"Policy initiatives," he had said when he called her and invited her for lunch. "The President wants me to discuss new policy initiatives for health care with you so we can figure out how to get support from both sides of the aisle."
"Alright Sam," Ainsley had said on the phone, stretching his name into two songlike syllables. "I will meet with you to discuss your bipartisan health care policy initiatives, but I am telling you this now, you will be paying for this meal."
She isn't stupid. She does notice how most of their meetings could also be construed as dates, but she doesn't know if Sam's being intentional and tricky, or if he's just adorably clueless. And since this is Sam, she really doesn't know which one it is.
At the restaurant, Ainsley orders a sandwich, a salad, and has rice pudding for dessert.
She talks about legislation and big pharma and bipartisanship, and while Sam takes notes he mostly he looks at her and smiles a lot.
"You know what," she says, mid-way through the pudding, "your little thing of smiling at me and observing me could be taken as very creepy if it were anyone else."
Sam blinks, and Ainsley decides to elaborate. "What I am saying is that based on your facial cues perhaps we should continue this meeting tonight at dinner, at a suitably fancy restaurant where I will be wearing a short dress and heels, do you understand what I mean?"
Sam purses his lips and nods. "Are you asking me out?" he asks, and Ainsley sighs a little bit. Adorable, yes, but clueless in what she has observed to be true Sam fashion.
"In the interests of bipartisanship, yes. Yes, I am." She ends her sentence as she smiles at her, slow and sweet and she finishes up the rest of her pudding while he calls for the check.
Later that night, they have a very productive meeting.