Sam sighed and buried his face in his hands as he waited for a doctor to come out and speak with him and Ainsley.
"This is taking forever." he mumbled. Ainsley hadn't said anything since they had found out Gracie had been found. "Ainse..."
"What if she's not okay Sam?"
"She's going to be fine honey." he said, pulling her into a hug. "I know I haven't acted like it but these past two weeks have been horrible. I've just... I've tried to... you know, be strong for all of us but at times I couldn't and I didn't want to breakdown in front of you. I didn't... I didn't want to... to disappoint you I guess. I... I actually think you're... stronger."
"Because you let it show that you were upset and scared. I had to be an ass and hide my feelings. I guess in the end I did disappoint you."
"Sam, you could never do such a thing." Ainsley whispered, burying her face in his shoulder.
"Hey guys." Josh said, walking up. "Oh... was I interrupting a moment?"
"No." Sam shook his head and kissed Ainsley's forehead.
"Did you talk to the doctor?"
"Okay. You're the President of the United States. You should demand to know some information. And if you won't, then I will because I'm the Vice President of the United States." Josh said, walking away.
Sam looked up and saw a middle-aged man standing there.
"I'm Dr. Kelley. I've been checking over your daughter."
"How is she?" Ainsley asked.
"Mrs. Seaborn, I'm sorry I didn't acknowledge you before. She has a fractured arm."
"We know about that and the concussion. What's going on with that?" Sam asked. Dr. Kelley sighed and glanced around.
"You're lucky she's not dead."
Ainsley clapped a hand over her mouth and Sam's arm went around her shoulders.
"I'm sorry but it's true." Dr. Kelley said. "She would be fine if she fell down only a few stairs. In this case, she fell down a whole flight, or at least we think. The way she landed caused her to be knocked unconscious."
"In other words she's in a coma." Sam said flatly.
"How long is she going to be like this?" Ainsley asked, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"It could be a few days, weeks, months, possibly even years at the most. I'm telling you though, she won't be awake tonight so the only thing you can do is to go back to the White House and get some rest."
"I want to see my daughter." Ainsley said.
"I could make that happen. I'll be back in a few minutes." Dr. Kelley said. Once he was gone, Ainsley stood up and Sam and Josh watched her wearily.
"Oh God..." she mumbled. "This is not happening."
"Ainse, honey she's gonna be fine. It's just going to take her a while to regain consciousness." Sam said, pulling her into his arms. "I promise you she is going to be fine."
"I want to see her Sam. I want to hold her. I want to make sure she's okay."
"Okay, we are. Just relax sweetheart." he murmured. A few minutes later, Dr. Kelley took Sam and Ainsley down to a room and left them to be with Gracie.
"Oh honey..." Ainsley walked over to Gracie's side and looked over her daughter with tears in her eyes. She let a sob pass her lips and took Gracie's hand in hers and stroked her dark hair with the other. "My poor baby..."
Sam let out a shaky sigh and shoved his hands into his pockets. It hurt just looking at her.
"Ainse," he finally choked out. "Come on,"
"She's gonna be fine. You haven't slept in the past two weeks. Go back to the Residence. I'll stay with her."
"Sam, we finally got her back and you're telling me to leave her?" Ainsley asked.
"Honey, she's not gonna be doing much."
"I don't care." Suddenly the tears were gone and Ainsley's fierce, southern attitude took its place.
"I know you want to be here." Sam said, trying to quickly avert his wife's attention. "But honey, I worry about you. You need to sleep. You're not going to be any good to her if you don't sleep."
"I'll go back if you come with me."
"Someone needs to be here when she wakes up."
"The doctor said she wasn't waking up tonight."
"Then we'll both stay." Sam muttered, not in the mood to get into a debate he knew he'd lose.
Sam sat with his head in hands as he sat at Gracie's side. It had been a week since she had been found and it seemed as though Ryan Greene had dropped off the face of the earth. Plus, she still hadn't waken up yet. The doctor said it was normal but Sam was getting sick and tired of it. All he wanted was Gracie to wake up and see those beautiful blue eyes of hers again.
"Daddy, I hurt my knee."
"Daddy, I read the whole book by myself!"
"Daddy, watch! I can ride my bike now."
"Dad, I got an A on that English paper."
"I got the lead in the school play!"
"I took all of Uncle Josh's money in poker last night."
Sam didn't hear the sob he let out and bit his lip as the tears kept flowing. He had to stop this. He was a grown man. He was the President for God's sake! But this was his little girl.
Gracie lay still for a second, trying to figure out where she was. The bright lights over her head were annoying and everything hurt like hell. She heard something and it took her a few seconds to realize it was someone crying. Gracie finally got her eyes focused and it took her a few seconds more to realize who the hunched figure next to the bed was.
Sam looked up, his blue eyes rimmed with red as tears streaked his cheeks. Gracie was in shock for a moment. Never before had she seen her father cry like that. She had never seen him cry before actually.
"Gracie..." he jumped out of the chair and held her gently, hoping he wasn't hurting her.
"Dad, I'm fine." she mumbled. But Sam kept crying silently and did not want to let her go again. "Dad... Dad, I can't breathe."
"Sorry." Sam pulled away from her and wiped his eyes quickly. "How do you feel?"
"I kinda figured. I have to call Mom."
"She's gonna start fussing over me." Gracie whined quietly. Sam let out a soft laugh and nodded, then kissed Gracie's forehead.
"I'll be right back. You gonna be okay?"
"Yeah. Just come right back."
"I will. I love you."
"I love you too Dad." Gracie mumbled as Sam left the room. He leaned against the wall for a minute then headed down the hall to a payphone.
Sam stood outside on the balcony as he listened to everyone laughing and having a good time inside the White House.
Sam glanced behind him and smiled, seeing Ainsley and Gracie standing there.
"Why aren't you inside?" Gracie asked. "It's freezing out here."
"Then go inside." Sam replied. "I want to talk to your mom anyway."
Gracie rolled her eyes and walked back into the Residence.
"What's on your mind Seaborn?" Ainsley asked, leaning against the railing with him.
"What's going on?" Sam asked.
"You're down fifteen. Two states left."
"Montana and Florida."
"Why are you out here?"
"So I'm free of the disappointment when I lose." Sam replied. Ainsley gave him a look and slipped her arm around his waist.
"We're going to be here another four years. You know that. Rockland isn't going to become president. He's not the president type."
"Aren't you supposed to be a Republican?" Sam asked.
"I voted for you." Ainsley replied. "Besides you may have conformed me."
"Oh I highly doubt that."
"Dad, you got Montana!" Gracie shouted.
"Not really helping." Sam said sarcastically. "Rockland got Florida. I know it. We're done."
"You did a lot of campaigning in Florida. They like you down there. Everyone likes you. You're a good president honey. People want to see you in office for another four years."
"I guess we'll find out soon."
They stood out there for a few more minutes before Josh shouted for them to get back in.
"They're about to call Florida." he said. "You think we can do it?"
"I dunno but the past four years have been something else."
The staff laughed and they all looked at each other, then at the TV.
"It's been fun Josh." Sam said.
"It has." he agreed.
"Shut up!" Toby roared. "Our jobs may be over in a few seconds."
"God you people are so pessimistic." Josh grinned.
"And we're ready to call the election in favor of President Seaborn." the newscaster announced. The room erupted into cheers as champagne bottles were popped open and tears were shed and hugs were given.
"When are you going to admit that I'm always right?" Ainsley asked, smiling widely as she wrapped her arms around Sam's neck.
"I knew we were gonna win." he replied, grinning back. "I just wanted to make you think I didn't think we were gonna win."
"Mhmm." Ainsley nodded, closing the gap between them. When they pulled apart she hugged him tightly and he buried his face in her shoulder. "Congratulations honey."
Once they were separated, Josh pulled Sam into a brotherly hug.
"We did it." Josh mumbled, clapping Sam on the back.
Next installment: Sam's second term is not going well and Gracie is becoming rebellious as Sam ups her protection.