Title: Thoughts of a Secret Service Agent
Rating: PG –13 to R Some adult situations but nothing too graphic.
Spoilers: General spoilers for seasons 1-4
Summary: AU – Post Bartlet Administration.
Author's Notes #1: Some more thoughts from Chris as Sam & Josh settle in to their new roles. Takes Place after Meeting the First Family and Handling Sam 1.
Author's Notes #2: As ever, to Vicki for letting me use her universe. To my good friends Mrs J, Coup, Abigale and Jen for their encouragement and help with this story.
Disclaimer: The West Wing and its characters belong to Aaron Sorkin and NBC. Anyone else belongs to us.
Archive: Our website http://www.angelfire.com/ok5/samnjosh. You can find the previous stories there too.
Feedback: Please! We would love to know what you think, good or bad as long as it is constructive. Our addresses are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Thoughts of a Secret Service Agent by mellyjane40
Lyman-Seaborn Town House 8am
Chris Rawlins pulled up in front of the driveway of the home of President Elect Joshua Lyman and nodded to the security guards that waved him on. He climbed out of the car and stood to attention as Josh swept out of the front door with Andrew and Kevin.
"Good morning, Mr President."
Josh gave Chris a warm smile.
"Good morning." Josh strode past him and as he went to climb in an official car turned to Chris, "You can go inside; Mr Seaborn is running a little late this morning. Jamie's got a sore throat and a temperature and we've been up all night with him."
"Ok sir. Thank you."
Chris stepped the hallway with its exposed wooden floorboards and mixture of antique and modern furniture and closed the door behind him. The face of the First Gentleman appeared over the banisters, his hair damp from a shower, wearing a faded Havard t-shirt.
"Chris, I won't be long. Jamie's not going to school today, I just need to attend some meetings this morning in my office then I'll be home for the afternoon."
"Daddy, I think…" Jamie's rasping voice floated down the corridor.
"Ok tiger! I'll be…oh Jamie! Hang on a sec!"
Chris wandered up and down the hallway and heard Jamie's sniffles and Sam's head appeared over the banisters again.
"I've called the doctor; can you open the door for him when he arrives? Jamie, not again!"
For a moment there was silence then sounds of sobbing from Jamie and Sam making gentle soothing noises. Before Chris knew it he found himself climbing the stairs and found Jamie's room along the far end of the landing. The scene that greeted him was utter chaos. The smell where Jamie had been sick clung in the air and his comforter was in a heap on the floor. Sam sat on the bed with Jamie in his Eeyore pyjamas in his arms, rubbing his back and making gentle soothing noises. He looked up with a grateful expression and a pair of watery blue eyes and a flushed face emerged from over Sam's shoulder.
"I'm sick, Chris," Jamie rasped, rubbing his streaming eyes.
"Chris, look, I know this is beyond your duties but can you get a glass of water from the bathroom, it's just across the hallway," Sam said in a slightly embarrassed tone as he gently bathed his son's flushed face with a cloth.
"Yeah sure," Chris replied, giving Jamie an encouraging smile.
He found the bathroom, modern in decoration with white tiles, chrome fittings and a stand-alone power shower. He filled a tumbler and hurried back into the bedroom. Sam got Jamie to take a few sips of water and settled him, now wrapped up in a towelling dressing gown, in a chair over the other side of the room. Sam stripped the bed of the sheets and with a look of surprise accepted Chris's offer to take them.
"If you tell me where your laundry basket is Si…Mr Seaborn?"
"Err…yes it's in the bathroom." Sam began as his cell phone on Jamie's bedside table rang. "Shit!" he muttered under his breath as he snapped it open. "Suzie…What did Martin do? Oh Christ! Suzie! Jamie's worse than I thought and this is not the best day to ask… Josh…ok…look." Sam looked at his watch." Can you put the meeting back to 2pm? Yes. I don't give a fu…just tell them if they don't like it they…."
Chris didn't hear the rest of the conversation as the doorbell rang; he dumped the sheets in the bathroom and hurried down the stairs to open the front door. A sandy haired, freckled hair man in his late forties stared back at him at him in surprise.
"Hi I'm Dr Jamieson; I'm a friend of the family and family doctor."
Chris shook hands with the doctor. "I'm Chris Rawlins and…"
"Well, I can see from your suit and that ear piece you're from the secret service," Dr Jamieson replied.
"It's the ear piece that does it all the time!" Chris joked.
Dr Jamieson laughed. "I thought you were meant to be seen…."
"Peter, is that you!" Sam ran half way down the stairs in faded blue jogging pants underneath the Harvard t-shirt. "Thanks for coming so quickly. Jamie got us up at 1am complaining of a sore throat and a headache. He's been sick this morning and has a temperature of 101…"
The two friends hurried up the stairs and at the top, two tired blue eyes turned to face Chris.
"Look, I'm sorry, Chris. I may not need to go out till later now but there's coffee or tea if you want to help yourself."
"Thank you, Mr Seaborn."
Chris heard a cough and a "Hey, what are you doing out of that chair!" from Sam and a rasping "Uncle Peter!" from Jamie. As the voices faded away, Chris wandered down the corridor and in to the kitchen at the back of the house.
The kitchen had signs of a hastily eaten family breakfast, a carton of milk, half eaten bagel, butter and jam and a cooling mug of coffee on the table. The kitchen had the same feel as the bathroom, masculine with white units, chrome accessesories. Pride of place on the work surface by a microwave stood a state of the art cappuccino, espresso coffee maker. A tree mug with plain white mugs stood by the machine and Chris took a mug and, noticing that a coffee percolator was still warm, poured himself some coffee.
This was a very masculine house, Chris mused as he stared out of the window over the garden which contained a few shrubs and at the bottom stood Jamie's wooden house and swing set. Then with a smile he noticed that some of Jamie's paintings from school were displayed on the side of the gigantic fridge/freezer. One was signed "for JJ" reminding Chris that this was a family home. Chris couldn't help moving softly from the kitchen down the corridor and peering into what was the formal living room and a wooden floorboard creaked under his foot. He gave a brief glance around at the beige leather sofa, and a mixture of modern furniture and antique prints, the only sound that came was from the ticking of a brass mantle clock in brass case with dual chrome and brass finish on the mantelpiece. On an antique sideboard his eyes were drawn to a group of family photographs. A mixture of friends and family, one of the former President and Abbey Bartlet taken at the Manchester house, but one caught his eye and he picked it up. A woman with dark expressive eyes and a cloud of black hair cuddling a baby Jamie and turning her head to smile at the camera.
"So this must be the late Mrs Seaborn." Chris muttered to himself. "Very pretty!"
Although Jamie was the spitting image of his father he could see the same enigmatic expression in the blue eyes. He frowned in concentration, pictures of Jamie with Sam, Josh and Fransceca taken at various stages of his boyhood seemed natural; Geena Seaborn seemed almost the spectator at the feast and upset the balance of the image of the happy family image that was presented to the American public during the election.
"Are you airbrushed out of the family, or do they discuss you still?" Chris thought as he suddenly put the picture down feeling voyeuristic and slightly ashamed of himself for snooping around.
Chris recalled his conversation with Jamie at the Manchester farm. "My mom had loads of energy…"
"Ok Sam, there's really nothing to worry about," Chris jumped at the sound of the doctor's voice on the stairs. "It's just mild a throat infection, which won't respond to antibiotics. For now keep him on throat pastels, ice cream, orange juice, soft foods. You can give him some ibuprofen and throat lozenges. Hopefully it should run its course in a couple of days but if not call me."
Chris hastened in to the hallway and managed to be standing in front of the door as the doctor and Sam walked down the stairs.
"Did you see the way those eyes were looking at my bag? Can you believe it; he was still looking for a lollypop?"
Sam laughed. "Yeah! He's growing up, Peter, but there's still things he never grows out of!"
As both men reached the bottom of the stairs Peter gave Chris a sideways glance.
"I still can't get used to all of this! Security guards in the driveway and you with agents! Though I suppose after Huston…." The doctor's voice trailed off after Sam gave him a warning look.
Sam ran his fingers over his tired features.
"I'm getting used to it, Josh has agreed to me having one agent for the time being but it's people's faces when I turn up at meetings, it's like the new role keeps getting in the way."
Peter patted his friend's shoulder. "If you can get Jamie off to sleep, get some shut eye, you look dreadful."
"I will," Sam agreed, "Josh was up with me and looks just as bad!" Sam gave a sigh. "But I have an afternoon meeting; every thing's fucked up and…" Sam gave Peter a pleading look, "is he alright to be left with Mrs Kirkwood for an hour or so?"
"Sam, relax, it's just a mild infection it's being going around you're the fifth parent in three days whose child has the same thing," Peter reassured him.
"Ok." Sam stepped forward to open the door and step outside with Peter "I'll just go and see…" He stared in surprise as Chris stepped in front of him his eyes searching around the driveway. "Jesus Chris! This is my front drive!"
"Yes sir..." Chris blocked Sam's sideways step and saw a sympathetic look on Dr Jamieson's face.
The doctor stepped forward between the two men.
"I've gotta go past your firm, Sam. Suzie can go to the drug store get some throat lozenges and I'm sure she think of other stuff that you can bring home. Now please go inside your agent looks as if he's about to murder me, what the…" Dr Jamieson broke off in surprise.
"What is it?" Sam asked as Chris his reflexes kicked in as a brick whizzed past their ears and he pushed Sam on the ground and Dr Jamieson dropped down instinctively. The brick landed through the windscreen of Dr Jamieson's SUV, the glass shattered but did not break. The security men jumped into action with microphones and walkie-talkies buzzing and the younger one of the guards raced down the driveway to a frightened mother and child who witnessed the event.
Chris kept Sam to the ground with his hand whilst one of the guards searched the surrounding area, one came panting back and shook his head. Satisfied there was no more immediate danger, Chris helped Sam to his feet and this time there was no protest as both men were hustled indoors.
Sam and Chris turned round as a security guard jogged up to the house and handed Chris a letter. Chris thanked them, read it and shut the door, then wordlessly he handed Sam the letter. He'd been prepared for the type of threats that the First Family would receive but to see it in black and white; it made his blood run cold. He watched the First Gentleman's face pale and he stared in pity at his friend.
"Peter, I'm…I'm used to threats like this but when they target my friends!"
The doctor held out his hand for the letter, read it and his honest features reddened in anger.
"So I'm not allowed to visit my friends!" He ran his fingers through his hair, "I…if they think they're gonna stop me…they've…Jesus!"
The doctor seemed to crumple in front of Chris's eyes and he watched as Sam pushed his friend onto a sofa, crossed over to a drinks trolley and poured a small scotch.
"I think we can do with a drink," he said and Chris noticed that Sam's hand shook slightly as he carried the glasses back to the doctor.
The doctor refused the scotch as he was on duty and Sam opened the door offering him a strong cup of coffee. The three men found a feverish, trembling Jamie sitting at the bottom of the stairs. His dressing gown was half on; half trailing along the ground in the clean pyjamas that Sam had changed him into before Dr Jamieson arrived.
"Tiger! What you are doing out of bed?" Sam admonished in a tone that Chris noted was full of false brightness.
"Daddy, Uncle Peter." Jamie coughed, "I called and no one heard me. Can I have some juice…?" He broke off coughing again.
"I better be…" Dr Jamieson began.
"No!" Sam almost shouted in shock and anger. "You know where the kitchen is, go and make yourself a strong sweet coffee."
"Sam, you don't need to tell me about shock. I'm…"
Chris observed that Jamie was watching the exchange between his Daddy and his friend with interest and Sam noticing his look began to carry Jamie up the stairs.
"Daddy! Why was Uncle Peter upset?" Jamie asked in plaintive tones.
"Upset?" Sam feigned ignorance but Chris noticed that he hugged his son tighter and Jamie yawned and settled his head comfortably against his father's chest. Chris couldn't make out the rest of the conversation, Sam was talking in a low soothing voice and Chris could see that Jamie's eyelids were beginning to close. Chris stood and watched until he heared Jamie's bedroom door shut.
Chris turned round to find that the doctor had made his way to the kitchen and was spooning some sugar into a mug. He looked up to see Chris standing by the door and offered him a cup Chris shook his head.
"Can you talk or are you meant to be the strong silent types I've seen in movies about the White House." Dr Jamieson remarked as he sat at the breakfast table and cradling the mug stared up at Chris with a bewildered expression.
"Only when I'm with the First Gentleman and Jamie in public I'm not to be distracted." Chris gave a laugh and sat down opposite to the doctor, "though in the two weeks I've been on assignment Jamie's done his best!"
"You see I....just can't get my head around it." Dr Jamieson carried on in shaky tones. "I don't mind for myself, the car…I'm insured but I mind for them!"
"You'd never encountered any thing like this before?" Chris asked surmising that the best thing was to let the doctor work through his feelings of anger and of shock.
"I've known Sa...the First Gentleman when he came to Washington to live with Josh." Dr Jamieson paused reflectively, "You know I'd seen him on the television when he worked for the Bartlet administration, never thought of him…" He met Chris' steady gaze, "well…you know, you must have wondered observing them. They are not…and with me its just friendship, he doesn't seem to…" Dr Jamieson broke off with an apologetic smile, "Christ, I'm rambling."
Chris could have answered but the doctor drained his coffee and stood up walked over to the sink and washed his mug out.
"The First Gentleman told me about letters and how after Houston… they were frightened to take Jamie and Francesca with them in case they became targets. Who'd want to hurt a little boy?"
"He's a cute kid," Chris agreed.
"He's growing up too fast!" the doctor replied savagely, "I've seen in the past year Sam tries to protect him and Josh…err the President tries his hardest."
Suddenly Chris jerked backwards as he found himself staring up at the pleading eyes of the older man and he felt a grip on his arm.
"As I said, I don't mind about the car, just take care of them!"
"Peter what's up!"
Chris turned to see Sam standing by the door. He'd changed into a smart pair of charcoal grey pants and a white opened neck shirt, with a grey tie dangling around his neck.
"Chris, could you?" Sam jerked his head towards the door and Chris hastily made his way in to the hallway and sat down on a chair.
The kitchen door was closed but now and again Chris could hear snippets of conversation about the "car" and from Sam "of course he'd pay." Chris ran his fingers over his eyes and looked at his watch, it was 11:30 am it was twenty minutes since the incident and surely by now he'd expect the President to be in touch. He wasn't surprised when a few moments there was a screech of tires and doors slamming and hurried footsteps, then the astonishing sight of President Lyman letting himself in with his front door key.
"Sam!" The President Elect called out and with Andrew and Kevin, Alex Simmons, Toby Ziegler and CJ Cregg entering through the door, the hallway suddenly became crowded.
Chris found himself sitting halfway up the stairs and with years of friendship the President Elect's staff settled themselves in the formal sitting room, quietly conversing amongst themselves. Sam opened the kitchen door.
"Do you have to yell? I've just got Jamie off to sleep!" he admonished his partner and as Josh went to embrace Sam, Chris noticed that with a small shake of his head Sam stopped himself from being smothered. Instead Chris heard, "I wasn't the target Josh. It was Peter."
The President who still gripped his partner's arms reassuringly stood back his mouth agape.
"What! Is he….?"
"He's fine now." Sam reassured his partner, "I'm going to pay for the damage…and…"
The rest of the conversation was obliterated as Chris watched the First Gentleman whisper quietly in the President Elect's ear.
"You sure?" Josh replied doubtfully.
"Yeah. Look I think the best we can do is get Peter back to his surgery safely, then I have to go into the office for a meeting. I'll phone Mrs Kirkwood and see if she can look after Jamie for an hour."
"Ok," The President Elect didn't sound happy, "but as Jamie's home I want John on your detail today as well."
Chris observed Sam's expression, a tired look of resignation crossed over his face and he took the President Elect's arm he heard an, "Ok, now remember, no freaking around Peter, he's spooked enough as it is," as he guided his partner into the kitchen. Chris heard a "Peter I'm…" from Josh as the door shut behind them.
Ten minutes passed and Chris heard snippets of conversation coming from the living room about preparing a press statement on the morning's events. "CBS rang and asked if we have a comment, how they picked it up God knows!" Alex Simmons commented as he hovered on the fringe of the group.
Chris turned round as he heard coughing and stirring from Jamie's bedroom. As he seemed not to be wanted he got to his feet and made his way into Jamie's bedroom.
"There's a lot of noise downstairs," Jamie coughed as Chris helped him to sit up, plumped his pillows.
"The President Elect…is home and he's brought some staff with him." Chris replied in casual tones as he smoothed the clean smelling comforter and poured some orange squash into a glass.
Jamie took noisy gulps and rewarded Chris with a weak smile.
"Better?" Chris replied returning the smile.
"Here," Chris took a cloth went in to the bathroom ran it under the cold tap, returned and bathed Jamie's face. "Molly likes that when she's not well."
"It's nice! Do you like my room?"
Chris looked around at the large airy bedroom with an underwater themed mural and thick pale green carpet. A chair on the far side of the wall was piled high with a selection of toys and on the wall was what looked like a CD player.
"Pull the string underneath," Jamie instructed.
Chris did and laughed as the sound of underwater sounds and the lapping of waves filled the room.
"I used to have Winnie the Pooh mural but Nana says I'm a big boy now and she got me Finding Nemo the tenth Anniversary DVD!"
"It's great!" Chris enthused.
"Daddy and JJ won't let me have a TV or a video in the bedroom, but I'm working on…." Jamie broke off coughing and Chris helped him to take a few more sips of the juice.
Despite what was going on downstairs, here was a young boy not even ten yet and Chris found himself agreeing with what Dr Jamieson had said. Jamie was just a kid and Jesus he wished the boy wouldn't train those blue eyes with the long lashes on him, they….
Chris's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the President Elect standing in the doorway.
Chris watched how the kid's face brightened and as he sidled out of the room he was again struck by the seemingly normal family. Josh perched himself on the edge of the bed.
"Did you come home to see me, JJ?"
"Course I did, Tiger. I promised didn't I?"
"Yeah, is Uncle Peter still with Daddy?
"Yes, but he's just about to leave."
"He's stayed along time."
Chris smiled as he walked downstairs at Jamie's observation. He'd seen footage of the kid on the campaign trail with Sam and Josh and wondered if this was where he got his acute sense of observation from. As Dr Jamieson said, Sam and Josh had tried to protect Jamie from the unpleasant side of American life, the bigotry, hatred, but what had he seen to make him on occasions sound older than his years? As he reached the bottom of the stairs, Sam emerged from the kitchen with a calmer looking Peter and as a taxi pulled up in the driveway, Andrew and Kevin escorted Peter and Sam out of the door.
Chris couldn't hear what was said but there were smiles, a clap on the back between the two friends and as the taxi was pulled away Sam was escorted back into the hallway. He rolled his eyes at Chris.
"It's proving to be quite a morning!"
"Yes Mr Seaborn."
"John's on his way in, the President and I are gonna have something to eat here, then I'm going to the office for an hour or so."
"Ok Mr Seaborn." Chris knew this was going to sound forward but although Sam had been shocked by the incident he'd been the one most in control.
"Yes?" Sam asked in surprise.
"You were upset but….how…you seem to….I'm sorry I shouldn't be asking…"
Sam patted the younger man's arm reassuringly and Chris found his gaze drawn into a friendly gaze.
"I've dealt….well you were at Houston it's why you were brought in. You know those I can deal with, but it's the fact that people actually…." Sam broke off and rubbed the bridge of my nose, "target my friends!" Sam almost seemed to steady himself on Chris's arm. "I think I need to follow my advice to Peter." He laughed weakly, "Thanks though, Chris!"
"It's what we are trained for, sir," Chris replied, breaking apart as the President elect came down the stairs.
"Sam." Josh wrapped his arms around his partner and nodded towards his staff in the living room who muttered about ordering pizza and moving to the study where they could use the phone and fax machines. Chris watched as Josh led his partner into the living room and for a moment they stood oblivious to others.
"I thought it was you! It was like Houston, you bleeding all over me and….it could have been again" The President Elect's tone of voice was shaky. "I'm sorry for Peter, is he ok now?
"Every one keeps mentioning that today. Listen darlin'," Chris watched as Sam gripped his partner's arms. "Chris was there and he did his job! He's, his reactions were lightning quick, one moment there's this whizzing noise and I find myself on the ground."
Chris watched curiously as both men kissed, not the brief peck he'd seen in Manchester but a deep passionate kiss. This was something different, normally reserved for him and Jan in the bedroom but the happy family in the pictures he'd seen in the living room, seemed at odds with the scene in front of him. He recalled the words of the doctor, what makes a man suddenly decide that he's happy with an alternative lifestyle? He watched as the President murmured something about "his Sam!" and with one hand pushed the living room door shut.
3:30pm Office of Seaborn & Associates.
"I'm sorry about this, having to put the meeting back an hour." Sam strode down the corridor of his office and stopped outside the boardroom as Chris and John tried to keep up with him.
A group of business men and woman turned and shook hands with Sam and said it was no problem and hoped the First Gentleman was ok after the morning's incident. Sam told them he was and, assured his clients had beverages, he turned to Suzie, his secretary and with a pleading look drew her slightly away from the group, more within Chris and John's hearing.
"Can I have something myself and some Pepto, a small scotch and pizza doesn't mix well." He gave a grimace then fixed a smile on his face as he turned to his clients.
"Let's go into the board room, shall we? Please excuse the secret service agents outside…." Chris heard no more as the door was closed but saw one of the guests laugh at something Sam said as she settled herself in a chair.
"I must get you guys fixed up with a room." Suzie said as she turned to go back to her room. "Something with a TV, magazines, coffee machine, otherwise you clutter up the hallway and spook the clients with those dark suits and ear pieces."
Chris and John exchanged glances but grinned broadly as a few moments she came back with two steaming mugs of coffee and a pastry each for them.
"Oh! You're really cute," Suzie almost gushed as John in his gentlemanly Southern drawl stood up and thanked her.
The two agents munched in silence and without the need to be on constant alert, Chris let his body relax and his mind wander as he continued his reflections of earlier that morning. It was that kiss, it was stirring up uncomfortable memories of a hot summer, and adolescent memories, times of when he'd followed David Hughes around in his final year of high school, getting involved in a number of scrapes and lapping up the crumbs of praise or thanks that had come his way. Chris sat up sharply, where had thought come from? Who does David Hughes remind you of, his conscience mocked? Is it the sharp suited man sitting across the room, so neat and pressed, David, similar in manners who broke your heart in that embarrassed drunken fumble and that kiss during a spring break at his parent's house?
Chris shifted in his seat, jeeze, if this is what being on the First Gentleman's detail was gonna do to him he'd…
"Christ, Chris! What's wrong with you, you've been like a cat on a hot tin roof all afternoon?" John mumbled as he flicked the crumbs of his pastry on to the floor and finished his coffee. "I must say that Suzie is kinda cute, pity she's got a wedding ring on her finger."
"We're both married." Chris rebuked his friend rather more sharply than he intended.
John held his up his hand.
"Excuse me! I forgot I was talking to mister happily married. I'm happy with Angela but it dosen't stop me from looking now and again." John shot his friend a sideways look as Chris fiddled nervously with his earpiece. "Ah, could it be that with our horizon's broadened somewhat, you've been having a quick peek? Some one in the First Gentleman's…"
"No!" Chris almost squeaked jumping up and desperately hoping the First Gentleman's meeting would come to an end so he could get back to being occupied. "I'm sorry, John the incident this morning it got me a little jumpy, that's all." Chris apologised, taking deep breaths to calm himself and he sat back down.
"I heard you acquitted yourself and you're well on the way to becoming the First Gentleman's blue eyed boy…ah they've finished. Action stations!"
Chris shot to his feet, glad that John didn't notice that his face had turned scarlet. He watched as Sam came out of the boardroom and turned to say goodbye to the visitors.
"Yes thank you." Sam politely answered a slightly dumpy blond lady lawyer in a grey suit that showed off her voluptuous curves. The woman was giving him a discreet once over but Chris noticed that Sam was oblivious. "I left Jamie at home with a good friend and…" Sam glanced at his watch, "I'm heading back home now."
Suzie who'd cleared Chris and John's cup and plates stood behind Sam and nodded as he asked her to see the guests out. As the party walked away, Sam leaned wearily against the wall and rubbed his eyes. He opened them and smiled apologetically at them.
"Sorry, gentleman. I just have one other thing then I'm heading home and you're done for the day."
Chris and John began to follow Sam towards his office as a nervous looking young man appeared carrying a file. This must be the Martin that Sam had mentioned in the earlier telephone conversation.
"Mr Seaborn, I'm so sorry!"
Sam stopped in the corridor.
"Sorry! Against my better judgement I allowed Mark to let you take this case," he began in a quiet controlled voice, "but can we leave you to it to close this case?" Sam stepped closer to the now shaking junior lawyer, "my son is sick! "
Suzie, who appeared with Mark Wyatt, stared in surprise at the outburst in the corridor while other staff tried not to stare.
"Sam, let's go in to your office, shall we." Mark went to steer his friend and co-partner in to his office. "You're a little wound up after this morning, every one understands that, when they remember Houston and…"
Chris watched as Sam threw his friends arm off and stood hands on hips, blue eyes flinty and cold, and nostrils almost flaring.
"Stop trying to friggin patronise me!" Sam bellowed, "Why the hell does everyone keep mentioning Houston?"
"Sam," Mark said patiently, "Houston freaked us all and when the news came on the TV that a brick landed in your drive way, we all thought the worst."
"Well, can everyone please remember that Peter was the target on this occasion," Sam's voice went down a notch. "And I'd like every one not to go into panic mode every time an incident like that happens, it's enough having to deal with my partner!" His weak attempt at laughing sounded to Chris like a man who had reached the end of his tether for one day.
"Ok." Mark took his friends arm and almost shoved him into his office and signalled for the junior officer to follow them. As the door shut John turned to Chris and sat down.
"Shit and I was hoping Princeton was sloping off home early so I could take the missus to the movies."
Chris didn't reply but simply sat down by his colleague and stared ahead. He felt emotionally drained, John had only been on watch since 2pm but he'd seen enough for one day. It was easy for John, uncomplicated and worldly wise, problems were something to be faced and dealt with, no deep introspection. Chris sighed, that was his problem he was too introspective and it was leading him into some dangerous territory. It came as a sense of relief as a few moments Sam emerged from his room and announced he was going home.
Lyman/Seaborn Town house
As the car pulled into the driveway of the Lyman/Seaborn town house night time was beginning to draw in and the lights of the living room showed the President Elect at the window. Chris noticed a wide smile as Sam saw that Jamie stood on the window sill and grinned and waved. Sam smiled and waved back and went to jump out of the car but with a rueful smile sat patiently as Chris climbed out and surveyed one side of the car with John on the other.
As Sam went to walk up the driveway he signalled for Chris to follow and stopped just before the door and lightly patted his agent's back.
"What you did today…I intend to speak to Steve, thank you again."
"As I said, Mr Seaborn, I was doing my duty."
Chris found it hard to read the First Gentleman's expression in the fading light but gave up.
"You did, but you and Jamie are getting along so well. I'll see you tomorrow, Goodnight, Chris."
"Goodnight, Mr Seaborn."
Chris watched as the President Elect opened the door and drew his partner inside and he caught a glimpse of Jamie and returned a wave and raspy "bye Chris," before the door shut. He walked slowly back to the car and absentmindedly kicked a stone along the way.
This family was too dangerous for words; they used an old fashioned word called charm together with a sense of power and dignity that came from years of working and moving within political circles. It was a strange heady mix and it left Chris feeling once again slightly out of kilter. What the heck was he doing thinking thoughts he'd long since buried when he'd packed up his memories of school days and shoved them in his mom's loft?
"Hey! Are you coming?" John leaned out of the window. "Angela's been on the phone to Jan and she's got a baby sitter so it's Pizza and a film if you're up for it."
Chris groaned Jan would love it; it was a rare evening out. His nerves were on edge but considering it was a big wrench for her to leave her family and friends he couldn't say no. Chris climbed in to the car, best to think of today as just another day. Yeah right, his conscience scoffed, as Chris found himself turning back to see the President Elect close the blinds and the silhouette of the First Gentleman beside him as the car pulled out of the driveway.
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