of her eye, she decides that now would be a good time to catch a moment with him.
"Leo, do you have a minute?" She doesn't want to disrupt any official work.
"Yeah, I do. Whatcha need, Margaret?" Leo sits down in his desk chair, but doesn't move it forward to start work, giving her his full attention.
"I just wanted to thank you for the pin, Leo, it's lovely." She touches it with the tips of her fingers, to show she's already wearing it.
"You're very welcome, Margaret. I'm really glad you like it. I thought of you, when it caught my eye." He checks out the pin on her sweater, with a happy smile for her, or maybe the smile is for him.
"You were so nice to give me a gift today, Leo, so I saved you some of the cake!" Margaret points back to her office. She's happy to reward him and his sweet tooth.
"Hey that's nice of you, Margaret. I take it that you made it yourself?" Leo is happy about her saving him the homemade treat.
She returns to her office where she's been guarding it from the 'light fingers' in the West Wing. "Yeah, you know how I love to bake."
Thinking and scratching the side of his jaw, Leo asks toward where she's disappeared into her office, "So what flavor did you make it?"
Margaret returns to his office with a large dinner sized plate and she sets it on the conference table, for him to move there to claim his cake.
She happily lists just how she made the cake, as he always seems to like knowing, especially if he's getting to enjoy her baking. "It's cherry flavor inside and out. I added a few drops of red food color, like I did to the icing, to made the cake pink inside. I added some finely chopped maraschino cherries to the batter, just to add in a little something extra. You know that I never get any complains that I'm a heavy hand when applying the icing."
"You do know how to lay it on wonderfully thick, Margaret," Leo states with approval, as he walks out from behind his desk.
Leo eyes his treat with some amusement, as she removes the clear plastic wrap revealing that the cake is hanging over the plate almost all the way around the edge. "Margaret, I know you really like the pin and your thanks is more than enough, but you must have saved me half the cake!"
Margaret blushes a little with happiness, "It is nice and thanks again, Leo. Actually, this part is just the bottom of the heart."
Leo teases her, "So now for Valentine's Day, I get the bottom of your heart?"
Margaret blushes a little brighter and stumbles out a reply, "Well… not really… sorta… yeah, I guess... It's cake, Leo…, but yeah, my thanks is from the bottom of my heart."
Leo just has to laugh happily at her putting such a great twist on the words that he used to tease her with.
Margaret now grins back at him, so glad that he took her bungled reply so well, and she so loves to hear him laugh.
Standing by the table and grinning at the generous portion of cake, Leo can't resist making a quick sneak attack to swipe a finger in the edge of the thick pink icing.
Margaret is grinning also, as she makes a halfhearted attempt to swat at his hand, as he shifts away with his sweet loot.
Leo quickly hides the evidence in his mouth and makes a very satisfied sound, as he savors the homemade icing with the wonderful cherry flavor. After removing his finger slowly, he then honestly states, "Margaret, this must be your best icing yet."
Looking between his satisfied face and his finger that he's still holding in the air, she states truthfully, "Leo, you say that every time you taste one of my cakes." She's smiling at his enjoyment.
He nods slightly, as if to confirm what he's saying, "Yeah, but it's true, Margaret."
A moment later he tilts his head a tad and gives her a small crooked smile, "How would you like for us to save this cake till this evening? If you would join me at my place tonight, we could share it. They have a nice sitting room where we can relax, and enjoy some coffee with this nice cake?"
She gives him a look of mild disbelief, but with some hope in her voice, "You sure, Leo? I mean… us together… in public at your hotel? Just you and me… tonight?" That's about as close, as she's going to hint that she knows it's like a real date, and on Valentine's Day at that.
He smiles at her calmly, "I am. This cake deserves to be enjoyed at leisure. Join me this evening." He lowers his voice, "Please, I'd really like you to." He takes a step to close the distance between them, as he continues, "Lets end this day quietly together!"
She's pretty good at picking up his signals and she hopes in the secret place in her heart that she's right this time and that he's sincere in his offer.
She bobs her head, "OK, Leo, thanks, I will." She moves to cover the cake again, already planning how she can get it safely to his hotel.
"Thanks, Margaret." He bends forward to grab another taste of the sweet treat, before she finishes wrapping it up. While he's so close to her, he can't resist stealing a kiss to her cheek.
When she glances around at him, with a shy smile at his daring a kiss in the office, he confesses with a wink, "I just couldn't resist," before he pops the icing into his mouth.
Whether he was meaning the icing or the kiss, she honestly replies with a smile for either way, "Thanks, Leo, me neither!" Her Valentine's Day just got a whole lot better!
Later that night while being driven to Leo's hotel together, the traffic is unusually heavy for this time of night and their progress is stop and go. When they get within a few blocks of the hotel Leo has a suggestion, "Margaret, would you be interested in us getting out and walking the rest of the way to the hotel? This crawling along is going to drive me crazy. It's a nice winter night outside."
Margaret grins at his suggestion, "Yeah, I am more than willing, Leo. We've been cooped up all day at the office and a walk would be nice. As the President would say, 'it's just brisk out tonight.'"
He grins back at her happily, for agreeing to his escape plan. "At least there's no breeze tonight, because 'damn', I seem to have forgotten my earmuffs."
She rolls her eyes at his tongue and cheek curse about the earmuffs, as she pulls hers out of her pocket. Margaret resists taking Leo to task about his forgotten earmuffs.
She decides to just enjoy the evening, "Good thing we grabbed a quick dinner earlier, Leo, when it looked like we were going to be in the office all night. We just lucked out that everything cleared up at the last minute, and it allowed us to vacate the building earlier than expected."
Leo nods in agreement and comments, "Yeah, it was," as they fasten up their coats. Quickly ready, Leo waits and watches Margaret with fascination, as she gets everything organized to her satisfaction, with her earmuffs, her gloves, her purse and the bag with the cake in it.
Margaret looks to Leo when all is ready and gives him a once over with her eyes, to see that he's all buttoned and wrapped up for the cold outside of the car. She still can't understand after all these years how he can be so cold natured and yet never wear a hat, not to mention earmuffs.
Noticing her look at him with her glancing inspection, Leo grins and spreads his gloved hands apart to show her that his buttons are indeed all done up, with his neck scarf securely inside the collar o his coat.
She bobs with a grin that they are now ready to face the night air. "OK, Leo, we're ready."
Sounding serious, he questions the obvious to make her crazy. "You're sure?"
"Leo," she scolds with the tone of, 'like are you blind?'
He chuckles quietly at her chiding him, and she smiles softly at the warm sound she loves to hear.
Leo then instructs his driver, "Joe, pull over at the first chance you get. We'll walk it from here. Thanks and you can head back. I hopefully won't be going back to the White House tonight, and I'll see Margaret home later."
Leo exits the car first and carefully takes the fancy shopping bag that Margaret is handing out to him.
Margaret takes charge of the cake bag once again, after Leo gives her a hand out of the car, and she tucks her other hand warmly in Leo's arm that he's offering to assist her. She carries the cake like it's gold all the way to his hotel.
As they walk along the DC street, a few flakes of snow add to their brisk walk, but tucked together they keep each other warm, and they set a good walking pace, just like they do in the halls at the White House.
They are both a bit chilled by the time they arrive, and Leo leads them directly to the welcoming fireplace in the reading room of the hotel. With the quick dinner at the White House and the invigorating walk, they're now more than ready for the cake and hot coffee.
Tim, their waiter, shortly follows them into the room and inquires to be helpful, "Mr. McGarry, would you care for me to take you and your guest's coats?"
Tim smiles, as he takes Margaret's coat and then Leo's and is pleasantly surprised that Leo is without his briefcase tonight. He hangs their things in the open coat closet next to the doorway, just inside in the room.
The waiter returns to them and asks, "Anything else I can do for you this evening, Mr. McGarry?"
Leo smiles, "Yes. Thanks, Tim. Would you please take our treat and place it on a server and bring us some hot coffee to go with it? I think we'll just sit here in front of the fire and get warm."
"Certainly, Sir. My pleasure. It will just take me a moment," Tim waits, as Margaret hands the bag over to Leo.
Just as Leo hands it to the waiter, Margaret requests softly to Leo, but the waiter still hears her, "Leo, decaf please?"
Leo grins to the young waiter and nods, confirming that the lady gets whatever she wants.
The young man smiles in understanding, "I'll just be a moment." He hurries out, pleased to see Mr. McGarry smiling this evening.
Leo turns his attention back to Margaret and sweeps an arm invitingly to the plush floral sofa, "Please, sit here, Margaret, and we can hopefully get some feeling back into our frozen fingers and toes."
Margaret smiles at his reminder that he's still cold and she settles back to enjoy the warmth, now that Leo is sitting beside her, even if he is leaning forward to warm his hands by the crackling fire.
They now can also enjoy the soft music that is playing in the background this evening, which must be due to the holiday. The room is actually quite private tonight, for a hotel of this size. They seem to have it all to themselves, which suits them just fine.
Soon, the waiter returns wheeling in a nicely covered serving cart. Their cake is now on a silver server, with china plates and gleaming silverware. Even their coffee is in a lovely china pot.
"Tim, on my tab and for you too," Leo nods his head to the doorway.
The waiter understands and returns a bob of his head. Tim then says, "Good night, Ma'am, Sir." The young waiter is pleased to see Mr. McGarry relaxing with a pretty lady. Since Tim works the evening shift and will be leaving soon, he plans to let the rest of the staff know, so they can help assure their privacy, as they all know Leo's hectic schedule, after all these years of him staying here.
Leo is not letting Margaret lift a finger to help him, as he serves them, "You're my guest this evening, let me spoil you this time."
Margaret graciously relaxes and enjoys watching Leo's hands, as they slice and transfer portions of the cake to plates and then pours the steaming coffee that they have both been anticipating, into china cups.
Leo has a matching smile both for the first sip of his coffee and his first bite of her wonderful cherry cake.
Margaret is so pleased to see him enjoying himself and relaxing this evening.
They chat about little things that only the two of them would care about, while they enjoy the sweet cherry cake and smooth coffee that he so loves from the hotel restaurant. Before they know it, the time flies by, and the cake is gone.
When the staff person leaves, after replacing the coffee pot and adding wood to the fire, Margaret sets her plate on the small low table beside her. She secretly opens her purse beside her on the floor, to slip out a card she selected for him earlier this evening.
Margaret found time to purchase it when she went out and picked up their dinner order, instead of having it delivered. She indulged him, since it's Valentines Day with his favorite food of pizza, since he did give her a lovely gift. She tentatively hands the card to him, "Leo, I got you a card for being so sweet to me today."
"That's really nice of you, Margaret. I'm just happy that you're here. Thanks for both," He leans to kiss her cheek, before he opens and reading the card. He smiles and tells her, "This is nice of you. It means a lot to me that you care."
"I really do, Leo." Margaret leans to return a soft kiss to his cheek, as he rereads the card, savoring the scent of his cologne.
Leo slips the card into his breast pocket to keep it safe and settles back on the sofa to enjoy more time with Margaret, putting his arm around behind her, as they watch the flames dance in the fire and the soft music in the air.
The staff pops in for just a moment to retrieve the cart and replenish the wood in the fire. The waiter transfers the coffee service to a low table. Before exiting the room, he assumes that they want some privacy and steps softly to dim the lights behind them for the night. The flames from the fire softly light their faces.
Margaret knows she has to leave her shoes on in public, but here alone in the room together she slips out of them, curling her feet up beside her on the couch. At this hour of the evening, they find that everyone is now leaving them alone.
Leo asks softly, "So… Do you really like the pin?"
"I really do, Leo, I love the three diamonds on it. I never expected to receive anything with diamonds today." She reaches over to weave her fingers with his and is rewarded with his fingers clasping hers.
"Actually, Margaret, when I noticed that there were three diamonds, I thought of the things you bring into my life… laughter, loyalty and ah…something else." Leo's voice is so soft at the end, as if he's afraid to voice it.
"What else, Leo?" Her voice is also soft with anticipation for the third diamond.
"The end of loneliness," he quietly admits to her, but his heart has recently and secretly started to hope that someday the third diamond will be for love.
"Oh, Leo," Margaret softly sighs at his honesty. She now has some hope that maybe he really has another 'L' word in mind for the third diamond, but that he's just afraid to say it. She shifts to lay her head on his shoulder.
They continue to gaze into the flames a few more minutes, before Margaret can't resist making a few little hinting moves, by softly stroking on his hand and then his arm, snuggling in a little closer to him.
Leo shifts his hips to be able cuddle her better to his side.
Margaret lifts her face up to give him a soft little kiss to his neck, just above his collar.
Leo is delightfully surprised and mildly shocked, and he lifts their joined hands to his lips to softly kiss the top of her hand. He turns to look into her eyes to gage her reaction. Seeing the trust and approval in her eyes, he places several small kisses on her face.
They both continue with small 'testing the water' touches and kisses. It not long before they start getting more amorous with the tender little kisses.
When Leo lets go of her hand to pull her around closer to him, Margaret slips her hand inside his jacket, rubbing softly on his chest, as if in search of his heartbeat.
Finally, kissing her fully on the mouth, Leo can taste traces of the icing on her lips and she can taste the same on his, giving 'sweet kiss' a whole new meaning.
When the first real kiss of the evening ends, Leo takes the risk and gently pulls Margaret to her feet. With the soft music playing in the background, Leo wants to hold her in his arms and slow dance with her in the firelight.
Margaret easily moves into his arms and rests her cheek to his shoulder, as they begin to sway to the music.
Holding their clasped hands to his chest, they move as one. The only problem is that Leo's coat sleeve keeps catching on the gold sweater pin he gave her. When the music fades and before it starts again, Leo pulls away from her, since he has made a decision.
Margaret thinks that their lovely evening is over and with a sweet sadness, she takes a step back as well.
Leo is a man of action and now that they're obviously comfortable with the small kisses, and he has held her in his arms. He wants her to have a wonderful Valentine's Day kiss. He has been thinking a while about giving her a kiss that she'll remember for a long time. Ever since the night of the winter carnival, when she surprised him with a goodnight kiss that just took his breath away.
Margaret looks down as Leo's hands reach up to remove her new pin from her sweater. She is a little confused and asks hesitantly, wondering if she did something wrong, "Are you taking the pin back, Leo?"
He grins at her sad expression and reveals, "No… I'm just removing it for my own safety," in his gravely voice that she so loves. "I just want to give you a good, old fashioned, Valentine's Day kiss." He slips the pin into his pocket for safekeeping. Leo sincerely looks into her eyes and softly asks, "Are you okay with this, Margaret?"
Margaret's face shows her happy understanding. No words are needed, as they both are positive that this is so right.
Leo pulls her into his arms, with his fingers lost in her hair to hold her securely to his lips, he curves her slightly back over his arm and gives her a passionate kiss to curl 'her' toes this time.
She doesn't hesitate to return his kiss with the same fervor.
When it ends, ultimately due to the need to breath and they both blush that their feelings are so open this evening.
Leo now uses his hand to gently lay her head on his shoulder again and they go back to dancing to the soft music. He whispers in her ear, "Margaret, I just wanted you to know how I feel about you."
Enjoying the warm scent of his cologne, she replies into his neck, "Leo, I feel the same. Why did we wait so long to do this?"
When the music fades again and still holding her close, Leo smiles and moves his face to looks in her eyes and asks, "You want your pin back now?"
She puts her hand up behind his head, pulling his face to her and whispers against his lips, "No, not just yet, Leo, I'm not done kissing you for the night," and she joins his lips for a another passionate kiss. The soft music resumes, and they sway again with their lips gently dancing as well.
As a clock chimes midnight in the distance, they both think this is a wonderful way to end their first Valentine's Day together.
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Posted February 14th 2005
CHILD - suitable for all ages
YTEEN (younger teens) - some content may not be suitable for children
TEEN - suitable for teens and above
MATURE - suitable for mature readers
ADULT - adults only
P — Profanity
SC — Sexual Content
V — Violence
GV — Graphic Violence
GS - Graphic Sexual Content